A sign that we are in the Last Days … of liberalism

Contradicting the gloomy tidings of the previous blog entry, a single sentence in the Toronto Star tells me that modern liberalism with its denial of differences is rotting on the inside and cannot last long. All that’s needed is to keep pushing steadily against it.

* * *

Gintas writes:

Agreed. I have long believed that reality shall triumph. However, there is a real possibility that we shall all go down together in a liberal Götterdämmerung.

Ben writes:

You brought this up before looking back to your original comment about the apocalypse of liberalism in September, 2001. But the destruction of liberalism still holds a problem for the rest of us, as you pointed out. Even though we recognize the insanity of liberalism, does most of the country yet and will they recognize it before we are destroyed? You wrote:

Therefore, America can only survive if liberalism is destroyed. [LA: meaning that modern liberalism ceases to be the ruling power of society.]

But if liberalism carries the day and America is destroyed, liberalism will die too. The parasite will die as soon as it consumes its host. Liberals—which means not just those who call themselves “liberals,” but everyone who accepts the liberal world view, including President Bush —should therefore recognize the stark choice they face. Either liberalism will be allowed to destroy America, and thus destroy itself, or liberalism will be abandoned and America will be saved.

Do liberals want America to survive without liberalism, or do they want both America and liberalism to die? That is the choice.

So yes liberalism will be destroyed, the question though is which of these outcomes which you mentioned will take place?

LA replies:

No one can know that. It’s not a “question” that can be settled by discussion, but only by what happens in reality.

A reader writes:

“A sign that we are in the last days of liberalism”

When precisely will it die, date and time please. Otherwise you’re as “correct” as the Christian doomsday “prophets” in which “the last day” keeps shifting from century to century.

If by this time next year liberalism is still well-ensconced in all of society’s organizations and institutions, will you recant and write a retraction?

How about if five years from now, liberalism still obtains as the regulating set of principles in society, will you recant and write a retraction?

When will you be proven right? You’re playing the card that you can’t be proven wrong because you affix no date and time by which that event should happen. Name a date and time so that you’re predictions can either be falsified or verified…

LA replies:

By “last days” I don’t mean liberalism is about to crash tomorrow or next year or ten years or twenty years from now, any more than when I say we’re in the apocalypse of liberalism I mean that liberalism is about to be destroyed at this moment. I am not making predictions about some event in time. I am speaking of principles. Liberalism, like Communism, is a reigning belief system that flagrantly contradicts reality. The more liberal liberalism becomes, the more unprincipled exceptions liberalism dispenses with (which keep it going despite its irrationality), the more its destructive and insane nature, and thus its inability to continue indefinitely as the ruling belief system of the West, becomes apparent.

Of course, liberalism could pull back, it could retrench, it could re-install a lot of unprincipled exceptions, and so survive longer. But that’s another way of saying that liberalism ceases to be liberalism and becomes something else. But liberalism as liberalism, the pure liberalism we’re seeing manifest all around us, as in the pedal to the metal support for Bush’s open borders plan, as is in systematized decadence of American society, cannot survive. Either its destructive nature will become so apparent that people will renounce it, or it will destroy America and the West and thus die because its host will have died.

It’s ironic that pessimists think I’m wrong when I say that liberalism cannot survive. Those same pessimists think that the West is careening toward its doom. But if the West is careening toward its doom, so is liberalism.

Dave writes:

Your correspondent is entirely right when he asks you to name a date and time for liberalism’s collapse. Why?

Because you are so confident in your own rationality, that he is challenging you to complete your own logic.

If A surely follows B, then you should be able to name a date and time for liberalism’s demise. You claim to be able to perceive the logic of its inner workings. Fine, you have peered into the liberal machinery and can detect how its mechanisms will fail. Any good car shop will tell you, based on its diagnosis of a car’s mechanism and faults when that car will fail (after X number of miles).

So instead of offering all sorts of evasions, just state the date and time of liberalism’s total collapse. Otherwise you really don’t have a handle to its logic and mechanisms. Date & time please, or just shut up!

