And the award for Most Insufferable Virtue-Signaling goes to...

It is unclear just when the cosseted, self-referential cohort of Hollywood elite began to believe themselves to be the most compassionate, enlightened people who have ever lived.  When was it, exactly, that they acquired the absolute certainty that their outsized capacity for empathy produces, as an inevitable, unchallengeable byproduct, crystalline clarity, a kind of spiritual Occam's razor where issues are stripped to their barest, truest essentials with avenues of redemption set sharply in relief, uncomplicated and self-evident?  They know what to do about gun control and health care – you name it – because the coruscating white light of their superior capacity for compassion reveals it to them, as clearly as it simultaneously floodlights the villains.

They present as both explanation and validation their quavering voices, tears of authenticity, and scolding righteousness.  Disagree with them or adopt an incompatible point of view, and you have merely revealed yourself to be unequal to the task of matching their ability to care, or perhaps signaling its absence altogether, compassion like theirs having been supplanted by lesser, atavistic compulsions such as greed or self-interest or simply an inability to function in a manner as exquisitely evolved, modern, and au courant as theirs.

It is myopic.  It is obtuse and ignorant.  It is also fraudulent.  It relies for its moral authority on the propagation of that nasty, purposely deceptive shibboleth, a kind of rhetorical snake oil, that says (to paraphrase Bastiat): Because you don't want something done my way, you don't want it done at all.  You don't want to save children my way, therefore you don't want to save children at all, at least not if there is any inconvenience involved.

To this, one response is "Who do you think you are, you pompous, self-righteous nitwit?"  But more is required, because there is real harm being done.

What harm?  Those with the luxury and license to adopt this carapace of certitude find this welcoming habitation so agreeable, self-flattering, and therefore seductive that it deflects into fecklessness any possibility of productive discussion of the type that might make a difference.  The I care more than you do dodge, or any of the other Four Big Slurs, when allowed to force the end of the discussion, while infusing itself as moral superiority into the cultural lifeblood, does a disservice to the commonweal that has become increasingly unforgivable as it has become increasingly venomous.  It provides safe harbor for demagoguery.  Instead of saying, okay, tell me what I need to know in order to understand your point of view, even if I come to disagree with it, it says go away, get out of the way, your human shortcomings nullify your standing.  You don't care as much as I do, and that is all anyone needs to know about the value of what you have to offer.  Your failure of character renders you disqualified, dismissed, insignificant, and malodorous.

This notion that they care about children and diversity and fairness more than anyone who disagrees with them is slathered over with a special kind of grandiosity, a vainglorious conceit that goes unchecked and unchallenged so long as it romps along inside the self-adoring bubble, the great mass of liberal progressive self-congratulating pseudo-saints whose embrace requires zero courage to solicit: stay in the protected lane, and you will never have to believe anything other than that you are wonderful and perfect and right, and no personal price need be paid for any degree of grandstanding and blatantly obvious virtue-signaling.

Meanwhile, children with backpacks will die.  Rather than do what's necessary to enforce and effectively administrate gun laws that are already on the books (something that costs money and garners neither Hollywood adulation nor political votes) or shore up safety features in our schools, there are immediate histrionic calls for more gun laws that will be neither passed nor enforced, because those calls provide the opportunity to say look at melook how compassionate I am and, where applicable, vote for me.

So the kids they claim to care so agonizingly about continue to die, and the discussions that need to be had never are things like these: the difference between the U.S. and Europe is the difference between the availability of guns, we hear for the one thousandth time.  That explains it.  But what if it doesn't?  What if the difference is the difference in attitudes toward involuntary institutionalization?  What if the smartest people who ever lived are trying to fix the wrong problem?  We don't know, because it's all about the guns; it's always all about the guns, and taking a hard look at HIPAA laws or the astonishingly high incidence of these killer kids being on anti-depressants known to cause homicidal ideation doesn't play well in a ball gown or make for a good 30-second campaign spot.

