Sunday, April 12, 2009

The problem with non-discrimination as the ruling principle for any society --

--Civilizational Suicide.

Excerpted below are a few paragraphs selected almost at random from Lawrence Auster's excellent speech -- A Real Islam Policy for a Real America -- given at the Preserving Western Civilization Conference, February 8, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland (The full text of the speech is here.):

The key to this liberal ideology is the belief in tolerance or non-discrimination as the ruling principle of society, the principle to which all other principles must yield. We see this belief at work in every area of modern life. The principle of non-discrimination must, if followed consistently, destroy every human society and institution. A society that cannot discriminate between itself and other societies will go out of existence, just as an elm tree that cannot discriminate between itself and a linden tree must go out of existence. To be, we must be able to say that we are us, which means that we are different from others. If we are not allowed to distinguish between ourselves and Muslims, if we must open ourselves to everyone and everything in the world that is different from us, and if the more different and threatening the Other is, the more we must open ourselves to it, then we go out of existence.


The dilemma suggests the solution. What is now unthinkable, must become thinkable; what is now unsayable, must become sayable; and ultimately it must replace non-discrimination as the ruling belief in society. I know that this sounds crazy, utterly impossible. But fifty or a hundred years ago it would have seemed crazy, utterly impossible, that today's liberalism with its suicidal ideology would have replaced the traditional attitudes that were then prevalent. If society could change that radically in one direction, toward suicidal liberalism, it can change back again. It's not impossible.


What I'm saying here is nothing fancy or metaphysical, it's something that all people know by common sense. We live within these two dimensions--the better and the worse, the more like and the less like--in everything we do.

That is, we did live within them, until modern liberalism came along and said that it's wrong to discriminate between higher and lower, it's wrong to discriminate between better and worse, it's wrong to discriminate between like and unlike.


The equality principle of modern liberalism says that unassimilable immigrants must be permitted to flood our society, changing its very nature. It prohibits normal authority such as the authority of parents and teachers over children. It banished the very idea of a morality that men ought to follow. And even God is banished if he's a God who has any claims on us.

This is the ubiquitous yet unacknowledged horror of modern liberalism, that it takes the ordinary, differentiated nature of the world, which all human beings have always recognized, and makes it impossible for people to discuss it, because under liberalism anyone who notes these distinctions and says that they matter has done an evil thing and must be banished from society, or at least be barred from a mainstream career.

This liberalism is the most radical and destructive ideology that has ever been, and yet it is not questioned. Communism and big government liberalism were challenged and fought in the past. But the ideology of non-discrimination, which came about after World War II, has never been resisted--it has never even been identified, even though it is everywhere. What is needed, if the West is to survive, is a pro-Western civilization movement that criticizes, resists, and reverses this totalistic liberal belief system that controls our world. ...

I just became aware that Auster has posted a permanent link to the speech in the sidebar of VFR only an hour or so ago while visiting the site and trying to catch up a bit. It's good to see the speech posted at VFR in its entirety. And perhaps we might think of adding it to the Lawrence Auster on Islam page in the near future.

Speaking of which, if you happen to be new to Webster's and you've not yet become familiar with the articles and pages I have permanent links posted to in the sidebars of the blog for ease of accessibility, if you will look under the heading On Islam in the left sidebar there is a permanent link to the page in question which we created over a year ago.

If you are familiar with the page but haven't been there in a while, you will notice during your next visit that the page has undergone something of a facelift in recent months. This was not my idea, nor am I particularly satisfied with the looks of the page by comparison with the original. But I do give some latitude to the individual who handles the technical aspects of putting these kinds of things together for me. And on that latter note, I have some other ideas for additional pages to add to the blog (not related to Islam) hosted by my own website in the relatively near future that I'll be sharing with you. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

The greatest obstacle to fighting effectively against progressivism, by whatever name it goes, is that moral beings simply cannot understand the logic and aims of the movement. Part of this is because progressivism is so innately irrational, part of it because progressivism is so inherently immoral.

One must be either insane or evil to understand what progressives desire and how they think. I make no claims on sanity, but even I cannot claim to understand how they think. But I do understand what they want.

