Your words themselves make a strong case for the essential vacuity of Liberalism.
As you seem to have identified, Liberalism has no emotional center except perhaps a smug Panglossian complacency in this being the best of all possible worlds.
The Liberal idea that the Mighty Engine of Capitalism, driven by a tiny number of billionaires at any speed they see fit, restrained of course by the mighty reins of Regulation; the idea that Regulated Money, the Greatest Invention that Humans Ever Made!, will eventually deliver the greatest good for the greatest number — these ideas are neither emotionally appealing nor objectively true.
Yes, for many decades, the developed world delivered an ever-increasing array of ever-cheaper consumer goods, but this has been accomplished at an appalling cost — we are destroying our own ecosystem through overconsumption and wanton indifference to the consequence our own actions. Climate change will ravage the face of our planet for generations to come, and together with deforestation and pollution, the extinction rate will continue to increase — and it’s already thousands of times greater than at any time in the last sixty six million years.
And there’s no evidence whatsoever that Liberalism is going to turn any of this around. Quite the reverse, as a matter of fact!
Unless we can reverse it, this is the sixth extinction. Five times before in the last half billion years of geological history, there have been extinction level events, due to huge phenomena like the last one, sixty-six million years ago — some combination of “massive volcanoes cover an area bigger than Texas two kilometers deep in lava and belch out noxious gasses that blanket the globe” and “asteroid strikes planet”.
But this sixth extinction level event is simply due to human beings being irresponsible. And Liberalism has smiled benevolently down on this the whole while. “Climate change? Extinctions? Not a problem! When the economics are right, the Free Market Fairy will set out in her chariot Free Trade, wave her magic wand Innovation, and the carbon will fall out of the sky on its own in fear, and the extinct animals will come out of their hiding places and frolic.”
No! This is a fucking emergency! Our house is on fire! We should have acted forty years ago!
…and yet liberal darling President Obama did mic drops and photo shoots and the barest minimum possible to convince people that he hadn’t forgotten “the environment” as somewhere in his top twenty priorities after Jobs and National Security and Being Tough on Immigrants, while bragging in 2012, “We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth…” not to mention protecting BP from the consequences of their criminal negligence, while allowing the Americans who lost their livelihoods to twist slowly in the wind.
(And let’s not forget the Dakota Access Pipeline, which occurred when Obama was a lame duck and could have done pretty well any executive branch thing he liked without consequence, or even spoken out, but did nothing. And Flint still doesn’t have clean water — and the Flint water crisis started in 2014…)
Thanks, Liberalism. Glad I don’t have kids.
I try to see everything through the lens of future historians, and from the viewpoint of a hundred years from now, we are committing the worst crime in history by destroying the only ecosystem we have ever known and Liberalism is doing this terrible thing.
So if you wonder why Liberalism is unpopular, look no further than the ongoing devastation of the biosphere. Our ship has already hit the rocks, and is in the process of sinking — slowly in human terms but unprecedentedly fast in geological time! — yet our Liberal captains are locked in their staterooms, munching on beef and watching their flat screens, hoping to elect yet another Liberal President who will regulate the rocks away.