Sunday, 20 January 2013

LIBERAL HEGEMONY



When an ideology gains control of the institutions that shape opinion, it is said to have gained hegemony. At this point, something happens to public discourse. As the tenets of the ideology are considered objective and not subjective, all contenders must embrace them to keep their corner of the ring. Its ends cannot be contested, only their means. One cannot propose an altogether different value system, but only critique ways of realizing it.

Rather than clashing ideologies, we have clashing methods. The result is the assimilation of all competition into the dominant ideology and their reduction to a shadow of it. There are thus no options beyond minor variations in the same type of thought. In Western democracies, this is the current condition in regards to Liberalism.

One cannot reject the goals of Liberalism, only the methods used to achieve them. The shift in the debate surrounding “affirmative action” exemplifies this perfectly. It was only 15-20 years ago that Conservatives rejected the policy on conservative grounds: namely that it undermined both the interests of White Americans (the country’s historic majority) and the principle of meritocracy, compromising the function of institutions required to hire and promote unqualified individuals.

This argument, however, no longer functions with a Left for which neither White interests nor individual merits are a concern. They are, however, committed to the advancement of Blacks, causing Conservatives to modify their opposition:
Affirmative action is now to be opposed, not because it is detrimental to Whites, but because it is a form of hidden “racism” toward Blacks, as it is founded on the assumption that they are incapable of succeeding on their own without government assistance. In this sense it taints their "genuine accomplishments" and serves only to exacerbate White resentments. It is therefore the Democrats who are the real racists. 
In following this logic, so called "Conservatives" are effectively abdicating their own values and becoming merely adjunct of the Lefts, undoing the conditions necessary for their own success and instead furthering Liberal hegemony.

What are the dynamics underlying this situation? Possible explanations include either Jewish cultural subversion or the classical liberal roots of American Conservatism. I find both explanations unsatisfying.

In their quest to uncover the origin of our problems in metaphysics, rightists have lost sight of the phenomena’s psychological dimension and the essence of society, which has an inbuilt bias towards inclusiveness.

Liberalism appeals to what are basic social values: the avoidance of exclusion and insult, and the providing of fair treatment to the individual. It is difficult to argue against these, and in criticizing Liberalism one appears to be doing just that. This is the key to Liberalism's power, to why it can appear as reality and not ideology. The logic underlying liberal positions and arguments realizes this in a very linear way:
It is unkind, prima facie, to exclude people from society, because the essence of society is inclusion. This gives Liberalism an inbuilt advantage. 
For example, if a case for borders cannot be immediately and clearly made, then the idea or abolishing them or simply ignoring them becomes privileged. Conservatives find that they have to make a case for defending something that already exists in law, while Liberals assume a position of status quo dominance for something that is actually outside the law, effectively reversing the legal-illegal polarity.

Not actually a contradiction.
Liberalism's hegemony over the social narrative also allows it to impose the idea that it is unkind to allow immigrants, once in the country, to subsist without healthcare and housing, so the state has to provide these as well. A list of similar examples could proceed into eternity.

Conservatism has never enjoyed this natural advantage. It is based on the principle of the particular above the universal and the concrete above the abstract; it emphasizes differences rather than similarities. Its worth is that it critiques society, but by critiquing society it also places itself in a position where society critiques it.

It starts out one remove or more from the level of meaningless feelgood rhetoric that people feel comfortable agreeing on. This is its inbuilt handicap vis-à-vis Liberalism. Conservatism is always in need of a case being made for it. In this sense Liberalism always has a head start on it.

Conservatism is innately discriminatory, which is its virtue and functionality, but because of this, on the surface, it appears unjust. It is unkind to exclude people from our society, yes; but if we don’t, we risk bastardizing it and fostering yet more social conflicts than we already have. This type of thinking is more difficult for the average person to access or agree to, which, in a world of tweets, texting, and online pizza orders, marginalizes those who think like this.

Mass democracy is by nature driven by individual self-interest; it transforms society into a marketplace in which nearly everything can be understood in commercial jargon. This explains the emergence, exacerbated by the mass media, of the split between image and reality, one that echoes the world of advertising.

This of course is something that has always existed, but is magnified when everyone is advertising and marketing themselves – as an employee, as a friend, as a romantic partner – to others who are doing the same.

Mutual satisfaction through cooperation requires that an image be presented in a fashion that is as easily understood by as many as possible. Applied to politics you have Liberalism in its current and hopefully final incarnation. It should come as no surprise that those carrying the "Conservative" tag, like everyone else, are just following trends, and falling in with the dominant hegemony.


Connected article:
Liberal Hegemony (Part Two)

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