Few things fascinate me more than the rationalizations by which liberals evade acknowledgement of facts that contradict their worldview. Matthew Continetti recently took a long look at the liberal demon-myth of the Koch brothers, who have become the all-purpose explanation for anything that Democrats don’t like.
Meanwhile, the left-wing blogosphere today paid tribute to “Popular Progressive Author” Joe Bageant. An itinerant journalist who four years ago published an acclaimed book called Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from the Class War, Bageant specialized in what I call “that weird species of progressive ‘populism’ which expresses itself as a thoroughgoing contempt for actual people“:
In Bageant’s mind (and the mind of his readers), every time a Republican wins an election it is because of the imaginary other-ized Them . . . Bageant offers the enlightened progressive reader an engraved invitation to invidiously compare himself to these manifestly inferior people – Them! – who function as a hate-proxy for tens of millions of unseen Republican voters that the progressive reader has never actually met.
Much like Adorno’s “Authoritarian Personality” or Hofstadter’s “Paranoid Style,” Bageantism is a faux-analysis, a make-believe political sociology that gives an illusion of explaining voter opposition to liberalism in cultural or demographic terms.
That Bageant’s analysis did not match the relevant facts will probably not surprise many conservatives. Liberalism thrives on university campuses and in other places where people have the luxury of ignoring facts that don’t fit their arguments.