Some liberals, like Bari Weiss, see that the greatest danger is coming from the left but insist on gratuitous swipes at Trump when discussing the issue.
Former New York Times writer Bari Weiss’ new Tablet piece is an illustration of the kind of confusion a great many liberal Democrats seem to display these days.
For example, Weiss puts her finger squarely on the fact that leftist Democrats such as AOC are either anti-Semitic themselves or fully at the service of other anti-Semitic leftists. But after discussing that for a while, she reverts to reflexive Trump-hate [my emphasis]:
…[M]any smart, well-intentioned people are confused. Or rather: Looking for someone to explain why an emerging movement that purports to advance the ideals they have always supported—fairness, justice, righting historical wrongs—feels like it is doing the opposite.
There is also the X factor of Donald Trump, which is impossible to overstate. Understandable hostility toward him has prevented many Jews from seeing the problem on the other side. To even look away from the obscenity in the White House for a moment strikes many, as they have told me, as irresponsible or beside the point.
I share with the majority of American Jews’ disgust toward Trump and Trumpism, which has normalized bigotry and cruelty in ways that have crippled American society. That truth doesn’t detract from another: There is another danger, this one from the left.
This way of thinking isn’t just an idiosyncrasy of Weiss’. It appears typical of someone in the throes of a strong cognitive dissonance that he or she cannot easily resolve. Weiss hates Trump, but hates the danger on the left as well.
In the second and third paragraphs of that excerpt, Weiss exhibits her Trump-hatred, although she doesn’t seem to feel the need to give a single specific example of how Trump has demonstrated the terrible qualities she’s writing about. The reader is to take them on faith.
The rest of Weiss’ article is a lucid warning about the dangers of the far left and Critical Race Theory – the latter of which happens to actually be a huge and influential purveyor of “bigotry and cruelty” today, and to also be the force that has in fact “normalized” these things and is currently “crippling American society.”
Weiss follows up her warning about the danger of the left with this, which makes it clear she thinks the left represents a greater danger than Trump, and that Biden would not be able to stop them:
And unlike Trump, this one has attained cultural dominance, capturing America’s elites and our most powerful institutions. In the event of a Biden victory, it is hard to imagine it meeting resistance.
So one would think that Weiss’ contention – that the left is a bigger danger than Trump, and that Biden as president wouldn’t counter that danger – would lead her to recommend to her fellow liberals that they vote for Trump. But rather than say that, Weiss is focused on being able to fight “wokeness” from within the Democratic Party, presumably with Biden as president.
Good luck with that.
Weiss follows with a recitation of liberal ideals. This is also interesting, because her list clearly tracks to the ideals of the right these days – only Weiss may not realize it. She also (even after being forced to resign from the NY Times because her type of liberalism no longer exists there) doesn’t seem to understand that she’s reciting ancient history as far as the Democrats are concerned. It’s been a game of pretend for a long time, as the ostracism of Joe Lieberman many years ago should have made crystal clear:
[The ideals of America as a whole used to be] liberal in the most capacious and distinctly American sense of that word: the belief that everyone is equal because everyone is created in the image of God. The belief in the sacredness of the individual over the group or the tribe. The belief that the rule of law—and equality under that law—is the foundation of a free society. The belief that due process and the presumption of innocence are good and that mob violence is bad. The belief that pluralism is a source of our strength; that tolerance is a reason for pride; and that liberty of thought, faith, and speech are the bedrocks of democracy…
…[T]his liberalism relied on the view that the Enlightenment tools of reason and the scientific method might have been designed by dead white guys, but they belonged to everyone, and they were the best tools for human progress that have ever been devised.
American liberalism is under siege. There is a new ideology vying to replace it.
I hate to tell Weiss, but adhering to that sort of “American liberalism” today makes her what’s known as “a conservative.” And I regret to inform her that the “new ideology” isn’t “vying to replace” that sort of liberalism among the Democrats. It did replace it quite some time ago. And the left has taken over nearly every cultural institution, including the press (a phenomenon she obviously experienced at the Times).
So it’s late and getting later.
It’s fairly apparent that Weiss wrote the piece to appeal to those Jewish Democrats who can hear her and who might not know what’s been going on with the left and what it signifies. But the point of view Weiss addresses is neither specific to Jews nor limited to them. It is rife among liberal Democrats today, and although Weiss is primarily addressing liberal Jews in her article, Jews share her sentiments only insofar as they are liberals.
But by demonizing Trump (which perhaps Weiss feels she must do, not only because she believes what she says but also because she thinks the readers to whom she’s appealing believe it, too), Weiss is cutting off the most obvious avenue to buy time for any kind of reversal of the dangerous and alarming trends on the left that she sees and describes so well.
[Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.]DONATE
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