Liberalism, 16

Classical and modern

Enlightenment philosophers are given credit for shaping liberal ideas. Thomas Hobbes attempted to determine the purpose and the justification of governing authority in a post-civil war England. Employing the idea of a state of nature—a hypothetical war-like scenario prior to the State—he constructed the idea of a social contract which individuals enter into to guarantee their security and in so doing form the State, concluding that only an absolute sovereign would be fully able to sustain such a peace.

John Locke, while adopting Hobbes’s idea of a state of nature and social contract, nevertheless argued that when the monarch becomes a tyrant, that constituted a violation of the social contract, which bestows life, liberty, and property as a natural right. He concluded that the people have a right to overthrow a tyrant. By placing life, liberty and property as the supreme value of law and authority, Locke formulated the basis of liberalism based on social contract theory.

To these early enlightenment thinkers securing the most essential amenities of life—liberty and private property among them—required the formation of a “sovereign” authority with universal jurisdiction. In a natural state of affairs, liberals argued, humans were driven by the instincts of survival and self-preservation, and the only way to escape from such a dangerous existence was to form a common and supreme power capable of arbitrating between competing human desires. This power could be formed in the framework of a civil society that allows individuals to make a voluntary social contract with the sovereign authority, transferring their natural rights to that authority in return for the protection of life, liberty, and property.

These early liberals often disagreed about the most appropriate form of government, but they all shared the belief that liberty was natural and that its restriction needed strong justification. Liberals generally believed in limited government, although several liberal philosophers decried government outright, with Thomas Paine writing that “government even in its best state is a necessary evil”.

As part of the project to limit the powers of government, various liberal theorists such as James Madison and the Baron de Montesquieu conceived the notion of separation of powers, a system designed to equally distribute governmental authority among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Governments had to realize, liberals maintained, that poor and improper governance gave the people authority to overthrow the ruling order through any and all possible means, even through outright violence and revolution, if needed.

Contemporary liberals, heavily influenced by social liberalism, have continued to support limited constitutional government while also advocating for state services and provisions to ensure equal rights. Modern liberals claim that formal or official guarantees of individual rights are irrelevant when individuals lack the material means to benefit from those rights and call for a greater role for government in the administration of economic affairs.

Early liberals also laid the groundwork for the separation of church and state. As heirs of the Enlightenment, liberals believed that any given social and political order emanated from human interactions, not from divine will. Many liberals were openly hostile to religious belief itself, but most concentrated their opposition to the union of religious and political authority, arguing that faith could prosper on its own, without official sponsorship or administration by the state.

Beyond identifying a clear role for government in modern society, liberals also have obsessed over the meaning and nature of the most important principle in liberal philosophy: liberty. From the 17th century until the 19th century, liberals—from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill—conceptualized liberty as the absence of interference from government and from other individuals, claiming that all people should have the freedom to develop their own unique abilities and capacities without being sabotaged by others. Mill’s On Liberty (1859), one of the classic texts in liberal philosophy, proclaimed that “the only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way”. Support for laissez-faire capitalism is often associated with this principle, with Friedrich Hayek arguing in The Road to Serfdom (1944) that reliance on free markets would preclude totalitarian control by the state.

tom green

Beginning in the late 19th century, however, a new conception of liberty entered the liberal intellectual arena. This new kind of liberty became known as positive liberty to distinguish it from the prior negative version, and it was first developed by British philosopher Thomas Hill Green. Green rejected the idea that humans were driven solely by self-interest, emphasizing instead the complex circumstances that are involved in the evolution of our moral character. In a very profound step for the future of modern liberalism, he also tasked society and political institutions with the enhancement of individual freedom and identity and the development of moral character, will and reason and the state to create the conditions that allow for the above, giving the opportunity for genuine choice. Foreshadowing the new liberty as the freedom to act rather than to avoid suffering from the acts of others, Green wrote the following:

If it were ever reasonable to wish that the usage of words had been other than it has been… one might be inclined to wish that the term “freedom” had been confined to the… power to do what one wills.

