Where Are the Liberal Warriors?

If Fox News polls tell the story, Trump is going to lose. Whether that happens remains a product of what happens on the streets and what comes out of his twitter feed, a battle for who can turn people off harder and faster, albeit each in their own special way.

But the day is still young, and there’s so much opportunity for either side to do something so outrageously awful. But there is a disconnect here, as Trump suffers from his own actions while Biden is tainted by the actions of others, who don’t like him, won’t listen to him and see him as the next hurdle to surmount in their quest for hegemony. Jonah Goldberg explains why.

American liberalism’s Achilles’ heel has long been a reluctance, sometimes a flat-out inability, to criticize radicals to its left. In the 1960s, leading Democrats kowtowed to extremists out of what historian Fred Siegel called a “riot ideology,” and it cost the party dearly.

This is different than the standard “liberal paradox,” that liberals are so open minded that they allow adversarial views to overwhelm them in the name of free expression. This is about not fighting back against those views that are illiberal, authoritarian and counter-productive. Not silencing the view, but not letting them go without response and criticism.

The Democrats have tried to fight back in the past, but mostly with cynicism and efforts to deny whatever claim they had to morality.

There have been exceptions. Americans for Democratic ­Action arguably saved the Democratic Party from its left-most wing led by the “useful idiot” Henry Wallace, FDR’s former vice president. Bill Clinton broke the GOP’s monopoly on the presidency by deliberately picking fights with the left to attract more moderate voters. Clinton’s tactics were arguably more cynical than idealistic — he took time off from the campaign trail to oversee the execution of a ­severely brain-damaged black man. But say what you will about his “triangulation,” it worked.

Clinton was a masterful politician, even as he was an awful liberal. He wanted to win and did what he had to do. There was nothing liberal about it, but the times were different, crime and safety were huge issues and the Dems needed to win over the middle of America by showing they were as tough on crime as the Republicans. Clinton was just the guy to execute the plan.

American politics has become a contest between two competing caricatures of reality. The primary driver of this dynamic has been the media’s — particularly cable news’ — ­addiction to narrative journalism combined with the pernicious influence of social media. Twitter and Facebook make it all too easy to shine a spotlight on outlier events and present them as central to our lives. The focus on the ludicrous “autonomous zone” in Seattle earlier this summer let the right claim the whole city was like a “Mad Max” movie.

Similarly, the statistically rare (I’m sorry, but it’s true) examples of outrageously bad behavior by some cops captured on video give many on the left permission to push a narrative of wholesale racial oppression by police.

What’s missing in this cartoon is that between the QAnon crazies of the right and the rioting kids of the left remains a huge group of people who are generally concerned about racism and police abuse, constitutional rights and the destruction of our economy, cities and way of life. They want to work hard, enjoy the fruits of their labor and lead a peaceful existence. They want nothing to do with either caricature of reality being sold by the hysterics. They just wanna grill, for God’s sake.

And that’s not just white people, but all people.

The problem is intensified by the tendency of the hyper-politically engaged left and right to listen only to people in their own echo chamber and to mistake Twitter outrage for sentiment on the ground. So despite the fact that a majority of black and Latino people want the same amount or more police in their communities, we spent weeks listening to “experts” claim that “abolish the police” is a reasonable, mainstream position.

All of this raises a question. Joe Biden has already stated unequivocally, that he is against riots and looting, and does not support abolishing the police. Sure, his position on Title IX, that the accused male students should be denied due process, is as illiberal as it gets, but no one’s perfect.

But as has become increasingly clear, Biden is a tepid caricature of an old school liberal, a politician who may believe some of the virtues of liberalism, but who is more than happy to horse trade them for the win, and for the legacy, just as Clinton was happy to put a brain-damaged black guy to death to prove he was tough on crime, as long as it wasn’t the crime he committed.

Assuming, arguendo, that Biden wins the election because all but the most ardent Trump supporters come to realize that the guy is a blithering idiot, what party takes control of the White House?

Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination largely because most of his competitors talked as if primary voters were indistinguishable from the very online left-wing activists and journalists who dominate MSNBC and CNN.

Many liberals fail to appreciate that the progressive left isn’t like them at all. They are confused by the shallow similarities, that we believe in equality and compassion for all. If that’s what social justice is fighting for, what’s not to like? Except the words mean entirely different things in the progressive lexicon. Worse yet, they will accomplish their ends by beating into submission anyone who fails to acquiesce to their will.

It’s not that us libs, actual libs, aren’t out there. We are. It’s that we are quiet and more concerned with living our lives than going to war in both medias, cable and social, for control of a nation. While the fringes are obsessed with the battle, we have taken for granted that Joe Biden will somehow end the idiocy of Trump and the outrage of progressives, and so few have been willing to brave the useful idiots of the left and right and stand up for liberal values.

We may be the majority, whether leaning “moderately” left or right, but unless we are willing to take a stand against the slide into authoritarianism, and strongly criticize the radical left, we will have no one to blame for the failure of liberalism but ourselves. We need liberal warriors just as the left has its social justice warriors and the right has its alt-right warriors. Not with bludgeons, but with facts, reason and the fortitude to fearlessly defend principles from attack from the front or back.

16 thoughts on “Where Are the Liberal Warriors?

  1. Drew Conlin

    I’m in Michigan. ..” Anatomy of a murder.. “ was filmed in Michigan in 1959. Judge Weaver was played by Joseph N. Welch.
    I keep hoping and waiting for a modern day Welch to emerge. I’m probably naive and unrealistic.

  2. Hunting Guy

    Bert Lee.

    “Polls don’t matter. Voters don’t matter. The only thing that matters is who counts the votes.”

    1. SHG Post author

      If we’re to keep the republic, we’ll have to have faith in something. I trust that poll workers will be faithful.

      1. Hunting Guy

        I have no doubts that the poll workers are honest brokers.

        Given that many people either lie or refuse to respond to polls, I don’t have a lot of faith in their validity.

        Didn’t the polls have Hillary way ahead?

        1. SHG Post author

          If polls answered the question, there would be no point in voting. So I’m prepared to wait for the vote as well, even though these polls bode poorly for Darth Cheeto.

      1. LocoYokel

        Wait! Where’s the house party?

        What’s this about it being white’s only? RACIST SHITLORDS!!11!!!111

  3. John Barleycorn

    Can I forward this post to my county comissioner regarding the ban on experimental flying scooters in the park?

  4. Angrychiatty

    Hard to get traction when the level of discourse is “shouty outrage.” Seems that the brand of liberalism you’re talking about (reasonable, principled, nuanced) is at a disadvantage in today’s style of loud bullshit.

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