A drum-roll announces the Communist Manifesto : Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa…. a ghost is stalking Europe, the ghost of Communism…. The opening line of the Introduction, written in 1847, might better and more prophetically have referred to an implacable Poltergeist rather than a ghost, since it has in the intervening years contributed to the production of vast amounts of rubble.
Apart from during Les Trente Glorieuses — the thirty years of growth and prosperity after the Second World War — Europe has never ceased to be haunted. Today, its live-in ghost is not Communism, but liberalism: a form of market-dictatorship, in which the proletariat buy rather than vote, consume, and tire easily. The inscription “Liberalism” arches over the entrance to the technocrats’ collegiate and very private Paradise.
Liberals believe — and demand the belief in others — that there is only one world, and indeed there is. The new instability in the climate and the ravages of global pollution attest to the unified physicality of the world. Instant communications, mass demographic movements, the amoral burgeoning of arms-sales, the adulation of trade for its own sake, and the struggle for hegemonic mastery — all confirm that the world is also one, politically: it is for all purposes, a single, fractious geopolitical entity.
So far so good, and for the consumer-liberals it gets even better: the world is also unified economically — as a machine that provides wealth for them and poverty for everyone else. But what keeps liberals from their sleep is the dogged refusal of ordinary people to accept the cataclysmic idea of social, cultural, and civilizational one-worldism: even when it is slyly re-laundered as Human Rights, and a new vocabulary invented to drive the scrum in the politically correct direction.
“It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that there must be a strong current of philistinism flowing alongside the virtue in liberal veins.”
Western liberals — are there any others? — willingly sacrifice their national identity in order to facilitate the free flow of undifferentiated, interchangeable humanity as cheap labour. Loss of national sovereignty is then no problem, because the compensating gain consists in a different and very personal sovereignty: their wealth. Because, as a consequence, social cohesion, high culture, Christianity, even Western civilization itself, are to be carelessly handed over to history’s eager appetite for destruction, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that there must be a strong current of philistinism flowing alongside the virtue in liberal veins. This is a charge so terrible that it almost certainly has never before spoken its name. The “ph-word”.
“Liberalism, like other political religions before it, is sown in the abstract and reaped in the real.”
Liberalism, like other political religions before it, is sown in the abstract and reaped in the real. It is close to meaningless to juggle the categories developed in the political and social sciences entirely within the walls of the academy. The practitioners of these disciplines suffer miserably from physics-envy, when they aren’t actually sliding into demagoguery. Liberalism is not just a set of ideas and policies that cleave to its famous “values”: the liberal portfolio must include the lived experience of the victims of liberalism, as well as of its beneficiaries.
Liberalism is adept at setting up semantic alibis based largely on Orwellian doublethink. Liberalism is not neo-liberalism, Islam is not islamism, and there is no traffic between the two; asylum rights are morally invariant with respect to the volume of claims; open borders are beneficial to all involved, and mass migration is a misnomer for “co-development”; Europe must atone for the colonial era by willing itself to be reverse-colonized; there is no migration crisis, only a political crisis over the distribution of refugees; liberal policies have no nett costs — people who oppose them are economic illiterates, social reactionaries, or Nazis.
“The liberal portfolio must include the lived experience of the victims of liberalism, as well as of its beneficiaries.”
All of these mendacious alibis lie within the portfolio of liberalism, but there is far more. There are in addition the realities of consequential social damage. There are the “territories lost to the (French) Republic” (⇒); the erosion of civic freedoms and freedom of speech; the loss of a sense of humour; the tyranny of noisy minorities; the endless petty incivilities and street crime; the impunity of delinquent youth; the no-go areas (⇒) where fire-fighters need police protection (even the police need police protection, but their resources are overwhelmed); the unmanageable and often threatening classrooms; the bowdlerization (⇒) of traditional art and drama; the “inclusive” gendering of speech and orthography; the tinkering with school menus; the removal of statues; the banishment of eponymous saints from the names of schools; the renaming of Christian festivals; in Britain, the police obsession with “hate crime” and their morbid fear of again being labelled “institutionally racist”; the politicization of the judiciary; the subversion of school curricula…. The list is open-ended, as new “minorities” form and “self-identify” as this or that group worthy of legally enforceable respect.
Should the holy tinnitus-inducing drone of liberal moralizing ever pause long enough for reflection, it would be well for the cicadas to remember one thing: no good deed ever goes unpunished.