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The problem with the word liberal is that everyone in the US is liberal to some degree. Conservatives are classic liberal plus traditional values (and these two positions often conflict), while the people called liberals in the US are welfare-state liberals with progressive values (which also can conflict).

Liberalism or republicanism is such a successful ideology that it’s hard to find people who are sincerely anti liberal (eg true authoritarians or absolute monarchists). In this way, conservatives have already lost the battle to history, which is why progressive liberals smugly claim to be on “the right side” of history. To them trans rights is one more battle they must win, it’s one battle in a succession of victories following the defeat of monarchy.

A myopic focus on Marxism causes people to forget that before the boss and the patriarch were named oppressors of workers and women, men made similar observations about kings, priests and the aristocracy. “Liberate the working class from capital” and “liberate women from patriarchs” doesn’t sound much different to me from “liberate the colonies from the king” or “liberate the slaves from the slave economy.”

Conservatives don’t like being told that they are on the wrong side of history about social issues like race, women’s rights or same sex marriage, but they are equally smug when it comes to government and economics: authoritarian communism is on the wrong side of history as is absolute monarchism. Conservatives take the success of liberalism and capitalism as consolation prizes because they are products of Western civilization and thus proof of cultural (and racial) superiority.

Liberal states with capitalist economies are called “the end of history,” to the pride of both kinds of liberals. When every state is liberal democratic with a capitalist market economy, we will reach the ideal society with peace and prosperity for all. That is what liberalism promises.

However liberalism which emphasizes the liberty of individuals, is always in tension because human beings live in, and form groups. This means everyone’s freedom imposes on everyone else’s. Your right to smoke impedes my right to breathe clean air. My right to scream in the middle of night impedes your right to get a solid 8 hours before work. The law is a constant negotiation of whose freedom supersedes whose in thousands of situations.

The “rights” and “choices” afforded to individuals in liberal societies tend to aggregate. By aggregation I mean monkey see, monkey do: people imitate each other. The aggregation of individual choices then are binding on those in the group who did not approve of the choice or who are opposed to it. One person’s free choice blossoms into a cultural norm, which then becomes coercive, by the nature of society, usually without top down interference. No law forces you to have internet access, or a smartphone or use social media and search engines. Aggregations can be good or bad. Lots of people choosing to teach their children how to read has a different effect than lots of people choosing to eat McDonald’s.

The aggregation of personal choices bears down on individual freedom through multiple means but in particular because there are unpleasant consequences of going against the group.

Not going against an autocrat or a hereditary monarch: the group. Groups of free citizens in liberal democratic countries.

The speed limit on the interstate highway where I live is 65 mph. If I choose to go 50 mph, the speeders around me get angry, even though I am not only within my rights to do so, I am actually obeying the legal ordinance and they are not. They use their behavior to try to induce me to drive faster: honking, following closely, shouting, maneuvering dangerously around me. This is ordinary human behavior when one person breaks the norms of the group.

Humans are dependent on groups, and the success of groups is dependent on some level of behavioral conformity. In other words, humans are cooperative and you can’t be cooperative and contrarian at the same time. You have to pick one, and if you pick the wrong one, you might find yourself dead, or alone, which is for our species as a good as dead.

The more dependent someone is on a group, the more compelled they are to conform, the less dependent on a group, the more freedom one has.

If I had my own private road, I could drive whatever speed I wanted to, without having to worry about being coerced by others. I would be free. But I don’t have my own road, I have to use the public road and because driving is dangerous, I have to conform to group norms concerning speed.

I want to emphasize this is lateral rather than top down coercion. I have the right to drive below the speed limit, the greater power of the government is on my side. The threat isn’t coming from a strongman, a dictator, a king, a priest or even a boss. It comes from my fellow citizens.

I’m sure many of you have experienced the same: the government with its lethal armies and navies couldn’t care less if you are a TERF, it’s your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbors or strangers similarly situated in power who make the threats. If the police are called on you for hate speech, they’re called by your fellow citizens. They don’t arrive on the orders of a trans dictator who demands TERFs be rooted out.

