Saturday 28 July 2018

Anti-Liberalism: A Short Weekend Read

On several occasions we've discussed on C@W how Dilbert author Scott Adams has an impressive line in predicting Trump's actions, based squarely on a coherent thesis about human beings in general (always an advantage).  Here, for weekend perusal, is a very short article on another thesis which may also hold useful explanatory value - at least, for "anti-liberals" ...

It's on the work of a German legal philosopher Carl Schmitt.  It's obligatory to start with this quotation from the article:  "although Schmitt is notorious for joining the Nazi Party in 1933, it would be a mistake to dismiss him for that reason alone. Among scholars today, on both the left and right, Schmitt is known for his incisive critique of modern liberalism". 

The ante-diluvian Theresa May (in her better, "citizen of everywhere = citizen of nowhere" moments) might like this.

At the heart of Schmitt’s critique is his disdain for liberalism’s universal aspirations ... Because the liberal conception of “the people” is non-exclusive, it is also indistinct. Who are we if “we” can include anyone? Schmitt believed that this way of thinking makes liberal states vulnerable to capture by private interest groups from within and by foreigners from without... As defenders of a non-exclusive, rights-based creed, liberals are compelled to meddle in the affairs of other countries whose policies don’t accord with liberal values. And when liberals engage in international military conflict, their worldview is a recipe for total and perpetual war, because their commitment to abstract norms encourages them to view their opponents not merely as competitors but rather as “absolute enemies.
For Schmitt, a political community forms when a group of people recognizes that they share some distinctive cultural trait that they believe is worth defending with their lives ...


dearieme said...

I don't have time to read it at the mo' so I've bookmarked it in my folder Trumpy McTrumpface.

But would it be better in my folder Malaise USA?

Or the folder Slow Motion Coup?

K said...

Isn't "citizen of everywhere" just a globalist version of the colonial "everyone on our territory is equally British/French/Portugese/etc".

France and its unitary politics went pretty hard down that route.

Anonymous said...

You can decide which side of the fence you sit by taking a view on "is freedom to contract the law of the jungle" as hinted at by the French minister last week.

Both views can be traced back to the 1700-1800s and the British buccaneers and Napoleon with his code. Of course, the French did join the British buccaneers and their race for space (aka colonialism) but by then all the good bits had been grabbed.

Wonderful thing this wishing to go back to the past glories when there is neither the skills nor the money to do it. But the Chinese, always excellent at mimicry, have their version in their Belt and Road initiative. Could we ever do the same?

You just have to measure our ambition by the people put in charge - Gove, Johnson, Fox. I weep.

Anonymous said...

"Schmitt believed that this way of thinking makes liberal states vulnerable to capture by private interest groups from within ..."

See the UK 1965-1990. Of course, some of the private interest groups WERE foreigners.

"... and by foreigners from without"

See the UK 1997-2018. We've hone from subverting the defences to rape and pillage - literally in some places.

Electro-Kevin said...

Loss of national identity = loss of consensus

Conservatism is now extremist. It's a neat stunt the liberals have pulled.

andrew said...

... but we do understand who we are at an instinctive level. for the last few years our leaders - not just in the UK - have ignored this and so we get Trump / Brexit / LePen / AFD / Italy.

Yes, lab are trying to label the Cons as 'extreme', and have been for some years now, associating tory and extreme in the same sentence at every opportunity. It almost passes unnoticed now.
But they are also branding themselves as the racist nutjob party. I think that is a bit of a mistake.

Basically it means they have given up trying to persuade non-labor voters to vote lab. They are immunising their own supporters against any negative stories and in the process alienating many voters who did not vote lab last time.

They should have stuck to pointing out all the downsides of privatisation (there are many) and the downsides of this govt's brexit (lets not go there and I know lab are just as split but it is up to the cons to get it right and hm loyal opposition to oppose)

but in the end iene if they oppose competently they will still lose as long as people like Paul Mason are at the heart of lab - someone whose definition of being English is to hope the England footie team lose - which is both mean spirited and not a definition of english most would recognise(*)

(* apart from the scots and welsh and almost half the northern irish)