How bad will things get?

Right-wingers are alarmed by totalitarian features of advanced liberalism: its insistent universalism, its theoretical coherence and simplicity, its resolute suppression of alternative principles of social order, its principled rejection of common sense, inherited ways, and the very concept of human nature. In the long run, they ask, how much difference can there be between “inclusiveness”—putting all persons and all human goals and actions into a single relation to a single universal and comprehensive order of things—and “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”? If anything, the former aspiration seems more unlimited and therefore more frightening.

From the liberal standpoint, of course, all this is a joke. The liberal state is different from every other state. It’s a system of power that isn’t a system of power. It has a ruling class of experts, functionaries and lawyers that is reliably disinterested and moral. By controlling everything it sets everything free. That’s why it’s not fanaticism but moderation to say that only liberal states are legitimate. Worrying about “totalitarian liberalism” is like worrying about “oppression by neutrality” or “enslavement by freedom.” It might be an interesting paradox, but as a practical matter it just shows there’s something wrong with you. Above all, liberals are good people and don’t do bad things except to the extent they fall short of liberalism.

Still, what are the practicalities? It may be right—I think it is—to shrug off the liberal self-image as hopelessly self-deluded, but there are some things to say in its favor. In principle, liberalism may be far more ambitious than Mussolini’s fascism, and its ultimate goals may be far more inhuman, but it habitually proceeds by much softer means. Rather than crush an opposing force directly it weakens it by a thousand influences that make it unable to function and assert itself. Criminal prosecutions, when they come, are just a way of formalizing and putting beyond dispute a principle that’s already all but universally accepted. The Swedish government didn’t decide to toss Ake Green in the slammer for a sermon denouncing homosexuality until the Swedes had abandoned religion, made the provident state the basis of everything, and decided that since family relationships no longer served a serious function the sole public standard for sexual connections would be universal equal acceptance. When they came for Pastor Green, no one defended him and they could do what they wanted without being forced outside their comfort zone.

In the end, the liberal state is not principled, and nothing built into liberalism limits how far it can go. Nonetheless, it’s enduringly squeamish. It will use the final measure of force only against weak opponents whom everyone that matters has agreed to hold in contempt. Groups and institutions that stand firm, present their views forcefully and confidently, and keep on going in the face of abuse—who preach the word in all settings, in season and out of season—will prevail. That’s something Catholics, among others, need to remember. How bad things get—and they could get very, very bad—is up to us.

5 thoughts on “How bad will things get?”

  1. Positively Orwellian
    The future is still unwritten, as I’ve said before it remains to be seen if the West has the stomach to defend itself from Mohammadian aggression or not.

    It is entirely possible that in a few decades people will look at the world of George Orwell and envy the relative freedom of it’s people.

    The post-modernist totalitarian state will possess means to control and monitor it’s people that Orwell could have never imagined.

  2. Things Can Get Very Bad
    Because many of us might land in jail one day because of being Catholic or conservative, I suggest we begin to clean up the liberal prisons, which are cruel and unusual punishment. They are liberal because they are designed and maintained by the liberal establishment. It is a clear reflection of liberal evilness that they exist; the liberal softness appears only in efforts to release the violent, not to treat the nonviolent or politically incorrect humanely. I am not talking about eliminating chain gangs or tent-prisons, which liberals hate because they actually punish the violent “victims” of a “racist society,” but of the homosexual, drug-filled, violence-filled holes liberals now preserve for reasons I cannot begin to understand. Saddam Hussein would probably be proud of our prisons. Paul Henrí.

  3. We can, each of us, begin right now, today, to thwart the left
    When we talk about how bad things can get we’re not talking only about our side’s being kept under control with threats of fines and prison (which the left of course has already begun to institute). We’re also and perhaps more importantly talking about the creation by the dominant left of an all-pervasive social atmosphere that oppresses and stifles any who don’t kow-tow to the reigning leftist line (sort of a system of PC on steroids) without necessarily punishing them by means of specific legal sanctions. At the end of the 1980s my work brought me into contact with a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union (a mathematician who’d found work in this country as an insurance actuary). I asked him if it was true that there was official anti-Semitism there. He said it was. I asked how it manifested itself—what was the concrete form it took? He explained that it was soft but pervasive—if you were Jewish openly as opposed to keeping it under wraps you were looked down upon, considered retrograde—not progressive, you or your children were not given good university places, jobs, apartments, and so on, and you were more or less marginalized in society. Though “soft,” this system was quite effective. (Of course this “soft” marginalization was for those Jews who minded their own business. If you spoke up it turned “hard” and you did risk being thrown into jail or a psycho ward.)

    The way we can all do our part, right now, in hindering the imposition of such a fully-developed system here (which the left is just itching to do) is exactly as Jim Kalb says:

    “Groups and institutions that stand firm, present their views forcefully and confidently, and keep on going in the face of abuse — who preach the word in all settings, in season and out of season — will prevail.”

    I don’t use “Ms.” except when the person I’m addressing insists on it, but always say or write Miss or Mrs first. I don’t say “partner” for married heterosexuals, but always husband or wife. This next one isn’t so important but, personally, I never say firefighter, a PC term, but always fireman, the word I grew up with. Women have no business under any circumstances pretending to be firemen, a job which they are not physically or mentally capable of doing adequately. And so on and so forth. And of course, where relevant and appropriate I always state my Christian beliefs forthrightly no matter how uncool those I’m with may think Christianity is. In stating those beliefs I become the cool one, trust me.

    “If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.

  4. Mr. Kalb’s encouraging thoughts
    An excellent and encouraging post, Mr. Kalb. I hope you’re right. Little protests, such as those described by Mr. Scrooby, are very important in this regard. These little habits, with enough exposure, actually catch on and spread to the population of unsuspecting liberals. It is precisely because thousands of Americans quietly go about their business with their stubborn reactionary personalities that the establishment doesn’t pull out all the stops. It would be unseemly to smash so many seemingly harmless people all at once.

  5. like Rick Joyner says
    heh, thought I might push a few buttons by mentioning ol’ Rick. His interesting (although ponderous and poorly edited) visions included such things as:
    * governments becoming little more than armed gangs
    * utter breakdown of civil society, rampant crime
    * deep spiritual darkness, proliferation of repulsive practices
    * also, the Christian churches becoming a haven of respite, granted the grace of God to weather the times (as in earlier times)

    Liberal trends seem to back up his assertions: inflated punitive taxes, pervasive welfarism (vote-buying), entrenched political/educational/media elites raiding the public purse, mismanaged economies, failure to maintain basic infrastructure such as electricity, lack of military spirit, attacking the concept of absolute truth, loss of convictions/courage/morality, loss of work ethic, lower educational achievement, fatherlessness (etc etc etc)

    Western culture has a long way to fall but we have already fallen a long way in the last 20 years. I think God has a master plan in all this, but I don’t see why he would wish to favor our baby-killing, selfish and perverse culture. I am sure many other cultures demonstrate a higher degree of virtue than our fellow wealthy supine self-indulgers.

Comments are closed.