What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

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What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

fschmidt
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This post was updated on .
Liberalism is our enemy and it is important to understand one's enemy.  Unfortunately, some traditionalists who have good values misunderstand liberalism.  To understand liberalism, one must look at the history of Western thought.

Judaism can be best understood by reading the Old Testament.  The God of the Old Testament is simply the God of the Jews.  This God isn't really much of a God for anyone else, and as such, this God is a tribal/community God.  The tribal thinking that was standard at this time (the time of the Old Testament) is quite alien for the modern Western mind.  Tribal loyalty was very strong and most thought was about what is best for one's tribe.  No one worried about humanity in general, neither about how they lived nor what they believed.

The Ancient Greeks arose in this tribal tradition.  The Athenians were highly intellectual and were interested in truth.  The Sophists were great thinkers who thought of many ways of viewing the world.  The dominant view was relativistic as expressed by Protagoras who said that man is the measure of all things.  This view fits with the tribal view where each tribe holds their own beliefs and values.  Plato rejected this view and advocated absolute universal objective truth as embodied by his concept of the universal form.  It is doubtful that Socrates shared Plato's view, based on Xenophon's writings about Socrates.  It is more likely that Plato simply put his words in Socrates' mouth since Socrates was respected and died for his beliefs.  Plato was an excellent writer and his views became dominant and were spread through Alexander's conquests to a large area.

Jesus appears to have primarily been a Jewish reformer.  Modern Christianity was essentially founded by Paul.  The relationship between Paul and Jesus is remarkably similar to the relationship between Plato and Socrates.  Just as Plato used Socrates as a vehicle for expressing his beliefs and took advantage of the respect that Socrates had as a martyr, so did Paul use Jesus as a vehicle for expressing his beliefs and took advantage of the respect that Jesus had as a martyr.  Paul developed his version of Christianity in the most Greek part of the Roman Empire, and that was the part most heavily influenced by the beliefs of Plato.  So Paul fused the Jewish idea of one God with the Platonic idea of absolute universal truth to create one absolute universal God. And this is the core of Christianity.

It is common in history that once a civilization becomes successful, the respect for the Gods of that civilization declines.  Once the people are wealthy and sated, they feel little need to make personal sacrifice for their Gods, their community, or anyone else.  This happened in both Athens and Rome.  It also happened in our culture, and we call this liberalism.  Liberalism is Christianity minus God.  The liberals still retain Plato's ideas of the absolute and universal, and they retain the Jewish ideas about moralizing.  But while Christians place God at the center of absolute universal truth and morality, liberals place people in this position.  In order to remove God, they have reassigned the characteristics of God to people.  Liberals are as evangelical as any Christian because they have faith in their beliefs and since they take their beliefs to be absolute and universal, they want to spread these beliefs to everyone.  Christians have humility because they place themselves below God and so the only truth that they are sure of is the belief in God himself, all other truths being only certain in the mind of God.  But liberals have no humility and believe that they are the ultimate authority on all questions of truth and morality for all of mankind.  This is why liberals are so intolerant.  This is also why liberals are such advocates of powerful central governments, because this allows their liberal truths and morals to be forced down the throats of large populations.

Some modern liberal philosophers call themselves "relativists".  Liberals are fond of misusing terms, and this is yet another example.  The liberal "relativists" say that because truth and morality are relative and subjective, no one point of view is superior to another in an objective sense.  And then they use this to attack all truths and morals that differ from their own.  (Note that liberals get quite indignant when their truths or morals are violated, but then consistency has never been strong point for liberals.)  Of course the fallacy here is that a real relativist (like me) doesn't believe there is an "objective sense" to begin with.  The statement that all beliefs are equal is, in itself, and absolutist/universal/objective statement, and as such contradicts relativism.

As a relativist, I am quite passionate about my beliefs and morals, but, as a relativist, I have no desire to impose my views on all of humanity.  All I want is a community that shares my values so that I, and my descendants, can live happily there.  The greatest enemy to my goal is clearly liberalism.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

Ardia
Reading your dust-up with the atheist and reading this link again reminded me that Thomas Sowell wrote a book on a similar theme, trying to differentiate between liberals and conservatives:
A Conflict of Visions.

