The Desolation of Smug
In case you’re not familiar with the work of Kevin Macdonald, let me summarize. In analyzing the recurrence of anti-Semitism through history, he found the usual explanations wanting, and hit upon one that, while not new, had been oddly absent from almost all recent academic discussions: they deserve it. Jews really are awful, he observed: clannish, avaricious, and amoral, with disdain for societal norms and non-Jews in general that makes them a cancer on any society foolish enough to admit them. Anti-semitism is an entirely natural response, in effect the immune system working to fight an infection.
Much of the reaction to the recent election has included a similar insight, which, much like Dr. Macdonald’s, is moving beyond the area that once hosted it. Trump’s popularity among voters is explained by the fact that liberals are smug. Of course voters dislikes liberals: who wouldn’t? They’re whiny losers, overeducated but lacking any sense, haters of patriotism, religion, and everything genuinely American, nanny-staters, Godless socialists, baby-killers, special snowflakes who need safe spaces. And worst of all, smug. No wonder their political fortunes are slipping; no one can stand them. (Even worse for fans of Dr. Macdonald, liberals are often… Well, you know.)
At best, liberalism is a movement that has lost its purpose. Before racism ended in
1945 1954 1964 2008, liberals reminded America (endlessly) of a genuine issue, even if every remedy they suggested was wrong-headed and more racist than the problem it was (supposedly) intended to solve. Lacking the intelligence to proceed from that fact that racist practices are a competitive disadvantage to the obvious conclusion that the free market would end it quickly and once and for all, they insisted on using the heavy hand of government for pointless exercises like “fair” housing, as if “government” and “fair” were in any way compatible.
And perhaps that’s the real point. Trump’s election makes it clear what Americans really want, and liberalism is as obsolete as the other group whose purpose is gone now that we live under a new covenant.
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