Category Archive 'Liberalism'
29 Nov 2015

After Liberalism

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Roughbeast

Rod Dreher posts a letter from an anonymous (and not entirely grammatical) conservative college professor.

[W]hen people my parents’ age scoff at the whole trans thing and dismiss it as just the cause du jour (remember Darfur? neither do any of the SJWs), I shake my head and tell them they have no idea what’s coming. The project of the Willed Self is a natural outgrowth of Enlightenment thinking. (I share your opinion that Submission is not a great book, but a very important one in terms of exposing the internal contradictions of the Enlightenment.) The whole intellectual movement of the last three centuries has at its core the principle of freeing the willed self from all constraints. The trans movement represents this idea’s apex: if we can free ourselves from basic biology and anatomy, then truly we have become gods. “I am that I am” is no longer confined to Exodus 3; it is the mantra of the willed self freed from all external barriers. There is nothing beyond the subjective, the personal, the therapeutic, because all that matters is how I define my own self, my own existence, and my own gratification. There can be no society or community within this worldview. Patrick Deneen was right in that “After Liberalism” lecture he gave: Enlightenment liberalism has been scary for we [sic] traditional conservatives, but what’s coming next — what’s coming now — is terrifying.

29 Nov 2015

Leftist Politically Correct Extremism Has Ruined Liberalism

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Umair (who is no conservative himself) argues that leftism’s obsession with egalitarianism in its most bizarre manifestations and with regard to the most microscopic grievances has driven the liberal establishment to a kind of madness which distracts it from more real issues and delegitimizes all of its authority.

Every day lately, it seems that the world is going a little bit crazier than the day before. So, like me, you might be forgiveably baffled by the fact that while the planet is melting down, democracy’s broken, the economy’s cratered, the young won’t enjoy careers, retirements, savings, homes, societies are anxious, fractured, angry, the left is furiously obsessed with, willing to battle endlessly over, consumed passionately not with any or all of the above, but by…what to call their love lives. Do you use the right gender pronouns? Are you on board with the latest approved-by-committee terminology? Did you know that according to the internet “romantic” and “sexual” attraction aren’t the same thing? Don’t you know that men can have periods? Hey, is this a safe space? …

I want to advance a simple thesis: perhaps the central reason that liberalism is in historic decline globally is because the left is self-indulging itself into irrelevance.

To overdramatize it, the left is bickering over what to call what goes on between the sheets…while the world is starting to burn. Hence, when you think about it, the latest variant of Leftism isn’t really about politics very much at all. It’s about marketing. Safe spaces in which to have zealous contests for labels, which make up “identities”, that are ironically just…personal brands…that advertise…one’s narrow, shallow pursuit of pleasure, consumption, artifice. New Leftism is glittering narcissism concerned with the good life as lifestyle, not the difficult, joyous, humble work of living. Which leaves us here: as if shoppers at the mall began screaming at each other over their “lifestyle choices” while a giant hurricane ripped the roof from over their heads.

01 Jul 2015

The Empire of Nice

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Niceville

The Thinking Housewife is revolting against the tyranny of Nice.

J.D. writes, “What is it that they want?”

It’s shockingly simple: They want to be thought of as NICE. By everyone.

Niceness is their highest value… the coin of the realm. Nice people are nice. Not nice people are mean. And they don’t want mean people to think they’re not nice, either, so it’s a double-bind worldview. They’re trapped in the social empire of nice, and there is no escape.

However, there is a prize: everyone thinks the nice person is nice. Not much more, but certainly nice. No one can say anything bad about the nice person, which isn’t a fully human, fully-alive experience, but it is nice.

They don’t want to be thought of as mean, so they follow the nice trends and celebrate all kinds of nice self-congratulation. It’s a dualistic worldview, brought to them through television, Internet, viral emails, movies, social media, cute JPEGs, et cetera.

The Glowing Box tells them what is nice, and how to think. They imitate, and pass it on.