This is point where I remind you that under liberal democratic / republican principles, the same people who call your boss to get you fired also are allowed to form political parties, lobby and vote. They’re also allowed to run for office and if elected, they are allowed to write and pass legislation that legalizes their animus towards you. As we like to say in the woke community: slavery was legal.

All it takes is a group.

Having your own money and property frees you to act against the group. As an aside this is why liberal feminism has such powerful effects on society and why liberal feminism is the foundation of the greater women's liberation movement. The more money and property women accrue, the freer we are from dependence on groups that demand our submission to males in exchange for survival.

The following are observations about the two types of liberalism, they are meant to be illustrative rather than deterministic.

The “nanny state” type of busybody progressivism is associated with cities where there is no way to escape the irritating or potentially deadly choices of others. The guns and weed type of libertarianism is associated with rural areas and the open west where it is much easier to get away from other peoples’ choices. When I drive slow on state roads because I want to enjoy the view, speeders pass me and zoom off into the distance without trying to force me to drive faster. How loud someone plays their music or how much they smoke matters a lot more in an apartment building than it does where people tend to live on multi acre plots.

Progressive liberalism is also associated with the federal government on the densely populated East Coast, said to be manned by overeducated elites, while classic liberalism is associated with state governments in sparsely populated states, over which the ordinary citizen is thought to have more influence.

Both groups of liberals recognize the threat group dependence poses to individual liberty and try to decrease group dependence. Classic liberals try to decrease dependence through industry and limits on government action. Welfare state liberals try to decrease dependence through redistribution, in response to industry’s tendency to concentrate wealth (and thus freedom) at the top.

Both criticize the other for inadvertently increasing dependence. Classic liberals point out that redistribution makes people dependent on the state. Welfare state liberals criticize industry for making people dependent on the fortune and whims capitalists and capitalist structures like banks.

When it comes to social problems, progressive liberals recognize (correctly) that conservative social norms constrain the freedom of power minorities. This causes progressives to become perpetual busybodies micromanaging interactions and the behavior of other people, trying to rid them of bias. Classic liberals (correctly) recognize this as a path to authoritarianism, but they tend to turn a blind eye towards equally authoritarian conservative busybodying because conservatives support classical liberal views on the role of the federal government and industry.

This is why power minorities favor progressive liberalism and the power majority favors the other type. But they are all liberals and it’s liberals who have to answer for what goes on in liberal countries like the United States.

