Liberalism is Killing Us

Far from abeacon of hope lighting the path to a better future, Western Liberalism is a dead faith destined to get a whole lot of people killed.

A lot more people, I should say. Because the disastrous global failure to control the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the virus that causes Covid-19 killing millions of people in less than two years, is a direct consequence of the cruel heart of Liberalism.

So was the mad War on Terror. So was the Cold War. And so is the new Cold War many proponents of Liberalism seem to so deeply hope for.

Advocates of so-called Western Civilization claim its founding philosophy, which they call Western Liberalism, is the best way to organize humanity. Allegedly build upon the foundations of a holy trinity of empirical science, unbiased reason, and proven merit, Western Liberalism sees itself as the culmination of human society, the end point all the world will one day reach.

This is a cruel lie.

Liberalism is a utopian eschatology, a false promise of hope for a better future through adherence to certain rules, intentionally designed to obscure a truth of absolutely paramount importance if you care about the kind of world you’re likely to inhabit in the near future:

That Liberalism is a faith system built by the rich to justify the power over the rest of us their wealth accords them.

A faith system that claims itself to be scientific and objective, but isn’t.

Liberalism isn’t all that different than Scientology when you get right down to it — one system is older and so has had time to become more established.

Neither has a unique claim on science, logic or reason. These are tools applied by people and have no ideology.

We think the tenets of Liberalism so normal we don’t even know we believe them because our schools and universities were built and are staffed by proponents of it, so to become a literate person you almost certainly were subtly trained into their worldview.

And if like me you spent ten years of your adult life in higher education, eventually teaching courses and publishing peer-reviewed science myself, you get a pretty solid background in the society you’re being groomed to join and lead.

Especially if like me you also happen to have grown up in a deeply religious home to become someone who much prefers being around people not of the Christian persuasion.

Now I have to make something clear:

When I say ‘Liberalism’ I do NOT mean it in the American political sense.

The American Right-Left divide is itself a function of Liberalism. An effect, not a cause.

Both Conservative and Liberal thinkers since the early twentieth century have espoused Liberalism. The names applied in the US are misleading — in Australia, the Liberal Party has long been broadly equivalent to the Republicans in the states.

Liberal and Conservative are just poles within Liberalism. Both believe in Republicanism, a form of democracy where the government has vested rights and is directed by elected representatives — sometimes by the people, other times by things like the Electoral College in the USA.

Broadly, the Liberal Left simply takes a more expansive view of the government’s rights and responsibilities, while the Conservative Right generally likes to limit them.

It is true that many people who today call themselves “conservatives” appear to be abandoning the ideals of free and fair elections, but this is because Liberalism has failed so badly that a huge portion of the people subject to it are entering a state of open rebellion.

They’re not conservatives anymore — they’re something different: Neo-Conservatives.

Over and over in Christian societies, the usual intellectual churn of people leads to a deadly power dynamic that rips apart the tenuous agreements holding it together. A polar dynamic intensifies on some issue that results in a a breach and too often a violent conflict.

Liberalism, a child of Christianity produced by the schism between Traditional and Empirical scholars that erupted during the Renaissance and intensified during the Enlightenment, has now entered its own fated state of existential crisis, and its chief advocates are frightened to their core.

They should be. Because their cruel wealth-worshiping faith is dying, and what emerges from its ashes may prove an even greater horror.

Why? Because Christianity evolved from its communal origins to become a conquering world-faith unable to coexist with any rival holding different Truths.

Core Christianity, being a syncretic Middle Eastern faith, combines several distinct philosophical propositions into one grand package that claims to be able to explain everything about life and its purpose.

The faith posits our being part of a reality created by God, an all-powerful being beyond reason or knowing that one must simply have Faith in. It also imported the Manichean idea of a world divided into Good and Evil, ever at war. Those who do Evil can redeem themselves only by submitting to Good.

Truth in Christianity becomes an object of terrible power because all Truths stem from God — as does matter, energy, ideas, and our own souls, given that God is the Creator of this reality and so is effectively indistinguishable form any part of it, though Christians rarely talk about this unsettling consequence of their beliefs.

They also don’t like to admit that this system is open to the wiles of any religious leader capable of amassing followers enough to lay claim to Truth. God being invisible and unknowable yet all-powerful, all-knowing, and deeply concerned with our Redemption from Evil, God requires certain individuals to translate God’s will into something the rest can understand.

