Richard Hofstadter, the historian whose most famous work, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, this essay exists in some obvious reference to, advanced a similar line in writing not so well-remembered today. His then-influential history writing drips with disdain for rubes who regard themselves as victimized by economics and history, who have failed to maintain correct political attitudes.
Adlai Stevenson, Democratic candidate for president, is on parade. A band is playing.
Onlookers cheer. He waves to the crowd.
A woman shouts: "Gov. Stevenson, you have the vote of every thinking person in this country!"
Stevenson replies: "Thank you, ma'am, but we need a majority."
The smug style says to itself, Yeah. I really am one of the few thinking people in this country, aren't I?
To riff on Marx, they'd already been co-opted by capitalism.
Originally, I thought I was done at this point. (I started working on this on Friday evening.)
As it turns out, that was not the case. Further thought later on Friday led me to at least touch on several follow-up points.
First, the author mentions the Obergefell gay marriage ruling by the Supreme Court, then brings in the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to grant gay marriage licenses even on pain of jail. Rensin then asks, perhaps with a bit of his own smugness (again, per the above? more on that later), how many of the people who were trying to tell Davis that her religious beliefs were wrong were atheist.
Not me, buddy. Yes, I've met both Minnesota nice secular humanists like Chris ??? and Gnu-ish atheists like Dan Fincke, both with at least some background in religious studies, who have tried that on the gay issue.
Not me. I've blogged before that I believe Paul of Tarsus was indeed a gay-basher. And, given Jesus' silence on the issue compounded with him being harsher than the Pharisees on divorce (and other sex issues), one should not assume he was pro-gay in the face of the Torah, himself. (I include that with more detail, as well, in what is itself a long blog post at that link just above.) That said, I'm not sure whether Rensin is more targeting atheists or liberal mush-god Christians, though, to be honest.
And, Mr. Rensin, actually, per my blog post on Kim Davis, if anything, the fundamentalists themselves were equal-time explainers away of what their bible says, including what Yeshua himself says on divorce for the multiply-unhitched Davis.
Second additional point, more contra people posting this to slap down everyday liberals than against the author.
It's possible that Trump backers are, overall and on average (median? mean?) no more racist than Bush or Reagan supporters, just that they, like their putative leader, lack filters and self-control. That wouldn't surprise me. How much of that is a statement about them, how much is a statement about our Net 2.0 world, and how much is yet other things, I don't know.
There's "something" there; I'm just not sure what.
Third, as noted in passing above, is the smug factor. And it may not just be Rensin.
Regular readers here know I love the sound of petards hoisting in the morning. The author indeed comes off a bit that way. I can't speak to the motives of those who posted the original piece or who agree with its posting. They might, in turn, think I'm smug for writing this very paragraph.
And, I'll let a semi-sleeping dog lie at that point.