That’s what they want: to be nice, for others to think of them as nice, for others to be nice to others, and the world to be a nice place. They want to be comfortable. People who create discomfort — by thinking or encouraging others to think — are not nice. Just like their most challenging teachers in their school years, who created a “not nice environment” that demanded the best of them and others… the highest effort, playing on their growth edge. Standing for something beyond the comfort zone of niceness. That wasn’t nice because some people couldn’t get an A because they wouldn’t think or work hard enough to get it, creating despair. That’s not nice. And this view of thinkers — those with higher standards for humanity — continues to this day. Thinkers are mean, caught up in their heads. Unrepentant thinkers are haters. They have no heart.

Fun, huh?

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

04 May 2015

Sanctimony is a Choice, Too

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John Steele Gordon, in Commentary, fisks good-and-proper Nicholas Kristof’s canting, holier-than-thou “Inequality is a Choice” NYT editorial.

Is there really something terrible about the rich getting much richer, as long as the less rich are not getting any poorer, and indeed are seeing their standards of living rising over the long term, thanks to such things as Walmart, Amazon, iPhones, GPS, etc.?) …

[Kristof, in the end,] comes up with a list of possible ways to correct what might very well not need correcting, but would definitely put more money into the hands of the political class that Kristof represents (to be used, of course, strictly for the good of the poor and the downtrodden). Among these are: More government vigilance regarding monopolies and competition, strong trade unions, public-sector jobs at the minimum wage for such things as elderly care (has he checked with the unions for their opinion on this?), restrain pay at the highest levels (i.e. maximum-wage legislation), and a personal income tax that tops out at 65 percent.

Is there a single idea in there that post dates FDR, who died 70 years ago in a completely different economic universe? Indeed, most of them antedate the 20th century. Steeply progressive income taxes are straight out of the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848.

So here’s my list of ideas to lower the income inequality between rich and poor. They would actually help everyone except the political class:

Break up government monopolies, such as Medicare, the Veterans Administration, and, most important public school systems. Introducing competition into these areas of the economy is vital to improving them, because competition, and competition alone, produces hard work and innovation. Monopolies—private and governmental—are always fat, dumb, lazy, and devoted to maintaining the monopoly. The shortest route to prosperity for the poor and downtrodden is a good education and the inculcation of good work habits. They don’t get that today and liberals don’t give a damn. (One of the first things President Obama tried to do as president was end the school voucher program in Washington, D.C., as a thank you to the teachers unions, while sending his two daughters to a very expensive, and very good, private school: welcome to modern-day liberalism).

Introduce a flat tax, so that the private jet owners of the world can’t finagle special deals with their congressional pals.

Abolish the corporate income tax. I wrote about the extraordinary benefits of doing this in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago. At least 90 percent of the tax fiddles and crony-capitalism government favors are hidden in the corporate income tax. Get rid of it and 60,000 lobbyists in Washington would need to go out and get wealth-creating jobs. Do you think private jet owners own their private jets personally? Of course not, their corporations own them and get a slew of deductions thereby.

Modern-day liberalism is about talking about helping the poor and downtrodden, while espousing policies that will only help the narrow and ever-more privileged elite of which liberals are the most vocal supporters.

Read the whole thing.

13 Aug 2014

No Liberalism Without Imperialism

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imperialism

Daniel McCarthy, over at the American Conservative, argues that if you want liberalism and democracy, you are going to need an Empire capable of “by upholding a relatively un-Hobbesian global security environment.”

In the 19th century, the United States enjoyed the advantages of an international security environment propitious to liberalism and democracy without having to incur the costs of empire necessary to sustain those conditions. America could be liberal without having to be imperial—although the Indians, Mexicans, and Filipinos might well disagree. Beginning with World War II, however, if America wished to remain liberal and democratic, it would have to become imperial in many of the ways Britain had been—including playing a leading role in Europe and on the oceans. Indeed, America would have to do much of what the British Empire had done in the previous century on an even larger scale.