Rather than previous liberal conceptions viewing society as populated by selfish individuals, Green viewed society as an organic whole in which all individuals have a duty to promote the common good. His ideas spread rapidly and were developed by other thinkers such as L.T. Hobhouse and John Hobson.

In a few years, this New Liberalism had become the essential social and political program of the Liberal Party in Britain, and it would encircle much of the world in the 20th century. In addition to examining negative and positive liberty, liberals have tried to understand the proper relationship between liberty and democracy. As they struggled to expand suffrage rights, liberals increasingly understood that people left out of the democratic decision-making process were liable to the tyranny of the majority, a concept explained in Mill’s On Liberty and in Democracy in America (1835) by Alexis de Tocqueville. As a response, liberals began demanding proper safeguards to thwart majorities in their attempts at suppressing the rights of minorities.

Besides liberty, liberals have developed several other principles important to the construction of their philosophical structure, such as equality, pluralism, and toleration. Highlighting the confusion over the first principle, Voltaire commented that “equality is at once the most natural and at times the most chimeral of things”. All forms of liberalism assume, in some basic sense, that individuals are equal.

In maintaining that people are naturally equal, liberals assume that they all possess the same right to liberty. In other words, no one is inherently entitled to enjoy the benefits of liberal society more than anyone else, and all people are equal subjects before the law.

Beyond this basic conception, liberal theorists diverge on their understanding of equality. American philosopher John Rawls emphasized the need to ensure not only equality under the law, but also the equal distribution of material resources that individuals required to develop their aspirations in life. Libertarian thinker Robert Nozick disagreed with Rawls, championing the former version of Lockean equality instead.

To contribute to the development of liberty, liberals also have promoted concepts like pluralism and toleration. By pluralism, liberals refer to the proliferation of opinions and beliefs that characterize a stable social order. Unlike many of their competitors and predecessors, liberals do not seek conformity and homogeneity in the way that people think; in fact, their efforts have been geared towards establishing a governing framework that harmonizes and minimizes conflicting views, but still allows those views to exist and flourish.

For liberal philosophy, pluralism leads easily to toleration. Since individuals will hold diverging viewpoints, liberals argue, they ought to uphold and respect the right of one another to disagree. From the liberal perspective, toleration was initially connected to religious toleration, with Spinoza condemning “the stupidity of religious persecution and ideological wars”. Toleration also played a central role in the ideas of Kant and John Stuart Mill. Both thinkers believed that society will contain different conceptions of a good ethical life and that people should be allowed to make their own choices without interference from the state or other individuals.

Liberalism, 5

Era of enlightenment

The development of liberalism continued throughout the 18th century with the burgeoning Enlightenment ideals of the era. This was a period of profound intellectual vitality that questioned old traditions and influenced several European monarchies throughout the 18th century. In contrast to England, the French experience in the 18th century was characterized by the perpetuation of feudal payments and rights and absolutism. Ideas that challenged the status quo were often harshly repressed. Most of the philosophes of the French Enlightenment were progressive in the liberal sense and advocated the reform of the French system of government along more constitutional and liberal lines.

Montesquieu

Baron de Montesquieu wrote a series of highly influential works in the early 18th century, including Persian Letters (1717) and The Spirit of the Laws (1748). The latter exerted tremendous influence, both inside and outside of France.

Montesquieu pleaded in favor of a constitutional system of government, the preservation of civil liberties and the law, and the idea that political institutions ought to reflect the social and geographical aspects of each community. In particular, he argued that political liberty required the separation of the powers of government.

Building on John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, he advocated that the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of government should be assigned to different bodies. He also emphasized the importance of a robust due process in law, including the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence and proportionality in the severity of punishment.

Another important figure of the French Enlightenment was Voltaire. Initially believing in the constructive role an enlightened monarch could play in improving the welfare of the people, he eventually came to a new conclusion: “It is up to us to cultivate our garden”. His most polemical and ferocious attacks on intolerance and religious persecutions began to appear a few years later. Despite much persecution, Voltaire remained a courageous polemicist who indefatigably fought for civil rights—the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion—and who denounced the hypocrisies and injustices of the Ancien Régime.

