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Whither liberalism?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:48 pm - May 25, 2012.
Filed under: Liberals,Random Thoughts

Liberalism“, writes Roger Simon today, “as an ideology is in its death throes. Only the power trip remains.”  Maybe that explains why the president is having trouble coming up with an agenda for his second term.

Roger reached his conclusion, in part, by observing the reluctance to all too many liberals to engage in serious debate:

Given that their ideology is dying, no wonder liberals no longer want to debate the issues.  They avoid serious discussion at every possible juncture, changing the conversation to putative racism, sexism, classism — anything but the proverbial elephant in the room, economic demise.

Read the whole thing.  Something to ponder.

Is Roger right to ask if liberalism is dead?



  1. Even if the (modern) liberal ideology is in its death throes, on its last legs, has been placed on suicide watch, is ready to cash out, or is ready for its ‘great reward’, it’s best to remember that its time is marked in decades, perhaps centuries, and we won’t be free of it’s scourge in any of our lifetimes, if ever.
    We must remain vigilant in guarding our liberties, and in promoting our conservative and libertarian philosophies, and arguing intelligently and passionately against an ideology that’s responsible for tens of millions of deaths in the past century.
    As Glenn Reynolds reminds us at Instapundit: “Don’t get cocky”.

    Comment by Jman1961 — May 25, 2012 @ 5:04 pm - May 25, 2012

  2. Yes, liberalism is all but dead. But that only refers to liberalism as it applies in a representative democracy. The leftist dream of statism and government control overshadowing “You the People” is far from dead. The Marxists are very much alive and well and still certain that they can make Utopia work in a state where the people are dutiful to the management of the social order by the elites.

    Liberals have so sullied their own name that they had to shift to being reborn as “progressives.” The “progressives” are doing a bang up job of sullying their new name and soon enough they will admit to being Marxists and then we will finally have an open and known orthodoxy to evaluate and debate.

    The point is that representative democracy is still the most liberal form of government. The leftists are reactionaries who want to wrest the sovereign power from the people and place it in the hands of the politburo or central committee or presidium of socialist union or whatever euphemism they coin to call their oligarchic club.

    Obama has so let the cat out of the bag about being anti-captialist that he is being abandoned in droves by “liberals” who were not in tune with the “fundamental transformation of America.”

    The slaves to liberal orthodoxy who ignored the lies and didn’t let the facts change their allegiance to the Democrat Party are suddenly awakening to the reality of how Obama is destroying the economy and the economic system of the country. They are openly and forcefully beginning to turn their backs on Obama.

    As I read the mood of the Democrat base, the cooler heads are cutting their ties with Obama and hunkering down for what may well be a huge Democrat Party loss in November. They would rather be on the sidelines than being part of the shellacking.

    The Democrat liberals are having a come to Jesus moment. Are they the liberals of a representative democracy or are they on board for a fundamental transformation of America to a Marxist state? It will be interesting to watch this whole thing unfold as Obama comes out of the convention attempting to soar into the campaign on rhetoric of highly managed endorsements that are laced with the inevitable damnation that comes from faint praise.

    Aside from being the man who shot bin Laden, he has nothing much to show for four years. It is darned hard to rally around the promise of getting a second four years off to a more productive start.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats are in mortal fear of the Supreme Court knocking down Obamacare. Nationalized health care has long been the crown jewel of the liberal, socialist agenda. They know that Obamacare is miserably flawed, a deficit ballooning nightmare and a crushing blow to unleash on a sick, anemic economy that is holding on by its fingernails. But, at the same time, to lose Obamacare is a huge nail in the liberal coffin.

    Comment by heliotrope — May 25, 2012 @ 6:29 pm - May 25, 2012

  3. “Aside from being the man who endorsed a CYA plan which authorized courageous Navy Seals to execute a military operation that ended in success when THEY shot bin Laden”

    Begging your forgiveness, Heliotrope. 🙂

    Comment by Jman1961 — May 25, 2012 @ 7:18 pm - May 25, 2012

  4. Liberalism is Communism; they are synonymous. Therefore, since they have exposed themselves–with the toxic ObamaCare, Porkulus, Dodd-Frank–with these naked power grabs. The nasty Communists are scurrying for the shadows since the light has been turned upon them. They can’t run. They can’t hide. Truth always out.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — May 25, 2012 @ 7:35 pm - May 25, 2012

  5. Excellent post, Heliotrope.

    Comment by Richard Bell — May 25, 2012 @ 7:52 pm - May 25, 2012

  6. Jman,

    Thanks. I thought for certain that I heard he did a stealth trip to Abbottabad, survived a helicopter crash, stormed the heavily fortified bunker and took the gun from bin Laden’s hands and shot him with it. He quickly scooped up super valuable computer drives and then spread his cape and laying a finger aside of his nose up the chimney he rose and out of sight and firmly landed in the situation room where he watched a few commercials and a delayed semi-simulcast of the Seals pretending to do the mission without him. That’s what I heard. From The Won, himself.

