THE LIBERAL ETHIC II the DECLINE of the INDIVIDUAL
The later 20th Century witnessed a lessening of vitality in the public sector. The promise of scientific progress was weakened with the realization that science might go too far (as witnessed by the atrocities of both World Wars—ethnic cleansing and thermonuclear power). An increase in leisure activities cut into interpersonal relations. Television and the computer led to a more depersonalized mode of interaction—the public consuming media (and therefore subject to being manipulated by it) rather than paying attention to politics and interfacing with other people—and politics became more of a ‘spectator sport’ than a personal involvement. In effect, democracy was colonized by mass media and the liberal elite. The group, not the individual, became paramount.
Liberalism has come to control mass media (newspapers, television, even Hollywood) and dominate the Democratic Party in recent years. This New Left attracts a class of humanistic intellectuals with an inordinate will to power—a technical and cultural elite of doctors, lawyers, engineers, academics and highly-paid professional bureaucrats. This elite deems itself superior to the working class (historically more representative of the party) by virtue of its higher education and remuneration (a phenomenon exemplified by wealthy politicians and CEOs who are effectively part of the highly-paid bureaucracy.) Academe has become almost exclusively liberal, leftist ideology becoming stronger the further one ascends the scholarly ladder.
The Progressive faction within liberalism emerged as a result of societal changes brought about by industrialization. It eschews corporate concentration of power, the disenfranchisement of the electorate and militarism, and advocates peace, human and civil liberties, social and economic justice, a preserved environment, and nonviolence. It stands in firm opposition to conservative ideology.
The current state of American society is that of disparate beliefs. Politics is split roughly down the middle—Democrat and Republican—Democrats identified with liberalism, Republicans identified with conservatism. The Democrat party is by far the more activist, its many factions clamoring for special recognition. It is also by far the more secular (although it is instructive to note that the nation’s spiritual divide is significantly wider: two-thirds religious vs. one-third non-religious).
The “enlightened” practice of eliminating religion from tradition has resulted in “throwing out the baby with the bathwater;” in its headlong rush to secularism it has compromised ethics by disavowing spirituality. That there is a spiritual dimension—independent of religion—to mankind is undeniable, yet it is decried by much of the liberal establishment because of its position in the conservative ethos (not only tradition, but an inability to be proven scientifically). Morality suffers because of the concept of relative truth held by the ‘enlightened’ Modernist. Ethics and morality are rooted in truth, a (the) first principle of natural law, which is an absolute and cannot be “proven.” A meaningful ethics cannot stand in the absence of first principles, and morality without ethics is impossible
Any society needs a system of rules within which its members can operate to its general benefit. These rules are founded in its values and articulated in its privileges. The rules of all successful societies including our own begin in ethics and are adapted to the society’s needs and wishes.
Our nation’s laws trace their origin to a paramount need for freedom. They are founded in a Declaration of Independence and empowered by a Constitution written by individuals with a strong ethical and moral base “in order to form a more perfect union.” Conservative philosophy embraces a tendency to preserve the established order, favoring financial responsibility, individual freedom, limited government and a strong national defense. Its tradition dates back at least to Plato; as such, it has a spiritual dimension that affects its morality. Based on rationality, tradition and social stability, conservatism reacts cautiously to change, more aggressively to abrupt change. It is on this basis that the Conservative ethic rests, and it is on this basis that rests the future of our country.
The Progressive faction within liberalism has come to dominate the Democrat party. In its ‘politically-correct’ attempts to rewrite both the dictionary and the Constitution to oblige its numerous minorities, it stands in firm opposition to the conservative ideology that is the bulwark of our Republic. In its rejection of man’s spiritual aspect and zeal for change for the sake of change, the Progressive ethic will destroy it.
Conservatism is not behind the times. With mankind’s undeniable spiritual dimension, it is the times. The individual, not the state, remains at the center of mankind. Get used to it…and be proud of it.