Archive for the ‘Liberalism’ Category

One of my least favorite parlor tricks of liberals, including neoconservatives and libertarians, is to define “rational” as a very narrow range of individualist philosophical views, based on a few pseudo-scientific axioms of one kind or another, and thereby rendering it nearly impossible for one’s opponents to win an argument before the discussion has begun because their opponents’ concerns, such as the good of a nation or the Glory of God, are defined beforehand as irrational and irrelevant.

There is much of this in Ilya Somin’s recent discussion of the evils of nationalism over at Volokh or in a surprisingly dispassionate defense of disloyalty by David Schraub over at the University of Chicago. This is what Enlightenment Universalism is, of course. It rejects the organic, historical and blood ties of peoples. It rejects the idea that God and revealed truth might have some influence in our political and moral life. It denies that matters that cannot be reduced to philosophical formulae might also be true, such as the idea that men should not marry men, women should first and foremost be mothers, or that people who talk and act funny and have unpronounceable names should be treated differently than our native-born sons.

What I wrote in response to Schraub exposes this little sleight of hand that all-too-often avoids the merits of the issue:

Majorities in fact have real power and a real moral right to preserve themselves as a people. Unless they’re suffering from mass psychosis, they do and should impose certain standards on those who would benefit from the nation and its laws and its protection, not least not to actively aid enemies of the nation.

We sadly ask so little of citizens, particularly newcomers, who often have dual loyalties. We are in fact a remarkably tolerant people, and it’s gone too far, culminating in such ridiculous acts as serving in foreign armies by the President’s Chief of Staff and the mass murder of soldiers after repeated statements of disloyalty by the terrorist, Major Nidal Hasan.

Nations are safer, more secure, and more pleasant when people are loyal and have some sense of allegiance and community. There will always be loyalty of one kind or another, but where disloyalty to the nation is tolerated usually it’s reserved instead for some other nation or group, whether it’s one’s ethnic subgroup, one’s religious community, a foreign nation, or some combination of the three.

There is something very obvious going on here, and part of the answer is in the authors and their backgrounds. They are ethnic and religious minorities, and highly educated transnational cosmopolitans to be exact. They are not typical Americans, but their views are highly influential. Big surprise, “Uzair Kayhani” came to Schraub’s defense. I’m surprised Osama bin Laden himself didn’t pipe in. The views of these people are why the Army tolerated the anti-American rantings of Major Nidal Hassan. They are why we tolerate foreign tongues and weird styles of dress by foreigners in our cities. This is why it’s been drummed into us to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

The universalist enlightenment liberalism they are promoting is a set of rules that is very useful for minority tribes surrounded by a majority with different values and interests. These views advance the minority by rendering the majority’s dominance on cultural, economic, and political matters less so, such that its older standards of excellence are dismissed as exclusionary and morally suspect. Who cares if you were descended from those on the Mayflower? That’s ethnocentric and elitist. Who cares if your granddad fought in World War II? It doesn’t matter where you were born or what your family ever did, you’re just a citizen no different than an FOB in a Hijab.

Under this viewpoint, the majority’s becomes one voice in a multicultural chorus. Of course, in spite of its pretensions to fairness, it’s obviously a self-interested ideology. When these same minorities are in charge or in the majority–such as Jews in Israel or Chinese in China or Muslims in any Muslim country–they almost always adopt different and sensible rules aimed at the self-preservation of their nation and their religion.

I do not necessarily begrudge them such nationalism at home; within the limits of justice, it is natural and to be expected. But I do begrudge the attempt by alienated minorities of all kinds to redefine and rewrite the rules of the game in my home, where we have a majority, our own folkways, our own traditions, and our own way of life. Those traditions, of course, are and were very flexible. They were flexible enough historically that many minorities felt welcome here and did not, until recently, feel it terribly offensive to have Christmas as a federal holiday or to change their names from Chandrakumar to “Sean.” But this tolerance was not our only value. It was part of a broader tradition, that of a real nation with more than a creed but a real national character–courageous, risk-taking, unpretentious, in love with space and freedom, upwardly mobile, self-reliant, proud, God-fearing, patriotic, inventive, practical–but this character has been deliberately and maliciously erased by the deliberate efforts of a subset of minorities and newcomers, for whom such very minor indignities as Nativity Scenes, the “strong silent” WASPy ideal of masculinity, and the old informal rules of “fair business,” undermined their own rise to power.

