I work in a very liberal environment, and over the past few years, I have come to wonder at the fact that the vast majority of the folks I have kept in touch with from high school, college, and graduate school are overwhelming left-leaning. Until recently, I even found logging on to Facebook depressing, simply because the vast majority of my Facebook “friends” are Obama voters.
Although I can understand how and why I ended up with such a large collection of liberal friends, acquaintances and colleagues–from about the age of 16 through my late twenties I fancied myself a “moderate,” and I have spent most of my adult life in or on the margins of the academic world–I can’t help but feel dismayed that so many of the folks I know have clung to the leftism of their youth with the zeal of the true believer.
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot has written many excellent posts over the years on the nature of what he considers “tribal” thinking when it comes to political, social and cultural identity. He wrote a great one two weeks ago where he reflected on the nature of contemporary liberalism as primarily a social phenomenon:
I have declared many times that liberalism is more of a social than an intellectual set of beliefs. Certainly, liberalism is enforced socially rather than intellectually (though the claim of intellectual superiority remains, and is in fact part of the pressure).
He goes on to cite examples from the current TV show Portlandia which illustrate the techniques of liberal social “enforcement” at work through the application of “self-righteousness,” the use of “public shaming,” and the threat of being “cut off from the group.” Read the whole thing, and be sure to watch some of the clips, too, if you’re not familiar with the show already.
Most readers of GayPatriot are more than familiar with the shock, disbelief and horror (along with much more mean-spirited and vitriolic reactions) voiced by “liberals” when we express conservative views or even when we question standard liberal talking points and “conventional wisdom.” Likewise, I’m sure most of us have had the experience of referring the seemingly more open-minded among them to an article, website, book or movie which they never even look into. One reason for their reactions is that, because of the social conditioning perpetuated by aggressive liberals and the propagandizing of the educational establishment, most contemporary liberals aren’t prepared to engage intellectually with ideas outside of a narrow range of approved opinions, and so they quickly turn to insults, name-calling, ad hominem attacks, and other forms of invective. (more…)