Sunday, August 28, 2011

A competing paradigm

Liberalism does generate a morality of sorts. If you have accepted the framework of liberalism then you'll think that you're a good person if you are non-discriminatory, non-judgemental, non-racist, non-sexist, tolerant and independent.

What I've attempted to do at this site is to criticise this moral framework by going back to first principles and showing where such ideas came from and what they must ultimately lead to.

But there are other ways we can take aim at liberalism. One option is to look at liberal moral claims (being non-discriminatory, non-judgemental etc.) and criticise them directly.

For instance, we could argue that although there are occasions in which it's correct not to discriminate or to judge, that at other times it's the right and proper thing to do. For instance, can we really not discriminate in favour of our own families? If I earn a weekly wage do I really have to share it randomly with anyone I meet, rather than using it to benefit my own children? Can I really not judge if my 16-year-old daughter were to start going out with a 45-year-old bikie?

We can also criticise liberal moral claims in a more general sense. What these claims are pressing us to be is an impartial, leave others alone, individual. But that's a deficient view - it leaves out the more active, positive, "upholding" qualities that are necessary to keep a civilisation healthy. It also leaves the "good" liberal citizen as a kind of cellophane man - the kind of person who is left with no positive qualities of his own to assert in the world - his "goodness" is merely one of not judging or discriminating in regards to the "other".

But there is a limitation to all of these criticisms: they don't go beyond liberalism to assert an alternative. The hope, perhaps, is that by criticising liberalism effectively, the natural inclination of people toward traditionalism will be allowed to be freely expressed once more.

The problem is that most people do need to have an immediate moral framework to live by - something that tells them that they are a good person living a meaningful life. And even if we criticise the liberal framework effectively, people are less likely to abandon it if there is no alternative for them to jump to.

So we need to be not only critics of liberalism but also promoters of an alternative traditionalist paradigm.

It's true that traditionalism is not an ideology which starts from a single principle from which other values then logically flow. So our paradigm won't be a simple, reductionist one.

But it's still possible to assert something of what a good traditionalist life would look like. For instance, whereas liberals might emphasise being non-discriminatory or non-judgemental, traditionalists would emphasise the value of connectedness to particular expressions of culture, nature, art and tradition.

So, whereas a liberal culture surrounds people with the message of "enjoying diversity," a traditionalist one might do likewise with the message of "feeling connected to my heritage".

The point is that we don't have to wait for liberalism to crash before asserting a competing paradigm in our own communities. We can begin the process of having parallel paradigms operating side by side.

23 comments:

  1. The whole non-judgementalism thing doesn't seem to me to be the moral core of liberalism. They judge people 24/7. I've watched acquaintances at backyard cookouts teaching their children that conservatives want to steal other people's things and own slaves (projection, anyone?). They may even believe it.

    "We're better than Them" is a critical element there. I see a lot more truth in the notion that it's all a status-signalling thing. The philosophical core of liberalism is the belief that they are better than other people. Selective non-judgementalism is just one way of signalling that.

    Affluent liberals would damn well be very upset if their daughter got involved with a biker. They work very hard to raise daughters who would never consider such a thing.

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  2. Anon, of course you're right that there are all sorts of contradictions in the liberal paradigm. If liberal claims about the world were true, then perhaps they could live consistently by their philosophy. But even liberal academics admit that arriving at consistent positions is an ongoing problem.

    There does exist a certain kind of non-judgementalism within liberalism. For instance, there was a story recently about a grandmother who wanted to be different and so got herself covered in tattoos. She looked repulsive. But in the comments section all the talk was about not judging her. A typical comment:

    "Life is about finding those things that make you happy. Why judge her on what she is doing with her money Marie USA? I find it hard to think she should be doing something different if what she is currently doing makes her feel positive and empowered..."

    That's liberal non-judgementalism. But it doesn't mean that human nature somehow stops and that liberals no longer judge. It's thought permissible in liberal culture to be judgemental toward those who are thought not to have gotten on board with the liberal programme or who are in the wrong (non)liberal category: whites, serious Christians, "rednecks" and so on.

    Anyway, we can (and should) scoff when liberals claim to be non-judgemental.

    But we shouldn't always be reactive. Sometimes we also have to just push the whole liberal paradigm aside and assert our own.

    For example, as well as criticising the liberal concept of non-judgementalism, we could also reassert the traditional virtue of prudence - and find ways to work it into our image or concept of what goes to make up an admirable man.

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  3. ...so the problem is this: How do you present non-liberalism as a way to gain status among affluent liberals?

    Poor liberals don't matter.