Don’t fall for this trick, friends. What appears to be a fair, universalist, philosophical account of the good is often based on controversial and unproven premises; a little looking makes it clear often that the speaker is insincere, his arguments are sophistical, and that his goals are the same tribalism (in the ascent) for which he denounces you, even when you’re merely trying only to defend a known way of life.


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I’m amazed that Republicans are so frequently accused of race baiting. They’ve put a black man in charge of their party, given speeches in Spanish, disavowed most of our history, and even made some noises in favor of diversity and mass immigration, particularly under Bush. Even so, everyone from Al Hunt, Maureen Dowd, and Frank Rich are ragging on the Republicans in explicitly racial terms.

Look at these old, out-of-touch, white guys. What do they know about Latinas and women and life? They’re on the wrong end of history and don’t even know it. How dare they try to preserve their existence and power? How dare they think like a tribe, even as every other group thinks tribally? How dare they even think like self respecting individuals! And, of course, in the liberal competition for who hates his privileges and insider status and people the most, white journalists try to outdo one another in their self-loathing (though this is more accurately described as exquisite hatred of their hick cousins and high school gym coaches and the frat boys that didn’t like them in college and now have made so much money in business).

Consider Al Hunt today:

What endures, however, is the spectacle of middle-aged, white Republicans instructing the first Latin female nominee about the irrelevance of race, gender and life experiences for a judge. Even Graham, one of the more enlightened lawmakers, a strong immigration advocate and a thoroughly modern Republican, didn’t get it.

This country is still 78% white or so. The shame of it!!! It is only not more so because of deliberate reengineering of our demographics that favor immigrants from the Third World–whether educated and productive or illiterate and diseased–versus our more easily assimilated cousins in Europe. But this white majority is just a shameful legacy to the unappeasable left. It’s not just slavery that’s shameful to the left; it’s that our country has an historical people that is still in the majority and that still produces wealthy, ambitious, and productive people that become senators, run companies, and continue to reproduce. You thought Obama might chill them out? No such luck. People like these Senators and Bill Gates and all the successful folks who have better test scores and safe neighborhoods and successful lives and successful children remind affirmative action babies like Sotomayor and Michelle Obama that they’re not so sharp or talented or capable, and that even if they are, most of their relatives and cousins and neighbors growing up are not. (Barack on the other hand is quite talented and sui generis.)

Pretty soon I expect to see editorials with titles like Can’t All the White People Just Die? Indeed, someone at the LA Times nearly said that the other day in discussing elderly voters.

I’m reminded of the disillusioned response of the author Bertolt Brecht to East Germany’s brutal suppression of worker strikes in 1953.

The Solution

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Republicans are often accused of perpetuating Nixon’s Southern Strategy and being race-obsessed, but if they were Bush and then McCain would not have been their candidate. The most dominant and common tribal, race-obsessed, and vengeful racism in America today is found among black and Hispanic activists who make no bones about their anti-white agenda. Would-be lackeys like Rich and Hunt and the like think they’ll somehow be spared the raw end of the deal if they simply shout most loudly at their coethnics. The question is whether the very individualistic and non-tribal majority will start to put two and two together as to their destiny as tomorrow’ hated minority. We can’t all get the sonderkommando gig that Al Hunt is apparently gunning for.

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Probably one of the most amazing examples I’ve ever seen of media bias and shilling for Obama. I had a “tea party” outside my office and was impressed with the numbers. Sure, the John Birch types were in evidence, not so unlike the folks you see at any gun show, but most were middle class looking people who were fed up with big spending, big taxes, bailouts, and a government that is willing to sell out our future for short-term gain. In the video below, it’s startling how hostile the reporter is and how she can’t fathom that we don’t want to be “bought off” with stimulus dollars.

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They just had a big ol’ bash for Nelson Mandela’s birthday in the UK. Will Smith, Annie Lennox, and even crackhead Amy Winehouse made an appearance. Nelson Mandela, of course, is a terrorist who fought long and hard for majority rule in South Africa. He spent many years in jail for a real terrorist crime: attempted sabotage of trains in South Africa with bombs. He and the ANC movement ultimately succeeded, and South Africa has since gone down the tubes with out-of-control violence, rape, economic troubles, and overall chaos.

