A Liberalism Of Whores
The result will be a liberal crackup similar to the one in the late 1960s that broke liberalism as America’s dominant political force for a generation.
Morally and philosophically, liberalism believes in individual autonomy, which entails a concept of personal responsibility. The current model of anti-racism scoffs at this: It divides the world into racial identities, which in turn are governed by systems of privilege and powerlessness. Liberalism believes in process: A trial or contest is fair if standards are consistent and rules are equitable, irrespective of outcome. Anti-racism is determined to make a process achieve a desired outcome. Liberalism finds appeals to racial favoritism inherently suspect, even offensive. Anti-racism welcomes such favoritism, provided it’s in the name of righting past wrongs.
Above all, liberalism believes that truth tends to be many-shaded and complex. Anti-racism is a great simplifier. Good and evil. Black and white.
This is where the anti-racism narrative will profoundly alienate liberal-minded America, even as it entrenches itself in schools, universities, corporations and other institutions of American life.
Because in this era of with-us-or-against-us politics, to have misgivings about the left’s new “anti-racist” narrative is to run the risk of being denounced as a racist. Much better to nod along at your office’s diversity, equity and inclusion sessions than suggest that enforced political indoctrination should not become a staple of American workplace culture.
Next time, let’s not vote for candidates who say the right things against wokeness. Let’s vote for candidates who actually do serious things to fight it — especially if it ticks off Woke Capitalists.
I heard from a reader, who writes:
I think the key thing on contemporary breaks with liberalism is that it is abundantly clear most of the activist left has little use for the fundamental aspects of liberalism, including civil society, free speech, freedom of conscience, equal opportunity, and a whole host of particulars. Civil society can’t exist when you aren’t allowed to disagree, free speech is being significantly curtailed, freedom of conscience is just summarily dismissed as an excuse for bigotry, and equal opportunity is being scaled back in the name of racialism. You can call this a lot of things but it absolutely isn’t liberalism as it was understood by classical thinkers. If anything it is every bit as much of an emerging hybrid model as Hungary with a self-styled enlightened technocracy whose claims to fundamental rights look from the outside as cheap as those made by the communists. They are sticking with liberalism and the American constitution for branding purposes but really have little love for either and simply want to wear them as skin suits.
A classic work on this process is Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko’s The Demon In Democracy. In it, Legutko shows how in the postcommunist era, the mechanisms of liberal democracy in Europe have been used to achieve goals shared by Communism. As I wrote back in 2017, when rich, powerful, secular globalists have commandeered liberal democratic institutions and structures, and are using them to impose illiberal left-wing governance designed to destroy national traditions and religion, people have a right to fight back.
In our own country, consider what has happened in these past few weeks with proposed laws to protect female athletes from unfair competition by male-to-female transgendered athletes. In many states, they have been defeated by heavy lobbing from corporate America, and from the NCAA. These are undemocratic institutions who (therefore) do not answer to local people, but who are imposing their own cultural standards on those same people by threatening to punish them if they don’t surrender. This, even though Big Business has no material interest at all in whether or not Bobby-turned-Brianna can run girls track.
This is not liberalism as we have known it. When people stand up to it, we all get gaslighted by the left-wing media as being bigoted, or in some way illiberal. At some point, you’ve just got to quit giving a damn.
If you in the English-speaking world have heard anything at all about Hungary’s politics, it’s that Viktor Orban is a horrible monster of illiberalism, and that all decent people must despise him. Let me say up front that I don’t know enough about the political situation in Hungary to make any grand pronouncements about the Orban government. I have heard some things that disturb me about the way his party has governed, mostly about crony capitalism; I expect to learn more about this during my three-month stay here in Budapest. But I do know enough to tell you that if you are depending only on the Western media to tell you what’s going on in Hungary, you are being lied to and manipulated.
