Left vs. Liberal
After observing the incredible failures of socialist regimes in the 20th century, many on the Left seemed to realize that centrally-planned economies would never produce the liberty or prosperity anticipated by more utopian, classical Marxists. Authoritarians on the far-Left instead turned their focus to revolutionizing American culture by shaping public opinion and controlling the flow of information through our central social institutions.
The New Left and the neo-Marxist "critical theory" espoused by Frankfurt School activist-scholar Herbert Marcuse provided the philosophical justification for this shift in strategy. After the movement's failed attempt at socialist revolution in the late 1960s and early 1970s, former New Left activists waged a "long march through the institutions" to transform them from the inside; bending American culture and society in the direction of socialism. That is, a far-Left revolutionary vanguard has waged a decades-long campaign to psychologically condition the American people through indoctrination in social justice orthodoxy and outright censorship and repression of dissenting perspectives.
Neoliberalism and classical liberalism have long opposed any form of authoritarianism, whether on the Right or Left. Genuine liberals like Karl Popper, for example, opposed both fascism and socialism. Today’s neoliberal “woke capitalists,” however, seem to have prioritized the accumulation of material wealth above the preservation of America's classical liberal values. Apparently judging movements on the Right to be a greater threat to their self-interests than those on the Left, today's neoliberals have entered into an "enemy of my enemy" alliance with neo-Marxists to defeat Donald Trump and the populist counter-revolution that has erupted throughout the West.
Illustrating my point, Netflix, Amazon, Nike, the NBA, the NFL, and many other mainstream American corporations have unequivocally endorsed Black Lives Matter, an illiberal, neo-Marxist movement whose leaders have explicitly called for a communist revolution.
Similarly, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media platforms have effectively cast their lot with the far-Left. By coddling socialist revolutionaries like Antifa while they routinely “deplatform” people on the Right for challenging social justice orthodoxy, the neo-liberal globalists who own and run these corporations have implicitly embraced Marcuse’s “discriminating (in)tolerance” against critics.
A prime example of "discriminating intolerance" is Google's firing of programmer James Damore after he complained about initiatives to discriminate against male computer programs for the sake of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Damore suggested (based on his interpretation of good social science) that the disparity of representation between men and women in big tech firms probably had less to do with oppression than personal choices. His thoughtful memo sharing his beliefs with colleagues allegedly made some of them feel “unsafe.”
By the far-Left's rulebook, if a member of an "oppressor" group dissents against social justice orthodoxy or causes Left-aligned members of "oppressed" groups subjective discomfort, he must be de-platformed and delegitimized. Neo-liberals have implicitly endorsed this intolerant, authoritarian rulebook. Thus, anyone looking for a consistent, principled liberal in 2020 would have better luck finding one on the Right than the Left.