A priestly caste, with its own private process for selection and promotion to ensure only the true among the faithful, as defined by the existing leadership, get a chance to lead in their own turn to define the Good for the rest.

The duality Christianity adopts means that all significant questions about Truth eventually boil down to a fight between sides that cannot be reconciled.

There is only surrender, or death — either way, all must submit to Truth.

This is why so many topics are taboo in Christianity — certain questions, if asked too forcefully, divide the faithful, because deep down Truth always feels like a matter of opinion on some level. The priest’s claim to authority is perpetually tenuous, relying only on their ability to keep the flock listening to their interpretation of the Divine.

So Galileo, as Paul Feyerabend argues, in his famous and much-romanticized defiance of the Church of his era, was in fact repressed and forced to recant his views on science less because the Church was truly committed to seeing Earth at the center of Creation and more because the way he pursued his case threatened the church’s control of Truth-determining processes.

As the long-term consequences of Martin Luther’s nailing of his Ninety-five Theses to a church door prove, schisms in a blended monotheist and dualist faith system can be deadly.

Liberalism later emerged as one of these sects, rising from what by Traditionalists was insultingly labelled a liberal interpretation of scripture, its adherents creating a secular model of Faith that depended on empirical observation and rational debate rather than the inspirational leadership of a Holy Person.

People can only draw from the wells they know, after all, and the scions of Liberalism, white men like Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, and Max Weber, all grew up in a Christian world, their ancestors’ pagan past a thousand years lost and most of their cultural beliefs subsumed into the Christian system, which brooks no overt rebellion.

Far from rejecting the influence of God, they merely sought a certain humility with respect to the divine, focusing attention on things we can know — like math, biology, engineering, and other scientific disciplines.

A noble pursuit and responsible for many improvements in the human condition. But not without its problems.

Where Liberalism went wrong was not by trying to escape the confines of Traditionalist religious thought, but by incorporating the most poisonous aspect of Christianity: a universalist ideology managed by a secluded sect of priests who can select their successors.

They renamed their great church estates universities and opened their doors to the education of the masses into the new world-faith.

Liberalism plays at being a tolerant system, but in truth it has always remained utterly defined by deeply totalitarian tendencies drawn from its Christian heritage.

The equality and liberty it promises to one and all?

It only truly applies to those rich enough to secure them.

Liberalism emerged from a unique period in European history directly produced by the flood of wealth flowing in from Europe’s rapacious colonies in the Americas. The Enlightenment was a product of colonialism, the spoils of which upset the balance of power between Church, State, and the fast-growing Merchant class of 17th and 18th century Europe.

Education became a path to wealth and influence thanks to more widespread literacy and the printing press — and the need for intellectuals to manage all that wealth. Suddenly, people lucky enough to get schooling had opportunities for improving their lot in life that didn’t involve surviving a war.

Demand rose for a new set of ideas that could help people understand their place in a world where material wealth began to become far more attractive and often attainable than the spiritual blessings promised by the Church.

Liberalism rose to the occasion selling a very clever story about the noble origins of a thing called Western Civilization — distinct from the East, or Orient — in ancient Greece.

The School of Athens” by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino and a model of the world Liberalism wants. Note the lack of prominent women or anybody with melanin. This dream is today is why most professors remain white. They keep it that way for a reason.

Thing is, it isn’t true. China, Mesopotamia, the Andes, Egypt, the Indus region — all of the major centers of early human civilization had their own version of philosophy. Ancient Greece, in point of fact, was rather less advanced than its Mesopotamian neighbors, gaining knowledge of technologies like writing from others.

And in each place philosophy was, as in Greece, extremely diverse. Chinese intellectual history refers to a period of some hundred different philosophies, Taoism, Confucianism, and even modern-day Chinese Socialism all having links to that fertile past.

The idea that Ancient Greece is somehow the birthplace of so-called “Western Civilization” made it into our culture and education system because during the Renaissance and later the Enlightenment learned men — almost the only people allowed to get an education — were looking for an ancient heritage to root their belief system in.

Ever wonder why a substantial fraction of academic works begin with a reference to some old Greek word? All part of an old ritual, a way of claiming affiliation with something ancient and so therefore holding inherent authority.

