Responding to my post “Liberalism 101,” commenter “onecertain” is critical of my appraisal of liberalism. Here are his comments, which mostly consist of citing my main points and then responding to them. My responses to him are in bold.
If you’re interested in some feedback from an actual (more or less) liberal:
– just because beliefs cluster together in the current American political mind doesn’t mean they are necessarily coherent. For instance, conservatives have certain beliefs that occur together that are completely incoherent with each other (most glaring, a support for both Christianity and unbridled capitalism). [AR: Conservatives, being human beings, are not fully consistent. This does not mean that there is no such thing as conservatism] I’m sure that the current coalition identified as liberal has some similar contradictions. I can’t think of any off the top of my head right now, but certainly 20 years ago there was a weird mixture of both supporters of sexual freedom and feminist anti-porn crusaders.
1) Liberalism holds that the God of the Bible does not exist.
Well, duh. [AR: Here, onecertain identifies himself as our enemy, or at least our opponent. Also note that he concedes that I have accurately identified what is the main premise of contemporary liberalism.] Neither does philosophically sophisticated but conservative Christianity, from what I understand of it. [AR: “Philosophically sophisticated but conservative Christianity” rejects the God of the Bible? Not unless you define “Philosophically sophisticated but conservative Christianity” to mean “non-Christian,” an obvious absurdity.]
2) More generally, liberalism rejects Christian, Western and American tradition, and all traditional forms of authority such as fathers, clergymen and aristocrats.
Wait, what? Since when are aristocrats an American tradition? The American revolution was a revolution against aristocracy. (Well — they were something of a tradition in the South, which is one reason we had to fight a second war to finally get rid of them). [AR: Which is irrelevant to my point: liberalism rejects traditional authority.]
More generally, the point above is ridiculously broad. Anarchists reject all authority, but liberals are not anarchists.[AR: As I said, liberals reject traditional forms of authority] Who is probabably the most morally authoritative figure for contemporary liberalism? Martin Luther King Jr, a clergyman.[AR: King’s authority for liberals does not rest on his being a clergyman. It rests on his being black, and his calling for the implementation of liberal policies, chiefly the raising up of blacks. King is not a traditional authority.]
3) Therefore liberalism holds that contemporary man is the Supreme Being.
Liberals do not believe in the concept of a Supreme Being. [AR: They may not think of it in those terms, but in every system there must be a highest authority. That highest authority, for liberals, is man. What else could it be, since they do not acknowledge God’s authority?]
4) Liberalism must believe that man is naturally good, for otherwise, without a God to set things right, we have no hope.
Sorry, that’s total nonsense. [AR: That’s partly my fault for not clarifying my meaning. Naturally good does not mean automatically good. Man, according to the liberal, is most certainly naturally good in the sense that if he is placed in the proper environment, he will turn out good.] Nobody believes that, not even Rousseau (who is often wrongly attributed such silly views). Liberals believe that man is capable of both good and evil, because that is obviously the case. More significantly, they believe it is possible to change society in such a way as to encourage the expression of the good and discourage the opposite. That is perhaps the defining characteristic. [AR: That’s the liberal belief that since man is naturally good, when his true nature is allowed to develop, it will be good. But for the liberals, man’s true nature can only develop if liberal policies prevent conservatives, “fundamentalists,” racists, greedy corporations and so on from spoiling society.]
“Liberalism thus holds that all human societies up to those that currently exist have been deeply flawed, at the level of their basic premises, and accordingly liberalism pushes for a fundamental rethinking of every aspect of society and its ordering: laws, rules, customs, traditions, schools of thought, etc. All must be changed in order to remove from society every trace of the false ways of thought that have allegedly produced so much misery.”
You seem to be confusing liberalism with radicalism. They are far from identical and in fact are usually held to be opposites. [AR: Radicalism is liberalism in its pure form, and liberalism is radicalism tempered by common sense and common decency. As proof, observe that views currently held by garden-variety liberals, such as same-sex pseudo marriage and unlimited divorce and abortion, would have been viewed, correctly, as radicalism by previous generations of liberals.]
5) Liberalism leads to nominalism.
I suppose. [AR: So he concedes my point?]
6) Since there is no transcendent realm, we must all be radically free and radically nonjudgmental.
You don’t know many liberals, do you? One thing they are not is “radically nonjudgmental”. [AR: No, because only dead men can be radically judgmental, and because liberal nonjudgmentalism only extends to liberal causes. But liberals most certainly use nonjudgmentalism as a weapon to tear down the traditional order, as when they demand that we not judge homosexuals, fornicators, illegal aliens, those who sponge off welfare, cross dressers, and so on. And liberalism most certainly holds nonjudgmentalism as an ideal; the typical liberal identifies himself as nonjudgmental, as opposed to those Nazi-like conservatives.]
7) The imperative to change society leads to totalitarianism.
(you seem to have changed your voice here from what liberals believe to what you think their beliefs lead to. And you contradict the point you just made. And you don’t seem to understand what “totalitarianism” means any more than you understand what “liberal” means) [AR: Onecertain conveniently neglects to mention that I defined the totalitarianism that liberalism obviously leads to. Apparently he would rather not mention the persecutions for thoughtcrime, the judicial nullification of popular votes in such cases as Proposition 8, the strangling of small businesses who can’t afford to bribe the bureaucrats, the deliberate targeting of Christians and whites, and so on.]
Oh well that’s enough. I guess I should applaud your effort to understand those who differ from you, but you’ve created a laughable paper-mache caricature. [AR: It’s only a caricature if you ignore the massive evidence that it is correct, as onecertain does.]