Delegitimizing opposition prevents voters-with-popcorn from confronting a dirty little secret that the Kimmels of the world would prefer to keep under wraps: for every liberal-progressive position on every single issue, including and especially theirs, there is a lucid counter-argument – a real one, comprehensive, well thought out, rational, and humane – proposed by equally smart people who have an equal capacity for compassion and empathy and an equally fervid desire to make things better.  They are just as smart, just as caring, just as well intentioned.  People of the left – especially the young people – don't believe that, because they never hear those arguments unless they are presented in purposely watered down form by pedants with an agenda who don't believe them and are therefore not interested in giving them a legitimate hearing, or worse, craft them to be ridiculous and heartless on their face.  More often, almost always, they advise not considering these supposed "other side" arguments at all, or dismissing them out of hand, since they are the effluvium of bad people.

So we are asked to engorge a banquet of self-aggrandizement from an endless conga line of over-lauded thespians, so deep into their method-acting role as, apparently, the wisest of the wise that they have actually come to believe it, utterly incapable of recognizing themselves for what they really are: politicized hacks whose happenstance has found them in the klieg lights, in front of a microphone, bent on convincing the world that people who disagree with them are, let's face it, no damn good.

The grand irony is that Kimmel and the Hollywood cohort no doubt think they are helping matters, ultra-virtuous warriors and deep thinkers, living monuments to the beatitudes of liberal progressivism – and that can only be good, because they are good, and they know they're good because they care.  They think, to be sure, that they are making their way into the pantheon of the blessed, leading us all to a better, more compassionate world, sacrificing themselves (albeit with a glass of Chablis in hand) on the altar of making things better.  But they're not.  They're not doing that.  What they're doing is making things worse, legitimizing confirmation bias, infuriating – and utterly alienating – millions of people who resent the slander and the presumption, all the while claiming for themselves a righteousness that they have neither earned nor deserve, shamefully misusing the enormous power that has fallen in their laps, in Kimmel's case by virtue of his ability to tell a joke.

No wonder we're starting to hate each other.  Thanks, Hollywood; you're the best.

It is unclear just when the cosseted, self-referential cohort of Hollywood elite began to believe themselves to be the most compassionate, enlightened people who have ever lived.  When was it, exactly, that they acquired the absolute certainty that their outsized capacity for empathy produces, as an inevitable, unchallengeable byproduct, crystalline clarity, a kind of spiritual Occam's razor where issues are stripped to their barest, truest essentials with avenues of redemption set sharply in relief, uncomplicated and self-evident?  They know what to do about gun control and health care – you name it – because the coruscating white light of their superior capacity for compassion reveals it to them, as clearly as it simultaneously floodlights the villains.

They present as both explanation and validation their quavering voices, tears of authenticity, and scolding righteousness.  Disagree with them or adopt an incompatible point of view, and you have merely revealed yourself to be unequal to the task of matching their ability to care, or perhaps signaling its absence altogether, compassion like theirs having been supplanted by lesser, atavistic compulsions such as greed or self-interest or simply an inability to function in a manner as exquisitely evolved, modern, and au courant as theirs.

It is myopic.  It is obtuse and ignorant.  It is also fraudulent.  It relies for its moral authority on the propagation of that nasty, purposely deceptive shibboleth, a kind of rhetorical snake oil, that says (to paraphrase Bastiat): Because you don't want something done my way, you don't want it done at all.  You don't want to save children my way, therefore you don't want to save children at all, at least not if there is any inconvenience involved.

To this, one response is "Who do you think you are, you pompous, self-righteous nitwit?"  But more is required, because there is real harm being done.

What harm?  Those with the luxury and license to adopt this carapace of certitude find this welcoming habitation so agreeable, self-flattering, and therefore seductive that it deflects into fecklessness any possibility of productive discussion of the type that might make a difference.  The I care more than you do dodge, or any of the other Four Big Slurs, when allowed to force the end of the discussion, while infusing itself as moral superiority into the cultural lifeblood, does a disservice to the commonweal that has become increasingly unforgivable as it has become increasingly venomous.  It provides safe harbor for demagoguery.  Instead of saying, okay, tell me what I need to know in order to understand your point of view, even if I come to disagree with it, it says go away, get out of the way, your human shortcomings nullify your standing.  You don't care as much as I do, and that is all anyone needs to know about the value of what you have to offer.  Your failure of character renders you disqualified, dismissed, insignificant, and malodorous.

