Traditionalist Conservatism Forum
    > Traditionalist Conservatism
        > Illiberalism and totalitarianism revisited
New Topic    Add Reply

<< Prev Topic | Next Topic >>
Author Comment
Registered User
(2/8/02 7:35 pm)
Illiberalism and totalitarianism revisited
Mr. Kalb, I've been reading through some of the old posts here, as well as your writings, and on many things we agree. However, on the subject of illiberalism and the intentions of illiberals, we perhaps do not. Thus, I'm interested in your reaction to the following:

Your position would seem to be that illiberals believe in equality of freedom and whatnot as first principles of their "science," and that these are the ideals they act in defense of. Yet my own sense is that they don't act for the sake of these things, but rather for the sake of something else: power (this can be seen, for example, in the many contradictions they are willing to entertain in their doctrine). That is to say, they don't seek "equality of freedom" because they necessarily see it as a good in itself, but rather because the condition it promotes among the people is conducive to their real end: totalitarian rule and global domination.

To put it another way, many seem willing to grant "good faith" waivers to illiberals on the ground that they believe they're honestly, if tragically, mistaken in their views. However, there is also the possibility that those who grant them such waivers are themselves deceived and that the illiberals' true aims are not at all what they publicly declare them to be.

How would you respond?

(2/9/02 8:42 am)
Re: Illiberalism and totalitarianism revisited
Basically, I think that liberalism is radically incoherent so contradictory theories about it can be equally valid. It's libertine and moralistic, anarchistic and totalitarian, tolerant and extirpationist, skeptical and self-certain, totally logical and totally insane.

That said, the question is how to present objections to it. It seems to me many people are drawn to it on account of what seems its good side. Those are people I want to talk to, so I have to take the initial good-faith appeal of liberalism seriously.

As to the actual motives of liberals, who knows? Motives are almost always mixed, and people deceive even themselves. For what it's worth, it seems to me that John Rawls is sincere, Ronald Dworkin not sincere, and Tony Lewis a nasty little bigot.

Jim Kalb and

<< Prev Topic | Next Topic >>

Add Reply

Topic Control Image Topic Commands
Click to receive email notification of replies Click to receive email notification of replies
Click to stop receiving email notification of replies Click to stop receiving email notification of replies
jump to:

- Traditionalist Conservatism Forum - Traditionalist Conservatism - On to Restoration! -

Upgrade your account to ezSupporter......and never see another ad or pop-up again

Powered By ezboard® Ver. 7.3u
Copyright ©1999-2003 ezboard, Inc.