I spend too much time every day arguing politics with college classmates via email. Reading some of today’s messages, I feel moved to ask: what is “liberalism,” really?
One could try to identify its ideological components, but it can be wildly inconsistent, and I think it is both more economical and more accurate simply to identify “liberalism” as identical to the consensus of the American elite, based upon the perspectives and assumptions, and the values and agenda, articulated by its own representatives in the establishment media.
Where the Right and the Left really disagree, I would contend, is on the credence, loyalty, and respect due to that consensus.
Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff, and prominent public spokesman of the Pouting Spooks Against the Bush Administration, went postal in the Baltimore Sun yesterday, denouncing George W. Bush as a Jacobin and a revolutionary, precisely because Bush has spurned the consensus of the elect.
I think Wilkerson’s editorial was ideationally confused and stylistically turgid, but his piece does, nonetheless, still eloquently and accurately express his own indignation, and that of his class, at the rejection by George W. Bush (and an alternative American leadership) of the intellectual consensus (and the organic process continually manufacturing it) on which both the very identity, and the basic mechanisms of perceiving reality, of the American establishment are based.
Wilkerson is right to feel that Bush and his associates have dared to enter the temple and lain violent hands upon the idols.
Wilkerson emoting earlier on the same theme.