Monday, May 30, 2011

Why are liberals so rude?

This month,  Charlie and I took a vacation cruising from Barcelona to Dover, England, and then on to London. We usually ate our meals alone, but one morning we were seated with two other couples for breakfast.  The conversation invariably turned to the couples’ previous cruises and places of interest they had visited in the past.  I have found that cruises, while lovely and relaxing, are not conducive to lively conversation.  Couples are almost always of retirement age, and the conversations are usually confined to three topics:  previous cruises, shopping, and a person’s health—all topics, I must say, bore me to tears.   During the course of that morning’s conversation, however, the man to my left indicated he was a retired high school American history teacher.  Sensing a chance to talk about something other than the usual three topics,  I said that I was reading Don Rumsfeld’s book, which I opined was an interesting look back at the last fifty years of American history.  The man said, “That’s his version.”  Fair enough.  I agreed with him. Several minutes later, however, the man said,  “I was thinking the other day that Don Rumsfeld was a lot like Robert MacNamara.”   I asked why, he said they both “lied”.  I asked him what Rumsfeld  lied about, and he did not answer.  He just said that 4000 people died because of Rumsfeld’s lies, and got up and left the table. . 

I grew up in a working class family,  but I learned as a child that it is the height of rudeness to slander someone a dinner companion has just indicated she admires.  However, this happens all the time---at dinner parties, legal seminars, court chambers.  I have heard dozens of lawyers, judges, law professors, and seminar speakers take cheap shots at conservatives and Republicans even  when politics is not the topic of conversation.  Of course, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Sarah Palin are favorite subjects of cheap shots.  During a case managers’ conference at court, the opposing attorney, knowing I admire President Bush,  said that George W. Bush was the “worst president in American history.”  ---and we were discussing child support.  A judge who is now elevated to the federal bench joked about Harriet Miers in chambers—and we were talking about scheduling a family court matter.  A lawyer made a disgusting remark about the U.S.  military at a Christmas dinner party—and we were all engaged in small talk. A non lawyer speaker talking about school issues made a snide remark about President Bush not following the constitution. Another non lawyer seminar speaker discussing knowing your audience made a joke about how stupid President Bush was.

 I thought the cheap shots that I have heard over the last decade were because 90% of the professional class in Vermont is liberal, and they therefore all assume that the world agrees with their point of view.   But our vacation revealed that that is not the case.  For the breakfast incident was not the only one we encountered.  A day or two later, we were waiting to get into the ship's auditorium for a talk on disembarking the ship.  We were waiting because there was a seminar winding up in the auditorium for a group which was on board ship sponsored by The Weekly Standard, a conservative weekly magazine.  People were not happy at having to wait. A woman sat at a table with a survey to be filled out by the Weekly Standard group after their seminar was over.  Some of the people waiting picked up the survey.  The woman with the survey was brusque, even rude, as she said to the waiting crowd that the survey was not for them, and she snatched a survey from a person waiting to get in. One of our breakfast companions was there—not the high school teacher, but another man.  He started ranting in a loud voice at the woman, telling her how rude she was, and saying that this was not the Weekly Standard, but it was “substandard”.  It was an embarrassing spectacle.  Our breakfast companion was silent when the high school teacher was rude to me, but he did not hesitate to tear into the Weekly Standard woman whom he concluded was rude.

Then, in London, we went on a bus tour.  It was lovely, and the tour guide was informative.  However, we came to an outdoor clock, which the guide called the “two faced” clock.  Then he said it was like “Bush and Blair”.  The guide was talking to a group of strangers.  Bush and Blair have been out of office for over 2 ½ years.  The guide could have said the clock was  like Prime Minister Cameron and President  Barack Obama,  but instead he chose two former politicians to slander. 

There is not a similar pattern with conservatives.  Conservatives and Republicans do not take cheap shots at liberals or Democrats at social functions where there is mixed company. 

Why the rudeness?  Liberals are nice people, generous friends and loving companions.  They are no different than conservatives.  Yet when it comes to opinions about politics and culture, they are rude. 

Here is my theory:  Liberalism has   become the cultural and political religion of the Establishment.  People tend to enjoy feeling superior to others and feeling part of a group.  Liberalism fits those needs to a “T”.    And when others in your group enjoy the same generous, tolerant, scientific, intellectual views, then you feel exceedingly comfortable. –even smug.  

On the other hand, when that comfort is threatened, then anger, even rage, sets in.  Liberal’s rage against George W. Bush borders on the psychotic. Liberals say they hate President George W. Bush because he “lied” about WMD.  Of course, that is not true.  If Pres. Bush lied, then so did all the Democrats who saw the same intelligence the President saw.  Liberals say Bush “tortured” terrorists.  Again, not true.  But if enhanced interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding, neither of which inflicted any long term psychological or physical harm to the detainees, is the cause for such hatred, then what about the ultimate torture:  killing men, women and children, by drone strikes—without any due process?  What about shooting in the head  an unarmed man in his bedroom in front of his wife and children?  I am sure Osama Bin Laden and his family, if given the choice, would have preferred waterboarding.   Yet liberals give President Obama a pass on such cruelty while continuing to call President Bush a war criminal.    

The rage against  President Bush is because the President is a traitor to the Establishment.  He didn’t like Yale or Harvard.  He instead is nostalgic for---horrors—Midland Texas. 

And Sarah Palin sticks her thumb in the eye of the Establishment--hence the unprecedented savaging of Palin and her family.  Yesterday, at the Rolling Thunder rally in Washington D.C. Palin said she loved the smell of motorcycle exhaust.  That will set the folks in the Manhattan and D.C. cocktail circuits tittering.  (Hint to my liberal friends:  Sarah says such things to get the Establishment tittering.) 

 So here is a request to Liberals:  since you are tolerant, generous and intellectual, it is beneath you to take cheap shots in polite company.  Please confine your remarks to  non political issues; or, if you want to discuss politics, then do it in an appropriate setting where there is an opportunity for give and take.  


  1. David famous poet and screenwriter and former liberal and former resident of Plainfield...would agree with Debbie's observations. In a speech at Stanford University, Mamet attributed liberals' rude conduct to a "herd instinct". When the liberal herd is threatened (by conservative ideas)individual members attack the source of the threat for fear of losing positions in the herd.

  2. It is disheartening to hear the rudeness. I hear it all the time. Although I disagree with President Obama on pretty much everything, I don't make snide comments about him. Nor do I let the kids do so. I have noticed some bumper stickers that are less than respectful towards President Obama, I have to admit. I think it's hard to show respect for the president when we disagree so fundamentally, but we emphasize to our kids that it's the ideas that we need to disagree on, not the person. We as a society have forgotten how to show respect for everyone. And we all pay the price -- starting with those of us who are parents (particularly of 13-year-olds, who embrace disrespect). Just the other day, I went to the playground and found it had been slimed by someone the night before -- slimed with McDonalds meals. It was everywhere -- on the playground equipment and particularly on all the slides. It was sickening to even look at the slime, which indicated a complete lack of respect for moms and, if not hatred, then at least complete indifference, to the innocent little kids who like to play at the playground. The total lack of respect for others and mocking of others is a societal disease that we all suffer from to varying degrees. But it is most rampant in liberal circles, because liberals have tossed out respect as a rule.

  3. I agree. I can pretty much take any social and political issue and point out how hypocritical the liberal philosophies are. Equality for all, then say it is O.K. to have affirmative action (give specific advantages to minorities based on their skin color) policies in place. Anti-war propaganda, then tout how Barrack is better than Bush at taking out Bin Laden. I am tired, but I will come up with a million more examples if I ever come back to this website.