The Sorts of Liberalism Are Attempted Implementations of Nominalism

If as nominalism supposes there are no objective universals, then there are no objective truths. Then there is no objective reality. There being no objective reality, there can then be no way that one man might understand or speak of reality more truthfully than another. So there can be no such thing as authority. Authority then is ipso facto null, and wherever asserted, is false and unjust. If authority is unjust per se, then justice might be possible only under conditions of anarchy, wherein each man rules his own life absolutely, and is free to make up his mind and shape his acts in whatever way he pleases.

Nominalism carried into practice then is liberalism: the thoroughgoing rejection of authority.

There are many sorts of liberalism: political, economic, grammatical, theological, liturgical, legal, sexual, aesthetic, gastronomical, cultural, architectural, academic, and so forth. All of them are subjects of discussion here, and at other orthospherean sites. All of them have in common the rejection of all authority other than the authority that imposes upon all men the requirement that they reject authority.

The project of authoritatively imposing the rejection of authority is of course incoherent. That doesn’t stop liberals from propagating liberalism. But it does stop liberalism from ever working.

28 thoughts on “The Sorts of Liberalism Are Attempted Implementations of Nominalism

  1. Pingback: The Sorts of Liberalism Are Attempted Implementations of Nominalism | @the_arv

  2. Pingback: The Sorts of Liberalism Are Attempted Implementations of Nominalism | Reaction Times

  3. Hence, the old joke:
    Atheist/materialist: “There are NO absolutes!”
    Interlocutor: “Are you sure?”
    Atheist/materialist: “Absolutely!”

  4. “If authority is unjust per se, then justice might be possible only under conditions of anarchy, wherein each man rules his own life absolutely, and is free to make up his mind and shape his acts in whatever way he pleases.”

    You have described among other things Rousseau’s savage. Under the influence of Berdyaev, whom I have been reading copiously of late, I am more convinced than ever that one should strive to understand things teleologically: A thing is essentially what it becomes. What has liberalism become? It has become the feces-splattered sidewalks of San Francisco; it has become the free-fire zone of Chicago; and it has become the bureaucratic nightmare of the regulatory dominion.

    Under the worship of Liber, all of life becomes a Bacchic frenzy.

    • Aye: the essential character of a thing is manifest in its final configuration.

      A bureaucratic nightmare enforcing public defecation: such is anarcho-tyranny.

      There was of course never any such thing as a society constituted of Rousseauvian savages, because anarchy is the zero of society, ergo of human reproduction. Had there ever been a population of such savages, it would have instantiated the Hobbesian war of all against all. But, since there never was such a thing, there never was either the Hobbesian war or the Rousseauvian paradise.

      This is not to say that there was never such a thing as paradise, mind.

      Men of the Right have often marveled to each other at how, whenever it has succeeded to power, the Revolution immediately begins a holiness spiral of frenzied scapegoating in which the Left devours its own children. Such holiness spirals never proceed to their implicit absurd reductio, for they soon become intolerable to hoi polloi: so is there always sooner or later a Cromwell or a Napoleon. But the logical terminus ad quem of unchecked liberalism is Hobbesian war.

      Liberalism markets itself as intending the Rousseauvian paradise; but it’s a bait and switch, for its true end is the mass death and human extinction mediated by that Hobbesian war.

      By their fruits shall ye know them. On that criterion, liberalism is essentially demonic.

      • In what sense were the French, the Russian and other communist revolutions marked with the liberal denial of authority?
        Denial of authority is peculiar to one strand of liberalism that may be called libertarianism. But libertarianism can not be identified with the various revolutions.
        And what about the American revolution? Again not marked with post-revolutionary violence though it had accepted Locke’s erroneous doctrines.

      • The French and Russian revolutions denied divine authority, from which denial all else follows. As for the absence of violence in the aftermath of the American Revolution, this descendent of colonial Tories must point out that his ancestors were forcibly ejected from a very nice property in the Hudson River Valley, and forced to live in Canada of all places. Shay’s Rebellion was violent, as was the Whiskey Rebellion. My ancestors were exiled because they resisted the revolution; the leaders of the two rebellions just mentioned were hung because they wanted to take the revolution farther.

      • An excellent introduction to the shocking abuses of the Tories at the hands of the Sons of Liberty – to what it was like to be a Tory in Revolutionary New England – can be gained from the novel Oliver Wiswell, by Kenneth Roberts. Like all his books, it is a great read that is also terrifically informative.

  5. I don’t think a consistent liberalism would accept the word “working” in the sense you use it here. If there is no telos, oughtness, or authority, then the broken-down wreck at the side of the road “works” just as well as the fine-tuned roadster zooming down the fast lane. The broken-down wreck does things (perhaps serves as a home to a porcupine), and whatever it happens to do is its work. If automobiles have no form, then every automobile works perfectly, simply by being itself.

