Summary About Liberalism

Those of you who have read my first blog posts have noticed the drastic change of opinion through the last couple of years. I hope this post clarifies at least some of the abstruseness. Attending to the suggestion of a good friend and for the benefit of my readers, this is a summary of the following posts. It would perhaps be convenient for readers unfamiliar with the blog to read them first:

https://dorta.com/2016/10/04/the-end-of-our-civilization/

https://dorta.com/2017/02/23/understanding-the-modern-world/

https://dorta.com/2018/10/11/understanding-the-modern-world-ii/

I got where I am in political philosophy mainly by interpreting the writings of Leo Strauss on the Enlightenment and on liberalism, by comparing my interpretation to the very different orthodox version of the West Coast Straussians and of conservatives in general, with some help from reading the writings of radical Catholics such as Patrick J. Deneen and Adrian Vermeule. A definitive factor in the change was the revolution in politics brought about by Donald Trump, especially his ability to unmask his opponents, which allowed me to compare the actions and contradictions of the Republican Party USA to those of conservative parties in Western Europe, and to understand the reaction to liberalism currently occurring in Eastern and Southern Europe.

Liberalism has changed with time. This appears rock solid to me although to conservatives it is a preposterous assertion because, I think, they have to hold on to something while lying to themselves and to their constituents. But this is no longer possible after Trump. As it has evolved, liberalism pushes relentlessly forward, and for the first time in modern history its victims see clearly its deadly effects. Again thanks to the Trump revolution. The fight is still a rearguard action, a defensive battle that started from necessity, a battle for survival imposed on the victims. The fight is nevertheless cosmic and pregnant with consequences for the future of the United States of America and the developed world, one more complex than the traditional and simple one of “left vs right.”

“Left vs right” can’t explain why most Republicans and conservatives are globalists. In the USA both wings of liberalism, Democrats and Republicans, are united against Trump, against nationalism and for globalism. They all accept postmodern imposition of “rights” of all kinds with little or no debate or opposition. To push aside the annoying contradictions and to offer a kind of explanation, we had to invent unconvincing theories like “the stupid party” or “Republicans In Name Only,” or “because the left owns the culture,” or that globalism is a wicked secret plan directed by George Soros.

Angelo M. Codevilla is right when he says that we have a ruling class. Pure democracy doesn’t exist outside of Enlightenment propaganda, or outside of our founding myth. All regimes are a variable mix of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Aristocracy is needed either to rule the masses or to control the monarch, or both, and democracy is mostly passive acceptance of either or both of the other two, plus the chance to change the rulers by elections. The ruling class of the USA is the “UniParty,” a similar-thinking liberal elite with token differences which are mainly about the acceleration or rate of change in liberalism’s forward movement. Republicans aren’t stupid, traitors, or cowards. The real reason is that it is much more difficult for them to appear to support nationalist, pro-American policies while hiding their globalist intentions, a problem the Democrats don’t have. The elites aren’t “out of touch” either. The ones really out of touch are the analysts who can’t see the changes, who see liberalism as frozen in time since 1800.

As Ryszard Legutko writes, late liberalism has striking similarities to socialist and corporatist regimes, that’s why the most modern and liberal companies, high-tech, seem to be socialist, a mirage that reinforces the traditional idea of the fight being “left vs right.”

Most of the real oppositions can be explained by Tocqueville’s and Strauss’ remains-of-previous-eras theories and the classes that embody them nowadays, the middle class and the working class. In reality, the “left vs right” mantra hides most of the things that are really important. The Trump movement can’t be called right-wing in any way, except lazy ideological expediency. On the opposite side, saying that some group or vision is “neo-Marxist” is the traditional form of analysis; it could be so, but only because neo-Marxism is part of the complex and contradictory mixture that is late liberalism.

This can be clearly seen in Europe where all groups and parties, from greens to conservatives, are liberal, and where all of them close ranks against any groups, individuals and parties that dare to defend traditions, nationalism, religion, natural law, virtue ethics, or even human nature. One clarifying fact in Europe is that the center of the opposition to liberalism is set in Eastern and Southern Europe (less advanced regions = less liberal). Another example is Spain, where all parties are liberal and have concocted, without any debate or opposition, literal translations of hate crimes (delitos de odio), gender (género), LGBTQ (LGBTI), diversity (diversidad), etc., which are imposed on the population. In Spain too we find the same explanations about the Spanish right’s actions: they are “traitors,” “collaborators,” in “moral decay” or who “have forgotten.” This seems naïve, almost childish, but it’s true.