    Comment by heliotrope — May 25, 2012 @ 7:58 pm - May 25, 2012

  7. BTW, I think, that they would become an “oligarchic club” dawned on the original OWS crowd in the days since zuccotti park and they are trying to work out a solution to that problem. So they probably won’t be back.

    Comment by Richard Bell — May 25, 2012 @ 8:31 pm - May 25, 2012

  8. Left-liberalism (or Big Government, statism, socialism, fascism) is running into a wall: the laws of arithmetic. It has spent, taxed and borrowed Other People’s Money for eight decades, and now OPM is running out.

    The hard truth is that not everyone can retire at 47, or even deserves to. Because not everyone can ride the cart; when the cart has more riders than people pushing it, it stops working and society collapses.

    Still, an animal is most dangerous when in its death throes. Left-liberalism has the power, and wants to keep it. It is not dead yet. It is not going to give up power easily. It is not going to give up power, without taking the rest of us down with it. This is the phase where left-liberalism logically moves into ever-increasing dictatorship and regimentation, violence and deception.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 25, 2012 @ 8:41 pm - May 25, 2012

  9. ILC. You are so correct.
    In its death throes an animal is the most dangeous.

    Comment by John R — May 25, 2012 @ 9:47 pm - May 25, 2012

  10. The rider/cart imagery is very vivid. But, the cart has grown awfully huge with very few riders, and while there are some pushing. There are many who have stopped.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — May 25, 2012 @ 11:42 pm - May 25, 2012

  11. Very *many* riders, I should think; too many, expecting too much. And yes, many have stopped pushing… Atlas Shrugged.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 25, 2012 @ 11:44 pm - May 25, 2012

  12. Whither liberalism?

    Yes…I wish it would.

    Comment by AF_Vet — May 26, 2012 @ 12:34 am - May 26, 2012

  13. Some pulling and some pushing the Cart?
    More like “…Bring out your dead. Bring our your dead”

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — May 26, 2012 @ 3:23 am - May 26, 2012

  14. Just four years ago, liberals were asking this about conservatism. Just won the Presidency by a large margin, absolute control of congress, demographics moving in their favour, Republicans corralled to a few ‘electorally dry’ regions of the country. Seemed it was all over. Then 2010 came along.

    Four years prior to that, it was liberalism that was dead. Democratic attempts to capture the Presidency and congress in what should’ve been a very good year for them ended in utter failure, and the ‘big tent’ strategy had given rise to the legendary Permanent Republican Majority. Then of course, the Democrats struck back.

    My point is, there’s a lot of talk about the death of liberalism or conservatism. It never happens. It never will. It never can. This is an eternal struggle, going back to the very origins of organized society. Victories are always temporary, frequently disappointing, and always vulnerable to being reversed at a moment’s notice. Delusions of absolute victory are nothing more than a sign of political immaturity.

    Comment by Serenity — May 26, 2012 @ 5:35 am - May 26, 2012

  15. Liberalism will never die since it is the direct product of a mental inadequacy to adapt to the world, there will always be inadequate individuals that need innatural constructs to survive and function.

    What is the easiest thing to do when you are a total failure? Blame others. What is the easiest thing to do when you see other people affording things you cannot afford? wishing that their wealth would decrease by any mean. This is the essence of liberalism which is entirely based on pettyness and envy and this very human trait will never die. The few intelligent people who evolve from liberalism were not at the level I described, they merely thought of it as a political matter and when they realized what happened in the soviet union, north korea etc they wised up. But in reality liberalism deals with your most inner (and ugly) feelings. Evidence is that they actually feel good about themselves when they manage to tax the rich, pander to minorities that they made perpetual victims, pretending to be smarter than anyone else around based on nothing.

    Coopting the useful idiots (gays, blacks, stupid women) is also another sure way to guarantee survival, since there will always be useful idiots.

