Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How liberalism became an intolerant dogma

At the risk of sounding like Paul Krugman — who returns to a handful of cherished topics over and over again in his New York Times column — I want to revisit one of my hobby horses, which I most recently raised in my discussion of Hobby Lobby.

My own cherished topic is this: Liberalism's decline from a political philosophy of pluralism into a rigidly intolerant dogma.

The decline is especially pronounced on a range of issues wrapped up with religion and sex. For a time, electoral self-interest kept these intolerant tendencies in check, since the strongly liberal position on social issues was clearly a minority view. But the cultural shift during the Obama years that has led a majority of Americans to support gay marriage seems to have opened the floodgates to an ugly triumphalism on the left.

The result is a dogmatic form of liberalism that threatens to poison American civic life for the foreseeable future. Conservative Reihan Salam describes it, only somewhat hyperbolically, as a form of "weaponized secularism."

The rise of dogmatic liberalism is the American left-wing expression of the broader trend that Mark Lilla identified in a recent blockbuster essay for The New Republic. The reigning dogma of our time, according to Lilla, is libertarianism — by which he means far more than the anti-tax, anti-regulation ideology that Americans identify with the post-Reagan Republican Party, and that the rest of the world calls "neoliberalism."

Read the rest here.
HT: T-19


The Anti-Gnostic said...

He's just now finding this out? He should ask the Alawites and Christians in Syria what happens when everybody realizes the ruling class is soft and slothful, and outnumbered 5 to 1. "Pluralism" is an indulgence bestowed at the sole discretion of whoever has the most firepower, or imperial societies with easy money and highly centralized bureaucracies.

The majority Anglo-American, creedal conservative Congress is more monolithic than the society over which it governs, due in no small part to years of aggressive gerrymandering. Thus, the reality is even more stark than Mr. Linker will let himself imagine: fundamentally it's about who lives where--blood and soil--and always has been.

America, as a largely Anglo, largely conservative society with broad consensus on the existential and ontological questions, is finished. It's all over but the weeping.

Clear Waters said...

Liberalism has pretty much always been a Satanic or Kaliist theology that deifies the will of man, and worse still, the will of the lowliest man, he of the most bitter treacheries. The Catholic thinker, Felix Sarda y Salvany made the case in his book 'Liberalism is a Sin' in which he describes it very much as a competing, heretical sect. My hope is that Russia has truly realized this pitfall and is sidestepping (albeit clumsily) around it.