Do liberals think they won’t be harmed by national suicide?
(Note: this long discussion moves beyond its opening topic to the question of the future of the West and the purpose of traditionalism.)
Alex M. writes:
Thank you for this thought provoking thread, “Is it wrong for me to talk about race?” I’m relatively new to your site so you may have addressed this question before.
Given the scenario you paint of a vanishing Western white race/culture—the cynical rationale of those on the left, and the state of denial of those on the right—what’s in it for leftists? Why would a people willingly, knowingly wish to commit suicide? Do the Clintons, Bushes, Blairs, and Wall Street Journal types, i.e. the elites of the world really think that their families will be spared the deluge in the long run?
This is one of the great mysteries, which we’ve discussed a lot: what is the left actually thinking? While I can’t put my hand on any previous posts on this subject at the moment (if anyone can, please point me to it), the short answer is that people on the left, including many “conservatives,” define society AS openness and tolerance, and place no value on the historic society as a society. As a result, they cannot even conceptualize the idea that excessive diversity can harm society.
—end of initial entry—
For a liberal, there are no frames of reference outside liberalism and its assumption of complete human equality. Therefore liberalism cannot be wrong, just as, for a Muslim, Islam cannot be wrong. I gave an example of this yesterday regarding Duke President Brodhead: even when he was apologizing for having been part of an ultra-liberal lynch mob, he could only conceive of the wrong he had done as a failure to be sufficiently liberal. In the same way, liberals can only conceive of any problem resulting from liberal immigration and diversity policies as resulting from a failure to be sufficiently liberal. If Muslims in the UK are increasing pro-terrorist, it’s because Britain is not being inclusive enough of Muslim concerns. If there are ethnic tensions resulting from mass immigration, it’s because of majority prejudice. If white and black co-workers are distant from each other, then (according to the NY Times in a notorious series on race relations a few years ago), it’s because of whites’ self-centered refusal to be honest with blacks about their feelings about race (not because the whites know that if they did speak frankly to their black co-workers about their feelings about race, particularly race preferences and racial double standards, they would lose their jobs).
The underlying idea is that the more racial problems are created by liberal race policies, the more racist whites are. I first worked out this idea in my speech at the 1994 AR conference. Another way of expressing this idea is my First Law of Majority-Minority Relations. Also, here is a blog discussion from last July, “What would happen if liberals admitted that Muslims are unassimilable?”, that is relevant to this topic.
However, I haven’t yet addressed Alex’s real question: what happens when the social deterioration resulting from diversity continues and starts to harm the liberals themselves, and the liberals can no longer deny that this is happening or that it is going to happen?
I invite readers to jump into the breach.
A flood of comments has arrived.
Simon N. writes from England:
To committed cultural Marxists, “saving us from Western civilisation” is presumably going to require the equivalent of economic Marxism’s “dictatorship of the Proletariat,” i.e. a period when the victim groups finally take power and purge us oppressors, prior to the eventual arrival of utopia. Another way of looking at this is that cultural Marxism actively seeks civilizational annihilation and harm to cultural Marxists themselves is necessary. If you consider the reaction of e.g. feminists to black on white rape, you see that harm to left-liberal (C-Mers) does not deter them.
A more interesting question perhaps is how right-liberals like the editors of The Economist, neocons, “usual suspects” and others who do not avowedly seek the Death of the West will react as things progressively worsen. A few, like myself, may move into the paleoconservative camp—I know I’ve been pretty much forced to abandon my right-liberal mindset over the past couple of years. Others may gravitate towards cultural Marxism—I see this happening in the UK Conservative party currently. The Rockefeller Republicans like Bush seem to be looking forward to a sort of neo-feudalism where they, the white plutocratic elite, rule over a “browned” global society.
South Africa is an excellent case of this syndrome, because it is so advanced.
See, for example, this article by Rian Malan. Or this one. Malan, at least for a liberal, seems to have an unusual attachment to reality. It’s probably worth rereading his excellent book on apartheid from the ’80s, My Traitor’s Heart. I guess he really was a traitor after all!
You’ve probably also read this by Anne Paton, Alan Paton’s widow. The message is: no matter how much destruction they cause, or even suffer personally, liberals will accept their fate as predestined. Of course this is because liberalism is a mutant version of Calvinism, but that’s another discussion.
Mike Berman writes:
The more liberal an individual is on the subject of race usually involves an inverse relationship to The Problem on a geographical basis. Residents of Great Neck will tell you they moved out there because they love to be surrounded by trees. They proudly proclaim that blacks are welcome to move into their community so long as they can afford a house there. In the cities liberals typically insulate themselves with doormen, chauffeurs and private schools. Wealth goes a long way in buying protection from the banana republic which they are creating as they benefit from the cheap labor.
Gintas J. writes:
After 40-plus years of liberalism in the face of social disintegration, the answer seems to be yes.
Then you ask,
“What happens when the social deterioration resulting from diversity continues and starts to harm the liberals themselves, and the liberals can no longer deny that this is happening or that it is going to happen?”
What happens, and this is seen over the last 40 plus years, is that we get more liberalism, not less.
Short answer: “No, they don’t, because they don’t think.”
Long answer: To the extent that liberals give any thought at all to long-term social/cultural issues (which appears to be a very rare thing), it is likely that they do not expect to suffer any harm from such an event. From the multiculturalist point of view, as you note, any bad outcomes from unlimited immigration must, must, be due to white racism. Since liberals do not believe themselves to be racist, they don’t expect to suffer from the evils of racism. Therefore they don’t expect to suffer any ill effects from, to pick one policy, mass immigration.
There is also an elitist angle. Rather a lot of modern liberals are above average in income, even wealthy. Thus they can afford to not live in neighborhoods crammed with people from, say, Chiapas. Also they can afford to live in places that are not even close to such neighborhoods. Therefore, they can feel they are safe from the ill effects of mass immigration (which, remember, are only the result of lingering white racism) by segregating not by race, but by income level. Since poor white people are by definition racist, when mass immigration displaces them from jobs, from neighborhoods, even from towns, liberals need not feel any sympathy for them, as they deserve what they got.
