Ouch! Check out this column at Adbusters.

Starts out:

The biggest problem with modern American liberalism may be the word itself. There’s just something about the word, liberal, something about the way it sounds – it just hits the ear wrong. If it were an animal it would be something squirming and hairless, something that burrows maybe, with no eyes and too many legs. No child would bring home a wounded liberal and ask to keep it as a pet. More likely he would step on it, or maybe tie it to a bottle-rocket and shoot it over the railroad tracks.

The word has a chilling effect even on the people who basically agree with most of what it stands for. I myself cringe, involuntarily as it were, every time someone calls me a liberal in public. And I’m not the only one. When I called around for this article about the problems of American liberalism to various colleagues who inhabit the same world that I do – iconoclastic columnists and journalists who’ve had bylines in places like The Nation – they almost universally recoiled in horror from the topic, not wanting to be explicitly linked in public with the idea of the American left.

“Fuck that,” responded one, when I asked if he wanted to be quoted in this piece. “I’d rather talk about my genital warts. I’d rather show you pictures of my genital warts, as a matter of fact.”

“Ugh. Not sure I want to go there,” read one e-mail.

“I really wish I wasn’t associated with the left,” sighed a third.

When the people who are the public voice of a political class are afraid to even wear the party colors in public, that’s a bad sign, and it’s worth asking what the reasons are.

A lot of it, surely, has to do with the relentless abuse liberalism takes in the right-wing media, on Fox and afternoon radio, and amid the Townhall.com network of newspaper invective-hurlers. The same dynamic that makes the junior high school kid fear the word “fag” surely has many of us frightened of the word “liberal.” Mike Savage says liberalism is a mental disorder, Sean Hannity equates liberals with terrorists, Ann Coulter says that “liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole.” These people have a broad, monolithic audience whose impassioned opinions are increasingly entrenched. In the pseudo-Orwellian political landscape that is modern America, to self-identify as a liberal is almost tantamount to thoughtcrime, a dangerous admission that carries with it the very real risk of instantly and permanently alienating a good half of the population, in particular most of middle America. That reason alone makes it, in a way, wrong and cowardly to abandon liberalism and liberals. If Ann Coulter wants to call all of us fags, well, then, fine, I’m a fag. For the sake of that fight, I’ll stay a liberal till the end of time. But between you and me, between all of us on that side of things, liberalism needs to be fixed.

The article doesn’t settle down there either. The prose is fun, but the substance isn’t really anything knew. Self-identified liberals tend to be white and semi-wealthy. Political correctness and “victim complex.” Working class issues slighted at the expense of quality of life issues. Tone and rhetoric are dated.

And then he wanders into an area true to my heart – the conduct of modern lefty demonstrations. Prior to the 1960s, demonstrators from the Freedom Riders to the Communist Party wore suits to demonstrations. It was a special occasion and they wanted to make a positive impression, or at minimum avoid a negative impression that might detract from the message. Since the 60s, when the political became personal and vice versa, we’ve…, well, let Taibbi tell it:

We all know where this stuff comes from. Anyone who’s ever been to a lefty political meeting knows the deal – the problem is the “spirit of inclusiveness” stretched to the limits of absurdity. The post-sixties dogma that everyone’s viewpoint is legitimate, everyone‘s choice about anything (lifestyle, gender, ethnicity, even class) is valid, that’s now so totally ingrained that at every single meeting, every time some yutz gets up and starts rambling about anything, no matter how ridiculous, no one ever tells him to shut the fuck up. Next thing you know, you’ve got guys on stilts wearing mime makeup and Cat-in-the-Hat striped top-hats leading a half-million people at an anti-war rally. Why is that guy there? Because no one told him that war is a matter of life and death and that he should leave his fucking stilts at home.

Normality is the evil. So why should we be surprised when the forces of normality ignore us? And the left can’t put a dent in the war policy despite 70 percent opposition because put our lifestyle agendas aside for five minutes to sit down and talk with somebody. Are we the victims of the majority out there judging us, or are we the victims of our own elitist judgment of them?

Photo comes from The Defenestrator.

Here’s one reply to Taibbi

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