“Family policy” in practice

The author pours a huge amount of material into The Politics of Family Destruction, an account of what he calls “the divorce industry.” Even though I include links to a lot of men’s rights groups (which are largely concerned with the treatment of men by family courts) in my anti-feminist page, I don’t know how to evaluate it all. The basic theme seems plausible, though: administering family wreckage is a big business for the managerial state, so in various ways they do things that have the effect of making the business grow and increasing its profitability, mainly at the expense of ex-husbands. Nobody pays much attention because it’s mostly not successful and influential men who lose, feminists have the upper hand, and in any event men don’t habitually politicize the personal.

For another complaint about the effects of giving the state bureaucracy power over something that by nature it doesn’t like—the family—here’s an Englishwoman on the scandal of children denied homes with adoptive parents. It seems that social workers (like other people) don’t like giving up control, and in adoption they give up control, so they naturally put sand in the gears. And in a perhaps somewhat related development, here’s an example of U.S. export of P.C. victimology to the eager Canadian market: New Brunswick honours women murdered by partners with ‘blood plaques’. The article doesn’t say whether they mention that such things happen far more often among unmarried couples, or for that matter whether there will also be blood plaques honoring the many babies abused and murdered by single moms.

45 thoughts on ““Family policy” in practice”

  1. Traditional Marxists have
    Traditional Marxists have long held that there is a “poverty industry” supported by the state and its bureaucrats and lawmakers. Interesting that Left meets Right in this consideration of the underlying support of a “divorce industry”. While there is truth in both claims, it is also true that welfare reform and collaborative law are going a distance in dismantling both.

  2. Odd point about traditional
    Odd point about traditional Marxism. Because once it’s recognized that sectors of the state also have their private interests the argument for socialism immediately becomes much weaker and the argument for a classical liberal (minimal) state much stronger.

  3. And that is why traditional
    And that is why traditional Marxists are a rare breed in academe these days….and why the article in question is a tad over the top.

  4. Well, what happens is that
    Well, what happens is that expressions of liberalism like Marxism go out of favor after they have murdered millions and become undeniably discredited. But the core ideology of immanent freedom and equal rights as the highest good, in opposition to inhuman voiceless oppressor-tyrants, is never questioned. From the standpoint of history the cloaks of fashion—Marxism, postmodernism, rationalist libertarian capitalism, naziism, etc—are put on and taken off depending upon the weather and upon whomever is phenomenologically classed as the poor oppressed and marginalized versus the tyrannical voiceless subhuman “haters.” Liberals fool themselves and others into thinking that the current generation is more reasonable than the previous one, that much of the previous generation WAS the utterly Other oppressor-tyrant, and that therefore the current and future generations will (unlike the previous) manage to avoid murdering hundreds of millions in the name of the core ideology; and in any event the current generation represents the good guys fighting for the unquestioned plenary good of immanent freedom and equality. The core ideology is preserved at all cost, despite the fact that history shows that cost to be rising by orders of magnitude with each iteration.

    Witness the friendly visit we had from “Monnica” recently. To “Monnica” we are the haters, the oppressor tyrants. Everything we say is to be ignored because we are subhuman, and we are impediments to the freedom and equal rights the oppressed. The “fact” that we are tyrants opposed to categorical liberal freedom and equality is all that is important. That is exactly how Hitler viewed the Jews: as traditionalist tyrants and oppressors by their very existence making the freedom and equal rights of the oppressed German people impossible. That is exactly how the Communists viewed the Capitalists (ironically themselves a form of liberal), and vice versa. That is the lens through which liberals always, to one degree or other, view the world.

  5. Well, Matt, as an avowed
    Well, Matt, as an avowed pinko, I might say the same thing about theories of conservativism, only invoke the Poor Laws and Hitler as my examples. Liberals are no more cartoon characters than conservatives, and I’m hard-pressed to think of why the argument would be reduced to Liberals Bad Conservatives Good.

    On the other hand, we can agree that Monnica was a fool.

  6. I think the “conservatives
    I think the “conservatives good” cartoon is wrong also, especially given the fact that these creatures called “conservatives” are virtually nonexistent after centuries of liberal dominance. See the following thread, with special attention to Mark Richardson’s comments and the discussion that ensued from them:


    Part of the struggle at VFR is to articulate a possible (“viable” is probably too strong a word) traditionalism in the context of a few centuries of complete liberal dominance of all discourse: how can we subvert the hegemonic liberal master narrative of which postmodernism is the capstone, and which has comprehensively destroyed everything that traditionalism—and ultimately all human beings—value, and *also* have something concrete and positive to propose? As the quintessential optimist Mr. Kalb has done an astonishing job, given the circumstances, articulating the abstract aspects of such positive thinking; but it is only the first breath of a beginning.

