Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Contra-deBoer: Liberal

I'm continuing with an analysis of Fredrik deBoer's left manifesto for 2016 (start here). My sixth piece was "Pacifist". Now we look at his "Liberal."

Fredrik deBoer understands that "the guarantee of certain individual rights is not contrary to the pursuit of social equality and social justice but rather an essential element of that pursuit." Recognizing that "basic human and political rights" are "immensely popular" a left movement must speak the language of liberalism.
It would not concede the language of personal freedom and political liberty to conservatism, but would insist that only economic egalitarianism can truly result in real freedom, and would work to achieve that freedom for all people in all places. 
In addition, of course, the left movement would champion individual "self-definition, including in the spheres of sexual identity, gender identity, and consensual sexual practice." It would recognize how left movements are protected from McCarthyism by individual rights and how the abuse of human rights in "so-called Communist" governments damaged the cause of anti-capitalism.
It would understand that a robust, functional left social movement would be strong enough to live alongside those who disagree with it, and would have no need of silencing them. It would move confidently in the knowledge that its core beliefs will eventually win because they are correct, and so feel no particular desire to silence those who dissent from those beliefs.
This piece is rather revealing. I read it as saying that, hey, even though we lefties don't really believe in individual rights, because collectivism, we must advocate them, and even, maybe, practice them, because individual rights are so popular, and we must not give the conservatives a club with which to beat us. But then deBoer proposes the Orwellian notion that "only economic egalitarianism can truly result in real freedom." No it doesn't. Economic egalitarianism can only work under coercion. The only person with real freedom under economic egalitarianism is the guy that does not work. Everyone else is working under the direction of the collective.

Notice the tentative nature of the last quote above, that the left ought to be "strong enough to live alongside those who disagree with it", because after all the left's beliefs will win because they are correct. I agree, but I understand that deBoer's tentative tone reflects the truth that the left has never let non-believers live alongside them unsilenced. From Marx to Lenin to Castro to Chávez to today's campus protesters, the left has never entertained the idea that opposing beliefs are to be endured, not for a moment. Always and everywhere, every leftist is engaged in the tactics of silencing the opposition. It might be naming and shaming with the accusations of racism and sexism. It might be the accusation of hate speech. It might be the marginalization and removal of a troublesome faculty colleague. It might be the "entryism" of the social justice warrior. It might be the use of confession and the suspension of the presumption of innocence in the investigation of sexual harrassment. It might be the torture of innocents during a purge. The left never leaves anyone alone.

But why is this? Why does the left not believe in live and let live? The answer is simple. The central faith of all left movements is the faith in politics, the use of government power to reverse injustice. It is a faith that is doomed to failure, because politics is violence, and government is force. A leftist cannot leave anyone alone, not for a moment, because the movement is everything. Thus, as one conservative blogger has written: "You will be made to care."

It has long been a commonplace in conservative circles that any leftist support for free speech is merely tactical, necessary until the day of revolution. It must be considered a virtue in Fredik deBoer that he allows this truth to leak through in his support for Liberalism and "certain individual rights."

Next up: "Democratic."

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