Progressives do not see civilization in terms of an organic whole, where cooperation and common purpose are the binding element which turns a mass of humans into a viable society. They have a solipsistic view of others, thus everything is to be judged in terms of how it benefits themselves. Others exist only as animals or simple objects to be manipulated.

The progressive cares about only one thing, getting into power. The form or morality of the broader society doesn't matter, so long as that society provides a position of unrestricted authority for the progressive to obtain. Progressives are very sincere about wanting to mingle all cultures together, it is the dream of each of them to become the master, not of some segment of humanity, but supreme ruler of all.

What any sane person regards as a comical idea is the real and vital dream of every progressive.

What I don't understand is how progressives get along with each other. They are all essentially in competition for a single position, it would seem impossible. You see occasionally the venom with which they will fight for power amongst themselves, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

I think it has something to do with the solipsism inherent in their worldview. Each progressive believes all other beings, including other progressives, to be nothing more than pawns in the game. That allows each of them to resort to manipulations even in dealing with one another. It doesn't make sense to fight a pawn, you just need to figure out how to move it out of your way.

I'm hard pressed to understand how progressives maintain their solipsism, particularly in dealing with each other. It should seem obvious to any rational mode of thought, but then again they are definitely not rational.

The easiest way to identify progressives is by how they treat other progressives. Bill and Hillary Clinton are an excellent example. Each of them acts as though the other was merely a pawn in the game, neither seems to regard this denigration as anything more than inconvenient, they thus manage to act cooperatively even though their personal goals are totally disparate.

The second way to identify them is by the agendas they support. This is a bit fuzzier because, naturally, progressive agendas are designed to fool ordinary people into supporting them, but all of them share a couple of key characteristics.

Whatever the problem supposedly at issue, the progressive agenda calls for global action. And that global action is to be coordinated by an authority which is free of any serious accountability measures capable of penetrating the consolidated power vested in that authority. This is, after all, what each progressive wants, the consolidation of global, unaccountable authority which can then be seized.

It is important to note that the cleverest progressives do not try to vest that authority on themselves initially, their solipsist world-view grants them the belief that, as long as such a power is created, it can be seized from the simple pawn on which it was initially vested.

As I mentioned, the progressive agendas all address some real problem which draws in the support of ordinary people. But the energetic progressive will support several causes with obviously contradictory aims, and will show only superficial devotion to any.

For example, it is common for liberals to encourage the spread of Islam while supporting "equal" rights for homosexuals. This is clearly absurd on the face of it, Islam and homosexual rights (let alone the "equal" kind) are fundamentally incompatible. But the progressive doesn't care about the aims of these movements, only about the fact that both can be used to justify unlimited power for the progressive to control.

This is a much better way of identifying progressives than watching their interpersonal interactions with each other simply because progressives usually avoid each other and you have to identify a couple of potential progressives before you can watch their interactions anyway. It does suffer a significant (and growing) weakness, however. Progressives have been undermining the traditions of education and rational thought everywhere in the world for a long time now, and an entire class of irrational followers has appeared.

These people are all but incapable of spotting even the most obvious contradictions, they simply follow the messages implanted into them by progressive designed education and the progressive controlled media. They are well defended against exposure to outside ideas, which are labeled as "crackpot" and "extremist". Besides which, to evaluate those ideas would require sustained thought, of which the follower is not capable.

It is the progressive's goal to foster the conversion of all other humans into followers. That this will result in the utter collapse of economic and technological progress is irrelevant. After all, the leader will still have plenty, and pawns exist to be sacrificed.

Distinguishing progressives from followers is not terribly easy. Nothing about the intellectual vacuity or resistance to logic you find in a well-programmed follower is actually incompatible with being a progressive. And I'm not sure that there is a practical need to distinguish them anyway.

I believe that a sufficiently traumatic experience can shock a follower out of the implanted world-view. But then again a progressive will abandon a failed agenda too. Followers might become vulnerable to conversion to a philosophy that emphasizes the value and freedom of the individual, where it is doubtful that a progressive will really be able to mimic such beliefs very long.