You would not know about this somber reality from the happy celebration in Europe. Much of the anti-Apartheid movement there was part of a broader and rather extravagant exercise in self-loathing. Nationalism was deemed the origin of the two very terrible World Wars, and it too was the root of colonialism. Colonialism undoubtedly had many evils attached to it, though in practice it varied quite widely from place to place, and those evils should be compared with the evils that preceded European rule or followed in the restoration of majority rule.

After abandoning their colonial empires out of necessity, Europeans in the 60s had little to feel guilty about. So after condemning their parents–about whom they could do very little–they set about an orgy of condemnation of the small number of whites still living in Africa. They labeled them as the apotheosis of evil and treated them far more shabbily than the far more murderous Soviet Union and friends.

Europe swiftly threw Rhodesia and South Africa in front of the bus in the 70s and 80s, while saying little about the mass murder of fellow Europeans in Hungary (1956) and the Czech Republic (1968). It’s very easy to be generous with the lives and fortunes of people that are distant from you. The European indifference to the problems of majority rule in Africa is akin to the American liberal indifference to the problems working-class whites face on such issues as school bussing or gun control. Liberal policymakers send their kids to fancy private schools and live in well-protected high rises and gated communities. Yet their co-ethnics with far less wealth must deal with race riots in high school and out-of-control crime enabled by misplaced compassion. The way Europe has treated European settlers in Algeria, Rhodesia, and South Africa is the same phenomenon: costless “charity” with other people’s lives. It’s an opportunity for irresponsible self-satisfaction, self-condemnation, and other ugly practices.

Looking for dragons to slay, the Europeans also opened the floodgates to mass immigration from their former colonies in the 60s. What began as a trickle is now a raging torrent. From the murder of Theo Van Goth and Pim Fortuyn to the Paris riots of 2006 and the all-too-frequent “honor killings” on the streets of Britain, unease has grown into real fright and despair.

What should the leaders who brought about this doomed course do? Surely they won’t talk straight about what’s happened and what needs to change going forward. Better to forget and celebrate the likes of Nelson Mandela, whose black-ruled South Africa has predictably emerged as failed state replete with corruption, disorder, and all of the other traits of Africa as a whole.  Minority rule coupled with prosperity and order has been replaced by failure on every mark of good governance save one, majority rule, which is cold comfort to people murdered in their beds by thugs.

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Lawrence Auster takes a typical liberal comment from Condoleeza Rice–saying how great it is that we are finally nominating a black man to be president–so typical that it would rarely be noticed, and reveals how it signifies something dreadful about the dominant liberalism of our society.  Namely, her resentful focus on how America is finally getting it right exposes liberalism as an insantiable monster into which every apparent moral advance of our people cancels out the achievments of the past and marks that past as dark and unworthy of any respect:

As I always say, the more liberal equality progresses, the more worthless the actual America becomes, because under the liberal paradigm, each new advance for nonwhites and women must be seen as an advance over a pre-existing darkness, so that everything in America up to this moment has been darkness–including the previous advances of liberal equality. So that America as a historical country is worthless. If a woman becomes House speaker, we are told that “Only now is America breaking the glass ceiling and realizing its promise.” But then if a black gets nominated as presidential candidate two years later, we’re told that “Only now is ‘We the people’ beginning to mean all of us.” Which cancels out the previous millennial achievement of the woman becoming the House speaker, doesn’t it? And if in the year 2032 an Inuit gets nominated for president, someone will say, “Only now is ‘We the people’ beginning to mean all of us.” Which means that the black being nominated for president back in 2008 did NOT mean that “We the people” was finally beginning to mean all of us. That great happening did not occur until the Inuit got nominated. So the great achievement of the black getting nominated is also canceled out.

Under liberalism, only the ideal of a perfectly equal and inclusive America is good. America the actual country as it has existed up to this moment is no good. It’s found wanting. It’s inadequate. It’s incomplete. It doesn’t come up to our standards. It just doesn’t make it. It has a debt to pay that it hasn’t paid for 232 years. It’s a deadbeat nation. That’s the at least implicitly accepted view today, and not a single conservative other than at this website has ever criticized the vile Condoleezza Rice for using her position as Secretary of State to put down this country and make it seem inadequate in its own eyes.

Finally, what would real inclusion, making America truly true to its ideals, mean? It could only mean an America which equally includes and represents every race and ethnic group on earth. Meaning, it could only be an America that has become co-extensive with all of humanity. Thus the only true realization of America is a single, global,borderless nation. America, the actual, historical country, is of no value in itself. It is is merely an instrument–a deeply morally compromised instrument–to reach that ideal, and ultimately it must be destroyed in order to reach it.

