I found a complex answer to this question in a washingtonmonthly.com article in the July/August 2018 issue by David A. Walsh titled How the Right Wing Convinces Itself That Liberals Are Evil.
To my surprise this hatred has its roots in McCarthyism and the fear of communism from the 1950s. In the right-wing worldview, liberals are socialists, communists, secularists, perverts, leftists and traitors who hate America and are part of a secret international communists conspiracy. Civil rights, gay rights and feminism are part of this liberal agenda.
Walsh writes that conservatives “…believe the liberals are evil and will do anything, legal or not, to further their anti-American, anti-Christian, pro-feminsits, pro civil and gay rights agenda. And in their minds justifies any means necessary to stop this communist, now socialist threat…” including, “…putting forth conspiracy theories and out right lies.”
“…conservative leaders have long depicted liberals as enemies of the the state.”
They believe, “The mainstream media and academia cannot be trusted because of the pervasive, totalitarian nature of the liberal culture.” The civil right movement was considered a “…communist liberal front group” that drew “…conservative scorn.”
In the 70s and 80s the religious right “…conflated liberalism, socialism, and communism under the broader umbrella of ‘secularism’ and built alliances with one another [Evangelicals, Catholics and some Mormons] to combat this scourge …united in the oppositions to abortion, gay rights and feminism.”
In Ann Coulter’s Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, she defends Joseph McCarthy’s view that accuse “liberals of being… traitors who hated America.”
“…that a vast left-liberal conspiracy was both undermining the country and using dirty, underhanded tactics to do so rhetorically justified an anything-goes strategy on the part of the right.”
The free enterprise system must be rescued “…from the clutches of liberalism, which would otherwise inevitably lead to communism.”
“The idea that the left is depraved, corrupt and ruthless has been an important strain of American conservatism since the movement began.”
Fox News was created in 1996 and was considered “…necessary, the argument went, because conservative journalist and conservative perspectives were shut out of main stream board-casters. Fox News present an unchallenged right-wing worldview to millions of viewers, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Liberals have been villainized by the right. Somehow people who support civil rights for cultural and religious minorities and the LGBTQ community, and who support helping the poor and disabled, and support livable wages that include healthcare and pension are evil. Somehow holding the corporations and wealthy accountable (product safety, environmental protection and financial honesty, e.g.) is evil. How can human rights and honesty be villainized by the religious right? Somehow people who would benefit from Democratic policies have been convinced by the right that these policies are unAmerican. This is mind-boggling and is going to require greater thought. Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories have created a destructive movement in America and must be left behind.
Below is an excerpt from my January 5, 2018 blog entry titled “Party Principles.” This is where the right and the left must begin to talk. The answer is to return to our principles and begin a discussion that will lead to balanced compromise.
- Smaller government to preserve the sanctity of the individual.
- Support the federalist system of government meaning less federal government and more state control. Against centralized government.
- Fiscal conservatism, limited taxation and government spending to ensure greater individual liberty.
- Strong national defence.
- Individual liberties, responsibilities and duties.
- Tolerance, inclusiveness and responsibilities.
Following this list of enumerated principles was an additional paragraph that added free enterprise, and equal rights, justice and opportunity for all including persons with disabilities, and human rights.
- More regulation, universal healthcare.
- Provide services for the poor. High earners pay higher percentage of taxes.
- Equal rights for LGTB persons. Support for Roe vs. Wade. Embryonic stem cell research. Regulate right to bear arms.
- Government should protect the people. Protecting every individual for an equal society sometimes at the expense of economic freedom.
Following this list of enumerated principles was additional qualifying paragraph. Democrats believe that parties motivated by self-interest are willing to behave in ways harmful to society unless government is prepared and empowered to constrain them. Regulation is necessary when individuals, corporations and industries pursue financial gain at an intolerable cost to society and become too powerful to be constrained by other social institutions. Democrats value educators and trust science.