Finally, the left is not the cause of the problems of late liberalism. Just the opposite, late liberalism has made the left important beyond their real numbers because liberalism keeps individuals atomized in extremis, thus at the mercy of government, and because liberalism points to an utopian, collectivist global government. Both are raisons d’être of the world left.

Vladimir Dorta, 11/05/2018

Understanding the Modern World (II)

In this post I want to give an overall account of two previous ones, trying to make sense of our strange and fast-changing times. While I write it, I’m reading Ryszard Legutko’s The Demon in Democracy, a book that helps clarify the critical issues and one I can’t recommend highly enough.

Choosing among the several meanings of the word and following those previous posts, I understand liberalism as the political, economic, and social system of modernity, the historical era that started with the American and French revolutions. Liberalism is, in classical political terms, the regime * of developed Western societies.

More specifically, liberalism is a historicist utopia with a slight kink: it evolves over time. It is historicist because it embodies the idea of progress in a linear historical development, and utopian because it will eventually actualize human happiness in this world, much as a secular religion. The Novus Ordo Seclorum brought about by the Enlightenment has been immensely successful, quite beyond anything its founders could imagine. They, however, thought it would be there for the ages, not changing essentially over time. But, as I have written before, it has evolved and this fact alone changes everything we think we know about modernity.

Since it is the only surviving system that incarnates the idea of progress, liberalism must defeat any opponent who is seen as retrograde or obsolete; as a hegemonic regime it can’t accept any competitors, they all must be destroyed. And as it changes, it is no longer the “classic liberalism” of the origins —the one that conservatives talk and dream about. Its current dominant form, postmodernism, is the point of a new and dangerous spear that magically transforms any new desire into a “right” and ruthlessly crushes all traditional beliefs. Liberalism is about power, power to change, power to destroy everything in its wake, and power to plow ahead to fulfill the utopia: to reach the end of the arc of history, a global society with a global government. From this point of view, globalization is a normal tendency of the economic form of late liberalism, as the new multicultural, medieval society of seigneurs and serfs takes shape right in front of us in California, for example.

Contrary to what conventional wisdom tells us, liberalism, the regime of modernity, is widely accepted by modern societies. One important key to understand this is how rapidly the majority in America and Europe embraces each new imposition, each new right and entitlement, no matter how absurd or worthless. And —very important— the accepting includes conservatives and the right, most of whom are as liberal as their opponents, only pharisaic. The only big difference is the activism on the left, because they consider themselves a “vanguard” as in the other utopia.

As Legutko (who is a member of the European Parliament) writes:

“What we have been observing over the last decades is an emergence of a kind of liberal-democratic general will. Whether the meaning of the term itself is identical with that used by Rousseau is of negligible significance. The fact is that we have been more and more exposed to an overwhelming liberal-democratic omnipresence, which seems independent of the will of individuals, to which they humbly submit, and which they perceive as compatible with their innermost feelings. This will permeates public and private lives, emanates from the media, advertising, films, theatre and visual arts, expresses itself through common wisdom and persistently brazen stereotypes, through educational curricula from kindergarten to universities, and through works of art. This liberal-democratic general will does not recognize geographical or political borders. And although it does not have a control center or an executive body, it seems to move forward relentlessly and to conquer new territories as if under a single well-structured and well-organized command … The liberal-democratic general will reaches the area that Rousseau never dreamt of—language, gestures, and thoughts.” (Op. cit., p. 65)

In this cosmic fight, who are liberalism’s opponents or rather, who are the hegemon’s victims?

First, let me say what the fight isn’t about: it is not “right vs left,” it is not “populism vs democracy,” it is not “nationalism vs globalism,” it is not “mainstream vs far-right,” and it’s not “protectionism” or “isolationism” vs free trade. Yes, there is some basic truth to all of those oppositions, but highlighting any one of them only helps veil the important truth:

The fight is about wiping out and trying to avoid being wiped out.

As examples of conventional wisdom, Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 have been called “poor economic losers,” although the median income of Trump voters was $72,000, compared to the national median of $52,000. They have also been presented as “angry old men,” although 41% of white millennials turned out for Trump. In Europe, the same liberal analysts tell us, they are “old pensioners with vague memories of Hitler,” but the German AfD Party appeals to people aged 25-50 who never knew Nazism, and Marine Le Pen won more people aged 18-34 than any other candidate in the first round of the French elections.

