What Explains the Vicious Left?

Here is David Gelernter writing in the Weekly Standard about a topic too few Republicans and conservatives understand. Until they do, plan to see continued failure in the information war.

When politics becomes a religion, nonbelievers must be punished.

The asymmetry of modern politics is clear to every conservative; painfully clear to several Yale undergraduates who asked me about it recently. Leftists, they pointed out, are hostile, nasty, and seem to have no concept of a civil conversation. Why? Because they are winning? Losing? Are natural-born bullies? And how can this dangerous mood be changed?

It’s not just a question of civility versus rudeness—which of course is no small thing in itself. The deeper problem is that the left seems to have lost its taste for democracy.

Naturally there are exceptions to the modern trend, benign leftists and nasty rightists. (Trump is a special case: see below.) The trend itself is partly explained by the Obama sneer; presidents have enormous influence. FDR’s bouncy, feisty smile, Reagan’s geniality, Clinton’s one-of-the-boys grin, W’s good-natured earnestness are part of history; and Obama’s real “legacy” (aside from worldwide crisis) is that bitter sneer. His rudeness to political opponents has made a rotten political climate much worse. But the left’s growing reputation for belligerent intolerance transcends Obama.

You see characteristic leftist arrogance among global warmers, who show their respect for their opponents by refusing to listen to them and implying that they are crackpots. On campus, leftists have spit at conservatives, screamed obscenities at moderate liberals, yammered on about phony “rape crises” while doing everything they could think of to promote universal debauchery, rigged local votes to silence opponents of the Kill Israel (aka “BDS”) movement.

The list goes on, the arrogance is staggering, the asymmetry all too obvious. Conservatives, bursting with facts and ideas (and anger and dismay), are eager to have it out with liberals and maybe even convince a few. Liberals are eager to make assertions and strike moral poses, but not to respond to rational argument or speak to the facts.

My students want to know: How can this possibly go on? But how can it change? How can we rearrange this bloody-minded political atmosphere? My guess is that only a religious revival, or a Euro-style religious collapse, will change it. Obviously the collapse is far more likely than the revival. But revivals have happened before. America’s soft spot is its children, and children—my guess is—are the only energy source strong enough to power a modern revival. A book on “Why Children Need God” and an associated movement, with left-wing pediatricians and psychiatrists arguing that children reared in traditional religious communities grow up happier and better put-together, might do the trick. But it will take a miracle.

Read more: The Weekly Standard

Image credit: www.arfreethinkers.org.