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Friday, April 09, 2010



Are you mocking anything and everything remotely liberal? After all, liberalism allows people of color to mix with whites. Liberalism allows women a place in public life. Liberalism shows concern for the environment. Are you issuing a wholesale condemnation of liberalism and thus everything associated with liberalism?

Aren't cultural traditionalists capable of being snobbish? Aren't they capable of arrogantly clinging to traditions so much that they shut down development or any slight change? Haven't they forced people to march in lock-step?


"one of the great achievements of the modern age: the integration of women in the workforce and public life. In America, 50 million women work full time; in the European Union that number is 68 million. Within most mainline Protestant denominations, these battles over the professionalization of women were fought—and lost—half a century ago. In Denmark, Lutheran women were granted ordination rights in 1948; in the U.S., the first female Episcopalian priest was ordained in 1976."

Call me sexist, but THIS is a great achievement, taking both parents out of the home? So our level of affluence can escalate to the point that our taxes can subsidize everything, and we can all find our way to Disney World?

Also, many mainline denominations have only had female clergy since 1976? Rate of change is amazing.

Carl E. Olson

Brian: My short answer is, "No, I'm not mocking anything and everything remotely 'liberal'." There are many different things meant by "liberal" or "liberalism," and I am critical of a particular sort--a sort that is, alas, rather dominate today. (I am, in my post above, mocking and criticizing blatant stupidity and chronological snobbery, which I would hope is obvious.) I recommend you read my interview with James Kalb, author of The Tyranny of Liberalism. Here is one of the pertinent sections of that interview:

Ignatius Insight: You spend quite a bit of time, understandably, in the book defining liberalism and variations thereof. For the sake of clarity, what is a relatively concise definition of the liberalism you critique? What are its core principles and beliefs?

James Kalb: By liberalism I mean the view that equal freedom is the highest political, social, and moral principle. The big goal is to be able to do and get what we want, as much and as equally as possible.

That view comes from the view that transcendent standards don't exist--or what amounts to the same thing, that they aren't publicly knowable. That leaves desire as the standard for action, along with logic and knowledge of how to get what we want.

Desires are all equally desires, so they all equally deserve satisfaction. Nothing is exempt from the system, so everything becomes a resource to be used for our purposes. The end result is an overall project of reconstructing social life to make it a rational system for maximum equal preference satisfaction.

That's what liberalism is now, and everything else has to give way to it. For example, traditional ties like family and inherited culture aren't egalitarian or hedonistic or technologically rational. They have their own concerns. So they have to be done away with or turned into private hobbies that people can take or leave as they like. Anything else would violate freedom and equality.

Entire interview here.

David Werling

Brian wrote: "Aren't cultural traditionalists capable of being snobbish?"

Not as snobbish or elitist as the run of the mill liberal. Have you ever had the displeasure of dining with University professors? Such an encounter is as perfectly snobbish as it is perfectly tedious, and there isn't a traditionalist comment brooked.

Brian wrote: "Aren't they capable of arrogantly clinging to traditions so much that they shut down development or any slight change?"

Traditionalists are more capable of adapting to change, even being a catalyst for change, because they work from a stable framework, are grounded, and can make far better objective distinctions. Liberals, who basically posit that everything is essentially equal, are incapable of choosing one thing or course of action as better than another. It is the liberal that forces the world into a static mold by an ideology that denies degrees of perfection in reality. Think of the lunacy of the Marxist dialectic that ends not with dynamism, but with a static Utopian society incapable of development or creativity. Marxism is a liberal notion that fails because its goal is unnatural and inhuman.

Brian wrote: "Haven't they forced people to march in lock-step?"

Perhaps you are forgetting, or didn't realize, or were never taught, that those who walked in goosestep in the 20th century, be they German or Russian, were liberals, not traditionalists. It was the liberals, the German National Socialists (NAZI) and the Russian Bolsheviks who were responsible for the greatest atrocities of the 20th century, NOT the traditionalists. In fact, the liberals of NAZI Germany targeted distinctively traditionalist religions, cultures and ethnicities (Jews, Catholics, and Slavs).

Brain you are way off the mark. Your comment reveals a profound ignorance of liberalism and traditionalism.


The Nazis promoted social conservatism. They promoted themselves as enemies of liberalism. Hitler boasted of turning back the tide of liberalism. Fascism is distinctly anti-liberal.

The Taliban forces people to march in lock-step. Iran's government forces people to march in lock-step. The Ku Klux Klan undoubtedly intends to force people to march in lock-step and already tried to do so in the 1920s.

I appreciate the dialog.

David Werling

I never mentioned "social conservativism". I'm using the term "traditionalism", which is very different.

The NAZIs where by no stretch of the imagination traditionalists. They were socialists, leftists, and liberals. In what universe is killing off the disabled traditionalism (or for that matter, social conservatism)? It would seem that it is the self-avowed liberals of our day who are in favor of exterminating unwanted unborn children, and those unborn children who suffer from Down's Syndrome. Find me a traditionalists who favors that kind of filth? Find me the traditionalists who are in favor of work camps, gulags or concentration camps?

No matter how much liberal bloggers want it to be otherwise, no matter how many posts they throw up on their blogs, they can not change history or reality. Socialism is a product of liberalism, and NAZIs and Bolsheviks are both, without question, socialists. Socialism is as opposed to traditionalism as Satan is to God.

Fascism is something different, but it too is a product of liberalism. It arose in the 20th century because Giuseppe Garibaldi violently threw off tradition. It's history, and it's hard to re-write history when people are starting to pay attention to the liberal propaganda peddlers.

David Werling

Neither the Taliban or the current regime in Iran are traditionalists. Both are a form of despotism steeped in the errors of Islam, which denies the rationality of reality, nature and divine volition. As such they have more in common with liberals than traditionalists. I would have thought that someone posting at Ignatius Insight would realize that readers here would be approaching topics as Christians.

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