This one, I'll warn you right off, is boring. There's no way to make it crackle. It's *intensely* political. These are the blogs my wife doesn't bother to read and I don't blame her. You're excused too. If you want to read a defence of my political beliefs, read on: if you don't, I won't hold it against you!
I am a staunch liberal at this point. Which is not to say I don't have some beliefs that I share with conservatives, and it certainly doesn't mean I believe that people who see the world differently are evil. Misguided--perhaps. Sometimes I might elevate that to "willfully blind", in those who refuse to consider other points of view. But I freely accept that conservatives will say the same thing about me: misguided, willfully blind. Hell, just this morning I was called an idiot.
I draw the line at EVIL, though. When people get to calling me, or something I believe, EVIL--well, I have to stand up and protest.
This came yesterday in the context of a Facebook debate on what exactly Islam is: is it a religion, a race, an ideology? I was trying to say that Islam is a religion, a political system, and a legal system all wrapped up in one monolithic thing that tends not to allow room for any other descriptor. That makes Muslims dangerously susceptible to radicalization; although the vast majority of Muslims are not radicalized, enough are to pose a serious problem that needs (link to previous post here) careful deliberation and not knee-jerk bomb-bay "solutions".) In the meantime, we were having a mostly friendly, mostly civil exchange of ideas, although one person was insisting that any criticism of Islam made you a bigot. Which is just silly: if I'm a bigot for criticizing Islam's treatment of women, well, I'm a proud bigot, then.
Apropos of nothing at all, someone appeared in the conversation and said this:
I'm just curious if anyone in this conversation is aware that the verbal sniping,finger wagging and shaming language/tactics at play here are all a direct result of unfettered Cultural Marxism. Congratulations. You have all successfully been indoctrinated into the Communist fairytale.Keep drinking the poisoned kool-aid and pass the borscht please...
I had never run across the term "Cultural Marxism" before. He supplied this definition, which I gotta warn you gets right out there into tin-foil-hat land:
Cultural Marxism: An offshoot of Marxism that gave birth to political correctness, multiculturalism and "anti-racism." Unlike traditional Marxism that focuses on economics, Cultural Marxism focuses on culture and maintains that all human behavior is a result of culture (not heredity / race) and thus malleable. Cultural Marxists absurdly deny the biological reality of gender and race and argue that gender and race are “social constructs”. Nonetheless, Cultural Marxists support the race-based identity politics of non-whites. Cultural Marxists typically support race-based affirmative action, the proposition state (as opposed to a nation rooted in common ancestry), elevating non-Western religions above Western religions, speech codes and censorship, multiculturalism, diversity training, anti-Western education curricula, maladaptive sexual norms and anti-male feminism, the dispossession of white people, and mass Third World immigration into Western countries.
Ain't that a mouthful. I'm basically being accused of undermining Western society. And somehow being a communist to boot.
After a little back and forth, this person sent me, in good faith, an article called Liberalism And Its Origins and asked me to read it. Perhaps he felt that doing so would make me see the light, as it were. Instead, it reinforced many of my reasons for being a liberal.
I was put on edge immediately with the realization this had a Christian source. I'll admit that out front: it's a bias of mine. Most Christians, in my experience, can tell you the most insanely self-contradictory things without blinking. Like that God loves you unconditionally, but he's going to judge you and send you to hell for all eternity if you don't love him back in the right way. Like that we're created in the image and likeness of God but our bodies are shameful and must be kept hidden. Like that praying to God works (what, was one of the football teams praying to lose?)
Sure enough, Liberalism is right away established as anti-Christian and therefore evil.
Sigh. It is endlessly amusing to me that the Christian Right, most specifically that loud and prevalent strain of it which holds Ayn Rand as a hero, remains blissfully unaware that her philosophy inspired modern Satanism. SOMEBODY's views are evil here.
