Nice to meet you, I am a carrier of tuberculosis

December 8, 2015 § 36 Comments

There is a tendency to view societies infected by liberalism as ‘not liberal’ because they still have illiberal features, etc, or because there are good, true, and beautiful things in those societies; or because those societies are only ‘kind of’ liberal. I think this perspective is a distorted view of reality, and in any case can be quite deceptive if we don’t import some additional perspective.

Liberalism is a disease or disorder, a parasite in political thought, not a kind of society; and so-called liberal societies are societies which are infected by this parasite. Just as banking and lending are not comprehensively and only usury, modern societies are not comprehensively and only liberal. Ireland is a liberal society because it is infected and even dominated by liberalism; but it is still Irish, which is not liberalism.

In general modern societies are well and truly infected by the mind virus of liberalism, just as modern banking is well and truly infected by usury. The fact that the disease progresses differently in different contexts can obscure our capacity to identify it as such.

We naturally want to think the best of our own societies. Americans in particular tend toward the ‘proposition nation’ ideal: they see liberalism the disease as what defines us, much as the homosexual sees his disorder as what defines him.

This is counterproductive, if we want to actually grasp the objective situation. Especially if we don’t want to degenerate into a fugue of self-hatred.

The homosexual needs to stop defining himself as his disorder and repent.

So do we.

§ 36 Responses to Nice to meet you, I am a carrier of tuberculosis

  • I seriously wonder if progressivism is caused by a pathogen.

  • Zippy, your posts seriously have the best titles.

  • Elspeth says:

    Isn’t liberalism (as outlined in these posts) bound up in human nature? I have gathered your thoughts on these kinds of questions and sidelines, but I am asking for a reason.

    Wouldn’t it require a necessary push on the majority of a culture/society to decide that to willingly -and there’s the kicker- accept and embrace the idea that equality is not a noble goal in and of itself? And with that, the acceptance for a goodly majority to be content with their lot and general place in the hierarchy. Are men even capable of such a thing?

  • Zippy says:

    Elspeth:
    In grand historical terms liberalism has dominated politics since about last Tuesday, so men can certainly live without it. What it would take to get from here to there is another matter of course; but “there” has already been done so it is clearly possible.

    There are unquestionably things about liberalism which appeal to fallen human nature. It creates the appearance of authority and structure while in practice simply affirming people in what they want or expect, transforming as wants and expectations change, for example – think of what ‘marriage’ under no-fault divorce does on the micro scale, extrapolated to the macro scale. It gives people ready-made ‘justifications’ for pretty much whatever they personally want or think is desirable. It makes them feel virtuous while affirming them in whatever they happen to want or think is desirable.

    But it would be a mistake to think that comprehensive embrace of liberalism by society is inevitable. We may be ‘trapped’ in a fallen world, but that doesn’t excuse embracing particular lies; especially once we understand that and precisely how they are lies.

  • Mike T says:

    I think the biggest hurdle for Americans is that if we cast off liberalism, what then will America be? It’s not too difficult to see our people also casting off most of the remnants of the rights of Englishmen and sinking into a soft despotism that is merely different in approach from the one we have now.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I think the biggest hurdle for Americans is that if we cast off liberalism, what then will America be?

    Yes. The typical American view of himself qua American as nothing but an atomized rights-bearing individual makes this especially difficult for Americans. Part of the evidence of this – of how advanced the disease is in the American mind – is that the very first thing it occurs to you to talk about is despotism and loss of rights. That is all America is to many Americans: guarantor of liberal governance.

    Just like, to the militant homosexual, all there is to him is his gayness. His entire identity is wrapped up in homosex, and he can’t even picture what he is apart from frequent acts of sodomy.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    I think the biggest hurdle for Americans is that if we cast off liberalism, what then will America be?

    When the cancer is killing you *now,* it’s silly to worry about the side effects of the cure.

    It’s not too difficult to see our people also casting off most of the remnants of the rights of Englishmen and sinking into a soft despotism that is merely different in approach from the one we have now.

    Then that means they aren’t willing (and therefore able) to repent.

    Put in Catholic terms: Confessing of all your sins except the ones you like (or the ones you don’t think are sins) still puts you in danger of hellfire.

  • Zippy says:

    When I think of the loss of America, I think of all sorts of things. I think of baseball parks in summer, picket fences, Radio Flyer wagons and Schwinn bicycles, glass Coke bottles on ice, muscle cars, vast fields of grain, the Rocky Mountains, midwestern hospitality, long road trips across vast distances, vintage video game consoles, the Pacific Coast Highway — all sorts of things. Not the deepest things perhaps, but real things.

