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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

David Brooks, "The Age of Small Terror": Anti-Liberalism Most Noticeable on the Right?

Writing of the terror attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, Boston, Fort Hood and Israel in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Age of Small Terror," David Brooks describes a resultant anxiety that challenges the "liberal order":

"In country after country this anxiety is challenging the liberal order. I mean philosophic Enlightenment liberalism, not partisan liberalism. It’s the basic belief in open society, free speech, egalitarianism and meliorism (gradual progress). It’s a belief that through reasoned conversation values cohere and fanaticism recedes. It’s the belief that people of all creeds merit tolerance and respect.

These liberal assumptions have been challenged from the top for years — by dictators. But now they are challenged from the bottom, by populist anti-liberals who support the National Front in France, UKIP in Britain, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Vladimir Putin in Russia and, in some guises, Donald Trump in the U.S.

. . . .

Anti-liberalism has been most noticeable on the right."

"Anti-liberalism has been most noticeable on the right"? Horsefeathers! You would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to acknowledge the war being waged by the left on free speech at American universities. Have a look at an Atlantic article entitled "Campus Activists Weaponize ‘Safe Space’" by Conor Friedersdorf, a U.S. News & World Report article entitled "From Megaphones to Muzzles" by Susan Milligan, a New York Times article entitled "In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas" by Judith Shulevitz, and a National Review article entitled "Leftist Universities Will Never Stop Trying to Stifle Free Speech" by David French.

Today's left appears unwilling to be confronted with alien or antagonistic ideas. On the other hand, if someone like President Obama believes she/he is the "smartest person in the room," why should she/he need to be confronted with contrary views, which are only apt to disturb her/him?

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