Here's a quick response to comments on my post last week re Sarah Palin's stylistic debt to popular liberalism, or more precisely, the culture that popular liberalism helped shape. Mainly I want to respond to the suggestion that I have maligned liberalism by associating it with Palin's illogic, solipsism, sense of aggrievement and tendency to dismiss criticism as hate speech or libel.
I probably should have explicitly acknowledged the obvious -- that, like most isms, (feminism, conservatism, socialism, or libertarianism) liberalism is not monolithic. It is, however, marked by dominant trends, especially in its popular incarnations. The liberalism of John Stuart Mill, for example, (notably his defense of free speech) is difficult to reconcile with what passes for liberalism on college campuses today. It's true that, back in the 1980s, when Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin proposed restricting pornography as a civil rights violation, they met with resistance from many traditional, liberal civil libertarians, (like me.) It's true that a federal appeals court struck down a local ordinance based on their model anti-porn statute almost 25 years ago. But while anti-porn feminists lost that battle, they won the war to cast censorship as a respectable, even necessary means of advancing equality.