Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tolerant Liberals — 108

From the Wigderson Library & Pub, something that’s last week’s news, but needs a comment anyway.
Schwarzenegger relentlessly jeered at speech at alma mater

Politics followed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to his alma mater Tuesday, where he was jeered relentlessly by protesters while delivering a commencement speech.

His address to 600 graduates in blue robes and caps at Santa Monica College turned into an exercise in perseverance, as virtually his every word was accompanied by catcalls, howls and piercing whistles from the audience of several thousand people watching the graduation.

Schwarzenegger has been feuding for months with groups he calls “special interests” — teachers, nurses and other public employee unions who accuse him of selling out to big business while shortchanging education, health care and other programs. Those groups have hounded Schwarzenegger at his public appearances, sometimes attracting crowds in the thousands.
So the California leftists feel free to disrupt and shout down politicians with whom they are at odds.

Our first instinct is to say that there are some people on the right who are equally intolerant, but frankly, that just doesn’t wash anymore.

The simple fact is that bigotry and intolerance in American politics are now found among leftists and liberals. The notion that one has the right to shout down people with whom one disagrees was popular on campuses during the Vietnam War protests in the 60s, and the 60s leftists as they age haven’t turned tolerant. Often, they have passed their intolerance on to the next generation.

Why is intolerance in American politics such a distinctively liberal and leftist thing? Part of it stems from the anger and frustration that results from political battles lost.

But much of it, in our opinion, stems from the fact that liberals and leftists have better opportunities to segregate themselves into ghettos in which attitudes are uniform and people who hold contrary beliefs are demonized.

Liberals typically grew up getting their news from Jennings, Brokaw or Rather, may well have had liberal high-school social studies teachers, and most certainly had an overwhelming majority of liberal college professors.

On graduation, they have gone into professions like academia, journalism or “public interest” activism where uniformity of opinion reigns. They get their news from National Public Radio and the New York Times. They segregate themselves geographically in places like the East Side of Milwaukee.

Having always lived in a world of intellectual uniformity, they see no need and have no desire to be tolerant of opposing beliefs.

The typical conservative, in contrast, also got his or her news from Jennings, Brokaw or Rather and also had an overwhelming majority of liberal college professors. He or she may have conservative opinions, but has never been able to so easily dismiss liberal opinions, nor assume that conservative opinions are the “obviously” true and right views.

Thus we live in a world where the bigots — or at least the most belligerent and brazen bigots — are on the political left. The effect of this, of course, is to make people who are by temperament tolerant and easy-going gravitate to the right and to the Republican party. Thus the death spiral of liberalism continues.


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