By Naresh Jotwani for the Saker Blog
[Important note: The following discussion is based only on the meaning of the two words “liberal” and “conservative”. The author has no relationship whatsoever with any political party, think tank, movement or publication anywhere in the world which may have one of these words in its names.]
The word “liberal” seems to hypnotize many people, who seem to mistake it as a synonym of “good”. In turn, this causes a “liberal” to sees himself or herself as the embodiment of “good”. But no rational, sound understanding of “good” underlies that grandiose self-appropriation of “all goodness” [see here].
It should be obvious that any political strategy or decision devoid of a sound understanding of “good” will not – indeed it cannot! – lead to any public good. Such political strategy or decisions only spread the false notions of “goodness” which “liberalism” appropriates to itself. The result, in essence, is that huge swathes of population are fooled, misled and exploited.
In a recent comment on the Vineyard, this author wrote:
Any self-proclaimed “liberal” with attachment to wealth / sex / fame is a total fake, a useless and even predatory human being. The person preaches goody, goody “liberalism” to others – but that outward role is designed cleverly to hide the devilish darkness that lies within. Never trust such a person. Never. A simple street vendor has better ethics than the greedy owner of a hundred shopping malls who plays “liberal” politics to burnish his or her public profile, so that his or her greed can gain a larger business territory through political games. Violence is simply a business tactic. Goons are easily hired.
The present article and its sequel will elaborate on these observations.
In politics, the word “conservative” is very commonly understood to be in direct opposition to “liberal”. But a simple analysis of these two words brings out the obvious fact that this is a false opposition.
Clearly, a “conservative” aims to conserve what is good in life – and even defend it if necessary. Undoubtedly, even in the face of adversity and tragedy, there is much good in life, much to be treasured. It is only human nature to wish to conserve what is good, and to defend it if necessary. This is what mankind has done since way back when people spoke in grunts.
Any person who sees the slightest amount of good in his or her life wishes to conserve that good and is ready to defend it. With the greatest respect, we suggest that even a homeless person has exactly this attitude towards his or her small resting place in a park or in an urban alley.
But then this existential logic must apply also to “liberals”!
A “liberal” will not dispute that there is much good in life. If nothing else, a carefully cultivated “liberal” persona and lifestyle must surely count as a good in such a person’s life. And indeed it is a commonplace of modern life that “liberals” are quite fierce in defending their turf. They go to any lengths – lies, yelps, riots, even war – in defence of all that they have gathered.
Thus “liberals” are quite conservative about certain aspects of their lives.
Conversely, there is nothing in human nature that rules out a “conservative” being “liberal” towards people, a community, or a cause. Therefore “liberal” and “conservative” are not direct polar opposites, but different attitudes towards life, seen in different measures and mixtures across a society.
A serious problem arises, however, when a person hitches on to the “liberalism” wagon for political gain, throwing himself or herself into a fierce, frenzied and often hateful political campaign against “conservatives”.
Then what are conservatives to do? Of course they will try to defend what they see as being precious in their lives. That is human nature. Conservatives know that a flood of “liberalism” has the potential to sweep along with it all that is good in their lives, without delivering anything better.
On the other hand, a “liberal” is in self-denial about the healthy dose of conservatism that even his or her own life requires – from dire, existential necessity. Thus a high degree of falsehood is built right into the modern definition of the word “liberal”, and all that goes with it.
The nett result is that modern “liberalism” always operates at the cost of others – who may be taxpayers of the same country, or helpless citizens of another country whom the “liberals” are determined to “liberate”.
In short, “liberalism” is a strange kind of “goodness” which is worn as an ornament by millions, but is a burden to many, many more.
Politicians are nothing if not street-smart. In any political face-off, each side knows exactly what the other side is aiming at.
“Liberals” may not say it, but they mean this: We’ll see how you conservatives can hold on to what is good in your life. Just wait till we are done with it.
“Conservatives” may not say it, but they mean this: We will not let your “liberal” politics rob us of what we have put together with much toil.
Because conservatives see through the falsehoods of “liberal” arguments, they are hated all the more. With the “liberals”, the rules of the game are: You must go along totally with our politics, otherwise we will say that you are an evil person. For are we not the embodiment if all that is good?
A thinking person must be on guard against any false doctrines, including of course those of “liberals”. Why? Because we all must cherish and conserve the much good there is in life; it would be foolish not to do so. Succumbing to false doctrines is a sure way to lose all the good that one has in one’s life.
Many false doctrines arise from obsessive/compulsive quantification.
Modern scholars in the “liberal” mould have invented the dangerously tragi-comic game of quantifying all that is deemed by them to be “good”. But true goodness is known only deep in the heart. How can one quantify what is felt deep in the heart? How can one quantify the immeasurable goodness in life which comes in the form of love, empathy, care?
A quantifying economist, for example, would reckon that a greedy doctor who charges a thousand dollars for treatment adds more to GDP than a kind doctor who charges a hundred dollars for it. The former’s treatment is deemed to be ten times better – and thus overcharging becomes an economic virtue!
Inevitably, such views of life are blind to love, empathy, care. Absent these life-giving virtues, a “liberal” is liberal only with what belongs to others. But, in true Jekyll-Hyde mode, the “liberal” remains jealously and fiercely protective of what been salted away by him or her under the cover of darkness.
As we will see in the sequel, “liberal” causes need a copious supply of other people’s money. Therefore greedy, cunning, heartless money-monsters are needed to support such “liberal” causes – towards selfish ends of their own, needless to say. In an earlier era, these money-monsters raked in copious amounts of colonial loot from the world over. Today financial and corporate loot is replacing colonial loot, but the dirty game is still on.
If Russia and China had played along with these well-established globalized “liberal” frameworks of looting, they would not be seen as adversaries. But they are not playing along. They have their own vision, and therefore they will be painted by “liberal democracies” as the most “illiberal” of societies!