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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

TByte
Conservatives, particularly religious ones, have no humility and believe that their actions are sanctioned by God himself.  This, curiously, despite that fact that religious conservatives can't seem to agree on God's laws.  Each individual Christian has absolute faith that his or her particular version of morality is the one and only correct version, bestowed upon him by divine revelation and under no circumstances open to question or revision.
That is the ultimate arrogance, and is what leads to rampant intollerance among conservatives.
Liberals, particularly atheist ones, believe that we as groups and communities create our own standards.  We reap the benefits of the laws and principles we uphold, as well as suffer the consequences of our mistakes.  We are then free to change are societies for the better through iterations of revisions of our laws and principles.  That is what has fueled ever increasing prosperity, freedom, and tolerance throughout that past 2000 years.  Virtually all of it achieved in spite of conservative attitudes that sought to retain the status quo.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

fschmidt
Administrator
The god(s) of a society embody its morality.  When people of a culture study their god(s), they are effectively studying the moral traditions that made that society successful.  When people abandon their god(s), they also abandon traditions and morality.  In all of history, societies always went into decay after they abandoned their traditional god(s).  This happened to the Greeks and Romans.  The Old Testament chronicles how this happened to the Jews of Israel/Judah.  And this is happening today with liberalism.  Liberalism only fully expressed itself in the 1960s and I highly doubt that Western culture will survive a full century from then.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

TByte
The gods of a society to not embody its morality.
mLiberalism did not "fully express itself" in the 1960s.  Cultures, all cultures, have become progressively more liberal over the last 2000 years, even as they have grown progressively more enlightened.  Unless you can provide some measuring stick for liberalism, its ridiculous to claim that it maxed out 40 years ago.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

TByte
No idea what is going on with my keyboard....

The gods of society do not embody its morality.
The gods of society reflect its morality, and belief in these gods is no more a requirement for morality than one's presence in front of a mirror is a requirement for existence.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

fschmidt
Administrator
In reply to this post by TByte
Why don't you define liberalism?  Then compare the liberalism of Hellenic Alexandria or the Roman Empire to England in the 1500s.  Actually, you could compare the liberalism of any conquered empire in history with that of its conquerors.  The conquered empire is almost invariably liberal while the conquerors are conservative.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

Drealm
In reply to this post by TByte
TByte wrote
The gods of a society to not embody its morality.
mLiberalism did not "fully express itself" in the 1960s.  Cultures, all cultures, have become progressively more liberal over the last 2000 years, even as they have grown progressively more enlightened.  Unless you can provide some measuring stick for liberalism, its ridiculous to claim that it maxed out 40 years ago.
Societies alternate between trustee, domestic and atomistic cultures. This was explained in Family and Civilization. Society is not a linear hockey stick towards liberalism. Trustee societies are regulated by bloodlines, domestic societies are regulated by religions, atomistic societies are free for all's that have no unifying regulation mechanism. A liberal society is an atomistic society. Atomistic societies throughout history have lead to a specific set of traits, which weaken them against trustee societies. Among these traits are lower birth rate and no communal bonds. Trustee cultures will slowly erode America from the inside. Gangs are one amongst many examples of growing trustee cultures.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

TByte
I'm satisfied with Wikipedia's definition:
"Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, "of freedom") is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights."
There is ample evidence that societies have trended towards greater freedoms, liberties, and equal rights for their citizens throughout history.  Note drealm, that I said "trended".  This does not imply linear progression, so please read more carefully before posting responses.  (Not the first time I've asked you that....)
By the standard above, the 1960s did not "fully express liberalism".  We as a country, and the world in general, have greater liberties and rights than we had in the 1960s.
Regarding conquered empires being almost invariably liberal while conquerors are conservative, you'd have to show some hard statistics to support that.  You'd also need to account for the fact that conservative societies are more militaristic and liberal societies are less likely to engage in warfare as a means to settle disputes.  Liberal societies "conquer" economically and socially, rather than militaristically.  If one uses the simple evolutionary standard of success, liberalism has been conquering conservativism on a grand scale for thousands of years.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

Drealm
TByte wrote
There is ample evidence that societies have trended towards greater freedoms, liberties, and equal rights for their citizens throughout history.  Note drealm, that I said "trended".  This does not imply linear progression, so please read more carefully before posting responses.  (Not the first time I've asked you that....)
The quote is directly above, you did not say "trended" - you originally said "progressively". But if you're not implying that all societies stop at liberalism as a final stage, then we have no disagreement. Because as I said before, liberal societies are regularly overthrown are hollowed out by trustee bloodline societies. Societies are continually shifting up and down, there's no fixed point on a circle.