There is also a logical fallacy that all humans are prone to, but liberals in my experience perhaps more so than others, and that is “confirmation bias.” They expect mass immigration to lead to certain good things, such as more racial integration. So when, for example, a school goes from 90 percent white to 40 percent white, that is a “trend,” and liberals recognize & celebrate it. When a liberal is carjacked, or has their home invaded in a “hot” burglary by a gang of illegal aliens, that is an “isolated incident.” No matter how many bad things happen, they are always “isolated incidents.” Eventually, as we have seen in parts of California, the number of “isolated incidents” may rise so high as to cause liberals to move out of their house and go somewhere else. But based on conversations with emigres from California, this move is never, never because of the effects of mass immigration. It’s always something else, such as “pollution,” or “crowding,” or “to get to a better school for the kids.” The fact that every excuse really ties back to mass immigration cannot be even considered, because to the liberal mass immigration is always a good thing, a good “trend.”
I once asked a liberal friend of mine this question: “How many “isolated incidents” does it take to make a trend?.” He never really answered, and the question troubled him a bit, perhaps because it pointed to logical errors in his thinking. But it didn’t change his mind, or his way of thinking. I find this to be typical of liberals; for all their blather about “challenging premises” and “reconsidering ideas,” they do not want to actually reconsider their own fundamental notions. No, they want all the rest of us to “challenge ourselves” until we agree with them.
In conclusion, I expect liberals to engage in denial as long as possible, because they don’t expect to suffer any ill effects from the policies they are forcing on the rest of us. Why? Because those policies are liberal, and thus by definition “good things” that can only result in more “good things.” Of course, viewed this way, one finds liberalism is less of a political or philosophical point of view, and more like a religion, or cult …
Richard W. writes:
Here is my take:
First off, for many of the real elite, the editors at the NY Times and TV network pundits, high priced consultants in Washington and captive Congress-kids, that day is very, very far off.
While even upper middle class professionals might notice things like more crime in their neighborhood, or realize they need to send their kids to a private school to avoid the multicultural crime factory that is the formerly nice public high school down the block, the real elite don’t suffer these problems.
I’m reminded that John and Theresa Heinz Kerry owned five or six houses, many estates on large pieces of land (far larger than even a successful professional can buy in most places where the liberal zoning czars they support have fully take control). With those types of “options,” living in those neighborhoods (or countries, not the popularity of Tuscany, Italy with the Hollywood and Washington axis), flying on private planes—it’s not likely that they are going to encounter diversity’s downside, unless they get a bad Thai meal at that cute place in town.
And if some of them do wake up they are likely to make big mistakes. I’m reminded that the entire neo-conservative movement owes its existence to the terrible wake up call that Communist true believers had when the full horror of Stalin was revealed.
Say what you will about the Neocons, the most amazing fact is that there are so few of them! That is that many liberals went on (and go on) ignoring the nose on their face. A close friend of my teenage daughter gave me this reply when I asked him about socialism: “well, it’s the best system invented, but it’s never been properly implemented.” This was in 2006, not 1976, though I heard the same exact answer in my high school, I am sure.
This, of course, was straight from his 11th grade Social Studies teacher. That this level of denial is an everyday occurrence on the left says that most will not admit what is happening when they are literally choking on it. It’s hard to believe. Rightists just won’t ignore all available facts forever, even if we’d like to.
But getting back to the neo-cons, they have made some simple correct observations (Communism is bad and must be defeated) (Islam is scary) but lacking the ability or desire to re-examine some of their basic axioms (state power can fix everything, smart guys know best and need to run things) take actions that are either ineffective or harmful.
Finally if it gets really bad the left will snap all the way to fascist ideology.
Of course all the historic fascists were exactly that: leftists and socialists who had become disenchanted as socialism failed to meet the excessive hopes and dreams they held for it. They jumped full bore into complete support for a visionary leader, one who was great at communicating to the people, and had a plan to fix things. They plan involved a lot of vilification of a minority that was easy to identify and punish. (That will be “corporations” , conservatives, and white men this time.)
I think they will follow this pattern again. More reasonable and thoughtful (real conservatives) might just say: the world is a hard place and not everyone can have a perfect life. It’s probably better that we don’t create an all powerful state to try. That never works out. Libs will never make this simple inference, and will harness the every-more-powerful state to deliver the updated, now-we’ve-got-it-right plan.
Essentially that is how Spain got Franco and Italy got Mussolini. Maybe Hillary really can make the trains run on time. What else do you want?
Ralph P. writes:
That’s easy. They will do what Brodhead did in his “apology.” They will act as if they were on the right side of the issue all along. They will chastise those that were for not having done enough and they will forget their own opposition.
If they are among minorities, uh, majorities they will appease and bow their head and go headlong into Stockholm Syndrome, at least as long as they last, which won’t be much. A few will confront what they’d done and find their spine.
More will commit suicide, as it will all be too much for their poorly developed personalities. They will all be deeply shocked. The whole bunch of them will go through the five stages of grief:
Denial. The stage they’re in now.
Anger. First reflexively towards their own but when reality hits them then at themselves and finally at the people responsible and last of all at non whites.
Bargaining. Dhimmitude, either towards the newly vitalized whites if they live with us or towards their non-white captors if they don’t.
Depression: They will not take part in the defense but go sulk in their rooms until it’s all over. Perhaps they will develop some form of gratitude for those that took part but more likely they will be silently resentful of them for revealing to them their own cowardice.
Acceptance: Probably only a few will come to true adult realization. The rest will fake it.
John Savage writes:
The short answer to Alex’s question is: Most likely the elites, at least in America, won’t particularly suffer, and that’s because the future generations of their families won’t be white.
Alex might want to read this article from VDare about the way that Bush already conceives of his family as largely Mexican.