Published in: on September 3, 2015 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Liberalism, 1

Wikipedia

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The former principle is stressed in classical liberalism while the latter is more evident in social liberalism. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programs such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, and international cooperation.

Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers and economists in the Western world. Liberalism rejected the notions, common at the time, of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The 17th-century philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition. Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property, while adding that governments must not violate these rights based on the social contract. Liberals opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government with representative democracy and the rule of law.

Prominent revolutionaries in the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of what they saw as tyrannical rule. Liberalism started to spread rapidly especially after the French Revolution. The 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe, South America, and North America. In this period, the dominant ideological opponent of classical liberalism was conservatism, but liberalism later survived major ideological challenges from new opponents, such as fascism and communism. During the 20th century, liberal ideas spread even further as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars.

In Europe and North America, the establishment of social liberalism became a key component in the expansion of the welfare state. Today, liberal parties continue to wield power and influence throughout the world.

Succedaneous religion

Or:

A race that has become too imbecile
to be biologically viable

Revilo_p_oliver

by Revilo Oliver

 

What has happened to the evangelical atheists without their being aware of it is clear. When they expelled their faith in Christianity, they created within themselves a vacuum that was quickly filled by another faith. And the fervor with which they hold that faith is of religious intensity. They preach the joyful tidings that there is no God with as much ardor and sincerity as ever a Christian preached his gospel. They sacrificed themselves, and some even underwent martyrdom, for their faith. If we wanted to indulge in paradox, we could describe them as the zealots of an anti-religious religion, but it is more accurate to say that their faith in a religion, which was rational in that it expected miracles only from the supernatural power of its invisible deity, was replaced by a superstition that expects miracles from natural causes that have never produced such effects—a superstition that is totally irrational.

Societies for the promotion of atheism as such are relatively innocuous and merely exhibit on a small scale a psychological phenomenon that has catastrophic effects when it occurs on a large scale, much as sand spouts and dust devils are miniature tornadoes. When religious faith is replaced by materialistic superstition on a large scale, the consequences are enormous devastation.

The great wave of anti-Christian evangelism swept over Europe about the middle of the Eighteenth Century, and its natural results were most conspicuous in France, where decades of strenuous social reform imposed by a centralized government under a king whose mediocre mind had been thoroughly addled by “Liberal” notions, naturally triggered the outbreak of insanity and savagery known as the French Revolution. Since the shamans and fetish-men of the new superstition control our schools and universities today, the history of that event is little known to the average American, who is likely to have derived his impressions, at best, from Carlyle’s novel, The French Revolution, and, at worst, from the epopts and fakirs of Democracy. Obviously, we cannot here insert an excursus of a thousand pages or so on what happened at France at that time, nor need we. The efforts at social uplift through economic and political reforms during the reign of Louis XVI are well summarized by Alexis de Tocqueville in The Old Régime and the French Revolution. The best short account in English of the underlying forces of the disaster is the late Nesta Webster’s The French Revolution, supplemented by the two volumes of her biography of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI and the pertinent chapters of her World Revolution.

* * *

We should not damn Rousseau for his influence. The real gravamen of guilt falls on the educated, skeptical, intellectual society that did not laugh at his fantasies about the innate Virtue of hearts uncorrupted by civilization, the Noble Savage, the Equality of all human beings, who can become unequal only through the wickedness of civilized society, the sinfulness of owning property of any kind, and the rest of the tommyrot that you will find in the thousands of printed pages of Rousseau’s whining and ranting. You can read all of it—if you grit your teeth and resolve to go through with it—and you really should, for otherwise you will not believe that books so widely read and rhapsodically admired can be so supremely silly and so excruciatingly tedious.

What Rousseau’s fantasies produced is an amazing superstition. It is not exactly an atheism, for a vague god was needed to create perfectly noble savages to be corrupted by civilization, and to inspire perfectly pure hearts, like Rousseau’s, that overflow with Virtue and drip tears wherever they go; but for all practical purposes, Rousseau’s creed substituted “democracy” for God, and put civilized society in place of the Devil. It replaced faith in the unseen and empirically unverifiable with faith in the visibly and demonstrably false.

