Why Do People Hate Liberals?

English: Aaron Sorkin speaking at the Oxford Union

Is Aaron Sorkin really the problem with liberalism? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Bob Cesca: It’s only slightly less frustrating to watch Fox News Channel and to listen to right-wing talk radio as it often is to observe progressives choke on their own well-meaning, but ultimately self-defeating tongues.

Seriously, the act of observing fellow liberals every day on the blogs, on The Facebook and elsewhere too often makes me want to smash my computer using a team of monkeys brandishing explosive wiffle bats. Specifically, the act of watching progressives who don’t understand the realities of American government and politics, watching progressives desperately seeking “reasonable” conservatives in some sort of futile attempt at détente, and watching hipster cool-kid progressives undermining support for the most liberal president of our time might actually make me lose my shpadoinkle, even though I generally feel pretty centered.

To be honest, I didn’t intend to get into yet another column-length rant about this topic… until I read a piece on Salon by Alex Pareene who thinks, “Aaron Sorkin is why people hate liberals.”

He’s a smug, condescending know-it-all who isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. His feints toward open-mindedness are transparently phony, he mistakes his opinion for common sense, and he’s preachy. Sorkin has spent years fueling the delusional self-regard of well-educated liberals. He might be more responsible than anyone else for the anti-democratic “everyone would agree with us if they weren’t all so stupid” attitude of the contemporary progressive movement. And age is not improving him.

First of all, I’ve just about had it with this myth that people hate liberals. Okay, sure, I get it. A lot of people hate “liberals” — the stigmatized cartoon word and the absurd commie pinko caricature painted by the right-wing media for the last 40 years. But in single-issue poll after single-issue poll, a majority or plurality of Americans are liberal. Americans are pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-green energy, pro-taxing the rich, pro-same sex marriage, and on down the line. Contrary to cable news hacks like Chuck Todd, Harold Ford, Jr. and Mark Halperin, America is a center-left nation and, despite its self-consciousness about using the word, it’s liberal. Full stop.

However, conservatives have done a better job at combining the right-wing brand with what I consider to be the American brand. In other words, conservatives have co-opted patriotism, tenacity, independence and unwavering strength and made it their own. Of course none of that has anything to do with conservatism. Liberals could ostensibly be strong, tenacious, patriotic and independent. But we’ve given up and conceded those traits to conservatives because we’re too hip and ironic and smart to hang a flag next to our front doors or to to not back down in face of a political enemy during a debate. We’d be more successful if we could reclaim those things.

People who happen to hate liberals might hate them less if they/we were more like Sorkin and his characters: forceful, self-confident, lightning fast with a brutally salient point and occasionally gregarious (see President Bartlet). Instead of standing our ground and seizing the initiative by constructing killer frames and message discipline, we navel-gaze and wonder why people hate liberals. We worry that being Sorkin-ish might be too over-the-top or unfair or smug instead of just selling what we believe with laser precision and without letting up no matter how much the opposition screeches and pees their big-boy pants.

Even though they’re wrong on just about everything, conservatives know how to frame an issue and they know how to retain message discipline, and so they win debate after debate. They know how to connect with regular people who, if they were actually aware of Republican policies, would typically vote Democratic. Republicans/conservatives possess the courage of their convictions, even though their convictions are upside-down and contradictory across the board. Americans respond to strong, forceful arguments and concise expressions of core beliefs, but liberals don’t often provide that.

If we could just combine these traits with the truth that drives liberalism (yes, there’s a man-made climate crisis; yes, women deserve equal; yes corporations are strangling our economy, etc, etc) we might actually dominate American politics again.

Aaron Sorkin, whatever his personal flaws might be, has repeatedly illustrated how to do it, and yet I see too many liberals shying away from the forceful argument or the contentious debate because of some kind of limp, exhausted sense of futility. Ugh, Rush Limbaugh is too crazy, so let’s ignore him. Ugh, why can’t there be more David Brooks conservatives? Ugh, I might vote for Romney if he wasn’t such a liar. Ugh, Obama is a murderer because of drones. Yawn. Nap.

Like it or not, we’re engaged in an increasingly uphill battle against conservatives who might actually be regaining some ground with the help of the Citizens United decision, and we continue to respond like it’s nap time. We can’t afford to ease up on conservatives or to concede an inch of ground. And if more voters observed a progressive movement as unrelenting and as disciplined as the conservative movement, we might actually win more often.

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  • DaCoachK

    The writer is a nut if he believes that real Americans are Left-Wing-Kooks.

  • Jason

    A few more reasons why people hate Liberals:
    1) Their propensity to believe in demagogues & their blind adherence to the belief that large ineffective bureaucracies can solve their problems.
    2) a dismal understanding of basic economics such that liberals believe that one person’s wealth actually makes other people poor.
    3) Naïve enough to believe that a government can actually create jobs with a magic wand.
    4) The personal rights you claim to support only diminish as law, after law, after law, is passed.
    5) Oblivious to the fact that government’s involvement in cronyism with corporations, unions and special interest groups will only grow as government does -NO MATTER WHO YOU ELECT!!! – & the rights and freedoms of the individual will only diminish.
    6) A fierce ignorance of history and the damage liberal progressivism has done to the world the past 100 years. i.e. every war in the twentieth century was started by a liberal progressive: Wilson- WW1, FDR- WW2, Truman- Korean, LBJ- Vietnam, The Bush wars were only an extension of progressive foreign policy and Obama’s use of drones is only progressives finally remembering who they are.
    6) The demonization of corporations & free markets that have created all the wealth in this country (including your own) & lifted more people out of poverty that any government program ever did or could.
    7) Blind support of public social programs even though they fail…every time.

    Without getting into too much detail, this should scratch the surface ;)

  • ThePanicMan

    Looks like we got us some winners in the comments already.

  • Chris

    Wow, this is crazy talk. The majority of America does NOT subscribe to your nonsense. Go to Europe.. get out of my country

    • John Barleycorn

      I wish I could thumbs this up 500 times.

      • Chris

        THANK YOU, JOHN. I know most people feel the way I do, yet due to “political correctness” they shy away from saying anything anymore. I think the tides are about to turn as they did from the liberal stupidity of the 60′s as compared with the pendulum swing to the 80′s.
        If these people want a Europe-type country, then MOVE THERE.

        • The Last Prepper

          How about no…how about we stay here and if you don’t like it, YOU move.

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