A miscellany on spirit, soul, self, the left, and neoconservatism

Yesterday, in the entry “Europe’s problem, boiled down,” I said that “the ultimate cause of the European financial crisis is not economic, but moral and spiritual.”

Today at American Thinker Larrey [sic] Anderson writes that

Of all the crises America faces, the Occupy Wall Street movement proves that our greatest plight is spiritual.

Anderson then goes on to quote at length from a 1963 essay by Leo Strauss about how modern people believe in the self, not the soul. One of the quotes is:

[T]he self as understood by the people in question is sovereign or does not defer to anything higher than itself….

How many times have I said that liberalism consists in the belief that there is no good or truth higher than the self? I never read the Strauss essay.

And by the way this shows how incorrect it is to say that the neoconservatives are Straussians (see my 2006 entry, “The futile attempt to link Strauss to the neocons”). Straus was, at least in some key respects, a traditionalist conservative thinker. Can you imagine any neocon criticizing modern people for believing in nothing higher than the self? To the contrary, the neocons, in their mad “democratic” imperialism, worship the self. In an entry this past September I wrote about how “the West has become imperialistic. Meaning that it sees itself as the only true form of political order in the world,” and that this is the reason Westerners remain blind to the reality of Islam. And of course neoconservatism is a key expression of this Western imperialism. I continued:

[W]hat is the source of this deluded imperialistic consciousness? It is spiritual greed. the desire mentally to dominate the entire cosmos with oneself. By contrast, true order, the order of traditionalism, is to recognize one’s place in a larger order that one does not control. The false order of imperialism is to imagine oneself as the only order, and in control of everything.

Thus this imperialistic consciousness has a lot of similarities with liberalism. I define liberalism as the belief that there is no truth higher than the self and its desires, which practically comes down to, there is no truth higher than oneself and one’s desires. The liberal self is completely self-autonomous, choosing its own being, not conditioned by any factors that are simply “given” and outside our will, such as our sex, our race, our parents, the culture we are born into, etc. Both liberalism and imperialism reject the larger order of the world in which man lives and participates. Thus imperialism is also like the modern ideologies (Communism, Fascism, Libertarianism, Darwinism, etc.), which reject the larger order of things and seek to reduce the world to a single idea and control the world through that single idea.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 01, 2011 10:50 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):