There is a corrosive atmosphere in America between the right and the left. I have heard it on both sides. But my own perspective that the condescension of the left toward the right is deep, unthinking, and particularly harmful toward any real discussion. Carol Platt Liebau puts her finger on the issue in this brief article.
Time for the Left to Curb Its Corrosive Contempt
Over the past few weeks, we have heard plenty about the bigotry of the American people. The recent deb
ate about an imam’s plans to loc ate a large mosque atGround Zero has highlighted, as never before, the liberal elite’s utter contempt for the sensibilities of regular Americans.
From the President on down, those in favor of the mosque’s construction
atGround Zero have characterized the opponents as ruled only by emotion – especially animus toward all Muslims. So outrageous were some of the aspersions cast on mosque opponents th ateven liberal former DNC Chair Howard Dean was moved to point out the left was “demonizing some fairly decent people.” In an implicit acknowledgment of the most common slur made by mosque proponents, he added th at“sixty-five percent of the people in this country [the proportion opposing construction of the mosque atGround Zero] are not right-wing bigots.”
Indeed. Aside from the gr
atuitous swipe atconserv atives, Dean had it just about right. But the mosque deb ate isn’t the only area where regular Americans have been accused of irr ational intolerance.
Recently, an unelected federal judge struck down a st
ate constitutional amendment passed by a solid majority of Californians – and supported by a majority of Americans generally – th atdefined marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. He did so by concluding th atthere was no r ational basis for the measure he had overturned; its only conceivable purpose, according to the judge, was to “enshrine in the California Constitution” an assertion th at“opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.” In other words, Judge Vaughn Walker characterized every single American who has reserv ations about changing the age-old institution of marriage as irr ational bigots.
atthe President, Vaughn Walker, and much of the commentari atin favor of the Ground Zero mosque are part of the supposed intellectual and cultural “elite” in this country, the arrogance – and paucity of their moral imagin ation – is bre athtaking. In their formul ation, stupidity, ignorance and bigotry are the only conceivable reasons for opposition to anything they deem moral or just. Their intellectual and personal disrespect for those who disagree with them is bre athtaking – and it is unleavened by even the slightest dash of humility.
The irony, of course, is th
atin its eagerness to denounce the intolerance and shortsightedness of the masses, the liberal elite reveals itself to be . . . shortsighted and intolerant. From the gay marriage case to the Ground Zero mosque deb ate, the elites don't even offer the courtesy of presenting principled rebuttals of their opponents’ arguments. Instead, they dismiss them scornfully as the product of inferior minds, unworthy of consider ation by intelligent people.
According to well-known research on marriages and conflict, healthy rel
ationships can survive frequent disagreement. It’s only when contempt sets in th atlong-time partnerships are in serious trouble. Increasingly, th atkind of contempt eman ates from those who consider themselves the meritocracy’s crowning glory – and it bodes ill for the health of ’s body politic. America
Perhaps the phenomenon is the foreseeable consequence of a university system overwhelmingly domin
ated by only one (politically correct) viewpoint. Perhaps it’s simply the result of a general breakdown in manners – or, more sadly yet, a symptom of the decline of a common public religious faith stressing th atall people (yes, even the “unenlightened”) are God’s children, and hence entitled to be tre ated with a measure of decency and respect.
atever the reason, it’s time for the liberal elite to curb their distrust of and contempt for the values and sensibilities of the rest of . To put it in terms they can understand, it’s hypocritical to claim solidarity with “the common man” while despising everything he holds dear. America
att Liebau's Biography
att Liebau is an attorney, political comment ator and guest radio talk show host based near . Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and Los Angeles , Too!)" here. America