Ironically, the scholars of the Enlightenment only knew anything about the ancient Greeks at all because Islam’s spread ignited its own intellectual churn. Persian and Arabic knowledge and innovations flowed to Europe from the prosperous Caliphate in the form of trade, bringing old Greek and Roman and newer Indian and Chinese ideas and technologies.

After the spread of Christianity from 1500–1000 years ago, most philosophy in Europe was staunchly Traditionalist.

That is to say, it was religious — specifically Christian —with all truth derived from divine sources, namely the scriptures which were codified and certain difficult parts excluded.

All philosophy on some level builds a view of the world based on a few core fundamental assumptions, truths. Things that everyone operating under the philosophical paradigm must simply accept as true without question or all the logic built on it falls apart.

How a truth is functionally decided is the key sticking point in all philosophy. Because humans communicate truths through language, which though rule-based still evolves as a function of time and distance, truth is never a simple thing to express.

Traditionalist philosophy, generally speaking, relies on divinely-inspired or particularly trained humans to interpret divine objects: holy scriptures like the Quran, Torah, and Bible; cosmic signs like the stars and constellations; local phenomena the scattered entrails of chickens; strangely persistent things like books written by dead white men.

In Europe, the Christian Church was born out of the death of the old Roman Empire — which had long before swallowed and integrated the Greeks — as rich Romans effectively took over the burgeoning faith — popular among their slaves — to protect their wealth from Europe’s new political overlords, the southward-migrating Northern and Eastern European tribes.

What was originally a society of faith driven by oral tales of Christ became codified and bounded, certain orthodoxies established and heresies defined by a Roman elite that relied on its power over divine truths to safeguard its slave-derived wealth.

The Roman Empire didn’t fall, as such, its leaders just did a deal with the semi-nomadic Germanic warrior clans who had already been moving to occupy lands left desolate by the urbanized, slave-served Romans for centuries. The Roman Empire’s leaders passed over political, worldly authority in matters of war and taxation in exchange for retaining the right to hold vast tracts of land and levy church taxes on the peasants — many former slaves — who were allowed to farm them.

Fast forward a thousand years when European colonialism enters the scene and suddenly this old balance of power gets shattered. The descendants of the old Germanic warlords — now socially Romanized and sanctified as Kings with supposed Divine Rights over humanity courtesy of God — suddenly gained immense power beyond their wildest dreams.

Liberalism broke off from Traditionalism during the social schism that resulted, pulling in most of the Merchant classes and the landed aristocracy and enmeshing the kings in a new social contract. Instead of Divine authority, purely secular authority would determine Truth in matters of state and the economy, with only morality being left to the priests.

Liberalism relies on imitating an imaginary vision of supposedly-advanced and wise Athenian Greece: properly educated wealthy men would meet, using logic and reason to sway the others to accept their arguments about how government should order society for the good of all. Each was held as an equal voice, the group voting to decide which truths were valid.

This isn’t at all how ancient Greece or Athens truly worked, it’s a fairy tale created to justify the new system, to make it seem older than the Bible.

Like most European institutions that actually work, the deeper cultural inspiration is the old system used by Germanic tribes to peacefully resolve disputes between members. For thousands of years free families met in common trade spaces and held public meetings — Things — where community leaders would hear and consider cases.

The new ways mimicked the nearly-forgotten old still only remembered by the peasants who collectively managed ancestral common lands until these were privatized. It was a very attractive system compared to one where ordained priests were allowed to read from a possibly mistranslated text to people and call their personal interpretation Truth.

But the philosophers of the Enlightenment held their own particular set of cultural beliefs to be self-evident. They were predominantly landed men or patronized by the same, most were culturally Christian and held all the pernicious biases against women that had carried over from the Roman days.

You ever stop and wonder why the majority of professors remain white men despite universities being (supposedly) the heart of progressive, feminist, anti-racist activism?

They don’t like it when you bring it up, but this is because they are part of a priesthood that long venerated a tradition of white supremacy and racism — and still does, in some places. Not so much the hard scientists, who deal with physical phenomena, but definitely anything touching humans and their collective behavior.

Liberalism holds that empirical observation and a particular scientific process done by credentialed experts creates — or at least reveals, Truth.

When perspectives differ, proponents are expected to publicly state and defend theirs using the techniques of argument to state their case — debate. Once enough experts agree which case is best, it becomes established Truth.