No such apology can be made for the mighty minds that were stunned by Rousseau’s drivel. They could have tested the proposition about natural Equality by just walking down the street with their eyes open, looking inside the nearest prison, or paying a little attention to the conduct of any one of the score of really noteworthy degenerates of very high rank. They must have met every day military men and others who had observed savages in their native habitat and could comment on the innate nobility of the dear creatures. And some conversation with a few footpads and cutpurses would have elucidated the problem whether or not Society was responsible for their having been born without a conscience, wings, and other desirable appurtenances. In fact, no rational person could have escaped a daily demonstration that Rousseau’s babble was utter nonsense—except, perhaps, by confining himself in a windowless and soundproof room. But the philosophes were able to attain in their own capacious minds a far more total isolation from reality.

Our hyperactive imaginations usually act in concert with the generous impulses that are peculiar to our race—so peculiar that no other race can understand them except as a kind of fatuity from which they, thank God!, are exempt. Long before we began to indulge in international idiocy on a governmental scale, it was virtually routine for Americans to hear that the Chinese in some province were starving, and within a few weeks numerous individuals, many of them comparatively poor, made private contributions, and food was bought and shipped to the starving (if the collections were honestly made). Now I do not deprecate that exercise of charity, which is a virtue that we instinctively admire, but we should understand that although the Chinese gladly ate the food and politely said “thank you,” they privately concluded that we must be weak in the head. They would never have done anything of that sort, not even for men of their own race in a neighboring province. The White Devils, they decided, must have maggots in their minds. Sympathetic generosity, however, is a virtue or vice of our race, and we shall have to live with it.

What happened in the Eighteenth Century was that Rousseau’s fantasies so excited imaginations and generous impulses that the reasoning mind lost control.

There is, however, a second factor more important for our purposes here. You will find a clear illustration in our recent history, during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, who appears to have been a not uncommon combination of mental auto-intoxication with corrupt ambition, and who was appointed President after the resident General Manager, Barney Baruch, and his crew had (as one of them boasted to Colonel Dall) led him around “like a poodle on a string,” taught him to sit up and bark for bonbons, and made sure that he was well trained. As we all know, Baruch eventually decided that it would be good for the Jewish people to prolong the war in Europe, so that more Indo-Europeans would be killed and more of their countries devastated, and that the time had come to repay Germany and Austria for their generosity toward the Jews, who had been given in those countries more of economic, social, and political dominance than in any other European nation. It followed therefore that the thing to do was to stampede an American herd into European territory.

Our concern here is with the herd: what set it in motion? We all know how credulous individuals, many of whom had visited Germany and knew better, were impelled to imagine pictures of the evil War Lord, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and the terrible Huns—pictures that were as vivid and convincing as the vision of the monster Grendel that we see every time we read Beowulf. And, of course, there was much rant about supposed violations of a code of chivalry that no one even remembered a few years later. A college professor with some reputation as an historian was hired, doubtless for a small fee, to prove that wars are caused by monarchies, although he somehow forgot to mention the terribly bloody war that had taken place on our soil some fifty years before and which had obviously been caused by the dynastic ambitions of King Lincoln and King Davis. And, naturally, the press was filled with many other ravings. So pretty soon the Americans found themselves engaged in a “war to end wars” and a “war to make the world safe for democracy.” It would probably have been a little more expensive—good propaganda costs money—to make them fight a “war to end selfishness” and a “war to make the world safe for goblins,” but it doubtless could have been done. Green snakes are not much harder to see on the wall than pink elephants.

We must not tarry to discuss either the methods of the conspirators who so easily manipulated the American people or the folly of those who were manipulated. Let us consider our enthusiastic rush on Europe as an historical movement.

If, taking the larger view, you ask yourself what that movement most resembled, you will see the answer at once. It was a crusade—or, to be more exact, an obscene parody of a crusade. It was a mass movement inspired by a fervor of religious intensity.