    The one thing that is clear though is that the world’s utter abject enslavement to the liberal hegemony will end, since the liberal hegemony is ultimately a destructive parasite supported on the backs of the very traditions it demonizes, dehumanizes, and destroys.

  7. Jane says,

    ” … I’m
    Jane says,

    ” … I’m hard-pressed to think of why the argument would be reduced to Liberals Bad Conservatives Good.”

    It’s because “liberals” champion degenerateness at every turn, Jane, while “conservatives” prefer normalness. Decent, reasonable people don’t abuse degenerateness or treat it meanly, but they don’t set it up on a pedestal either, while doing their best to make normalness subservient to it. Liberals are forever doing exactly that, and that’s sick.

    And it’s because “liberals” are usually wrong about things, while “conservatives” are not usually wrong about things.

    And it’s because “liberals” are much bigger liars (think Bill) and much worse hypocrites (think Hillary) than “conservatives.”

    And it’s because to be a “conservative” one must have a more or less fully-developed personality, while to be a “liberal” it’s ideal to have a personality permanently stuck at the stage of the most retrograde and pathetic narcissism, as witness billionaire heiress Pat Stryker and Mr. Jesus Gil, a poster here.

    On a different subject, Jane—tell me, how does your “avowed pinko[ness]” jibe with the year 1989? Aren’t one’s heart and mind supposed to follow, when something’s got one by the ba …. errr … I mean, by the cojones? I know the year 1989 got Christopher Hitchens firmly by the ba … uhhh … by the cojones and, though he stood the pain as long as he could, over the past couple or three years his heart and mind have been following along very nicely indeed, thank you very much for asking—yes, he’s been backing off the pinko stuff.

    (Just curious.)

  8. Matt: I’m curious as to why
    Matt: I’m curious as to why you would say that conservatives are virtually non-existent after “centuries” of liberal dominance. Are you speaking of pre-Industrial Revolution folks? Pre-Italian Reunification? It’s unclear. I asked one question in relation to “traditionalism” and got a vague answer…so I’m really not sure what is meant by the term in the context of modern North America, which is what I presume we are most concerned with since we live here.

    I don’t think that conservatives are so weak nor so whipped as to allow themselves to disappear time and time again from country after country. In fact I see I wide streak of what I would term conservative culture alive and well in North America: a desire for local, not federal government; a strong attachment to individual and faith-based charity; a healthy suspicion of Big Government and Big Corporate Culture; civil disobedience to firearms registration in Canada; prevailing values of family and culture despite divorce and technology….well, there’s a start.

    If there is any liberal hegemony, it is and has been subscribed to over the years by the majority of the culture, whether you agree with it or not. And when conditions determine that it is in need of a change, it changes…witness for example the genesis of welfare reform in a bipartisan vote of the Wisconsin legislature.

    BTW, love the email address. I’m going to start using it so all of the obnoxious spammers who have found me posting on a blog are sent to cyber-hell.

  9. Unadorned: Define
    Unadorned: Define “normalness”. And Bill and Hill aren’t my liberal gods…not sure why they’re your example of typical liberals. For every liberal lie (meaning of “is”), I can come up with a corresponding conservative one (“youthful indiscretion”)….and I don’t much get the point of that. And finally, I’d like to see some sources for your claims re personality development.

    I’m a pinko because I hold to the notion that government is best positioned to offer some public services…and when I say “government”, I am rarely referring to the feds, other than as the people who should impose national standards where necessary. I also believe governments should balance their budgets and that people can decide perfectly well at the state/province and local levels what level of taxation they are willing to support.

    Christopher Hitchens, like Mark Steyn and Jerry Taylor and Steve Chapman and other smart people, defies pigeon-holing. I agree with him sometimes, vehemently disagree with him at others. The one thing I appreciate about him and the others is that they do their homework.

  10. Jane, in the thread to which
    Jane, in the thread to which I directed your attention I specifically posted quotes from Thomas Jefferson showing his radical liberalism, for example. Alexander Hamilton was a proto-New-Dealer and a champion of unrestricted immigration. In other threads on VFR we’ve discussed the relation between nominalism, dating back to William of Ockham in the middle ages, and liberalism. The modern tempests in the teapot to which you refer are no doubt important on some level to some people, but taking the long phenomenological view the _political_ differences between Bill Clinton and Rush Limbaugh are mostly immaterial. Both are hard-core committed believers in the emancipatory master-narrative of modernity, which intrinsically involves some cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy but that hasn’t prevented it from comprehensively dominating the last few centuries. Limbaugh perceives himself as fundamentally different, and in some ways no doubt is, but as a de-facto matter their _politics_ are based on the same fundamental errors. It is specifically nominalism, antiessentialism, etc that have allowed modernity to avoid facing its inner contradictions for as long as it has. The primary sameness in Clinton and Limbaugh (just as examples) is that they are not aware of, let alone troubled by, liberalism’s inner hypocrisy and the implications that has for their alliegences to liberalism.