    Liberalism is also a way to open up your most depraved inclinations. Marx wrote that he believed marriage to be a bourgeois institution and that women were de facto private property of the man. Being against private property he suggested that women had to instead ‘share’ their ‘property’ with others ‘offering’ their ‘goods’, basically prostituting themselves with just anybody (equality!) just a big FU to capitalism.

    Now when I read for the first time the communist manifesto I laughed my ass off, but it is terrifying to know that millions of disturbed minded individuals fell for this crap. But they need this kind of validation and enablers to allow themselves their most basic instincts, as a matter of fact, Marx himself while having a weak minded wife (the prototype of the leftist woman), managed to impregnate their maid (oh, so bourgeois) and wanted her to abort the baby. At the end she managed to have the child adopted. This is all you need to know about leftism and liberalism, really. Marx and Engels were not motivated by the highest feelings as well as their disciples and followers.

    Another example is Rousseau, the swiss french philosopher, another unchallenged hero of the left who preached about how to raise children well according to relativism (AKA leftism) and he was himself a pedophile enjoying the company of 10 year old prostitutes. All is good in the leftist world… not like the bitter clingers to their guns and religion…

    This is all you need to know about liberalism. It is one step back in the evolution ladder. Think of them as the Homo abilis compared to Homo Sapiens Sapiens. When I hear a leftist talking I imagine someone closer to an ape (no offense to apes) than to a man. But unfortunately for the rest of us, Darwinism does not work here, and they will always be around.

    Comment by susan — May 26, 2012 @ 6:00 am - May 26, 2012

  16. Right you are susan. It always amazes me how the left holds up Marx, Lenin, Adorno and the rest when in reality they were all degenerates. They were all hateful, spiteful, little men.

    Comment by Richard Bell — May 26, 2012 @ 7:54 am - May 26, 2012

  17. Let’s consider why the edifice of liberalism is collapsing. It is because modern liberalism has evolved into a philosophy that people should not bear the consequences of making bad decisions.

    Examples: Pregnant out of wedlock? Get an abortion, or go on welfare.
    Finished school with no useful job skills? Go on welfare.
    Finished college with no useful job skills? Become a bureaucrat.
    Decided to buy expensive shoes and drugs instead of health insurance? Make someone else pay for your health care.
    Lousy credit because of bad financial skills? Force banks to give you a no-down payment mortgage and stick taxpayers with the bill.

    Once you start insulating people from the consequences of bad decisions (using money taken from people who make good decisions) – heck, even rewarding them for making bad decisions, why should you be surprised when people make EVEN MORE bad decisions?

    Worse, the people who are being robbed to pay for the bad decisions of others are told they can’t make value judgments about other people’s bad decisions; and they’re selfish to do so.

    The appetite of greedy, irresponsible people for other people’s money is bottomless. But the ability of productive people to create wealth is not; especially in an age where a person on welfare can live better than a person working an entry-level job.

    Liberals jabber a lot about ‘sustainability,’ yet the economic and social system they have created is not sustainable.

    Comment by V the K — May 26, 2012 @ 8:39 am - May 26, 2012

  18. Liberalism will go back into hibernation, but it’s never dead.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — May 26, 2012 @ 9:09 am - May 26, 2012

  19. Liberalism is fiscally unsustainable, but it’s collapse does not necessarily bode a return of conservatism and liberty. Given the thuggish behavior of the unions, the OWS, and other parts of the liberal constituency, what replaces liberalism is more likely to be something dark and authoritarian.

    Comment by V the K — May 26, 2012 @ 9:20 am - May 26, 2012

  20. Liberalism is fiscally unsustainable, but it’s collapse does not necessarily bode a return of conservatism and liberty. Given the thuggish behavior of the unions, the OWS, and other parts of the liberal constituency, what replaces liberalism is more likely to be something dark and authoritarian.

    Yes; at least that seems to be “the way of the world”, true in most countries.

    But a lot depends on good people standing up to tell the truth. For example, bloggers standing up yesterday to tell the truth about Brett Kimberlin… or the Supreme Court *hopefully* standing up in a few more weeks to tell the truth about Obamacare. (That it is massively, horribly unconstitutional.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 26, 2012 @ 10:19 am - May 26, 2012

  21. Delusions of absolute victory are nothing more than a sign of political immaturity.

    Comment by Serenity — May 26, 2012 @ 5:35 am – May 26, 2012

    Coming from a frequent and persistent purveyor of delusions, this is a shockingly lucid entry.
    Was it was arrived at through intent, or merely stumbled upon, like the oft cited ‘blind squirrel’?
    Hmmm. That’s a toughie. 😉

    Comment by Jman1961 — May 26, 2012 @ 11:47 am - May 26, 2012

  22. Small error in the previous post. I should have written: “….like the nut by the oft-cited ‘blind squirrel’.
    My apologies.

