Auster’s law

We’re all familiar with O’Sullivan’s (or Conquest’s) law, which states that any organization not explicitly conservative will turn liberal over time. Here, as the completion of the underlining meaning of O’Sullivan’s law, is what I will refer to for the moment as Auster’s law (not to be confused with Auster’s First Law of Majority-Minority Relations in Liberal Society):

Any modern Western individual who does not explicitly and consciously reject the liberal premises which constitute the universal default position for all modern Westerners, including conservatives, is a liberal.

Of course the substance of Auster’s law has been stated repeatedly at VFR over the years, and could even be seen as the main idea of the site. As far as I can remember, though, it’s never been put formally as I’ve done here.

Now what are those liberal premises which constitute the universal default position for all modern Westerners including conservatives? In our discussions we tend to address them one at a time, and I don’t think they’ve ever been gathered into a single list. They are certainly not all in my head at this moment. So the next task, to make Auster’s law complete, is to identify those premises.

For the moment, we all know the chief liberal premise:

Distinctions among racial, ethnic, and religious groups ultimately have no effect on the outcome and destiny of human societies. Therefore such group differences do not matter socially. Further, since the false attribution of social importance to such group differences has often been used to discriminate against and harm various minority groups, any statement or implication that such group differences matter socially is immoral and will not be allowed.

With this premise in hand, we can give an example, familiar to readers, of how Auster’s law applies to conservatives. Mainstream anti-jihadists who say that “Islamism” is the problem, not Islam, are adhering to the liberal premise that group differences have no social importance and must never be said to have social importance. Under liberalism, one may say that Islamism is a problem, because Islamism is not a racial, ethnic or religious group—it is a political belief, an extremist ideology. But one may not say that Islam itself is the problem, because that means that an entire religious group is a problem. And if an entire religious group is a problem, that means that we may discriminate against that entire religious group. Therefore conservative anti-jihadists who rigorously avoid sayng that Islam itself is the problem are, under the terms of Auster’s law, liberals.

- end of initial entry -

Terry Morris writes:

You wrote:

[C]onservative anti-jihadists who rigorously avoid sayng that Islam itself is the problem are … liberals.

That is precisely correct. We may apply the exact same principle to other critical societal issues as well. I’ll certainly be sharing Auster’s Law with others.

By the way, we have, on our ballot this election in Oklahoma, a State question for amending the OK Constitution to prohibit the institution of Sharia law in this State. By the loudness of their declamations against it, there seems to be a significant resistance to the measure, but I imagine it will pass by at least a two-thirds majority, if not three-fourths.

Leonard D. writes:

I like your proposal to try to identify liberal premises. I think it would be helpful to label them, so that we can refer to them. For example, your “chief liberal premise” is what progressives refer to as equality. Or at least, it is one emanation of equality; the progressive’s rage for equality drives him in many directions. Your idea resembles John Derbyshire’s Dogma of Zero Group Difference (DZGD).

I might suggest brotherhood as another progressive tenet, also ultimately derived from equality. Brotherhood (or more PCly, siblinghood) is the idea that all men and women are brothers and sisters, and should love each other and interact socially as do brothers and sisters.

Mencius Moldbug once discussed the “principle ideals” of the progressive creed:

Creedal declarations of [progressivism] are not hard to find. I am fond of the Humanist Manifestos (version 1, version 2, version 3), which pretty much say it all. The UN Declaration of Human Rights is good as well. No mainline Protestant will find anything morally objectionable in any of these documents.

In a probably-vain attempt to boil down all this cant, I’ve defined the four principal Ideals of the creed as Social Justice, Peace, Equality and Community. As we’ve already seen, Social Justice means political violence, and Peace means victory. We’ll get to Equality and Community shortly.

Unfortunately, he never got to those latter two.

James R. writes:

The chief law is very well formulated but has a second half, because these distinctions are not to matter, until the non-Western is admitted. Then you must accept that they matter a great deal and accommodations must be made on their behalf. As in the Halal story one link down.

We must not discriminate, because our differences do not matter, but we must celebrate diversity by according special accommodation, because our differences matter. As in, we need to allow female firefighters because our differences do not matter. But we must alter the requirements for female firefighters, because our differences matter.

I’m not formulating this well, I know, but on the one hand in liberal tolerance we must be compelled to accept that differences do not matter and thus not make discriminatory distinctions on their basis in employment, education, service, immigration, and ctc. All must be accepted equally. BUT once they are in we must accept that differences matter a great deal and we must make positive accommodations on behalf of the “other,” because to do otherwise would be discriminatory.

For the trap to work, it needs both the anvil and the hammer. Otherwise people would rise or fall in elite universities on the basis of ability alone, or we could decide we want a discriminatory immigration policy (all borders are inherently discriminatory) on the grounds that we don’t want to have to change our society to make it more like recent arrivals prefer, and etc.

LA replies:

This is good. I’ll think about how to integrate this with the law.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 14, 2010 10:00 AM | Send

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