False choice

Two short articles from Reason and The Weekly Standard:

Authoritarians to the Left and Right
The Nation and the Nazis

Imagine a line with a sliding indicator. On one end is Marxism and Antifa; on the other is Fascism and Alt-Right. Or, call it Black Lives Matter vs Stormfront.

Your job is to slide the indicator along this continuum to your preferred balance between these choices of extreme left and extreme right. Possibly, you choose the center.

What choice are you actually making? The choice of which statist minutiae you prefer.

Sliding the indicator to the center does not minimize your agreement with authoritarian policies. It indicates nothing about how much power you grant the State, that’s a constant. It means the continuum is wrong, so the choice is false.

Here’s the way the political spectrum really works:

Looking at it by group:

Update 2:40PM
See also.
Of Course the Alt-Right Is Against Capitalism

Identitarian Politics: Distinctions without a difference?

I recommend this Claremont Review of Books discussion of fascism’s origins and the comparison to communism, including points about Black Lives Matter and Antifa. It’s well worth reading the whole thing: Fascism in America?

But I have some reservations.

Fascism… first emerged in Italy under Benito Mussolini, then spread to many other corners of Europe and Latin America. It took numerous forms, the most virulent of which was German National Socialism, which can be lumped into the overall fascist phenomenon, but only in certain respects. In others, it must be considered distinctly…

I think what follows to justify this distinction is hair splitting.

Mussolini… ultimately found communism’s collectivist obsession with class less satisfying than a collectivist obsession with nation, defined in group terms as the (Italian) people. National socialism offered an extreme version of this view, focused on an elaborate racial theory in which “Aryans” were good, superior, and entitled to rule, while others were inferior… Nazism was virulently anti-Semitic, more so than most other versions of fascism. Altogether, fascism was a politics based on accident of birth and on group membership. Individual identity, not to mention individual worth or individual rights, had no place…

A difference of looking inward to exalt vs looking outward to vilify. The in-tribe is still the volk. Professor Busch seems to agree;

It is not difficult to see a number of similarities between fascism and communism. Both… employed violence and intimidation to gain and keep power. Both grounded themselves in a version of collectivist identity politics. Both led in practice to all-powerful dictators supported by cults of personality. Both were enemies of liberty, hostile to the free market, property rights, limited government, and independent civil society. Both saw themselves as “revolutionary” and sought to displace God with a secular religion of totalitarian ideology… Indeed, one might easily conclude that fascism and communism were two versions of the same thing engaged in a bitter family dispute—two overlapping branches of the left wing rather than two opposite things.

On the merits, I do so conclude. See my post of August 18: Cosmetic Distinctions.

Nevertheless, two cardinal theoretical distinctions can be made. Where fascism fixated on race and ethnicity as the basis of collectivism and dehumanization, communism fixated on economic class. Where fascism adopted an explicitly oppositional attitude toward rational discourse, communism purported to be based on scientific principles, even though communists in practice made a mockery of such pretensions.

As to the first point, one might reasonably note that the difference is based on tribal identity. A group promoting racial privilege is temporarily allied with a group espousing privilege based on class; both wishing to commit the crimes delineated above. The differences between Antifa and Alt-Right, between the KKK and BLM – and between BLM and Antifa – are subtle points of doctrine; boiling down to a dispute over which collective will dominate the other at Statist gunpoint. If Antifa and BLM combine to “fundamentally transform” the United States, we can expect a replay of the Menshevik/Bolshevik, Trotskyite/Stalinist denouement.

The second point of differentiation is, if one takes the word “rational” seriously, actually not a difference at all. Theoretical, indeed.

While Antifa openly embraces violence, the Black Lives Matter movement does not. Nevertheless, BLM protests have featured chants calling for violence against police—“pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon”—and several have turned violent in reality, including in Baltimore, St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, where a shooter inspired by (though not affiliated with) BLM killed five police officers at the end of a BLM demonstration. Some members of the movement have also been implicated in attempts to silence critical speakers through intimidation and physical force.

As to the embrace of violence as a difference between BLM and Antifa, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” seems to me to qualify BLM as a promoter of violence. Maybe I’m missing something, but I doubt this sounds like a rendition of Kumbaya to police officers. Further, Professor Busch goes on to recount the disruption (by the threat of violence) of Heather Mac Donald’s speech (contra BLM orthodoxy) at Claremont. Perhaps too much heavy lifting is being required of the words “openly” and “affiliated.”