The efflorescence of liberal democracy in the latter half of the 20th century—the growth of international trade and support for democracy and human rights to the point where the total package appeared to be the “End of History”—was not a spontaneous, natural development. It was driven by U.S. prestige and power. Germany is now deeply committed to political liberalism, and Japan may in some respects be more consumerist than the U.S. itself. But these states were, of course, remade by the U.S. after World War II.

This is not to say there aren’t genuinely local traditions of liberalism or democracy to be found among America’s allies, nor that American arms can simply transform any other kind of regime into a liberal and democratic one: the apparent success of nation-building in Japan and Germany owed as much to the threat that the Soviet Union posed to those states as to anything America did. The Germans and Japanese had the most urgent incentive imaginable to make their newly liberal and democratic constitutions work—because aligning with the U.S. was the only insurance they could buy against being annexed by the Soviet empire instead.

There is a crucial difference between the Napoleonic, land-empire mentality that wants to revolutionize other states—a mentality taken to extremes by the Soviets and exhibited with considerable fervor by many neoconservatives and liberal hawks today—and the example set by Britain in the 19th century, which was a liberal but not revolutionary world power and encouraged liberalization mostly though indirect means: via trade, culture, and above all, by upholding a relatively un-Hobbesian global security environment.

Liberal anti-imperialists today, whether libertarian or progressive, make the same mistakes Britain’s pacifists and America’s interwar noninterventionists once did: they imagine that the overall ideological complexion of the world, as determined by the state most capable of projecting power, need not affect their values and habits at home. They believe that liberalism is possible without empire.

Read the whole thing.

30 Jul 2014

Conservatism as Punk Rock

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The Ramones at CBGB

Kurt Schlichter has a good rap, arguing that Conservatism is the new Punk Rock, while those sad millennial kids are listening to Tony Bennett.

We’ve heard it all before a hundred times, the same old lack of imagination, the same old sorry set list. The music of liberalism doesn’t move us, it doesn’t change us, it doesn’t excite us. It’s just there, aural wallpaper designed to keep us quiet, to get the liberals through one more election cycle, to help them hold power just a little longer.

Today, Sheena is no longer a punk rocker. Instead, she is a disaffected Oppression Studies grad student trying to pay off her $200K student loan debt working part-time at the local Starbucks. She chooses cuddly conformity and cozy control over the excitement of actual independence. Sure, she has a nose piercing the show that she’s a rebel, but this rebel’s cause is to replace her helicopter parents with a helicopter government.

We conservatives want to tear it all down. We conservatives want to smash it up. Liberalism, I want to destroy you. We’re where the action is, where the excitement is, where you can hear new music from bands you mainstream liberals have probably never heard of.

Liberals want to see themselves as punks. They aren’t. They are sad conformists who frankly deserve the consequences of their inaction.

Read the whole thing.

18 Feb 2014

Militarized Police: Just Another Epiphenomenon of Liberal Misgovernment

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Dan Greenfield explains that our modern militarized police did not come from nowhere. He argues that machine-gun-carrying cops, riding around in armored personnel carriers, constitutes just one more untoward after-effect of liberal policies.

The police escalation that shows up on countless videos exists because the people demanded it. And the people demanded it because liberal social policies made entire cities unlivable. The militarized police forces out of cities like Los Angeles filtered down to the suburbs and the rural areas as the same policies and populations that made cities unlivable began spreading outward.

The police state, associated with the right, worked in tandem with the social policies of the left, to dull the pain of those policies. That “dulling” has become the new role of conservative politicians in America who manage the disaster instead of rolling it back. The left realized that without the police state, its policies faced a much broader level of rejection so it learned to tolerate the pigs and the man.

Urban areas were still a disaster, but relentless computerized policing reduced crime enough to make it appear that things had improved. The visible crime statistics however were only the symptoms of the problem. The left had been right about that. It was just wrong about the cause. It was the cause all along. Its social policies had created social problems that the police state managed.

Having armed goons patrol the streets made cities viable again. And that brought in the tax base which allowed the left to experiment with more of the same social policies. The Giulianis made it safe for the Bloombergs and then the De Blasios to come back. In the same way Bush’s war policies paved the way for the Obama years by dulling the pain of international terrorism.

