Out of this crouching and unseemly cowardice, a new liberal esthetic was born. To be taken seriously, one must be, above all, polite and upbeat.
Someone takes your job and puts your pension into their pocket, be polite and upbeat. Someone marches you into murderous and wasteful wars on the basis of lies, be polite and upbeat. The government suspends most of the Bill of Rights, be polite and upbeat. In short, if you ever really want to “get anything done”, you must, before all else, be polite and upbeat.
If you don’t believe me when I talk about the degree to which the so-called left has internalized the message that being unflinchingly critical is tantamount to being pathologically angry, try the following sometime.
Walk into a room of middle-of-the-road Democratic voters and point out what is undeniably true: that the US is, to paraphrase King, far and away the biggest purveyor of death, destruction and terror in the world. Even if you do so in the most affable and breezy of tones, I guarantee that within a few minutes at least one, and probably several, of the people hearing your exposition will assail you with charges about your being pathologically “negative” or “angry”.
There was a telling exchange at Dawg's blog recently. Dawg provided yet another list of harper's destructive attacks on Canadian democracy and the confused psychopaths managed to make the whole conversation about how unpleasant I was in the comments section. You'd think they had missplaced priorities until you realized that they hated democracy and cheered harper's assaults on it.