Monday, December 26, 2011

Liberal supremacism

Kok-Chor Tan teaches political philosophy at the University of Toronto. He has written a book titled Toleration, Diversity and Global Justice. I'm most of the way through it and will write a full review shortly. However, I can't resist giving a brief preview.

What Kok-Chor Tan wants to show in his book is that liberalism doesn't have to be set against the existence of particular human cultures. But the arguments he uses are not exactly reassuring. In the part of the book I've just read, his argument is that:

a) Most human cultures can be redefined along liberal lines. The non-liberal elements are merely extraneous, or are oppressive impositions from above.

and

b) If there really do exist genuinely non-liberal cultures, then those cultures will have to be "let go".

He is giving cultures a choice: either you redefine yourself to be the same thing as liberalism or there is no place for you in our future global order. You could call this liberal imperialism or liberal supremacism.

In the following brief quote from Kok-Chor Tan's book, take note of his presumption that liberals rule the world and get to decide which cultures get the thumbs up and which the thumbs down. Note too that he treats individual autonomy as the decisive factor in deciding the worth of a human culture:

I do not deny that there could be, in principle at the very least, genuinely nonliberal cultures. When such hard cases do arise, we may be forced to make the difficult choice of letting a culture pass on and to try to accommodate its adherents in other ways. Remember, again, that our concern for culture stems ultimately from what it means for individual autonomy; so long as restrictions against individuals are a permanent feature (if this is indeed so) of a cultural way of life, we will have to concede that this culture will be one of those unavoidable losses of our social world.

11 comments:

  1. The thing with Liberals is they don't breed enough citizens. That's why they had to infiltrate the education system. As well use mass cognitive immigration of many different cultures as a bulwark.

    Any way the future will belong to those who breed more children and insulate them from the false promise of Liberalism.

    The rest will go extinct.

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  2. He is right though liberals do rule over the world. However they lord over a majority of people who are not liberal. . A lot of people are just pretending to be liberal because liberals have made it impossible in nations where their elite have a strangehold to be anything else openly.
    Its a mystery how such a people rose to power over so many. Liberals though having some ruthless amorale tactics seem largely stupid boarding on insane. I think its because non-liberals have let them. Why did we let the lunatics run the asylum.

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  3. If there really do exist genuinely non-liberal cultures, then those cultures will have to be "let go".

    That's one of the contradictions that leftists are going to have an increasingly hard time with, since logically it means that cultures such as Islam and traditional aboriginal culture will have to be "let go" - which of course entails the crime of cultural insensitivity. Luckily leftists are extremely adept at doublethink.

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  4. Anonymous wrote...

    I think its because non-liberals have let them.

    That's the key. The situation we have today has come about not through the strength of the Left but through the weakness of the Right. Conservative political leaders (or political leaders posing as conservatives) have made compromise after compromise, failing to realise that leftists see compromise as weakness.

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  5. What amazes me is how most average people quite easily hold contradictory liberal and non-liberal political beliefs.

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  6. What amazes me is how most average people quite easily hold contradictory liberal and non-liberal political beliefs.

    They've been trained in doublethink by the media. They've been trained not to think about issues but simply to accept whatever the media tells them to believe. The media have done that by subjecting people to an absolutely relentless barrage of political indoctrination.

    And I'm not just talking about "news" programs here. Just about every movie and every TV series produced today pushes some aspect of the leftist political agenda. That's probably had more effect than news programs.

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  7. Liberal supremacism rules media, academia, government and other sectors. There's a big price that each and everyone one of us (HBD, orthodox religious people and others) have to pay by going against modernity and by seeking the truth. We have to adjust to being a little lonely and endure being outcasts in a certain way, because while the world is not out there to get you, the world does seem to be upside down. Which is why I think most average people have contradictory liberal and non-liberal beliefs. Perhaps it's fear or apprehension of opposing the zeitgeist.

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  8. As I'm fond of telling liberals,

    In the US, you are free to be anything you want, so long as it's liberal.

    But in Saudi Arabia, you are free to be anything you want too, so long as it's Wahabbi Islamic.

    And in Cuba, you are free to be anything you want, as long as it's Castran Communist.

    In Soviet Russia, you were free to be anything you wanted, so long as it was Leninist, later Stalinist, later whoever else was in charge, Communist.

    And in Nazi Germany, you were free to be anything you wanted, so long as it was Nazi.

    So, don't you see? There's no need to spread "freedom" to all the peoples of the world; men are already free to be whatever they're allowed to be. Let freedom reign!

    Few Republicans (right-liberals) have seen the humor.

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  9. James wrote,

    "What amazes me is how most average people quite easily hold contradictory liberal and non-liberal political beliefs."

    I think I see what you're getting at (Orwell was right, etc.), and I agree. I just have to be careful myself with how far I take that line of thought. Only God sees everything for what it really is and can therefore think and act in complete consistency with what is. The rest of us must, by reason of our non-omniscience/omnipresence, fail to see everything and thus fail to live completely in harmony with everything. I'm sure I've got some blind spots that makes God chuckle.

    That said, I think the trust of your argument is that some people decide to hold multiple, contradictory ideas simultaneously even though they damned well know better, and they do this because they take moral ambiguity to mean moral license to do whatever they please. And we should call them on it whenever and wherever God gives us the presence of mind and insight to be able to do so.

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  10. Bartholomew wrote...

    I think the trust of your argument is that some people decide to hold multiple, contradictory ideas simultaneously even though they damned well know better,

    I don't think they do it intentionally. They're simply put under so much pressure by the schools and by the media to conform to the current liberal orthodoxies that they're no longer capable of thinking for themselves. Orwell really was right - you can control not just what people say but what they think.

    I've tried to point out to leftists that opposing "homophobia" and opposing "Islamophobia" or opposing "patriarchy" and opposing "Islamophobia" puts them in a logically absurd position, but they just get angry and upset.

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  11. It's also worth pointing out that most people throughout history have had no desire whatever to think for themselves. The urge to conform is much stronger than the urge to think.

    The dangerous difference today is that we have schools trying to ensure that people can't think for themselves even if they decide they want to.

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