Whether the British leaders can do the same thing, given the nature of Islam, is more doubtful, but I’d guess they imagine they can. (Since they have not the slightest understanding of the “Religion of Peace,” of course!)
SR writes from England:
In an article entitled “Secularism and Islam” which appeared on the New English Review website in February 2006 and again in April of 2007 Rebecca Bynum put forth the idea that it is the refusal to countenance anything transcendent that made the Liberal/Left mindset impervious to danger and therefore the need to defend civilization. She had this to say:
According to modern secularism however, man himself has become the measure of all things and his reasoning power alone is thought to be sufficient in determining good and evil. Religion, when it is considered at all is assumed to consist of interchangeable, comforting fairy tales essentially based on man’s own “inherent” goodness. The transcendental, far from being independent, is though to be completely dependent upon man’s own sensibilities and judgement … …The only comfort derived from religion is the thought that no one really believes it anyway. All believers are the enemy. Morality is thought, at best, to be the expression as some underlying hypocrisy. By the light of this secularist viewpoint too, we draw comfort by imagining ourselves at the pinnacle of human striving and also by imagining that progress is inevitable. Thus we feel under no obligation to protect civilization, much less to define it in terms of transcendent value.
Later on in the article she comments that:
For as moderate Muslims and secularists learn the truth about Islam’s bloody doctrine and history, they must each individually make a moral decision concerning their status as Muslims or secularists, and this they wish to avoid at all costs. Secularists mistakenly view division itself as evil and so they work to minimize difference with a smooth coat of “we are the world” sentimentality. In the absence of truth there is no necessity for division; therefore truth itself becomes the enemy and secularists unwittingly become the emotional defenders of lies.
Because the left/liberal mindset regards division itself as evil, and because their very identity is based on the idea of themselves as “good” people—(in my experience the inability to believe consciously in any kind of transcendent reality doesn’t negate the need to believe in some kind of transcendent reality—they unconsciously find some kind of substitute religiousity, in things like in environmentalism or art) . Therefore they don’t even know that they are behaving suicidily.
In my experience, and I work with such people, they are usually not really very intelligent –even if they have reasonably high IQ—they lack the organs of perception when it comes to any kind of transcendent truth. And even when they do good things, they do them for the wrong reasons but are stunningly unaware of it.
They will only wake up when the Islamists are at the door brandishing cutlasses and then it will be too late.
David B. writes:
Some years ago, I had a co-worker from the Boston area named Steve. Steve was a right-winger. Like most people I have met from Massachusetts, he was rather politically minded. The others were liberals, however.
I asked him this very question. Steve answered, “They think it will never touch them.” He said that Massachusetts liberals will continue to be for “integration” and “diversity,” while keeping themselves and their families insulated from it. Steve insisted that liberals are oblivious to the danger they would face in the long run from their own policies.
Kristor L. writes:
You know what they say: a neo-conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. Only when they begin to feel pain will people begin to question their fantasies, which have been allowed to perdure for so long by the enormous surpluses of wealth and security conferred upon us by the civilization we have inherited. Those surpluses have made it a lot easier to live life while pretending that things are nicer than they really are.
Paradoxically, the softness of Western middle class existence has also made us more tentative and fearful; scared of alar, market corrections, global warming. That’s why the popular magazines always have an item on the cover about health scares.
What will happen? People are shocked when tragedy strikes, but it brings out their nobility. Once the West finally awoke to the dangers of the Nazis and the Japanese, we were terrible adversaries. I feel sure that we will again be able thus to rise to the demands of the historical moment. Fortunately, our adversaries this time are quite weak, as compared with those we faced in the last three world wars (who all shared most of the virtues of our civilization). The first, easiest and most efficacious thing we need to do, in order to quash our adversaries this time, is stop writing them checks (nothing like income you didn’t earn to accommodate insane fantasy). Once that happens, they’ll start to collapse from within pretty fast.
The thing to remember is that both liberalism and Islam are based on propositions about reality that are simply false. Take away the cushion provided by money, and their illusory world view will quickly collapse, and they will flip quickly to something else. Look then for Muslims to consider apostasy, and liberals too. Our job right now is to provide the philosophical framework that will make Christianity and traditionalism, respectively, seem like the most reasonable course for them. Once they convert to a truly reality-based paradigm, their fervor will outmatch ours; this is what generally happens with converts. That’s why this moment of great danger for the West is also a chance to rejuvenate it, and open an even greater chapter in its history.
Terry Morris writes:
Wow! What a great thread on “Do liberals think they won’t be harmed by national suicide.” I have to put some reflection to the question, but it seems that the unprincipled exception might give us a little insight into what might be the final result. Speaking of which, have you ever heard of a phobia called “truthophobia?” Perhaps I coined the term this morning in my blog post.
Michael B. writes from Sweden:
The reason liberals appear so clueless is that they don’t care. They don’t have to care. They have never been taught to care. Or take responsibility for their actions or ideas. The silent, understated understanding between liberals, is the fact that words don’t have to be factual or reality-based. Slogans, proper cliches, and proper posing is far more important. Because liberalism is not about facts. It’s about emotions. It’s about feeling something, anything. One of the basic paradigms of the modern liberal mindset is “it’s always someone else’s fault.” We are watching the mentality of never, ever, having to take responsibility for one’s own ideas, values, actions, and ultimately, life. That also explains one of the basic motivations behind what is happening to modern society and why were are increasingly living in an age of irrationality. An age of unaccountability.
Much in the same manner as the stereotypical global capitalist “robber baron” who moves from country to country when the going gets tough, so does the liberal move to another neighborhood, another town, or another part of the country when faced with uncomfortable consequences of his or her own ideas. The liberal never owns up to his own delusions. If that were to happen, he would of course cease to be a modern liberal. Unaccountability is an integral part of modern liberalism and multiculturalism—the two ideologies make up the state-sponsored religion of our time: cultural Marxism.
