This article is a long but AMAZING read. Not so much for what is in it but because it exists at all. It is written by a liberal for a liberal site PLEADING for the liberal intelligentsia and hangers on to try their hardest to develop the merest hint of actual empathy!
I've covered all of this ground seven ways from Sunday, but to see an actual LIBERAL realize that maybe there is more to dealing with something possibly over half of the American Electorate than dismissing them with derision and smugness is a real treat.
This, I think, is fundamental to understanding the smug style. If good politics and good beliefs are just Good Facts and good tweets — that is, if there is no ideology beyond sensible conclusions drawn from a rational assessment of the world — then there are no moral fights, only lying liars and the stupid rubes who believe them.Much of this goes back to "What's The Matter With Kansas" -- a book that SCREAMED about how STUPID poor people were to not be voting D and still clinging to tired old ridiculous Christian values to boot! "Good Facts" are critical -- liberals are sure of nothing if it isn't that THEY have ALL the FACTS on THEIR side! The following paragraph is a rare view of what a liberal might realize if they were to be a high school educated white Christian in some hick town in flyover country.
I am suggesting that they instead wonder what it might be like to have little left but one's values; to wake up one day to find your whole moral order destroyed; to look around and see the representatives of a new order call you a stupid, hypocritical hick without bothering, even, to wonder how your corner of your poor state found itself so alienated from them in the first place. To work with people who do not share their values or their tastes, who do not live where they live or like what they like or know their Good Facts or their jokes.It's a worthy read, but we pretty much know it already -- liberals are smarter, better educated, better people, better looking, more tasteful, kinder, gentler, more moral, more culturally advanced, well, just BETTER! They are absolutely certain of it and they are even more certain that they have every right to be SMUG about it!
The thing that I would add from my experience is the quite large number of people who don't have the education, intelligence or money to actually be solid smug liberals, but they hang their entire sense of moral goodness on their embrace of liberal morality. They LOVE gay "marriage", they HATE the NRA, Faux News, they obsess about Climate Change -- they don't know a lot about many of these issues, but it gives them a chance to feel morally superior to their "hick neighbors". Often, it is the only sad "superiority" that they have.
Here is the Trump angle (doesn't everything have that these days?) :
Here's the conclusion I draw: If Donald Trump has a chance in November, it is because the knowing will dictate our [the liberal] strategy. Unable to countenance the real causes of their collapse, they will comfort with own impotence by shouting, "Idiots !" again and again, angrier and angrier, the handmaidens of their own destruction.
The smug style resists empathy for the unknowing. It denies the possibility of a politics whereby those who do not share knowing culture, who do not like the right things or know the Good Facts or recognize the intellectual bankruptcy of their own ideas can be worked with, in spite of these differences, toward a common goal.
It is this attitude that has driven the dispossessed into the arms of a candidate who shares their fury. It is this attitude that may deliver him the White House, a "serious" threat, a threat to be mocked and called out and hated, but not to be taken seriously.
The wages of smug is Trump.The part of the Smug style that hurts personally is the requirement for "separation". I grew up in a Fundamentalist Baptist church that encouraged Christians to "be ye separate" -- not in heart and behavior only, but actually to separate yourself from the "world churches" and people who attended them -- which was basically everyone. ONLY the little General Association of Regular Baptists had the truth -- all else was error and sin.
Smug liberals can't associate with people who have "empathy for the unknowing", or even worse can enter a discussion with the smugly superior liberal in which the liberal ends up tongue tied and sputtering. They end up tongue tied and sputtering because their entire moral value as a person is tied up in the metaphysical correctness of their liberal world view, yet, since their view is dominant in media and culture, they have no knowledge of how to defend it. Like the fundamentalists of my youth, when faced with difficult questions, they have no choice but to say "get behind me Satan!"
The Fundamentalists of my youth put a lot of their self image into being "the ones in the right", but they DID believe in a God that was far superior to even them. The modern liberal is sure that somewhere between John Stewart, the NY Times, BO and a few really smart professors SOMEWHERE it is "all known and worked out" ("settled").
When liberals have trouble defending that faith, it gets VERY uncomfortable for them -- especially since they fervently believe that what they believe is not a "belief" at all, but proven and obvious FACT! ("Good Facts") People who disagree with them MUST be either stupid or very poorly educated, and probably both. It makes it supremely embarrassing to not be EASILY winning a discussion with someone whom your entire world view depends on being as dumb as a box of rocks!
The urge to smugness is endemic to the human condition. Christ definitely came to discomfort the smug (ALL of us!) -- he was a LOT harder on the Scribes and Pharisees than he was on the immoral poor. The immoral poor knew they sinned -- the Scribes and Pharisees were very sure they didn't! (in those days / Jewish culture, they had the "Good Facts")
If Christ is in heaven and we will all be there for a lot longer than we will be here, we can enjoy earthy discussion about pretty much anything. Our worth as people is not be about our politics, our brilliance, our education or much of anything beyond God's Grace! Christian's could enjoy those discussions -- but "liberals" absolutely can't . They MUST be correct, and OBVIOUSLY / SMUGLY so!
The fact that a tiny fraction of liberals seem to understand how smug their movement has become and see it as a bad feature might be cause for hope, but I don't believe that humans can really cure their own smugness without God's Grace.
My soul weeps at the barrier that has been erected by the fundamentalist and smug secular humanist religion. It has destroyed the love of families far worse than even the divisions in the Church once did.
'via Blog this'