    There is of course a modern colloquial tendency to use the word “liberal” in a narrow sense to refer specifically to anticapitalist leftists, but I think that usage misses the essence and creates a false impression of categorical differance’, whereas I think the differences are mostly phenomenological. People tend to think I am some sort of obscurantist lunatic when I say things like that, but it is what I actually think: so at the least you can consider it forthright and honest obscurantist lunacy.

  11. Jefferson and Hamilton were
    Jefferson and Hamilton were pre-industrial revolution! You are sliding into historical revisionism by applying today’s standards to two centuries ago….it’s not right when Womens/Black etc studies people do it, and it’s not right here.

    I assume your devotion to anti-modernity extends to all things modern….you don’t get to cherrypick just because you don’t like some aspect of modern society.

  12. Jane: I am quite fond of the
    Jane: I am quite fond of the current concrete world, just as Saint Paul was quite fond of Rome, because it is the only possible one that contains me and all those I love. In that sense everything that is bad about it is categorically my responsibility: original sin and all that. To complain it out of existence by embracing the Problem of Evil would be to ask for the annihilation of myself and everything I hold dear. I think modern nihilism is connected to original sin and the problem of evil.

    This world is however in dire need of repentence, not from everything anyone might possibly think of, but from liberalism specifically. I don’t know how the industrial revolution became a magical demarkation point such that everything prior must be considered as perfection and not thought about or talked about, so until that demarkation and its epistemic implications are justified I don’t see why I should consider them as applying to me. Usually when someone places something off limits to discussion it is because including it might be problemmatic for their point of view.

  13. I haven’t put anything off
    I haven’t put anything off limits to discussion. However, I’m not buying that liberalism existed before the Industrial Revolution…Gladstone would turn over in his grave. Epistimologically speaking, of course.

    And as for the world needing repentance, I’d suggest you read the social encyclicals.

  14. “I’m a pinko because I hold
    “I’m a pinko because I hold to the notion that government is best positioned to offer some public services … and when I say ‘government,’ I am rarely referring to the feds, other than as the people who should impose national standards where necessary. I also believe governments should balance their budgets and that people can decide perfectly well at the state/province and local levels what level of taxation they are willing to support.”

    Jane, none of this makes someone a pinko.

  15. Jane, the Jefferson quotes I
    Jane, the Jefferson quotes I provided pre-date the Industrial Revolution. Of course there is virtually anything by Locke, and Hamilton’s _Report on Manufactures_ is telling not just as demonstration of proto-New-Deal pro-immigration sentiment but also as contrasted with what he wrote to the New York papers as Publius (now collected in the Federalist Papers) before the Constitution was ratified.

    My own perception of the hand-in-hand growth of liberalism and nominalism—they go together—starts as early as Mohammed’s attempted encapsulation of a unique class of truths in a single text. A thousand years later this idea was coopted by protestants in the form of _sola scriptura_ as pretext for rebellion (both right-rebellion and left-rebellion); which in turn led to the Wars of Religion, the protestant divine right of kings, and the re-articulation of religion as a department of the state. None of that is quite “liberalism” yet, just the preconditions for it, and of course a single paragraph leaves out far more than it makes explicit.

    But if you want to know when liberalism (freedom and equal rights, set against oppression, as the highest political good combined with the separation of the transcendent from the political) itself was born Locke is not a bad place to start. What Locke articulated was a particular form of liberalism; Marx perceived that in hindsight and under industrial conditions Locke’s property-liberalism did not result in freedom and equality and so articulated different means to the same lofty end. Hitler focused on the “against the oppressor” aspect but he also talked about how freedom and equal rights were the critical thing that the subhuman oppressor was preventing, and he explicitly rejected democracy because of its substantive failure to produce equal rights for the German people. So it is true that phenomenologically Marx, Jefferson, and Hitler all saw different people in the oppressor and oppressed categories and took different approaches to getting rid of the voiceless oppressor-tyrant; but they all agreed that freedom and equal rights for the oppressed were the highest political good, that freedom and equality were not achievable until the oppressor was eliminated, and that what the oppressor untermensch had to say was irrelevant. Different actual spiders are made of different actual material and have different characteristics, but they nonetheless share their spiderness. Different allies of liberalism have different concrete characteristics too, and like different actual spiders they may fight and kill each other off, but they are nonetheless all followers of liberalism.

    Of course many people do give me Hell about using the word “liberalism” to describe the ideology followed by the disciples of secular freedom and equality, so you are in good company there. Some might say that the word denotes whatever the speaker wills it to denote, so that I am only talking to myself when I use it the way I do in virtue of the fact that I haven’t gotten my listeners’ permission to use it that way; but the nominalists who would say that are so hopelessly lost intellectually that it is almost pointless talking to them:


  16. Jane is sceptical that
    Jane is sceptical that liberalism existed before the Industrial Revolution. I don’t believe it’s that hard though, or even controversial, to trace the lineage of liberal thought at least back to the Renaissance.

