Slate Wonders if Liberal Smugness is to Blame for Current Political Tension
Smugness has been associated with liberalism for a while now. Much like social justice and unshowered pits. Leftists tend to take on a tone of all knowingness, despite their spastic hatred of facts and statistics. It’s this very smugness that maligns many other Americans (see Metallica Frontman Leaves California. Because Intolerant Liberal Snobbery...).
Looks like leftist bastion, Slate, is starting to catch on. Yes, that Slate (read Liberal Slate Says 'Homophobic' Grandmothers Should Die). They basically ask: has liberal smugness gone too far?
Well, it’s gone far enough for leftists themselves to notice. Which is saying a lot.
“It’s hard to tell who started it,” Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote in a Sunday opinion column for the New York Times. She was referring to the political climate in 2018 ... especially online. Mangu-Ward, the editor in chief of the libertarian magazine Reason, believes there are two groups responsible —liberals (“cozy in their elite enclaves on the coasts, who burrowed down into self-righteousness, lecturing working-class Republicans about how they misunderstand their own interests”) and the modern right (“reared in the meme swamps of Reddit and 4chan, who emerged blinking into the daylight of politics and set about baiting anyone who disagreed with their chosen Republican king”). The smugness of the former group and the trollishness of the latter have fed off one another, she writes, creating the vicious cycle that is our politics today.
Isaac Chotiner: You write in your piece that, “The problem isn’t just filter bubbles, echo chambers or alternative facts. It’s tone: When the loudest voices on the left talk about people on the right as either beyond the pale or dupes of their betters, it is with an air of barely concealed smugness. Right-wingers, for their part, increasingly respond with a churlish ‘Oh, yeah? Hold my beer,’ and then double down on whatever politically incorrect sentiment brought on the disdain in the first place.” The way that’s written implies that the right-wing attitude that we see online and from the president is a response to a smug leftism. Is that how you see this—that essentially the right is merely reacting to something?
Simply opposing the left gets one tarred and feathered. Which is why it's all the more interesting that Slate is entertaining this discussion.
Katherine Mangu-Ward: But I do find that, although I am demographically and in many ways even ideologically sympathetic to people on the left, in this story, in the story of smug versus trolls, I find myself sympathetic to the right, sympathetic to this response of, “Fine, if you’re going to see me that way, I’ll double down on it. I’ll be as bad as you think I am.”
Such simple thought processes do get abused by trolls who frequent the cavernous depths of the interwebs. Leftism feeds them plenty of fodder. Hence the endless string of hot takes and ragings. Thoughts better off staying tucked away in mom’s basement are now brought to your unfortunate eyes courtesy of Twitter.
Theres another issue though. Modern leftism seeks to ostracize anyone with differing opinions. So much so that even old school liberals themselves, Dave Rubin and Owen Benjamin to name a few, have jumped ship. No longer wishing to be associated with the rageful genderqueer beast which calls itself leftism.
The left created this smarmy monster. Then they allowed it to hijack their platform, losing the 2016 election due to all the delicious infighting.
More on that below.