On liberalism and two-headed coins

December 2, 2015 § 23 Comments

Political freedom/autonomy and equality are two modes of the same idea. You can’t have one without the other, and embracing one necessarily implies embracing the other, just as picking up a coin entails picking up both sides of the coin even if you happen to be looking at Heads.

There is no essential difference between liberalism and leftism: they are different baskets of unprincipled exceptions overlaid on top of the same basic commitment to the political philosophy I call liberalism.

Failure to recognize this keeps ‘conservatives’ locked in the mind trap. They naturally, as conservatives, feel loyalty to their ancestors and the thoughts of their ancestors — who happen to be classical liberals. And because conservatism entails a certain acceptance of how things are without thinking them all the way through, conservatives never accept that their revered classical liberal ancestors and the hated leftists/progressives just are the same sort of thing.

As a result, the function of conservatism in society is to preserve and protect liberalism from its own excesses. Conservatives are the abused enablers of progressives and always will be, mopping up the vomit and excrement after the drunken binges to make sure that they can continue.

The only way to put an end to the self abuse is to fully realize and accept the truth: that liberalism and leftism just are the same thing. The conservative disposition, with its built-in tendency to accept things as they are and not think them through to the point of critical insanity, screams against this.

But there are times when it is necessary to peel back some more layers and figure out what is really happening: to understand when certain things are built on a lie and not just accept them as given.  There are times when the only option is a sociopathic option.

And if there has ever been such a time, that time is now.  When society has gone insane, the place to find sanity is outside the padded walls.

§ 23 Responses to On liberalism and two-headed coins

  • […] war on history, nature, and tradition on a long march through the generations, protected by a rear guard of conservatives who insure that the march itself is never […]

  • […] My dilemma is really kind of solved now, though, for whenever my back is up against the wall and I am forced to confess my dogged refusal to vote even for conseratives, I shall simply say: […]

  • Mike T says:

    I think classical liberalism is attractive to conservatives because classical liberalism represents the only period of liberalism in which it put forth a lot of positive ideas. The Bill of Rights is a product of classical liberalism and is an excellent political document, even with its shortcomings. The US Constitution is similar in that respect, as in its pre-14th amendment form it codified a formal system of subsidiarity that actually put higher and lower authorities into a healthy relationship that left little ambiguity on who held what authority and when it could be exercised.

    For that era, these were radical political changes. Indeed, aside from aspects of the first amendment, even most tradcons should be deeply bothered by a political thinker or leader who chafes at the Bill of Rights. Why should the legislature of our federation that spans a continent and several regions the size of nation states in their own right be allowed to impose “community standards” on speech? Disarm the people? Search and seize with great freedom? Greatly disadvantage the defendant in trial?

    Liberalism may have not been necessary to get us there, but it did get us there which is why I think conservatives are grateful for classical liberalism.

  • Mike T says:

    WRT the due process rights of the Bill of Rights, liberalism is certainly not required to get there. The Mosaic Law is actually a model of good law for protecting the rights of the accused. There is probably no legal system in Christian history that is as protective of the defendant as the Old Testament law.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    … that left little ambiguity on who held what authority and when it could be exercised.

    I may not have technically LOLed, but I definitely made actual sound. Maybe a chortle.

    The faith classical liberals (and the conservatives who love them) have that making a supreme dictator out of codified documents will save us from the tyranny of a wayward ruling class is precious. And the relationship of the Bill of Rights to good governance is like the relationship of daycare under standard bureaucratic procedures to good parenting.

  • Zippy says:

    Alexander Hamilton on how tightly (HAH!) the Constitution limits federal power to spend on pretty much whatever it wants, arguing against his own previous incarnation in the Federalist Papers (when he was trying to sell the Constitution to skeptics rather than, post ratification, spend whatever he bloody well wanted to spend on whatever):

    These three qualifications [on the tax power] excepted, the power to raise money is plenary and indefinite, and the objects to which it may be appropriated, are no less comprehensive than the payment of the public debts, and the providing for the common defence and general welfare. The terms “general welfare” were doubtless intended to signify more than was expressed or imported in those [enumerated powers] which preceded; otherwise, numerous exigencies incident to the affairs of a nation would have been left without a provision. The phrase is as comprehensive as any that could have been used; because it was not fit that the constitutional authority of the Union to appropriate its revenues should have been restricted within narrower limits than the “general welfare;” and because this necessarily embraces a vast variety of particulars, which are susceptible neither of specification nor of definition.

    It is, therefore, of necessity, left to the discretion of the National Legislature to pronounce upon the objects which concern the general welfare, and for which, under that description, an appropriation of money is requisite and proper. And there seems to be no room for a doubt, that whatever concerns the general interests of learning, of agriculture, of manufactures, and of commerce, are within the sphere of the national councils, as far as regards an application of money.

    The only qualification of the generality of the phrase in question, which seems to be admissible, is this: That the object, to which an appropriation of money is to be made, be general, and not local; its operation extending, in fact, or by possibility, throughout the Union, and not being confined to a particular spot.

    Sacralizing the Constitution, and vastly overestimating the political power of text written on paper taken in itself, is a basic mistake. Conservatives may well admire that mistake; but that again is because it is the nature of conservatism to sacralize ancestors and put the brakes on thinking things through when it comes into conflict with the traditional thinking of secular saints.

    Heck, even Divinely inspired Scripture gives rise to countless interpretations, most of which beg the question. How much more true must this be of the Constitution?

  • Aethelfrith says:

    I think I’m finally beginning to understand this positivism thing that you harp about so often.

