There seems to be a trend, not exactly new, because it’s been going on for several years now, to blame anything that’s perceived to be bad on liberals. Here are a few examples that turned up in my Facebook feed this morning:
A liberal mom got a rude awakening that changed her views about the “bathroom debate” and decided to share her story regardless of what the backlash would be. This is a reality check like no other.
Kristen Quintrall Lavin runs a blog called, The Get Real Mom, in which she exposes the harsh realities of what she calls, “momming.” However, on a recent trip to Disneyland with her young son, Lavin, she was exposed to another harsh reality — the reality of bathroom stalking, which made her question her progressive liberal views on the bathroom debate.
In the departure lounge of OR Tambo (taking a break from complaining about the missing TV remote and milk) Helen Zille, the former leader of South Africa’s opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and premier of the Western Cape, casually invoked one of the continued liberal myths of colonisation – that Europeans brought with them medical care to the colonies.
Liberal moms and liberal myths.
My question is, what does the gratuitous insertion of the word “liberal” contribute to either story?
But this kind of devaluation and debasing of the word “liberal” and turning it into a kind of general signal for disapproval tends to make it meaningless.
The main reason that people dislike liberals and liberalism is that they themselves tend to be authoritarian. Authoritarianism can range all the way from mild bossiness through being a control freak to being an absolute dictator, like Hitler or Stalin. But people who diss liberalism do tend to be control freaks of one kind or another.
Another trend, also not exactly new, is to devalue terms like “genocide” by applying them to things that are a great deal less than genocide.
If I wanted to follow that trend, I could say that all this anti-liberal propaganda is calculated to provoke liberalophobia (fear and loathing of liberals), in which the next step would be a genocide of liberals.
That wouldn’t be true, of course, because “genocide” means the systematic and planned extermination of an entire race of people, and liberals are not a race (in spite of the attempts of racists to make liberals seem to be a race by prefixing the word “white” to “liberal” when the latter is used as a noun). If it isn’t hate speech, it is at least anti-liberal propaganda.
My daughter recently accused me of mastering the art of clickbait when I reblogged another post recently (the curious can find it here). Well yes, the heading of this post probably may be seen as clickbait, Whether you believed or anyone expected what happened next is up to you.
So no, I don’t expect a liberal genocide (but see here), but authoritarian governments do tend to kill off or at least crack down on liberal opposition. And most colonial governments have been authoritarian, at least vis-à-vis the colonised, whatever Helen Zille or Matthew Wilhelm Solomon may say.