Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Liberal Dialectic: 2020 Revisions

 Marx to Krapotkin - Freud and Marcuse
Libertarian Centrism - Actual Policy

It's 2020.  I have not posted in 2 and half years.  The primary reason I revisited this blog series is that I began to conceptualize a podcast interview series on history, the liberal dialectic, and centrismIn preparation for those interviews, I wanted further to articulate my formulation with all its strengths and weaknesses.  Below are some small but important refinements and observations to my 2017 formulation.  The casual reader may want to advance to part 5 where I un-package my formulation of the liberal dialectic yet more clearly.  

The Primacy of the Individual

To Friedman, a free society is a more moral society, because it respects the moral primacy of the individual.  It is only through their own free choices that people express their values, and therefore their individuality and their humanity.  Without that freedom, we count no more than sheep.  To be truly human, we must be free, and responsible for our own actions.  The majority may not approve of what we choose, or may think they know what is best for us; but that gives them no right to dictate what we may drink or inject, nor to force us into military service, nor to steal our property and income for their own purposes.
        Eamonn Butler

One major failure in my 2017 statement of the liberal dialectic is that I did not sufficiently regard the primacy of the individual.  When I wrote the words "the primary issue that distinguishes a liberal conservative from a liberal progressive is their disposition towards state intervention and intrusion in the economy" I should have said "...state intervention and intrusion in the economy and the freedom of the individual."

The liberal progressive often risks the primacy of the individual for the greater good.  Meanwhile, I still find many Republicans and contemporary liberal conservatives to exhibit deep fraudulence and insincerity in their policy views.  They will claim they are defending the primacy of the individual when they are really simply defending the financial benefits of friends and business partners - who often already enjoy profound private and social benefits in life as it is.  However, as a good liberal conservative which I am to some extent, I should have focused on this question of the individual.  So I correct it now.

Social Conservatism, Tradition, and Authority

Social conservatism is the belief that society is built upon a fragile network of relationships which need to be upheld through duty, traditional values and established institutions... Social conservatism is generally sceptical of social change, and believes in maintaining the status quo concerning social issues such as family life, sexual relations, and patriotism.

Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.
        Eckhart Tolle

I approach the question of liberalism with a somewhat one-dimensional view: how much should the state intrude in the life of the economy and the individual.  Under this guise, the progressive liberal supports more aggressive intrusion, the liberal conservative less.  However, my one-dimensional view fails to consider the nuance of social conservatism in that the social conservative is actually willing to intrude and to intervene aggressively in the life the individual.  This issue complicates my model and concept of liberalism.

In 2017, I did note the liberal conservatives "more closely represent an older order where kings and queens prevented people from making choices and taking risks independently."  I didn't, however, address this matter in direct discussion with social conservatism.

Some conservatives cling so strongly to the past that we cannot really call them liberal conservatives.  They don't really want to see the classical liberal order evolve.  These people believe the institutions of monarchial rule - however sublimated into contemporary terms - and church influence deserve profound continued roles in policymaking.  They are flatly wrong.  They have a right to be wrong.  They can contribute bad ideas in a democratic society.  They can help elect people who are behind the times.  But we also have the right to ignore them and vote them out.  

I already went into great detail on the need to eliminate the English monarchy from this planet in part 2.  To take the question further, I personally believe people will continue to turn away from dogmatic religious institutions and further search for real spiritual answers and true spiritual healing thru many practices such a meditation, mindfulness, intentional communities, indigenous ceremony, and more.

Inner Dialectic Dialectics, False Antitheses, and Isms

This was a sometimes attractive and sometimes frustrating wrinkle of the dialectic, she’d found: everything turned out to be the superstructure of some other thing.
        Garth Risk Hallberg

I am not expert in Hegel, Marx, Fichte, or dialectics.  But I strong believer in the basic notion of dialectic thinking, as further evidenced by Gurdjieff's similar model.  You likely don't know George Gurdjieff.  But if you read my work across time, you certainly will.  I only note this question here to make a few observations.  

Dialectics are obviously ordered hierarchically.  Isms, movements, and philosophical periods almost certainly always react to the past or extend the past.  I also want to offer the notion of a false antithesis and a false synthesis for that matter.  I imagine I am not the first to offer these notions.  I will rely on these minor points moving forward.

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