    The status thing is tough. The only avenue that occurs to me is game. With charm and the right SWPL props, you can sell your right-wing extremism as a vaj-tingling bad-boy schtick. Even the leftiest of left-wingers believe we're more manly than they are. We can use that.

    You can't reason people out of what they didn't reason themselves into in the first place, as the man said. But you can show people a right-winger being successful with women, and that is status on stilts.

    Aside from hardcore feminist bulldykes, women can rationalize absolutely anything when their vaj speaks. Your politics will never be an obstacle if your game is halfway tight. And remember, game isn't just for women you want to bed. It's for all of them.

    Just don't bear out the stereotype of right-wingers as belligerent, argumentative assholes. Yeah, they're more like that than we are, but don't waste your time reasoning with prejudice. Charm your way around it.

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  4. That's liberal non-judgementalism. But it doesn't mean that human nature somehow stops and that liberals no longer judge. It's thought permissible in liberal culture to be judgemental toward those who are thought not to have gotten on board with the liberal programme or who are in the wrong (non)liberal category: whites, serious Christians, "rednecks" and so on.


    Mark, I slightly disagree. I think the real core of Liberalism is a dogma that only values support for the cause. Nothing beyond loyality to the cause is important or relevant because Liberalism is essentially a giantic extortion racket based on numbers. If you are a loyal leftist, then anything else you do or don't do is fine, because your loyalty allows the gang to run its racket. If you are not a loyal supporter, nothing else about you is tolerable because you're not helping the cause.

    The lefty claims of non-judgementalism are essentially a fitness test for your adherence to this world view. If you judge someone on some other criteria, you obviously aren't one of the Faithful, because you've shown you value something besides party loyalty.

    Ultimately I think the demise of Liberalism has to be built on making people feel like rubes. "You've been duped" is a hard message to get across, but if you can get it across to the status-conscious liberals Anon at 11:00pm mentioned, it's Game Over, you win. Those folks buy into Liberalism because it gives them a cheap way to feel superior.

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  5. Jack,

    But what is the cause? It's not just making money or getting nice jobs. Liberals believe that they are upholding justice, freedom, human rights and human equality. They believe that those of us who disagree are ignorant, or seeking to uphold a selfish privilege, or uneducated, or bigoted.

    They are stuck within this paradigm and have the influence to take society along with them.

    Our job is to clearly explain what is wrong with the liberal paradigm and to promote an attractive and realistic alternative.

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  6. I'm going to write a book collection critical of liberalism and from a philosophical and theological viewpoint in the future (next 10 years). It will probably be in the fantasy realm
    (genre). I don't know how it will help but I will try. The philosophies will span from 2000 B.C. to 3000 A.D. with each book spanning about 500 years with 100 to 400 pages (from 2000 to 3000 A.D. it will be three different versions of what will happen in the future such as utopian, dystopian and return to goodness). There will also be the whole overarching idea of the trinity of society giving birth to civilization: body (biology, nature), soul/mind (culture) and spirit (religion). I will also concentrate on Western civilization but perhaps Eastern should be added? What do you think Mark Richardson? I'm trying to create something that defends orthodox religion (in particular Christianity) and traditional conservatism but in the culture realm I will add paganism and other things.

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  7. Elizabeth, it sounds like an ambitious project. I hope you can pull it off.

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  8. Mark,

    What is the cause? You ask a doozy of a question! It is a vitally important one, but it's tough to answer. I wish I was certain of the answer, but I'm not. Although maybe that's a good thing, since the best answer I can come up with isn't very hopeful.

    I think it's genetic. They're Hunter-Gatherers. They see the world as a great big range - the Universe provides whatever it provides, no more, no less. The idea that humans might actually produce more is not really a part of their world-view. It feels wrong to them - artificial or... impure?

    They understand consumption just fine, but their brains aren't wired to grok the production side of an economy. That's why they're such suckers for Keyensianism (improve the standard of living by consuming more? Insane, but they believe it with all their heart).

    It's also why they go in for so much groupism. In a world where you consume what you produced, individuals can survive by being productive. But in a world where you consume whatever is left from what the Universe provided, community regulation of the Commons is vital to prevent anyone from monopolizing scarce resources (though of course selfish individuals will still grab what the can, when they can...).

    And their leaders are just the fraction of the population that is flat our sociopathic.

    So... I don't really know. If I'm right, they're just never going to make better decisions, and the only hope is to disenfranchise the Hunter-Gatherers. It's a daunting proposition - goes against so much we want to believe about humanity. I'm not comfortable with it, but I don't have a more cheerful theory at the moment.