The problem with the word liberal is that everyone in the US is liberal to some degree. Conservatives are classic liberal plus traditional values (and these two positions often conflict), while the people called liberals in the US are welfare-state liberals with progressive values (which also can conflict). Liberalism or republicanism is such a successful ideology that it’s hard to find people who are sincerely anti liberal (eg true authoritarians or absolute monarchists). In this way, conservatives have already lost the battle to history, which is why progressive liberals smugly claim to be on “the right side” of history. To them trans rights is one more battle they must win, it’s one battle in a succession of victories following the defeat of monarchy. A myopic focus on Marxism causes people to forget that before the boss and the patriarch were named oppressors of workers and women, men made similar observations about kings, priests and the aristocracy. “Liberate the working class from capital” and “liberate women from patriarchs” doesn’t sound much different to me from “liberate the colonies from the king” or “liberate the slaves from the slave economy.” Conservatives don’t like being told that they are on the wrong side of history about social issues like race, women’s rights or same sex marriage, but they are equally smug when it comes to government and economics: authoritarian communism is on the wrong side of history as is absolute monarchism. Conservatives take the success of liberalism and capitalism as consolation prizes because they are products of Western civilization and thus proof of cultural (and racial) superiority. Liberal states with capitalist economies are called “the end of history,” to the pride of both kinds of liberals. When every state is liberal democratic with a capitalist market economy, we will reach the ideal society with peace and prosperity for all. That is what liberalism promises. However liberalism which emphasizes the liberty of individuals, is always in tension because human beings live in, and form groups. This means everyone’s freedom imposes on everyone else’s. Your right to smoke impedes my right to breathe clean air. My right to scream in the middle of night impedes your right to get a solid 8 hours before work. The law is a constant negotiation of whose freedom supersedes whose in thousands of situations. The “rights” and “choices” afforded to individuals in liberal societies tend to aggregate. By aggregation I mean monkey see, monkey do: people imitate each other. The aggregation of individual choices then are binding on those in the group who did not approve of the choice or who are opposed to it. One person’s free choice blossoms into a cultural norm, which then becomes coercive, by the nature of society, usually without top down interference. No law forces you to have internet access, or a smartphone or use social media and search engines. Aggregations can be good or bad. Lots of people choosing to teach their children how to read has a different effect than lots of people choosing to eat McDonald’s. The aggregation of personal choices bears down on individual freedom through multiple means but in particular because there are unpleasant consequences of going against the group. Not going against an autocrat or a hereditary monarch: the group. Groups of free citizens in liberal democratic countries. The speed limit on the interstate highway where I live is 65 mph. If I choose to go 50 mph, the speeders around me get angry, even though I am not only within my rights to do so, *I am actually obeying the legal ordinance and they are not.* They use their behavior to try to induce me to drive faster: honking, following closely, shouting, maneuvering dangerously around me. This is ordinary human behavior when one person breaks the norms of the group. Humans are dependent on groups, and the success of groups is dependent on some level of behavioral conformity. In other words, humans are cooperative and you can’t be cooperative and contrarian at the same time. You have to pick one, and if you pick the wrong one, you might find yourself dead, or alone, which is for our species as a good as dead. The more dependent someone is on a group, the more compelled they are to conform, the less dependent on a group, the more freedom one has. If I had my own private road, I could drive whatever speed I wanted to, without having to worry about being coerced by others. I would be free. But I don’t have my own road, I have to use the public road and because driving is dangerous, I have to conform to group norms concerning speed. I want to emphasize this is lateral rather than top down coercion. I have the right to drive below the speed limit, the greater power of the government is on my side. The threat isn’t coming from a strongman, a dictator, a king, a priest or even a boss. It comes from my fellow citizens. I’m sure many of you have experienced the same: the government with its lethal armies and navies couldn’t care less if you are a TERF, it’s your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbors or strangers similarly situated in power who make the threats. If the police are called on you for hate speech, they’re called by your fellow citizens. They don’t arrive on the orders of a trans dictator who demands TERFs be rooted out. This is point where I remind you that under liberal democratic / republican principles, the same people who call your boss to get you fired also are allowed to form political parties, lobby and vote. They’re also allowed to run for office and if elected, they are allowed to write and pass legislation that legalizes their animus towards you. As we like to say in the woke community: slavery was legal. All it takes is a group. Having your own money and property frees you to act against the group. As an aside this is why liberal feminism has such powerful effects on society and why liberal feminism is the foundation of the greater women's liberation movement. The more money and property women accrue, the freer we are from dependence on groups that demand our submission to males in exchange for survival. The following are observations about the two types of liberalism, they are meant to be illustrative rather than deterministic. The “nanny state” type of busybody progressivism is associated with cities where there is no way to escape the irritating or potentially deadly choices of others. The guns and weed type of libertarianism is associated with rural areas and the open west where it is much easier to get away from other peoples’ choices. When I drive slow on state roads because I want to enjoy the view, speeders pass me and zoom off into the distance without trying to force me to drive faster. How loud someone plays their music or how much they smoke matters a lot more in an apartment building than it does where people tend to live on multi acre plots. Progressive liberalism is also associated with the federal government on the densely populated East Coast, said to be manned by overeducated elites, while classic liberalism is associated with state governments in sparsely populated states, over which the ordinary citizen is thought to have more influence. Both groups of liberals recognize the threat group dependence poses to individual liberty and try to decrease group dependence. Classic liberals try to decrease dependence through industry and limits on government action. Welfare state liberals try to decrease dependence through redistribution, in response to industry’s tendency to concentrate wealth (and thus freedom) at the top. Both criticize the other for inadvertently increasing dependence. Classic liberals point out that redistribution makes people dependent on the state. Welfare state liberals criticize industry for making people dependent on the fortune and whims capitalists and capitalist structures like banks. When it comes to social problems, progressive liberals recognize (correctly) that conservative social norms constrain the freedom of power minorities. This causes progressives to become perpetual busybodies micromanaging interactions and the behavior of other people, trying to rid them of bias. Classic liberals (correctly) recognize this as a path to authoritarianism, but they tend to turn a blind eye towards equally authoritarian conservative busybodying because conservatives support classical liberal views on the role of the federal government and industry. This is why power minorities favor progressive liberalism and the power majority favors the other type. But they are all liberals and it’s liberals who have to answer for what goes on in liberal countries like the United States.

