Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Camille Paglia Knows Liberals

Despite her own generally left-wing political positions, Camille Paglia is a usually reliable voice of reason on the left, who often takes delight in skewering the more irrational elements on her own side. In Salon today, she answers readers' questions, and has some interesting observations about liberals - some of which are likely to  make heads explode on the left. Here she is on the failure of left-oriented talk radio:  
Liberal hosts like to snap and snip and chortle snidely, but they are weighed down by a complacent superiority complex, a paralyzing sanctimony. They mistake irony for wit

Check out many liberal blogs, and you will see the same tendencies in action. But those attributes play much better online.

Paglia on problems at the heart of modern liberalism:

something very ugly has surfaced in contemporary American liberalism, as evidenced by the irrational and sometimes infantile abuse directed toward anyone who strays from a strict party line. Liberalism, like second-wave feminism, seems to have become a new religion for those who profess contempt for religion. It has been reduced to an elitist set of rhetorical formulas, which posit the working class as passive, mindless victims in desperate need of salvation by the state. Individual rights and free expression, which used to be liberal values, are being gradually subsumed to worship of government power.

Irrationality and directing infantile abuse at opponents isn't restricted to the left of course, but it is certainly prevalent among liberals -- many of whom are shocked and horrified at the mere thought than anyone would dare disagree with their deeply held assumptions. Anyone who does so must therefore be evil and acting out of evil motives. Tolerance is one of those virtues the left likes to preach about but almost never practices toward opposing views. 

And finally, Paglia's best line:

Conservatives these days are more geared to facts than emotions, and as individuals they seem to have a more ethical, perhaps sports-based sense of fair play.

Obviously that's a massive over-generalization. But it has been true in a general sense as long as I can remember.

h/t Ann Althouse

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