September 24, 2009

THE BEGINNING OF ALL WISDOM...:

Labour’s betrayal of society: The dominant legacy of the left is state authoritarianism and private libertarianism (Phillip Blond, 24 September 2009, New Statesman)

Why and how is the political philosophy that is most evidently social, and claims all righteousness and power as a result in fact so asocial and unilateral? The answer is that, for the most part, socialism is founded on liberalism and liberalism is founded on a hatred of society. Modern liberalism begins with Rousseau and Rousseau begins with the idea that our emergence into society constitutes our original imprisonment: "Man is born free but he is everywhere in chains." Society so conceived is fundamentally sinister because it compels man to inauthenticity. As such, the task of an individual in a society is to construe a settlement that protects individual will and insulates its subjective desires from the corrupting influence of others. Society for a liberal is valid only if it is composed of others exactly like himself. Rousseau invents the "general will" through which the individual, in obeying others, is obeying only himself because all have become the same.

But this autonomy can be protected only if others do not violate its bounds; and this is a role that can be played by the state only. The state then becomes the great policer and equaliser of humanity, and through the general will it must reconcile each individual with every other. As such, the state must strip society and people of all differential ties, beliefs and values in order to ensure equality and fairness; naked and denuded we now stand equal and alone before the state as the ultimate guarantor of our freedom.

Thus does modern liberalism underwrite all the great totalitarianisms of our age, from the terror of revolutionary France to the Cultural Revolution of Mao in China.


...is the recognition that the authentic man is evil.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 24, 2009 1:04 PM
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