The apparent central fight between left and right can be seen in America due to its particular two-party political system and the fact that the society is more or less evenly divided. Why? Because only in America among developed societies, the remains of previous eras are still strong: religion, traditions, normal families, virtue ethics, patriotism, small business, etc., something we know since Tocqueville. The classes that embody those characteristics are the middle class and the working class, a citizenry that is majority white. That is the real enemy liberalism must wipe out.

The truth can be seen more clearly in Europe, where practically all mainstream parties and groups are openly liberal, and religion and traditions don’t count as heavily as in America, and where liberalism doesn’t hide totalitarian tendencies such as forcing Marine Le Pen to undergo psychiatric tests.

Beginning in the coming November elections we’ll see just how strong those remains are. Under President Trump’s leadership they are a light of hope, especially if they can forge alliances with European nationalists. Long-term, besides understanding the issue clearly and acting upon it, the key to their eventual survival, security, and even triumph is bringing children to the world. This could also be a Pyrrhic victory for either side, as demographic collapse seems to be a key characteristic of late liberalism.

Vladimir Dorta, 10/11/2018

____________

Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, Encounter Books, NY-London, 2016.

* Regime: “the politieia, the order, the form, which gives society its character, its specific manner of life. Regime is the form of life as living together, the manner of living in a society and in society, since this manner depends decisively on the predominance of human beings of a certain type, on the manifest domination of society by human beings of a certain type. Regime means that whole, which we today are in the habit of viewing primarily in a fragmentized form: regime means simultaneously the form of life of a society, its style of life, its moral taste, the form of society, the form of state, the form of government, the spirit of laws.”
Leo Strauss, What Is Political Philosophy?, The University of Chicago Press, 1959, p. 34.

When Everything Seems To Be Upside Down

The fight to the death between globalism and nationalism unfolding right before our eyes could well be the definitive fight between good and evil. Because the prize couldn’t be any bigger: controlling the United States of America and influencing the future of the world.

Since I’m a pessimist, at the beginning —even if I was one of the first believers— I didn’t give the American nationalist movement led by President Trump any chance, and I still don’t give it any chance in Europe. On the other hand, if there is a place for a movement like this to triumph and keep the flame alive it’s America, always ready to show her exceptionalism. America is the only country that can confront globalism and the collectivist push for global government. And a person like Donald Trump can only be born and succeed —to the extreme of being elected President against all odds and when he didn’t have to try— in America.

But the fight is still unequal.

A coup d’état was in place, directed by the Obama White House —as recognized by James Clapper, as written in the Strzok-Page emails, and as shown by the Carter Page warrant without a court order— with the immediate goal to depose a legally elected president, and whose final goal was to secure permanent hegemony for the Democrat Party in order to build socialism in America. The coup is still going on. The body of the coup is the “resistance” of the Democrat Party; the media and the cultural industry are its accomplices, and the Republican establishment tacitly sides with them by washing its dirty hands, keeping mostly silent at the onslaught. And one more: the Special Counsel investigation is the always important “legal” face of the coup. This is an unprecedented moment in the history of America: The bad guys assume their new personas and their new places in the revolution, getting ready to take the Bastille. On the opposite side, President Trump is almost alone, fighting for us. Unless he has an ace up his sleeve, like a real-world James Bond and the perfect leader for his time, this will end badly.

But our guy is such a fighter that the “resistance” is desperate and reckless, and the reasons why are clear: no president in history has done as much for his country and his fellow citizens as Donald Trump has in as short a time. This is especially dangerous for Democrats, the revolutionary left, socialism, Antifa, the globalists. If Donald Trump wins, they are all kaput.

Why do the rest of the people, the reasonable citizens, supposedly the majority, appear to be indifferent and above the fray? Because modern, developed liberal societies are ill-prepared to counter something like this. The revolutionary left never rests, it is always on a war footing, and this is something the liberal right has never understood. The right is principled, sanctimonious, well-meant, and cowardly. That is easy to see both from a Marxist perspective (“the bourgeoisie will sell us the rope with which we’ll hang them”) and from Lockean principles (“peaceable acquisition”). Liberalism is about fair play, free elections, and faithful opposition. And that is also why the left’s “fascism everywhere” talking point is absurd. One side doesn’t see or tends to ignore the fight because it takes the original Enlightenment seriously; the other side doesn’t rest and propels the revolution forward because they are heirs of the thinkers who radicalized the Enlightenment.

