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Mock Liberalism

From Shelby Steele in the WSJ, The Exhaustion of American Liberalism

White guilt is not actual guilt. Surely most whites are not assailed in the night by feelings of responsibility for America’s historical mistreatment of minorities. Moreover, all the actual guilt in the world would never be enough to support the hegemonic power that the mere pretense of guilt has exercised in American life for the last half-century.

White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.

It is also the heart and soul of contemporary liberalism. This liberalism is the politics given to us by white guilt, and it shares white guilt’s central corruption. It is not real liberalism, in the classic sense. It is a mock liberalism. Freedom is not its raison d’être; moral authority is.

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Fragile Miracles

In National Review George Will reviews the new dystopian novel, The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047, by Lionel Shriver

Florence learns to appreciate “the miracle of civilization.” It is miraculous because “failure and decay were the world’s natural state. What was astonishing was anything that worked as intended, for any duration whatsoever.” Laughing mordantly as the apocalypse approaches, Shriver has a gimlet eye for the foibles of today’s secure (or so it thinks) upper middle class, from Washington’s Cleveland Park to Brooklyn. About the gentrification of the latter, she observes:

“Oh, you could get a facelift nearby, put your dog in therapy, or spend $500 at Ottawa on a bafflingly trendy dinner of Canadian cuisine (the city’s elite was running out of new ethnicities whose food could become fashionable). But you couldn’t buy a screwdriver, pick up a gallon of paint, take in your dry cleaning, get new tips on your high heels, copy a key, or buy a slice of pizza. Wealthy residents might own bicycles worth $5K, but no shop within miles would repair the brakes. . . . High rents had priced out the very service sector whose presence at ready hand once helped to justify urban living.”

HKO

Will observes that dystopian novels are widely in circulation.

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A New Unfairness

In National Review George Will reviews the new dystopian novel, The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047, by Lionel Shriver

from the novel:

“The state starts moving money around. A little fairness here, little more fairness there. . . . Eventually social democracies all arrive at the same tipping point: where half the country depends on the other half. . . . Government becomes a pricey, clumsy, inefficient mechanism for transferring wealth from people who do something to people who don’t, and from the young to the old — which is the wrong direction. All that effort, and you’ve only managed a new unfairness.”

In a Reason magazine interview, Shriver says, “I think it is in the nature of government to infinitely expand until it eats its young.”

HKO

This book has entered my queue.

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Liberalism Abandoned

From Robert Zubrin at Richochet, America Needs a Liberal Party:

America needs a new Liberal Party because both major parties have abandoned liberalism. Neither adequately supports international free trade or the defense of the West — the two pillars of the liberal world order since 1945. Both lack commitment to constitutionally limited government, separation of powers, free enterprise, and human equality and liberty under law. Each supports its own Malthusian antihuman collectivist ideology: for Democrats, it is ecologism, for Republicans, it is nativism.

Ecologism — the advocacy of state-administered collective sacrifice for the putative benefit of nature — is so obviously antiliberal, reactionary, and indeed, antihuman, that I will leave it to the would-be liberals of the left to figure out how they ever got roped into adopting it as part of their core ideology. As a result, the party that once proudly proclaimed itself the defender of the poor now centers its program on ultra-regressive sales taxes of fuel and electricity, while boasting of its ability to throw entire industries and their workers on the scrap heap. Furthermore ecologism serves as a justification for the expansion of the powers of the state to intrude into every aspect of public, commercial, and private life, reinforcing monopolies, impairing initiative, and destroying opportunities at every turn.

Nativism, on the other hand, is the ideology that brought the Trumpist Trojan horse into the conservative citadel. A mirror image of the Democrats environmental Malthusianism, it asserts that rather than natural resources, it is human opportunities that are in limited supply. It is not a conservative ideology, because it is anti free enterprise and anti Judeo-Christian. Our nation’s founding creed is that of inalienable rights granted to men created equal by God. How can a movement which explicitly denies that faith be considered conservative, or even traditionally American? In fact it isn’t conservative at all. It is Alt-Right. But what is the Alt-Right really?

HKO

An excellent post and should be read slowly and completely.

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When Debate is Worthless

from Declination: Do You Want to be Right, or True?

Something changed over time. Call it maturity, or wisdom, or understanding of self. Or call it, as I do, a certain intellectual exhaustion. Whatever it is, I just stopped caring about appearances. I didn’t care to prove myself right, or to prove the other wrong.

I wanted to learn. I wanted to understand. I wanted to know truth — regardless of whether or not anyone believed me. It came to the point that I wanted to be proven wrong, in fact, for that would mean I would have discovered a new truth. My own knowledge would have been expanded. I was still emotionally invested in the outcome, per se, but not in the same manner. If the debate granted me no new knowledge, no new perspectives, it was useless. It was a waste of time. It didn’t matter if I had demolished my opponent’s argument. It was still a nothing.

SJWs are still caught up in the first stage, where everything is about rightness, and not rightness in the sense of truth, but rightness in the sense of appearance, in the sense of acknowledgement from the audience. When a flurry of Twitter tweeters or Facebook posters come in with likes, and messages of solidarity and support, they feel alive, they feel important. Their narcissistic supply is greatly enhanced. But truth doesn’t matter. Knowledge and understanding are irrelevant. To them, a debate is worthless if they do not receive adulation.

HKO

Demonization destroys debate.