It is time to utterly stomp the canard that both the left and right have an equally compelling world-view and record. For anyone with even a modicum of honesty, knowledge and observational faculty has deduced that modern Liberalism is a paper tiger which has utterly failed in every actual historic application. Further, the more modern liberal theory is applied, the worse the failure.
Consider along these lines the spectacular failures of the USSR, Cuba, China’s communist regime, North Korea, etc. In fact, there is no country which committed itself to a major socialist or communist makeover that did not thereafter implode. Further, when Liberalism is applied to other areas of inquiry, the outcome is equally bad—such as so called “family planning,” etc. So if liberalism is failure incarnate, why the perpetual slavering supplication of its blind, deaf and dumb followers? Therein lies the mystery.
The problem of identifying liberalism is both linguistic and historical. The term liberal was used up until about a hundred years ago to describe the world-view of the Founders and other chief Enlightenment figures committed to Liberty like John Locke. It is, in brief, a spirited defense of Life, Liberty and Property and an opposition to an all-encompassing state. As socialists and Marxists strove to be taken more seriously, they fell upon the strategy of re-branding their movement. Banished were references to collectivism and other totalitarian theories, and in the place of these leftists began to refer to themselves as “Liberals.”
Of course this change created much confusion. Ralph Raico discusses this in Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School, where he claims the confusing change was a leftist hoax perpetrated by such writers as John Stewart Mill. Raico explains this change in an article titled What Is Classical Liberalism?:
“Classical liberalism” is the ideology advocating private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade. Till 1900, this ideology was known simply as liberalism. The preface “classical” is now necessary since liberalism has become associated with wide-ranging interferences with private property and the market on behalf of egalitarian goals. This version of liberalism is sometimes designated as “social,” or (erroneously) “modern” or the “new,” liberalism.
Today’s liberalism connotes a radically different scheme from the classical variety. Liberalism, in its current modern sense, embodies several main facets most closely associated with socialism and Marxism. First, individual rights are best subsumed and extinguished under the state’s rights. Second, private property is sacrificed for the good of “the People.” Third, religious expression in public forums is discouraged as anti-theistic naturalism takes its place. Fourth, collectivist social enterprises are encouraged. Fifth, humanism as a broad philosophical stream replaces tradition and religious expression. In essence, modern liberalism is almost indistinguishable from totalitarian collectivism.
Alasdair McIntyre, in his acclaimed After Virtue suggests one of the chief defects of the modern age is its ala carte approach to belief systems. He posits pitting Aristotle against Frederich Nietzsche, or Aristotle’s Philosophy of Virtues against Nietzsche’s Will to Power—his bent for control without any principle. Whether one accepts McIntyre’s conclusions, we must accept that our modern world is hopelessly confused regarding belief systems. This can be explained by examining how the Christian world-view that once dominated the West has shriveled down, allowing Liberalism, which lacks a true core, to expand.
To put the problem into its most elementary form, on one side you have the Ten Commandments, which allow no violations. On the other side is any number of humanistic tracts which have no core set of rules. Therefore, anything is possible under a humanistic regime. Or, as Dostyevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov: “Without God and the future life? It means everything is permitted now, one can do anything.”
The most trenchant and undeniable characteristic of socialism is its record of failure. Examples abound to prove this point.
State liberalism is everywhere characterized by high tax regimes, government-influenced economies, welfare state bureaucracy and high unemployment. Europe, in its current slow-motion collapse, perfectly displays these particular issues. The Guardian sums up the problem, listing Government debt, Deficits, Continuing recession, and Unemployment as essential problems, all related to poor policy. The crisis in Europe is simply an expose’ of the failures of socialism. Productive workers do not want to toil so that healthy persons can exist on welfare. Further, cuts in work hours and increased vacation periods only add to the problem. And the high taxes needed to fund a welfare state sap the spending power of workers and block private investment. With over 11% unemployment in Europe, and Spain at 25% with Greece at 22%, no wonder their house of cards is falling. As one writer at First Things says,
Prior to the great crisis of 2007, the governments of the European Community (according to its official statistical service Eurostat) spent 47% of GDP, against 19% for the US federal government. In 2009, government spending as a share of GDP rose to 51% in Europe, and to 36% in the US with the Obama stimulus plan.
Political liberalism is every bit as noxious as as any other kind. Political Liberalism represents the keeping of power at the cost of every other societal good. This is because in Liberalism, there is no higher good than power itself. A classic example is how Joe Stalin kept power in the USSR by blaming others for his own mistakes—continually murdering anyone whom he deemed a threat. As one writer states,
When Stalin collectivized the peasant farmers, they were utterly demoralized. By 1932, more than 12 million of them had flooded Russian cities, hoping to flee the oppressive realities of collectivization and “dekulakization.” Their influx into the cities threatened to destabilize the rationing system that Stalin instituted in 1929. The number of people holding ration cards grew from 26 million in 1929 to nearly 40 million in 1932.
