How liberalism coopts Christian universalism

August 5, 2014 § 6 Comments

Universals, categories, essences, etc are built into reality. Because Christianity is true it has, like truth in general, both a universal character and a particular character. A world view that rejects universalism is a world view that rejects reality and rationality.

Freedom – which liberalism incoherently attempts to make into a political priority – is a state of affairs wherein a subject is capable of actually choosing what he wishes to choose.  Because freedom in itself cannot discriminate between good intentions and evil intentions, making freedom a political priority within any scope implies equality of rights within that scope. And since scope itself is a restriction on freedom, freedom as a political priority inherently pushes any boundaries that folks attempt to put around it.

So the only universal that liberalism allows to manifest itself is equality of rights: equal freedom. It therefore distorts the universal dignity of being human as such into something inhuman and destructive.

It is a basic mistake to see this as something that arises from Christianity in particular. Quite the contrary: liberalism is an incoherent abuse of universality as a means to the end of rejecting the authority of the truth, and specifically the authority of the particular truths found either exclusively or in their fullest expression in Catholic Christianity.

§ 6 Responses to How liberalism coopts Christian universalism

  • CJ says:

    All true. Still, I think it’s important to state that even the actual Christian universal (as opposed to this or that caricature) may have implications that don’t fit with nrx. You are living proof that (say) rejection of ZGD doesn’t automatically mean that one is aligned with nrx. As with any worldly philosophy, there’s going to be point where you have to choose between it and the Gospel.

  • Dystopia Max says:

    Utterly backwards. Unitarian universalism is not a “cooption” of Christianity, it is a common and predictable mutation of Christianity, that affects certain people and social classes more than others. Darwinists would call it a morbid evolutionary path, IDists like Behe would call it an inevitable consequence of the first rule of adaptive evolution, Chesterton would make an epigram about what people do in their sleep(i.e., peace, prosperity, and routine) being called Evolution and what people do when they’re awake called Revolution. Oh, and Moldbug would have already described the intellectual phenomena in excruciating historical detail in a post you can’t be bothered to read or understand.

    “Because freedom in itself cannot discriminate between good intentions and evil intentions, making freedom a political priority within any scope implies equality of rights within that scope.”

    This sentence is asinine.

    Freedom is a necessary precondition for a grant of authority to exercise responsibility, and as such is the first right of a grown man. The smallest productive job requires a new measure of freedom within an area labeled “Employees only,” in which one is most certainly not granted full equality of rights, but rights commensurate with one’s responsiblities. Had you read Moldbug rather than quotes on him, you could not have avoided a thousand meditations on power and its actual distribution and concentration, and had you maintained a good working relationship with Dalrock, to say nothing of the Men’s Right’s crowd, you would never have been able to avoid a lamentation of the destruction of fatherly authority.

    This self-referential linking devoid of content and the craven exclusion of those who should by rights be your friends and brothers(they might challenge me!!!) in the fight against the Spirit of the Age is the precise reason why your arguments are fading-they have no concrete connection to observed and experienced reality.

  • Zippy says:

    Enjoy the Matrix, Max. I hear the steak is good.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Freedom is a necessary precondition for a grant of authority to exercise responsibility,

    Actually, this sentence is asinine.

    Freedom is lack of constraint on action – it is the ability to take whatever action you wish to take.

    Responsibility is a constraint on action – it constrains you to the responsible ones.

    The smallest productive job requires a new measure of freedom within an area labeled “Employees only,”

    Actually, it requires a measure of both responsibility and authority. Freedom has nothing to do with it. A new employee is simply in a different spot in the great hierarchy of human authority then he was before.

    Had you read Moldbug rather than quotes on him, you could not have avoided a thousand meditations on power and its actual distribution and concentration, and had you maintained a good working relationship with Dalrock, to say nothing of the Men’s Right’s crowd, you would never have been able to avoid a lamentation of the destruction of fatherly authority.

    Did you mean to say something substantive here? Cuz’ all I’m seeing is raining straw men. If you want to actually take up a contrary position to something Zippy’s argued, you need something a little better than “You’re wrong because you disagree with these guys who you’ve already refuted a thousand times over.”

    IOW, you need to actually, you know, make an argument.

    Also, at what point has Zippy ever asserted that fatherly authority has been destroyed?

    This self-referential linking

    I don’t blame Zippy for self-reference. His whole POV on… everything really is very interwoven. If you wanted him to explain every single little bit of an argument in a single post, they wouldn’t be posts anymore. They’d be books.

    He self-references so that he doesn’t have to be constantly repeating himself with post-length comments in the comboxes.

    craven exclusion of those who should by rights be your friends and brothers

    They are his friends and brothers in Christ. Doesn’t change the fact that they’re wrong. You shouldn’t treat lies as though they were true for the sake of camaraderie.

    is the precise reason why your arguments are fading-they have no concrete connection to observed and experienced reality.

    The Matrix has you Max.

    Follow the logical rabbit.

  • Zippy says:

    It is true enough that authority presupposes a range of possible choices from which the person in authority should select the most prudent, and that some choices in the range (e.g. whether to require driving on the right or the left) are more or less arbitrary. But that isn’t an objection to anything I’ve proposed.

    What I have proposed isn’t that freedom is bad in general. What I have proposed is that making freedom a political priority in itself, within any scope, is both rationally incoherent and empowers wickedness.

    Freedom in itself (again) is a capacity to actually choose what one prefers to choose. A good people under a good sovereign will naturally experience lots of freedom – as can a wicked people under a wicked sovereign, arguably our current state of affairs. Freedom in itself cannot discriminate between what is better or worse, so when it is the priority within some scope it necessarily treats all preferences within that scope equally. And since scope is itself a restriction on freedom, freedom as a political prior naturally erodes any scope boundaries which propose to contain it.

    I think some folks latch onto the fact that people with good preferences under a good sovereign happen to experience lots of freedom (while people with wicked preferences under a good sovereign do not), and then conclude that good politics results in freedom for good people so freedom should be a political priority.

    But this misses the fact that politics just is about controverted cases; so making freedom a political prior just unleashes wickedness. Uncontroverted cases are not political cases.

    Now, it is also true that in more homogeneous societies there is less controversy, therefore less formal politics and, ceteris paribus, more freedom. If everyone independently prefers to choose what others prefer them to choose there is less controversy for politics to resolve.

    But that again is no counter to my argument against making freedom a political priority within any scope.

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