The Liberal-Left Has Gone Fully Illiberal
The Liberal-Left Has Gone Fully Illiberal by Jenin Younes for American Institute for Economic Research
Over ten months, I have watched with incredulity as the liberal-left has unquestioningly and unequivocally embraced policies, ostensibly to manage the coronavirus pandemic, that are not only illiberal but authoritarian. With each passing day, those on the left-liberal side of the political spectrum display greater acceptance of increasingly oppressive measures. Maybe I should have been prepared.
With more and more frequency during the past years, I have found myself departing from my cohorts’ consensus during various discussions arising from current events, particularly insofar as they pertained to civil liberties issues. More disturbing than the substantive disagreement was the utter lack of regard for difference of opinion among many of my peers.
Nevertheless, I did not anticipate that the left would soon abandon all pretense of concern for liberal values, which are widely understood to consist of tolerance, open-mindedness, and protection of individual rights and dignity (As a preliminary matter, I am using the term “liberal-left” broadly, to describe: individuals who so identify, the Democratic Party and politicians, and center-left news outlets such as the New York Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN. I am aware that there is diversity of opinion, but believe it is fair to characterize the overarching left-liberal view as one that accepts the efficacy and morality of lockdowns, masks, and forced human separation).
At this point, those of us unfortunate enough to live in blue and purple states, as well as in many other parts of the world, have been deprived of our basic liberties for nearly a year. We cannot freely associate with other people, operate our businesses, send our children to school, or travel to many places without having to isolate for two weeks, which often translates into visiting loved ones becoming a practical impossibility. College students are imprisoned in dorm rooms for weeks because they or someone they interacted with tested positive for the virus (I will leave the topic of the unreliability of these tests for another day). They are expelled, harshly punished, and shamed for attending parties and socializing in groups. It is no surprise that, condemned for engaging in the most natural activities for those their age, suicidal ideation, depression, and drug usage have skyrocketed in this demographic. Children are forbidden from playing with one another or forced to do so while muzzled.