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  9. Liberals want to build Heaven on Earth, the same thing commies tried to do and failed in Soviet Union. It's a type of a secular religion, perverted Christianity really. Since they don't believe in God any more they believe in their shiny Utopia. That is one group of them, the useful idiots. The other group is into it for the power, that's what motivates them in my opinion.

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  10. Liberals want to build Heaven on Earth, the same thing commies tried to do and failed in Soviet Union. It's a type of a secular religion, perverted Christianity really. Since they don't believe in God any more they believe in their shiny Utopia.

    This is the "cause", quite correct.

    The "cause" is that history can be moved and molded in an increasingly perfect way by means of human manipulation -- manipulation of laws, culture, economics, ideology, family life and, eventually, biology as well. The "cause" is making the world better, perfecting it -- that is what motivates them.

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  11. "Can I really not judge if my 16-year-old daughter were to start going out with a 45-year-old bikie?"

    What about a 44 year old physicist? Who's never been married before and who is a Christian and a virgin? Like me.

    If your daughter wants to date me and is pretty enough I'll be more than happy to date her (but no sex before marriage of course).

    On what standard would you judge? Christian? Nope, legal there. Islam, Judaism? Still legal. The law of the land here in Aus. nope still legal.

    Fact is your just upset that while I can date beautiful young women (and will end up marrying one) such beauty is of limits to you if you want to be true to Chritian morality.

    PS: I don't ride a bike - too unsafe.

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  12. Liberals want to build Heaven on Earth, the same thing commies tried to do and failed in Soviet Union. It's a type of a secular religion, perverted Christianity really. Since they don't believe in God any more they believe in their shiny Utopia. That is one group of them, the useful idiots. The other group is into it for the power, that's what motivates them in my opinion.

    Interesting comment.

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  13. Jack Amok,

    The "hunter-gatherer" thing is on target, I believe. Yesterday, in the office, I overheard a very well-educated, mathematically literate liberal explaining to a colleague that if we capped the income of hotel owners at $1,000,000/year, then "some of the hotels would go to somebody else".

    Those were his exact words.

    He's 50 years old. His IQ is probably over 130. But he doesn't have the faintest idea where hotels come from.

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  14. Mark is exactly right. Jim Kalb has already written the definitive book on why liberalism is bad. We don't need any more books with titles like "Why liberalism is evil." We need to present the alternative. The next great conservative book should barely mention liberalism, except for instructional comparisons.

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  15. Bonald, thanks.

    A good example, I think, was a recent post by Laura Wood on the role of men as husbands within a marriage.

    As I read it, I got the feeling that the process of hollowing out the male role within the family was being reversed. That's just as important a task, if not more so, than explaining why liberals hollowed out the role in the first place.

    (Having said that, I do want to finish off my booklet on liberalism - but once that's done I do expect my focus to change.)

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  16. The next great conservative book should barely mention liberalism, except for instructional comparisons.

    Interesting.

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  17. Mark, what you are doing is calling for an establishment of a new social contract. All such establishments originate in the destruction of prior contracts, and usually involve large amounts of bloodshed - for example, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

    Until you indicate that you are willing to do what it takes to establish a new social contract I will just assume you are full of crap.

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  18. Asher, you misunderstand.

    I'm not calling for civil war - not anything like it.

    All that I'm suggesting is a change in focus in the arguments we make.

    For example, I can make an argument which explains why liberals want an androgynous style of parenthood. And it's useful for me to make such an argument.

    However, given that parental roles have already been hollowed out to a significant degree in liberal society, it's not enough for me to stop there. I should then be trying to explain or communicate what an ideal paternal or maternal role might be.

    Instead of always being reactive to liberalism and arguing from within the liberal paradigm, it's time I think for traditionalists to be proactive in asserting our own paradigm and the vision of man that is connected to it.

    I've already started doing this in a modest way in my own local community through a poster series. I'd like to gradually extend this.

    My criticism of liberalism will continue but I'd like to change the balance of what I do.

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  19. Mark, the problem is that you are ignoring the facts on the ground, which is that the West has dirempted into two distinct moral visions of the world. A Civil War happens between two groups sharing a moral vision of the world but with different ideas about the means to achieve that vision. The American "Civil War" was not a civil war at all, but a war of the north imposing its moral vision of the world on the south.

    Why is slavery immoral? Because Lincoln killed six hundred thousand to make it so. What if Lincoln had not initiated the war between the states? Then slavery would not be universally immoral. Yes, might makes right. Thus, it has always been, and, thus, it will always be. Why was Zeus the king of the gods? Because he could knock the snot out of the other gods.