How can you fight progressivism? I have no really useful suggestions. Obviously, point out their mistakes, fight against their consolidation of power, educate others in the arts of rational thought and philosophies which value individual freedom. Reach out to those who've lost their moorings, try to wean followers away from progressive agendas.

Just knowing what progressives are is the best tool for resisting their agendas. But resistance simply isn't enough. You need to turn back the tide. That the tide will be turned back eventually is certain, but if it is not by human hands...the results will be inhumane. The progressive agenda simply isn't viable, but to allow its implementation is to doom billions.

Terry Morris said...


Yes, the phrase "commencing demagogues and ending tyrants," about sums up the general method and evolution of progressives.

I think that what preserves within the movement what appears to us from our perspective as a unity of purpose is probably that there remains a common, identifiable and viable opposition in place, which is a bit easier for them to see given their far left radicalism. They may be making more of it than it actually is given the level of their paranoia, but I imagine that's what keeps them together nonetheless.

As inherently irrational and infused with self-destructive tendencies as their belief system is, I think they can manage to hold it all together in common cause so long as a viable and identifiable threat continues to manifest itself, or to make its presence known. In that sense the TEA Parties and the Tenth Amenment Resolution movement amongst the state legislatures, etc., will only serve to strengthen their resolve to remain united against their common enemy. On the other hand, we cannot simply allow them to pursue their ultimate goals completely unopposed in hopes that the movement will self-destruct because in doing so there's the real possibility that they'll destroy the nation in the process of destroying themselves. Not that it's in our natures to do so in any case.

And I hate to keep harping on it, but I think that ultimately we cannot destroy progressivism. The best we can possibly do is to relegate it to the far corners where it cannot exert its dominating influence over the affairs of the entire nation. In other words, re-establishing proper balance between the various branches and spheres of our government is really the only answer to ending the threat of progressivism. The problem, though, is that I personally do not think that is possible at this point without a bloody civil war. I may well be wrong, but I just don't see it, try as I may. So there ya go.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think that you can destroy "progressives" either. I'm pretty sure that manipulative solipsists are born, not programmed or inducted. But what you can do is discredit the movement which sells itself as the universal doing of good through expansion of government authority. Progressivism is based on the inherent and obvious lie that it is the only movement interested in the betterment of society.

In other eras, manipulative solipsists have had to settle for being schemers in organized crime or court politics. That they should have managed to gain the power and position they now hold in democratic republics did not happen overnight. Were the progressive movement to be rooted out and eliminated using theories of limited government, and the nature of the manipulative solipsist mindset understood and guarded against, it would take them another hundred years or more to regain such influence.

The American Founders had a serious blind spot when it came to manipulative solipsists, which are well described by contemporary European writers. It seems that the frontier culture of America was very hard on manipulative solipsists, so they were naturally rare in early America. Early Americans thus discounted theories of human nature which they thought "Machiavellian", and because of that the evolution of a movement designed by and favorable to manipulative solipsism has not been opposed.

It is telling that it was Lord Acton, not any American political philosopher, who said "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The Founding Fathers believed that unlimited government was dangerous, but they did not understand, or at least did not argue, that it was inherently evil.

If America can learn from this battle against "progressivism" to guard against the agendas of manipulative solipsists, it may be possible to hold them at bay indefinitely. Any movement calling for unlimited power, no matter what the problem it claims to address, can and should be discarded out of hand by the lover of liberty and student of human nature.

But are there now enough lovers of liberty? Are they willing to learn about human nature by studying history? Can progressivism be stopped before it brings the entire world down in blood and chaos? Ironically, it is the manipulative solipsists who will fare worst when that happens, as has ever been the case. They depend on abundance in society, since they produce nothing of value themselves. Even the most absolute ruler needs active support from a sufficient proportion of the productive. Contrary to what the manipulative solipsist believes, those other people have the power to choose, and at some point they always choose to overthrow the corrupt leader rather than embrace lingering death themselves.

That point is near. How near is uncertain. Even less certain is how much of civilization will survive the revolution. It becomes then the duty of the civilized to survive.