Thursday, February 05, 2009

A shaky foundation

Here's a comment left at this site a while ago by Apashiol, a supporter of liberal modernism:

I will try to be clear on what I actually think.

For me the proposition of a "highest good" has no meaning ... I see absolutely no evidence that we have been created with a purpose or goal ... Humans must create their own meaning.

I believe in the ideals of secular democracy. I believe in individual liberty and equality. Nobody has a god-given right to coerce or otherwise define what the meaning of life should be for anyone else.

Individual liberty and equality are not ends in themselves, but necessary preconditions from which people can endeavour to discover what is good in life and create their own meaning.

All people are entitled to the same basic rights. They are not entitled due to belonging to a privileged race, class, gender, sexuality or whatever kind of category can be created to contain them.

All human beings should be judged on their character. Not on any incidental attribute.

It's an argument which fails at the very beginning.

For Apashiol there is no natural created order through which human life gains meaning and status. Instead, individuals must each create their own meaning.

It's not a very solid basis for a new philosophy of life. Is meaning really something that we create for ourselves? If so, is meaning all that meaningful?

And what does it boil down to in practice? How do individuals set out to self-create meaning? What are they supposed to do? Pursue career success? Prove their reproductive fitness? Achieve social status?

It's all left vague and unspoken. All that we are really left with is the picture of millions of individuals striving through their life efforts to create their own unique life meaning.

Once you accept this background, then the rest follows on. In particular, you are likely to endorse the liberal understanding of freedom and equality.

Apashiol wrote that freedom isn't an end in itself, but is necessary for people to self-define and self-create their own lives. So freedom will be understood as a liberation from impediments to the self-defining, self-creating individual.

What are such impediments? Whatever is predetermined, which includes aspects of life which are given to us as part of our tradition or as part of our given nature. Logically, then, liberals will attempt, in the name of freedom, to make our sex not matter, to make our ethnicity not matter, to make conventional forms of family life not matter and so on.

It's much the same with equality. If an individual is held back or handicapped in any way in the pursuit of their unique, individual life meaning, then a major injustice will be thought to have occurred - perhaps the very meaning of their existence will have been compromised.

So equality will be linked to a concept of social justice. The rule will be that individuals must not be handicapped, in the sense of being limited in their possible life choices, by circumstances beyond their immediate control. Class barriers, cycles of poverty, discrimination on the grounds of gender or ethnicity - these will be thought to place limitations on some individuals, which might then destroy their chances to create life meaning.

You can understand why liberals would be so upset by the thought that some groups of people were better at some things than others. This would inject a kind of cruel hoax into the Apashiolian world view: it would mean that efforts to self-create our unique life meaning as individuals might be thwarted by some sort of "incidental attributes".

You can understand too why liberals think so poorly of those who resist modernity. In their eyes, life is about the pursuit of individual life meaning; therefore, it is a question of those who are privileged in this pursuit (by not being held back or handicapped by inherited social factors) and those who are not. Therefore, race, class, gender and sexuality will be thought of in terms of privilege, discrimination and inequality: those who defend the "privileged" categories will be thought to be denying the full humanity - the equal opportunity - of others: something which will be explained in terms of supremacy or hatred or bigotry or prejudice.

Of course, if we take away Apashiol's life philosophy, things change radically. The categories referred to above might then be seen positively as sources of self-identity and as aspects of a natural and meaningful order of existence.


  1. Excellent posts... all of them. Keep up the good work.

    BR McCain

  2. Thanks for your feedback - it's much appreciated.

  3. Mark, liberalism reduces all relationships to power. Human lust for power and dominance is perennial; Liberals are blind to their own limitations, weaknesses and the consequences of playing divide and concur within the context of modern society.

    They demand a transfer of power to themselves based on intellectual fraud, as they misrepresent their ideology to others as empowering society with a new modality of existence. Liberals have decided that the power to act is the sole currency of free will and self actualization.

    But consider this; where does power enter into framework of human identity? Action is not a precursor for self definition, often we define ourselves more significantly through abstinence. Our most revered historical figures are typically individuals who refrained from the use or abuse of power when provoked. What elevated them was remaining true to a inherent sense of identity that wasn't merely a byproduct stimulated by an "enabling" contemporary environment.

    Preying on the inequality that freedom has brought us, Liberalism is a craven effort to seduce society to re-enslave human life to a predictable and perennial aristocracy of our betters - who will always know what's fair for us commoners.

  4. Oh boy, where's spell check when I need it...

    conquer not concur

  5. Rigorous arguments....

    A liberal is an intellectual feather-weight that cannot fathom the transcendence of group over individual.

    He sticks to a dubious ideology that grants license to indulge in animalistic instincts. No wonder Sexual Revolution and Liberalism are so intertwined.

  6. So the meaning of life is to define your meaning of life? Says who? By what authority are we to accept this circular quest?

  7. ...So the meaning of life is to define your meaning of life? Says who? By what authority are we to accept this circular quest?...

    Why yes, that's it. I hate to tell you, but you have been born, with that you lost your options. You are in the fight.

    Liberalism is the denial of life. By what authority?; why that's Life itself, and Providence.

    Spell check, hey I can misspell in three languages equally well.