21 comments

Unpopular opinion time...

Liberal states with capitalist economies are called “the end of history,” to the pride of both kinds of liberals. When every state is liberal democratic with a capitalist market economy, we will reach the ideal society with peace and prosperity for all. That is what liberalism promises.

But that is a lie. Economical inequity is a feature of capitalism. The few super-rich cannot exist without the many who are extremely poor.

I know that Americans don't like hearing this, but liberalism is still understood with their classical meaning (free market, small goverment, low taxes, etcetera) in other parts of the world. And Democrats would be viewed as rigth wing in other countries because they are still very pro-capitalist. Even the American welfare State is pretty limited compared with other capitalist countries.

And both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are the party of war and imperialism. That is why I cannot take either pretty talk about freedom seriously. If they actually valued freedom as much as they claim, they why do they go around invading other countries and helping to overthrough foreign democratic goverments?

Ultimately the only freedom the wealthy care about is economic freedom. Anything else is optional and can be withdrawed at any time.

I agree with all of this.

I also agree with many points OP makes, but I'm unsure of her thesis and overall point. I'm also at a loss because as she's trying to talk about both forms of 'liberalism' in the US, she doesn't fully define each one. It seems like she is splitting it between classic liberalism and progressive liberalism and connecting those with the republican party in the US, and the democratic party in the US. When I don't think you can fully do this, as it is too simplistic, and in addition, it ignores how both parties are actually affected by each other (democratic party shifting to the right over recent decades.)

[–] BiologyIsReal 0 points Edited

I'm not sure, either. It seems she is using both the classical and the American meaning of liberalism, but I don't know where communism fits in this. I know American conservatives blame identity politics on comunism, but honestly they through around the word communist like transactivists through the word nazi. Ok, I guess that is not a only American thing, conservatives in my country see communists everywhere, too. Ironically, the actual dictartorships here came from right wingers hunting communists...

The law is a constant negotiation of whose freedom supersedes whose in thousands of situations.

I like the way you put this.

Having your own money and property frees you to act against the group ... The more money and property women accrue, the freer we are from dependence on groups that demand our submission to males in exchange for survival.

I recognised this early on and have been working towards this end for my entire adult life. At first it wasn't geared towards feminism in particular, just how I could make change realistically. Now I recognise that liberating women is the larger goal that needs accomplished for the world to be a better place.

As for the rest of what you have to say about how groups work, that makes total sense to me. We are directly influenced by our peers. The people we interact with regularly influence us deeply. I agree with everything you say about how we influence each other, but I do want to add some of my thoughts about how those in power hijack that social part of us to manipulate a situation. I think that one way that those in power at the top influence us directly is propaganda. By paying for a message to show up in as many places as possible they give the impression that it has broad support, when it does not. After time, if done correctly, the idea gains real supporters or at least people become uncomfortable speaking against it because they feel the majority disagree with them (the trans issue is a prime example of this).

I'm also reminded of the conversation earlier about why revealing clothes are popular right now. This group dynamic also plays a part in the stylistic choices women and girls make. If you can get enough women or girls or just the right women and girls to wear certain clothes they will start a trend due to the natural human tendancy to mimic each other to try and fit in. There are consequences to standing out.

So are you saying we should be more afraid of this diffuse "lateral coercion" and not blame everything on institutions and systems? Or that liberal democracy characteristically uses this lateral coercion to enforce ruling class decisions without getting its hands as dirty?

[–] BlackCirce [OP] 🔮🐖🐖🐖 1 points Edited

I’m saying that the enemy of liberalism is the group, and the group has more to do with biology than any particular set of values. Valuing civil liberties over top-down rule isn’t by itself a talisman that protects a society from going backwards into authoritarian forms of governance.

