Dec 22, 2003: Liberalism–Vison and Revolution

Despite liberalism’s occasional desperate warnings of encroaching governmental powers and the dangers of a police state arising on American soil, very little is ever done to stem the flow of centralized power. The reason is very simple. Liberalism has been co-opted and corrupted by mass society. Fundamentally, it has no quarrel with mass majoritarian democracy, the mass market, or mass culture.

Its rational and critical superiority is not matched by any strength of vision. It is plainly aware that individual rights are being steadily eroded, particularly the right to property, considered to be the bedrock principle of liberalism by many of the movement’s defenders, but the movement is nonetheless unable to extract itself from its dependence on the system or to come up with any remotely viable alternatives. Vague platitudes, dreams of a distant future liberal order or of a non-existent liberal past, plans to colonize Costa Rica or New Hampshire, and resignation are not the responses of a great movement to increasingly desperate times, but they are the responses liberals are accustomed to giving.

It cannot extract itself, because it has so far refused to recognize the fundamentally oppressive and dehumanizing nature of mass society as it is presently manifested in our social democratic-capitalist system. Observers of liberalism, as well as devotees, must be struck by the radical inconsistency of the movement’s claims and its actions. The logical conclusion one must draw from the principles of the leading liberals of our day is that aggressive, determined action is necessary to restore our liberties. But no such aggressiveness can be found. What other explanation for this condition could there be except that mass society has successfully molded its little liberals into accepting that they are ultimately subject to the whims of the majority and have little else to do but to produce and acquire?

Alternatively, once one recognizes that the fully sovereign man must have real political power and that his subjection to the division of labor cannot be infinite, that to fully express oneself (in whatever fashion)–to realize the full potential of self and of genuine society–one cannot long endure or pay heed to mass society, a vision of a new order begins to set in. The fully sovereign man cannot at once maintain his sovereignty and be little more than a glorified wrench or cog in the economic machine (whether he be a lowly laborer or a lowly executive). A new liberal order will require a new liberal man, not merely mass man minus the tax burden.

The vision of the liberal man in the liberal order is the missing element at the heart of the liberal movement. Without this vision, there can be no impetus to act, there can be no appeal to non-liberals, there can be no unity in the movement, there can be no real change. Where there is no vision, the movement will perish.

But, with the light of this vision, the path to the new order will be illuminated. The vision will involuntarily disgorge the means to the end, for the means will be surprisingly similar, if not identical, to that end. At the very least, it will almost certainly mean non-cooperation and, naturally, more thought, in the form of lectures, books, essays, websites, and foundations. But, that thought must be wholly directed towards discovering and shaping the vision of liberal man and his order.

In other words, the inevitable product of that vision will be revolution, or action undertaken to establish a new order. Once consciousness of the degree to which the current system deprives us of our humanity emerges, the vision of that new order will germinate, and the fruit of that vision must be revolution, first through a withdrawal of consent and ultimately through coordinated effort. It is the responsibility of the leaders in the liberal camp to abandon their narrow focus on grievances against the government and instead lead the way along the path of revolution through vision and courageous action.

December 22, 2003

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