How Could Liberals Have Been So Wrong?

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Entertainers used to ask the question, “Will it play in Peoria?” Thanks to technology which enables media to reach a national audience instantly, they think they don’t have to, but they still do. The Politico recently published a navel-gazing indictment of the entire journalistic establishment which failed to see and understand the forces that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency. Indeed, as liberals continue to hold tone-deaf protests and rallies like the Earth Day March for Science with former children’s television host and political agitator Bill Nye as their headline speaker this past weekend, it only reinforces the observation that the Left does not grasp how much the political ground has shifted under their feet, nor how much this is an unintended by-product of technological progress.

If you dislike the partisan rancor which has become cliché, then blame Silicon Valley for the destruction of local newspapers, shops, theaters, and other cultural institutions of small-town life. Top tier cities are booming, but in the vast middle of the country, cities and towns are hollowed out and derelict. Coastal liberals are prone to heap scorn and abuse on these Trump-supporting inhabitants of the Rust Belt and Appalachia, but anybody who claims to be a moderate should lament this state of affairs. Like an acrobat trying to cross a tightrope in a tempestuous gale, how we decide what is true or false is increasingly buffeted by howling invective and exaggerations on both ends of the political spectrum.

Just as extreme as the liberal media, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Breitbart are able to thrive, because the caricature of liberalism they imagine they are fighting is no longer a caricature. Whereas journalists in small towns could not avoid encountering the average Joe, inside the coastal cocoon, it’s easy to find self-referential liberals who don’t realize how extreme they are, and they make easy targets for hyperbole and ridicule. Bill Nye’s bizarre new music video about gender fluidity is a perfect example of the genre. Only a doctrinaire liberal insulated from all disagreement could think that this lewd and obscene display is in any way persuasive or intellectually challenging.

Big business, including mass media and entertainment, used to be the domain of moderate limousine liberals and country club conservatives who, although never guilty of understanding the struggles of ordinary people, at least sensed that there were certain universal norms and values that were best left alone. The moguls of Silicon Valley who have upended our culture are as radically progressive as they come, and actively seek to use their power to change it. Technological titans like Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos are now deeply engaged in political battles and they have unprecedented ability to influence public opinion.

As someone who makes a living in the technology field, your humble writer is no Luddite by any means, but at the same time, it’s for these reasons I don’t blame most people for being deeply skeptical of technological progress–and if you aren’t, you should be. The thesis of last weekend’s protest is that science is a force for good for all people, but this brave new world of technological mastery clearly demonstrates that we have unleashed forces we do not understand and which have the very real danger of undermining the entire American project of ordered liberty. If liberals really care about freedom, they would do well to take a few weekends off from protesting here and there to examine how they bear much of the responsibility for bringing us to this point.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Joshua Bowman joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved back to his beloved native Virginia from Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities.

7 Comments

  1. That is indeed an interesting piece by Politico, but what does it have to do with the March for Science?

    The march was about support for public investment in scientific and medical research, science education, and evidence-based policy. This is in light of a President that spouts conspiracy theories about climate change and vaccines.

    Meanwhile, Silicon Valley is the private sector. Yes, social media is contributing to people living in information bubbles that don’t communicate with each other. But they get their funding from advertising and venture capital. A protest for science has no effect on that technology.

    • I think it was just showing that a March for Science, led by Bill Nye, is about as far from even comprehending science as you can get.

      • What is this? State your position. Do you agree that humans are the main cause for global warming? If we believers, who count Pope Francis among our numbers, are wrong what are the consequences? Science cost us a lot of money unnecessarily. If you are wrong, status quo, the cost will be our only planet. I opt for an approach of caution. Pope Francis asks us to be “good stewards” of mother earth. Given that direction, how he communicates with Trump? Trump reduced funding for the EPA run by a mismatch called Pruitt. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Paris accords on the environment. Would you consider them “good stewards”?

        • very good points. Unfortunately we have a President that does not understand science, let alone the scientific method. Donald Trump is a woefully inept person for this most difficult position. He thought it would be easier than what he did before? The American people fell for it? If I were not a faithful Catholic, or a member of the majority around the lynchburg, VA area I would be one of the many that think he is ‘their’ Antichrists. I pray for our Country, and the duped voters. Hillary was thousands of times more qualified. And I did not like her all that much.

    • I find it extraordinary that the same people who “March for Science” are so eager to ignore the scientific fact that an unborn child is a living, growing human being worthy of our protection.

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