A response to a commentator at Mangan’s Miscellany.
“So the relevant question is how society got to that point.”
The principle of non-discrimination, which shouldn’t be confused with tolerance, wasn’t broadly accepted by elite liberals in the 1920s. This had changed by 1945 when the United Nations was founded. In the 1920s, only the far left communist fringe in the United States consistently opposed racial discrimination.
“In answering that question, we must accept the sincerity of liberal ideas and deal with them as such, as Mr. Auster recommends.”
“Sincerity” is not an explanation. Of course contemporary liberals believe that non-discrimination is true and good. The same is true now of gay marriage, but that wasn’t always the case. Why did they change their minds?
“Blithely dismissing a bunch of college kids’ liberalism as status-driven is one thing, but blithely dismissing our society’s dominant liberal beliefs (that created the context for college kids to view liberalism as a status symbol) as such is quite another, and is quite beside the point.”
Status competition amongst elite liberals explains (in large part) why fringe causes eventually enter mainstream American political discourse.