    Liberals believe that individuals should be radically autonomous, so that they can choose to do what they want according to their own individual will and reason, and be able to create themselves in any direction without impediments.

    We can go all the way back to Pico della Mirandola for an outline of this belief. In the later 1400s, Pico imagined God saying to man that:

    “You, constrained by no limits, in accordance with your own free will … shall ordain for yourself the limits of your nature … We have made you … so that with freedom of choice, as though the maker and moulder of yourself, you may fashion yourself in whatever shape you shall prefer.”

    Or take the view of Hobbes in 1651 who wrote that:

    “By LIBERTY, is understood, according to the proper signification of the word, the absence of externall Impediments: which impediments, may take away part of a mans power to do what he would.”

    Then there is Jefferson who wrote in 1819 that “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will.”

    The poet Shelley wrote a year later in 1820 in Prometheus Unbound his ode to those who would be:

    “Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
    Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless,
    Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
    Over himself”

    In 1911 Leonard Hobhouse wrote that “Liberalism is the belief that society can be safely founded on this self-directing power of personality.”

    The affinity between the beliefs of these writers spans at least four centuries.

    Of course, what is critical for traditionalist conservatives are the consequences of believing in “this self-directing power of personality.”

    Logically, if you want to be self-created by your own unimpeded will and reason, you have to reject many things that traditionalists value.

    For instance, you can’t be defined by your own sex, as this is inherited rather than rationally chosen, and so traditional gender roles are rejected.

    Similarly, you can’t be defined by an inherited, ethnic based national identity; nor can you accept the authority of an absolute moral code; nor can you be circumscribed by a single model of family life; nor can you accept undemocratic forms of authority and so on.

    It’s true that many earlier liberals would not have welcomed the later development of their own movement. Young intellectuals, though, have a way of pushing through first principles to their logical conclusion.

  17. Unadorned: thank you for
    Unadorned: thank you for your post elaborating what you view as the genesis of liberalism. I hold that both liberalism and conservativism in the modern sense were shaped in the context of industrializing and urbanizing 19th century as political ideology met a democratized citizenry….Gladstone/Disraeli, Garibaldi and Bismarck come to mind as prototype liberals and conservatives…both political ideologies underwent seismic shifts in reaction/response to 20th century events. Those 19th century basic ideologies have morphed into culturally specific ones…for example, an American liberal is not the same beast as a Canadian or French liberal…the same holds true for conservatives. I think America is hampered by a political system that restricts itself to two parties; hence the polarity in thought.

  18. Mark Richardson, you might
    Mark Richardson, you might have added John Lennon’s contribution, sort of a culmination of liberalism’s long gestation, where he wrote,

    “Imagine there’s no country,
    Nothing to kill or die for,
    And no religion, too.
    Imagine all the people living for today … ”

    or lyrics to that effect.

    No country? No religion? Nothing exists that’s worth killing for—or dying for? All the people living just for today?—just for the fleeting, superficial pleasure of the moment? Just for that, and for nothing else? Sounds like death warmed-over to me.

    And not just those hideous lyrics were akin to death, but that song’s music was so depressing, it could almost be used as a funeral dirge.

    Those song lyrics crafted by John Lennon were spiritually as bad as gansta rap lyrics, though in a different way.

  19. Jane wants to believe that
    Jane wants to believe that there are fundamental differences between a modern Canadian liberal and a modern American liberal, to such an extent that they can’t be categorized as adherents to the same basic ideology. I encounter this resistence to categorization quite a lot. I think it occurs because if liberals are all of a piece then liberalism as such is responsible for the Reign of Terror, the gulags, the nazi holocaust, and the abortion holocaust, among other things. And if liberalism as such is responsible for those things then there is an obvious moral imperative to repent and renounce liberalism categorically as such. We can’t have that.

  20. Matt, I’m not sure how
    Matt, I’m not sure how “liberals” caused all you say they did. I suppose we could spend lots of post-flaming time discussing whether Hitler was “right” or “left”, “fascist” or “socialist”, or whatever the words we want to use to describe what we don’t like…or we could just agree he was a murdering despot. Same with Stalin. I do know that neither was a liberal in the modern sense of liberal.

    You want an example of cultural difference? How about religion/state separation? American liberals (and some conservatives) fight to the death to maintain an artificial separation of church and state in public institutions and publically-funded programs. On the other hand, Canadian liberals(and conservatives)don’t even question public funding of Christian and Catholic schools, or faith-based initiatives.