The Crusades, which mark the high tide of Christianity, were (given our faith) entirely rational undertakings. (Except, of course, the so-called Children’s Crusade, which is significant only as evidence that even at that early date some members of our race had a pathological propensity to have hallucinatory imaginations.) It was obviously desirable that Christendom own the territory that was a Holy Land, where its God had appeared on earth and whither many pilgrims journeyed for the welfare of their souls. The Crusades were, furthermore, the first real effort of European unity since the fall of the Roman Empire, and they were also a realistic missionary effort. It was impossible to convert Orientals to Christianity, but it was possible to make Orientals submit to Christian rulers. The Crusaders established the Kingdoms of Cyprus and Jerusalem and the Principalities of Edessa, Tripoli, and Antioch—and eventually they found it necessary to capture Constantinople. But they could not take Baghdad and their high emprise ultimately failed for reasons which need not concern us here. The Crusades were, as we have said, the high tide of Christianity.

Wilson’s fake crusades against Europe evoked from the American people the energies and spirit that the real Crusades had aroused in Europe, and while we must deplore their delusions, we must admire the unanimity and devotion with which the Americans attacked and fought the Europeans. (Of course, we did not actually fight Great Britain, France, and Russia, our ostensible allies; they were defeated in other ways.) The crusade was irrational, however, because it was prompted, not by religion, but by the debased and debasing superstitions represented by Rousseau.

From about the middle of the Eighteenth Century to the present we have witnessed the spread and propagation throughout the West of a superstition that is as un-Christian as it is irrational, as obviously contrary to the Scriptures and tradition of Christianity as it is a blanket denial of the reality that all men see and experience every day—a superstition by which faith in an unseen God is replaced by hallucinations about the world in which we live. After that grotesque superstition inspired the most civilized and intelligent part of France to commit suicide, and loosed the frenzied orgy of depravity, crime, and murder called the French Revolution, its influence was contracted by a resurgence of both Christian faith and human reason, but recovering its malefic power over the imagination and sentimentality of our people, it grew again and as a succedaneous religion it gradually supplanted Christianity in the consciousness of both unintelligent non-Christians and infidel Christians, paralyzing both reason and faith.

This grotesque caricature of religion is now the dominant cult in the United States: its marabouts yell from almost all the pulpits; its fetish-men brandish their obscene idols before all the children in the schools; its witch-doctors prance triumphantly through all the colleges and universities. And virtually everyone stands in fearful awe of the fanatical practitioners of mumbo-jumbo. Both the God of Christendom and the reasoning mind of our race have been virtually obliterated by the peculiar system of voodoo called “Liberalism.”

It is obvious that this mass delusion is leading, and can lead, to but one end. James Burnham named it correctly in his generally excellent book, Suicide of the West.

It can be argued—and argued very plausibly—that a race that could long accept the “Liberal” voodoo-cult as a substitute for both its religion and its powers of observation and reason—a race capable of such mindless orgies as a “war to end wars”—a race that has for decades worked to commit suicide—is a race that has become too imbecile to be biologically viable. It is entirely possible that our unique capacity for science and technology will, after all, be no more effective in the struggle for life than was the vast bulk and musculature of the dinosaurs. It may be that any attempt to reason with a people seemingly in the grip of suicidal mania is itself the greatest folly, and that the vainest of all illusions is the hope that anything can save men who evidently no longer want to live.

If we permit ourselves as Christians any hope this side of Heaven, and if we permit ourselves as atheists any hope at all, we must base that expectation on the hypothesis that the collapse of Christendom, the loss of faith in the religion of the West, was a traumatic shock to our racial psyche that stunned but did not kill. If that is so, then there is hope not only that we may revive from the shock and survive, but also that the unique powers of our unique race may again be exerted to give us a future that will be brilliant, glorious, and triumphant beyond all imagining. If that is so…


_____________________

The above article has been excerpted from chapter 6 of Christianity and the Survival of the West and chosen for my compilation The Fair Race’s Darkest Hour.