    But to most Americans those real things are mere accidents, and America is essentially abstract political equal freedom, a guarantee of equal rights against putative or contrived tyranny. Most Americans are like the militant fag so wrapped up in his gayness that he cannot even see himself as a real person apart from sodomy.

  • Mike T says:

    Part of the evidence of this – of how advanced the disease is in the American mind – is that the very first thing it occurs to you to talk about is despotism and loss of rights.

    Actually, much of my concern comes from an observation that man never really knew much limits to the bounds of political authority until the rise of Christianity. America is also unmoored from its Christian roots. Taking away liberalism could also have the unintended side effect of removing all restraint (what is left) on what can be thrusted into the political realm and how far political authorities can go.

  • Mike T says:

    That’s not me just yammering about abuse, but also the fear that if Americans learn to become “good followers” as well, without Christianity as the rock of our culture, they’ll be “good followers” more like imperial pagan Romans (ie willing to support ghastly things in the culture and political realm).

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Taking away liberalism could also have the unintended side effect of removing all restraint (what is left) on what can be thrusted into the political realm and how far political authorities can go.

    “Taking away liberalism” isn’t something anyone has suggested, as far as I know, as some sort of political initiative. How would one go about doing that?

    Can I ‘take away’ widespread commitment to the notion that 2+2=5? Aren’t I just pointing out that 2+2 is not actually 5, and suggesting that people should unequivocally give up on that lie without constantly making excuses for it? If I successfully manage to convince enough people that 2+2 is actually 4, mightn’t that also have ‘unintended consequences’?

    Despite your protestations, this is just more of the same old Mike T troll.

    Suppose I said “feminism is false and based on a lie, here is precisely what I mean by that and why it is false, here are all the ways that folks try to say otherwise and why those objections don’t work; and people should repent of their commitment to feminism”

    Then Feminist Frank always comes along and says “Abuse! Unintended consequences! Wifely submission will result in rape!” etc etc etc ad nauseum. He simply cannot tolerate the discussion without interjecting his protestations. His protestations simply must be on the record in every discussion of feminism, despite his pro-forma agreement that feminism is false.

    You’d see through Feminist Frank’s obsessive trolling in a heartbeat. You’d see through it even if Feminist Frank was being perfectly sincere, and did not see himself as trolling.

    Just like I see through yours.

  • Jeffrey S. says:

    “When I think of the loss of America, I think of all sorts of things. I think of baseball parks in summer, picket fences, Radio Flyer wagons and Schwinn bicycles, glass Coke bottles on ice, muscle cars, vast fields of grain, the Rocky Mountains, midwestern hospitality, long road trips across vast distances, vintage video game consoles, the Pacific Coast Highway — all sorts of things.”

    Here is a heretical thought — many of those things you list I would argue are a direct by-product of the liberalism you despise. Obviously not the Rocky Mountains or Midwestern hospitality or vast fields of grain — but the rest of your list are American products: the result of our entrepreneurial culture that springs forth from our liberal political institutions that support our capitalist economy. No liberalism, no Ford, no Coke, no Bally Manufacturing (http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/2562.html), etc. I suppose you could point to iconic companies in other western industrialized countries, but they are all infected as well…seems like liberalism is pretty good at giving us some useful stuff.

  • Zippy says:

    Jeffrey S:

    That isn’t a heretical thought, it is just manifestly the genetic fallacy. Is the child born out of wedlock evil in himself? Does his existence justify concluding that fornication is actually just fine and dandy, because hey, look what resulted?

    Examples can be multiplied, because the present world exactly as constituted is radically contingent, containing a great many good things which would not exist had nobody ever done any evil. If nobody had ever done any evil then none of us would be here at all.

    But it is a basic and manifest fallacy to conclude that lies, murder, and self deception are OK because none of what exists today would exist at all had there never been any lies, murder, or self deception.

  • Zippy says:

    The genetic fallacy is fallacious in reverse too: the idea that nothing good would have happened, or that better things would not have happened, if liberal lies and self-deception had not been pervasively adopted, is obviously just as question-begging.

    Nobody knows what might have happened had there been no American Revolution, no French Revolution, no Nazi Holocaust, no Communist Holocaust, no Feminist Holocaust. We do know that those things were driven by liberalism: by the commitment of the revolutionaries to the incoherent ideal of political freedom and its concomitants.

    We can’t say what might have happened if things had gone differently, because this is how things actually went. Liberalism was adopted as the pervasive political philosophy of modernity. Hundreds of millions of innocents have been slaughtered.

    In short, particulars and our love of them do not turn incoherent lies into the truth, or justify the adoption, perpetuation, or defense of incoherent lies. This problem arises because Americans especially tend to love the lies more than the particulars: to treat the lies as opposed to the particulars as the essence of America.

  • Jeffrey S. says:

    As usual, an excellent rejoinder.

    If I may, I just thought of you reading Mark Steyn’s testimony before the Senate. Here he is quoting an editorial in the science journal Nature about whether or not it might be wise to ditch democracy on behalf of the planet given the importance of climate justice:

    Democracy emphasizes the mutual roles of actors: all preferences are treated as equal. In many regions of the world, however, the results of democratic choices can be strongly influenced by power relations and inequitable social arrangements, owing to differences in economic development, access to technology and knowledge.

    Elites may use democratic processes to entrench their status or encroach on other social goals. This can lead to incremental or undesirable results, which might explain why large democratic nations such as the United States continue to oppose progressive climate legislation.

    In our view, sound climate and energy planning should not treat all stakeholders in the same way. Instead, preferences and roles should be weighted to consider criteria related to equity, due process, ethics and other justice principles.13

    So, here is my thought for you — like the infamous seminar organized by Father Richard John Neuhaus on whether or not democracy had to go because of abortion, perhaps the real political question is this: to organize people to pursue the common good is not easy and there is no one special way throughout history that governments have formed to get their citizens to behave in a just and righteous manner. Kings have done it, dictators have done it, but so have democrats. But, shouldn’t we at least try as best we can to limit the damage that authoritarian tyrants can impose on a people when they don’t want to pursue the common good — or in other words, shouldn’t we create forms of government that guard against abuse of power?

  • Jeffrey S. says:

    “Nobody knows what might have happened had there been no American Revolution, no French Revolution, no Nazi Holocaust, no Communist Holocaust, no Feminist Holocaust. We do know that those things were driven by liberalism: by the commitment of the revolutionaries to the incoherent ideal of political freedom and its concomitants.”

    Ha! I love the neo-reactionaries and I love a lot of your stuff, but to deny that there are important political differences between the liberalism of the American revolution and the Communist revolution or the Nazi revolution just seems like semantic silliness to me. I won’t play that game with you.

  • Zippy says:

    Jeffrey S.

    in other words, shouldn’t we create forms of government that guard against abuse of power?

    Theoretically, as long as those structures are adopted under an explicit, loud, unequivocal rejection of liberal political philosophy I don’t really care what experiments are done with structure. I’ve said before that there is nothing intrinsically liberal about democratic elections qua procedure, any more than going to Mass guarantees Catholic orthodoxy. The connection between ritual and philosophy is ‘soft’ not ‘hard’.

    Practically speaking our modern societies are about as capable of practicing illiberal democracy as a lifelong alcoholic is of an unproblematic bender. And of course part of the problem in the first place is the modern attempt to substitute formalisms for authority: to find putative safety from tyranny in bureaucratic procedures and words written on paper.

  • Zippy says:

    Jeffrey S:

    …deny that there are important political differences…

    There are differences, but they all share commitment to the same fundamental political principles, as has been shown time and time again.

    It is true enough that the Nazis managed to murder far fewer than either the Communists or the Feminists before they were destroyed in the great intramural battle of modern politics. And the only holocaust which is still ongoing is ours.

  • GJ says:

    Mike T:

    …if Americans learn to become “good followers” as well, without Christianity as the rock of our culture, they’ll be “good followers” more like imperial pagan Romans (ie willing to support ghastly things in the culture and political realm).

    *blinks*
    I wasn’t aware that there exists any essential difference.

    How is this any different from “If we throw away liberalism we lose everything that makes us (or so we tell ourselves) special and different compared to the hoi pol- I mean, the unEnlightened”?

  • Mike T says:

    “Taking away liberalism” isn’t something anyone has suggested, as far as I know, as some sort of political initiative. How would one go about doing that?

    You make it sound like I’m playing dumb, but apparently you can’t grasp that “take away liberalism” really just means “remove liberalism from the equation.” So you go into a whole comment of insult, making me out to be a troll when you are misreading my words for rhetorical purposes.

  • Mike T says:

    GJ,

    How is this any different from “If we throw away liberalism we lose everything that makes us (or so we tell ourselves) special and different compared to the hoi pol- I mean, the unEnlightened”?