What is driving all those relativistic notions and delusions about culture, races, nations and religions is the liberals’ own ignorance of, and distance to, these topics. What is the cause of this ignorance? It is the liberals themselves: Well-off, middle-class Westerners ridden with guilt and noblesse oblige, sheltered in cozy white neighborhood areas, far removed from the shadier parts of town. Young liberal middle class girl with fantasies of noble savages coming to rescue her from herself and all her inherited self-loathing. This is probably where the theatrical and disingenuous part of modern liberalism takes hold. Everything around this little girl, from TV to news papers feeds and reinforces this cultural psychosis. An environment such as this is the perfect petri dish for cultivating modern liberalism—high flying ideals, far removed from reality, far removed from her own experience. Because that is part of the paradigm: hypocrisy is an integral, unstated part of the liberal experience—you say one thing and do another. The liberal never has to interact with these cultures, races, nations and religions for any length of time, in their own environment, free from the liberal shelter of white majority. Had they faced these different variables in their own natural environment why would, of course, not have these liberal notions, but would instead have a much more realistic, and critical stance, towards non-Western cultural and racial manifestations. Statistics seem to bear this out: The more a working class white is exposed to non-white, non-Western majority cultures, they quickly stop being cultural relativists and start espousing Western values and cultures. We see this over and over again, when well-meaning liberals move into minority neighborhoods. They either get the hell out quickly or, if self-hating and clueless enough, actually assimilate into the minority culture. The ones who actually face the reality of the ghettos quickly become conscious of the need for Western cultural homogeneity in Western societies.
So hypocrisy is the engine that drives the psychological need for overcompensating, by striving even harder for ever more insane ideas. It’s a never-ending attempt to escape one’s own guilt of what the liberal is truly feeling. One could therefore view the modern liberals’ frenetic defense of vague, non-specific concepts and buzzwords such as “pluralism,” “openness” and “tolerance” as psychological reactions to their biggest underlying fears—fears of their own inherent biases towards their own culture and race. The more they sense this creeping bias, the more they will try to overreact, overcompensate, reach out. Anything to avoid admitting the truth, to the outside and to oneself. That is the big taboo. In other words, we are watching a typical totalitarian reaction to the foundations of human nature. In that sense, part of the liberals’ psychological makeup is fear and hatred towards one’s own humanity.
At the heart of it all, the modern liberal is based on never having to say you’re sorry, never having to take responsibility. The ideological core of modern left-liberalism is a deeply contrarian behaviour: Whereas traditional conservatism is a fight FOR something, the liberal finds his of her raison d’être in the fight AGAINST something—against anything and everything. Against anything that gives the majority culture pride and tradition. And this is why facts and arguments don’t matter. This is why liberals are never happy. Their world-view is simply based on pure, unadulterated, emotion-based contrarianism. Logic has no place in that kind of environment. This is where we start to see the silhouette of the metaphorical child in liberalism: it reveals a deep distrust, if not actual hate, of adulthood, maturity, and ultimately—knowledge itself. I refer to this as the great contrarian trap of liberalism: not only is the liberal fighting against his own nation and culture, ultimately the liberal is fighting against himself.
John B. writes:
This discussion has reminded me of the little-remarked fact that the ex-wife of F.W. de Klerk was murdered in 2001 by a black security guard at her Cape-Town-area apartment building. When informed of the killing, de Klerk himself was in Stockholm, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize, which he and Nelson Mandela shared in 1993 for ending apartheid.
“Ex-Wife of De Klerk Murdered: S. African Police” (Includes spokesman’s statement that South African President Thabo Mbeki learned with “great shock” of the “untimely death.”);
“Guard confesses to de Klerk murder” (includes de Klerk’s statement that, “We, as a country, are being damaged by every murder. No one murder is more serious than the other. The one on my former wife, Marika [sic], however … sends out such a negative, damaging message.” Also includes pathologist’s report that Marike de Klerk had been hit in the face at least twice, stabbed in the back, and strangled to death.);
“Security guard guilty of killing De Klerk’s ex-wife”;
“Marike killer may face life behind bars” (Includes photo of the killer, Luyanda Mboniswa.);
“De Klerk’s Ex-Wife Found Slain in Apartment Near Cape Town”.
Nobel Peace Prize, 1993.
Alan Levine writes:
I think your explanation that present-day liberals can no longer even conceptualize outside the liberal framework has much to be said for it. Many do not see the deluge, or rather think that it is not a deluge, or at most there are some unfortunate temporary byproducts of what is Basically A Good Thing. The way in which many Communists and Nazis brushed off various aspects of their respective new orders is not dissimilar.
However, you have omitted a point to which you have frequently adverted to in the past, namely, the disarming effects of the inculcation of a general guilt complex, which leaves them feeling (I do not think this is formulated on a conscious level) that they have no right to defend themselves or their society and perhaps more clearly experienced, thinking that the past and even the “reformed” present of Western society are not worth defending. Another point which helps explain their inability to think “outside the box” is simply the overwhelming bias of the MSM, which is pretty good at fulfilling Dr. Goebbels’ ideal of propaganda, i.e., keep things simple and never allow anything like an actual argument with the adversary..
Re the comments of Simon and Mike: the problem is not explaining the liberal views of the elite (or rather, that is a problem but a specialized one) but explaining the verifiable fact that most liberals and leftists are not elite and are not insulated by distance or money.
Further, my own observations are that, at least in NYC, it is questionable whether non-elite liberals actually LIKE immigration, or for that matter, affirmative action, truckling to ethnic group whiners like al Sharpton, etc. Rather, they think (I am using the word loosely), again, that they really have no right to oppose these things, or doing so will cause them to fall into the hands of agents of darkness, etc.
I think it is true, as N. says, that most of these people cannot think, but then, as a teacher and historian I have increasingly wondered whether many people think.
Re Kristor’s remarks: Most fascist leaders were not ex-Communists or socialists. Mussolini, Moseley and Doriot were, but most were men of the right—not conservatives to be sure, but men of the hard right.
