Thursday, August 11, 2005


This was written back in the 50s but there is still much truth in it. Some excerpts:

Strictly speaking, although he calls himself one, the modern liberal is not a liberal at all, but a collectivist. He is strongly defended by a dogma and when this is attacked he becomes contemptuous, derisive, and replies with verbal formulas and sarcasm. He has an unshakable, unrealistic conviction of his own infallibility and intellectual superiority.... Although modern liberals are actually few in number compared to true liberals or environmental liberals, their influence is felt out of proportion to their number because their anxiety presses them to force acceptance of their needs and since, by nature, they are clever, vociferous, and exceptionally articulate. They are the policymakers behind the scenes in government or the writers of articles of opinion in intellectual magazines and other media of communicatio

Characterologically this liberalism represents a misfired solution to the problem of guilt and anxiety: the anxiety gets bound up in political attitudes and ties, fixed to a specific and characteristic ideology. These "self-evident" truths the modern liberal sees as unshakable and unarguable, since any attempt to challenge them shakes the very core of his defenses and stirs up intolerable anxiety. The modern liberal ... is further from genital primacy [than the true liberal] and less capable of rational functioning. He expounds all the ideas of the true liberal, not any longer for their own sake, but because they give him the feeling of righteousness and purpose. His humanitarianism is largely rationalization. His concern for others is not at all sincere, as in reality he is quite venomous, and his sympathy for the underdog is merely a reaction formation. The modern liberal lives almost entirely in his intellect.

the [modern] liberal uses intellectual contempt, arrogance, and clever verbal castration. His wit is barbed, amusing at the expense of others. He is void of kind or gentle feelings, except superficially in his causes, and that of course stops all argument, since anyone who "feels so deeply" about the injustices of the world must be above reproach. This intellectualism is his chief defense against feeling, especially his guilt and anxiety which color and pervade all his attitudes. His anxiety makes immediate fulfillment of his needs imperative, so he tends to favor revolutionary rather than evolutionary tactics. Since his real problem lies elsewhere, he is never satisfied, but needs to advocate constant change and expediency rather than long-range goals

He can allow himself to be aggressive only in causes and abstractions. Any other aggression fills him with intense anxiety and leads him to pacify, compromise, appease. For this reason he is unable to assume responsible leadership whether it be in government or in raising a child. Privilege he wants as a right and not something that must be earned competitively. The liberal's intellectualism, guilt, and fear of the father leads directly to his egalitarianism. He feels guilt at his own success or advantages and is thus opposed to differences in social structure. Basically he needs to feel that all people are the same. They are brothers and should fraternize freely.

Many injustices are committed on the altar of social consciousness.... I do not mean to imply that a sense of social justice is pathological. One has to look at the source. In the [modern] liberal the express motives are not the real motives. There is a great difference between a stock altruism based on hidden guilt and a genuine feeling for the golden rule, reality based. This stock altruism is not open to argument, because the [modern] liberal does not argue rationally, rather he uses sarcasm to imply that any intelligent and reasonable person would think as he does. He supports his premise by rhetoric rather than logic. He mentions reason often in his arguments-and even enthrones it as a panacea but seldom is he open to it.

The modern liberal is contemptuous of capitalism. The expressed reason is that capitalism is cruel and heartless: the real reason is that capitalism is cruel to him, because it is a system in which individuals must compete on their own, which he cannot tolerate.[Thus the modern liberal advocates that the government interfere in the constructive work of others]. The expressed motive is to help those unable to succeed; the real motive is to eliminate success, so that he will not have to feel anxious and inferior.


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