John Frary: Liberal Triumphalism

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To the gloaters: burn through every gallons of that sweet euphoria as quickly and fully as you can, for it will very soon become stale and leave only the putrid taste of rot in your mouth. Read More
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Liberal Triumphalism
Wed, 11/14/2012 - 6:56am
Posted by FLAMMENWERFER

“Triumphalism (n): b : smug or boastful pride in the success or dominance of one's nation or ideology over others.”

Prof. Charles Kimball identified its four attributes in 2002:
Impaired ability to judge the value or morality of the group's actions;
Cessation of creativity and innovation within the group;
Blindness to other groups’ strengths and innovations;
A tendency to over-reach against the group’s competitors, based on an inflated sense of the likelihood of triumph in conflict.

Prof. Kimball was writing about religious trimphalism, but these attributes have a wider application.

On Nov. 13 Michael Tomasky announces the death of Reaganomics; the same that day Adam Myerson proclaims the descent of the California Republican Party to “oblivion.” Two days earlier Jonathan Chait wrote that Obama’s victory over Bush’s tax cuts for the rich was a triumph of “moral decency and plausible budgeting” and Thomas Edsall wrote in the New York Times that the right had lost the culture wars. There’s lots of commentary along the same lines.

A dissident Frenchman blogging under the name Frogman scoffs:

“To the gloaters: burn through every gallons of that sweet euphoria as quickly and fully as you can, for it will very soon become stale and leave only the putrid taste of rot in your mouth. I know you, for I’ve seen your peers and walk among them in the Land of the Frenchmen. Tomorrow, the effects of your plebiscite will pierce through the exhilaration of your victory, and they will crush you as much as they afflict those you mock today.

The Frogman distinguishes between the victory and the fruits of victory. The obvious fallacy here is the delusion that an electoral triumph constitutes a policy success. They apparently believe that the Democrats’ success at the polls means a victory over terrorism, that the dollar will not collapse, that health care will become cheaper and better, that deficits don’t matter, that we can’t possibly go over a fiscal cliff, that the playing field will be leveled, that the integrity and transparency of the administration has been established, that the stock market will ascend and interest rates will remain low, that the middle classes will prosper at the expense of the rich, that California’s future will be as golden as its past, and that traditional cultural norms can be discarded without negative consequences.

The liberals may yet experience a reversal of the Duke of Wellington’s dictum, i.e., that nothing is sadder than defeat except victory.

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