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Author Topic: Why I am not a liberal  (Read 9135 times)
Sibboleth Bist
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« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2009, 05:00:03 pm »
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3. Sweeping generalization fallacy (though there are elitists who are liberals)

My point is not to say that 'some liberals are elitist, therefore...' but to argue that liberalism is an inherently elitist ideology. I think I will now go further and argue that elitism is a critical element to liberalism and that it is impossible to have a non-elitist form of liberalism.
Yeah, I'd like that bit explained, actually. I can see where you may have been coming from, but...


The obvious cheap response is that liberalism, as the ideology of capitalism and the bourgeoisie, is of course elitist due to its objective class position. Smiley

But, being more serious, my main point here is that liberalism is fundamentally an ideology of 'enlightenment'. This, in turn, implies a certain firm distance between the enlightened ones and the rest of the population - which is elitist. Of course, it isn't immutable elitism; the importance of education to liberal ideology can't be downplayed. I'll illustrate my point with an interest detail from the debates over the franchise in this country; John Bright (about as close to being a stereotypical 'radical' liberal of his time and country as possible) argued in favour of universal male sufferage except for the poorest parts of the working class on the grounds that they were insufficently educated and enlightened to deserve the vote. He actually coined the disgusting term 'residuum' (one of the key words of late nineteenth century political and social discourse) in that context. Most Liberals (and most liberals) didn't even go as far as Bright.
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« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2009, 09:58:05 pm »
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I am not a liberal, and do not call myself as such. I am a Democratic Socialist, and that's that.
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« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2009, 10:52:22 pm »
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4. It must also (and finally for now) be recognised that liberalism is, above all, an individualist ideology and individualism is ultimately opposed to collectivism**. This may seem like an obvious point, but it's one that seems to be increasingly forgotten by much of the intellectual Left these days.


Please explain. Most of the intellectual Left support more social freedom (i.e. read/watch what you want, make your own decisions about sex and relationships, etc.) than most on the right do.
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« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2009, 11:08:20 pm »
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I actually manged to attract some abusive responses when I first wrote and posted this. Highlights:
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If you read Hayek, you gormless twat, you will discover that you are in fact a fascist but haven't realised it yet.

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...execrable hymn to totalitarianism...



I find the totalitarianism jab quite funny in that in its most recent form it has been driven by individuals.  i.e. Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, and Stalin. Now this also can be influenced by the Great Man view of history which prevails and which you subsequently alluded to.  Collective achievements have often been overlooked or dismissed. I'm sure liberalism's problematic history with trade unionism was also a driving force behind this essay.
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Sibboleth Bist
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« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2009, 11:45:57 pm »
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4. It must also (and finally for now) be recognised that liberalism is, above all, an individualist ideology and individualism is ultimately opposed to collectivism**. This may seem like an obvious point, but it's one that seems to be increasingly forgotten by much of the intellectual Left these days.


Please explain. Most of the intellectual Left support more social freedom (i.e. read/watch what you want, make your own decisions about sex and relationships, etc.) than most on the right do.

Of course they do. Not quite sure what that has to do with my point though.
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jokerman
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« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2009, 01:30:04 am »
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I just abandoned my own post because it got too long and rambling and lost sight of the main point.

It was going to be about the negation (by liberalism, by nationalism, by Marxism though I hadn't gotten to writing anything about that) of rights held by any unit - any collective - larger than the individual and smaller than the state. Which is rather a huge deviation from historic human experience built around such collectives.
Is nationalism (esp. fascism) really responsible for that or is it merely a response to the innate lack of these social layers in modernity?
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Sibboleth Bist
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« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2009, 08:45:17 am »
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It was going to be about the negation (by liberalism, by nationalism, by Marxism though I hadn't gotten to writing anything about that) of rights held by any unit - any collective - larger than the individual and smaller than the state. Which is rather a huge deviation from historic human experience built around such collectives.

Yeah, that's an interesting point. You should expand on it at some point Tongue
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« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2009, 02:37:29 pm »
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I just abandoned my own post because it got too long and rambling and lost sight of the main point.

It was going to be about the negation (by liberalism, by nationalism, by Marxism though I hadn't gotten to writing anything about that) of rights held by any unit - any collective - larger than the individual and smaller than the state. Which is rather a huge deviation from historic human experience built around such collectives.
Is nationalism (esp. fascism) really responsible for that or is it merely a response to the innate lack of these social layers in modernity?
19th century Nationalism in countries without a proto-nationstate (Germany, Italy... also India) certainly tried to negate regional, local, corporatist (guilds, fraternities etc. Caste in India) identities quite actively - combat them, you might say. But I wasn't calling any ideology "responsible" for anything - individual ideologues are responsible for their actions, ideologies hardly. I wasn't thinking of fascism at all when I wrote, though yes fascism does indeed exploit that void.