    Sure there are cultural cross-overs…Seymour Martin Lipsett’s study, “Prairie Socialism”, comes to mind. But then I’d go further to say that Lipsett describes an ideology that cannot easily be characterized as either liberal OR conservative.

    Question: Is the GOP “liberal” in your view?

  21. The GOP is certainly
    The GOP is certainly predominantly liberal: it is what we in these parts would call “neoconservative”. The differences between republicans and democrats are orders of magnitude smaller than the difference between myself and the both of them lumped together.

    I don’t deny the existence of cultural difference, etc. As I said, different actual spiders are different but they are all spiders. In order to understand how I view categories it is important to read the thread on nominalism to which I provided a link earlier:


  22. Also, Jane wants to dismiss
    Also, Jane wants to dismiss Hitler and Stalin by observing that they were murdering despots and leaving it at that. It is certainly true that they were murdering depots; but it seems to me that there are comprehensible reasons why they personally believed and did what they believed and did, and why so many millions followed them. Asking everyone to agree that they were murdering despots and leave it at that is just another form of refusing to talk about it.

    “The National Socialist Trades Union is not an instrument for class warfare, but a representative organ of the various occupations and callings. The National Socialist State recognizes no ‘classes’. But, under the political aspect, it recognizes only citizens with absolutely equal rights and equal obligations corresponding thereto. ”

    — Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, Vol. 2 Chap. 12

    “I had always hated the Parliament, but not as an institution in itself. Quite the contrary. As one who cherished ideals of political freedom I could not even imagine any other form of government. In the light of my attitude towards the House of Habsburg I should then have considered it a crime against liberty and reason to think of any kind of dictatorship as a possible form of government.”

    — Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, Vol. I Chap. 3

    “The army united a people who were split up into classes: and in this respect had only one defect, which was the One Year Military Service, a privilege granted to those who had passed through the high schools. It was a defect, because the principle of absolute equality was thereby violated; and those who had a better education were thus placed outside the cadres to which the rest of their comrades belonged. ”

    — Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, Vol. I Chap. 10

  23. Matt, I went back and
    Matt, I went back and re-read the posts on nominalism and I got lost again (there’s a reason why my philosophy education stopped at Logic 101). Could you explain it in some basic terms so that I can grasp it…obviously we’re approaching liberalism in vastly different ways.

    I don’t dismiss Hitler and Stalin at all. I just do not see how their actions are germane to a consideration of a political ideology of millions and millions of law-abiding citizens who don’t have the advantage of complete control of a national treasury and military.

    Regarding the quotes from Hitler: he lied. Wait, actually I can believe he did indeed love parliament….after all, it was the perfectly legal Weimar Constitution that allowed him to do what he did.

  24. Matt’s quotes from Hitler
    Matt’s quotes from Hitler remind me that Kuehnelt-Leddihn also held that Nazism was a “leftist” (i.e. liberal) phenomenon. But this doesn’t seem entirely correct to me. Wasn’t Nazism actually some kind of blend of leftist and conservative elements? The rejection of modern in favour of traditional art was surely a conservative aspect of Nazism; so was the tendency towards mystical Paganism. Racism would also seem to be a denial of liberal egalitarianism, although anti-Semitism seems more specifically leftist as it is directed against a “natural aristocracy”.

    Interestingly, Kuehnnelt-Leddihn also mentions (without elaboration so far as I remember) that he sees conservative elements in the New Left of the 1960s and later: presumably this refers to such tendencies as the preference for decentralized over centralized democracy and romantic anti-industrialism, though neither of these tendencies seems to have borne much fruit.

    If there are conservative elements in Nazism then it is clearly important to understand them in order to avoid falling into similar mistakes.

  25. I wouldn’t call Naziism
    I wouldn’t call Naziism liberal as Matt does, but would be inclined to say it’s an alternative form of modernism.

    Like liberalism Naziism abolishes tradition and the transcendent in favor of actual human will, which it views as the sole conceivable source of moral order. Unlike liberalism, however, it rejects the notion of a rational structure that equally advances the triumph of every will, no doubt correctly reasoning that such a project makes no sense. Rather, it identifies the moral order with the will of a particular collectivity and the will of the collectivity with the concrete will of one particular man, which thereby becomes the highest law. The status of the will of the Fuehrer as the highest law is validated by the concrete practical supremacy of that will, irrefutably demonstrated by the enslavement, torture and extermination of those among the Volk who reject it, and of those outside the Volk generally. (Naziism thereby neatly solves the problem that plagues liberalism of explaining why, on fundamental principle, the individual should pay any attention whatever to the decisions of the state.)

    The close kinship of liberalism and Naziism is demonstrated by Hitler’s facility (which Matt demonstrates) at appealing to liberal principle, and by the general liberal assumption that someone who disagrees with liberals on their principle of the equality of value of all human beings and desires must be at bottom a Nazi. Liberals thus show that they recognize Naziism as the other alternative within their moral world, which is determined by rejection of the transcendent and consequent treatment of the human will as the sole authority.

