This is what he said about the left:
Broadly speaking they are so focused on what makes everybody different. But at the shallowest level. Skin colour. What should not matter. The way that I was brought up was that that is one of the fundamental things that doesn't matter about people. The way they look. Where they come from. Their sexuality. These are the things they are obsessed with. And they're the things that shouldn't matter. It's beside the point. We're all people. I feel like they exist in a bubble they have to keep puffing up, while the rest of us are all getting on with it.
Regular readers will know that this is very close to how I describe the logic of liberalism. Liberals believe that we should be autonomous, self-determining individuals. This means that predetermined qualities, like our race, must be made not to matter.
So Johannes Leak is being orthodox in his liberalism in insisting that a predetermined quality like race should not matter. He therefore follows the traditional right-liberal view that we should be colour blind and not discriminate in any way when it comes to race or where people are from.
The fact that Leak's view is an ideological one doesn't necessarily make it wrong. So I'll briefly point out why we should reject it.
First, a person's race does naturally have some place in their identity. Race is a marker of a people who have a long shared history through time, who recognise something of themselves in each other, and who have developed over time a distinct culture, language and way of life. In other words, it marks the shared ancestry of those who belong to a distinct "ethny". In this sense, it is constitutive of a person rather than merely accidental to who they are.
To say that race shouldn't matter therefore undermines one of the larger identities that "moralises" people - that locates them within a tradition they can be proud of and act positively to uphold. It helps to ground the social commitments of individuals. That is one reason why there is such an effort in Australia to build up a positive sense of race for Aborigines - there is an understanding that young Aborigines are bolstered ("remoralised") in this way.
Think too of the ultimate logic of the liberal position on identity. If where people come from is accidental to who they are, then being a part of a nation, even a civic nation, is not significant to our identity. That's why another right-liberal, Andrew Bolt, rejected his family's Dutch identity in favour of,
asserting my own. Andrew Bolt's.
So I chose to refer to myself as Australian again, as one of the many who join in making this shared land our common home.
Yet even now I fret about how even nationality can divide us.
To be frank, I consider myself first of all an individual, and wish we could all deal with each other like that. No ethnicity. No nationality. No race. Certainly no divide that's a mere accident of birth.
So what we are left with is identifying with ourselves. A kind of hyper-individualism. No ethnicity, no race and not even a civic nation - as even this is thought to be a merely "accidental" way of dividing people.
Which leads to the next problem with the right-liberal option. A group of people who are hyper-individualists will find it very difficult to defend themselves against those who act in solidarity with each other. This is one reason why the left has been more successful than the right in seizing control of the institutions and in forming their own communities. Hyper-individualism also leaves the right blind to the realities of demographic change. In the mind of a right-liberal, open borders should pose no problem, as it is assumed that those entering the nation will act only as individuals, rather than identifying with a group interest. They assume that others will assimilate, even as the former majority population becomes a minority. It's a dangerous assumption. If you want to live in a safe, secure, high trust society with a limited government and secure property rights, then you are better off maintaining a degree of homogeneity that the right-liberal position undermines.
Nor do right-liberals understand that the very principles they uphold help to create the left-liberalism they so dislike. It goes like this. Right-liberals assert that race, as a predetermined quality that is merely accidental to the individual, should be made not to matter. The solution, they believe, is for individuals to be colour-blind.
Left-liberals agree that race shouldn't matter. But they notice that it still does: in educational outcomes, in employment, in income, and in levels of representation within the culture and the government. And so they see racism as being systemic within society and believe that as a matter of "social justice" that "white privilege" must be dismantled, with people of colour leading the way. And so categories of race do still matter on the left - even though they share the same starting point as right liberals.
The point being that the left-liberal position is just as logical a response to the liberal starting point.as the right-liberal one. If you push the idea that race shouldn't matter, as Johannes Leak does, then it is likely that people won't rest content with a colour-blind society in which there are still racial discrepancies.
Another problem with the right-liberal position is that, as a matter of logic, it won't just be applied to race. If things that are predetermined "accidents of birth" shouldn't matter, then that means that our sex shouldn't matter either. Logically, Johannes Leak should insist that we not identify as men or as women, that these categories are divisive and that we should just see ourselves as individuals. Yet, the truth, again, is that sex is constitutive of who we are rather than being merely accidental to our identity, and that it helps ground our social commitments, such as our commitment to family.
If we shuttle back and forth between left and right liberalism, we'll continue to repeat the mistakes of the past decades. We'll either have the hyper-individualism of the right liberals, or the anti-white identity politics of the left liberals. Both are dissolving of the West. Better to assert that our communal identity does matter and should matter, so that we seek to carry it into the future.
A note to Melbourne readers. If you are sympathetic to the ideas of this website, please visit the site of the Melbourne Traditionalists. It's important that traditionalists don't remain isolated from each other; our group provides a great opportunity for traditionalists to meet up and connect. Details at the website.
This analysis is vital to understanding politics IN Australia today.ReplyDelete
When you understand just how much both the left and the nominal right in this country really are two sides of the same philosophical coin a lot of things suddenly start making a lot more sense.
People do not remain content with neoliberalism, any more than the workers of the 19th century were towards Manchester liberalism.ReplyDelete
The Manchester liberals, rooted in the mill owners of that city, thought that removal of the Corn Laws would give their workers cheaper food and destroy the power of the landed conservative gentry. That it did, but it set in motion the rise of socialism.
Todays left-liberals can't give everyone a make-work government job, and the right-liberals can't make you a techbro millionaire. We now have a deracinated mass of people with nothing in common other than being the victims of globalization and neoliberalism. No surprise that we are seeing a Marxist revival. We have to provide the traditionalist alternative.
That's an important point that isn't really recognised today. The relationship to the rivalry between the urban bourgeoisie and the old landed gentry in 19th century Britain had a great impact on the development of liberalism in the English speaking world.Delete