    A wrong act is wrong not because the law says it is, but because it is wrong per se. Under legal positivism, offenses can defined out of existence once the statutes change. Under realism, the law is a description (however flawed) of right and wrong. Even if the law is “wrong” what it’s trying to describe never will be, and by definition cannot be.

  • Mike T says:

    Most serious people don’t expect the Constitution to protect them. Rather, they understand that when the feds or states fundamentally step outside of it, there is a case to be made for just disobeying them outright on those matters. The federal government, for example, has no lawful right to ban guns or require a government permit to speak in public. Were it to do such a thing, that statute or executive order would carry no obligation of obedience within the context of our constitutional system.

    And actually these things do have value in ways you ignored such as how the Supreme Court has been progressively rebuilding the right to keep and bear arms via the 2nd and 14th amendments. The ruling class is being partially checked by having a non-democratic body enforce the constitutional law, however imperfectly, on the legislature and executive.

  • CJ says:

    As I see it, the value of the Constitution is that it helps to define the Overton window. It needed to be amended before Prohibition or an income tax could be successfully implemented because doing so otherwise was a bridge too far.

    It’s hardly foolproof because there are always penumbras and emanations, but even then you have to go through the exercise of demonstrating that this or that right is “really” in there.

  • Zippy says:

    There is nothing wrong with written law, as something which publicly clarifies expectations. But written law is orders of magnitude less important than a good ruling class and ruled class; and some written law perversely encourages the development of ungovernable people and a dishonest ruling class.

  • What do good ruling and ruled classes look like?

  • Zippy says:

    Asking what good leaders and followers look like is like asking what good fathers and children look like. If I have to explain it we are already having the wrong conversation.

    Despite the prejudices and false dichotomies of liberalism, some people are more governable than others. Some ruling classes are better than others. And this has very little to do with letters scratched on pieces of paper.

  • John K. says:

    The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.

    – G. K. Chesterton

  • Mike T says:

    Despite the prejudices and false dichotomies of liberalism, some people are more governable than others. Some ruling classes are better than others. And this has very little to do with letters scratched on pieces of paper.

    Which raises an interesting question about what you mean by governable. You said in a previous thread that southern whites are one of the least governable groups of whites in the US, even as most evidence points to southern states being some of the best run, most peaceful, and governed with the least heavy hand of most of the country except maybe some of the Rocky Mountain states.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    You said in a previous thread that southern whites are one of the least governable groups of whites in the US…

    The comparison you are trying to draw between the relatively rural south and places like NYC is apples and oranges, as is a comparison between the Civil War era and the present day. The Civil War was a result in significant part of the fact that southerners were ungovernable, prone to preemptive violence (Fort Sumter), and believed in a non-government theory of governance (arbitrary right of secession).

    I don’t know about southerners in general today. The South today is pretty much like everywhere else: the race-homogenization, ethni-homogenization, and region-homogenization of liberalism has been at work for a long time since the Civil War. Liberals in general are ungovernable, and non serviam is pervasive in modern society, so I wouldn’t say that the South today is uniquely ungovernable. To the extent it is equivalent to or better than other places that is because it has become less of what it was, and the liberalism prevalent everywhere has become more advanced.

    And people who are ungovernable deserve the kind of ruling class they cultivate. Why would any self-respecting aristocrat want to be your king? What attitudes and beliefs do you express that would motivate a self-respecting king to take you on as a subject, rather than leaving you to stew in your own rebellious juices?

  • Zippy says:

    Aethelfrith:

    A wrong act is wrong not because the law says it is, but because it is wrong per se. Under legal positivism, offenses can defined out of existence once the statutes change. Under realism, the law is a description (however flawed) of right and wrong. Even if the law is “wrong” what it’s trying to describe never will be, and by definition cannot be.

    I would just add that there are still ‘positive’ laws under the natural law (realism), because there is such a thing as authority, which derives from natural law. So the sovereign has authority to require people to pay 3% sales tax (or not), to drive on the right side of the road instead of the left, to prescribe specific penalties for theft, etc. But the authority of the sovereign (or other people with authority) derives from the natural law, and so literally cannot come into conflict with it.

    An attempted assertion by the positive law which conflicts with natural law has no authority (that is, it does not morally oblige): how could it, when the authority of positive law itself derives from natural law?

  • […] the difference between Nazism and liberalism. They both share the same core beliefs: Nazis are through-and-through liberals in the sense that they are strongly committed to political […]

  • […] fraternity; where liberty begets equality and fraternity proceeds from them.  If we only look at one side of each of these coins, the side liberalism likes to show off in the display case, they look very […]

  • […] of the interesting functions of the Supreme Court in the American political system is that it gives conservatives a strange attractor for hope and blame: a political sink to absorb their resentments, hopes, and […]

  • […] they just start to draw some lines when it comes to important things like yellow driveways.  And where did all of these social justice warriors come from, […]

  • […] they just start to draw some lines when it comes to important things like yellow driveways.  And where did all of these social justice warriors come from, […]

  • […] But voting is perfectly rational from the point of our ruling class and their ruling ideology of liberalism.  Because voting is a public liturgy in which a large portion of the populace personally endorses the legitimacy of our ruling class and their ruling ideology of liberalism. […]

  • […] thing they could possibly be.  He won by affirming that middle American whites actually really are good liberals despite what all of the lesbians and pedophiles and transwhatever freaks say: that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading On liberalism and two-headed coins at Zippy Catholic.

meta

%d bloggers like this: