Alexander the great scrappy rebel alliance
August 13, 2017 § 97 Comments
Oz conservative asks why liberals always see themselves as anti-establishment, despite the fact that liberalism has comprehensively dominated politics for centuries.
One reason is that as an incoherent doctrine which (precisely because it is incoherent) reduces the good in politics to will – to whatever any given group of liberals happen to unreflectively want and expect – liberalism necessarily produces opposing factions. Different groups of people want and expect different things. Each faction, understanding itself to be in possession of the authentic implications of political freedom, sees its competitors as subhuman tyrants who must ultimately be either converted or killed.
Tyrants of course are the establishment. If they weren’t the establishment they wouldn’t have the power to be tyrants. Liberals from their own perspective are scrappy rebel underdogs seeking freedom and (concomitantly) equality for the brotherhood of those who are oppressed under the established order. So another reason liberals see themselves as anti-establishment is because they ultimately have to see themselves that way. Liberal governance justifies its own exercise of discriminating authority on the basis that its own governance frees those who would otherwise be oppressed.
And this provides additional insight into the reason why a nice tame liberalism – the sort in which right-liberals or conservatives still believe despite centuries of uninterrupted defeat – is not possible. Liberalism always needs to find new “establishment” tyrants to destroy, or else its very reason for existence disappears.
Endless revolution is always and necessarily baked into the doctrine that pursuit of freedom is what justifies the concrete exercise of authority.