"The liberal class, despite becoming an object of public scorn, still prefers the choreographed charade. Liberals decry, for example, the refusal of the Democratic Party to restore habeas corpus or halt the looting of the U.S. Treasury on behalf of Wall Street speculators, but continue to support a president who cravenly serves the interests of the corporate state. As long as the charade of democratic participation is played, the liberal class does not have to act. It can maintain its privileged status. It can continue to live in a fictional world where democratic reform and responsible government exist. It can pretend it has a voice and influence in the corridors of power. But the uselessness of the liberal class is not lost on the tens of millions of Americans who suffer the awful indignities of the corporate state." - Chris Hedges, "The World Liberal Opportunists Made" (http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/the_world_liberal_opportunists_made_20101025/)
One reason the liberal class is so vicious toward left-wing radicals and other unbelievers in "America" is that such views spike the illusion within which they wrap themselves. As you say, "What they really want to save is themselves, and what they really want restored are their illusions about America."
Their real fear is well expressed by Hedges, "The liberal class, like the déclassé French aristocracy, has no real function within the power elite. And the rising right-wing populists, correctly, ask why liberals should be tolerated when their rhetoric bears no relation to reality and their presence has no influence on power." - Chris Hedges, "The World Liberal Opportunists Made" Exactly so, away with the "decency" that adorns the face of power.