    Disclaimer: I am a conservative Protestant more of an Arminian disposition than a Calvinist one, but my theology is closer to the Reformation than modern evangelicals.

    To answer your question: man apart from God is not just born in a general state of sin, but with a disposition to gravely displease God. It is man’s nature, apart from the Holy Spirit, to seek an efficient and fool-proof route to eternal damnation by piling grave sin upon grave sin. As man does this, he steps closer and closer to reprobation and a spirit aligned completely with Satan. Even his powers of reason will be completely corrupted.

    There are two forces holding back America from a great descent: the residual influence of Christianity and our own libertarianish brand of liberalism. Liberal America is not nearly as bad as most of the world that has embraced liberalism. When was the last time we had a coup? Ethnic cleansing? Mass murder on an industrial scale aside from the abortion Holocaust?

    So when I say be prepared for the STHF if a godless America also rejects liberalism, I don’t mean anything like what Zippy (who so cleverly tries to find some way of calling me a troll in the mold of Dalrock’s feminist trolls) was getting at. If the repentance is not coupled with an equally vigorous embrace of any semi-orthodox brand of Christian (take a pick: Baptism, Methodism, Catholicism, hell even the Oriental Orthodox), it will get worse.

    A whole lot worse. We will go from where we are now to being full on pagan Rome where people don’t think twice about doing things like crucifying enemies, torture on a level that makes waterboarding look like a noogie and so on and so forth (insert your own scenario of evil hearts gone wild here).

  • Mike T says:

    GJ,

    None of that should be taken as a reason to maintain the status quo and avoid repentance. I think I am simply a lot more pessimistic than Zippy about human nature and where that repentance would go. Much of that is a theological difference. I believe that man can see the truth of natural law and many metaphysical truths by light of reason, but man cannot embrace them without God’s help.

  • Jeffrey S. says:

    “There are differences, but they all share commitment to the same fundamental political principles, as has been shown time and time again.”

    No, this is not true. I followed all your links on this blog and you don’t demonstrate this at all — especially when your only evidence is the abortion holocaust. The problem with abortion as evidence of liberalism’s equivalence to Nazism, communism. etc. is that we find abortion all over the world under every form of government:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_law

    Are you suggesting that liberalism has infected the world? That Arabia and Morocco and China and Thailand and Mongolia and Nepal are all liberal? And as a result all allow abortion?

    There is a good reason the commies and Nazis saw themselves as mortal enemies of liberal democracies — but in Zippy world we can’t take them at their word because they live under a false consciousness and everyone is infected with the modern lie of liberalism. Not a very convincing theory from my perspective.

    It is also interesting that we don’t find modern Popes condemning liberalism with the kind of certainty we find on this blog. Indeed, we find John Paul praising democratic revolutions that broke out around the world post 1989:

    22. It is on the basis of the world situation just described, and already elaborated in the Encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, that the unexpected and promising significance of the events of recent years can be understood. Although they certainly reached their climax in 1989 in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, they embrace a longer period of time and a wider geographical area. In the course of the 80s, certain dictatorial and oppressive regimes fell one by one in some countries of Latin America and also of Africa and Asia. In other cases there began a difficult but productive transition towards more participatory and more just political structures. An important, even decisive, contribution was made by the Church’s commitment to defend and promote human rights. In situations strongly influenced by ideology, in which polarization obscured the awareness of a human dignity common to all, the Church affirmed clearly and forcefully that every individual — whatever his or her personal convictions — bears the image of God and therefore deserves respect. Often, the vast majority of people identified themselves with this kind of affirmation, and this led to a search for forms of protest and for political solutions more respectful of the dignity of the person.

    From this historical process ***new forms of democracy have emerged which offer a hope for change in fragile political and social structures weighed down by a painful series of injustices and resentments***, as well as by a heavily damaged economy and serious social conflicts. Together with the whole Church, I thank God for the often heroic witness borne in such difficult circumstances by many Pastors, entire Christian communities, individual members of the faithful, and other people of good will; at the same time I pray that he will sustain the efforts being made by everyone to build a better future. This is, in fact, a responsibility which falls not only to the citizens of the countries in question, but to all Christians and people of good will. It is a question of showing that the complex problems faced by those peoples can be resolved through dialogue and solidarity, rather than by a struggle to destroy the enemy through war.

    […]

    25. The events of 1989 are an example of the success of willingness to negotiate and of the Gospel spirit in the face of an adversary determined not to be bound by moral principles. These events are a warning to those who, in the name of political realism, wish to banish law and morality from the political arena. Undoubtedly, the struggle which led to the changes of 1989 called for clarity, moderation, suffering and sacrifice. In a certain sense, it was a struggle born of prayer, and it would have been unthinkable without immense trust in God, the Lord of history, who carries the human heart in his hands. It is by uniting his own sufferings for the sake of truth and freedom to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross that man is able to accomplish the miracle of peace and is in a position to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil and the violence which, under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse.

    Nevertheless, it cannot be forgotten that the manner in which the individual exercises his freedom is conditioned in innumerable ways. While these certainly have an influence on freedom, they do not determine it; they make the exercise of freedom more difficult or less difficult, but they cannot destroy it. ***Not only is it wrong from the ethical point of view to disregard human nature, which is made for freedom, but in practice it is impossible to do so.*** Where society is so organized as to reduce arbitrarily or even suppress the sphere in which freedom is legitimately exercised, the result is that the life of society becomes progressively disorganized and goes into decline.

    My emphasis throughout.

    Like our Founders, John Paul II would have argued that a free people cannot remain moral without God — in other words, Zippy and I agree that freedom cannot be the highest principle upon which a government is formed and laws are adjudicated. The common good must be sought out, fought over, and enabled by law. I don’t think the preamble to the United States Constitution says otherwise. We just disagree that at a fundamental level, certain forms of liberalism always and everywhere require one to put freedom on this pedestal.

  • Zippy says:

    Jeffrey S:

    No, this is not true. I followed all your links on this blog and you don’t demonstrate this at all …

    I know, I know. When Nazis for example profess their commitment to freedom and equality they are just liars. Their commitment to the freedom and equality of the emancipated new man is not authentic. When they reject (classical) liberalism because of its failure to actually emancipate the new man, because of its lack of authenticity, they don’t really mean it.

    All you have to do is look at their coins. They are not shiny and pretty like our coins.

  • donalgraeme says:

    When was the last time we had a coup? Ethnic cleansing? Mass murder on an industrial scale aside from the abortion Holocaust?

    Gotta love the “aside from” thrown in there.

    I like the “infection” metaphor Zippy. Liberalism is an infection just like any “ism” is an infection. Why? Because its origin point is in this fallen world- the world of Mammon.

  • Alex says:

    Mike, I think Zippy’s point was that it was not about “removing” something, but rather making a positive assertion. Liberalism, as far as I can tell, is like Zippy said, a kind of disease. That is, if you are inside the liberal mindset, you are actually seeing things wrong. So, for instance, in the USA, there is this culture of being independent and limiting the authority of the nation’s leaders on what they can or can’t do to their people.

    Yet, because this culture is profoundly liberal, it doesn’t achieve its objectives. It is based in a lie (that the authority comes from the people themselves) and thus only leads to people being “enslaved”. On one side you have a political class willing to reinterpret the words of the constitution whenever it becomes useful to do so. On the other you have people who are more than willingly to block legitimate authority from functions that belong to it by right. And if you block legitimate authority, the end result is that who ends up deciding the matter is someone or something else (such as economic factors).

    If somehow we could teach people about what legitimate authority is like, they wouldn’t be more malleable to bad leaders. Being a good subject is not simply about being servile. It is about understanding where the authority from your superior comes from, so you know when you should and when you shouldn’t obey him. The first thing we need to understand about authority is that it all comes from God. Therefore, any command that would go against God’s will isn’t to be followed. For instance, any command to disobey one of the commandments*.

    Sure, if you worry about a population that lacks Christianity but is obedient, of course such population can be used for evil. But that is because nothing can replace Christianity itself. Maybe I am generalizing too much right now, but I think the only way to have a good relationship of authority-subject is to have the relationship mimic that of the Father and the Son.

    Of course, I might be mistaken in these views, in which case sorry for wasting your time. But this is how I understand these things, at least.

    *Of course, there are situations where evil might be needed as an unintended collateral from some actions. For instance, how supposedly Pius XII had some say in plots to kill Adolf Hitler. But I think it is unnecessary to delve in this kind of thing right now.

  • Jeffrey S. says:

    Zippy,

    It would be nice for your readers if you finished Hitler’s quote about his true feelings for democracy:

    I used to ask myself whether there could be any nobler form of government than self-government by the people.

    Such was my general attitude at the time when I first entered those sacred and contentious halls. For me they were sacred only because of the radiant beauty of that majestic edifice. A Greek wonder on German soil.

    But I soon became enraged by the hideous spectacle that met my eyes. Several hundred representatives were there to discuss a problem of great economical importance and each representative had the right to have his say.

