Our reader Dale Jensen, commenting on our post Feminists submit to Muslim male domination (August 24, 2013 – about Swedish women putting on hijabs in mistaken solidarity with Muslim women) made these points which we extract from the full comment:
Cultural Marxism sees everything through the lens of oppression. In the deluded mind of Leftists, whites and indeed all of Euro culture is built on the oppression of non-whites; i.e. the legacy of imperialism. Whites must therefore pay for their past sins. Islam is seen as noble while anything associated with the West is seen as evil. That is why “we see a glorification of Islam on the part of many Leftists”. …
The Left are also pathological altruists. … This is the legacy of post-Kantian philosophy. Kant was trying to save Christian ethics from the skepticism which characterized much Enlightenment thought (he wasn’t wrong about that). His Categorical Imperative basically destroys self-interest as acting from “inclination” is always outside the realm of morality (it becomes amoral) and acting from “duty” is the only path to virtue. Kant would go on to advocate an extreme form of altruism where duty to the “other” is basically the only way to be moral. The moral philosophers that followed him would expand this. Auguste Comte would argue that Christian ethics was too selfish because it focused on the salvation of the individual soul. The legacy of this is that today genuine self-interested action, at an individual or national level, is considered outside the realm of morality (or immoral) whereas only duty-oriented action to the “other” is moral. The Other has become the standard of morality. Now you package that with egalitarianism and you see that you must sacrifice for the cultural other. …
According to the dictates of Leftist egalitarianism, the more non-Western or non-White the “other” is, the more you must appease or surrender to them. This combines Leftist egalitarianism and Post-Kantian altruism to get the modern spectacle. So Islam being the most non-Western and evil of our enemies must be appeased. What better way to offer sacrifices to our Islamic enemy than to give them White, Western women. It is the sign of a culture (Euro-White) sacrificing itself pure and simple; all on the altar of egalitarianism and white guilt. …
Female biological need for male psycho-sexual strength – this is also important. Leftism (and feminism in particular) has gelded and castrated the modern male. To use Nietzschean terminology, it has turned most men into some version of the “Last Man”; a video game playing, pro-sports team worshiping, overweight, feminized Last Man. Feminism has undermined male strength and male authority. Women crave this on a deep psychological level. Male dominance is something that makes a woman feel feminine. Without it, a woman is never fulfilled. I’m not saying that dominance needs to be malevolent. I think the dominance men wielded prior to the 1960s was actually benevolent, especially compared to the rest of the world. But it was undermined. Now we are seeing some women seek out that order and that dominance from Islam and Muslim men who are not wussified by feminism and Leftism. These women in the name of modern liberalism are turning themselves into basically Chattel Slaves of Muslim Men. It could make you want to cry or spit. …
The West is committing suicide. We are seeing this in many ways. But the way Western women are behaving is a leading indicator. To watch this knowing what is coming at the end of the tunnel is heart breaking. On my darker days I wonder if the entire liberal / libertarian project is inherently flawed, and only a strict Conservative regime can work. I’m uncertain about that last though.
We are not sure what a “strict” Conservative regime would be, but we do think the liberal project is entirely flawed, and the libertarian project has flaws in it.
There are many points in the comment worth discussion and we invite further comment on any or all of them.
In a comment on the post immediately below, The state is imposing a religion, Jack wrote in part (see the comment in full):
I think Environmentalism is a sub-ideology of egalitarianism. I think it is egalitarianism which is the Left’s secular civic religion. Egalitarianism is expressed in all the Left’s major ideologies: feminism, multiculturalism, socialism (welfare-statism in the watered down form), environmentalism, and pacifism. All of them revolve around the destruction of absolute standards and thus the denial that there are better and worse or good and evil. Egalitarianism mandates relativism. How this egalitarianism rose to conquer the West is an interesting historical and philosophical question. I think it occurred in the process of secularizing Christianity.
I agree with all of that. And to take up the point of Socialism being secularized Christianity: the colossal shipwreck of Socialism in Russia in the last century, and the painful flop of the European welfare-states now, demonstrate wonderfully why not only Socialism but its sentimental parent Christianity are both recipes for misery. Both ignore the truths of human nature. Both demand self-sacrifice. Both require of humankind what is humanly impossible, and by no means desirable to the whole human race. We do not, cannot, and should not love our fellow human beings indiscriminately. Not to make moral judgments is immoral.