  26. Well, I think Naziism is one
    Well, I think Naziism is one of the things that can happen when you put liberalism under extreme duress. If modern liberalism is a lump of coal then naziism is its diamond. Both are hunks of carbon, and it is that elemental sameness that concerns me as well as the fact that Naziism was a direct product of and caused by liberalism.

    Notice also that Jane refuses to take what Hitler said seriously, no doubt because she finds it impossible to believe that Hitler thought what he actually said he thought. Obviously the Volk took it seriously though, and that was integral to their acceptance of it and Hitler’s rise to power. Any argument at all can be refuted by claiming that others are just a bunch of liars; but I’m not sure how useful such a refutation is.

    I think that like communism, naziism observed the failure of classical liberalism to produce its promised result of freedom and equal rights among the new supermen. In response some aspects of traditionalism were revived, in hollowed-out secular form, specifically to help overcome those failures: for example communism revives the traditionalist concept of tithing in support of the poor, but with the State in the place of God.

    Whatever else may be said, it is clearly true that naziism came from liberalism and has far more in common with it than traditionalism has with either.

  27. Jane, I don’t know of a way
    Jane, I don’t know of a way to describe nominalism and its importance more simply than I already did in that other post. To emphasize one of the important bits as it pertains to current discussion: it is important to realize that liberalism is (and any ideology is generally) an independent thing to which individual liberals pledge varying levels of alliegence. To say that someone is a liberal is to say that he has a strong commitment to liberalism; it is a statement of alliegence rather than a statement of ontic reality or personal identity. To say that someone is a soldier of the riech is to say that he has a certain kind of alliegence to the reich. He may be a bad soldier, a confused soldier, or whatever, and he may even desert once it sinks in what the reich is all about; but the reich is what it is with or without his alliegence. So also with liberalism and individual liberals.

    Moderns don’t like facing that quite obvious fact because moderns are heavily committed to nominalism. Nominalism is a key part of liberal emancipation (if categories are just names that we will into existence for our own purposes then nobody else can tell us anything we don’t want to hear), and also a key part of its slippery ability to redefine itself tactically in order to avoid responsibility for its actual consequences while maintaining its core values.

    I don’t know if that adds anything helpful to the other post, but it is probably the best I’ll be able to do.

  28. Finally, I don’t think that
    Finally, I don’t think that early Mein Kampf Naziism rejects equality any more than any other form of liberalism. Under Mein Kampf Naziism and all forms of liberalism the new supermen have absolutely equal rights, while the tyrants are voiceless subhumans who need to be put down. It may seem more obviously irrational when looking at the nazis from our perspective, but objectively the nazi conception of equality is no more irrational than the modern liberal conception (which is to say that both are completely, utterly, demonstrably irrational).

  29. Jane, let me suggest you
    Jane, let me suggest you read Mr. Auster’s article “Immigration and Multiculturalism: Why Are the Conservatives Silent?” Sorry I don’t know how to link. Pay particular attention to the paragraphs after the heading “The Credo That Has Left Us Defenseless.” Other sponsors to this Website also have written much about the liberal “credo.”

    If you do not have time now to consult the real authorities above, let me offer my brief interpretation of the sponsors’ idea of liberalism: All people, cultures, and religions are equal. This means I cannot treat my immediate family, my religion, or my culture any differently than I treat yours. In other words, my family, culture, race, and religion mean nothing. I cannot have preferences because differences are not acknowledged, except the difference between those that agree with this ideology and those that disagree (racists, misogynists, homophobes, xenophobes, etc.). And the most startling thing is the average liberal (almost every American) does not even know this is the core of their ideology.

    I hope we will hear more from you.

  30. Not to interrupt a fine
    Not to interrupt a fine discussion, if anyone is interested there is an article in the current issue of Journal of the History of Ideas that challenges Isaiah Berlin’s characterization of Maistre as a protofascist.

  31. Matt, thanks…was easier
    Matt, thanks…was easier reading one post than a thread. So, to make sure I understand, if I hold to any liberal tenet, then I am a liberal to a more or less degree? If that is the case, no wonder all that is bad or evil in the world can be written off as “liberal”….or “conservative” depending on your own particular beliefs.

    Further, how do you remain antimodern in a firmly modern (I refuse to say postmodern) world? It is what it is….and here we are.

  32. M. Murgos: thanks for that
    M. Murgos: thanks for that succinct explanation, and I will read the articles. But in the meantime, I would call what you describe…all cultures, religions, and people are equal… “cultural relativism”. I do not believe that is the same thing as saying that all citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender or orientation are equal before the law, which may be characterized as liberal from what I see on this board. Just because I believe in that sort of legal equality (and wait til we get into systemic discrimination and remedies!), does not believe that I am a cultural relativist.