    That experience of a day was enough to supply me with food for thought during several weeks afterwards.

    The intellectual level of the debate was quite low. Some times the debaters did not make themselves intelligible at all. Several of those present did not speak German but only their Slav vernaculars or dialects. Thus I had the opportunity of hearing with my own ears what I had been hitherto acquainted with only through reading the newspapers. A turbulent mass of people, all gesticulating and bawling against one another, with a pathetic old man shaking his bell and making frantic efforts to call the House to a sense of its dignity by friendly appeals, exhortations, and grave warnings.

    I could not refrain from laughing.

    Several weeks later I paid a second visit. This time the House presented an entirely different picture, so much so that one could hardly recognize it as the same place. The hall was practically empty. They were sleeping in the other rooms below. Only a few deputies were in their places, yawning in each other’s faces. One was speechifying. A deputy speaker was in the chair. When he looked round it was quite plain that he felt bored.

    Then I began to reflect seriously on the whole thing. I went to the Parliament whenever I had any time to spare and watched the spectacle silently but attentively. I listened to the debates, as far as they could be understood, and I studied the more or less intelligent features of those ‘elect’ representatives of the various nationalities which composed that motley State. Gradually I formed my own ideas about what I saw.

    A year of such quiet observation was sufficient to transform or completely destroy my former convictions as to the character of this parliamentary institution. I no longer opposed merely the perverted form which the principle of parliamentary representation had assumed in Austria. No. It had become impossible for me to accept the system in itself. Up to that time I had believed that the disastrous deficiencies of the Austrian Parliament were due to the lack of a German majority, but now I recognized that the institution itself was wrong in its very essence and form.

    A number of problems presented them selves before my mind. I studied more closely the democratic principle of ‘decision by the majority vote’, and I scrutinized no less carefully the intellectual and moral worth of the gentlemen who, as the chosen representatives of the nation, were entrusted with the task of making this institution function.

    Thus it happened that at one and the same time I came to know the institution itself and those of whom it was composed. And it was thus that, within the course of a few years, I came to form a clear and vivid picture of the average type of that most lightly worshipped phenomenon of our time –the parliamentary deputy. The picture of him which I then formed became deeply engraved on my mind and I have never altered it since, at least as far as essentials go.

    Once again these object-lessons taken from real life saved me from getting firmly entangled by a theory which at first sight seems so alluring to many people, though that theory itself is a symptom of human decadence.

    Democracy, as practised in Western Europe to-day, is the fore-runner of Marxism. In fact, the latter would not be conceivable without the former. Democracy is the breeding-ground in which the bacilli of the Marxist world pest can grow and spread. By the introduction of parliamentarianism, democracy produced an abortion of filth and fire (Note 6), the creative fire of which, however, seems to have died out.

    The parliament passes some acts or decree which may have the most devastating consequences, yet nobody bears the responsibility for it. Nobody can be called to account. For surely one cannot say that a Cabinet discharges its responsibility when it retires after having brought about a catastrophe. Or can we say that the responsibility is fully discharged when a new coalition is formed or parliament dissolved? Can the principle of responsibility mean anything else than the responsibility of a definite person?

    Is it at all possible actually to call to account the leaders of a parliamentary government for any kind of action which originated in the wishes of the whole multitude of deputies and was carried out under their orders or sanction? Instead of developing constructive ideas and plans, does the business of a statesman consist in the art of making a whole pack of blockheads understand his projects? Is it his business to entreat and coach them so that they will grant him their generous consent?

    Is it an indispensable quality in a statesman that he should possess a gift of persuasion commensurate with the statesman’s ability to conceive great political measures and carry them through into practice?

    Does it really prove that a statesman is incompetent if he should fail to win over a majority of votes to support his policy in an assembly which has been called together as the chance result of an electoral system that is not always honestly administered.

    Has there ever been a case where such an assembly has worthily appraised a great political concept before that concept was put into practice and its greatness openly demonstrated through its success?

    In this world is not the creative act of the genius always a protest against the inertia of the mass?

    What shall the statesman do if he does not succeed in coaxing the parliamentary multitude to give its consent to his policy? Shall he purchase that consent for some sort of consideration?

    Or, when confronted with the obstinate stupidity of his fellow citizens, should he then refrain from pushing forward the measures which he deems to be of vital necessity to the life of the nation? Should he retire or remain in power?

    In such circumstances does not a man of character find himself face to face with an insoluble contradiction between his own political insight on the one hand and, on the other, his moral integrity, or, better still, his sense of honesty?

