Ozymandias vs Beelzebub

August 19, 2014 § 40 Comments

Nature has a way of bringing the rule of particular men to an end every few decades. The mechanism is called Death.

Liberalism though doesn’t have an expiration date or an inherently limited lifespan.

Rule by particular men is inherently more resistant to tyranny than more abstracted or formalized systems of government for a whole variety of reasons. One of them is that nature insures that a bad ruler is only around for a matter of decades.

But bad ideology can last indefinitely. Rule by demons has no expiration date.

So the next time someone complains about how hard it can be to get rid of a bad king, be sure to ask the question “compared to what?”

§ 40 Responses to Ozymandias vs Beelzebub

  • Zippy says:

    Liberalism has already dominated western politics for more than ten times the duration of the reign of Alexander the Great.

  • CJ says:

    An expansion of what I posted on the Concentration thread

    Zippy says that Jimmy Carter (or Warren G. Harding or Millard Filmore, etc.) aren’t the problem, liberalism is. However, I would argue 2 things: 1) They are part of the problem, inasmuch as there have been better presidents under our system; and 2) I would say that a society where a ruler’s evil is only checked by his own will and lifespan (or perhaps the readiness of the people to revolt) is also broken.

    This isn’t to say that liberalism is the answer. The 20th Century’s parade of horribles was carried out by liberals. But even an advocate of illiberalism recognizes that tyranny is a thing. So the question is worth asking what can be done about a tyrant in an illiberal society. An illiberal society without noblesse oblige, subsidiarity, etc. is its own kind of hellhole. I remember your “anywhere but here” post, but that’s not entirely true. If I had to choose, I would rather have been on Omaha Beach than at ground zero at Hiroshima.

  • Peter Blood says:

    A bad man will die, so you can wait it out; he can also be deposed. A bad people (a liberal society)….what can you do? Pray for the second coming.

  • Marissa says:

    Looks like the Belle/Balliol Dynasty of Flanders, Belgium has reigned for the last 1,000 years or so…but Belgium is also a hotbed of liberalism. That’s the only Western one I could find here, a list of the Top 10 Dynasties that Reigned the Longest. A few are Eastern European and the rest are East Asian. Isn’t it strange how countries like China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam had the same dynasties rule for so long? To me, someone born into Western liberalism, it is very strange.

  • donalgraeme says:

    This post reminds me of the intro to Inception.

    What is the most resilient parasite?

    An Idea.

  • Peter Blood says:

    What is the most resilient parasite?

    An Idea.

    Or a selfish gene, LOLZ.

  • Mike T says:

    What is the most resilient parasite?

    Sin

  • Mark Citadel says:

    Liberalism as an ideology is parasitic. Of course all political engineers have an ideology, but I think reactionaries aim for a society in which the ideology is so homogeneously accepted, that it transcends mere ideology and becomes ‘culture’.

    For instance, if you favor a hereditary monarchy, I don’t think you would want the people to say to themselves, “I live under a monarchist government’, but rather that the form of government seem obvious and second nature to the point where they can’t imagine anything else being remotely suitable.. Ideology is a scaffold for visions of a society. With liberalism, this scaffold is ever shifting and so the house remains unbuilt and crumbling indefinitely.

    If man is to survive, it has become clear to me that liberalism must die.

  • josh says:

    Was Millard Filmore a bad President? He seems to have lacked an enthusiasm for provoking the worst conflict in American history which cost him at the caucas and with historians.

    Likewise, Warren Harding dismantled some of the wartime totalitarian state of his predecessor which was in danger of becoming permanent. Of course, it was rebuilt bigger and stronger. Both of these administrations fall into the not-good-enough category, but just because historians prefer men who plunged us into disastrous crusades doesn’t make these guys the problem.

    [Just retrieved this from the SPAM bucket. Not sure why it was there. –Z]

  • jf12 says:

    ♪ All around the world statues crumble for me ♫

  • jf12 says:

    I’m trying to think of statues mentioned in the Bible that were necessarily big statues. A lot of the images, idols, etc were clearly small figurines and relief-portraits, easily carried along with other stuff by one person (remember Rachel sitting on idols). I think it’s true that a lot of the idols that were set up on hilltops along with the groves included large statues, but not necessarily in every case and it’s not made explicit which ones were big and which were not.

    The only ones I can think of were the Philistines’ gods in their temples, such as Dagon, and the Babylonian idols, such as the threescore-cubit golden image of Nebuchadnezzar (and Bel).

    There is also the great image of the dream in Daniel 2, but that was a dream.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    “Tories v. Whigs”

    “Jefferson v. Hamilton”

    “Union v. Confederacy”

    “Nock v. Roosevelt”

    “Goldwater v. Johnson”

    “Rothbard v. Koch bros”

    “Reagan v.Carter”

    “Romney v. Obama”

    America’s great political debates have amounted to little more than to two snakes on the Medusa head of liberalism snapping at each other.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ ISE:

    Exactly.

    One of the attributes of Liberalism which makes it so endurant is its ability to imagine ideological conflict.

