That last line, "The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled," is probably the most succinct description of what Alan Bloom observed 20 years ago in The Closing of the American Mind. It's not an exclusive phenomenon of the Left, of course. (I've spent time talking about Creationism and evolution with conservative Christians who would give the Leftist dittoheads a real run for their money in terms of closed-minded ignorant prattle.) But it is explicitly institutionalized on the Left.
Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers ... They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.
This is a point Jonah Goldberg vaguely hints at in his excellent Liberal Fascism. The Right has been forced for the past 50 years to publicly wrestle with the dark aspects of its past. Conservatives who defend states' rights have had to identify the legitimate aspects of that position, apart from the racist arguments state autonomy from Washington was used to justify for generations. This has made conservatism much richer and much deeper as time has gone on, just as a person who's forced to defend (and therefore, to understand) positions he holds will have a much deeper, more mature understanding of those positions as time goes on.
Liberals, as Jonah meticulously points out, have a distressing amount of baggage of their own that one would think they'd feel the need to justify. Instead, however, the Left has avoided doing this precisely by blaming all the baggage of the early-20th century Left on conservatives. Fascism, a distinctly Liberal phenomenon if ever there was one, has been labeled a conservative movement for many years. The evidence that this is not so has stared so many of us in the face for 70 years -- How could a National Socialist Party be anything other than Liberal? -- but many of us didn't see it because we were blinded by the brazen lies of the Left. Liberals today still promote many of the policies that the Fascists of yesterday promoted, but they haven't been called to account for them.
As Camille Pagilla points out, most of them can't account for them. Most of them feel no need, even when the point is painstakingly pointed out to them, to even attempt to account for them. This is sad, but understandably inevitable. The Left as a movement is based on the denial of objective Truth. All that matters in a world of subjective truths is power -- the power to enforce your view of the world on others. Thus Liberals have been conditioned to unquestioningly accept as legitimate the imposition of Leftist worldviews. This is their new worship -- the worship of power. It has rotted their brains.