    Comment by Jman1961 — May 26, 2012 @ 12:52 pm - May 26, 2012

  23. Serenity >> Thanks for your thoughts. Memories are short.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — May 26, 2012 @ 1:05 pm - May 26, 2012

  24. Is liberalism dead?

    No. There will always be those with the “progressive” mindset. You know the type: smug, convinced of their superior intellect and just DYING to run your life for you since they know best. For once, pomposity is right: this conflict is as old as time. COLLECTIVISM (“we’re all in this together,” whatever the hell that means) vs. INDIVIDUALISM (“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” –Adam Smith.) My particular political point of view is largely libertarian and boils down to this: WHO should decide? Answer that and you know which mindset is yours.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — May 26, 2012 @ 1:52 pm - May 26, 2012

  25. Insipidity’s comments about which side is ‘winning’ are irrelevant. The liberal system of confiscating ever greater amounts of wealth from responsible to insulate irresponsible people from the consequences of bad choices is unsustainable.

    Comment by V the K — May 26, 2012 @ 2:59 pm - May 26, 2012

  26. Bastiat and SebShaw, if I may offer another perspective; you are correct, the battle between liberalism and conservatism will never end. Mainly because when conservatives succeed, they create the prosperity that tolerates the liberal desire to steal money and use it to subsidize bad decisions. When liberals succeed, they destroy economic systems so thoroughly that only conservatism can fix them. And so it goes.

    But… more cosmologically… in my LDS faith, we are taught that the desire to deny people freedom to choose for themselves is practically the definition of evil itself; Satan’s plan for humanity was to deny humans freedom of choice (agency). Therefore, the fight between those who want to control everybody’s life and those who want people to both have the freedom to make choices and endure the consequences of those choices is not just a political battle; it’s one of the fundamental struggles of the universe.

    Comment by V the K — May 26, 2012 @ 6:28 pm - May 26, 2012

  27. Very interesting, V the K. Thanks for your perspective!

    I know very little about what your church teaches, but if my experience is any indication, I have yet to meet an LDS member who wasn’t kind, decent and in every way the kind of person you would want to be your neighbor.

    Glad to be in your company.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — May 26, 2012 @ 8:30 pm - May 26, 2012

  28. Captain Reynolds summed up best why Liberalism will never die.

    Mal: Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten, they’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people…better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave.
    Jayne: Shepherd Book used to tell me, “If you can’t do somethin’ smart… do somethin’ right.”

    Comment by The_Livewire — May 26, 2012 @ 10:14 pm - May 26, 2012

  29. Nicely done, Livewire. Exactly so. Damn–I wish that show hadn’t been cancelled.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — May 27, 2012 @ 12:24 am - May 27, 2012

  30. But… more ethically… in Objectivist philosophy, we are taught that the desire to deny people freedom to choose for themselves is practically the definition of evil itself; -the moochers’- plan for humanity was to deny humans freedom of choice (agency). Therefore, the fight between those who want to control everybody’s life and those who want people to both have the freedom to make choices and endure the consequences of those choices is not just a political battle; it’s one of the fundamental struggles of the -human- universe.


    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 27, 2012 @ 12:50 am - May 27, 2012

  31. Twitter has suspended my account; I’m @BlueLantern02. Please get the word out for Twitter to release me.


    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — May 27, 2012 @ 12:33 pm - May 27, 2012

  32. The term “liberal” was hammered so hard during the 1988 election when George H. W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis that liberals have had to use another, less reviled word: “progressives.” I’ve never heard anyone explain the difference between the two, so I assume they’re another example of one side trying to aid their cause by establishing the vocabulary aspect. Kinda llike “fetus” instead of “unborn child.”

    Comment by Dottie Laird — May 27, 2012 @ 12:40 pm - May 27, 2012

  33. Dottie:

    They ORIGINALLY called themselves “progressives,” back around the turn of the 19th century into the 20th. Then Woodrow Wilson left such a bad taste in the mouths of non-collectivist/non-totalitarian Americans that they had to change their self-description. Whenever they wear out their welcome in the their current disguise, they just “re-brand” and continue the long march. Ends justify means, you know.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — May 27, 2012 @ 3:29 pm - May 27, 2012

  34. I stumbled upon an article by a certain Michael Fumento recently, and it made me think of this topic, along with some others that were discussed recently.

