The assault on classical liberal values by the postmodern values nihilists, that is to say by those who make up that political sub-population of solidarity pimps whom we generally identify as collectivist, takes various forms.
Just the other day we witnessed a judge in Michigan frantically sawing at his We-Are-The-World violin as he endorsed the idea of saddling society (that’s all of you) with the responsibility of recognizing (legally as jurors) and implicitly affirming (socially) what is essentially an exercise in nonsense.
At least judge Friedman felt some necessity of providing himself with constitutional cover, or at least constitutional allusions and “bases”, which would seem plausible enough to the morons most likely to take his Kumbayist exercise in Talmudic constitutional subterfuge seriously. He could not be too blatant. After all he was purportedly talking about “the law” even though he was pretty much making it up to suit as he went along on the one hand, while striking down actual exercises in popular self-government, on the other.
In the case of AOL however, we witness a different kind of approach entirely. This method expresses itself as a completely unapologetic take over of a system in a way that is much more open. It pretends to no real justification other than an expression of progressive will or taste; i.e. a raw assertion that it will be “the way we want it to be because that is the way we want it to be”
In the latter AOL case, it resolves much more clearly and immediately to a mere matter of competing tastes and wills. And those who own AOL feel free, and in fact legally are free, to impose their wills and tastes on their site as normative; no matter how objectively repugnant those views and “values” may be to non-nihilists.
It therefore boils down to a simple matter of those who do not like the ideological and cultural line AOL is nowadays peddling, being invited to shut up or go elsewhere; as the Huff-Po’s recent news story commentary rules make plain. It’s “Vote yes here, or vote yes there.” or be damned. And as the service costs nothing to users, I suppose it is fully worth what is paid by them.
Fair enough then it seems. It is a private enterprise.
Well almost fair enough, since it does not seem to be the belief of so-called progressives in general that the reciprocal of a contrary policy in some other venue would be equally “fair”, be that venue private or not.
Progressives, in their intolerance, almost appear to be assuming that certain objective and universal standards do in fact exist, and ought to be in universal operation because they are right in some cosmic sense. But by now we all know better than that, and that to imagine so would be to mistake the sound of progressive polling booth rhetoric for the reality of progressive aims, progressive world-shaping efforts and progressive schemes of programmatic domination.
As Richard Rorty admitted, what they want is, in the final analysis, just an expression of what they want and “value”; and as such they feel no obligation to grant to those whom they do not respect, who do not fit, or refuse to fit, as part of their progressive social circle of taste and urges, the same rights of political free speech, debate, and presumptive intellectual respect which were granted to them; and which thereby allowed them in the first place to work their way into the positions of social and political influence they presently enjoy.
Again, as political progressive and “ironist” philosopher Richard Rorty stated:
“The fundamentalist parents of our fundamentalist students think that the entire “American liberal establishment” is engaged in a conspiracy. Had they read Habermas, these people would say that the typical communication situation in American college classrooms is no more herrschaftsfrei [domination free] than that in the Hitler Youth camps.
These parents have a point. Their point is that we liberal teachers no more feel in a symmetrical communication situation when we talk with bigots than do kindergarten teachers talking with their students….When we American college teachers encounter religious fundamentalists, we do not consider the possibility of reformulating our own practices of justification so as to give more weight to the authority of the Christian scriptures. Instead, we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization. We assign first-person accounts of growing up homosexual ….
The racist or fundamentalist parents of our students say that in a truly democratic society the students should not be forced to read books by such people—black people, Jewish people, homosexual people. They will protest that these books are being jammed down their children’s throats. I cannot see how to reply to this charge without saying something like “There are credentials for admission to our democratic society, credentials which we liberals have been making more stringent by doing our best to excommunicate racists, male chauvinists, homophobes, and the like. You have to be educated in order to be a citizen of our society, a participant in our conversation, someone with whom we can envisage merging our horizons. So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours.” Emphasis added
(Hadn’t fully realized this quote was available on Edward Feser’s website even though I have become a semi-regular reader in the last two years. The Internet cite I previously used in earlier references to this quote has since disappeared from the Rorty’s Wikipedia entry, )
This then is what progressivism is about, and why progressives must seek to ever narrow the realm of the private. For the views and ideas they wish to eradicate, the metaphysical questions they wish to rule out of bounds or obsolete, the troublesome concepts of objective truth and reality they wish to eliminate, they wish to eradicate not just from public institutions but from “society” at large.
Just as “democracy” in communism comes to stand for “economic democracy”, which breaks down to the common ownership of all means of production; so too “democratic society” in progressive-speak comes to mean the complete progressive domination of all intellectual activity: Progressive totalitarianism; the social solidarity state, that is to say progressive fascism.
Now this posting probably constitutes at least the third time I have quoted this son-of-a-bitch Rorty on this passage, on this site. I have done so repeatedly because he, and it, epitomize what the traditional American who falls within the classical liberal tradition, is facing when he confronts the modern liberal organism, aka the politically progressive solidarity pimp. More Americans than ever before do of course recognize the fascist and totalitarian core to the progressive sociopolitical project.
Nonetheless, Rorty’s quote should probably be permanently emblazoned as a warning over every site where people who have some interest in genuine human political freedom gather.