In Conclusion Part 1 I discussed how modern liberalism contributes little that can prevent totalitarianism from rising from within its own ranks, but, with the way history is unfolding, the real problem is its inability to offer something against rival systems, like Islamicism. This inability reduces to a fundamental detachment from reality. Each of the items I’ve discussed, which are still very much accepted within the Left (Atheism, Darwinism, Marxism, Utilitarianism, etc), are also, in the main, wrong.
When so much of the modern liberal program is based on things which are fantasy, one should not be surprised to see the trend accelerate into the absurdity. This has been manifesting in numerous ways ever since I started paying attention, but the detachment is now becoming so bizarre that even the ‘good liberal’ is wrestling with what to do. The example I gave was trans athletes, but there are many and have been many.
The irony, of course, is that the Left considers it the absolute custodians of Reality, casting it as SCIENCE! or ‘evidence-based’ policies, etc. The trans athlete issue is vividly challenging this conception for many ‘good liberals.’ But not, I’m afraid, enough of them.
For example, some time back I was discussing transgenders with someone I considered to be a ‘good liberal.’ He mocked my position, insisting that ‘we know that gender is determined solely by hormones. A person can simply change gender by changing their hormones.’ This is a man who was in the process of becoming a doctor, just then graduating from med school and on his way to whatever was the next step for him. (He has been practicing medicine for 5+ years now.) I was almost embarrassed to be the one to inform him that the differences go well beyond hormones which can be arbitrarily chosen per the whims of the individual. They go right down to the genetic code.
Now, could my ‘good liberal’ doctor friend not really have known this? It seems hard to believe.
My guess is that my doctor friend was just trying to be non-judgemental, even though he was jettisoning pure empirical science. Maybe everything would have been just fine until people with XY chromosomes began competing in events against people with XX chromosomes–the only people who didn’t see that coming were the ‘good’ liberals. I don’t know where he stands now, but my hope is that he would be one of those who is having second thoughts.
I have returned to the ‘trans’ issue to illustrate how the basic issue boils down to reality. I could provide dozens and dozens of examples, but I use this one because its one where even liberals themselves are being taken aback.
Indeed, I have in the past argued that in the end, there is no ‘left’ vs ‘right’ or liberals vs conservatives or Republicans vs Democrats. There are only two sets of people. In the first set are those who abide by reality and seek to align their understanding with reality and in the second set are those who do not know what is real (or, perhaps do not care) and are not interested in finding out if their viewpoints align with reality.
In the main, the people we describe as being on the ‘left’ are in the second category. Despite 150 years of utter devastation in the wake of various Marxist endeavors, they still think its worth another shot. The detachment to reality is not found in their attachment to Marxism, per se, but in their gross misunderstanding of what humans are. Despite the fact that the minimum wage was originally conceived as, and advocated as, a way of protecting the jobs of white men and was understood as targeting minorities–blacks in particular–they still think that the minimum is a great thing for black people. In more recent times, they believe that genitalia is irrelevant to gender, which in turn is completely fluid; that men and women have distinct DNA is ignored. And yes, of course, we witness their bleating about de-humanizing people, whilst arguing for unrestricted abortion up to the point of delivery, and even beyond. Because, magically, a person becomes a person only once it is wanted by some other person!
These are all examples of viewpoints completely out of sync with reality, and generally speaking, just the sorts of things liberals tend to believe. To the degree that a particular liberal differs with one or more of these examples, or many others I could also bring up, they are more likely to be a ‘good liberal.’ Or, to put it another way, a ‘good liberal’ cares about truth, cares about reality, attempts to find out what reality is, and is willing to align his viewpoint with what reality really is.
It is not a coincidence that in most of these examples (and more that can be named), it is asserted by the leftists that their view flows from solid science. One reason why leftists attempt to frame their views in this sense is because they really believe it… and their high self-regard for themselves as smarter than everyone else needs some redoubt they can retreat to when challenged.
However, having seen time and time again how little they care about actual facts and scientific realities when pushed to justify their beliefs, I believe that the larger reason is that they have found appeals to ‘science’ be a useful tactic.
In a battle between liberal ideology and verifiable empirical science, the modern liberal chooses his ideology almost every time. He appeals to science, not because he cares about it, but because he knows that conservatives care about science. When ideology conflicts with reality, the liberal uses science as a weapon and a tactic designed to cow the other person into submission.
We know this, because when you start talking about the science, they won’t have the conversation. Typically, they’ll just appeal to ‘experts’ and ‘consensus.’ And by ‘appeal’ I mean you’re just supposed to submit to what the experts say. And the experts that disagree with their experts? YOU SELFISH BIGOT! SHUT UP, you ANTI-SCIENCE PARTISAN. And you thought you were going to debate and discuss the underlying data. Ha! Who do you think you are? An expert?!?!?!? No? Then SHUT UP. Oh, and support everything we propose. Why? Because of the science! Er, I mean, because of the experts!