    Conservatives actually believe that they’re opposite of Liberals, instead of just fetal Liberals. The ultimately imaginary yet intensely passionate wars of ideology within Liberalism prevent the participants from ever stopping to even consider any ideology outside the realm of Liberal thought.

    It’s not even that Liberal thinkers are incapable of understanding the flaws in Liberal ideology. It’s that they never stop to consider that there may be flaws in Liberal ideology in the first place.

  • JH says:

    If liberalism always wants to “progress” doesn’t it have to keep changing, so in a sense is that a shelf life?

    Or does it die when the system proves untenable and another form of state comes in to fill the void?

  • Zippy says:

    JH:
    Liberalism is always destroying earlier versions of itself. Perpetual revolution is its nature, and is concomitant to adopting liberal principles in the first place.

    Liberals who struggle to preserve the earlier forms of liberalism – who support liberalism itself but just want it to stop, to freeze itself at some particular point in time, or to go back to some larval stage – are called ‘conservatives’. Thus occasional side shows about supporting democracy but restricting the franchise, keeping liberty as a political priority but replacing ‘voice’ mechanisms with ‘exit’, etc. etc., all of which is just whistling past the graveyard in my view.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    If I had to choose, I would rather have been on Omaha Beach than at ground zero at Hiroshima.

    Even there the devil is in the particulars, not the overall situation. My folks knew a priest who was just a few blocks away when Little Boy detonated.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Liberalism is always destroying earlier versions of itself. Perpetual revolution is its nature, and is concomitant to adopting liberal principles in the first place.

    Speaking of perpetual revolution, yesterday was the anniversary of Trotsky’s death. It may be a good reminder that the purveyors of evil in our time all will die and stand before God’s judgment seat.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Speaking of Little Boy, wasn’t Nagasaki the center of Christianity in Japan at the time? Makes a man wonder…

  • Zippy says:

    The St Mary’s cathedral spire was the actual target, I believe, since it was such a great landmark.

  • Marissa says:

    That seems…sacrilegious. It’s one thing to bomb an area and unfortunately hit a church. It’s another to actually target the church, especially in a place where Christians had been persecuted for centuries. It just seems wrong.

  • CJ says:

    That seems…sacrilegious. It’s one thing to bomb an area and unfortunately hit a church. It’s another to actually target the church, especially in a place where Christians had been persecuted for centuries. It just seems wrong.

    But if they had chosen a less prominent landmark, the bomb would’ve been less effective and Japan may not have surrendered! Why do you want all those extra dead bodies?!?!

    Seriously, the targeting of the church is a great example of Zippy’s “Optimization is Evil.”

  • CJ says:

    In case it wasn’t clear, my first paragraph was sarcasm. The system deleted my fake sarc tag.

  • Qwe says:

    The perfect example of bad ideology lasting indefinitely: Islam.

  • Exfernal says:

    Heh, show me a more resilient parasite than the Alu sequence and then we can talk.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    A little late, but…

    @JH:

    If liberalism always wants to “progress” doesn’t it have to keep changing, so in a sense is that a shelf life?

    Liberalism is circular logic. Liberalism can’t run out of “progress” to make because it isn’t actually making any progress. It’s just going ’round and ’round the circle.

    The people who call themselves Conservatives have simply picked a point that they like on the circle and are trying to freeze Liberalism at that point.

    The people who call themselves Liberals have realized that all the points on the circle that they’ve been to so far have inconsistencies with their core ideal of equal freedom. So, they march on along the circle, never realizing that there is no point on the circle consistent with equal freedom.

    @Exfernal:

    Heh, show me a more resilient parasite than the Alu sequence and then we can talk.

    I’m not sure what sort of connection you’re attempting to make between DNA sequences and incoherent political doctrine, but if you were attempting to make a substantive point about anything I suggest elaborating a little bit to clarify for those of us too slow to get it the first time ’round.

  • Exfernal says:

    Doing away with liberalism might be less difficult in comparison, but still close to impossible.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @Exfernal:

    Yes, I agree that it would be just about impossible for human machinations alone to do away with Liberalism. Fortunately, the omnipotent God is on our side in any fight against evil.

    If your point is that fighting evil is really really hard, I agree completely.

    If your point is that fighting evil is hopeless and/or pointless, I disagree completely.

  • Exfernal says:

    Instead of calling it evil without any reference (compared to what?), I’d rather point to its internal contradictions. Starting with the Wikipedia page on ‘liberal paradox’.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @Exfernal:

    Lies (like self-contradictory philosophies with a plethora of internal inconsistencies) are, in fact, evil.

    If you’re suggesting that Zippy has dedicated too much word count to the ‘evil’ facet of Liberalism and not enough word count to the ‘self-contradictory’ facet of Liberalism, then I’d suggest that you’re not very familiar with this blog. Liberalism is probably Zippy’s most exhausted subject.

    If you’re suggesting that Liberalism is not in fact evil, but only inconsistent, then I would recommend doing some remedial reading. The Liberalism section of this very blog is a good choice, but probably the best single, cohesive treatment of Liberalism there is is The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb.

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