Professor Busch is generally correct in his assessment of Facism/Nazism and Communism, but seems overly concerned about the fine particularities of Statist branding, and too willing to excuse BLM violence compared to Antifa.

YMMV, and I reiterate my recommendation to read the piece.

Update 12:20PM Oct 7 17
FBI terrorism unit says ‘black identity extremists’ pose a violent threat

On the Failure to Recognize Patterns

Two from Jonah Goldberg, related to my post Cosmetic Distinctions, below.

The Alt-Right Is Bad — And So Is ‘Antifa’

There’s a natural tendency to think that when people, or movements, hate each other, it must be because they’re opposites. This assumption overlooks the fact that many — indeed, most — of the great conflicts and hatreds in human history are derived from what Sigmund Freud called the “narcissism of minor differences.”

Re: On Charlottesville, Trump, and Anti-Americanism

I’m reminded of this passage from Alan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind: “I have seen young people, and older people too, who are good democratic liberals, lovers of peace and gentleness, struck dumb with admiration for individuals threatening or using the most terrible violence for the slightest and tawdriest of reasons.” He continued: “They have a sneaking suspicion that they are face to face with men of real commitment, which they themselves lack. And commitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.”

RTWTs

Bloom is writing about people avoiding the messy distractions of understanding their own ideas, because “[C]ommitment, not truth, is believed to be what counts.”

They are committed to no more than having unexamined good intentions: Liberal Ayn Rand?

Cosmetic Distinctions

The intertubes are clogged with denunciations of the President’s remarks on events in Charlottesville. While Mr. Trump displayed his usual crass phrasing, lack of clarity and wretched sense of timing, his argument boils down to criticizing a flawed syllogism:

All Nazis/Racists are hateful
Hateful people marched in Charlottesville
All Charlottesville marchers are Nazis/Racists

Mr. Trump condemned the violence which the local authorities stood around and watched, then went on to say there were good and bad people on both sides. Aside from this mixed message, he was wrong in supposing there were actually two sides. The differences between Antifa and Alt-Right, between the KKK and BLM, are subtle points of doctrine; boiling down to a dispute over which tribe will dominate the other at the point of government guns.

Most people’s idea of the political continuum is confused by misuse of the labels “Left” and “Right,” and further warped by the deliberate corruption of words like “liberal.” We now have to say “classical liberal” to distinguish that philosophy from “Liberal,” the latter of which has become conflated with “Progressive.”

The narrative is that Hitler was rightwing, Stalin was leftwing. No, they were both Statists. The difference was merely how they defined the “tribes” they wished to oppress.

The Democrats’ have pursued a not dissimilar, if muted, identitarian (‘typical white people,’ ‘deplorables,’ ‘clinging to their religion and guns’) electoral strategy, and it is getting away from them. Now it’s being used by Alt-Right Alinskyites. This is sad and dangerous.

I’ve seen it argued that a distinguishing Right/Left Nazi/Soviet difference was policy regarding ownership of the means of production. To wit, Nazism and Fascism differ from Communism in that under Nazism/Fascism the means of production are not owned by the State, and under Communism they are owned by the State. This distinction ignores the fact that in both cases the means of production are controlled at gunpoint by the State. Small differences in the aiming mechanism don’t count for much. Whether it’s the SS or the KGB kicking down your door at 3AM doesn’t matter.

I’ve seen it argued that another important distinguishing feature is that Hitler was a racist and killed 6 million Jews. Well, between 15 million and 30 million people died from 1918 through 1956 in the prisons and labor camps of the Soviet gulag. Stalin deliberately starved 10 million Ukrainians to death. It’s Statism’s logical conclusion, whether associated with Krupp or some 5 year plan.

And don’t forget Hitler supported the Fascist Franco while Stalin supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. While I suspect this single fact has much to do with the idea that Hitler had some consequential difference in governing philosophy with Stalin, it was merely a use of proxies in a quest for international socialism by both men. Hitler’s party was the National-Socialist German Workers’ Party, but he had definite plans for franchising it internationally. Stalin, on the other hand, only dissolved Lenin’s Comintern in 1943 to keep his World War II allies from suspecting the Soviet Union was trying to foment Communist revolution worldwide.

