Politics & Policy

America’s ‘Smug-Liberal Problem’

Comedienne Samantha Bee (Reuters photo: Joshua Roberts)
It’s hard to win converts with mockery.

The only people who can’t recognize that our nation has a “smug liberal” problem are smug liberals. Case in point, smug liberal (and television comedienne) Samantha Bee. On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Bee to react to a pre-election Ross Douthat column that called out Bee and other late-night comics in part for creating a comedy world of “hectoring monologues,” full of comedians who are “less comics than propagandists — liberal ‘explanatory journalists’ with laugh lines.”

We’re all familiar with the style. It features the generous use of selective clips from Fox News, copious amounts of mockery, and a quick Wikipedia- and Google-search level of factual understanding. The basic theme is always the same: Look at how corrupt, evil, and stupid our opponents are, look how obviously correct we are, and laugh at my marvelous and clever explanatory talent. It’s like sitting through an especially ignorant and heavy-handed Ivy League lecture, complete with the sycophantic crowd lapping up every word.

Bee, the host of TBS’s Full Frontal, of course, couldn’t see the problem and not only told Tapper that she didn’t think there was a smug-liberal problem, she also howlingly added that in her own show, “We always err on the side of comedy.”

Yep, they sure are hilarious (language warning):

Umm, yes, and that’s exactly why we need to ask hard questions about proposed solutions — rather than simply accepting environmentalist propaganda at face value.

Liberal dogma is rapidly becoming a secular religion, a “faith” that conspicuously omits any requirement that one love his enemies. Christians have long struggled to keep one of Christ’s most difficult commands, but many leftists don’t even try. To many, it’s not even a virtue. Indeed, the same kind of vitriol is a hallmark of the post-religious Right and is part of the explanation for extreme polarization. Post-Christian countries eschew Christian values, including the very values that can and should prevent even the most ardent activists from becoming arrogant . . . and intolerant.

Yes, there is a smug-liberal problem in America, one that smart liberals recognize. Stephens is right. You don’t win converts with mockery. You can sometimes win grudging compliance, but you mainly make enemies — especially when your mockery reveals your own ignorance and inconsistency. But as we know, the smug liberal doesn’t care. They want to make enemies. After all, how do they measure their own virtue? When the Right rages, they rejoice. The unbelievers deserve their pain.

— David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

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