Obviously a primary liberal conviction is that we should be tolerant of other peoples' convictions. But if we believe in something, we had better find ways to say so convincingly.
Popularizing - much less venturing beyond one's secure turf - was frowned upon for many years. I think I probably internalized the prohibition, even though I was - and knew I was - among the best speakers and writers of my age cohort. I don't mean I was the best historian - a quite different measure.
I think if I'm controversial it's not because I set out to be. It's because I've never felt comfortable being part of someone else's mainstream community.
Reality is a powerful solvent.