Friday 29 June 2018

Liberalism is a Progressive Philosophy

When interacting with people over the years I have found that they often hold two opposing ideas about Liberalism at the same time. First of all they believe that Liberalism is unchanging and that it is no different or harmful then it was 50 or 100 years ago. However they also hold that Liberalism changes things and that it is always progressing. How exactly does something change while remaining unchanged?

I would of course like to point out that Liberalism is always harmful and while it may appear benign, appearances are deceptive. Liberalism believes in freedom, absolute freedom, it believes that if human nature exists then it is changeable. That people, their society, their humanity is perfectible. And that within that perfectibility people will be absolutely free to design or redesign themselves into autonomous individuals, free to choose every aspect of their life.

Exactly when Liberalism came to believe all of these things is hard to pinpoint. One reason for this is that Liberalism does not stay static, it is in constant motion. It has no "holy" book as such, instead it uses slogans to advance it's cause, freedom, equality, things that are easy to understand, sweet to the ear and most importantly vague.

That way the elite can control how far things advance, sometimes they lose control and things go too far. In the long run that has always proved good for Liberalism as it can then consolidate what it has achieved. It can also pretend that it has achieved most of what it wants so any further changes are simply smoothing out the rough edges. It's important that people not get too spooked.

But of course it doesn't stop, it is relentless in pushing itself forward, what it calls progress. Progress has two meanings, 1. something new 2. making thingthing better. As anyone who has ever thought about progress can attest, it is easy to confuse something new for something better, and vice versa. This confusion is never discouraged, in fact it is encouraged. Progress is good without any qualification. 

What Liberals do not understand is that as Liberalism changes the world around them, that changing world also changes Liberalism. Two centuries ago Liberalism didn't have anything to say about women and their role in society, but as Liberals and Liberalism changed society so did their ideas about women. Now take that basic idea and apply it to each and every subject that Liberalism has ever touched. Liberalism has not and does not remain static, it changes as the world changes, it changes as the generations change. It takes ideas from strange places, such as Communism for example, and applies them in new and confusing ways.

That means that when people talk about the good that Liberalism has brought, or is supposed to have brought, they may not be talking about modern Liberalism. Just to give one example, it is not unusual for civil rights in the United States to be presented as a Liberal victory. Even though the prevailing political philosophy in the United States in the bad evil 1950's was Liberalism. But more importantly the civil rights era is 50 years in the past. Liberalism has moved on, just as it moved on from the 1950's, it moved on from the civil rights era.

In the case of the civil rights era, the Liberal political system was challenged by other Liberals who won. Liberalism fought Liberalism, it claimed complete victory by discrediting the older version of Liberalism and supporting the newer version 100%.

Today Liberalism has moved on and it will continue to move, it cannot stop, it will still keep it's core ideas, but to achieve those things it needs to change. For Liberalism change is it's constant.

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  1. I'm growing more convinced that using Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, this-ism/that-ism are counter-productive to social change, especially for the so-called Right. These labels serve the Establishment that wants to constrain debate within a safe window, maintain the status quo and vested interests.

    What if we 'Rightists' focused on a few core issues (e.g. community cohesion, free speech, immigration, etc.) rather than spend time on broader abstractions, which might help some people understand, but become a distraction in themselves. The more we focus on the abstractions, the easier we lose focus on concrete issues that we actually care out. The more we are seen as purveyors of this or that ism, the less credibility we are viewed with, and the less able we are to bring others from the 'other abstract ideological side' onboard to our side on a particular concrete issue, because we fail to tailor our arguments to them.

    What I mean by 'tailoring' is not 'appeal to the Left', but a focus on basic facts, logic and arguments even an ideological Leftist can agree to. Rhetoric should be plain and simple, not abstract, pretentiously intellectual or ideological.

    That said, Leftist bashing is fun! Stereotyping and memeing them is hilarious. There is a time and place for that, but we have to consider the stakes and whether we really have time for it, and the best forum.

    1. ImmigrationFacts

      There are many different names for drinks maybe we should simply call them all drinks. Although that might actually make things more complicated instead of less complicated!

      I write about Liberalism so that people can understand why we are in the mess that we are in. You cannot defeat an enemy when you do not understand them. It is quite frustrating to find people attacking Communists or Jews or SJW's, because they are not the real enemy.

      Sure ally with anyone who helps the cause and yes many can become too fixated on names and titles instead of results. But make sure your allies are really on your side.

      As for concentrating on getting things done, what are you doing?

      Here are some articles I prepared earlier:

      Mark Moncrieff