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In Our Time

The Easiness of Being Liberal

Liberals are keen to sniff out and condemn “privilege,” by which they mean the superior education, the affluence, the influence, and the comfort enjoyed by well-connected, well-born people, usually imagined by them to be political conservatives.  None of this has anything to do with privilege in the historical sense of the word, of course, but the fact is irrelevant here.

No person in contemporary Western society is more privileged than the ostentatiously liberal citizen who, so far from hiding his light under a bushel, swings it to and fro like a railway signalman giving the all-clear to the onrushing unstoppable streamliner, the History Express.  Liberals today are the beneficiaries of privileges non-liberals do not enjoy, among them preference in hiring, attention paid to their enlightened persons, recognition granted to their achievements, respect for their opinions on every subject, and deference in politically mixed company on those rare occasions when liberals and conservatives come into social proximity.  Being liberal today means never having to watch your tongue, apologize for your opinions, or converse in hushed tones in public places.  Whereas to be a conservative means putting up with accusations of saying or writing “offensive” things, while enduring patiently and in silence daily offenses offered by liberal speakers, liberal writers, liberal colleagues, and liberal neighbors. ...

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