TByte wrote
You'd also need to account for the fact that conservative societies are more militaristic and liberal societies are less likely to engage in warfare as a means to settle disputes.  Liberal societies "conquer" economically and socially, rather than militaristically.  If one uses the simple evolutionary standard of success, liberalism has been conquering conservativism on a grand scale for thousands of years.
You diagnosed the symptom, but missed the attribution. Military's require high birth rates. Conservative societies have positive birth rates, while liberal societies often have replacement or negative birth rates.

It's true free markets are more associated with liberal societies. And free markets do conquer non-free markets. However both fiscal and social policy are intertwined. Eventually a bad social policy will lead to a less free market fiscal policy. Or worse a bad social policy will make a good fiscal policy irrelevant. So liberal societies can't count on their free-market fiscal policies forever. In the long run social policy leaves a bigger impact on culture than fiscal policy. Also western society has little impact on the rest of the world culturally. American's aren't immigrating abroad. It's the opposite, immigrants are coming to America. And when they come, they form cultural enclaves. These enclaves hollow out American culture.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

TByte
No matter how often you assert that liberalism is a corrosive and damaging force on society, you're still left unable to explain the correlation between liberal advances and societal advances over the last 1000 years.
Liberal = advancement.
Conservative = stagnation.
Reactionary = regression.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

fschmidt
Administrator
In reply to this post by TByte
TByte wrote
I'm satisfied with Wikipedia's definition:
"Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis, "of freedom") is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights."
I'm not.  This definition is about a century out of date.  Liberalism has become a synonym for "Progressivism" which Wikipedia defines as:

"Progressivism is a political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reform through governmental action. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies."

It is true that in some other countries the word "liberal" still has some of its old meaning.  But not in America where it is identical to "progressive".  I am sympathetic to old liberalism but not to progressivism.

Obviously it's pointless to debate if one doesn't agree on the meaning of words.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

Johannes
Maybe we should call it progressivism then, since liberalism is such a confusing term.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

TByte
In reply to this post by fschmidt
fschmidt wrote
Liberalism is our enemy and it is important to understand one's enemy.
fschmidt wrote
I am sympathetic to old liberalism but not to progressivism.
Huh?
fschmidt wrote
Obviously it's pointless to debate if one doesn't agree on the meaning of words.
Right.  Let me know when you get that figured out then.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

ShaunS
If we take fschmidt's argument we can quote Wikipedia to get that argument:

'Modern liberalism was influenced by liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill's conception of people being "progressive beings".'

Which is from their 'Progressivism' listing.

I live in the UK and the term 'liberal' has no meaning here, just the old meaning. I must also ask if liberalism/progressivism developed feminism as this also appears to be an enemy? Is it one or both? I do think that enemies need to be studied so as well as providing a link to 'Sexual Utopia in Power' a link should also have been provided to the Wikipedia listing for feminism to provide a balanced argument thus:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism

However this is probably not an accepted definition. The idea that feminism = equality is another interesting argument. In general the male has much superiority over the female, but I think that their argument is that they do have a number of advantages (which they exploit). It would seem however that these females are winning, and this is something to ponder on. Clearly there is some link between the American notion of Liberalism and the apparent winning streak that the females appear to be on at the present time. If the females win then they must be superior? Just as in a race.

The other argument presented here is that the authority of God results in a different set of choices than would occur with the progressive denial of God. So the idea here is that people should deal with their own race and not be associated with some God. I think that the Christians have dodged this argument by declaring Jesus Christ as God thus a human who is also a God (which is sneaky). Science has the Atomic Bomb while Jehovah has fire from the sky. fschmidt has suggested in the past that Moses invented Jehovah but for this to work Moses would also have needed to invent petrol. Now I would suggest that Jehovah as a local God (of the Earth) may in fact exist - truthfully... but even so why would I delegate to a God instead of a human leader. Why trust God?... if it's useful, if it's smarter, if it's right, if it gives you an edge, but if not then don't. The Jews have not conquered the world despite their God.

So given the CoAlpha arguments could it be suggested that Liberalism is a religion rather in the sense of Buddhism, and that this appears to be a very popular religion. So perhaps the Feminists are the priestesses of the Liberalist religion. 'Priestesses often lead liberation movements.' from:
http://www.suppressedhistories.net/articles/priestesses.html

An interesting link that I'm still studying.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

fschmidt
Administrator
Yes both classic liberalism and progressivism contributed to the plague of feminism.  An example of classic liberalism doing this is John Stuart Mill's "The Subjection of Women".