Read the whole thing.

23 Dec 2013

Liberalism: The Self-Esteem Source For Mediocrities

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Dan Greenfield manages to explain exactly how liberalism manages to sell its ideology so successfully to the lumpen-haute-bourgeoisie, and identifies the mechanism by which conformity of thought is so widely systematically confused with intelligence.

Self-esteem is the new intelligence. Obama’s intelligence was manufactured by pandering to the biases and tastes of his supporters. The more he shared their biases and tastes, the smarter he seemed to be and the smarter they felt by having so much in common with such a smart man. …

[M]anufactured intelligence is self-involved. It mistakes feeling for thinking. It deals not with how things are or even how we would like them to be, but how we feel about the way things are and what our feelings about the way things are say about what kind of people we are.

Liberal intelligence is largely concerned with the latter. It is a self-esteem project for mediocre elites, the sons and daughters of the formerly accomplished who are constantly diving into the shallow pools of their own minds to explore how their privilege and entitlement makes them view the world and how they can be good people by challenging everyone’s paradigms and how they can think outside the box by climbing into it and pulling the flaps shut behind them.

Perpetual self-involvement isn’t intelligence regardless of how many of the linguistic tricks of memoir fiction it borrows to endow its liberal self-help section with the appearance of nobility.

Liberalism isn’t really about making the world a better place. It’s about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.

Read the whole thing.

03 Dec 2013

Liberal Charity: “Make George Do It!”

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John Steele Gordon notes, in Commentary, how liberal benevolence always consists of making somebody else provide the donation.

Steve Coll has a comment in this week’s New Yorker calling for a higher federal minimum wage. He points out that it’s awfully hard for a family of four to live on the current minimum wage, which would produce a family income of about $15,000 a year. That is certainly true, but Mr. Coll leaves out a few things. A family of four with an annual income of $15,000 would be eligible for food stamps amounting to $7,584 and an earned income tax credit of $5,372. That raises the family income to $27,911, which is quite an improvement. The family would also be eligible for Medicaid, school lunch and breakfast programs, perhaps housing assistance and other forms of help. He also leaves out the fact that very, very few people earning the minimum wage are the sole breadwinners of a family of four. Most are entry-level employees, often teenagers, with no developed skills. Most people who take a job at the minimum wage are earning above that level within a year, having learned marketable skills.

To be polite, Mr. Coll is being tendentious. To be less polite he is being grossly intellectually dishonest.

The minimum wage is a favorite liberal hobbyhorse, heavily promoted by labor unions. It is typical progressivism: a liberal politician (or journalist) says, in effect, “See that man over there? He needs help.” Then he points to an employer and says, “You, help him.” Finally, he points to himself and, addressing the man needing help, says, “Don’t forget where the help came from.”

23 Oct 2013

A House Divided

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Jeanne Safer (Mrs. Richard Brookhiser) discusses her own marriage of political opposites.

This November fifth, like every Election Day for the last three decades, I’ll show up faithfully at my polling place rain or shine, even if there’s another Hurricane Sandy in New York City. Once again, I’ll be pulling the levers for some people I actually agree with, for some I’m not crazy about, and for others I’ve barely heard of. As long as they’re Democrats, they can count on my support.

It’s a matter of moral obligation, not just civic duty: I’ve got to cancel out my husband’s vote.

For thirty-three years I’ve been happily married to a man with whom I violently disagree on every conceivable political issue, including abortion, gun control, and assisted suicide. I thought the recent government shutdown was absurd, infantile, and destructive; he was a fan. And not only is he a conservative Republican, he’s a professional conservative Republican, a Senior Editor of National Review, the leading journal of conservative opinion in the country.

So why don’t we both just agree to stay home on Election Day? Because, even though I trust him with my life, I don’t trust him, and would never ask him, not to vote his conscience. It took our first decade together for me to accept that not even my considerable powers of persuasion as a psychotherapist—not to mention the self-evident correctness of my positions—would never make him change his mind, but, alas, it is so; he never even tried to change mine.