    The new right cannot advance a conservative agenda precisely because, other than a few small holdouts like the American Conservative magazine or that battleship that refuses to become a museum, George Will, it is not itself conservative. Pod people are running the show. It has no such capability; no such desire. I find that disturbing for obvious reasons. But, based on my own conversations with liberals, I think – nay, I know – that if more of these allegedly godless, treasonous people understood real conservatism a lot would embrace many conservative positions.

    Incivility is hardly the domain of the new right. American society grows ever coarser. But this is cold comfort. Conservative ideology demands civility of conservatives; demands, yes, self-policing. Let others act as they will, bearing evidence of the shallowness of their positions. It also demands respect for official offices, such as the presidency. When our guy is in office, you give him that modicum of respect – and when your guy is in office, we do the same. The other party is to be referred to as “the loyal opposition,” not with words the FCC forbids on the air.

    And how ironic that for decades liberals unfairly accused conservatives of “McCarthyism” to shut down debate. (Oh, how I remember!) Yet now the right countenances a prominent congressman who has literally outdone “Tailgunner Joe.”

    McCarthy’s infamous list comprised only 57 Communists who were merely State Department employees, not “78 to 81” of the nation’s top elected officials.

    Pity the poor Onion; there’s nothing left to satirize.

    The right didn’t create this reservoir of fear, anger and hate. But it has both tapped into it and roiled it. Indeed, the right-wing mass hysteria is what sociologists call a “moral panic.” It occurs when a society is undergoing a wrenching transformation. Somebody then comes along and creates a “folk devil” both to provide an explanation for bad conditions, real or imagined, and a target. Kill the devil; eliminate the bad conditions. But the right has no serious incentive to help solve or ameliorate these problems. Indeed, as with the reelection of Obama, it will benefit from their continuation or worsening.

    So perhaps the reason you can’t kill liberalism is that you’re too obsessed with killing liberalism.

    Comment by Serenity — May 28, 2012 @ 7:52 pm - May 28, 2012

  35. I had an interesting experience this weekend. I was at a BBQ this and one of my friends was complaining about how he is having to pay rent on a place where he’s trying to start a new business. However, he’s stuck in red tape hell because the city of West Hollywood, the Health Department and Alcoholic Beverage Control can’t agree on what to classify his business as. So.. he waits and waits. He said he could be out 45k before he even opens his doors.

    This is the same friend that outwardly expresses disgust at Republicans and Conservatives.

    I reminded him it’s not Republicans and Conservatives that support these kinds of crazy regulations.

    He sheepishly had to concede.

    Comment by Chris H — May 28, 2012 @ 8:56 pm - May 28, 2012

  36. Chris H, sounds like a conversation I had with a doctor this weekend, stunned at the complexity of adhering to the new regulations written as part of Obamacare.

    He does seem to grasp that repealing the law will make his law less complicated and that he needs vote Republican to put leaders in place who will make that happen, but does not yet seem willing to make the step.

    And Serenity, as far as Michael Fumento’s piece goes, give me a break is all I can see. He looks at a few extremists and defines a movement by them–and effectively ignores the serious conservative that effectively and actually defines the movement

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — May 28, 2012 @ 9:10 pm - May 28, 2012

  37. I’d guess another reason liberalism won’t die is stupidity.

    Seriously, I have co-workers crowing the benefits of Obamacare and how great it will be. Now remember where I work…
    (Standard disclaimer applies)

    Comment by The_Livewire — May 29, 2012 @ 7:49 am - May 29, 2012

  38. And Serenity, as far as Michael Fumento’s piece goes, give me a break is all I can see. He looks at a few extremists and defines a movement by them–and effectively ignores the serious conservative that effectively and actually defines the movement.

    Care to name a few of your favourites? I’ve actually gone out seeking serious conservatives to get away from exactly the sort of extremists that Fumento talks about. Finding out who you’re talking about will either give me more to look at or demonstrate the article was lost on you, either way I’ll have learned something.

    Comment by Serenity — May 29, 2012 @ 11:35 am - May 29, 2012

  39. […] week, our reader Chris H offered a comment which goes to the heart of the Republican dilemma among gays — and social liberals, […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » On economic liberty & social liberals’ anti-Republican narrative — May 31, 2012 @ 7:44 pm - May 31, 2012

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