The idea that feminism = equality is no more interesting than the idea that North Korea = The Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  Both are nonsense.  Feminism is a slut power movement.  Women in general do not win as result of feminism.  The real winners are stupid immoral omega men.  Women are actually better off under patriarchy.

I don't understand your paragraph about God.  As for the utility of God, all recent successful Western cultures (Christian and Islamic) were based on a religion of God, which would indicate that God has substantial utility.

Even though feminism is a core part of modern liberalism, women do not play a major part in the leadership of liberalism.  Liberalism is overwhelming dominated by immoral men.  For example, the Virgin Mary plays a greater role in Christianity than any woman plays in Liberalism.  Liberalism promotes feminism because sluts benefit immoral men.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

ShaunS
I thank you for your reply.

"Feminism IS equality." cammib:
http://caamib.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/a-message-to-anti-feminists/

It's interesting because it's caamib's idea and he's one of your CoAlphas. Given the argument below (The Subjection of Women) where I am quoting the line referring to equality - perhaps caamib is right and the argument is not nonsense as you suggest?

There is a Wikipedia article on "The Subjection of Women" here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Subjection_of_Women

I would quote from there: '... [T]he legal subordination of one sex to another – is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a system of perfect equality, admitting no power and privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other.'

This is one of those phrases that sounds good, much like descriptions of Communism. You are correct when you say that "Women are actually better off under patriarchy.". So there is a big difference between theory and practice. Just as Communism sounds good but doesn't work in practice the same may well be true here. The problem though is that it does sound good but if it's wrong a significant effort would be required to argue against such a point.

If Liberalism is dominated by immoral men, can you say that these men are the stupid immoral omega men that are the real winners. I'm not trying to twist it in any way. Clearly you identify two enemies. On the one hand the 'immoral men dominating liberalism', on the other the 'feminists' that they are promoting. The question then is this: Are the 'immoral men dominating liberalism' the 'stupid immoral omega men' or do you have a third enemy here?

Please forgive my ignorance the problem appears less severe in the UK which is fairly multicultural. We take the view that American women are well known for being arrogant. I have noticed that there are feminists that reject liberalism, so it's a fairly confused picture.

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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

caamib
Shaun troll  - you are either too stupid to understand my essay or purposely trying to confuse people here.

I wrote that sentence in the context that feminism is widely seen to be promoting equality.

For example, it is as if I told these "Take America back" fools who don't want a partition of the USA and still believe that they could "take America back" that Obama is America - not really true now nor will it ever be completely true and if we take what I consider a real America (up to around 1960) totally  insane. But it's  currently getting there with the demographics.

In that essay I also call feminism other things, like a movement to destroy men.
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

fschmidt
Administrator
In reply to this post by ShaunS
There is no conflict between cammib's post and mine.  cammib's point is that saying that one supports equality is equivalent to feminism, which makes many MRAs effectively feminism.  And this is because of the fact that equality of the sexes is simply nonsense and supporting the same kind of nonsense that feminism supports makes one a feminist.  This doesn't change what feminism actually is, a slut power movement.  Talking about equality of the sexes is like talking about equality of cats and dogs.  Cats and dogs are different and supporting the equality of cats and dogs only proves that you are idiot, not that the equality of cats and dogs is a meaningful thing.

There is actually no need or even point to argue against feminism.  Feminist societies will simply fail on their own.  One just needs to support non-feminist cultures/religions.

I am not identifying multiple enemies.  The enemy is simply modern culture which has various subgroups.  Liberals are the intellectual leaders of modern culture.  They are immoral but not stupid.  Feminism is just that aspect of modern culture that supports sluttiness.  The stupid immoral omega men are the biggest beneficiaries of modern culture and they generally support modern culture but are not very active politically or intellectually.  They focus on getting laid and causing trouble.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What is Liberalism? (or a history of Western thought)

caamib
fschmidt wrote
There is no conflict between cammib's post and mine.  cammib's point is that saying that one supports equality is equivalent to feminism, which makes many MRAs effectively feminism.
Well, not exactly...

It is more about how feminism today is viewed as equality. There are some feminists who are completely egalitarian but most are still very anti-egalitarian and misandric.

Of course, I agree that there can be no equality biologically.

That whole post is actually a message to de facto egalitarians, no matter how they call themselves, that they're being naive, though.
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