People are not equal in the gifts of nature. Nor can they be equal in wealth, however much force is brought to bear to make them so. (And always those who bring the force to bear exempt themselves from its consequences.)
My novel L: A Novel History illustrates what happens when force is brought to bear in an attempt to create an egalitarian utopia.
L – a Marxist philosopher and theater director – articulates the absurd, romantic, egalitarian dream, thrilling millions of citizens who consequently vote for their own doom:
As socialists we shall continue … to take all land into public ownership. To employ every man and woman. Our aim must be to house them all, clothe them all, feed them all, teach them, heal them, organize their leisure. None shall be underprivileged, all shall be made equal. The underprivileged must be freed from all oppression, the oppression of being less lucky, less successful, less energetic or healthy than others. Positive discrimination will liberate women, youth, blacks. Especially the immigrants from those parts of the world which we exploited, raped, robbed and pillaged, who have come to share with us our greater good fortune must be liberated from their oppression. The first duty of the state is redistribution. There is no question of one man earning a reward greater than another. All must be balanced. If one man has a clean job, he must get less money than one who has a dirty job. The state must equalize with due regard not merely to externals but to inner feelings. There must be no prizes for one man to win who was better endowed by the accident of nature with stronger limbs or some fortuitous talent. No one can take credit for anything he does, and no one is to blame for anything he does. As Professor L teaches us, neither achievement nor guilt are individual. Society achieves, society is guilty. …. No man can decide his needs for himself. What he feels are wants and to indulge them is selfish, anti-social. But what others diagnose as his needs, those are his needs. And as his needs are shared with others, the problem of supply is a community problem. …. The state alone must be the source of the satisfaction of all needs. …
No one will ever again have to suffer envy for another man’s greater wealth, industriousness, enterprise, energy, cleverness, reward, or even luck. We shall be there to smooth out the random rewards of luck, like the random rewards of hard work, inspiration, inventiveness, or any gifts of nature. How comfortable it must make the majority, the “overwhelming majority” as [the socialists of] the Labour Party like to say, “at the end of the day” as they say so often. Their policies have been designed to give not just survival and material welfare to those who cannot look after themselves, but comfort to their feelings too. They must be given what they cannot get for themselves, “because they need it”. But must they not also be spared the feeling that others can get whatever it is for themselves, while they cannot? Of course they must. …
“The pursuit of equality requires the handicapping of the many in the interests of the disadvantaged few,” he said; “no man can be allowed to feel inferior to his neighbours.” …
The dream is turned into reality, and regret sets in.
The affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected, were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; an end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.
How L brings the nation to misery in an amazingly short time, how he choreographs anguish and doom, is the surprising part of the story which I won’t give away.
But I will give away part of the ending. England recovers from its historical episode as a Red Republic.
Americans have recently voted to set themselves on the path down which L led the English to ruin. America has yet to discover what it leads to. And eventual recovery cannot be predicted.
Jillian Becker December 2, 2012
With his usual incisive clarity, Thomas Sowell asks:
Since this is an era when many people are concerned about “fairness” and “social justice,” what is your “fair share” of what someone else has worked for?
It would be fascinating to hear a redistributionist’s attempt to answer the question.
We may all know it, but it needs to be repeated from time to time: The great political divide is between those who favor collectivism and those who favor individual freedom.
Collectivism on a national scale is necessarily statism. Human nature being what it is – instinctively self-preserving and self-advancing – such collectivism requires compulsion, or, to use a softer word, organization: the organization of an entire nation. (At least the nation: the ultimate collectivist dream is the global collective, the organization of the whole world.) And only a government, which is to say the state, has the power to do it.
A collectivized nation is not simply one that is under the rule of a common law. To the contrary, a society in which the citizens consent to be subject equally to the abstract authority of law (a constitution, or a body of laws made by representatives answerable to their electors), is a free society.
A collectivized nation is under the rule of human organizers who exert control of the people according to their own will. It is the opposite of a free society. Such a state is, in the true meaning of the word, a tyranny.
It may be a benign tyranny; its rulers, serially or in concert, could be (in laughable theory) persons of admirable uprightness, possessed of the utmost goodwill and kindly intentions, moved by the highest ideals, inspired by the loftiest visions of human happiness, but it is nevertheless a tyranny.