The other night at dinner, I was speaking to an American Jewish researcher who is here studying anti-Semitism. He repeated something he had been told by a local Jewish leader: that the allegations of anti-Semitism against the Orban government are nonsense. As far as I can tell, the allegations come entirely from the bitter clash Orban has had with the billionaire financier George Soros, who was born in Hungary, and who has dedicated much of his fortune to liberalizing Hungary and the other countries of the former Eastern bloc. Orban has certainly demonized Soros, who has returned the favor. Soros’s sympathizers in the Western media propagate the line that to criticize Soros is to be guilty of anti-Semitism. It is the same kind of rhetorical trick that the Left uses to silence criticism of race radicals.
A few years ago, I wrote about how Soros’s Open Society Foundation teamed up with the Obama-era USAID to translate Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals into the Macedonian language. They seeded the country with the destabilizing tract, in an effort to overturn support for the conservative, Orthodox government. USAID also sought to fight that country’s traditional Christian morality by sending money to fight for LGBT rights.
You might have thought that the US Agency for International Development was all about economic development. Wrong. Washington, in collaboration with Soros, funds culture-war mercenaries.
I will not defend this move, because my general stance is to oppose the closing of universities, period. But I won’t criticize it either, at least not without more information, because I know that the standard Western narrative holding Soros to be the innocent victim of the malign autocrat Orban is nonsense.
From Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe:
In October 2015 the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, criticised Soros publicly as one of a circle of activists who “support anything that weakens nation states.” Soros responded publicly to confirm that the numerous groups he was funding were indeed working for the ends described by Orban. In an email to Bloomberg, Soros said that it was his foundation which was seeking to “uphold European values,” while he accused Orban of trying to “undermine those values.” Soros went on to say of Orban: “His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle. Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.” The dialogues ceased before anyone could ask Soros how long those European values might last once Europe could be walked into by people from all over the world.
In his email to Bloomberg Business, Soros referred to this plan, which you can read in full on the Soros website (GeorgeSoros.com). Excerpt:
First, the EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future. And, to do that, it must share the burden fairly – a principle that a qualified majority finally established at last Wednesday’s summit.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has now also produced a six-point plan to address the crisis. But his plan, which subordinates the human rights of asylum-seekers and migrants to the security of borders, threatens to divide and destroy the EU by renouncing the values on which it was built and violating the laws that are supposed to govern it.
Orban was exactly right! Soros believes that borders are less important than moving a million “refugees” into Europe each year, indefinitely. This is not a secret. The globalist billionaire Soros is — was — funding a university in Budapest whose purpose is to radically undermine the political and cultural order of Hungary.
Three years later, having seen the damage that these malignant ideologies cultivated within American universities have done to my own country, I am more sympathetic to Orban’s plainly illiberal move. I would ask you to consider how you would feel if you were a citizen of this small European country, and you were watching powerful globalists and their sympathizers work towards the effective dissolution of national sovereignty — this, after your country emerged from forty years of vassalage at the hands of the occupying Soviet power — well, how would you feel? How are these countries supposed to defend themselves and their cultures? If liberal democracy is a cultural suicide pact, then it’s going to be a hard sell.
George Soros has given $32 billion of his own fortune to support his Open Societies Foundations. Open borders, gender ideology — if it advances a progressive social agenda, Soros billions are going to fund it. One of their causes is the legalization of prostitution. Here, Team Soros explains why it supports this.
But you have to wonder…
Nambla leftism at it’s finest. pic.twitter.com/CC6BwEyxTW
— Aimee Terese (@aimeeterese) April 27, 2021
This is what George Soros is about. It’s not the only thing he’s about — some of what the Open Society Foundations do is unobjectionable — but you should understand that neither he nor his NGOs has the best interests of anyone who cares about national sovereignty, traditional religion and morality, or cultural conservatism at heart.
