Matt Taibbi and the liberal apostates of the left

Credit where it’s due, then: A handful of left-of-center writers and talkers whose policy preferences rarely overlap with mine are doing important work in defending liberal values to the Left. Bill Maher, Jonathan Chait, Matt Yglesias, Glenn Greenwald, and Andrew Sullivan are pushing back against their own side with impressive dedication. (I realize Sullivan describes himself as a conservative, but he’s considerably to the left of anyone to whom I would apply that label.) All of these people have been repaid with heaps of scorn and obloquy by members of their own intellectual tribe, but as far as I can tell, being rebranded as outcasts is proving to be invigorating for all of them. One of the Left’s most ardent defenders of liberalism has turned out to be Matt Taibbi, the longtime Rolling Stone correspondent who, like several of the others I mentioned, seems to have discovered a new level of irreverent candor by writing on Substack, which has quickly become a leading platform for the dwindling remnant of left-of-center writers who still back liberalism. “Due Process Is Good, He Said Controversially” is the amusing title of one of his essays. Taibbi lately has written one knockout piece after another lambasting the leading mainstream-media outlets for becoming an echo chamber for hysterical, tendentious, and flat-out false claims about various figures on the right. While they are loading up the American mind with their partisan takes, they conspire to roadblock ideas with which they disagree. The liberal tradition of saying “may the best argument win” has been abandoned in favor of pushing the party line in an increasingly undisguised way.