Other than my father, I never even knew any Republicans growing up, and certainly never had one for a boyfriend. But in my late twenties I joined a Renaissance singing group, and there he was—tall, clever, with intense blue eyes and a lyrical baritone. I couldn’t resist. I’d known and been treated abominably by too many men who shared all my opinions to let his convictions get in the way, and I’ve never regretted it. Our wedding was a bipartisan affair. My mentor, one of the early victims of the McCarthyite purges, gave me away, and my husband’s publisher, one of McCarthy’s most avid enforcers, gave a reading. Somehow everyone behaved, setting a trend that we have emulated with only a few brief exceptions ever since.

Read the whole thing.

It was my wife Karen, who introduced the future happy couple, at her singing group many long years ago. Jeanne really doesn’t like me. I argue with her.

12 Sep 2013

Liberals Are Not Libertarian

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Jonah Goldberg takes a poke at the myth of liberal tolerance.

There is a notion out there that being “socially liberal” means you’re a libertarian at heart, a live-and-let-live sort of person who says “whatever floats your boat” a lot.

Alleged proof for this amusing myth (or pernicious lie; take your pick) comes in the form of liberal support for gay marriage and abortion rights, and opposition to a few things that smack of what some people call “traditional values.”

The evidence disproving this adorable story of live-and-let-live liberalism comes in the form of pretty much everything else liberals say, do, and believe.

Social liberalism is the foremost, predominant, and in many instances sole impulse for zealous regulation in this country, particularly in big cities. I love it when liberals complain about a ridiculous bit of PC nanny-statism coming out of New York, L.A., Chicago, D.C., Seattle, etc. — “What will they do next?”

Uh, sorry to tell you, but you are “they.” Outside of a Law and Order script — or an equally implausible MSNBC diatribe about who ruined Detroit — conservatives have as much influence on big-city liberalism as the Knights of Malta do.

Seriously, who else do people think are behind efforts to ban big sodas or sue hairdressers for charging women more than men? Who harasses little kids for making toy guns out of sticks, Pop Tarts, or their own fingers? Who wants to regulate the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the beverages you drink? Who wants to control your thermostat? Take your guns? Your cigarettes? Heck, your candy cigarettes? Who’s in favor of speech codes on campuses and “hate crime” laws everywhere? Who’s in favor of free speech when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized “art” and pornography (so long as you use a condom, if liberals get their way) but then bang their spoons on their high chairs for strict regulations when it comes to political speech? Who loves meddling, finger-wagging billionaires like Michael Bloomberg when they use state power and taxpayer money to herd, bully, and nudge people but thinks billionaires like the Koch brothers who want to shrink government are the root of all tyranny?

At the national level, who bypassed Congress to empower the EPA to regulate the atmosphere? Oh, and who pushed Obamacare on a country that didn’t want it? Who defends bending the entire country — including religious institutions — into a national health-care scheme dedicated to the proposition of live and let live so long as you live the way the Department of Health and Human Services says you should?

Did legislative and bureaucratic gremlins sneak into government buildings at night and pass all of these rules and regulations while the social-liberal free-thinkers were off not judging people and refusing to harsh anybody’s mellow?

Sure, today’s liberalism does carry within it some genetic lineage to the classical liberalism — i.e., libertarianism — of J. S. Mill and John Locke. But genetic ties are overrated. After all, humans share half of our genes with bananas.

Read the whole thing.

26 Jul 2013

Social Conservatism Versus the Liberal Administrative State

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The mad scientist Rotwang works on his Maschinenmensch in Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” (1927).

James Kalb contends that modern administrative liberalism successfully eliminates Religion, Nature, and Tradition from serious consideration in political questions of policy, but he remains optimistic for Conservatism’s ultimate victory.

[Today’s] situation is the result of the occupational outlook of those who run things in the West today. People who try to run a mass industrial society with a mixed and fluid population find it easiest to understand their task in accordance with a general scheme that emphasizes equality, technological rationality, and maximum preference satisfaction. Those committed to such a scheme have trouble making sense of traditional understandings based on a very different view of how the world works. Hence the difficulty social conservatives have making their case: their outlook is too much at odds with that of the influential public they hope to reach.

