Skip to comments.Tyranny of Liberalism
Posted on 07/13/2004 2:06:02 PM PDT by kjvail
The disappearance of the radical left is a sign that in principle it has reached its attainable goals. While no one admits it, what we see around us is the victory of the Revolution. Politics today is radically secularist and antiparticularist. It aims to dissolve what is left of traditional society and construct a universal form of human association that will constitute a technically rational system for the equal satisfaction of desire. Religion is to be banished from public life, ethnic and gender distinctions abolished, and a worldwide order established, based on world markets and trans-national bureaucracies, that is to override local differences in the name of human rights, international economic development, and collective security.
Contemporary liberalism expresses and supports that new order. Not all members of our ruling elites adhere to liberalism, and it draws support from outsiders as well. However, our elites determine its content, and it promotes their interests. It sets the terms of discussion, defines what is considered progress, and establishes the general principles of cooperation upon which our elites base their claim to rule.
Supporters of the new order see it as historically and morally necessary, and thus as compulsory regardless of established views and habits. Since modern governments claim to base themselves on consent, the public must be brought to accept it. Managing opinion and keeping perspectives that oppose fundamental public policies out of mainstream discussion have therefore become basic to statecraft.
Genuine opposition comes not from the left but from reactionary and restorationist groups that exclude themselves from respectable politics by rejecting liberalism and the left. Today's dissidents are particularist traditionalist, fundamentalist, populist, or nationalist. Beyond that, they are antisecularist and antihedonist. They reject a system of politics that bases social order on human desire, because they reject the view that lies behind it, that men make morality for their own purposes.
Today all things are justified on the grounds that they help men get what they want. Those who recognize an authority superior to human purposes are seen as dangerous bigots who want to oppress others in the name of some sect or arbitrary principle. As a consequence, fundamental political discussion no longer exists. Politics today is divided between an outlook that presents itself as rational and this-worldly, and absolutely dominates public discussion, and a variety of dissident views that speak for goods higher than human desire but are unable to make effective their substantial underlying support. The conflict is never discussed seriously since it is considered resolved; the ruling liberal view is accepted as indisputable, while dissent is considered confused or worse.
(Excerpt) Read more at jkalb.org ...
Bright and articulate,yes. . .but does this mean something is wrong with me? I see the radical left everywhere. . .have they yet to realize they have won?
..I see the radical left everywhere. . .have they yet to realize they have won?...
I expect that the authors point is of the "disappearance of the RADICAL left".
John Kerry represents simply the Left, but what in way does he depart in belief from fruit-loop Michael Moore?
We have heard many times from the right wing that the fruit loops have moved from the left-most fringe to the place once occupied by, say, JFK, a Liberal.
... has yet to happen. Cripes sake, look at Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle, Tom Harkin, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry ...
Among Americans I know, there are few who can distinguish the contrast between the radical left's subterfuge and a compassionate agenda. I try to help.
Communism is mainstream. Many sleep.
Liberals believe in free-market economies, whereas the modern leftist believes the state should control the economy and industry through excessive regulations, etc.
Liberals also believe in the rule of law and the adage that no man is above or below the law. Modern leftists, however, believe that if Torricelli is doomed to lose an election, and its after the date to change candidates, simply go to court and sue.
Then why did you unnecessarily excerpt his article?
On a horizontal line of history; both Dems and Repubs have shifted - left. Republican Party closer to the Dems of yesterday; and the Dems have moved further Left.
But I think it is a mistake to be too acomodating with our language. Or less 'discriminating'.
Do think it is a mistake of Republicans and the media; to pass Kerry off just as a Liberal; think too many Americans are becoming innoculated to that 'ID' - which is one of your points. We would be better served to use 'truth-in-labeling'.
Kerry should be called what he is. . .an 'elitist';or 'Left-wing elitist'; or. . .a Euro-fascist-socialist-communist or some combination thereof.
Think Repubs are late on this - finally, they can say the name - Liberal, but they still avoid the truth of the matter.
Time to ante up on their vocabulary.
(noticed, for the longest time; while O'Reilly would qualify the 'liberal behavior' - he never used the word; did not like labels perhaps; but if they are honest, why not. . .; his first book never uses the 'label' once. Now he uses it often. . .)
