The View From 1776

Liberal Egotism and Egoism

Liberal-socialism fosters a self-importance and self-centeredness that destroys civilization.

When a liberal-socialist looks into his mirror each morning, he is looking at his god. 

That is not the overstatement it might at first glance seem to be.  It simply reflects the fact that liberal-socialism is an atheistic doctrine that preaches the belief that everything in life is no more than the product of the rational human mind. 

Liberals repeatedly tell us that we must uproot ancient tradition, from abhorrence of abortion to distaste for same-sex marriage, because traditions have no special value.  The latest fads of social justice are all that count, they say, because these fads are the products of elite, liberal, socialist minds in Ivy League universities.

Someone who asserts that there is no God and no higher power than the human mind is therefore looking at the god of all he surveys when he looks at himself in the mirror.  It was in that vein that Auguste Comte proclaimed The Religion of Humanity, of which the object of veneration was the human race itself.

Welcome to the “me generation” of the 1960s and 1970s and to the principals, writers, and actors of media today, from TV and Hollywood to the New York Times editorial board. 

People who consider themselves to be the final arbiters of their own beliefs and conduct are, by definition, egoistic and egotistic:  they are self-centered and have very high opinions of themselves.  Theirs is an “in your face” indifference to standards of decency that aggressively forces crudity upon the public.  They delight in offending others, always claiming First Amendment rights to do so.  Whatever the other qualities of their self-proclaimed godlike minds, kindness and consideration for others are not among them.

This is not true of all liberals (see Who Are the Liberal-Socialists?).  Some liberals are among the nicest and most decent people you will ever meet.  But liberal-socialism tends inherently in that direction, and the majority of liberal-socialists go with the flow, as noted in Liberal-Socialism’s Group-Think Morality.

When people deliberately trample upon society’s standards of decency and make a consuming preoccupation of hedonism, believing that all forms of sensual gratification are good, civilization literally is unravelled.  The meaning of civilization is living in groups according to commonly accepted rules of conduct.  When everyone does as he pleases, without regard for others, there are no longer rules, and civilization cannot survive.  Even Abe Rosenthal, Editor in Chief of the New York Times in the 1980s, remembering more polite days in the Mecca of Hedonism, lamented the passing of the old way of life.

Discarding more than two and a half millennia of western civilization based on traditions of morality and civic virtue for a narrowly secular and aggressively anti-religious ideology, John Dewey?s liberal and pragmatic followers have, as Senator Moynihan observed, defined deviancy down. 

If we follow this worship of hedonism to its end point, we are back to the pre-civilizational savagery of Thomas Hobbes’s “Leviathan.”  Life in the state of nature, according to Hobbes, had been a war of all against all, everyone for himself, and life was nasty, brutish, and short.  Rather like inner-city life after rational, liberal minds created President Johnson’s Great Society welfare-entitlements programs.

This is the norm to be expected from the self-centered and self-important doctrine of liberalism.  We have only to look at the 20th century’s handiwork of liberal-socialism: the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, National Socialist Germany, and Maoist China.

Hobbes, defending the divine-right-of-kings theory in 1651, foreshadowed what was to come.  Arguing that, when society had degenerated into a state of licentiousness and anarchy, organized political society could be recreated only by a ruler strong enough to impose his will, by force of arms, upon the mob and thereby to institute law and order.  The law was to be whatever the ruler said it was.  Such a ruler might be arbitrary, but he was humanity?s greatest benefactor, Hobbes said, because life had been unbearably terrible before him. 

Liberals pride themselves that their hedonism and disregard for tradition is a modern, scientific view of the world, in contrast to the ignorant precepts of the Judeo-Christian religious heritage.  There is, however, nothing new about it.  In his dialog “Theaetetus,” written around 369 B. C., Plato focuses on just this issue.  He famously quotes Protagoras (481 - 411 B.C.) as having said, “Man is the measue of all things,” meaning that humans make up their own standards to suit themselves, that men are not bound by Ideal or Divine standards of morality.  I say marital infidelity and sexual promiscuity are bad; the liberal says they’re OK, and declares his view to be as valid as mine.

This is what the evolutionary gospel of Charles Darwin and the pragmatic amoralism of John Dewey are all about.  As Darwin’s champion Thomas Huxley said, there is no sin, just the struggle for survival. 

Such views are nothing more than Protagoras’s view amplified.  Protagoras’s “standard” is moral relativism.  For, if there is no God and no source of moral standards, then acceptable beliefs and acceptable conduct are whatever any individual thinks them to be; the individual’s rational mind is the only source of knowledge, under liberalism. 

Bill Clinton’s statement that it depends upon what the meaning of is is sums it nicely.  For liberal-socialism, there is no “is.”  There is only “becoming,” a continually shifting, evolving, rootless condition of life, in which the rational minds of liberal intellectuals make it up as they go along.