The Big Pretend

Move the clock back to November, 2013.  It's a year after Obama has won a second term in the White House and it looks like the Democrats will control Federal power forever.  There is talk of a permanent Democratic majority cemented into place by a liberal Supreme Court that will last for decades.  Glenn Reynolds noted that in the absence of any conceivable reversal all the rubes could do -- they had not yet been dubbed the Deplorables by Hillary Clinton -- was exhibit a truculence or spirit of passive resistance he described as "Irish Democracy".

Perhaps the most dramatic formulation of "Irish Democracy" is from the movie Michael Collins where the character playing Eamon de Valera writes after the failed Easter Rising that "we must act as if the Republic is a fact. We defeat the British Empire by ignoring it".   Irish Democracy is slow but works.

Fast forward to November, 2016 and Obama has been ignored.  An insurgency is in full cry and the Democratic Party feels like the authorities in 1954 Algiers who realize that  years of the mission civilisatrice have not turned the Arabs into Frenchmen. The 2016 elections were shocking because they showed how fake the decades of "gains" proved to be.

The liberal mission civilisatrice has apparently failed.  The candidate who could not win, won.  The candidate who could not lose, lost.  All the shibboleths that could not possibly be rejected were pulled down into the mud.  Now it was the liberals who had to resort to Irish Democracy.  The cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton lectured vice president elect Mike Pence. "We are the diverse Americans who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents."  Why?  Because they could and because they had no choice.

One might add the cast of Hamilton was not just "alarmed and anxious" but thoroughly bewildered.  That such an uprising could happen without any warning sent shock waves through the Left.  Worse there may be more to come.  Nigel Farage warned that elections in Austria and Italy may confirm the trend.

If Liberals don't understand what happened they will be at a loss to fight it.  Saying no no no no no no!  is not enough.  Unless they know the cause of the disease they can't seek the cure.  Lecturing people from the stage may make them feel good, but it is what got them into trouble in the first place.  The instinct to repeat the same failed tactics more frequently and insistently is unlikely to lead to a different result.

Perhaps the liberal project does not want to know what ails them because they fear what they will find, and many already probably suspect what it is.  The Leftist impulse is founded on the conviction they have a special position in the "arc of justice", a privileged vantage in the moral universe, a place in the vanguard of history.  To suddenly admit they don't, to admit that they are no better than anyone else and possibly a good deal worse is not an easily correctable fault.