The irony, of course, is that in its eagerness to denounce the intolerance and shortsightedness of the masses, the liberal elite reveals itself to be . . . shortsighted and intolerant. From the gay marriage case to the Ground Zero mosque debate, the elites don't even offer the courtesy of presenting principled rebuttals of their opponents’ arguments. Instead, they dismiss them scornfully as the product of inferior minds, unworthy of consideration by intelligent people.
According to well-known research on marriages and conflict, healthy relationships can survive frequent disagreement. It’s only when contempt sets in that long-time partnerships are in serious trouble. Increasingly, that kind of contempt emanates from those who consider themselves the meritocracy’s crowning glory – and it bodes ill for the health of America’s body politic.
Perhaps the phenomenon is the foreseeable consequence of a university system overwhelmingly dominated by only one (politically correct) viewpoint. Perhaps it’s simply the result of a general breakdown in manners – or, more sadly yet, a symptom of the decline of a common public religious faith stressing that all people (yes, even the “unenlightened”) are God’s children, and hence entitled to be treated with a measure of decency and respect.
Whatever the reason, it’s time for the liberal elite to curb their distrust of and contempt for the values and sensibilities of the rest of America. To put it in terms they can understand, it’s hypocritical to claim solidarity with “the common man” while despising everything he holds dear.