Author Topic: The rise of post-truth liberalism  (Read 201 times)

Offline Solar

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The rise of post-truth liberalism
« on: September 10, 2018, 12:49:27 PM »
This is a must read on liberalism, of what it once was, to its failed move towards a fascist/communist state.
I've snipped out some great points, but you should read in in its entirety. The guy is a great writer.


The former lead book reviewer at the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani, devotes several pages to Hofsfadter’s work in her short polemic, The Death of Truth. Citing him approvingly, she notes that “the modern right wing” has “tended to be mobilised by a sense of grievance and dispossession”. As Hofstadter put it, they feel that “America has been largely taken away from them.” The charm of this citation is the lack of self-awareness it reveals. It would be difficult to find a better description of the anguish of liberals such as Kakutani, who feel they have been robbed of their historically appointed role as the moral and intellectual leaders of society.

For those who embrace it, a paranoid style of liberalism has some advantages. Relieved from any responsibility for the debacles they have presided over, the liberal elites that have been in power in many western countries for much of the past 30 years can enjoy the sensation of being victims of forces beyond their control. Conspiracy theory implies there is nothing fundamentally wrong with liberal societies, and places the causes of their disorder outside them. No one can reasonably doubt that the Russian state has been intervening in western politics. Yet only minds unhinged from reality can imagine that the decline of liberalism is being masterminded by Vladimir Putin. The principal causes of disorder in liberal societies are in those societies themselves.

Snipped~~~

The singularity of the present time lies in the fact that the geopolitical retreat of the West has coincided with the advance of a hyperbolic liberal ideology in western societies. The fall of communism was celebrated as the endpoint of political development. In future, the only legitimate mode of government would consist of replicas of liberal democracy. But rather than a victory for liberalism, the Soviet collapse was the defeat of an illiberal Enlightenment project originating with the Jacobins and implemented by Lenin. Far from embracing another western ideology – the cult of the free market – post-communist Russia has become a Eurasian power defining itself against the West as a separate civilisation founded in Eastern Orthodox religion. Similarly, when China rejected Maoism it was not in order to embrace a western-style market economy. Instead a neo-Confucian variant of state capitalism has been developed, on whose continuing success western economies now heavily depend.

At the same time the liberal endpoint on which all other societies were supposedly converging has been changing shape. A liberal way of life emerged as part of a search for toleration in the aftermath of early modern European wars of religion. Today, the predominant liberalism defines itself in opposition to that way of life. In an ironic reversal, post-Cold-War liberals who believed the West had finally triumphed have been supplanted by a new type for whom the West is the chief enemy. For these alt-liberals, toleration is the enemy of social justice.

A recent addition to the New York Times editorial board, the Harvard-educated Sarah Jeong, has a record of posting tweets about “dumbass fucking white people”, who – among many other sins and crimes – are “marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants”. What is notable about these comments is not their casual racism. It is that the sentiments they express are commonplace – the stock-in-trade of hundreds of thousands of graduates mass-produced in centres of higher learning every year.

There is a lesson here. The belief that liberal values are on “the right side of history” is a confession of faith, asserted against an accumulating body of evidence. Liberal societies are by-products of western monotheism, which underpinned the practice of toleration with the belief that it was mandated by God. Generations of secular thinkers have attempted to detach liberalism from its theistic base.
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Offline Solar

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