Read the whole essay. He views the Left as animated by egalitarianism. This is close to my thesis that progressives use the language of oppressor-oppressed. Some excerpts:
The Left shares the suspicion of government power at the heart of classical liberalism, but only up to a point. Individuals need rights to protect them from overweening government intrusion, true, but government power in the proper hands can do good, and indeed the proper hands must wield the power of government in order to do the good of pursuing equality.
I have written that progressives believe that what their goals require is sufficient moral authority. Getting government to do good things is just a matter of summoning enough moral authority.
Few on the Left are willing to grant that their critics are likewise reasonable — in other words, that the Left has anything to gain from taking its critics seriously. That leaves the Left in search of an explanation for why it hasn’t won over its critics. The Left has three main explanations. The first is ignorance, in the sense that its critics lack sufficient knowledge of how society could be improved and why what the Left seeks would constitute improvement. For this category, there may be hope in the form of remedial education. The second is stupidity; its critics are simply unable to understand superior wisdom when they face it. There is little hope for them, alas. The third is venality — that its critics know better but seek to defend their position of personal privilege anyway. The only way to deal with these critics is to defeat them politically.
Lindberg notices, as I do, that this is not the New Left of the 1970s, with its revolutionary rhetoric and anti-establishment ideology.
The Left’s ambition is to obtain majority political support — no more, no less. The Revolution has been canceled. “The system is the solution.” The Democratic Party is the sole legitimate representative of the aspirations of Left 3.0.
Lindberg also notices the hard-line stance of today’s left. This may be the key quote of the essay:
The notion of an invincibly center-right electorate was anathema to the emerging Left 3.0. A key moment in its reconciliation with the Democratic Party was the latter’s abandonment of policies designed with a center-right electorate in mind. For the foreseeable future, the party would lay claim to the center not on the basis of adopting positions to appease moderates and independents, but on the basis of winning more than 50 percent of the vote on election day for candidates congenial to Left 3.0 and garnering majority public support for positions congenial to Left 3.0.
I see this hard-line stance evident in the progressive’s resistance to any suggestion for reducing government spending. You cannot suggest cuts in the short run, because that would mean austerity. You cannot suggest trimming entitlement promises, because Social Security is sacred and control over health care spending is a job for technocrats.
As an aside, possibly related, I find Venezuelans’ grief at the passing of Hugo Chavez to be fascinating and frightening. If nothing else, it suggests that earning popular support does not vindicate a politician’s wisdom or benevolence.