As a conservative-liberal-socialist, I don’t fit onto any political maps that I know of, and I am accustomed to feeling slightly out of place — more, out of focus — in any given policy debate. But despite the sizable liberal element in my own personal political constitution, in times of serious conflict — today’s Brexit contretemps, for instance — I am always temperamentally alienated from liberalism. For what distinguishes many (most?) liberals from both conservatives and socialists, as today’s social media torpedoes reveal, is genuine incomprehension that any sane and decent person could disagree with them. By contrast, conservatives and socialists, accustomed as they are to being distinctly out of the norm and to having their views go largely unrepresented in mainstream media, expect and are prepared to deal with disagreement.
So when liberals lose contests, they have a marked tendency to attribute disagreement to malice or stupidity or, when they’re being kind, naked emotionalism — though they themselves can get altogether overwrought in their insistence that the liberal position simply is the rational one. As a result, when they don’t win they sound, to put it bluntly, like whiny babies. And this is why, despite the significant proportion of my political views that is genuinely liberal, I am less at home among liberals than among any other political group. Once their howls of outrage get wound up — and there is no outrage like that of a thwarted cultural elite — I just want to back quietly out of the room, close the door behind me, and get as far away as I can.