" ... has yet to happen. "
I think I see the authors point here. He is saying that the radical left has been mainstreamed. The redical left is no longer considered to be 'RADICAL'. What we understand to be "the radical left" is now 'MAINSTREAM'. To be far enough to the left to be considered 'Radical Left' you have to look to bejing or North Korea.
To look at it another way
Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle, Tom Harkin, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry ... All were once considered to be 'RADICAL LEFT' now are mainstreamed.
As traditional conservatives we now find ourselves excluded from the mainstream in a similar manner that the 'radical left' found themselves in the early 60's. Our children will drive the pendulum in the opposite direction.
I have seen his stuff around. He's been posted on FR before. He writes well and with a sure understanding of the traps academics set for one another. I think he is a lawyer and an independent scholar, though, not an academic.
From what we have seen,13 each stage of the Revolution, compared with the preceding one, is but a refinement. Naturalistic humanism and Protestantism were refined in the French Revolution, which in its turn was refined in the great revolutionary process of the Bolshevization of the contemporary world.
The fact is that disordered passions, moving in a crescendo analogous to the acceleration of gravity and feeding upon their own works, lead to consequences which, in their turn, develop according to a proportional intensity. In like progression, errors beget errors, and revolutions prepare the way for revolutions.
3. Pride and Sensuality and the Metaphysical Values of the Revolution
Two notions conceived as metaphysical values express well the spirit of the Revolution: absolute equality, complete liberty. And there are two passions that most serve it: pride and sensuality.
In referring to passions, we must explain in what sense we use the word in this work. For the sake of brevity, adhering to the usage of various authors on spiritual matters, whenever we speak of the passions as promoters of the Revolution, we are referring to disordered passions. And, in keeping with everyday language, we include among the disordered passions all impulses toward sin existing in man as a consequence of the triple concupiscence, namely, that of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life.24
A. Pride and Egalitarianism
The proud person, subject to another's authority, hates first of all the particular yoke that weighs upon him.
In a second stage, the proud man hates all authority in general and all yokes, and, even more, the very principle of authority considered in the abstract.
Because he hates all authority, he also hates superiority of any kind. And in all this there is a true hatred for God.25
This hatred for any inequality has gone so far as to drive high-ranking persons to risk and even lose their positions just to avoid accepting the superiority of somebody else.
There is more. In a height of virulence, pride could lead a person to fight for anarchy and to refuse the supreme power were it offered to him. This is because the simple existence of that power implicitly attests to the principle of authority, to which every man as such? the proud included can be subject.
Pride, then, can lead to the most radical and complete egalitarianism.
This radical and metaphysical egalitarianism has various aspects.
a. Equality between men and God. Pantheism, immanentism, and all esoteric forms of religion aim to place God and men on an equal footing and to invest the latter with divine properties. An atheist is an egalitarian who, to avoid the absurdity of affirming that man is God, commits the absurdity of declaring that God does not exist. Secularism is a form of atheism and, therefore, of egalitarianism. It affirms that it is impossible to be certain of the existence of God and, consequently, that man should act in the temporal realm as if God did not exist; in other words, he should act like a person who has dethroned God.
b. Equality in the ecclesiastical realm: the suppression of a priesthood endowed with the power of Orders, magisterium, and government, or at least of a priesthood with hierarchical degrees.
c. Equality among the different religions. All religious discrimination is to be disdained because it violates the fundamental equality of men. Therefore, the different religions must receive a rigorously equal treatment. To claim that only one religion is true to the exclusion of the others amounts to affirming superiority, contradicting evangelical meekness, and acting impolitically, since it closes the hearts of men against it.
d. Equality in the political realm: the elimination or at least the lessening of the inequality between the rulers and the ruled. Power comes not from God but from the masses; they command and the government must obey. Monarchy and aristocracy are to be proscribed as intrinsically evil regimes because they are antiegalitarian. Only democracy is legitimate, just, and evangelical.26
e. Equality in the structure of society: the suppression of classes, especially those perpetuated by heredity, and the extirpation of all aristocratic influence upon the direction of society and upon the general tone of culture and customs. The natural hierarchy constituted by the superiority of intellectual over manual work will disappear through the overcoming of the distinction between them.
f. The abolition of the intermediate bodies between the individual and the State, as well as of the privileges inherent in every social body. No matter how much the Revolution hates the absolutism of kings, it hates intermediate bodies and the medieval organic monarchies even more. This is because monarchic absolutism tends to put all subjects, even those of the highest standing, at a level of reciprocal equality in a lower station that foreshadows the annihilation of the individual and the anonymity that have reached their apex in the great urban concentrations of socialist societies. Among the intermediate groups to be abolished, the family ranks first. Until it manages to wipe it out, the Revolution tries to lower it, mutilate it, and vilify it in every way.
g. Economic equality. No one owns anything; everything belongs to the collectivity. Private property is abolished along with each person's right to the full fruits of his toil and to the choice of his profession.
h. Equality in the exterior aspects of existence. Variety easily leads to inequality of status. Therefore, variety in dress, housing, furniture, habits, and so on, is reduced as much as possible.
i. Equality of souls. Propaganda standardizes, so to speak, all souls, taking away their peculiarities and almost their own life. Even the psychological and attitudinaldifferences between the sexes tend to diminish as much as possible. Because of this, the people, essentially a great family of different but harmonious souls united by what is common to them, disappears. And the masses, with their great empty, collective, and enslaved soul, arise.27
j. Equality in all social relations: between grown-ups and youngsters, employers and employees, teachers and students, husband and wife, parents and children, etc.
k. Equality in the international order. The State is constituted by an independent people exercising full dominion over a territory. Sovereignty is, therefore, in public law, the image of property. Once we admit the idea of a people, whose characteristics distinguish it from other peoples, and the idea of sovereignty, we are perforce in the presence of inequalities: of capacity, virtue, number, and others. Once the idea of territory is admitted, we have quantitative and qualitative inequality among the various territorial spaces. This is why the Revolution, which is fundamentally egalitarian, dreams of merging all races, all peoples, and all states into a single race, people, and state.28
l. Equality among the different parts of the country. For the same reasons, and by analogous means, the Revolution tends to do away with any wholesome regionalism - whether political, cultural, or other - within countries today.
m. Egalitarianism and hatred for God. Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches29 that the diversity of creatures and their hierarchical gradation are good in themselves, for thus the perfections of the Creator shine more resplendently throughout creation. He says further that Providence instituted inequality among the angels30 as well as among men, both in the terrestrial Paradise and in this land of exile.31 For this reason, a universe of equal creatures would be a world in which the resemblance between creatures and the Creator would have been eliminated as much as possible. To hate in principle all inequality is, then, to place oneself metaphysically against the best elements of resemblance between the Creator and creation. It is to hate God.
n. The limits of inequality. Of course, one cannot conclude from this doctrinal explanation that inequality is always and necessarily a good.
All men are equal by nature and different only in their accidents. The rights they derive from the mere fact of being human are equal for all: the right to life, honor, sufficient living conditions (and therefore the right to work), property, the setting up of a family, and, above all, the knowledge and practice of the true religion. The inequalities that threaten these rights are contrary to the order of Providence. However, within these limits, the inequalities that arise from accidents such as virtue, talent, beauty, strength, family, tradition, and so forth, are just and according to the order of the universe.32
B. Sensuality and Liberalism
Along with the pride that breeds all egalitarianism, sensuality in the broader sense of the term is the cause of liberalism. It is in these sad depths that one finds the junction between these two metaphysical principles of the Revolution, namely, equality and liberty, which are mutually contradictory from so many points of view.
a. The hierarchy in the soul. God, Who imprinted a hierarchical mark on all visible and invisible creation, did the same on the human soul. The intelligence should guide the will, and the latter should govern the sensibility. As a consequence of Original Sin, a constant friction exists within man between the sensible appetites and the will guided by the reason: "I see another law in my members, which fights against the law of my mind."33
But the will, even though a sovereign reduced to governing subjects ever attempting to rebel, has the means to always prevail . . . provided it does not resist the grace of God.34
b. Egalitarianism in the soul. The revolutionary process aims to achieve a general leveling, but frequently it has been no more than a usurpation of the ruling function by those who ought to obey. Once this process is transposed to the relations among the powers of the soul, it leads to the lamentable tyranny of the unrestrained passions over a weak and ruined will and a darkened intelligence, and especially to the dominion of a raging sensuality over the sentiments of modesty and shame.
When the Revolution proclaims absolute liberty as a metaphysical principle, it does so only to justify the free course of the worst passions and the most pernicious errors.
c. Egalitarianism and liberalism. This inversion - right to think, feel, and do everything the unrestrained passions demand - is the essence of liberalism. This is clearly shown in the more exacerbated forms of the liberal doctrine. On analyzing them, one perceives that liberalism is not interested in freedom for what is good. It is solely interested in freedom for evil. When in power, it easily, and even joyfully, restricts the freedom of the good as much as possible. But in many ways, it protects, favors, and promotes freedom for evil. In this it shows itself to be opposed to Catholic civilization, which gives its full support and total freedom to what is good and restrains evil as much as possible.
Now, this freedom for evil is precisely freedom for man as long as he is "revolutionary" in his interior, that is, as long as he consents to the tyranny of the passions over his intelligence and will.
Thus liberalism and egalitarianism are fruits of the same tree.
Incidentally, pride, in breeding hatred against any kind of authority,35 induces a clearly liberal attitude. And, in this regard, it must be considered an active factor of liberalism. However, when the Revolution realized that liberty would result in inequality if men, being unequal in their aptitudes and their use of them, were left free, out of hatred for inequality it decided to sacrifice liberty. This gave rise to its socialist phase, which is but a stage in the process. The Revolution's ultimate aim is to establish a state of things wherein complete liberty and complete equality would coexist.
Thus, historically, the socialist movement is a mere refinement of the liberal movement. What leads an authentic liberal to accept socialism is precisely that under it a thousand good or at least innocent things are tyrannically forbidden, while the methodical satisfaction (sometimes with a show of austerity) of the worst and most violent passions, such as envy, laziness, and lust, is favored. On the other hand, the liberal perceives that the broadening of authority in the socialist regime is no more than a means within the logic of the system for attaining the so intensely desired goal of final anarchy.
The clashes between certain naive or backward liberals and the socialists are, therefore, mere superficial incidents in the revolutionary process. They are harmless misunderstandings that disturb neither the profound logic of the Revolution nor its inexorable march in a direction that, when one sees things clearly, is simultaneously socialist and liberal.
d. The rock-and-roll generation. The revolutionary process in souls, as herein described, produced in the most recent generations, and especially in adolescents of our days who hypnotize themselves with rock and roll, a frame of mind characterized by the spontaneity of the primary reactions, without the control of the intelligence or the effective participation of the will, and by the predominance of fantasy and feelings over the methodical analysis of reality. All this is fruit, in large measure, of a pedagogy that virtually eliminates the role of logic and the true formation of the will.
e. Egalitarianism, liberalism, and anarchism. In accordance with the preceding items, the effervescence of the disordered passions arouses, on the one hand, hatred for any restraint and any law, and, on the other, hatred for any inequality. This effervescence thus leads to the utopian conception of Marxist anarchism, in which an evolved humanity, living in a society without classes or government, could enjoy perfect order and the most complete liberty, from which no inequality would arise. As can be seen, this ideal is simultaneously the most liberal and the most egalitarian imaginable.
Indeed, the anarchic utopia of Marxism is a state of things in which the human personality, having reached a high degree of progress, would be able to develop freely in a society with neither state nor government.
In this society - which would live in complete order despite not having a government - economic production would be organized and highly developed, and the distinction between intellectual and manual labor would be a thing of the past. A selective process, not yet determined, would place the direction of the economy in the hands of the most capable, without resulting in the formation of classes.
These would be the only and insignificant remnants of inequality. But, since this anarchic communist society is not the final term of history, it seems legitimate to suppose that these remnants would be abolished in a later evolution.
Revolution and Counter-Revolution
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
In America "conservatism" supports the radical liberal ideas of the French revolution.
Uhh, yeah. Okay.
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