Alan Roebuck writes:
… what happens when the social deterioration resulting from diversity continues and starts to harm the liberals themselves, and the liberals can no longer deny that this is happening or that it is going to happen?
It is useful here to distinguish between leftists (i.e., consistent liberals) and ordinary liberals. The leftists are aware that the goal of liberalism is the destruction of America as it has been, and its replacement by something radically different. They have faith that the process of change they have unleashed will result in an improvement so when they observe something bad that their liberalism has caused, they attribute it to other factors, chiefly conservatism. They have confidence that when conservatism is finally eliminated as a significant force, then all problems will be manageable. And since conservatism (i.e., the correct view of reality) will never be entirely eliminated as a significant force in public life, they will always be able to deflect blame for any catastrophe away from their worldview.
The (moderate) liberals are different. Although they understand things generally through the lens of liberalism, they are usually not aware of exactly what liberalism is, so they fail to grasp how radical it really is. They think that their position is nothing but common sense and common decency. They probably have a vague sense that somewhere, wise people have validated the liberal program, but in their ordinary thinking they simply take it for granted that their positions are true and good.
Therefore a significant number of non-leftist liberals can be reached with the gospel of traditionalism, if we can articulate a persuasive alternative to their liberalism, and if some sort of undeniable catastrophe gives them reason to doubt their worldview. But as social deterioration worsens, non-leftist liberals (and an occasional leftist with integrity) will begin to doubt liberalism only if they hear people articulate a persuasive non-leftist worldview. Otherwise they will blame society’s troubles on those who do not share their liberal worldview, or, in the best case, they will simply see a mysterious catastrophe about which nothing can be done.
This is not to say that all, or even most, liberals will begin to doubt liberalism under the above conditions. When challenged to clarify their worldview, some liberals will decide to become consistent leftists and some will refuse to think at all, continuing in their soft-headed liberalism.
I realize the open-ended nature of my question invited long-ish replies, so I’ve posted a bunch of comments that are a bit longer than I would normally prefer. However, I ask commenters to remember that this is a discussion, and those extra few minutes of effort that it takes to condense a comment to fewer words will greatly improve its readability for others.
From my socializing within alternative circles in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have met a number of Chomsky-reading, androgynous-acting, degree-in-the-humanities-having uber-left-wingers who do indeed live among violent minorities, for example in artists’ warehouses in the black parts of Oakland. And many of these folks indeed have been mugged, otherwise violently attacked, or at least verbally harassed for being white.
A few seem to have a level of self-respect where such incidents bring anger to them. These folks will resist their attackers, and speak ill of them later. Most victims, however, seem to empathize with their attackers. These crime victims view the wallet they gave over as a sort of privilege tax (while wishing, of course, that a more wealthy white, one more “deserving” of a mugging, would have been the one attacked). I’ve heard such people say concerning their mugging and beating, “I’d feel that way, and do the same thing, if I was black.”
It’s like the wounds of their childhood, such as stern admonishments from a Republican father, or getting beat up in junior high school by the football player who later went on to run the local Hummer dealership, or simply being unpopular or different in school, still live on as a seething anger towards mainstream society. Their childhood created an emotionally-fueled world-view of right and wrong (and white, male, capitalist, Christian, heterosexual society is always wrong) that no adult experience can overturn.
This of course leads to bizarre twists of logic, as Lawrence has pointed out for years, where minority attacks on whites are evidence not of the moral wrongness of minorities’ actions, but somehow for the moral wrongness of whites, for of course having done “something” to deserve these attacks. The 9/11 attacks, Robert Fisk getting beaten along the road in Pakistan, black gangsters firing at rescue helicopters post-Katrina, the Jenna Six beatings—one would think that these ugly acts of violence would wake folks up, and be a challenge to the simple narrative of minority victims and white villains. But, no, even those event get bizarrely twisted by lefties to torturously fit the simple narrative of the race-Marxism catechism.
I also think that plenty of white people benefit from, and perhaps enjoy, the practice of minority physical violence on other whites. It is my impression for example that the elite Government/corporate/media power structure uses minority violence to keep mainstream whites in line. The unspoken warning is, don’t commit a felony, or you’ll end up in jail, and don’t skip out on your office job, or you’ll end up living near the projects. Keep in line and do what we tell you, or you’re gonna get it.
Similarly, the culture-hating left has plenty of their own uses for minority violence. Many angry, revolutionary types enjoy black and brown thugs as bringing the muscle against police, businessmen, etc, which is muscle that spectacle-wearing, book-reading white radicals lack. The thinking seems to be: if a few Marxists get mugged in the process, it can’t be helped, but at least those thug-muggers are “on the same side” in a bifurcated, polarized society.
John Hagan writes:
I always liked Steve Sailer’s take on this issue He has often remarked on the toxic mix of irrational liberal hatred of conservatives, and the moral preening liberals engage in concerning how much better “they” supposedly treat minorities. I don’t think that it’s too far-fetched to say that many liberals hate George W. Bush more than they hate Osama Bin Laden !
Liberals are fixated on exposing the racism that they are sure dwells deep in the hearts of all conservatives. Of course in real life…. they live as far away from minorities as they can possibly get. The liberal kingdom of Vermont comes to mind off-hand.
The liberal elite are playing a perverted game of social status, or one-upmanship with conservatives using minorities, and immigrants as status symbols, moving them around like chess pieces to try and humiliate, and destroy their fellow citizens. The fact that they will perish too seems to be a price that they are willing to pay.
Mark J. writes:
This is a long comment but take it for what it’s worth, if you have time.
As “Mencius” said, we can look at the behavior of white South African liberals to see how our own will react as liberalism destroys society.
They’ll be increasingly depressed by events that run counter to their hopes for a peaceful multiracial society, just as South African author Rian Malah was “cast into abject gloom” by news that the UN selected Zimbabwe to be in charge of “Sustainable Development.” Time and again they will be disappointed by the actions of the non-white leaders with whom they had envisioned building a mulitracial society.
