Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Penetrating the "Relativism" Smokescreen

There's a piece in the online American Spectator today that blames liberal "relativism" for the debacle of the Obama foreign policy.  Here liberals had been telling us that the world would be a better place if we stopped insisting their our way was best, and accept the idea that other ways, other cultures, deserve equal consideration. On the contrary, Virginia, there is good and evil.  Writes J.T. Young:
Few areas so starkly juxtapose good and evil as does the global community. Devoid of the political correctness permeating America — and often even civilized behavior itself — international relations often offer a no-holds-barred quest for self-interest that disregards the costs to others. Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Russia all meet this low standard. 
The thing is that all this relativism stuff is just a political tactic, designed by the lesser lights of the Frankfurt School as a diversion to take the eyes of liberal critics off the ball.  Liberals do too believe in good and evil.  And how.  But to implement their vision of the good they need first, as an operational necessity, to degrade the authority and the power of the western spirit of democratic capitalism.

All the believers in the left believe in enlightenment and emancipation and liberation.  But there is a dividing line between the revolutionary left and the establishment left.  The revolutionary left believe that it is the historical role of revolutionaries to seize political power and then spread enlightenment, emancipation and liberation with political power and government programs.   The establishment left believes that it is the historic role of educated people like them to preside over society and spread enlightenment, emancipation and liberation with political power and government programs.

The decisive actor for both wings of the movement is the activist that identifies an injustice and then mobilizes the marginalized into a political struggle to fight that injustice, to enlighten them to the fact of their domination and then to emancipate them from their servitude or liberate them from their marginalization with political power and government programs.  That is why the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, says that he is proud to be an activist.

If there were any truth to the assertion of relativism, it is negated by the cult of the activist.  There is no cultural relativism for the activist.  There is simple injustice, the rule of the rich and powerful over the poor and weak.  There is no argument in favor of the rich and powerful; they are simply evil, and anyone that argues against the activist is a racist, sexist, homophobe, and a fascist.  And a hater. Activists adhere to a simple, naive morality.  The activist is right and good and the activist's opponents are evil and wrong.

Our job, we Americans that want to live and let live, is to lance the boil of activism, to deflate their absurd pretensions, and penetrate the truth of liberal relativism to reveal underneath the simple calculus of power that drenches liberalism: the crude idea that you can solve the problems of the world with politics, which divides people, and government, which is nothing other than force.

And President Obama might have said, if he had a clue:  Government is not the name for the things we choose to do together, as Barney Frank has said.  Government is the name for things the ruling class of the day imposes on society and groups and individuals by force.

There is a name for the things we actually freely choose do together: society.  British Prime Minister David Cameron: "There is such a thing as society.  It's just not the same thing as the state."

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