Is it possible to be “liberal” without being smug?
I wonder that alot, because I’ve noticed it in myself. It seems that my level of enlightenment on a subject is directly proportional to how much of a jerk I am about it. Maybe its just my personality, but observation of others who have gone through, or are going through similar transformations shows that, while its not true in every situation, its definitely a perilous trap in which we’re in danger of falling.
Probably the biggest area of hypocrisy is the area of tolerance. Liberalism preaches tolerance of ideas, lifestyles, etc. Yet, what is the one thing that is intolerable for those that claim the moral high ground of tolerance? Its intolerant people. You know, Republicans, the religious right, capitalists, fundamentalists, the works. Those that aren’t tolerant of others are treated condescendingly by those that view them as simple minded or just plain wrong.
“But they are wrong,” you might say. Sure, I might agree with you about lots of things they are wrong about, but if we want to teach them tolerance for others worldviews that don’t match up with theirs, we have to show tolerance in return.