    Of course actual and inconsistent liberalism runs on “problems” that it proposes to solve.

    • Yes.

      There is what liberal nominalism means by “working” and then there is real working. The logical incoherence of liberalism ensures that it cannot work in the latter, realistic and traditional sense. For liberalism, incoherence is not a problem, and so – as you say – a consistent liberalism would not accept that realistic sense of “working” that everyone – liberals included – deploys at every turn. But then, being incoherent, liberalism has no problem with inconsistency either …

      • Indeed. Logical coherence and consistency constrain power (by ordering it to proper ends, and so rendering it intelligent). Inconsistency removes that constraint. And that’s a rush. For a while.

        The palmary example of that rush is the immense spasm engendered by the liberalism of the sexual revolution, which deleted the constraints of law and traditional custom that had formerly ordered and domesticated sex to the purposes of civilization and prosperity. It seemed quite thrilling at first, but soon enough the insanity began to explode.

        Fortunately for the human species, social chaos gets old really fast. The intense pleasure of the first rush diminishes with habituation. The costs of liberality rise as the marginal returns thereto fall. And thanks to its deleterious feedback to reproductive success, liberalism sooner or later deletes itself.

      • I have long thought that the primary way in which liberalism remains relevant, in any given society for any amount of time, is by appealing to its youth and their youthful indiscretions. If there is any merit to the theory, then it would seem to mean that, at the end of the day and as the society becomes older, that society will ultimately reject liberalism as its ruling ideology. As medical science advances, and thus increases life expectancy (while at the same time severely inhibiting fertility), it seems that Liberalism would thus become less and less appealing to an aging population. But then again, I guess this is why euthanasia of the aged is increasingly becoming more and more accepted in modern Liberalism.

      • That’s interesting. So, liberalism burns itself out in (at least) two ways: by failing to reproduce, and by aging. Either way, it’s the triumph of common sense and harsh reality over youthful fantasy.

      • Yes. That is what my senses tell me. Not that Liberalism doesn’t necessarily have several generations left in it, mind you, but that, by its own principles, it cannot possibly outlast traditionalism. Liberalism has the strong upper-hand for the time being, but, I mean, how long shall it last?

      • What you are pointing to, Mr. Morris, is the “identity crisis” inherent to “youth” and the “self-annihilation” implicit to “youthful indiscretions.” It seems that near the same time of an emerging self-awareness is the real potential for “identity crisis.” And so “liberalism,” naturally para-sighting, targets efficaciously our children FOR self-annihilation, ie., perpetuating “identity crisis.”

        The mechanisms of perpetuation are “universal equality” (anti-white Supremacy) and anti-racism (hatred for our father(s)).

        Out children are having to gobble up this stuff everywhere they turn and a debilitating national “identity crisis” is the aggregate effect.

      • Thordaddy, do you mean by your numerous scare quotes to imply that the “identity crisis,” the “liberalism,” the “youthful indiscretions,” the “self-annihilation,” and the “universal equality” of which you speak are really no such thing? If not, you should rewrite your comment without them, for that is what they imply. As implying the falsity of these concepts, the scare quotes empty your comment of intelligible meaning. When on the other hand I overlook them, your meaning becomes clear.

      • Kristor…

        “Youth” and “youthful indiscretions” were simple instances of quoting Mr. Morris.

        “Identity crisis” and “self-annihilation” are real to you and I (yet, not necessary real to you AS liberalism), but not real to the radical autonomist.

        “Liberalism” in action is real to a liberal, yet, no longer real AS identity crisis —> self-annihilation.

        “Universal equality” is “real” to the radical autonomist and not real to a (S)upremacist.

        I hope this clarifies some things.

      • Thanks.

        It would be nice if quote marks were not so equivocal. We use them when quoting, and to indicate a spoken utterance, and to introduce and define terms, and to denote the specious use of a term, etc. A few more punctuation marks, each dedicated to only one of these usages, might be handy.

      • Kristor,

        This heavy use of quotes derived quite organically from the recognized attempt by radicals to introduce irreal “things” into the subconscious via a liberated language. To give the first and most concrete example:

        Gay man…

        “Gay man” is a nonexistent “entity” realized memetically by the perversion of our language.

        “Lesbian woman” is another fundamental example.

        Ten years or so later and these irreal “things” have exponentially proliferated.

        In a true r/evolution, one returns to the exact same starting position.

        Man IS NOT sexually attracted to males.

        And his woman is not sexually attracted to females.

        “Gay man” and “lesbian woman” do not exist.

        The Great Sortition, indeed.

  6. [W]herein each man rules his own life absolutely, and is free to make up his mind and shape his acts in whatever way he pleases. — Kristor

    And under such anarchic condition, man qua man is “terminable without consent.” Ergo, “liberalism” in action is self-annihilation.


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