    Where can we draw the line between public duty and personal honour?

    Must not every genuine leader renounce the idea of degrading himself to the level of a political jobber?

    And, on the other hand, does not every jobber feel the itch to ‘play politics’, seeing that the final responsibility will never rest with him personally but with an anonymous mass which can never be called to account for their deeds?

    Must not our parliamentary principle of government by numerical majority necessarily lead to the destruction of the principle of leadership?

    Does anybody honestly believe that human progress originates in the composite brain of the majority and not in the brain of the individual personality?

    Or may it be presumed that for the future human civilization will be able to dispense with this as a condition of its existence?

    But may it not be that, to-day, more than ever before, the creative brain of the individual is indispensable?

    The parliamentary principle of vesting legislative power in the decision of the majority rejects the authority of the individual and puts a numerical quota of anonymous heads in its place. In doing so it contradicts the aristrocratic principle, which is a fundamental law of nature; but, of course, we must remember that in this decadent era of ours the aristrocratic principle need not be thought of as incorporated in the upper ten thousand.

    The devastating influence of this parliamentary institution might not easily be recognized by those who read the Jewish Press, unless the reader has learned how to think independently and examine the facts for himself. This institution is primarily responsible for the crowded inrush of mediocre people into the field of politics. Confronted with such a phenomenon, a man who is endowed with real qualities of leadership will be tempted to refrain from taking part in political life; because under these circumstances the situation does not call for a man who has a capacity for constructive statesmanship but rather for a man who is capable of bargaining for the favour of the majority. Thus the situation will appeal to small minds and will attract them
    accordingly. ..

    One truth which must always be borne in mind is that the majority can never replace the man. The majority represents not only ignorance but also cowardice. And just as a hundred blockheads do not equal one man of wisdom, so a hundred poltroons are incapable of any political line of action that requires moral strength and fortitude.

    The lighter the burden of responsibility on each individual leader, the greater will be the number of those who, in spite of their sorry mediocrity, will feel the call to place their immortal energies at the disposal of the nation. They are so much on the tip-toe of expectation that they find it hard to wait their turn. They stand in a long queue, painfully and sadly counting the number of those ahead of them and calculating the hours until they may eventually come forward. They watch every change that takes place in the personnel of the office towards which their hopes are directed, and they are grateful for every scandal which removes one of the aspirants waiting ahead of them in the queue. If somebody sticks too long to his office stool they consider this as almost a breach of a sacred understanding based on their mutual solidarity. They grow furious and give no peace until that inconsiderate person is finally driven out and forced to hand over his cosy berth for public disposal. After that he will have little chance of getting another opportunity. Usually those placemen who have been forced to give up their posts push themselves again into the waiting queue unless they are hounded away by the protestations of the other aspirants.

    Let the superior quality of such a leader be once recognized and the result will be that a joint front will be organized against him, particularly if that leader, though not coming from their ranks, should fall into the habit of intermingling with these illustrious nincompoops on their own level. They want to have only their own company and will quickly take a hostile attitude towards any man who might show himself obviously above and beyond them when he mingles in their ranks. Their instinct, which is so blind in other directions, is very sharp in this particular.

    The inevitable result is that the intellectual level of the ruling class sinks steadily. One can easily forecast how much the nation and State are bound to suffer from such a condition of affairs, provided one does not belong to that same class of ‘leaders’.

    The parliamentary régime in the old Austria was the very archetype of the institution as I have described it.”

    Sounds to me like you and Hitler would get along great — you both find lots to despise about democracy! Lots more analysis of how Hitler thought about democracy, socialism, and liberalism here:

    http://www.mattbrundage.com/publications/hitler-and-democracy/

    A few choice sections:

    Hitler had an overall disregard for the masses and refused to accept trade unions or the working classes. Once Hitler was in power, he broke all promises he had made to the workers. Hitler and the Nazi Party did away with collective bargaining and the right to strike. He replaced trade unions with an organization called the ‘Labor Front’, but this organization was fundamentally a tool of the Nazi Party and did not operate in the workers’ favor. According to the law that created the Labor Front, “Its task is to see that every individual should be able to perform the maximum of work.” (Kangas 13)

