What, according to liberalism, caused the Holocaust

(Drafted January 30, 2011)

On Italian TV last week there was a segment on the Shoah (a word which has supplanted “Holocaust”), and these words appeared in the English translation that trailed across the bottom of the screen:

“Intolerance and populism caused the Shoah.”

Now we already know that it is the standard liberal view that “intolerance” was the cause of the systematic dispossession, dehumanization, and murder of European Jewry. I’ve written this many times. It is a major part of my understanding of modern liberalism. Liberals, having defined intolerance as the ultimate evil, aim at the elimination of all intolerance, which ultimately means to eliminate all traditional ways of organizing human existence, ranging from the nuclear marriage-based family to the self-governing nation-state, because all such communities inevitably involve some forms of intolerance—intolerance toward that which is incompatible with or threatening to their flourishing and their very existence.

But the idea that “populism” also caused the Holocaust strikes me as something new. What could this mean?

I think it means this. In today’s Europe, any manifestation of popular will, any democracy, is bad. Everything must be ruled from above, by the unelected elite. Anything that comes from below, from the people, from democracy, will be unequal, discriminatory, and exclusive. Only rule from above can assure the equality of everyone and tolerance toward everyone (with the exception of the “intolerant,” i.e., non-liberal whites, who are not tolerated but excluded and persecuted).

Here’s the upshot: in today’s Europe, along with intolerance, self-government is now equated with Nazi-like evil.

* * *

From “VFR Articles Arranged by Topic” (linked in the sidebar), here are other entries on the theme that modern liberalism aims at the end of majority rule:

How liberalism leads to the end of democracy

What liberals really think of democracy … they think it’s icky [On Dan Balz’s anxiety that in October 2007—ten months before the 2008 Democratic National Convention—the Democratic presidential race wasn’t yet settled.]

Tolerance über alles and the death of British civilization [Discussion with Mark D. Liberalism believes only in the self (not in life), and in the equality of all selves, Therefore there can be no majority rule as that would mean rule by some selves over others.

How the modern liberal paradigm of the total equality of all selves evolved [Excerpt from previous entry. I disagree with the idea that Nietzsche—along with the postmodernism which stems from Nietzsche—is the main source of modern liberalism. As I see it, modern liberalism is a natural outgrowth of—liberalism.]

Without God, no consent of the governed [“As Mark D. said the other day, since equality among the wills is the only standard, the only rule for adjudicating a conflict between wills is that the majority of wills must be prevented from imposing its will on the minority, since such imposition would mean that some wills are superior to others.”]

The inequality hunters: a job that never ends [Times seeks end of Iowa caucus system because not all people can vote in it.]

The Times’ response to the passage of laws defining marriage as consisting of a man and a woman [NYT says: “the immediate impact of Tuesday’s rights-shredding exercise is to underscore the danger of allowing the ballot box to be used to take away people’s fundamental rights.”]

The suit to overturn Proposition 8 reveals the true goal of liberalism—the overthrow of democracy [My critique of Kermit Roosevelt’s egregious article arguing for the overturning of Prop. 8. VFR readers then have exchanges with Roosevelt.]

What, according to liberalism, caused the Holocaust [“In today’s Europe, along with intolerance, self-government is now equated with Nazi-like evil.”]

- end of initial entry -

LA to the monarchist blogger Mencius Moldbug:


Here’s the concluding line from this entry which I just posted:

“In today’s Europe, along with intolerance, self-government is now equated with Nazi-like evil.”

Which makes me think: If the choice is now between non-democratic rule by malevolent leftist elites seeking the destruction of Western man, and rule by an unconstitutional king or despot defending his country and people, that looks like a good argument for the Moldbug program.

Not that I’m signing on, I’m just sayin’.

Mencius Moldbug replies:

Since the ’30s at least, “democracy” has meant “people’s democracy,” ie, Communism. If forced to define this, I would define it as top-down rather than bottom-up democracy, in which the views of the electorate are installed rather than elicited.

It is amazing how close FDR’s ties to Stalin and the KGB were. There is very little chance that FDR did not know of the activities of Hiss et al. We still don’t know the full story. If you think of American progressivism and Soviet Communism, the New Deal and the USSR, as two wings of one movement, you probably have the best picture. In this picture the “Cold War” is perhaps better seen as the “Anglo-Soviet split.” Neither of these organizations was ever actually in control of the other. But their criminality is entirely joint, I feel. For instance, FDR is clearly complicit in covering up Katyn.

You simply can’t do bottom-up, or republican, democracy, unless you have a citizen body which is actually powerful enough to capture and retain actual sovereignty. Similarly, if the king is dead and the new king is six years old, absolute legitimate monarchy is just not an option—you can have the pretence of it, though. Even if America as it is today could be ruled by its own citizens, which I gravely doubt, you could never reconstruct or even dismantle Washington as it is today without coherent central management, ie, at the very least a temporary dictator.

A shorter and more familiar way to say this is: a republic is a regime for the virtuous. No virtue, no republic. A nation that lacks virtue, but needs to build it, needs a monarchical form of government. We don’t have a virtuous and competent citizenry, but we have no shortage of virtuous and competent executives. So why not abandon the entire revolutionary myth, and return to the historical European form of government? If an experiment cannot fail, it is not an experiment.

All historical thinkers believed that democracy depends on national virtue. Where they disagreed was on whether democracy increases that store of virtue, or depletes it. I believe the envelope is ready.

Daniel S. writes:

The Italian news station said:

“Intolerance and populism caused the Shoah.”

This sums up the liberal world view. It wasn’t a vicious, materialist, anti-Semitic racialism that caused the Shoah, but mere “intolerance,” and hence, the implication being, nasty, intolerant ideas like homophobia, generic racism, Islamophobia, Obamaphobia, sexism, nativism, etc. could ultimately lead to genocide and mass violence, which is made possible through populism, (i.e. the mass resistance to liberal policies by specifically white people). This is the sort of thinking that causes the liberal elites to accuse the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh of inciting hatred and violence, as they see the Tea Party, talk radio, and Sarah Palin as bastions of intolerant, populist conservatism (if only!). Every non-liberal white person is a potential (or actual) Nazi according to liberalism’s demonology.

LA replies:

You’ve stated it more clearly than I did.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 18, 2011 06:19 PM | Send

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