Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them."
That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.
- Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.
- Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.
- Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.
- Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.
Now we know why the country has become "ungovernable," last year's excuse for the Democrats' failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?A friend of mine maintains that it's a little unfair of Krauthammer to imply that it's a conscious strategy on the part of liberals to lie about their opponents. He argues that many of them, at least, actually believe that their opponents really are the nefarious devils they make them out to be.
Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities -- often lopsided majorities -- oppose President Obama's social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a mosque near Ground Zero. What's a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument.
Be that as it may, I don't think it changes much. All it does to mitigate the name-caller's sleaziness is to remove the stigma of having deliberately lied in order to disgrace his opponent and replace it with the stigma of being the sort of person who will say the worst things about others without taking the trouble to discover whether his claims are true. The technical name for this thoughtless, small-minded, irresponsible character assassination is slander.
Krauthammer's columns are almost always excellent, but this one is especially so. Give it a read, and in the meantime remember that whenever you hear a liberal brandishing the charge of bigotry, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc. it's almost always a tacit admission that they're out of intellectual ammunition and are fighting a losing battle with the sticks and stones of personal insult.
Krauthammer finishes up his column with this:
It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" -- blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims -- a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?Yes. Don't try to reason with the yahoos, just throw lots of mud and hope that some of it sticks.