Still, political thought is more than an expression of institutional functioning and occupational perspective. Its highest use is to change and even transform how the social world works for the sake of a better way of life. With that in mind, it seems worthwhile to develop an account of public life and its relation to social conservatism that might aid those in responsible positions to understand the latter and how it functions.

For all the talk of diversity, today’s politics are extraordinarily uniform. The West lives under a single political regime, managerial liberalism, that combines an emphasis on individual choice and democratic values with domination of social life by experts, functionaries, and commercial interests. The liberal and managerial aspects of the system seem at odds with each other, but both are basic, and together they have led to the suppression of many things that have always been fundamental to human society—religion, cultural particularity, even the distinction between the sexes.

Unusual though the resulting form of society may be, people take it for granted, so much so that anything else seems impossible. No one can imagine a future, apart from chaos and tyranny, that is anything but more of the same; and those who want to roll back recent developments, to the ’50s, for example, are considered out of touch or psychologically disordered. If you are skeptical about democracy, diversity, and choice, or if you do not trust the experts, there is something wrong with you. And if you think there is an authority that could call the regime into question, and even at times override it, you are a fanatical extremist.

What is going on? Why the uniform insistence on such an odd political orthodoxy in an age that supposedly believes in freedom, diversity, and reason?

Part of the answer is that political choices have narrowed as one alternative after another has been discredited and an exclusively technological attitude toward social life has taken hold. The First World War meant an end to traditional and multinational monarchies; the Second, an end to any serious European Right or strong conception of national sovereignty. Those and other upheavals made the administrative machinery of the state more all-encompassing and destroyed local traditions and respect for goals other than effectiveness and uniformity.

The world wars were followed by prosperity, TV, cheap jet travel, globalized markets, electronic communications, the contemporary welfare state, and a continued tendency toward the industrial organization of life. People today eat at McDonalds, children grow up in day care, and local establishments have been replaced by chain stores and the Internet. The two wars were also followed by the Cold War. As a modern war, the Cold War further centralized social life and increased government power; as a struggle of ideas, it made thought more ideological. Western governments became accustomed to social management based on grand slogans such as human rights. With the collapse of Soviet communism, the last nonliberal form of modern political life, such tendencies could unfold without external check.

Our current public order claims to separate politics from religion, but that understates its ambition. It aspires to free public life—and eventually, since man is social, human life in general—not only from religion but also from nature and history. The intended result is an increase in freedom as man becomes his own creator. The effect, though, is that human life becomes what those in power say it is. Western political authorities now claim the right to remake the most basic arrangements. If you want to know the nature of man and the significance of life and death, you look to the political order and its authorized interpreters. That is the meaning of the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions and the transformation of abortion into a human right. Man has, in effect, become God, and politics is the authoritative expression of his mind, spirit, and will. …

What allows the managerial liberal regime to function are habits of loyalty and sacrifice, and understandings of natural goods and purposes, which it continually undermines and cannot justify or explain.

Hat tip to John Zmirak.

15 May 2013

“Childish, Self-Aggrandizing Displays of ‘Sensitivity’ ”

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Bruce Bawer responds to the arrested development that results in liberalism.

If I’m curious about the psychology of [members of the commentariat of the left who, after events like the Benghazi Embassy attack or the Boston bombing, hurry to defend Islam]. it’s reflexive. It’s mainstream. Among urban types who view themselves as liberal-minded and sophisticated, it’s considered de rigueur to think this way about things like this. Certainly you’re obliged to think this way if you want to count on getting published in major establishment newspapers and at websites like Salon.

It’s necessary to fight jihad. But it’s equally necessary to fight this weed that has grown up among us – this decadent, despicable readiness to deny the reality of jihad, to relativize it, to make excuses for it, to blame it on us, on America.