It was all well and good when the tactic was only used on their political opponents and the subject matter was sufficiently obscure as to require RESEARCH, so that some level of invoking ‘experts’ was reasonable. But now the tactic is being used on them, and the obscurity is being peeled away on a number of issues. As they are increasingly on the receiving end of their own tactic, in areas where increasingly it is clear that reality is not at all what they themselves believed a short few years ago (whether it be science, economics, politics–Russia collusion, anyone?– etc), they are beginning to understand how dirty and underhanded the approach of the left has been and continues to be.
Now, such people exist. However, as far as whether or not they will substantially alter the direction things are going… no, not really. For four main reasons:
1. What is needed is for the left to ground itself on reality as it really is. This is only likely to happen by the efforts of fellow leftists. But, the actual progression for those who choose to abide by reality is for them to cease being ‘leftists’ at all. Given enough time, most of these folks will end up on the ‘right.’
2. They just don’t exist in large enough numbers to counteract the damage the irrealists are doing and are primed to do. As a worldview, it just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It is too relativistic, driven by emotions and sentiment rather than the intellect. It falls apart as a cogent system with the slightest nudge. It is spiritually unfulfilling, which is no surprise, since it rejects the spiritual.
3. Most of the ‘good liberals’ are too busy doing good things to get engrossed in the work required to ‘fix’ the left. That was, if you remember, one of the defining features of a good person (of any political stripe), per this post on the subject, here.
4. But, most concerning and relevant to all of it, to put it bluntly, most liberals, including the ‘good’ ones, do not love Truth. If they did, they wouldn’t be satisfied with appealing to experts to further their political agenda. They wouldn’t resort to tactics or conditioning. They would appeal to facts accessible to everyone and love using argument to persuade people, rather than as a method for cowing people into compliance.
This is the ultimate problem and brings me to the crux of the matter.
There was a time, about fifteen years ago, or so, where I worried that the left could erect a totalitarian regime on the level of Stalin or Pol Pot. Certainly, this is still a possibility. Yet, at the same time, I couldn’t help but notice that in the mighty bastions of liberalism, liberals were having trouble holding their own.
I am speaking primarily of Europe, which I consider a ‘canary in the coal mine’ of sorts for the rest of Western Civilization. For the last thirty or forty years, Europe has allowed countless Muslims into their midst. Unlike the liberals, the Muslims do care about Truth. They are squarely in the category of the first set of people (the realists), just completely wrong about their conception of reality.
This has been interesting to watch. You have a bunch of people, we’ll call them Group A, who cannot say that anything is wrong mingling with a bunch of other people (Group B) who think the people in Group A are very much wrong. So wrong, in fact, that as kafir, it is entirely within their rights as Muslims to view the kafir as nothing more than potential servants and sex slaves; those who stand in their way can justifiably be shot, stabbed to death in the street, beheaded, blown up, etc, etc, etc.
Against this extremely robust worldview the secular humanists offer a simpering worldview that has less resistance to force than a wet paper bag.
The problem with modern liberalism is that it cannot compete against worldviews which take truth and reality very seriously. Modern liberals put their faith in the ability of the schools, etc, to ‘condition’ people to be good little secularists. They think that if there are bad apples, tweaking the system will fix it. But people are not merely animals and people cannot be conditioned like animals. There are always going to be people who take the liberal’s own premises to a more rational conclusion (or at least one that is at least as rational as the liberals’ own conclusions), which, unfortunately, are vile and bloody. Liberals think these people are just ‘misunderstood.’ I think they are evil.
Against actual evil, liberalism stands no chance. Indeed, liberalism allows evil to flourish within its very own wings, because liberals are loathe to condemn anyone. (Except Christians and conservatives, of course. Because, regardless of what they say, they know that Christians and conservatives won’t be stabbing you in the street or running you down with a truck.)
Almost a perfect example of this would be the recent struggled of American congressional Democrats to rebuke an avowed anti-semite in their number. Meanwhile, Steve King, was instantly removed from all of his committees and earned a quick rebuke by his fellows–including Ted Cruz. (Note to Republicans: no liberal gives a crap. They still think you are racists. They will always think you are racists. There is literally nothing you can do to insulate yourselves from their own brand of racism.)
So, if ten years from now, a more rabid anti-semite rises through the ranks of the Democrat party and stands ready to act on his/her prejudice, don’t be surprised.
But this is a small example (at present). The more pressing examples concern the rise of Antifa and the militant left, and militant Islam.
Personally, I believe the ‘good liberal’ will wake up long before these things come to a head, but as I have said, I don’t think it will help. There just aren’t enough of them who have come to grips with the REAL WORLD to help when we’re finally in a pinch.
But, why is this the case? Where did they all go?
My take on the history since the Progressive movement is that there has always been an equilibrium in America between militant leftism, decent liberalism, the indifferent, and ‘conservatives.’ I believe this was due to the old adage, “If you aren’t a liberal when you are 20, you have no heart. If you aren’t a conservative when you are 40, you have no brain.” Or, “A conservative is just a liberal who has been mugged.” So, while there certainly were unrepentant liberals aged 40 and above, the general trend was that liberalism was a creature of idealistic young people who wanted to help people… and conservatism was the result of experience, which threw cold water on that idealism.
This pattern has been disrupted. In my next post, Conclusion Part 3, I will explain why that has happened and is happening.