The smug style in American liberalism


The smug style in American liberalism
by Emmett Rensin on April 21, 2016

There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.

In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

The smug style is a psychological reaction to a profound shift in American political demography.

Beginning in the middle of the 20th century, the working class, once the core of the coalition, began abandoning the Democratic Party. In 1948, in the immediate wake of Franklin Roosevelt, 66 percent of manual laborers voted for Democrats, along with 60 percent of farmers. In 1964, it was 55 percent of working-class voters. By 1980, it was 35 percent.

The white working class in particular saw even sharper declines. Despite historic advantages with both poor and middle-class white voters, by 2012 Democrats possessed only a 2-point advantage among poor white voters. …

The consequence was a shift in liberalism’s intellectual center of gravity. A movement once fleshed out in union halls and little magazines shifted into universities and major press, from the center of the country to its cities and elite enclaves. Minority voters remained, but bereft of the material and social capital required to dominate elite decision-making, they were largely excluded from an agenda driven by the new Democratic core: the educated, the coastal, and the professional.

Attitudes and ideas have consequences, and those consequences have consequences. Hence where the D Party is in 2016 and 2017. At this point, not only do few Ds see their problem - that into which they’ve morphed - but they seem bent on demonizing those who were once their base.

To be honest, I had not realized the extremity of the degree to which the Ds’ supposed working class base had jumped the D ship.


I can’t resist quoting this from later in the article:

> On November 6, 2000, during his final pre-election stump speech, Bush explained his history of political triumph thusly: “They misunderesimated me.”
> What an idiot. American liberals made fun of him for that one for years.
> It is worth considering that he didn’t misspeak.
> He did, however, deliberately cultivate the confusion. He understood the smug style. He wagered that many liberals, eager to see their opponents as intellectually deficient, would buy into the act and thereby miss the more pernicious fact of his moral deficits.
> He wagered correctly. Smug liberals said George was too stupid to get elected, too stupid to get reelected, too stupid to pass laws or appoint judges or weather a political fight. Liberals misunderestimated George W. Bush all eight years of his presidency.

History has and is repeating itself. During the campaign, Libs & Progs were gloating that The Shrew-CHILL would mop the debate stages with Trump so badly he’d drop out. And having, instead, dared to get elected President, Libs & Progs are back claiming Trump is a illiterate idiot.


I agree with the piece except for the claim that the new center of the democratic policy power brokers are “Educated”; few narratives could miss the mark so completely as the characterization of the Liberal Elite as “Educated”.

They are as intellectually shallow as a tomato, their schools teach only propaganda, their scientists ignore process and everything they think they know is gleaned via hearsay.

Education is a standard that is owned by Conservatives, one need look no further for evidence of this than their own opinion; name one Liberal policy maker or perpetrator who is not a verified moron.

I have been asking Liberals for decades to identify the thinkers in their movement who they respect, the people who inspire them and who they look to for intellectual consistency and reasoned arguments.

I have never been offered a name in response.

I could fill a book with names of intellectual giants from today and all history who are pillars of Conservative thought, men and women who I KNOW would inspire the minds of anyone who treaded through their thoughts, ideas and methods for forming opinions.

Empty slogans and baseless name calling are not the markers that denote an educated mind, they are the markers that denote a mind soiled with propaganda and void of reason.


“Educated” and “intellectual” don’t always go hand in hand. I remember something about a Malcom Muggeridge quote in which he referenced: “…when we have educated ourselves into imbecility…”


Alternatively, these yo-yos are " —educated beyond their intelligence." :banana:


Smug is a good choice of words and those who are smug abhor failure and in fact have a very difficult time dealing with the fact they were wrong…best example is the anti Trump movement today. Its unhinged, over the top and out of control as they cannot accept the fact that they lost, how could they, they are superior. The result is they must find a boogeyman, be it the Russians or the FBI…ANYONE or ANYTHING except them and their failed ideas.