Revilo Oliver (1908-1994) taught in the Classics Department at the University of Illinois from 1945 until his retirement in 1977. He was a master of twelve languages and especially noted as a scholar of Latin and Sanskrit. Dr. Oliver was a founder of the John Birch Society but he resigned from that organization in 1966 after its refusal to deal forthrightly with the issues of Jews and race. In 1970 and 1971, he served on the advisory board of the newly formed National Youth Alliance. During his final years of life, Dr. Oliver was on the board of directors for The Journal of Historical Review. Most movement activists, however, will remember Dr. Revilo P. Oliver as a contributor of regular articles in the monthly Liberty Bell publication.

Latest Frost exchange

on Christian apologetics

“…the French Enlightenment. If John Adams is correct and Helvetius was the first person to really believe in human equality, then the idea arose, not in Christendom, but in secularism. Worldviews can and do change. There is no reason to think that the ideas of the modern world are related to Christianity.”

So you’re saying these ideas were autochthonous developments that bore no relation to Christianity whatsoever. You claim they sprang up out of the native earth of Christendom and had nothing to do with what preceded them? Frankly, given the powerful role played by religion and the church at that time, I think that’s more than a little ridiculous.

>The new Gutenberg battleThe greatest help that the ideas of egalitarianism and universal brotherhood ever received was when Gutenberg invented the printing press and translations of the Bible became widely available. People could then read it for themselves and make their own decisions as to the meaning. As with so many other aspects of white culture, traditional Christianity was, in that way, another casualty of technology; it was steamrollered by Progress.

“If egalitarianism is taken in its modern sense then that’s impossible [that there are many gospel passages that extol universal brotherhood and egalitarianism], because the modern idea didn’t exist in the ancient or Medieval world.”

Human equality isn’t a difficult concept, and it hasn’t changed at all in two thousand years. All are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28), and according to Christian creation myths, all are of the same blood. Apparent divisions such as race and gender therefore are all illusions. God values all equally, with the implication that so should we, since life should be lived in imitation of Christ.

“Christianity has ceased to play a role in the modern world.”

Someone should tell the Pope this, and the Christian Zionists who keep sending money to Israel, and also the 70% of Americans who still call themselves Christians.

________________

Editor’s note: I have relocated, to this day, the above entry (originally posted a couple of days ago) because Frost has added still another reply in his discussion with the commenter Denvilda at The Occidental Observer, added as my 1st comment in the comments section, below.

Published in: on July 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Homo Americanus, 2

homoamericanusLawrence R. Brown, in his magnum opus The Might of the West… acknowledges that the Declaration was a form of political theology, compatible with the spirit of the time of the Enlightenment, and therefore replete with platitudes and “self-evident” truths.

The Preamble of the Declaration could very well fit into the Middle Ages.

Homo Americanus, chapter 1

Published in: on July 8, 2015 at 12:08 pm  Comments (2)  

4th of July

“The alien-minded minority in control of the cinema, the radio, and the newspaper and magazine press has poured out a constant stream of propaganda with the intent of gaining complete spiritual power over the minds of young Americans.” (1939)

“The monstrosity called America can intervene in Europe, can frustrate it, can perhaps destroy it.” (ca. early 1950s)

“The Jewish-American entity is Jewish as respects its head, American as respects its body… [It] will not surrender, since the very existence of Jewry is at stake, and the whole United States and its population is there to secure the existence of Jewry.” (1960)

Francis Parker Yockey (1917-1960)
– probably killed at prison –

Lex-and-ConcordUpdate:

American Renaissance is completely clueless that Murka was the product of bad history (see AmRen’s entry: here)!

Murka’s triple helix—Christianity, capitalism and Enlightenment dogmas (“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”)—are larger factors of white decline than the Jewish problem, even when considered in isolation, as demonstrated in this site and elsewhere.

Liberalism, 3

Imperium Eagle

This piece has been moved
to a single entry: here.

Liberalism, 2

Imperium Eagle

This piece has been moved
to a single entry: here.

Liberalism, 1

Imperium Eagle

This piece has been moved
to a single entry: here.