In March 2017, I wrote that I was worried that the Democrat Party was in danger of becoming even more irrelevant than it had already become and that I was convinced that that was bad for the country. Two things have happened since then that cause me to reinforce that plea. The situation for Democrats is even worse than I portrayed in my earlier Think Piece.
First, influenced by an article in the WSJ by Shelby Steele, a Hoover Institution historian, I realize that liberalism has eroded from a political ideology that sponsored a strong central government, welfare, and other entitlements and has become an identity that is the repository of moral authority expressing itself in moral opinions. Let’s call this modern liberalism.
Modern liberalism, as Steele puts it, “is a politics shrouded in pathos”, an appeal to the emotions of the audience rather than to the logic of its policies. The aims of liberalism have changed from freedom to moral authority. Steele says that modern liberalism is not real liberalism. Freedom is not its raison d’etra, moral authority is. Modern liberals are good; the rest of us are not to be trusted. Modern liberals no longer challenge the ideologies of non-liberals; they challenge the non-liberals themselves. Those that don’t agree with them are branded as evil people who have to be marginalized, isolated, threatened, jailed, hated, and even put to death.
Take for example the majority of people who deep in their hearts are against abortion because it kills humans. They are branded by the Modern liberals as anti-women and there are marches, demonstrations and even riots, condemning them as evil. I’m not making a moral judgement here about abortion. Unwanted pregnancies represent a significant problem the solution to which is far above my pay grade. But this type of behavior exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos.
Second, yesterday we experienced political violence when a Democrat fired upon 24 members of congress after being assured that they were Republicans. We have seen an increasing amount of political violence of late. It’s different than domestic and other forms of violence. Maybe it’s a form of civil war. Did this happen because the Democrat had access to weapons or was it because his mind was infested by Democrats who have repeatedly invoked hate speech and have made calls for violence? These hate spewing Democrats have names – Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bill Mahar, Steven Colbert, Kathy Griffin, Madonna, Ashley Judd, Hillary Clinton (ref. her commencement address to Wellesley College graduates). The fact that our President made vicious personnel attacks against his opponents and others in the Republican primary and later in the general election is no excuse for what is going on. There is no justification for that kind of behavior and is one of the reasons that I didn’t vote for him. It also makes it harder to bridge the intense partisan divide that exists.
Plea. So, not only do you Democrats have to get off your duffs and do something – for example, come up with ideas to improve health care – you have to separate yourselves from modern liberals and hate spewing Democrats for no other reason than the fact that the voters, other than on the left and right coasts and a few other places, have not been fooled. The voters, liberal and conservative alike, have become aware that the people Democrats call racists, anti-gay, anti-women, or other forms of bigotry aren’t bigots at all. Your party has lost seats repeatedly over the past decade because the voters don’t think you can or will do anything for them. Now you shout that you will make sure nothing gets accomplished in the next four or eight years. Good luck with that. If Steele is right, the bizarre behavior we’re seeing now is a movement in its death throes. It is not going gently.