Their prescriptions will increasingly be only limp platitudes like Anne Paton’s: “I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men, desiring neither power nor money, but desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it.” Liberals will sense that more government spending and more exhortations for people to “come together” don’t work, but lacking any other ideas, like Paton, they’ll retreat into vagueness.
Their attitude towards their own race will be contemptuous. Like Malah, white liberals will dismiss White people’s complaints as “whining” and “groaning” and say that “whites are finished.”
They’ll become increasingly cynical, defeatist, and apathetic when they realize that their vision of the Good is unworkable or mistaken. They’ll withdraw and won’t want to talk about it, like the South African anti-apartheid writer (I’ve forgotten his name) who not long ago abandoned the country to move to Australia, and when asked why responded that it was a private matter and no one else’s business.
And like the South African, they will move somewhere else as long as they can.
When they can no longer leave many will be willing to work as white cogs in the non-white governing machine. Demoralized, their hopes for a multiracial utopia now dashed, they will be like the East Germans under communism: resigned, morosely going along to try to survive. There will be abundant alcoholism, drug use, and other forms of destructive escapism. They will be the ones willing to keep the dysfunctional society creaking along by working as lickspittle second-class citizens in key skilled positions that non-whites just can’t fill in sufficient numbers. And some will do their quisling work with relish, persecuting whites like ourselves out of a sense of misdirected anger and hopelessness.
Before a liberal could come over to our side and begin to feel hopeful and strong and able to fight for his survival again, he would have to realize that it is not immoral to identify with one’s own people and want to see them flourish. That is the watershed realization, and it is the opposite of liberals’ core belief in “inclusiveness.” I believe that means that only people who are still intellectually flexible will be able to abandon their liberalism; mainly, younger people.
I pointed out recently to an elderly, life-long Democrat that if the trend continues, whites will become a minority and be victimized by a non-white government. She acknowledged that she doesn’t want to see whites become the minority, but said that she just can’t vote for a Republican because they want to make abortions illegal and jam their fundamentalist religion down everyone’s throats. I pointed out that compared to becoming a minority in our own country these things were trivial. She didn’t have an answer to that, but I could see she wasn’t convinced. She has despised Republicans for so long—60 or 70 years—for what she perceives as their Holy Roller, big-business immorality that she can’t yet bring herself to prefer Republicans over anything, even non-white rule.
Older liberals like her will probably never get past cynicism and resignation. Our hopes will lie largely with the younger half of the white population who are not yet cemented by long habit into liberalism and who have their lives ahead of them and want to raise children and make their dreams come true. They will come to see that they can’t afford liberalism if they want those things. I think it’s already happening among a growing share of young whites. I know someone who has mestizo children in an Arizona school district who says that the level of racial tension between whites and mestizos in those schools is incredible and that the white children are quite vocal and assertive in their racial identities despite the efforts of the school district to brainwash them otherwise. Her mestizo children prefer to live in the Great Plains among an almost entirely white population rather than live in the mixed-race SouthWest where the tensions are so high. So I think that while the 60’s generation of liberals is mostly never going to change, we will be pleasantly surprised by the gumption of the young who aren’t resigned to losing their identities and being persecuted in their own country.
Sean R. writes:
I think I have a few insights into this.
First of all, liberals simply refuse to think about the consequences of their policies. If you read their blogs and news outlets, they never talk about where this country will be in ten, twenty, fifty years. If you ask them directly, they will usually either call you a racist or try to change the subject. Either way, they show extreme distaste for the issue.
Second, this begs the question—will they, in fact, be harmed by national suicide? Probably not. Liberal policies will lead to a white and Asian elite, maybe mixed together, maybe parallel to each other, ruling over a mostly brown underclass (although there will still be a significant non-elite white minority). That’s the same situation that every Latin American country has had since the Spanish conquest, and it’s been pretty stable there. Occasionally a mostly-white upper class gets its comeuppance, like the Cubans after the revolution, but the majority of elite whites south of the border have done well. As for the non-financially-elite liberals, they aren’t very vulnerable to the depredations of diversity. Children are the most vulnerable segment of society, since they’re forced to interact other children they wouldn’t otherwise associate with, they don’t have cars, and they tend to be more violent with each other than adults. Since non-elite liberals tend to be childless, that’s not their problem. Crime will increase as society transforms, but we have a long way to go before it doesn’t seem like some horrible thing that always happens to other people to they typical childless hipster. Probably such a long time that today’s adults won’t live to see it. And since they are childless, they don’t have much of a reason to care about the future beyond their own lifespan.
The importance of the divide between parents and childless adults is probably much bigger than you would think, based on how little attention is paid to it. I was a typical liberal before my son was born. The first shocker that helped wake me up was realizing that my son was the only white baby in the neonatal unit. Within a couple of years, I had made a 180 degree turn. I doubt that would of happened if my son hadn’t been born.
LA writes to Alex M.:
Do you see what your innocent question has triggered? My gosh, it’s too much even for me to take in.
Alex M. replies:
Thank you for indulging my query, and thank you for permitting all the well thought out, if longish replies.
Here’s another twist: As a naturalized American who came here from Ecuador at age four, did all my schooling here, married a lovely WASP girl, and produced two gorgeous kids, I see myself as culturally white and Western. I detest hyphenated Americans and think back longingly on those days of my childhood on Long Island when we referred to each other as “Italians” “Irish” “Germans” without the need to iterate our common identities as Americans. It irritates me no end that the liberal reductionism formula is now that I’m either an “assimilated” Hispanic (bad) or a card-carrying Ecuadorian-American (double plus good). My parents left the s__thole of Guayaquil for a good reason, and I’ve no desire to return to the lawlessness, shiftlessness, and hopelessness of that environment. As Mark J. relates, I too am much more comfortable among God-fearing white people of the Great Plains than in any Latino neighborhood.