Anyone who subsequently disputes this Truth is required to present sufficient facts to overturn it. If they cannot — and here again, experts judge their success — their argument is rejected as non-science.

Spot the flaw? Anyone who studies science should know there are two major types of error in experiments: false positives and false negatives. And the sneaky fact driving why scientists never seem to know anything is that you never know for sure which you have more of.

Especially when social, human data is involved. When working with inanimate materials you can usually work out and reduce your error by running concurrent experiments.

With people, you have to do a tremendous amount of interpretation simply to construct an idea of what the data you’re working with actually means — if anything. It often doesn’t, but here Liberalism does something very dishonest.

It lets experts create arbitrary categories that only have as much intrinsic meaning as the people who accept them think they do. And since every scientific discipline has its own standards, few people without scholarly training know just how constructed most categories are.

Again, for hard physical sciences this isn’t a huge issue — even if scientists don’t really know what the hell electrons actually are the way they behave in large numbers is extremely predictable. Human sciences, by contrast, have far wider margins of error in the real world.

Yet social scientists, especially economists and political scientists, who are perhaps the most deeply committed to the paradigm of Liberalism and advise powerful people with access to the majority of the world’s resources, don’t often admit this out loud. And Liberalism doesn’t make them, because of the ancient deal:

Each priestly sect may choose its members however they wish, all granted the proper expert credentials will be granted the social right to declare scientific Truth. No discipline questions any other discipline’s existence, knowing down that path lies mutually assured destruction.

Want to see how this sneaky trick works in action? This piece, from the generally excellent Ed Yong at the Atlantic, is a perfect display of consequences when it comes to a pandemic, using hard and social science terms almost interchangeably.

The pandemic ends, he and others in the media argue, when it becomes endemic.

That is to say, when it is widespread and killing people but not fast enough to warrant as much immediate public attention or action.

When it becomes like the flu, most believers in the church of Liberalism will say with hope in their hearts, forgetting that the loss of 30,000–60,000 people every year in and of itself ought to generate armed rebellion against those who let it happen.

But that’s Liberalism for you. The entire philosophy boils down to a moral and ethical shortcut: create categories for all things in the cosmos, assign them fixed and permanent values, then weigh them against one another.

And what is the most important Good? Protecting the rights of some to amass incredible fortunes at the expense of others. Enabling billionaires to go up and tour the edge of space to imitate the astronauts they imagined themselves to be when they were kids.

So in terms of public health, climate change, racial justice, or anything else you care about, from the perspective of Liberalism if X + Y * Z = not too expensive for the wealthy, then it is Good.

If not, then it is Evil, and must be shunned.

You want infrastructure? Pay gas taxes that fall the hardest on the poor. Want stable local budgets? Sales taxes that, again, hit the most vulnerable the worst. Need public services like healthcare and an economic safety net? Too bad, those are too hard to exclude those we prefer to ignore so we will tie them to whatever job you can secure in a rapidly automating world.

A pandemic that rapidly kills millions is bad and demands a substantial response, a large public investment of resources. An endemic disease that kills millions more slowly is tolerable, because it doesn’t shake the stock market so long as people don’t panic, simply accept the slow boil and exposure to a plague we’re being warned we just have to learn to live with.

Even if that means America is the perfect breeding ground for vaccine-resistant variants.

It isn’t Ed Yong’s fault, I should note, he’s merely executing a formula long used by publications who see themselves as defenders of Liberalism — The Atlantic is one — to lay out their case. First you state some harsh facts, then describe deeper patterns of how they came to be, offer a truncated vision of what could-have-been and a call for redoubling our faith.

Not at all dissimilar to a sermon. And never are fundamental questions asked in a substantial way implying a need for immediate action.

Implicit in all discussions about the pandemic are the economic costs of the response. An unspoken cost-benefit analysis is applied that coldly calculates the worth of the victims against the impact of protecting them on the pocketbooks of the wealthy.

Note how the pandemic response is so dramatically differently now, as Delta cleaves a path through the American population and the economy stutters — but doesn’t threaten to collapse — compared to what it was in March of 2020.

When New York was dying, the wealthy felt it. They demanded a shutdown, they personally weren’t safe and were willing to pay nearly any cost to flatten the curve.

But slowly they worked out just how the virus spreads and how they could stay safe. By May the economic impact was manifest — their investment portfolios needed people to get back to work, to start spending again.