What happens in Europe and America today is a sharpening of the crisis of liberalism that has developed as the destruction of Western civilization, the greatest ever, the one that began on the plains of ancient Greece, that radially created a new world starting from a tiny center in Rome; that later dominated the world out of a small island, Britain, and that reached its zenith in America. The destruction flows from the inside: the hippies, the new left, academia, Hollywood, the media, postmodernism, radicalized political parties, and the masters of the global economy. As I have written before, this is the result of the evolution of liberalism itself.

I like American Westerns, including the spaghetti ones, but a happy ending is not always a given because some problems don’t have practical solutions, and inventing theoretical solutions only amounts to an intellectual exercise. I can imagine a nationalist alliance of America, the UK, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary and Italy, but let’s wait and see what happens.

Vladimir Dorta
09/18/2018

Idealizing Murderers as Saviors

Third-Worldism is the daydream of Jeremy Corbyn and —as I have written before, of Barack Obama. Always looking for the next anti-Western cause, from The Wretched of the Earth and the Khmer Rouge to Castro and Chávez, to the Ayatollahs and the latest —migrants invading Europe— the world left’s longing for utopia is worth many corpses and much suffering. Please read Ben Sixsmith’s superb essay Anti-Imperialism and Apologetics for Murder. Quillette is always worth visiting.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is Here

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face –forever.
George Orwell, 1984

The future envisioned by our new Big Brothers is a bit different, more progressive and less brutal, if not less controlled. Of course, with AI-enhanced lords and normal paupers, it would be a big progress over the crude Oceania of 1984.

The sudden and unexpected rebirth of nationalism, and its tentative and fragile initial successes in the USA and Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, have triggered panic in the globalist and collectivist centers of power in the West, together with the expected backlash. The whole thing is yet another sign of the decay of late liberalism and it tells us they will defend their power at any cost, which means more suffering for the usual suspects: the middle and working classes that conform the native Western populations. Antifa, the paramilitary arm of the Democrat Party in America, together with its budding alter ego in Europe, follow a left-wing revolutionary tradition that vies for violent control of the streets although, unlike the 1930s, this time self-justified by invented “Fascist” and “white supremacist” threats. Talk about tragedy and farce in history.

In reality, the violent charade has blended itself with the diminished, desperate, but still ongoing coup d’état against President Trump by Obama and his socialist government minions, a revolutionary coup cloaked and neutered as the “Deep State.”

The Big Tech companies Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, as well as their subsidiaries, openly censor and “shadow ban” any person and group that oppose the Democrat Party or their common goal of a dystopian future. The mainstream media, unmasked as yet another arm of the Democrat Party, support the initial moves and ask for more. Google not only accepts China’s censorship, but gradually translates the model to the USA as if that is the normal thing to do. “Hate speech”, a vague but useful accusation that reminds us of the thought crimes and the thought police in Orwell’s novel, is the new soft bludgeon wielded to silence dissenters.

To make the mixture combustible, the government is afraid of calling Antifa the terrorists they are and acting on it, and the establishment republicans are the same cowards we always knew they were, hiding behind their “conservative” and “free-market” ideology and ready to accept “the algorithm did it” excuse of their globalist seigneurs. Just as the globalist rampage was the main cause of the nationalist renaissance, this time their inaction will be the cause of even more violence from the left. As I have said before, this is a pre-revolutionary situation in Marxist lingo.

Meanwhile, the division between Blue and Red extends and deepens. Either anarchy or a civil war would be the logical end of the whole enterprise, unless somebody acts to stop it. God save us.

Vladimir Dorta, 08/07/2018

Greener Pastures

New Yorkers, Angelenos and Chicagoans leave their bankrupt liberal states and move to Florida, Arizona and Texas. They are all fleeing the ever-growing power and inefficiency of government, the crime, the sloth, the homelessness, and the taxes and regulations piling up on them. But when they get to their new, resplendent destinations, they keep voting for the same types of politicians and for the same issues they loved in their old homesteads. It’s then not surprising that, after a couple of decades, the new places look very much like the old ones. However, those same voters would never even think they are the ones responsible for the destruction of both places.

Vladimir Dorta, 08/07/2018