And besides, what sort of person can believe he knows what’s best for everyone else? How can he be a good sort? Wouldn’t such a man (or woman – there have been tyrannous queens) have to be an insufferably arrogant know-it-all? Or the sort who doesn’t really give a damn about the effects of his orders on others just so long as he has his own way? And is there likely to be a person who really can know enough to be the best arbiter of everyone else’s fate? Or can be trusted to set the best possible direction for millions of lives? And is it conceivable that one direction can be best for everyone?
Collectivists include Socialists, Communists, Nazis, Fascists, global government idealists, the Greens, and in sum the ideologists of any form of totalitarianism, including Islam.
There are two types of collectivist states and movements:
Non-egalitarian: such as Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Salazar’s Portugal, Islam.
This type, except for Islam, has too few devotees at present to constitute an ideological threat. (Islam is an active enemy of freedom, but not only because it is collectivist, so we won’t discuss it any further here.)
Egalitarian: such as Soviet Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, Greens.
A collectivist state of the egalitarian type controls the distribution of material goods, of course. If goods are to be equally distributed, there has to be an agency doing the distributing, and that agency can only be the state. Having the monopoly of force, the state alone has the power to redistribute all property; to seize what is yours and bestow it on someone else. Maybe you worked long and hard for it, but nevertheless the state ordains that someone else who didn’t work for it has at least as much right to it as you have, in fact more. That’s the immorality of redistribution. It is called ‘social justice’. Equality of this sort is incompatible with liberty.
Millions pursue these egalitarian ideals, as ‘socialists’, ‘liberals’, ‘progressives’, or ‘greens’, despite their colossal failure wherever they’ve been tried in practice.
The attraction of an egalitarian collectivist system lies in its apparent guarantee of security. It offers you an alternative to a lonely struggle for survival. It will, theoretically, provide you with food, shelter, schooling, healing. And on top of all that, it will give you a sense of (communal) purpose, and a lifting of responsibility to make life-directing decisions for yourself. If you just do what you’re told, work where you are directed to work, live where you are allowed to live, eat what is made available to you, repeat the lessons you are taught, you will survive. And furthermore you‘ll have nothing to reproach yourself with; you can bear a lightness of moral being, certain that you are no higher or lower than anybody else, having neither to envy others nor to be annoyingly envied by them.
Paradise? For those who think it may be, there is bad news. The whole utopian structure is built on a fallacy. The idea that you will be more secure in the arms of the state than you are if left to your own devices is an illusion. What the state provides the state can withhold. If the state gives you a job, it can deny you a job. The same with housing, education, medicine. You are dependent on it, and if it fails you or punishes you by withdrawing its patronage, you will have no recourse. Your choice is to live as a slave obedient to the state, or perish.
The only real security lies always in your own ability to act for yourself (and your immediate dependents). It may not be easy, yet most who try succeed. The more freely you can act for yourself, the safer you are. The state’s only legitimate role is to safeguard you while you pursue your self-chosen aims, by protecting your country from external enemies with military strength, and you personally by enforcing the law.
The state is forever an incipient threat to freedom. It tends to accumulate power and encroach gradually on the freedom of the citizens. It needs to be kept from becoming too powerful. How to limit the power of government is the chief problem for representative democracies.
The state will take more power to itself in times of national crisis, such as war or severe economic recession. It can – and governments often do – invent crises as an excuse to take more power. They are doing so now. One of the most potent excuses that representative governments are seizing on to expand way beyond acceptable limits is ‘climate change’ with its ‘threats to the environment’.
It is in the name of an apparently overriding necessity – nothing less than the preservation of our planet – that governments are busy trying to organize populations into collective compliance with their will. All populations. The salvation of Earth is only possible, the environmentalists say, if their remedies are applied uniformly to the entire planet. Never has there been such a gift of an excuse for collectivists in power to organize the rest of us. We must all, they insist, henceforth live, work, play, travel, dress, eat, and house ourselves as they tell us to if we are to survive.
DO NOT BELIEVE THEM.
Post Script: Green is the new Red (as in Communist Red). The Communist Van Jones, briefly appointed as Green Jobs Adviser to President Obama, made no secret of why he liked the job. He said that the green economy would start off as ‘a small subset’ of a complete revolution, away from ‘grey capitalism’ toward redistribution of all the wealth. ‘We are going to push it and push it and push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society.’
Jillian Becker September 2009