    Hitler, it can be argued, saw German culture as a collective body, not as individual members. This German culture or Aryan race was not exclusive of the boundaries of Germany, nor were the boundaries of Germany exclusive of the ‘Aryan race’. To Hitler, the ideal Aryan would sacrifice his individualistic freedoms for the conservation of the community. (Kangas 24) “The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to substitute for them the folk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its common blood.” (Bullock 228 [1971]) [2] Likewise, in Hitler’s 25-Point program, he stresses common (national) interest over personal gain: “The [National Socialist] Party…is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health only from within on the basis of the principle: The common interest before self-interest.” (Hitler Historical Museum 4)

    […]

    The Nazi Party’s 25-Point program mentions Hitler’s desire to limit freedom of expression, especially in the area of newsprint. He masks this limit of freedom with a demand for a “legal warfare on deliberate political mendacity and its dissemination in the press.” (Hitler Historical Museum 28) The 25-Point program insisted that editors of newspapers being published in German must be German citizens. Likewise, “no non-German newspapers may appear without the express permission of the State. They must not be printed in the German language.” (Hitler Historical Museum 29) After Hitler came to power, he put serious restrictions on the freedoms of the press, and of speech.

    Hitler’s regime had a monopoly on German propaganda; this significantly aided in the elimination of public criticism of the Nazi party and its causes. Hitler has been called the “ablest propagandist of modern history.” (Miller and Minsky 9) This is ironic because he attributed his ideas of mass propaganda to the Social Democrats, whom he detested. (Bullock 44) In deliberately vague propaganda (Grunfeld 112), Hitler and Goebbels (Germany’s Propaganda Minister) sought to make the word Jew a bad name and succeeded by stressing the ties between communism and the Jewish race. German propaganda in the 1930s associated the Jew with internationalism (the polar opposite of Hitler’s nationalism) and communism, a governmental system many Aryan Germans already despised. Hitler also made democracy a bad name; during a Nuremberg speech he declared that “democracy is the foul and filthy avenue to communism.” (Miller and Minsky 10) Thus, democracy, communism and Jew became closely associated among the German people — one could not say one without recalling the other terms.

  • Zippy says:

    Jeffrey S:

    Was that lengthy comment supposed to undermine the thesis that Nazism was a particular manifestation of the impact of classical liberalism with reality?

  • GJ says:

    Mike:

    There are two forces holding back America from a great descent: the residual influence of Christianity and our own libertarianish brand of liberalism. Liberal America is not nearly as bad as most of the world that has embraced liberalism.

    Now this is truly American, more so than muscle cars or your baseball parks: the unconscious sense of superiority in your liberalism, the pure and unadulterated arrogance. And this is all the more ironical given that your liberalism is the main contributor to your descent, not your saviour.

    When was the last time we had a coup? Ethnic cleansing? Mass murder on an industrial scale aside from the abortion Holocaust?

    When was your country most libertarian by your lights? At the start. And what did you do then? Rebel against your King. Cleanse the land of the native Indians. Hold and abuse many in slavery.

    After then, you crushed your brothers who wanted to separate. Once your land was pacified, you turned to others: coups in Hawaii, South America, Iran; invasions and interventions into many other nations. The libertarianism justifying an international lawlessness on an unprecedented scale while the shiny side of the coin assuring you that this is justified because you are the Ubermensch, the exceptional nation.

    As to torture, you know it takes place; all the matters to people like you is that you remain as unaware as possible. So Guantanamo and other bases are overseas, and ignorance is bliss. Domestically, even though it’s a open secret that much police abuse occurs, “NAPALT!” and again you and yours tend not to inquire too deeply. Your prison system fosters a widespread culture of rape, but who cares? All these criminals and terrorists are the Low Men, and their welfare doesn’t concern you.

    As to paganism, the nation’s worship of Mammon is well-known, you sacrifice your children to Eros and then later to Mars. Do you really think you’re any better than Rome?

    And you claim that your liberalism is good! When all it does is show you its pretty side, assuring you that you are so good, so special, and you stare at it, convinced by its reflection that all is well with you and what you do as havoc and destruction rains upon others. You are the Ubermensch, so you are justified in Enlightening others, so you waltz in into Libya and other nations with trumpets blaring about democracy and to show how good you are to bring it to the people, then slowly slip out when all descends to chaos.

    What self-centeredness, what supreme chutzpah to judge your own nation merely by what happens within its own borders! And what utter audacity to then exclude from consideration, knowingly or otherwise, your own contemporary moral trainwrecks such as abortion and divorce, all justified by the libertarian urge to do as one pleases. At just about every point from beginning to end liberalism has been the justification or distraction from all the evil, and it will only continue to do worse.

    But it is not too late to repent. Reject it all, and mayhap the Lord will delay the judgment and fall that comes to all empires.

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