Gerard Alexander is to be applauded for his editorial, pointing out the unceasing, contemporary liberal reflex to condescend to those who disagree with them. As is Charles Krauthammer. Conservatives, and right-of-center libertarians have had to put up with this childish behavior for quite a while, and we are, to be frank, quite tired of it. Contemporary liberals have neither a monopoly on wisdom, or on intelligence, and it is time that they adopted a more humble manner–that is, if they are genuine about wanting to open a dialogue with those on the Right. You cannot have a serious discussion, after all, when the other side makes it clear that it believes that you are stupid and evil.
Additionally, the opening of a dialogue will have to be preceded by a realization amongst liberals that they do not lose elections merely because they are overly intellectual, while conservatives and right-libertarians appeal to the primitive portions of the human brain. After significant political reflection, the majority of Americans have concluded that they are center-right, and consequently, America is a center-right country. Perhaps if liberals took the time to gaze inwards, they might begin to understand why so many of their values are out of the American mainstream–a mainstream that is not only perfectly consistent with the tradition of Enlightenment reason, but helped spread and build on the values of the Enlightenment from the time this country was founded.
Of course, it is difficult to see how a time will come to pass that liberals will gaze inwards, when at the Arena–where this question was asked–we have David Biespiel making a show of his condescension (not entirely tongue-in-cheek, either), and when Bernard Finel seeks to offer excuses for condescension (never mind that neither side is perfect; Finel won’t condescend towards liberals). In any event, I have a little advice to offer to my friends on the center-right. Having grown up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago (yes, Barack Obama’s neighborhood), gone to school from grades 6-12 there, along with college and graduate school in Hyde Park, I was one of the few Republicans in a mass of Democrats. My strategy for dealing with them in political arguments was simple; know your stuff, debate unapologetically, and if anything, cause the other side to feel compelled to apologize for its views. I may not have won many converts with this approach, but I won respect (and respected people of good faith on the other side, of which there were many). As for the intellectual bullies that are out there, the best thing to do is to rhetorically punch them in the nose, and punch them hard. If there is anything that bullies cannot stand, it is a wound inflicted on them.