The Age of Liberal Unreason
NOAH ROTHMAN, Commentary Magazine --
As Democrats come to terms with the shock of Trump’s victory, that process has yielded to a predictable and appropriate sense of shame. The Democratic Party, once confident in its ascendancy, had been dunked unceremoniously into an ice-water bath. With Hillary Clinton’s loss, Democrats were finally compelled to take stock of the utter devastation their party endured in the Obama years. That shame has, however, manifested in a combustible form. Near a 100-year nadir of their political power, chastened liberals are casting about for ways to soothe their badly bruised egos. This has taken the form of an obsessive pursuit of targets onto which they might shift blame for their unenviable political circumstances. Down this way lies madness.
The post-election crisis of liberal self-conception was particularly acute by the third week in November, when the denial stage of Kübler-Ross’s grief model began to give way to rage. A panic on the left over the scourge of “fake news,” in which bias-confirming grievance porn is marketed to gullible partisans in profitable click-bait form, had reached its zenith. Implicit in the earnest hand-wringing over “fake news” was the notion that lies and propaganda bamboozled Americans into electing Donald Trump. No doubt palliating the wounds of the election, this idea also laid bare the left’s punctured sense of self-worth. There was no clumsier exemplification of Democrats’ shattered self-image than a report published in NPR allegedly exposing one purveyor of “fake news,” the sole purpose of which seems to have been to make liberals feel good about themselves again.