I am invested in the survival of Western civilization and by extension the survival of the white race which made it possible. I wholeheartedly agree with your thesis that the two are inseparable.
Thank you for seeing this. You’ve made my day.
Another great thread. You are fortunate to have attracted so many brilliant minds who freely give of their thoughts and time. I appreciate their efforts and yours.
Having adopted your view that thought and clever analysis are not enough, that we must improvise modes of action, I found this excerpt from Alan Roebuck to be especially cogent:
“But as social deterioration worsens, non-leftist liberals (and an occasional leftist with integrity) will begin to doubt liberalism only if they hear people articulate a persuasive non-leftist worldview. Otherwise they will blame society’s troubles on those who do not share their liberal worldview, or, in the best case, they will simply see a mysterious catastrophe about which nothing can be done.” [emphasis mine.]
There can be no doubt that having a conservative foundation, something more unified than what we have now, in place to counter social decline is of paramount importance. It is likewise essential to have a known, traditional philosophy established during any period of history. For me this brings a new and heartening dimension to conservatism—working to establish its ready usefulness and giving it a greater purpose, beyond seeing it only as the defining ingredients of a particular worldview.
Hannon, following up on Alan Roebuck’s point, has articulated something very important here. What is the purpose of traditionalism? It is not just to provide a critique of liberalism, though it is that. It is not just to provide us with a basis for personal and spiritual resistance to the prevailing liberal order, though it is that. It is to provide the governing philosophy for a post-liberal Western social order. Therefore the long-term task of traditionalists is to build up such a philosophy and make it an active and living part of society.
Quite a tall order, for a bunch of bloggers and essayists with no institutions, influence, political skills, or anything. But we have no choice but to start from where we are. There are certain things that we know to be true. We know that the reign of liberalism is destroying the West, and we know that the reign of liberalism cannot survive. Something must ultimately replace it. What will that something be? Multicultural distintegration? Leftist tyranny? Muslim tyanny? Neocon global democratism? Some combination of the above? Don’t like any of those choices? How about a renewed Western/Christian social order? That’s something worth striving for—both for us and for those who come after us.
Kristor L. writes:
Chiming in again to second Alan Roebuck. The key thing for us to do right now—and also, unfortunately, almost the only thing we can do—is to articulate an adequate, compelling and attractive traditionalist philosophical perspective that is ready and waiting for disillusioned non-leftist liberals to slide into, once they begin to second-guess their native liberal dogmas. Given how hard it has been for me to arrive at traditionalism myself, given how much work I have had to do, how many basic assumptions I have had so painfully and fearfully to question, I think our work is cut out for us. So also for Christianity. I thought for the longest time that Christianity was the boring old normal religion, and stuff like Buddhism was so much more sophisticated and cool. And I was raised a reflective Christian! It was such an amazing thing to discover that Christianity is the weirdest, most magical, philosophically sophisticated thing out there. It was like the scales falling from my eyes to understand at last that the “sophisticated” critics of Christianity I once so much admired were really only ignorant Sophists. We have a lot of work to do, refining our polemic, and making it available to the wider culture.
To second also Michael B. from Sweden’s profound analysis: He says, “This is where we start to see the … metaphorical child in liberalism: it reveals a deep distrust, if not actual hate, of adulthood, maturity, and ultimately—knowledge itself. I refer to this as the great contrarian trap of liberalism: not only is the liberal fighting against his own nation and culture, ultimately the liberal is fighting against himself.” Amen. This prompted a recollection of something that occurred to me the other day while ruminating over a VFR item in which Lawrence talked about the liberal rejection of the European People, of the Western physiological inheritance: The liberal attempt to deracinate the liberal idea is in effect to disembody it. No idea—no idea whatsoever—can exist sui generis. This is a metaphysical, a necessary truth. Ideas can’t have themselves. The only way ideas can exist in any way at all is if they are embodied in concrete entities. The West, including the nexus of memes known as liberalism, is the product of millennia of work performed by, and suffering endured by, particular human bodies, with particular characteristics, and coping with particular environmental challenges and historical inheritances. The West is the fruit of a titanic struggle for survival undertaken by a particular group of peoples. It survives only in and through the bodies of their children. The West is as much a physiological inheritance of Europeans as it is a cultural inheritance. NB that cultures cannot exist sui generis any more than ideas can, but exist at all only insofar as they are expressed in particular concrete human bodies and their experiences. Thus if there are someday no more Europeans, there will then be no more West. Not as we have known it, anyway. So Michael B is onto something important when he notes that “ultimately the liberal is fighting against himself.” Indeed: he is at war with his own body, and with those of his children. So infanticide seems to him not unreasonable.
But note also that this war of the liberal with the facts of his own body, and with his love for his children, is liberalism’s great weakness.
Kristor L. continues:
A further thought: the liberal war with the body, and with the evil and tragedy inherent in creaturely existence, is essentially Gnostic. It involves a rejection of the world as it actually is, in favor of an imagined perfect existence. So liberals such as I once was are repelled by Christianity, and attracted to religions that abhor the body and the material world, such as Buddhism, etc.
And, finally, the body of the liberal, and his love for his children, are the last redoubt of his sanity. They are the source of the exceptions he makes to his principles, such as living in gated communities and sending his kids to private school.
Man, what a fantastic thread. It is so, so right that we need to start building a positive, attractive, thrilling vision of a post-post-modern traditionalist society, with a coherent, elegant philosophical underpinning. It’s not enough to carp about Liberalism. That can only be the prolegomena to the real work.
I agree with Alan Roebuck.
We must distinguish between ordinary, middle class white liberals, and the 200 proof, die hard left leadership, in the same way we should distinguish between right liberal leaders like Limbaugh and the Republican rank and file. The left middle class and the hard left are two linked, but distinct, entities.
Most ordinary white liberals support liberalism without having a deep understanding of what the true implications of their ideology are. These are potential recruits to traditionalism as our crisis deepens, and perhaps reaches a climax.
