01 May 2016

Is Liberalism Really “Smug”?

Vox says smugness has reshaped the Democratic Party. How droll.

By Jamelle Bouie

Is liberalism “smug”? In an essay for Vox, Emmett Rensin says yes. “There is a smug style in American liberalism,” he writes. “It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence … but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.”

This “smug style” is informed by programs like The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and its offshoots, The Colbert Report and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. It manifests on Twitter and Facebook, in tweets and status updates and displays of liberal arrogance. It’s present in how liberals talked about figures like Kim Davis, how they relate to people who disagree with them, in public and private.


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