    For example, I believe that Saudi Arabia’s social and legal strictures on women are just plain unacceptable. If Saudi Arabian people are living in North America, they don’t get to carry their “culture” with them…they are subject to the North American constitutional and legal notions of equality and freedom….I don’t give a rats patootie if they are “comfortable” with that or not.

    So on the one hand, I hold to legal equality as described. On the other, I don’t believe that all cultures are created equal. So is that liberal thinking?

  33. Jane: yes and no. “Being” a
    Jane: yes and no. “Being” a liberal merely means, in everyday sloppy language, that one has an alliegence to liberalism. You are of course welcome to repent from liberalism at any time without changing either your own ontic status or that of liberalism. Ironically, you need merely to will your apostasy into existence in order to make it a reality.

    (Joke: Renee Descartes walks up to the bar. Bartender says “Renee, would you like a beer?” Descartes replies “I think not” and disappears).

    I don’t know why this automatically implies that all is bad or evil in the world, or that all that is bad or evil is liberal, or whatever. It is tough to follow such talk when seemingly random assertions are posted without explanation.

    “The world is what it is” is an interesting proto-nihilistic philosophy of sorts, but Prince Siddhartha doesn’t have much hold on my psyche. I am much more inclined to avoid confusing the immanent with the eschaton, as per Christian tradition. Jane cannot possibly be saying that because the world is what it is there is never a circumstance in which a good liberal would join Jeremiah and cry “repent!” Surely Auschwitz provides an obvious counterexample.

    As for “equal rights”, the concept is itself an oxymoron. Any actual “right” possessed by an actual person is merely a rule by which he asserts a claim superior to other claims that would propose to conflict (e.g. lord of the manor versus trespasser). So requiring these actual assertive superiorities to be equal is self-contradictory, and the alternative modalities of reducing a right to a mere abstract potentiality that all share or of enumerating explicitly the anathematized discriminands do not satisfy the liberal imperative. It is true that most people have difficulty wrapping their minds around the problem, though, which is itself one source of the power of the Great Lie.

  34. Jane, I do not know whether
    Jane, I do not know whether liberalism as defined here includes the procedural equality you describe. I am not the expert here. Others will need to advise you on this point.

    Keep in mind that an immigrant does get to keep his or her culture under liberalism because there is no right to exclude that culture. You mentioned laws. The people that live here make the laws. Once the immigrants are here, they get to vote even if others disagree with their voting habits. Certainly some customs will be suppressed while the dominant culture is being destroyed. But once the immigrants are here in sufficient numbers, the native laws are changed or simply not enforced. For example, see how the American immigration laws are not enforced on the Mexican border. In the 1950’s, there were mass deportations. Try to enforce the border laws now.

    Observe a non-Hispanic American born in Miami, Florida before 1960. The native American’s career outlook in 2002 is grim unless he learns Spanish and accepts whatever customs Hispanics have brought. Under liberalism, the native American is hateful if the native wants to retain the native’s customs and language. Arab judges are not going to view women as some native Americans would like, and under liberalism, the objecting native American is an Arabphobe.

    Remember also that liberalism is, according to the experts here, ultimately self-destructive. It is going on now. Once the Arabs or Hispanics or others have sufficient numbers, what a liberal wants might very well be irrelevant.

  35. Jane says,

    “I hold to any
    Jane says,

    “I hold to any liberal tenet, so I am a liberal to a greater or lesser degree?”

    No. But, to paraphrase that judge in the pornography debate, we know a liberal when we see one walking in. (And as Matt pointed out, we know one also by the unmistakable clicking sound of rounds being chambered all over the room as gun barrels pointed at each other all instantly swing round in unison to point instead in the direction of the door.)

    “Further, how do you remain antimodern in a firmly modern (I refuse to say postmodern) world? It is what it is …. and here we are.”

    First of all, the world Anne Frank was stuck in “was what it was” too, and “there she was” (just as “here we are”). That absolves it of all blame? Did you miss the point Voltaire was trying to make when you read “Candide”?

    Second, it’s easier to answer your question if put this way: “How do you remain normal in a world in which the forces favoring degenerateness are gaining the upper hand?” Modernness isn’t the problem. Having degenerateness rammed down your throat at every turn is the problem. Modernness has been with us without interruption since ten thousand years before the Bible was written, as nearly as I can tell.

    (I’m still looking for a reference on why Britain’s unwritten constitution protects freedom of speech. I haven’t found one yet to my satisfaction. If I don’t come across one I’ll just write an original article on that myself, then cite my own article—and trust me, it’ll be the best of the lot.)