Re the true hard left, most of them are like Lenin, evil but still operating under the assumption that what they are doing is good. Like Lenin, they can’t believe that they are wrong, just as you said, they assume liberalism is true in the same way Muslims take it for granted that Islam is true. They cannot imagine a different world view, and so they don’t.
Mark P. writes:
I loved the particular thread on liberals and national suicide. Most of the entries are good summaries of the psychological/fantastical/hypocritical elements of liberals that portray them as either retarded, naive, stupid or evil. While I agree with all of these assessments, here’s my own. Liberals are the way they are because conservatives made them that way. The conservative took the role of the proverbial liberal parent and adopted a laissez-faire, over-indulgent approach to child-rearing (yes, liberals are children). The liberal, now matured into a head-strong teenager, is more incorrigible than ever and considerably more dangerous.
Much is written about the liberal never understanding consequences. But how will the liberal ever understand consequences if he is constantly bailed out? Lawrence, you write extensively about the magical moment when, one day, the liberal turns on the “unprincipled exception” to extricate himself from the mess he creates. I got news for you … that will never happen because the “unprincipled exception” is the very conservative establishment that happens to exist today. It is they who enable the liberals. [LA replies: Yes, this is right out of Atlas Shrugged. It’s the heros of the story, Dagny and Rearden, the productive ones, who, in their loyalty to the society, keep bailing out the statist parasites, and it’s the heros’ finally realizing that this is what they have been doing that is the key turning point in the novel.]
9/11 is the perfect example of the conservative liberal-enabling phenomenon. In the cyclical, national-security “off-season” before 9/11, the liberal was in full force with his various projects. We got the usual hyphenated Americanism, the anti-white bias, the “diversity” nonsense, the popular propaganda about conspiracies and cover-ups, and the never-ending lambasting of the Southerner as the in-bred, ignorant redneck. Heck, a vibrant, conservative literature (really, the proverbial parenting cry sessions about why Johnny is what he is) coolly documented all of this.
When 9/11 came along, an important teaching opportunity was lost. In its place, the liberal parents swept in to clean things up. The hyphenated Americanism project was cast aside for the brand-spanking new “We are all Americans” coloring book. The alien abduction/JFK conspiracy DVD’s were put away and replaced with the Al Qaeda learning tapes. And the redneck was picked up off the ground, dusted off and repackaged as The Greatest American since the Greatest Generation, to be cannon fodder in a “Make America Safe for Liberalism” war.
Had I been president in 2001, with my sense of pride and my knowledge of history intact, I would’ve given New York City the finger, told them that they should learn to appreciate “diversity,” and sternly remind them that if they don’t like it, they can leave … preferably to Canada, like many of them promised.
In exchange for being vilified by the Pravda on the Hudson or ending up on one of David Letterman’s top ten lists, I would’ve gladly spent the next 100 days at Fort Bening educating American soldiers about the liberal portrayal of their people and communities since Deliverance.
As long as conservatives keep bailing the liberals out, these problems will continue.
Ben W. writes:
Quite a few excellent posts and analysis regarding this question.
So now that history has taken this leftward turn, is it possible that certain societies and governments that are now disparaged were in fact right? E.g. the pre-civil war American south, the colonial imperialist British administrations of the 19th century, the apartheid government of South Africa. Is it possible these administrations knew something about tribal social reality and acted in a way to ensure civilized order and contain the reversion to violence and savagery? Gone with the wind, eh?
Ralph P. writes:
To second (or third, by now) what Hannon has said about the primary role of traditionalism it has been my personal experience that the distortions of these times has actually strengthened and refined my understanding and identity with my Western roots. I was never a liberal except on a very few issues like environmentalism, in which case it was because I had not been forced to think the thing out. I basically took my heritage for granted and, not being a professional scholar would have been content to just live in it peacefully. But when my Queens neighborhood was destroyed by third-worlders it snapped me into actually considering in detail what was being lost. A side effect, for example, was that I began rereading and relistening to the classics, which I might not have done otherwise. If we survive this (and I am hopeful) then it will be salutary long term.
Kristol L.’s experience with Christianity has also been mine. He writes: “A further thought: the liberal war with the body, and with the evil and tragedy inherent in creaturely existence, is essentially Gnostic.” This is absolutely correct and I could only appreciate this after I had dated a white woman who was a disciple of a Hindu guru, been repulsed by it, had gone onto read much about Buddhism, was not repulsed but unconvinced and finally onto reading Christian history and philosophy. Then I understood that there were profound reasons for Gnosticism and Manicheanism having been declared heresy. The fact that modern liberalism is both Gnostic and Manichean in nature only points up for me the truth of my own faith, having had to suffer as I did the consequences of these ancient errors. My Catholic upbringing had stood up after all.
Alan Levine writes:
A further comment on why liberals think they won’t be harmed by national suicide:
I was particularly impressed by Ian’s and Sean R’s comments. I believe they brought out something I failed to do, namely the psychopathic elements in liberalism, though Sean R. did not, I think, quite absorb the implications of what he himself said, as though he could not appreciate how irrational the impulses of liberals are.
After all, what could be more insane than wanting to turn the United States into a society like those of Latin America?
Kristor L. writes:
Alan Roebuck has been talking about this for some time now, and I just haven’t been getting it, until last night when I read his comment shortly after writing my first of the thread, which must have put me in the right frame of mind to understand him. He’s absolutely right. If all we do is whine about liberalism, how attractive can we possibly be as exponents of traditionalism? Don’t get me wrong, I learn a lot from dissecting liberalism—after all, in doing so, I’m dissecting myself. Tricky, no? But taking apart the broken machine is just the first step to putting it back together again, so that it works properly.
You note that articulating this happy, hopeful aspect of the traditionalist polemic—its positive proposal, as distinguished from its withering critique—is an ambitious project for a gaggle of bloggers and essayists. True. But that’s what Paine, Madison, Hamilton and Jefferson were, when they got started. So it can be done.
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Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 03, 2007 10:32 AM | Send