- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2016

Famous chef Anthony Bourdain is an outspoken liberal, but he blasted the “self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left” on Thursday for making it harder for Americans to find “common ground.”

CNN’s “Parts Unknown” host recently said he has “utter contempt” for President-elect Donald Trump, but in a new interview with Reason magazine he sounded off on his ideological allies’ for denying opponents “basic humanity and [the] legitimacy of their views.”

“The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now,” the chef said while promoting his new cookbook, “Ecco.”

Mr. Bourdain said that while he fears Mr. Trump’s election is a foreshadowing of “authoritarianism,” conservatives do not own full culpability for the political landscape.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good,” the chef said.

“Nothing nauseates me more than preaching to the converted. The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left — just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition — this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn’t change anyone’s opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us. We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible. I fear that is not at all what we’ve done.”

Mr. Bourdain added that Bill Maher of HBO’s “Real Time” epitomizes “insufferably smug” liberalism.

“[He’s] really the worst of the smug, self-congratulatory left,” the chef told Reason. “I have a low opinion of him. I did not have an enjoyable experience on his show. Not a show I plan to do again. He’s a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble. And he is in no way looking to reach outside, or even look outside, of that bubble, in an empathetic way.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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