These decadent characters take these positions, of course, because they’ve been marinated in multiculturalism and, in particular, have absorbed the all-important lesson that the great danger of our time is not Islam but the criticism thereof. Yet what made multiculturalism attractive to these people in the first place is that it’s tailor-made for spoiled, narcissistic grown children who don’t want to have adult enemies – that is, the kind of enemies who represent a real danger to them or that they might ever really have to fight. It’s tailor-made for people who cherish the notion of themselves as sensitive and understanding toward “The Other,” and whose enemies of choice are, basically, parental substitutes – people who draw clear moral distinctions, who talk about the need for security, and who make unequivocal assertions about the superiority of American freedom to Islamic tyranny.

Fighting the mental affliction – the terminal puerility – of the O’Hehirs may be even harder than fighting jihad itself. How do you repair a culture in which mature moral judgment and adult civic responsibility have systematically been replaced by childish, self-aggrandizing displays of “sensitivity”? How do you install a moral compass in a fully grown adult?

For that’s the problem, in essence: these people are missing certain working parts that are essential components of the civilized adult. First of all, they lack the imaginative capacity, and the sense of identification with their own country, to understand that the bombing in Boston wasn’t just an attack on the three people who died and the dozens others who were wounded, but was, in fact, an attack on them – and on their families and friends, their very lives, their children’s future. For all their mockery of America’s idea of itself as a “protected zone,” their supposed empathy for the jihadists is a luxury in which they’re able to indulge precisely because they think of themselves, consciously or not, as living in a “protected zone.” Like any baby in a crib, they feel safe, cocooned, impregnable – yet they don’t realize that the reason for this feeling of safety is that they’ve spent their lives in a country where the cops and the military have protected them from, well, people like the Tsarnaev brothers.

Like any child, they accept this protection as their due, their right. They take it for granted. But they don’t think of themselves as having any responsibility that accompanies this right – for example, a responsibility as citizens to the safety and well-being of the American people as a whole. No, as far as they can see, their only responsibility is to themselves. Indeed, if they can’t wrap their minds around the reality of the murderers’ dedication to the idea of jihad, and thus (in many cases) reject the possibility that it was indeed jihad that drove the Tsarnaevs to commit their heinous acts, it’s because they themselves don’t know what it means to be dedicated to anything outside of themselves – and to the preservation of their own self-image as sensitive, caring people who are too evolved to hate.

Yes, evolved. Yet of course, in reality, they’re the ones who are unevolved. Their relationship to adult moral responsibility is, again, that of small children.

Read the whole thing.

12 May 2013

Liberalism Is Immature Thought

A must-read thoughtful attack on Liberalism, both in its authentic and contemporary ersatz forms, by a French writer who signs herself Iphigénie, translated by Robert Oscar López:

Hence we are led directly to the corollary of progressivism, the shunning of a past that one views as utterly “anti-intellectual.” Progressivism fosters two of the major phobias of liberalism, stagnation and retrograde. Placed in an accusatory formula, the liberal finds refuge in the enthusiastic endorsement of societal reforms (presented as so many ‘advancements’) that only serve to feed their illusions of progress. Who cares about usefulness, justice, or benevolence regarding the changes that are being pushed? And who minds their absurdity? At the risk of invalidating liberal thought, one must change! One must change womanhood, one must change the TV station, one must change sexuality, clothing styles, teaching methods, ways of reading, cars, porno sites, cell phones, civilization … in all, from the moment that it is possible for such things to be still new.

For the liberal, new is the same as “good, ” new is the Triumph of Progress. There is no point in explaining to him that in their time, slavery and Zyklon B were also novelties, as well as apartheid, poisonous acids, thalidomide, the atomic bomb or the Khmer Rouge: if told as much, the liberal will have an immediate outburst and will brush away all that does not fit into his vision of “the meaning of history”, ascribing bad things to the rank of temporary errors or regrettable relapses into anti-intellectualism. He doesn’t see that the future can be clouded and that the changes to humanity have so often given birth to monsters.

His whole personhood depends on it.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Maggie Gallagher.

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