    So, the future of the West has three, and only three, distinct futures:

    A) the left conquers the right
    B) the right conquers the left
    C) the west devolves into two distinct bodies-politic involving two distinct moral visions f the world, the right and left

    I am an example of how we are heading toward option A. As a 32 year old living in the heart of leftist Seattle, I vote and talk "left". Why? Because I have no interest in committing social suicide in support of what I perceive a lost cause. I have weighed you in the balance and have found you wanting. You lack the appetite for exercising power, therefore, you are politically useless for my needs.

    War is the extension of politics, by other means, per von Clauswitz, but politics is also the extension of war, by other means, something that great thinker missed. This is the reality you are unwilling to acknowledge. There's an old chess proverb stating that the threat is more influential than the execution, but there is no threat without the real possibility of an actual execution.

    "We're better than them..." has only one proof. Can you kill them, break their dominions and enslave their children. There is no other criteria. Do you know how many eligible, single women raised in Christian settings I've encountered who have fallen for leftism? No, you're not better than them, as they are forcing your children to function as leftists by tremendous economic and social pressures.

    You are weak and doomed for extinction, precisely because you have renounced your appetite to dominate others through the use of brute force.

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  20. To sum it up, if you're not calling for war, you're useless. The left is systematically making war on you and all you want to do is save their children.

    A long time ago I told my pastor that if today's christian right had invaded the land of Canaan, instead of cleansing the land of idolaters they would have rescued the Canaanite chldren from the fires of Moloch, trained those children in the arts of war and returned them to the Canaanites at the age of eighteen with the admonition "Jesus loves you"

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  21. Asher, by broadening your concept of war into conflict and into all of human life, you denature all possible analysis of society or ideas into the crude military metaphor. A hostile and bastardized version of Nietzsche or Foucault is not the answer.

    Of course there is a truth in what you say, but it is only the tautology "nothing succeeds like success." Your analysis offers no insight into what tactics or strategies may be useful in attaining particular ends, or what the larger course of history is likely to be. The progress of ideologies is more complex than you dream of, and it does not operate through force alone. A student of Nietzsche like you should know that - consider the example of the Jews and the effects of repression on an ideology, or for that matter consider the early Christians and the conversion of the Roman Empire. Consider the importance of the ability to believe you have a legitimacy beyond force, and the ability to convince others of the same.

    If we must use the military metaphor, your war is second generation warfare (think WW1, with static lines pushing forward) and this is fourth generation war. Even if you wish to analyze society in terms of competing wills to power, you need to realize that humans are not merely machines who respond to brute force, but have internal lives and are capable of believing in something enough not to follow what might seem to be in their best interest at any given moment. I am not opposed to ruthlessness, but ruthlessness wrongly applied guarantees defeat. The frontal assault is not the last word on the military art.

    Finally, I cannot agree with your definition of Civil war, and I challenge you to illustrate how in other "Civil Wars" both sides had identical moral visions. If you follow your ideology consistently you will discover that ALL civil wars are simply one side imposing its moral vision on the other, and you will have proved everything and nothing. In any event, the US Civil War was entered to not over slavery (though that was a deep underlying cause) but over Union. Moreover, in the counterfactual you suggest in which the Union had been dissolved, slavery would not have become moral. Rather, the question of slavery would have endured, and who can say how it would have played out. The moral questions would not have disappeared.

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  22. Asher,

    I don't claim to have special knowledge of what may or may not work.

    But I'm not going to hang about waiting for a civil war. The immediate challenge for me is this: can I persuade people that,

    a) liberalism has destructive outcomes

    and

    b) that it is worthwhile working to build up a traditionalist counterculture

    So far traditionalists have only had success in terms of building up an international, web based readership.

    For me a real sign of success would be building up enough traction to either:

    a) start making inroads into the political class (defined broadly as that segment of society with an enduring interest in politics) as the men's movement has been able to do

    and/or

    b) gain enough traction locally to be able to get some real world activities happening

    These are more modest aims than your civil war. But they require a very serious orientation to try to achieve. And they would take the traditionalist movement to the next level.

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  23. There is no other criteria. Do you know how many eligible, single women raised in Christian settings I've encountered who have fallen for leftism?

    You do understand how non-Christian and even anti-Christian most of Christianity today really is? There are a lot of heresies and blasphemies.

    You are weak and doomed for extinction, precisely because you have renounced your appetite to dominate others through the use of brute force.

    Spoken like a true psychotic, immoral leftist. Go back to Seattle fool. Nobody wants you here.

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