As a Marxist, Stalin would not consider, even for a moment, that the socialization of agriculture was itself responsible for the decreased productivity of Russian farms and factories. Instead he identified the class enemy as the culprit, and increased the purges of those accused of trying to “sabotage” his socialist plans. In particular, he condemned the kulaks and “kulak helpers,” mass numbers of whom he ordered his henchmen to execute, sentence to slave labor camps in Siberia, or otherwise deport to remote regions of the country. It was the camps that Stalin created for this purpose—the infamous Gulag archipelago—that inspired Hitler to create concentration camps for the Jews.
Stalin might seem an extreme example, and yet he was simply following leftism, much like Mao and Lenin, as well—who all revered Karl Marx, godfather of today’s liberalism.
Liberalism as a sociological “scientific” concern has failed spectacularly, according to the NY Times:
It’s an open secret in my discipline: in terms of accurate political predictions (the field’s benchmark for what counts as science), my colleagues have failed spectacularly and wasted colossal amounts of time and money. The most obvious example may be political scientists’ insistence, during the cold war, that the Soviet Union would persist as a nuclear threat to the United States. In 1993, in the journal International Security, for example, the cold war historian John Lewis Gaddis wrote that the demise of the Soviet Union was “of such importance that no approach to the study of international relations claiming both foresight and competence should have failed to see it coming.” And yet, he noted, “None actually did so.”
The reputation of “science” itself has been wildly undermined by liberalism so eager to be constantly proved right against its “enemies.” A prominent recent example has been the failure of “science” to accurately portray Global Warming. In fact, the godfather of Global Warming doomsday warnings himself has recently changed his tune. After several remarkable warming hoaxes have been revealed, one site reports:
So no science can prove what isn’t happening. The NY Times reported on a scientist who lied to get into the mailing list of an anti-Global Warming group so he could then spread the “truth” about them: Scientist Is Reinstated After Deceit.
A scientist who posed as a board member of a conservative organization to gain access to its confidential information has been reinstated as president of the Pacific Institute, the environmental research organization that he founded in California. An independent inquiry had confirmed the account offered by the scientist, Peter Gleick, of the false pretenses under which he obtained documents of the Heartland Institute in Feb.
Needless to say, true theories don’t need “scientists” who lie to “prove” them accurate.
Liberal Malthusian “family planning” policy has absolutely destroyed individuals and families in the West. For example, abortion has kept 55 million more Americans from being born and caused tens of trillions in lost tax revenue for the US. The NY Times reports about China’s vicious forced abortion policy in early 2012:
Graphic photos posted on the Internet showed a 23-year-old woman named Feng Jianmei lying in a hospital bed with the remains of the fetus, soaked in blood. The story received widespread attention online, and a few days ago it was the most popular topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter.
The woman’s husband said family planning officials in Shaanxi Province forced his wife to abort her second child after the couple were told that they had violated the nation’s one-child policy.
The couple had been ordered to pay a $6,300 fine if they wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy. When they failed to pay, Ms. Feng was beaten and given an injection that induced a late-term abortion, the couple said.
Further, liberalized policies on sex and single parenthood are tearing society asunder. The NY Times reports over 50% of children born to women 30 and under are to single mothers. This is the largest cause of poverty, according to experts, but just the tip of the iceberg according to statistics on fatherlessness:
The ongoing problem in America’s economy after the world’s great Keynesian spending proves that such programs always fail. Says Reason magazine:
The president’s 2009 stimulus program was a massively expensive bust. President Obama’s top economic advisor Larry Summers said funds must be “targeted” at resources idled by the recession, the interventions must be “temporary,” and they needed to “timely,” or injected quickly into the economy. None of that turned out to be true. “Even if you were to believe that government spending can trigger economic growth,” says Veronique de Rugy, “the money is never spent in a way that’s consistent with the conditions laid out by the Keynesians for it to be efficient.”
If Liberalism is “true” in some important sense, how can it possibly be the basis for such frequent and wholly unmitigated failure? This question answers itself.
Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. He was born on the West Coast, raised in Las Vegas, and matriculated from the University of Oregon. After laboring for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland, he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia, where he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government. He spent a stint working as a researcher and writer of academic articles at a Miami law school, focusing on ancient law and society. He has also been employed as a university Speech & Debate professor. He then returned West and worked as an assistant district attorney. Kelly is now is a private practitioner with a small law practice in New Mexico. Kelly is now host of a daily, Monday to Friday talk show at AM KOBE called AM Las Cruces w/Kelly O’Connell
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