Over at TAC, there were two more excellent comments this week that I wanted to save.
October 24, 2014 at 11:30 am
The problem here is ideology, meaning detachment from reality for the sake of an imaginary vision of the world that provides a sense of identity, self-righteousness and purpose in life. In other words, a secularized religion, which in the US naturally maintains many traits of old American Puritanism.
Notice that replacement of transcendent religion by political religion was the ESSENCE of the totalitarian movements of the 20th century in Europe. In this sense, the US are experiencing the third wave (after Communism and Nazism) of the revolutionary dream that destroyed Europe in the 1930′ and 40′s. In the US it co-opted illegitimately the civil rights movement of the 1960′ and put it to the service of the sexual revolution, as opposed to a socio-economic revolution. But it remains totalitarian, inasmuch it denies the universality of reason (because by definition “bigots” cannot have rational arguments) and thus reduces politics to a war.
Carlo, as usual, being way above the crowd. It is for the reasons exposed above that I had previously mused about the similarities between Nazis and today’s liberals.
Aleksandreia: Musings on the false separation of Religion and State in the United States (updated and continued)
October 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Carl Schmitt (a brilliant lawyer whose career was compromised by his role in the Nazi party) held that the friends/enemy distinction is the essence of politics. If we look at it in terms of group dynamics, a political group defines itself against a set of external enemies and internal enemies. Identity of a group consists in its difference from another group. Politics consists of conflict between groups. The idea of universal tolerance is nonsense, you are not going to tolerate someone intent on killing you or destroying your particular way of life for long. (Tolerance cannot be a suicide pact.) Mill’s harm principle is really an attempt to narrow the category of who ought to be a domestic enemy of the State, but it fails because what a “harm” is or is not is a political question. Do Evangelical Christians or the Nation of Islam harm America? Such questions cannot be answered in a way that everyone–not just the tribe– will agree with. (Schmitt himself presents the interesting dilemma of friendship, are we friends with Schmitt’s thought because it is true or are we enemies because our group loyalties are diametrically opposed to his group loyalties?)
Invoking liberal rights may be useful as a situational, rhetorical, tool to protect the less powerful groups in society from getting clobbered (it’s not fair, they should be treated the same as everyone else) but they don’t provide a coherent account of how politics actually functions in the real world, even by liberals, who are after all a tribe, who share common domestic enemies and common external enemies, whom they seek to exercise absolute power over. I think the problem with liberals is that they believe their own BS, without seeing how the way they actually live contradicts their own pet theory.