Liberals insist on full legal and cultural protection of the rights of blacks, Latinos, women, immigrants, gays, and the environment. In this, they are right. However, their discourse is superficial and ethnocentric, and it is offensive to the majority of whites.
White liberals support affirmative action for blacks and women, leaving aside the fact that any program benefitting well-qualified persons with solid credentials, if not accompanied by ample programs of support for persons with more limited formal credentials, will foster resentment.
White liberals support the rights of immigrants, ignoring a host of complexities. They seem to assume that the problem of undocumented immigrants is not a problem, as though a situation in which millions of persons cross international borders without governmental regulation is acceptable. In addition, they consider persons opposed to their attitude on immigration to be racist; ignoring the fact the exploitation of undocumented workers by employers is central to the failure of the nation to develop a program for the economic and social development of black communities. Moreover, liberals do not address the global causes of the uncontrolled international migration, which is rooted in neocolonial structures that promote underdevelopment and poverty in vast regions of the world. Liberals, as a result, cannot see that the most basic right denied to the immigrants is their right to earn a living in their native lands. Liberals are incapable of formulating a proposal for the social and economic development of poor nations in the world and poor communities in the USA, as dimensions of a comprehensive approach to the serious problem of uncontrollable international migration.
Liberals support the rights of gays and gay pride, calling homophobic those with doubts or concerns. They imply a lack of respect for those whose values stress the social regulation and channeling of sexuality and the education of children and young adults in this regard.
Liberals support strong environmental regulations, barely addressing concerns with respect to employment, production, and economic development.
Liberals are quick to criticize Trump, using any argument to pounce on the President of the United States. This shameful spectacle makes fully clear their lack of self-reflection, inasmuch as the political success of Trump as rooted in the effective exploitation of their own weaknesses.
Liberals criticize imperialist interventions of the United States in the world, without seeing that aggressive economic and military policies are necessary for the maintenance of global structures that materially benefit the United States. Not understanding the fundamental structures of the neocolonial world-system, liberals are incapable of proposing a U.S. foreign policy of cooperation with the governments and social movements that are seeking a more just, democratic, and sustainable world-system. Indeed, liberals scarcely know such governments and movements. Most people in the United States do not fully understand this particular liberal limitation, but they do have a sense that liberal anti-imperialism is idealistic, not well connected to global political realities.
Liberals are quick to criticize socialist and progressive governments in the world, on the alleged grounds that they are authoritarian, they deny human rights, and/or they do not adequately protect the natural environment. Liberals offer these criticisms without the least minimal knowledge of the political, economic, and cultural dynamics in said countries.
Liberals like to take our national heroes from us, pointing to their imperfections. They criticize such icons as Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln for failing to transcend the political realities of their times.
Liberals are ambiguous about patriotism, as though love of country implies tolerance of the nation’s social sins.
The politics of liberalism involves seeking to put together a coalition of some whites plus most blacks and Latinos. They are more or less able to do this in the blue states, but not the red. This political strategy means that they are not seeking popular consensus, and therefore, it is not necessary for them to reflect on the limitations of their discourse, which could provide the foundation for a more effective political appeal to white society. The political strategy has the consequence of condemning the nation to perpetual cultural-political civil war.
I ought to confess that I never liked liberals, even though I was a liberal in the ninth grade, having read JFK’s Strategy of Peace and Profiles in Courage. But when I encountered the student anti-war movement at the university in the late 1960s, I was put-off by their superficial analysis and their reckless infantile strategies. However, I came to be convinced of the rightness of their cause, mostly because of my reading of a book on the history of Vietnam, and because of the more mature discourses of some graduate students who were hangers-on in the emerging movement. Later, when I studied in a graduate school center with a Black Nationalist orientation, which offered a colonial analysis of the modern world, I came to understand the profound ethnocentrism of white liberals. Still later, when I encountered and involved myself in the Honduran popular movement and the Cuban revolutionary project, I could see that it is possible to forge a popular movement that is historically and scientifically informed, comprehensive, and global. Such movements are formed by dedicated leaders, perpetual students of the world, who endeavor to organize and educate the people. These leaders see the nobility of the people while also seeing the limitations of the people, and they see themselves as popular leaders without seeing themselves as better than the people.
What makes white liberals the way they are? I think there are two factors, elitism and convenience. Liberalism is a current of thought rooted in the white middle and upper middle classes, in which there is a subtle but deeply pervasive sense of superiority to other racial/ethnic groups and classes. From that vantage point, they do discern various injustices, and they desire to express their moral opposition to these injustices. But they are not dedicated to transforming the structural sources of these injustices, because this would cause inconvenience vis-à-vis their relatively privileged social and economic position, and because it would require a discipline and sacrifice for which they are not prepared.
Many persons in white society are influenced by liberal tendencies, but they are not unredeemable. If you are among them, I invite you to consider the following proposition: You can escape the arrogance and superficiality of liberalism by persistent encounter, through study and experience, of the popular revolutionary movements of the Third World, past and present; and by taking seriously their insights, permitting them to transform your own understanding. I cannot think of a better remedy for the maladies of the American soul, because while the USA is trapped in superficial and antagonistic cultural/political conflict, the humble peoples of the earth are constructing, in theory and in practice, the foundation for a sustainable future for humanity.
The Unites States of America was founded on the democratic principle that all are endowed with inalienable rights. This declaration of the sovereignty of the nation and the rights of the people was contradicted by various dimensions of the social, economic, political, and cultural reality of that time. However, as the nation developed, popular movements were forged by workers, farmers, blacks, women, and students, seeking to more fully develop, in theory and practice, the American promise of democracy. With this political and moral foundation, it ought to be possible to forge today a progressive movement that envisions and calls the people to a consensual national project that affirms the imperative need to protect the sovereignty of all nations and the social and economic rights of all citizens of the nation and the world.
All of us who share the fundamental convictions of liberals have the duty to work to forge a consensus among our people, in support of alternative political project, one that envisions the nation cooperating with other nations and peoples in the development of a more just, democratic, and sustainable world.