Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The new religion of liberalism (political correctness) - James Kalb

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From The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb, 2008. Page 94 (re-paragraphed):

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The new religion, a system of moral absolutes based on a denial that moral truth is knowable, consists in nothing less than the deification of man.

To refuse to talk about the transcendent, and to view it as wholly out of our reach, seems very cautious and humble. In practice, however, it puts our own thoughts and desires at the center of things, and so puts man in the place of God.

If you say we cannot know anything about God, only our own experience, you will soon say that there is no God, at least for practical purposes, and that we are the ones who give order and meaning to the world.

In short you will say that we are God.

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Skepticism invariably turns into dogmatism. 

We cannot help but act, and if skepticism makes all action nonrational we will nonetheless act on some principle or other. 

If, because we are skeptics, we cannot take arguments in favour of other principles seriously, we will treat our arbitrarily chosen principles as absolute and denounce those who question them as a threat to peace and public order. 

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Liberalism (...) proposes a faith - man the measure as the highest truth and preference satisfaction as the summum bonum - but cannot discuss what it is doing or why. Any reasons it could give would fall far short of the clear demonstration it demands.

Rather than engage other beliefs it must obfuscate its position, claim that it wins by default, and declare other faiths out of bounds.

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I can easily recall feeling just this way, for years; accepting that man is the measure of all things, having what felt like strong moral principles, but unable to discuss what I was doing or why.

It was - curiously - a very secure position, since it was so unclear, so impossible to pin-down, that it could never be refuted: there was, really, nothing to refute.

Unfortunately, my way out of this was so slow, multi-step and complicated that it is hard to seem how it could be of any value to anybody else.

But one aspect was that I eventually admitted to myself that I had 'always' operated on the basis of some kind of benign providence which was like a path to which I ought to adhere, and which was revealed by instinct and serendipity - then gradually recognizing that this lifelong mode of actual-living made no sense except if there was a God with a personal 'interest' in my 'salvation'.

(I recognized that this was entailed by Jung's ideas - which I had explored in some depth - but that Jung had himself not followed his own logic; then I diagnosed that neither had I.

Once that fact of living was recognized, once the human centred-perspective was rejected (or was recognized as always having de facto been rejected), then this - obviously - led onto other things.

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