Liberalism, again

Two weeks ago, in a column on the kerfuffle in Arizona, Jim Goad wrote:

The luridly self-righteous cultural left, which long ago eclipsed social conservatives in their unhinged sense of shirt-rending, chest-thumping moral hyperbole, had described the law as shameful, disgraceful, horrifying, and hateful.

And it gets better from there. But if the colorful un-PC style of Taki’s Mag isn’t to your liking, R.R. Reno has a more measured take on the same phenomenon. In a lengthy review of The Twilight of the American Enlightenment by George Marsden, he writes:

Today, some of the issues are different, but the same consensus liberalism endures as a mushy but ruthlessly enforced consensus. Why same-sex marriage but not polygamy? Why a capacious commitment to free speech that permits pornography and at the same time endorses punitive speech codes that treat the N-word as cause for firing someone? How can we say that women aren’t different from men but at the same time need empowerment? Why heap shame on smokers but remain scrupulously non-judgmental about sex? These aren’t questions most liberals can answer, but that doesn’t alter their infuriating confidence that their sensibilities are meet and right.

Moreover, as was the case with Lippmann, dissent from consensus liberal opinions continues to be analyzed as a psychological pathology rather than a philosophical disagreement. Opposition to gay marriage is explained as homophobia. Those who question feminist ideologies are in the grips of patriarchal ideology. And, in general, the failure to be a liberal signals a deep seated “fear of change.”