Some leftwingers defend communism by blaming the actors, “Real Communism has never been tried.” Nobody says, “Real Nazism has never been tried.”

If replacing Stalin with a more enlightened dictator would work, why wouldn’t the same thing apply to Hitler?

Here’s the way the political spectrum really works:

Looking at it by group:

You can use the same basic continuum to place people. That exercise is left to the student. Hint: Hiter/Stalin/Mussolini/Mao/
Franco/Castro/Pinochet/Lenin all go on the right hand side.

My feeling about Antifa and the white nationalist cohort of the Alt-Right is that it would be a pity if they don’t both lose.

I close with some recommended reading in the order I encountered them on my bookshelves:
Capitalism and Freedom
Milton Friedman

Straight and Crooked Thinking
Robert Henry Thouless

Why I Am Not a Conservative (free at Cato)
F. A. Hayek

The Road to Serfdom
F. A. Hayek

Seeing Like a State
James C. Scott

Last Exit to Utopia
Jean Francois Revel

The Black Book of Communism
Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Aldous Huxley

Liberal Fascism
Jonah Goldberg

Coming Apart
Charles Murray

The Closing of the American Mind
Allan Bloom

Civilization and its Enemies
Lee Harris

The Vision of the Annointed
Thomas Sowell

After America
Mark Steyn

And a few related posts:
A Rafflesia by any other name -2007
Lessons from Obamaville -2011
To the Bernie Bros -2016

Mr. Thompson* speaks

“I have a Twitter account,” is the populist version of “I have a pen and phone.”

You might say these are just negotiating positions, but if the negotiating positions are immoral, where do the negotiations end up?

On health care

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

No, I get it. If you can’t pay for it we’ll steal it from others.

“In some circles,” is worthy of an Obama speech.

“It’ll be another plan. But they’ll be beautifully covered. I don’t want single-payer. What I do want is to be able to take care of people,”

Depends on your definition of “plan” and “single-payer,” I suppose: Direct from the Feds, or from insurance companies run by the Feds. A distinction without a difference. The former is socialist, the latter fascist. Both are statist.

“The question of whether the government should start negotiating how much it pays drugmakers for older Americans on Medicare has long been a partisan dispute, ever since the 2003 law that created Medicare drug benefits prohibited such negotiations.”

There’s a reason for that: It wouldn’t have passed if it put the Feds in control of pricing drugs. It was a partisan (a question of principle) issue when one party promoted fascism and the other paid lip service to free markets. Even that small distinction is being dissolved. The question that’s been forgotten is whether the government should be doing this at all. Just like “repeal and replace” is surrender because it assumes Obamacare should be replaced.

On tariffs

“Trump then attacked another carmarker, previosuly [sic] unnoticed by the president-elect, when he warned the United States will impose a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the U.S. market.”

Now foreign companies are to be punished for operating in Mexico? Actually, it’s Mexico and American consumers being punished.

Ask yourself what Hank Reardon would have said.

*Mr. Thompson was US “Head of State” in Atlas Shrugged.

“He is not particularly intelligent and has a very undistinguished look. He knows politics, however, and is a master of public relations and back-room deals. Rand’s notes indicate that she modeled him on President Harry S. Truman, and that she deliberately decided not to call him “President of the United States” as this title has “honorable connotations” which the character does not deserve.”

‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’

With Representative Jared Polis (D – Boulder, CO) and soon to be former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton (D – Carpetbag, AR) channeling Iracebeth of Crims, I am reminded not just of Lewis Carroll, but also Joseph Heller and Franz Kafka.

The trial of the Knave in Alice in Wonderland, Clevinger’s Court Martial in Catch-22 and Joeseph K.’s year imprisoned in The Trial have much in common with the kangaroo court system Jared and Hillary want to establish.

Carroll:

“If there’s no meaning in it,” said the King, “that saves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn’t try to find any.”

Heller:

Clevinger was guilty, of course, or he would not have been accused, and since the only way to prove it was to find him guilty, it was their patriotic duty to do so.

Kafka:

“[I]t is an essential part of the justice dispensed here that you should be condemned not only in innocence but also in ignorance.”

Polis:

I mean, if there’s 10 people that have been accused and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, [it] seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We’re not talking about depriving them of life or liberty, we’re talking about their transfer to another university.