I’m saying if people want liberalism, they have to make a defense of it, and explain how they can do so without becoming authoritarian, rather than blaming authoritarian communism over and over and over again.

Ok so basically the so called libertarian-authoritarian axis is even more nonsensical than the left-right axis? I agree with that.

Your comment is here confusing because whenever you mentioned "liberalism," a muddy/confusing definition enters my mind and I'm not sure what exactly you're talking about.

BUT what I basically think you're trying to say is............ Americans shouldn't be afraid of top-down rule? Because even if we had a tiny government and no top down-rule whatsoever, groups of people would still prop up and make your life hell anyway, through social coercion. Being an outcast may then be worse in a society that resembles anarchism vs. a society that resembles top-down communist rule. Because at least in top-down communism, you're more likely to be protected against crazy things other citizens can do to you.

I do think that it's important to define these kinds of terms, since much like with the word 'gender', people tend to throw around the term 'liberal' so much while talking past one another about totally different things. So I'm glad blackcirce brought it up and explored it so insightfully, as it needed addressing.

My own wish and vision for the world is to have more de-centralised, grassroots communities that are focused on meeting the needs of their respective locales, all while still being globally connected (in a peaceful, cooperative, non-exploitative manner). So I am not really sure I know what to make of this whole topic, since don't know that I necessarily fit on either 'side' of it. I believe in freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of belief, while also being more environmentally inclined and wishing we could find a way of existing that isn't so damn exploitative and capitalistic. I don't think I can really respect or wish to be 'ruled' by ANY of the currently powerful institutions of our world, since I think they are all corrupt, captured, and in the process of disintegrating. I'd prefer to 'divest' (for lack of better term) from all of it and try to build something entirely new from the ground up, so that there is at least something there that people can turn to in the midst of whatever instability is to come.

OP is it too much to ask your opinion on Marxist class analysis and how it fits into this post? I didn't understand your point in the paragraph about Marxism, and you use words like "power minority and power majority" that seem like maybe an alternative way of understanding class. And some of the stuff you say here sounds like the traditional liberal view of democracy with various interest groups competing in the supposedly level political playing field ("the same people who call your boss to get you fired also are allowed to form political parties, lobby and vote. They’re also allowed to run for office and if elected, they are allowed to write and pass legislation") But I've also previously heard you say something like "women are the working class" and supporting some kind of communism so I know you have more thoughts on it.

The problem I have with your thesis, is it is connected to Marxist theories that ago became obsolete. It comes from theories from Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Group Dynamics.

There are other disciplines that you seemed to have dismissed. Economics, Accounting, Logistics, Banking, Finance and Information Science. All these are part of capitalism too.

It's not just about the Workers and the Boss.

Capitalism??? Capitalism is like the word Freedom; what does it actually mean?

Are you talking about Narcoeconomics? How about the Dark Web with sites like The Silk Road. There is another layer of internet activity, behind the Dark Web.

The major Stock markets are all interconnected Globally. And behind them are flows of cash through different Bank and Finance instruments.

You aren't going to take down Capitalism.

What you can do is fight for better working conditions and wages/Healthcare.

That can only be done with the creation unions in business that don't have unions.

The people who are getting the most Government Welfare are the Energy Companies.

You and all of those who have come before you on this talking about Marxist theories, don't seem to have a fundamental understanding of what the things that are BEHIND the word Capitalism.

You aren't going to take down Capitalism.

I really hope Americans can get to a point where they stop thinking this way. Just like patriarchy, we need to be able to get past capitalism. It's a destructive, exploitative, and senseless system that produces unnecessary waste in order to promote power seeking men. We don't have to return to old fashioned versions of anti-capitalist utopias like top-down communism, but making money less important is reducing a capitalistic motivation. Things like a universal basic income, a shift toward information over money, shared economies, getting better at reuse and recycling, self-subsistence, will help us change the economic dynamics... There have to be better ways.

There would have to be a catastrophic near extinction level event, in order to reboot a new American Economy.

That could happen. Coal, Natural gas, Oil representatives told the G20 Climate change summit, their going to produce their products up until 2050.

