Idgit Watch

“It’s a comfortable, urban, messianic liberalism befogged by psychiatric pharmaceuticals”

Posted by danishova on April 8, 2009

While I disagree with her on many issues (such as nuclear disarmament – she’s for, I’m against) I really enjoy reading Professor Camille Paglia.  This is a response to a letter sent to her at Salon which asked, Is it possible that there might be something really ugly at the core of contemporary liberalism?: 

Yes, something very ugly has surfaced in contemporary American liberalism, as evidenced by the irrational and sometimes infantile abuse directed toward anyone who strays from a strict party line. Liberalism, like second-wave feminism, seems to have become a new religion for those who profess contempt for religion. It has been reduced to an elitist set of rhetorical formulas, which posit the working class as passive, mindless victims in desperate need of salvation by the state. Individual rights and free expression, which used to be liberal values, are being gradually subsumed to worship of government power.

The problems on the American left were already manifest by the late 1960s, as college-educated liberals began to lose contact with the working class for whom they claimed to speak. (A superb 1990 documentary, "Berkeley in the Sixties," chronicles the arguments and misjudgments about tactics that alienated the national electorate and led to the election of Richard Nixon.) For the past 25 years, liberalism has gradually sunk into a soft, soggy, white upper-middle-class style that I often find preposterous and repellent. The nut cases on the right are on the uneducated fringe, but on the left they sport Ivy League degrees. I’m not kidding — there are some real fruitcakes out there, and some of them are writing for major magazines. It’s a comfortable, urban, messianic liberalism befogged by psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Conservatives these days are more geared to facts than emotions, and as individuals they seem to have a more ethical, perhaps sports-based sense of fair play.


1. Perfect!  How better to illustrate Paglia’s points than to use the words of Michelle Goldberg who wrote this today for The American Prospect, as part of a piece called, EUROPE’S BIRTH STRIKE  (a story which, amusingly enough, is illustrated by ads for Brooks Brothers shirts):

Conservatives have been obsessed with European population decline for years now. A whole raft of apocalyptic books warn that selfish, anti-child secularists aren’t having enough children, and the continent is poised to be overtaken by more fertile, faithful Muslims. In America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, the deeply stupid but very popular Mark Steyn predicted “the demise of European races too self-absorbed to breed.” Demographically, he wrote, “the salient feature of much of the ‘progressive agenda’ – abortion, gay marriage, endlessly deferred adulthood – is that, whatever the charms of any individual item, cumulatively it’s a dead end.”

Given this sort of rhetoric, it’s tempting to dismiss concerns about demographic decline as an anti-feminist race panic. The thing is, though, rapidly declining birth rates really are a problem, especially for the sort of generous welfare states that liberals love.

2.  I decided to take a few hours off from deconstructing Obama, but Ed Morrissey chose to single out the beginning of Paglia’s Salon thread, specifically, Bow-ow-ow: Obama’s painful missteps.   As a bonus, Ed points us in the direction of a brilliant, hilarious letter from a reader who deconstructs the character of Rose in the movie Titanic.  Scroll down the page…


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