'Why are Liberals So Condescending?'

Rick Moran
University of Virginia professor Gerard Alexander has an eyeopening piece in the Washington Post about how the left condescends to conservatives and ordinary Americans on a regular basis and has been doing so since the 1950's.

There is nothing new in the piece that conservatives don't already know. But perhaps just seeing one of their major critiques of the left in the Washington Post is what makes it news worthy.

A sample:

Finally, liberals condescend to the rest of us when they say conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety -- including fear of change -- whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic. Former vice president Al Gore made this case in his 2007 book, "The Assault on Reason," in which he expressed fear that American politics was under siege from a coalition of religious fundamentalists, foreign policy extremists and industry groups opposed to "any reasoning process that threatens their economic goals." This right-wing politics involves a gradual "abandonment of concern for reason or evidence" and relies on manipulative propaganda to maintain public support, he wrote.

Prominent liberal academics also propagate these beliefs. George Lakoff, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley and a consultant to Democratic candidates, says flatly that liberals, unlike conservatives, "still believe in Enlightenment reason," while Drew Westen, an Emory University psychologist and Democratic consultant, argues that the GOP has done a better job of mastering the emotional side of campaigns because Democrats, alas, are just too intellectual. "They like to read and think," Westen wrote. "They thrive on policy debates, arguments, statistics, and getting the facts right."

Response to this piece from the left ? Um...predictable:

They are now attempting to make this culture war hypocrisy into a complaint about their colossally failed ideas now, which they are, with characteristically insane bravado, claiming have been vindicated by the past year of Democratic government. It's a bold move, but completely predictable.

Digby uses as an example of conservative condescension this famous quote from Reagan:

"A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah." 

Strange, but telling a joke by playing to ordinary people's stereotypes of liberal weirdness is hardly the same kind of condescension as liberals, say, referring to ordinary Americans as coming from "Jesusland" or, more famously, "not voting their interests." That kind of elitist snobbery is not usually practiced by Republicans although following the 2008 victory of Obama, there was a lot of anger by some conservatives directed toward voters who they felt were taken in by Obama because they were sheep.

Clearly, though, Alexander's thesis that condescending to conservatives is much more common as well as being a more consistent attitude on the left strikes a nerve on both sides. Read the whole thing for some interesting insights.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky


University of Virginia professor Gerard Alexander has an eyeopening piece in the Washington Post about how the left condescends to conservatives and ordinary Americans on a regular basis and has been doing so since the 1950's.

There is nothing new in the piece that conservatives don't already know. But perhaps just seeing one of their major critiques of the left in the Washington Post is what makes it news worthy.

A sample:

Finally, liberals condescend to the rest of us when they say conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety -- including fear of change -- whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic. Former vice president Al Gore made this case in his 2007 book, "The Assault on Reason," in which he expressed fear that American politics was under siege from a coalition of religious fundamentalists, foreign policy extremists and industry groups opposed to "any reasoning process that threatens their economic goals." This right-wing politics involves a gradual "abandonment of concern for reason or evidence" and relies on manipulative propaganda to maintain public support, he wrote.

Prominent liberal academics also propagate these beliefs. George Lakoff, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley and a consultant to Democratic candidates, says flatly that liberals, unlike conservatives, "still believe in Enlightenment reason," while Drew Westen, an Emory University psychologist and Democratic consultant, argues that the GOP has done a better job of mastering the emotional side of campaigns because Democrats, alas, are just too intellectual. "They like to read and think," Westen wrote. "They thrive on policy debates, arguments, statistics, and getting the facts right."

Response to this piece from the left ? Um...predictable:

They are now attempting to make this culture war hypocrisy into a complaint about their colossally failed ideas now, which they are, with characteristically insane bravado, claiming have been vindicated by the past year of Democratic government. It's a bold move, but completely predictable.

Digby uses as an example of conservative condescension this famous quote from Reagan:

"A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah." 

Strange, but telling a joke by playing to ordinary people's stereotypes of liberal weirdness is hardly the same kind of condescension as liberals, say, referring to ordinary Americans as coming from "Jesusland" or, more famously, "not voting their interests." That kind of elitist snobbery is not usually practiced by Republicans although following the 2008 victory of Obama, there was a lot of anger by some conservatives directed toward voters who they felt were taken in by Obama because they were sheep.

Clearly, though, Alexander's thesis that condescending to conservatives is much more common as well as being a more consistent attitude on the left strikes a nerve on both sides. Read the whole thing for some interesting insights.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky