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Advantages of shortsightedness to liberals

More thoughts on liberalism! (Sorry for devoting so much space to the topic, but it’s better than pederasty and prison rape.)

Liberalism wins arguments each step of the way, because it is concerned only with the articulate. It refers to the inarticulate as prejudice, stereotype, obscurantism, and so on. It therefore has no interest in the whole, because the whole cannot be stated.

Since liberalism ignores the whole, it is shortsighted. That turns out to be an advantage: it deprives it of the perspective needed to see its own weaknesses and the strengths of other views. The nagging feeling there is something wrong with liberalism can never find articulate statement and so comes to seem only a temptation.

Ignoring the whole makes it easier for liberals to ignore the essential inconsistency of their views. They can claim to be dealing with real problems of real people in practical ways, while their opponents are just presenting their ideology. It means liberals cannot see their system as something that can be assessed as a whole from the outside, as one system among others that must be compared on equal terms with other ways of understanding human life. Instead, it becomes as a uniquely neutral and universal framework to which all else must be subordinated because it preceeds every particular discussion.

When viewed from outside, however, it becomes clear that liberalism has all the qualities it denounces in others. Psychologists find that quality in narcissists, and the denial by liberalism of objective moral reality independent of the self and its desires seems to make it a sort of narcissism writ large. It suppresses free discussion, because the outcome of the discussion is fixed, while claiming the mantle of freedom. It demonizes, marginalizes and dehumanizes its opponents, while accusing them of bigotry. It stands for rule by a small elite responsible to no one but itself, while it denying vehemently that any such elite exists.



“[Liberalism] has no interest in the whole, because the whole cannot be stated. Since liberalism ignores the whole, it is shortsighted.”

THE WHOLE? You’re talking nonsense. (Even you cannot say anything about something which “cannot be stated”. Woruber kann man nichts sagen, daruber soll man schweigen.)

That’s no doubt true if you think that whatever can be said can be said clearly as a concatenation of atomic propositions. Still, we have to deal with our situation as we find it with the abilities we find we have. In the sentence to which you refer Wittgenstein himself is apparently talking about something that mattered a great deal to him.