Allegiance to what?
Posted by DNW on 2012/08/06
As I only have a couple of comments to drop off I am going to try out the new QuickPress publication window.
Dana Pico’s recent post on the essence of liberalism, struck a familiar chord for those of us here.
Because of the peculiarly shifting claims of Progressivism, it’s a topic, in all of its aspects, we have been giving more thought to in recent years as we ponder the question of what they really want, and when if ever will they be satisfied.
But covering this topic comprehensively and with full references would involve me in an extremely time consuming project which, in the final analysis, would merely represent comments and arguments I have made elsewhere; particularly on John’s sister site.
So I am instead going to cut to the chase here – almost – with my question, and I’ll assume that any of the folks who might read this are already familiar with the key intellectual and anthropological concepts that mark the fracture line between the bent of conservationism, and libertarianism, and traditionalism, on the one hand, and intellectual progressivism, on the other.
Philosophically, the prime concepts which the militant progressive endorses as settled matters of fact (though they may be logically contradictory once extrapolated) and as being properly conditioning for the resolution of all questions of human value and social ordering, are principally the following: monistic materialism (only matter whatever that is, is real, and it is all that exists); radical nominalism (there are no real essences or categories, just arbitrary names applied to disparate individuals); values nihilism (moral values are unreal as objective imperatives); the instrumentality of reason (reason is properly understood as a servant of impulses, not their judge); the illusion of an enduring self (self-explanatory); and, the denial of (a) that teleology is a real phenomenon, or, (b) that insofar as it exists, that it is useful for arbitrating any important questions.
Anthropologically – loosely speaking – they would include: evolution not so much as a description of a material process, but as a grand explanatory paradigm; the primacy of the unconscious as the wellspring of motivation, whether the Freudian unconscious, or the evolutionary psychology version, or some other (remember what I said about internal contradictions); ethically descriptive and morally prescriptive utilitarianism (which no liberal pretends to believe in anymore but which nonetheless serves as their primary social interpretive principle) and, spanning all of these as an overarching axiom, the ontological primacy of appetite per se for all “sentient beings”.
Now, assume all of the overt and implied premises above to be “true”, or at least as deployed in a kind of web-like filter which conditions the sorts of conclusions which sift out when we pose questions about what is, and about what ought to be.
What, in light of all of this, and at core, is all the liberal/progressive talk of community, and sharing, and sacrifice, and evolving values, really supposed to be about?
What (given that the concept of the human person is itself largely dissolved by their own conceptual acids) is it all – the progressive agenda – supposedly in aid of?
What is it, that they are demanding our unconditional allegiance to?
And if they cannot say for certain where they are going, or what they will find when “they” get there, or even if “they”, once they get “there” will be anything resembling the “they” that begins the journey: why should they expect that anyone would want to follow them “there” anyway?
Politically, they ask for, they demand, our “allegiance” and our “solidarity” with them.
Considering the corrosive and deconstructive logical implications of their own interpretive principles, they demand allegiance to what, ultimately, and solidarity with what, exactly?
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