This notion that they care about children and diversity and fairness more than anyone who disagrees with them is slathered over with a special kind of grandiosity, a vainglorious conceit that goes unchecked and unchallenged so long as it romps along inside the self-adoring bubble, the great mass of liberal progressive self-congratulating pseudo-saints whose embrace requires zero courage to solicit: stay in the protected lane, and you will never have to believe anything other than that you are wonderful and perfect and right, and no personal price need be paid for any degree of grandstanding and blatantly obvious virtue-signaling.

Meanwhile, children with backpacks will die.  Rather than do what's necessary to enforce and effectively administrate gun laws that are already on the books (something that costs money and garners neither Hollywood adulation nor political votes) or shore up safety features in our schools, there are immediate histrionic calls for more gun laws that will be neither passed nor enforced, because those calls provide the opportunity to say look at melook how compassionate I am and, where applicable, vote for me.

So the kids they claim to care so agonizingly about continue to die, and the discussions that need to be had never are things like these: the difference between the U.S. and Europe is the difference between the availability of guns, we hear for the one thousandth time.  That explains it.  But what if it doesn't?  What if the difference is the difference in attitudes toward involuntary institutionalization?  What if the smartest people who ever lived are trying to fix the wrong problem?  We don't know, because it's all about the guns; it's always all about the guns, and taking a hard look at HIPAA laws or the astonishingly high incidence of these killer kids being on anti-depressants known to cause homicidal ideation doesn't play well in a ball gown or make for a good 30-second campaign spot.

Delegitimizing opposition prevents voters-with-popcorn from confronting a dirty little secret that the Kimmels of the world would prefer to keep under wraps: for every liberal-progressive position on every single issue, including and especially theirs, there is a lucid counter-argument – a real one, comprehensive, well thought out, rational, and humane – proposed by equally smart people who have an equal capacity for compassion and empathy and an equally fervid desire to make things better.  They are just as smart, just as caring, just as well intentioned.  People of the left – especially the young people – don't believe that, because they never hear those arguments unless they are presented in purposely watered down form by pedants with an agenda who don't believe them and are therefore not interested in giving them a legitimate hearing, or worse, craft them to be ridiculous and heartless on their face.  More often, almost always, they advise not considering these supposed "other side" arguments at all, or dismissing them out of hand, since they are the effluvium of bad people.

So we are asked to engorge a banquet of self-aggrandizement from an endless conga line of over-lauded thespians, so deep into their method-acting role as, apparently, the wisest of the wise that they have actually come to believe it, utterly incapable of recognizing themselves for what they really are: politicized hacks whose happenstance has found them in the klieg lights, in front of a microphone, bent on convincing the world that people who disagree with them are, let's face it, no damn good.

The grand irony is that Kimmel and the Hollywood cohort no doubt think they are helping matters, ultra-virtuous warriors and deep thinkers, living monuments to the beatitudes of liberal progressivism – and that can only be good, because they are good, and they know they're good because they care.  They think, to be sure, that they are making their way into the pantheon of the blessed, leading us all to a better, more compassionate world, sacrificing themselves (albeit with a glass of Chablis in hand) on the altar of making things better.  But they're not.  They're not doing that.  What they're doing is making things worse, legitimizing confirmation bias, infuriating – and utterly alienating – millions of people who resent the slander and the presumption, all the while claiming for themselves a righteousness that they have neither earned nor deserve, shamefully misusing the enormous power that has fallen in their laps, in Kimmel's case by virtue of his ability to tell a joke.

No wonder we're starting to hate each other.  Thanks, Hollywood; you're the best.