We are told that the original strain of liberalism ("Classical Liberalism") "was not entirely evil", and correctly informed that it was originally concerned with individual right that predated the State; said State had a moral obligation to protect those rights. The article then lays out, in Stately Progression, as it were, how this morally acceptable belief came to be distorted into something evil.
And what makes modern liberalism evil, according to this article?
Freud's avowedly anti-religious analytical theory of the mind and his view of sexual freedom, Nietzsche's atheism and concern for individual freedom (including, paradoxically, the 'freedom' to choose to enslave weaker people and nations), and Marx's social and economic theory have made very major contributions to modern Liberalism. Indeed, liberals have been at the forefront of the movement which has sought to reclaim Marxist social theory from the hideous stain of the track record of world-wide communism.
Freud has largely been discredited for decades. Nietzsche's influence on liberalism is highly debatable; the man had an aristocrat's hatred of populism and egalitarianism, both of which are core tenets of liberalism (classical and modern both). As for Marx, let me just say this: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" is a truly remarkable leap in spiritual insight that, very unfortunately, tends to be corrupted by power. A truly Marxist society, distinct from communism, has never been attempted and is probably impossible absent several MAJOR paradigm shifts that I don't believe humanity is capable of at present.
"Liberalism cuts bad human contact loose from any sense of Christian responsibility or morality".
Well, this is preaching to a Christian audience, so it's assumed everyone knows what Christian responsibility and morality is, for one thing. Strangely enough, though, Christianity has splintered into dozens and dozens of competing sects, many of which have differing views on morality and all of which assert themselves to be "true Christianity". So there's that.
Maybe it's that evil liberalism lurking in me, but I have always said that each individual charts his or her own moral course. Anyone whose course is judged deviant by the vast majority of society--the child molesters, the rapists, the murderers--is certainly held to account. The argument put forth by the Right--that these animals should be locked up indefinitely in criminal warehouses and factories called "prisons" has been shown over and over again not to work. Even the death sentence does not decrease the commission of crimes for which it is meted out. For all but the most mentally damaged, treating criminals like human beings seems to work. It;s really little different from what I espoused in my last post: hurt people and they tend to want to hurt you back; heal people and they don't.
Just before launching into its inevitable religious pitch, "Liberalism And Its Origins" quotes Nicholas Capaldi's "Faking It: The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society", thus:
"The liberal paradigm makes the following assumptions: first, human beings are born with impulses that are basically good (the denial of the traditional Christian doctrine of Original Sin); secondly, all anti-social behaviour is the result of external environmental influence (eg, lack of information or resources, presence of hostile attitudes and the absence of approving attitudes); and thirdly, in order to make people whole again, it is necessary to engage in social engineering or the reconstruction of institutions so as to provide information and resources, eliminate hostile attitudes, and promote approving attitudes."
Oh, the horror.
Let's start with original sin. It was one of several things that drove me away from the church when I was young and it should be ignored the way everything everything else in the OT that doesn't involve evil evil butt-sex is ignored.
There are so many things wrong with this doctrine that it's hard to know how any self-respecting human being can claim belief in it. You have an omniscient and omnipotent God who, knowing full well his creatures are going to eat the fruit of a certain tree, forbids them to do so...and then punishes them for doing it. Very harshly punishes them, in fact, far, far out of proportion to what they did. And not just them. EVERYBODY ELSE, too. Especially the women, because Eve did it first. Hey, now. Mama said life ain't fair, but that's ridiculous.
And what's that tree called? Well, it's CALLED "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil", but it properly translates as the "tree of the knowledge of everything". I would suggest that this very ancient prohibition has echoed down the centuries, manifesting today in a willful ignorance of knowledge in the name of religious purity. This has disastrous effects both personally and on a societal level.
Is that the action of a loving God? Never mind that he supposedly eventually got around to providing a means for his creations to escape part of his punishment (even the most devout Christian woman experiences pain in childbirth, after all)...what about all the people who came between the exile from Eden and Jesus? What about the literally billions of people who have never been exposed to Jesus since? I submit to you that this is the work of a devil, not a god.
