The prim self-righteousness of liberalism against a Trump or Kanye West always comes off as absurd, since liberalism, philosophically speaking, prides itself on its lack of restraining principles. Insofar as it recognizes no divine law prior to man’s will, liberalism sanctions all manner of incivility. Hence, an Eric Holder, once stripped of power, can’t think of any principled reason for going high if opponents go low. Indeed, given the relativism underpinning liberalism, the temptation to violence is irresistible for most lefties, especially in times of political exile. Many of the heroes of Hillary and Holder are figures of violence and monstrous incivility — from Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to Bill Ayers and the Black Panthers. Around the start of Trump’s presidency, the New York Times couldn’t even bring itself to condemn a play in Central Park in which a Trumpian figure is stabbed to death. Upper West Side liberals thought that theatrical Trumpicide great fun, and they have welcomed back into their salons the comedienne Kathy Griffin, who was temporarily and grudgingly banished for holding up a mock-severed head of Trump.
Holder’s old boss launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, who on 9/11 (coincidentally) took to the pages of the New York Times to gloat that he was “guilty as hell and free as a bird.” The mammoth biography on Obama by David Garrow — which arrived stillborn in bookstores owing to its semi-critical tone (liberals don’t want to hear anything but praise about their hero) — establishes that Obama’s attempts to distance himself from Ayers were utterly dishonest. The two were close neighborhood pals in Chicago — a friendship that did not contradict the liberalism of an Obama or a Holder but simply reflected its intrinsically uncivil character and gravitation to violent radicalism. All of the ideologies that shape modern liberalism reject a divinely mandated moral law, which in the end is the only real source of civility and sanction on violence.