There is no such thing as the liberal manifesto, precisely because liberalism was never centered around a set code of ideologies, theories or conduct. But with the growing extremism and intolerance, it might just have the unappealing elements of how a manifesto is enforced.

Liberalism, as a social movement, is a therapeutic mission that  revolves around the modern concept of identity and extends it to schools, universities, hospitals, and the social services offered by the state itself. It is the brainchild of the world where less people turn to priests and ministers for solace, but to self-help groups and psychiatrists (and perhaps thousands of strangers on Twitter). The discourse around race, gender, sexuality, and freedom are more over offended dignity than over material resources. On paper, liberalism sounds like the ideal safe haven for all kinds of people. In reality, with some new shenanigan every day, it’s piercing its own tongue. The Hindi saying ‘Apne pairo pe aap kulhadi marna’ would be appropriate in this situation.

However, the flipside of the same is more grounded in reality. Liberalism made the modern world, but the modern world is turning against it. Europe and America are in the throes of a popular rebellion against liberal elites, who are seen as self-serving and unable, or unwilling, to solve the problems of ordinary people. Politically, the liberals are messing up, and this originates in the birthplace of this social-political movement; the US of A. Followers of an ideology built on tolerance and harmony, many progressive leftists are turning increasingly intolerant of their conservative and republican counterparts.  Hillary Clinton recently said in an interview, “You cannot be civil with a party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about”. Some Democratic politicians are urging protesters to hound republicans out of restaurants and pursue them at departmental stores.

The failure of the Democrats can also be attributed to the privilege and elitism associated with liberals that preach minimal state intervention, privacy and, identity as gospel. The overwhelmingly rural voters who supported Republicans explained that the elites in the big cities simply did not understand or pay attention to their problems. A New York Times report quotes a Republican voter saying, “They live in a country onto themselves, they have no idea what the nation is up to. They are too absorbed in studying their own belly button.”

The problem with the contemporary left is the particular forms of identity it has chosen to represent. Rather than building solidarity around large collectives such as the working class or economically exploited, it has focused on smaller groups to the extent that others were actively ignored. At the end of the day, one community is being actively supported, which inadvertently leads to others being compromised on.

Liberals dominate the entertainment industry, many of the most influential news sources and America’s universities. These platforms come with a lot of power to express values, and  confer credibility. Female Republicans who supported Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination were denounced and condemned as gender traitors. In India, Mallika Dua was disparaged and trolled for standing by her father in light of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. The #MeToo movement has has spiralled from a safe space of assault survivors into a vendetta culture based on rumours and whisper networks. YouTube and Facebook are secretly censoring alt-right content, Twitter mobs are getting people fired and, college students get speakers cancelled- you’d think that a college campus in the liberal world would be tolerant of free enquiry and academic discourse in the very least.

A movement that was supposed to be at the forefront of abolishing hate and intolerance from the world has become hateful and intolerant. They aren’t as smart as they think and while they lecture, judge and disdain, they are igniting a backlash against themselves. The extremist liberal control of the commanding heights of American culture is increasingly driving people away. This only validates their own worst prejudices about the other America.

Feature Image Credits: Steemit


Nikita Bhatia

[email protected]