Why does it matter so much to this old man to propagandize the world to legalize people selling their bodies into prostitution? Seriously, will our world be better if more people are encouraged to buy and sell their bodies? This is madness. Here is a link to a short, NSFW Vimeo presentation on “Objects Of Desire,” a Soros-supported Berlin exhibition designed to normalize and celebrate prostitution. Like I said, it’s not safe for work, but I hope you will watch it at some point, to grasp just how perverted all this is. Now consider that one of the richest men in the world is putting his fortune behind this stuff. And consider how it is connected to his other obsessions, including migration. At one point in this creepy five-minute film, a narrator says that the stories of “sex workers” in Berlin are also “stories of migration” that showcase the “dynamic community.”
This is the kind of progressive globalist oligarch that Orban and others like him are up against. You don’t have to take the side of illiberal rightists like Orban to recognize that the Western public is not getting the full story about the conflict here.
Yet the question before us American conservatives is this: can liberalism be redeemed? That is, can we retreat from left-wing illiberalism and rebalance towards the center? If not, where does that leave us? If we have to choose between left-wing illiberalism and right-wing illiberalism, then that’s no choice at all, is it?
If liberalism can be saved, then right-liberals like Bret Stephens, David French, and David Brooks, and their left-liberal counterparts, had better raise their voices loudly against left-wing illiberalism (as Stephens has done in his column today). Left-wing illiberalism is well-funded, weaponized decadence. It controls all the cultural and institutional high ground in America today. It is probably the case that, as David Rieff has said, the liberal democratic order is coming to an end; the cultural consensus that made liberal democracy possible has come to an end, so we shouldn’t be surprised. As Stephens points out, there is nothing at all liberal about woke racialism. If people come to believe that the only way they can defend themselves against this decadent illiberalism being forced on them by powerful financial, media, and cultural interests is by voting for illiberal right-wing candidates, they certainly will. It is critically important to reject the self-serving media narrative that the conflict is between liberal democracy supported by the Left, and illiberal democracy supported by the Right. Where is the liberal democracy of the Left? It has been consumed by Wokeness; Bret Stephens’s column tells one part of that story.
But Ross Douthat’s column this past Sunday tells a more troubling part of that story. Excerpt:
On the center and the liberal center-right, meanwhile, there’s a sense that the way out of this mess is for decent conservatives to recommit to the liberal order — “to organize and draw a bright line between themselves and the illiberals on their own side,” as my colleague David Brooks put it this week.
But that might not be enough. In the end, conservatives need to believe the things they love can flourish within the liberal order, and it isn’t irrational to turn reactionary if things you thought you were conserving fall away.
If liberalism means that the things cultural conservatives value most cannot flourish in the so-called liberal order, then why should we be loyal to it? As socially and religiously conservative Americans come to realize how weak we are within the current order, and how vulnerable to being rolled over by powerful progressive forces aligned with capital, media, academia, and the professions (e.g., law, medicine), well, perhaps we will begin to understand why Hungarians turned to Viktor Orban.
In that respect, I find it fascinating to come to the former Eastern Europe, talk to people, and realize how poorly served we Americans are by the journalists on whom we depend to explain this part of the world to us. If the only thing you knew about Hungary was what you read in our papers, you would think it’s a country of growly anti-Semites who hate immigrants and love autocracy. But then, we are poorly served by the ideologically blinded journalists on whom we depend to explain our own country to us, so I guess it should be no surprise.
