Monday, 29 March 2010

Liberalism Old and New

“They spoke much of tolerance, because they needed the very same for themselves, but already at that time there was no-one more intolerant than they against all those who gainsaid their opinions.” [1]

“To the extent society becomes liberal it becomes inhuman, and as the process approaches completion the society becomes unable to function or survive.” [2]

[1] Carl Ludwig von Haller, Restauration der Staats-Wissenschaft (Winterthur: in der Steinerischen Buchhandlung, 1820), Bd.I, p.117. [“[S]ie redeten viel von Toleranz, weil sie derselbigen für sich bedurften, aber schon damals war niemand intoleranter als sie gegen alle diejenigen die ihren Meinungen widersprachen”.] Herr von Haller’s excellent book was burnt at the Wartburgfest.

[2] James Kalb, The Tyranny of Liberalism (Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2008), p.141. Mr Kalb’s excellent book provides one of the best analyses of liberalism yet written, and his weblog gives one of the best summary definitions: “we’re free to be you and me, as long as the differences never matter.” ( “The One, the Many, and the Alternative Right”, Turnabout, 16th March 2010.)

A Response of Sorts

“The suicide bombers’ targeting was deliberately provocative — and the Russian authorities’ response is equally predictable”. [1]

If predictability is a problem, then the Russian authorities could respond with a parade of jugglers and dwarf-acrobats, also helping to surprise and delight all those bourgeois liberals whose insanity makes every normal, sane, rational, or traditional response appear to them to be grossly unsophisticated.

[1] Editorial tagline to Irina Filatova’s “Moscow metro bombing: the backlash begins”, Comment is Free (The Guardian’s weblog), 29th March 2010.