China is quietly Colonizing Africa. They are slowly cutting down the trees. These trees are as old as the Red Woods in US. Only they are part of the Rainforest ecosystem.

Meanwhile back in Brazil, almost 40% of the Amazon Rainforest has been cut down. They taken the land from the indigenous tribes, sometimes through murder. This was done in the service of farming and raising cows and steers. They are one of the main producers of Wague (sp?) Beef.

Now these two Rainforest are Anode and Cathode of the Entire Global weather system.

The

I'm not very well versed in this topic myself, but I also wonder how this discussion of what seem to be particularly American brands of 'liberalisms' fits into the bigger picture of the current global corporate oligarchy. Elsewhere, I've seen both sides being described as different facets of 'neoliberalism', and assuming that's what is being referred to here (please correct me if I'm mistaken). My own view tends to be that the squabblings and back-and-forths between the two seeming 'sides' ('conservatives' vs. 'progressives') are in fact just a mere puppet show, a smoke-and-mirrors distraction, a divide-and-conquer tactic that allows the actual 'powers that be' (NGOS, billionaires, banks, energy companies, lobby groups, etc) to continue operating outside of any kind of democratic process and public scrutiny. That's not to say that all of these things are actually all that well hidden (many people have been able to trace the funding and expose the tactics of the Trans lobby, for instance), but just that they are disguised well enough that average person on the street doesn't look more deeply into it or question what they are being shown on the surface (via mainstream news and social media, etc).

Billionaire NGOs. Funny you should mention that.

Case study: Haiti 2010 earthquake. Western countries raised $3B.

They used the money to buy Cadillac Esclades--> Biggest SVU Cadillac makes. Fully loaded $100,000.

Because it's an island, they had to be shipped there and back.

Why not just get Range Rovers that are the all terrain ones, meant for farmers.

Every meal they ate cost them $100 per day.

Other of them were a there, but didn't perform the services they had contracted for. For example, an Irish firm was supposed to empty the bathroom sewage. Toilets were pipes in the ground, like India. The firm didn't do anything, but collect checks. They might have done it in the areas where they NGO workers were; but for the rest of the population , nothing.

Obviously Government officials had to get their share, which might have been 300M. The rest vaporized buy these predominantly White NGOs.

No Government entities thought to send forensic accountants to see where the money went. It was just gone.

All those are features, not bugs, LOL. Perks for the Inside the Beltway class and their friends and families. Happens all the time. Another part of the Shock Doctrine playbook.

This is a really insightful post, and one that I think has big implications for how the gender debate is playing out in many places.

When it comes to social problems, progressive liberals recognize (correctly) that conservative social norms constrain the freedom of power minorities. This causes progressives to become perpetual busybodies micromanaging interactions and the behavior of other people, trying to rid them of bias. Classic liberals (correctly) recognize this as a path to authoritarianism, but they tend to turn a blind eye towards equally authoritarian conservative busybodying because conservatives support classical liberal views on the role of the federal government and industry.

I think this breaks it down particularly well, and highlights the importance of what constitutes a power minority, and how likely that category is to be stable over time. For example: a gay man might support a hate speech policy that would criminalize shouting “faggot” or similar slurs at him, but then down the road, be caught in the crosshairs of that same hate speech policy when he uses correct sex-based language to describe a trans-identifying female who’s demanding that he consider her as a romantic partner.

One possible takeaway is that you’ll get authoritarian busybodying either way, and the big danger is in allowing that busybodying to be backed by the power of a government with lethal armies (which would seem to give the classical liberals the clear higher ground over progressive liberals on most issues, but I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on that take.)

I've never heard this term, 'power minority'....what does it refer to?

My understanding is that this refers to a disadvantaged political class… though like I mentioned in my post, I’m not sure it’s necessarily a stable category. (For instance how gay and lesbian people were viciously discriminated against and not allowed to marry etc. only a few short decades ago, but are now broadly accepted with full marriage rights, and are being portrayed as having “cis privilege” compared to trans people.)

Ohhhh. Ok, they are being referred to as being a minority in terms of within the overall power structure? Because the way the term sounded to me, I thought it meant something like 'a minority who is powerful', which in the context seemed kinda bizarre. :'D