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« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2009, 07:49:56 pm »
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4. It must also (and finally for now) be recognised that liberalism is, above all, an individualist ideology and individualism is ultimately opposed to collectivism**. This may seem like an obvious point, but it's one that seems to be increasingly forgotten by much of the intellectual Left these days.


Please explain. Most of the intellectual Left support more social freedom (i.e. read/watch what you want, make your own decisions about sex and relationships, etc.) than most on the right do.

Of course they do. Not quite sure what that has to do with my point though.

I was questioning your assumption that the intellectual left is anti-individualism.
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Sibboleth Bist
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« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2009, 07:55:10 pm »
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I was questioning your assumption that the intellectual left is anti-individualism.

Ah, right. Well, I didn't make that claim. What I wrote was (basically) that much of the intellectual left appears to have forgotten that individualism is not compatible with collective rights.
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Јas
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« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2009, 10:05:04 am »
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I recall reading this in its original location. It certainly made me think.

What exactly is a "gormless twat"?

A vagina lacking in gorm.

What is gorm?

blue (...not that that helps)
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« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2009, 12:36:36 am »
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I recall reading this in its original location. It certainly made me think.

What exactly is a "gormless twat"?

A vagina lacking in gorm.

What is gorm?

blue (...not that that helps)

In that case, a twat would ordinarily be gormless.
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2009, 09:25:43 am »
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Actually, that's the wrong "gorm". This one means understanding - not that you'd expect that in vaginas, either. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gormless
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« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2010, 12:07:47 pm »
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Nationalism is just another form of collectivism.

Wrong.

See? I can do one liners too.

How is it wrong? Nationalism is frequently used as an excuse to crush individual rights and put the interests of the nation-state before anything else. It is, in fact, almost as bad as religion in this aspect.
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Mynheer Peeperkorn
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« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2011, 11:29:20 pm »
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I actually manged to attract some abusive responses when I first wrote and posted this. Highlights:
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If you read Hayek, you gormless twat, you will discover that you are in fact a fascist but haven't realised it yet.

I lol'd.
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Miamiu1027
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« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2011, 10:17:31 am »
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just reading this now.  no comments on the content, at least for now - I have a bitch of a headache - but I do enjoy reading your writing, particularly when you are taking some kind of concrete position.  too often when posting I think you obscure what your own feelings actually are, and just provide a wealth of facts and 'hints'.   when defending a thesis you can really let fly, and it makes for a good read.
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They call me PR
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« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2011, 12:16:20 am »
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Good essay. "Liberal" in all senses of the word is not, and has never really been, "left-wing."

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Sibboleth Bist
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« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2011, 07:47:46 pm »
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too often when posting I think you obscure what your own feelings actually are, and just provide a wealth of facts and 'hints'.   when defending a thesis you can really let fly, and it makes for a good read.

I think that's a fair comment, yes.

Anyway, if I wrote it now it'd be a little different (in particular there would be something on the distinction between Liberalism as an (essentially historical) political movement and liberalism as a diffuse ideology), but there's nothing embarrassing there... which is good, given the circumstances of when it was written.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #43 on: October 15, 2011, 06:05:02 am »
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I see that I never replied to this.

I don't really buy the notion that liberal ideology is inherently elitist anymore than any ideology is. Most of them are based around an idea of having come up with something that not everyone else has (enlightenment is in that sense almost inherent in ideology in general).

I'd rather say that the sort of people who have been liberals have indeed tended to be elitist - school teachers and such.

I would add that I think this essay/blog post would benefit quite a bit from you articulating what you are and showing why it is superior to liberalism on the points you bring up.

I also think the bit on collective v individual rights is sufficiently interesting to have its own essay rather than to be used an argument against liberalism. Tongue

I mean, personally I'm not convinced of collective rights as having any meaning, but then again I'm a liberal so what would you expect? Cheesy
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Sibboleth Bist
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« Reply #44 on: October 15, 2011, 07:31:32 pm »
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Should I respond to that with my views as they are now or as they were in the Autumn of 2009? Cheesy

Not that there are any massive differences, of course.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #45 on: October 18, 2011, 02:57:43 pm »
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Should I respond to that with my views as they are now or as they were in the Autumn of 2009? Cheesy

Not that there are any massive differences, of course.

Ha, weapon of your choice, sir. Wink
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