UPDATE: A reader writes with a depressing analysis that’s probably true:
In your blog entry “A Liberalism Of Whores,” you write:Well, let’s hope. What has yet to happen is enough people willing to risk professional or social martyrdom to refuse to live by these abusive lies. We need for Havel’s greengrocers. Until then, though, we can still count on the secrecy of the voting booth. If the Republicans can manage to produce non-crazy antiwoke candidates, they will be swept into office in 2022. Many people will be happy to vote against their bosses, who are forcing wokeness on them.You’ve been right about most things, but I’m afraid you’re wrong on this. America’s a long ways off from reaching a point where we see Wokeness as a serious problem and are willing to actively resist it.Consider this image from France over the weekend:
Protest in Paris for #SarahHalimi who was brutally murdered in an antisemitic attack. Her killer chanted verses from the Quran during the attack but he won’t be held criminally responsible cause he was high on marijuana & going through a “delirious episode”. pic.twitter.com/bCDTdYVeYD
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) April 25, 2021
Instead of BLM protests in favor of criminals, these people are protesting the fact a jihadist won’t even be put on trial because he was high on marijuana when he murdered a Jewish woman. Support for the right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen is very real and I’m beginning to believe the French people would very much support the military coup the 20 retired generals effectively threatened recently in favor of the status quo.
When was the last time you saw a protest like this in the U.S.? Mind you, these people aren’t protesting in favor of gun rights – they’re protesting in favor of the rule of law. So were those 20 retired French generals. In America, terms like “rule of law” and “law and order” are considered dog whistles for racism and White supremacy. You’re a terrible person for suggesting that law and order is being undermined in America, despite all evidence suggesting that’s exactly what’s happening.Then there’s this:
Twenty years later and it is no longer unusual to discover young people who vote for Le Pen’s daughter, Marine. A poll this month revealed that 29 per cent of 25 to 34 year-olds intend to vote for her party, an increase of 6 per cent on those who backed her at the 2017 election. According to the poll, only 20 per cent of this demographic will vote for Emmanuel Macron, a drop of 9 per cent from the election four years ago. In contrast, the 18-24 age group are more supportive of Macron (29 per cent) and less enamoured of Marine Le Pen (20 per cent).
There are several reasons to explain this discrepancy. This younger generation are more ‘woke’ than their elders, and identity politics has taken root in French universities only recently. They have also been less exposed to Islamic terrorism than the 25 to 34 age group, who saw their friends slaughtered in 2015 and 2016. They were on the frontline of the ‘war’ with Islamic extremism, and they are also disillusioned economically with a president who came to power promising much but who has delivered little in the last four years.
So France has had some special providence in that Wokeism arrived pretty late compared to the U.S. This means that young French aren’t subsumed into a cult the same way American Millennials (and, now, Gen. Z) have become, thanks to our public education system, high levels of university attendance and the influence of popular culture and social media. It’s also worth mentioning that Le Pen has strong support among women voters. How popular is conservatism and right-wing politics, in general, among women in the U.S.?The role that women and young people play in this cannot be understated. If the last four years have proven anything, it’s that you cannot sustain a political movement with only the support of older people, males, and Whites. In France, Le Pen has a real shot at winning the presidency next year because France is a straight popular vote. If not for the electoral college, Trump wouldn’t have won in 2016. We cannot forget that – conservatism and right-wing politics is unpopular in the U.S. Then there’s the issue of Trump’s own unpopularity and the fact people will vote against any Republican simply because of their distaste for Trump and their hope of avoiding more candidates like him coming into office.You mentioned the transgenders in women’s sports issue. Where’s the critical mass of women who are against this? I see one or two here and there willing to speak out on this. That’s it. The fact of the matter is, most women would rather remain silent, not just because they’re afraid, but because they actually believe, contrary to what you might think, that it’s the right thing to do. I think this is something you miss – Wokeism is more entrenched in our society than you believe. Folks really believe in this stuff. Eric Weinstein, a classical liberal, has been sounding the alarm about this for a while now and Rose McGowan, in a surprising appearance on Fox News yesterday, said the same thing – Democrats and people with left-wing views (the majority of Americans and an overwhelming majority of women and young Americans) are in a cult and have no idea why they think the way they do except for the fact they’ve been told to. And how easy can you break someone out of a cult?So I’ll believe it when I see it. When I see women and young Americans start to vote in favor of conservatives and right-wing candidates, I’ll start to harbor some hope that we can turn this ship around. But in the results of last year’s general election were any indication, we’re a long ways away from that.