Liberalism is often rightly described as suicidal. It is also described as a secularized and political substitute value system of a Christian society that has lost its faith in God.  It’s now clear how those two themes interact:  only by sacrificing the society in an exhibition of Christ-like compassion for the Other, will we redeem ourselves from our own sins.  But, because this is an earthly philosophy, we have never died enough, because we have never completely disappeared or risen again. It’s Sysiphian and hopeless; it’s like the eternal death of Judas rather than the redemptive death of the Cross.

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A commenter named Sage McLaughlin in had the following sage words in a discussion thread based on an entry of mine over at Takimag.com:

Even a fully libertarian system, were it possible to implement one, would require force to maintain, since libertarianism itself isn’t what significantly large communities of people have ever wanted for themselves.  So the promise of giving each person whatever he can get for himself is a hollow one, since one of the things people want is to live in a community that reflects their own desires and hierarchy of values, and invests those things with some authority.  Libertarianism says people shouldn’t want that, or at least that they aren’t justified in insisting upon it, which is a normative claim that must be proved philosophically, not empirically.  Either Larry Flynt or I can have the kind of society that we want, but not both, and to concede to him everything he claims about the good of society, while claiming to be neutral on the question, is to decide the issue in the most dishonest possible way.

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While no libertarian, I do have a pretty strong indifference to other people’s lifestyles.  This is common among American conservatives.  In other words, I strongly believe in aloofness to private vice and idiosyncrasy so long as it is undertaken in a way that is respectful of the community.  This is what distinguishes the Old America’s kooks and crazies from the “counter cultural America” that emerged after the 1960s.   The old kooks wanted to be left alone; the new ones want to “raise our consciousness.”

In spite of its reputation for conformity, people had a wide range of religious, ideological, and lifestyle freedom before the Left set out to “shake up the world.”  Snake handling churches, hippy communes, and people’s private opinions didn’t concern older generations of Americans nearly so much as similar “infractions” bother liberals today.  For liberty-loving conservatives, the personal is not political and shouldn’t be. This is a core commitment of a free people, and it’s something that needs to find support not only in the laws but also in people’s private attitudes, judgements, and concerns. Ideas have consequences, as do sentiments and judgments.  It’s hard to say something is the apotheosis of evil, but also say it should be legal.  Older libertarians and conservatives knew that people’s attitudes, offensive art, and private behavior simply weren’t that evil and weren’t that harmful compared to legal intervention to stop the same.

This lack of respect for other people’s right to make odd or even offensive choices is why the civil libertarian aspects of regular liberalism have been swallowed up by the deeper liberal concern for equality, undermining traditional power structures, and avoiding hurt feelings among preferred victim groups.

So it’s kind of funny to me that the newest generation of libertarians, like cop-hater Radley Balko, spend so much sincere energy on whether things are offensive, racist, or outside the bounds of politically correctness.  Do you think someone like Radley or anyone over at Reason knows why John Randolph wrote, “I love liberty; I hate equality?”  Can you imagine Ron Paul or Murray Rothbard or any of the old guard giving a crap if some old-fashioned item might be considered “racist”? No, these folks didn’t make a point of self-congratulatory inquiry into whether some kitschy item in an airport gift shop is offensive

The natural constituency of restoring historical American liberties can be found among the productive classes, men that are aware that the past wasn’t so bad and that also have a commitment to pulling their own weight. Everyone from country mechanics to Henry Ford and Charles Koch fit under this umbrella.  But guys like this don’t give a crap about whether Aunt Jemima statues are offensive, and so long as libertarianism fights a two front war against socialism and conservatives–with especial venom for cultural conservatives–it will have an even smaller constituency and less influence than it already does.  The one glimmer of hope (other than the Goldwater campaign) was during the early 1990s when an alliance of libertarians and paleoconservatives punished George Bush for his various transgressions against conservatism and good sense.  Needless to say, we didn’t worry about the Willie Horton ad or “code language” about school bussing back then; we just wanted the government to stay out of our lives, and we didn’t mind if some people were attracted to this philosophy because they had strong feelings about the disastrous social engineering experiments they and their kids endured, like school bussing, affirmative action, Title IX, and a soft-on-crime justice system.

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