The Smug Style [...]

Is American liberalism too smug? Too willing to believe that disagreements are about a knowledge and intelligence gap? Perhaps.

I have been wondering for a long time how it is that so many entries to the op-ed pages take it as their justifying premise that they are arguing for a truth that has never been advanced before.

“It’s an accepted, nearly unchallenged assumption that Muslim communities across the U.S. have a problem — that their youth tend toward violent ideology, or are susceptible to “radicalization” by groups like the Islamic State,” began an editorial that appeared last December in the New York Times. But “after all,” it goes on, “the majority of mass shootings in America are perpetrated by white men but no one questions what might have radicalized them in their communities.”

But this contention — that Muslims possess superlative violent tendencies — has been challenged countless times, hasn’t it? It was challenged here, and here and here as far back as 9/11. The president of the United State challenged it on national television the night before this editorial was published. The Times itself did too. The myopic provincialism of anybody who believes that Muslims are a uniquely violent people is the basis of a five-year-old Onion headline, not some new moral challenge.

The smug style leaves its adherents no other option: If an idea has failed to take hold, if the Good Facts are not widely accepted, then the problem must be that these facts have not yet reached the disbelievers. (Source)