"Secondly, all anti-social behaviour is the result of external environmental influence (e.g. lack of information or resources, presence of hostile attitudes and the absence of approving atti--"
--stop right there. Just stop.
First off, if "antisocial" behaviour isn't external in origin, it must be internal. Well, in some cases, the mental illness that spawns criminal activity is hereditary. But somehow I don't think that's how they mean it here. It seems to me like this is, if not outright racism, very easily adapted to a racist mindset. It isn't that long ago, after all, that good Christians believed black people were savages. Many people who consider themselves to be good Christians still do believe that, in fact.
Of course anti-social behaviour is the result of maladaptive socialization, where it doesn't stem from preexisting mental illness. That's actually the definition of anti-social.
And second, "the absence of approving attitudes"? Really?
Is whoever wrote this trying to suggest we liberals believe that anything goes? That no behaviour should be met with anything but approval? Even the most lenient of parents paints a line somewhere. Strangely enough, I'll draw on my own Christian days and invoke "love the sinner, hate the sin" here. Bearing in mind of course that a "sin" is in fact an error and errors are corrected, not punished...
"Thirdly, in order to make people whole again, it is necessary to engage in social engineering..."
Isn't it funny how if you agree with something, it's good parenting or good values...and if you don't, it's social engineering? It's kind of like judicial activism. When a court renders a conservative judgment, it's solid jurisprudence and to be congratulated. When it comes out with a liberal judgment, well, that's judicial activism and a sign of the impending apocalypse.
I'm guilty of this myself from my side of the aisle. I maintain that we have been socially engineered not just by governments, but also -- and more pervasively -- by amoral corporations. You are not a human being any more: you are a consumer. Is there any better proof of that than the widespread inclination to line up for an electronic bauble to replace the works-perfectly electronic bauble you already have? Both baubles have been specifically designed to remove you from human society: hell, we've socially engineered the telephone to the brink of extinction in a matter of, what? ten years? fifteen at most? How's that for anti-social behaviour?
But at any rate, yes, we liberals do believe in giving civilization a little nudge here and there towards, you know, being civil. That's called "progress', hence "progressive". Conservatives, by and large, resist change, preferring to preserve the status quo at worst and recreate some mythical romanticized version of a past that never existed, at best.
Liberal extremists -- I've yet to meet one, but they do exist -- yearn for a totalitarian state based on liberal principles. That's not liberalism: that's authoritarianism, a completely different beast. There are at least as many conservative authoritarians, probably more, and there are liberal and conservative libertarians, too. Where do you fit?
Regardless. do we really judge philosophies by their most extremist adherents? Fine, then Christians are all evil because Westboro Baptist Church. Wow, I can do it too.
One last thing. Towards the end of this article we are treated to a hodgepodge of evils that liberal society has supposedly loosed upon the world.
- "unparalleled abortions"
- "skyrocketing divorce rates"
- "numerous teenage pregnancies"
- "frightening rates of drug abuse"
- "and a suicide rate which stuns those who come from the very poorest countries"
A quick look at this chart should show you that the links between suicide rate, prosperity, and "liberal-ness" of country are very, very flimsy. Moreover, the suicide rate among homosexual youth -- a group widely shunned by conservatives -- is comparatively higher than the national average*; and those rates are highest in the conservative South*
*U.S. statistics used throughout for the sake of ease and continuity
I don't believe that conservatives are fully (or at all) aware of these fact-and-figure rebuttals of their claims. Certainly I don't believe they intentionally enact policies that create more teen pregnancies, for example. I have found that conservatives, by and large, know what they believe and won't let facts get in their way. Whether that anti-intellectualism is a revenant of pioneer individualism, a willful religion-based disavowal of the "knowledge of everything", or something else altogether, is well beyond my pay grade. I will say this, though. It is not for something that is the source, even the unwitting source, of so much that is evil in this world to criticize those of us trying to make the planet a better place.