Kirsten Powers, who is rapidly becoming my favorite liberal, is a liberal who actually prizes tolerance and intellectual diversity, and she is noticing that she is becoming a rather rare bird among her ideological colleagues:
This week, a trail-blazing woman was felled in the new tradition of commencement shaming. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde withdrew from delivering the commencement speech at Smith College following protests from students and faculty who hate the IMF. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, this trend is growing. In the 21 years leading up to 2009, there were 21 incidents of an invited guest not speaking because of protests. Yet, in the past five-and-a-half years, there have been 39 cancellations.
Don’t bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as “a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully” and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a “psychotic mass murderer” and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.
Go here to read the rest. Liberal intolerance is a very old story, but why do most of them embrace such intolerance?
Many modern liberals use their politics as a substitute religion and a substitute moral code. Rejecting God and embracing materialism, and usually being bone ignorant of History, they often have no other means to give meaning to their transitory, as they believe, lives. Hearing alternative political views is, for many of them, literally hearing heresy and immorality being preached. Having the “correct” political beliefs mean that you are a good person, even if you treat other people wretchedly. Challenge their politics and you strip from them their guide through this Vale of Tears. Politics are to be debated, but a religion is to be believed in, and a moral code is to be obeyed.
When many liberals and almost all conservatives speak of politics, they are speaking of very different things. Our common language papers over a growing chasm in regard to the role of politics, and tolerance, in daily life.