So rather than take a critical opportunity to get a virus on the wane under control, America opened up. Millions of essential workers were exposed to a dangerous virus to ensure the consumer economy could hum along.

Hundreds of thousands died. And though the election promised a change of course, notably there has been no consideration of any sort of stay at home order or travel restrictions. Testing remains inadequate, contact tracing failed long ago, and a quarter of the population has been taken in by charlatans spewing fantasies that now seem more believable to millions than the empirical facts Liberalism so adores.

More than a year and a half into a pandemic, nine months in to an administration that was supposed to be competent, and 1,500 people are dying every day, this set to double in the next month. While many of the victims are fools who basically asked for this, too many others are people for whom vaccines don’t work or remain unavailable.

On the same week America obsessively reflects on the tragedies of 2001, nearly ten billion dollars added to the national debt to achieve nothing but the deaths of thousands of military personnel and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, three times more Americans will be killed by Covid-19 than were murdered by terrorists.

Just this week alone. 100,000 or more are set to die by the end of the year. At least.

Yet there is no call from the champions of Liberalism war on Covid, or a war on infectious disease more generally like the ones that made cholera and dysentery and typhoid rare in the developed world. Indeed, countries like Australia that have successfully saved tens of thousands of lives are being scolded in the Atlantic for restricting too many freedoms.

Living with the virus looks a very different depending on your net worth.

Liberalism, for all its talk of equality and freedom, deep down accepts economic inequality as normal. Even divine.

It has killed and continues to kill millions of people who didn’t have to die. Liberalism allows for the hoarding of vast quantities of wealth, shares of the world’s finite resource base, while year after year millions starve or die in wars powered by weapons made in countries whose leaders are avowed defenders of the faith.

I’d say we need to rise up and kill Liberalism dead, but the irony is the thing is killing itself!

Hypocrisy is anathema to people everywhere, and all the world has seen how countries like America say one thing in public then do something totally against its proclaimed values in secret time and again. Liberalism has no credibility — it has already begun to schism.

Unfortunately the child ideologies of dying Liberalism are little better.

Neo-conservatism has emerged from an unholy union of the Traditionalist Christian idea of an inspired Divine order with the animating force of Liberalism: the idea of a material world that can be perfected, or close to it.

This ideology is in charge across the American South and Midwest, Russia, Hungary, Poland, India, Brazil, and a few other tormented places where leaders are merging religion and culture with national politics. And everywhere it calls for basically the same stuff Mussolini and Hitler were after in the 1930s — a nation identifying its blood with the soil, a unique race meant to lord over the others.

The end result of this ideology getting out of control, as it might over the next ten to twenty years, is a high-tech repeat of the first half of the twentieth century. Because neo-Conservatism remains totalitarian — it cannot stand the existence of parallel truths.

Neoliberalism isn’t that much better though — in the long run it represents humanity’s death by ice as opposed to fire. This is because it takes the Traditionalist concept of a divine order and marries that to the belief proven merit is more or less an indication of divine favor and the right to rule.

Neoliberals want a technocratic society ruled by the dead hand of markets totally captured by wealthy interests, an oligarchy doomed to create generation after generation of ideological outcasts that will have to be scorned and suppressed and re-educated. Because neo-Liberalism is also entirely totalitarian, unwilling to allow separate jurisdictions not subordinated to the economic core.

Fortunately for the world, European ideologies are falling in disfavor everywhere, the foundations of white supremacy at last being torn from under the pernicious architecture Liberalism inherited from Traditionalism and chose to maintain.

The demand for Liberation is rising. For freedom from the control of ideologues and their claim over Truth.

For a world coming together for the very first time on an intimate level never before experienced in known history, a process bound to be messy and fraught, rejecting Liberalism and its spawn is not a matter of choice, but of survival.

Because whether or not you are interested in Liberalism, it is very interested in you.

In taking all you have, and placing you in servitude through debts, prison, and fear of falling into either.

And you don’t have to reject science if you want to banish Liberalism. Far from it.

Science is ancient. It is part of who we are as a species. And it is defined not by the will of experts, but by what works.

Ideology doesn’t. It never has, it never will, no matter what pseudo-religious form it takes. Only empowering communities of association linked by geography and trade will serve the coming decentralized, freer world.

Liberalism is killing us — and we need not mourn its passing.

Let the wicked thing die.