The rise of ‘concern liberalism’ and the decline of ‘identity liberalism’

As more evidence of how the far-left is losing the war of words and ideas, many people, including those identify as the ‘left’, are rejecting how the liberal media caricatures its targets. We’re not seeing an anti-left or anti-right backslash but, since 2013, rather a backlash against ‘low information’ discourse, but it just so happens the liberal media may be the most susceptible to falling into the trap of reductionism, straw-manning, and oversimplification that constitutes ‘low information’.

Emotive and polarizing forms of liberalism have ceded to ‘concern liberalism’ whereby liberals now want to better understand their ideological opponents, going so far as to empathize or converse with them, not simply attack, dismiss, or ridicule them as was common during the ‘Bush Era’. I see it all the time…sensible liberals criticizing the New York Times in how it unfairly caricatures Trump supporters as one-dimensional bigots, whereas maybe a decade ago liberals didn’t speak up when the same paper (and its commenters) denigrated Bush and Romney voters, which is a welcome development and further evidence of the post-2013 anti-SJW backlash, that this blog has documented. For example, since 2015, there have been hundreds of articles by left-leaning publications in an effort to try to understand the alt-right instead of simply dismiss it. A recent example is an article in the Huffington Post My Journey to the Center of the At right. Or articles by Vox.com about the alt-right and NRx (neoreaction).

Other examples include social media such as Reddit, where liberals are holding other members of their ‘tribe’ accountable, unlike as recently as a decade ago when there was more unanimity. In response to the New York Times article Reddit and the God Emperor of the Internet, here are two highly up-voted comments of how the New York Times, as well as the rest of liberal establishment, has been blaming everyone but themselves for losing, and how attacking the alt-right has backfired:

The liberal media prides itself on being impartial and ‘open minded’ but such open-mindedness and impartiality doesn’t apply to their coverage of Trump and his supporters, in which the left trots out the same tropes and generalizations of ‘racism’ without considering the subtleties, such as how Trump represents a bottom-up approach to politics rather than a top-down one. Cries of ‘racism’ are ways to shut down debate, not foster conversation and understanding.

In the wake of Clinton’s loss, the pundit-left did some soul searching, in a well-received, highly viral piece The End of Identity Liberalism, that argues how liberalism cannot be about dividing people (such as by class, gender, or race) but by uniting them, finding similarities and ‘common ground’ (such a common yearning for freedom). Whites are people, too, who, like everyone else, have aspirations, concerns, and fears. Either bring them into the conversation, as with other groups, or exclude everyone equally. You cannot win an election by elevating some groups but disparaging or excluding others:

But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded.

A retort is that Trump also ran a campaign of identity politics, but Trump never elevated any specific group. It may have been implied that he was appealing to Whites, but unlike Hillary, he didn’t make his preferences and pandering so explicitly obvious, as Hillary did with women and Hispanics.

People who post on Reddit seem to grasp this, which is why Identity, as well as the comments in the screenshot above, got so many up-votes and was shared thousands of times, but, by in large, the liberal media is still late to catch on, blaming racism or fraud for Clinton’s loss. You didn’t lose because of a cartoon frog, liberals; you lost because your message failed to resonate with voters; because you thought that the self-congratulatory affirmations that work for members of your own ‘tribe’ would somehow transfer to others, and it didn’t; because you thought that everyone would share or indulge in the same manufactured outrage, divisiveness, and sanctimoniousness that to you, the left, seemed self-evident but to others was repulsive. But also, the failure of the left to grasp how minorities can support Trump, because maybe they are tired of being pandered to. The left’s ‘conversations’ about race are just appeals to simplistic archetypes that fit into convenient political slots, stereotypes, or roles, as pawns for the lefts acquisition of power.

In an era of media sensationalism and politically biased misconstructions, Reddit and 4chan are solaces of rationalism where young people go for the unvarnished truth, while the old hacks over at the New York Times keep patting each other on the backs and wondering why their politicians are losing or why readership is down. Both the ‘rational left’ and the ‘rational right’ understand that appealing to the echo chamber of ‘low information’, where trite and divisive thinking reverberates, only hurts their causes. Instead of preaching to the choir, you have to preach to your harshest critics, and then not misconstrue their views but rather afford them the same intellectual courtesy that you give your own ‘tribe’.

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