LA replies:
I’ve now gotten several e-mails arguing the same point as this reader: that my statements about the inevitable doom of liberalism are tantamount to a precise prediction of the future, along the lines of various Bible-based prophecies that say the end of the world will occur on a certain date, and further, that if I can’t give such a prediction, then my statements about the inevitable doom of liberalism are worthless.

As I’ve said before, I have no knowledge of the future nor have I claimed any. I am saying that liberalism is so irrational that it is not sustainable, and, further, that its irrationality is becoming ever more extreme, as it is confronted by deadly serious threats that liberalism, as long as it remains liberalism, cannot acknowledge or oppose. This inability of liberalism to face dangerous realities will either result in the destruction of the civilization of which liberalism is the ruling force, or in the rejection of liberalism before the civilization is destroyed. Which of these two scenarios will occur, and how long it will take them to occur, I have no idea. When I speak of the apocalypse of liberalism or of the last days of liberalism, I am attempting to articulate the underlying meaning and direction of events, or, rather, I am attempting to articulate the underlying mental realities that determine external political behavior and events.

Ronald Reagan and Alexander Solzhenitsyn each understood that the Soviet system was based on lies and evil and was unsustainable. The fact that they didn’t make predictions about the year that the Soviet Union would fall did not invalidate their analyses of Communism.

More importantly, Reagan’s and Solzhenitsyn’s analyses had a practical point, which was that the Soviet system was vulnerable, and that, if resisted, instead of being accommodated, it would collapse. The same thing holds for liberalism. This is not about making predictions, the way political pundits and sports fans do, and then sitting back and watching what happens. (That’s apparently what the reader thinks I’m up to, and why he’s so annoyed at me.) This is about understanding that if the people of the West realize the irrationality and unsustainability of liberalism, and if they begin to oppose the rule of liberalism, not going along insensibly with its premises, its categories, its shibboleths, but resisting and confronting them at every turn, then liberalism’s inherent falseness and weakness will be exposed, hastening the rejection of the rule of liberalism and thus increasing the chances that the liberal regime will die before the West does.

LA continues:
It seems to me that there are several ways of predicting or apprehending the future. Here are some that come to mind.

First, there is Hegelian/Marxist/Progressivist materialist determinism. The thinker has discovered the material force controlling history, such as globalization or secularization or birth rates, which must lead to certain inevitable results, and as the “knower” or god of the historical process he demands men’s acquiescence in this inevitable future. A popular form of Progressive determinism is “trendism,” in which it is assumed that whatever is the trend at the moment will continue just as it is, ignoring the fact that trends are created by human thinking and attitudes, which change.

Then there is your standard political punditry and sports forecasting, which is perhaps less dogmatic than trendism, but operates along similar lines.

Then there is a more or less rational analysis of trends and events, in which, based on what has happened and what is happening, we can make a series of projections or scenarios of what is most likely to occur, depending on how different variables work out.

Then there is your standard biblical prophecies like those of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have entire schemes worked out in which various events in the present are seen as a fulfillment of specific passages in the bible, and an entire schedule of future earthly events is predicted on that basis.

(By the way, I do not necessarily dismiss all biblical prophecy; I have heard a so-called dispensationalist exposition of the meaning of history based on a reading of Biblical passages that struck me as profound and that could not be dismissed. But this school, as I understand it, does not engage in specific predictions, as Jehovah’s Witnesses and others do.]

Then there is philosophy, which attempts to discover the nature of things, including their natural end, or telos. Philosophy includes both logical analysis and noesis, which Ellis Sandoz, the leading expositor of Eric Voegelin’s thought, has defined as that intuitive aspect of rationality that apprehends first principles.

Then there is something like pure intuition, in which the person directly “sees” something about the shape of events to come.

When I wrote that we are in the last days of liberalism, it came from the kind of “rational intuitive” experience described by Sandoz. There was something about the statement of the Canadian police spokesman, that “there is no common denominator” among the terror suspects, that it hit me with an impact, it said to me, liberalism is absurd, it is so flagrantly in denial of reality, that such a thing cannot survive, it is doomed. The biblical image of the last days came to mind as the expression of that idea.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 04, 2006 08:30 PM | Send

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