  36. Mr. Murgos attempted to
    Mr. Murgos attempted to ferret out a rule a few posts back to the extent that one enters into the big tent of liberal tolerance in virtue of assent to liberal dogma. I don’t think such a clear rule exists. The protected oppressed do not necessarily have to be liberals, they merely have to be perceived by liberals as the oppressed who could in principle become free and equal if not for the oppressors. Rights inhere only in those who are inside the tent; those outside are said to have forfeited their rights in virtue of being oppressors, so equality doesn’t apply on the outside. Precisely what rules determine forfeiture is not clear, but Britian is on to some fun and interesting new innovations clearly. Assent to liberalism, or even the current specific flavor of liberalism, doesn’t seem to be the whole story. The lines drawn between ubermensch-oppressed who have equal rights and untermensch-oppressor whose voices are to be ignored are not merely a matter of voluntarily entering the big tent.

  37. P. Murgos: I’ll reserve
    P. Murgos: I’ll reserve judgement on whether “liberalism” is self-destructive until I can nail the experts down on exactly what that means.

    I quite frankly don’t understand what you’ve said when you write: “Observe a non-Hispanic American born in Miami, Florida before 1960. The native American’s career outlook in 2002 is grim unless he learns Spanish and accepts whatever customs Hispanics have brought. Under liberalism, the native American is hateful if the native wants to retain the native’s customs and language. Arab judges are not going to view women as some native Americans would like, and under liberalism, the objecting native American is an Arabphobe.”

    When you say “native American” do you mean White American? How many generations does an American have to trace his or her family tree back before being considered “native American”? What “customs and language” do “native Americans” wish to retain that liberals consider hateful?

  38. I have led you off the track
    I have led you off the track to understanding nominalism. Sorry. I had seen your other postings, and I was eager to see some reasoned criticism of the ideas that I (just I as far as I know) think heavily influence the real thinkers on this Website. Also, I hoped the broader picture might help you with nominalism. Good luck.

  39. P. Murgos, you’re a
    P. Murgos, you’re a philosopher and I’m an historian….we approach things quite differently. I’d like to understand more of what you’re saying, but will have to translate it into my own academic knowledge and worldview first.

  40. It is an odd thing, the “it
    It is an odd thing, the “it is what it is” philosophy. On the one hand, we should accept things as they are and not pine away for restoration because the here and now is what it is. On the other hand, because there have been real and perceived injustices in the past we have no moral standing from which to preserve what good exists in the here-and-now.

    Liberalism ultimately destroys all traditions. A tradition is concrete, specific to a particular people and world view, and most importantly has authority over individuals that limits the individual will. Liberal multicultural taxidermy would hollow all of these traditions out and strip them of all substance and authority, leaving them in a museum staring back at us with dead glass eyes.

    So the answer to the question of what traditions liberalism hates is that liberalism hates all traditions, including its own (Western liberals are some of the most vehement haters of Western culture), which is part of why it is ultimately self-destructive.

    It is true that liberalism sometimes allies itself with particular cultures that it views as oppressed: witness the Jews in the last half century. For these cultures it is a Faustian bargain though: being an ethnic Jew in liberal France isn’t the easiest thing these days.

    Heaven forbid Mr. Murgos empathize with the anglo resident of florida who doesn’t want his culture eradicated by the corrosive acid we call liberalism. Of course in the long run that anglo and his hispanic neighbors are both in the cross hairs, so making nice now is a great way to commit mutual suicide.

  41. Matt’s crystal clear
    Matt’s crystal clear comments confirm my understanding of important ideas on this Website. I especially enjoyed the first paragraph, which reminds me of the vogue phrase “move on.” This maddening expression is favored by President Bush’s people, who mean, “shut up children.”

  42. Mr. Murgos, you understand
    Mr. Murgos, you understand of course that when the Left uses phrases like “Can’t we just move on?,” for example, every time they see people trying to investigate or criticize Bill-and-Hillary’s crime and slime, that’s not spontaneous. Those terms have all been carefully crafted, disseminated, and agreed-upon as being the most likely to persuade the useful idiots whose votes, support, and inertia the Left needs to advance itself. It’s the same with each and every inappropriate use of terms such as “racist,” “xenophobe,” “diversity,” “fascist,” and so many others. None of that is spontaneous. It’s all strategy and has been quite carefully plotted behind the scenes before being trotted out.

    As for the Bush-Administration’s use of “move on,” as I recall they were saying that a lot when they first took over the government, and it was in response to calls for prosecuting the crimes of impeached former “president” Bill Clinton and his “wife,” rather than letting them off the hook.

    The decision on the part of the Bush Administration to let the Clintons off the hook, rather than grinding them into very fine powder, was abysmally bad, needless to say, and one could go on for pages about how bad it was, how poorly it reflected on the whole Bush outfit, and the questions it raised about the extent to which Bush is really on the anti-Clinton side.


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