Yep. They’re at liberty to apply to the University of Accused Rapists.

Hillary:

To every survivor of sexual assault… You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We’re with you.

The ‘right’ of the accuser to be believed eliminates the rights of the guilty and innocent alike. Who has the “right to be believed?” Well, in Hillary’s case, we know who doesn’t: Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and Monica Lewinsky.

Always good intent they have

Actually, that’s not true, as Representative Jared Polis, D-CO and the people who applaud him are demonstrating.

Here’s what TITLE IX OF THE EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972 states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

That is called the “intent,” which for our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court should be sufficient to uphold the law even as it is transformed into Representative Polis’ desired result:

“Every male person enrolled in any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance in the United States shall be subject to summary expulsion from that program or activity if anyone, no matter how wildly specious their complaint, makes an accusation of “untoward” behavior as defined by unelected, judicially untrained administrators acting outside the Justice system and without reference to Constitutional protections. The parameters shall apply retroactively and be recodified contemporaneously with each and any accusation to reflect the suggestions of the three (3) most junior female-identifying clerks at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights who possess a minimum Body Mass Index of 35.”

The problem with NAtionale soZIalists

Thanks to Instapundit, I was made aware of this post by Ezra Klein, whose credentials include work at The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, MSNBC and The American Prospect.

It’s from 2006, so it isn’t news. Then again, he’s writing the same sort of stuff today.

Not everything the Nazis touched was bad. Hitler was a vegetarian. Volkswagen is a perfectly good car company. Universal health care is a perfectly good idea. Indeed, the Nazis actually did a pretty good job increasing economic growth and improving standards of living (they were, many think, the first Keynesians, adopting the strategy even before Keynes had come up with it), pushing Germany out of a depression and back into expansion. Unfortunately, they also set out to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jews. People shouldn’t do that.

Update Sigh. Let’s try to be clearer, then. The problem with the Nazis was that they were genocidal white supremacists with an appetite for continental hegemony. To invoke them in order to tar, by association, privatization, or “appeasement,” or socialist policies, or other policies that were not related to their murderous crimes is a noxious debate tactic that should be widely and rapidly condemned.

OK, let’s be clearer. Hitler was a vegetarian who, instead of cows, slaughtered people. This doesn’t reflect badly on vegetarians or cows, it just shows Mr. Klein’s thoughts on the topic he takes to hand are incoherent. Should we be more kindly disposed toward Stalin because he made a non-aggression pact with a vegetarian?

Volkswagen is a good car company. Note the Clintonian ‘is.” During World War Two, OTOH, it’s believed that as many as four out of every five workers at Volkswagen’s plants were slave laborers. Klein neglected to mention that Krupp makes decent coffee makers. Still, Volkswagen and Krupp subscribed to the “Arbeit macht frei” meme.

Universal health care was Bismarckian, not Hitlerian. And it’s not inarguably a good idea. The face of Hitlerian health care is Dr. Josef Mengele. His practice was quite restricted, of course, but it was based on the idea that the State owned his patients. For a more general view of Statist health care, where the State only leases patients, check out Britain’s NHS or the Veteran’s Administration.

The hard-core Keynesians were the Volk running the Weimar regime. When they printed, they Printed. Hitler had to start a world war for his spending spree.

Alongside starting a world war, I think the economic boosting technique Weimar failed to grasp was starvation of slave laborers. When labor costs are zero, productivity goes up. When health care is delivered by Dr. Mengele, insurance costs become irrelevant. Neither does it immediately hurt your economy if you seize the Sudetenland and Poland. Think of all the broken windows that needed repair.

So, is invoking the NAZIs when discussing political policies other than genocide a noxious debate technique? In some cases, I’m sure. But Mr. Klein can’t name any of them.

Fascism is accurately defined as the political belief that the state is more important than the individual. “Nothing outside the state, nothing above the state, everything within the state.” You may object that that is a Mussolini quote. I’d claim Hitler wished he had said it.

This collectivist mind-set is fundamental to praising corporatist automobile companies who would avail themselves of slave labor. It’s a conviction you must hold before you force free people to accept government rationed health care. It’s necessary thinking for idealizing Keynesian economics. Collectivism is the perfect philosophical precursor to genocidal hegemony. The NAZIs were collectivists.

No matter what the leaders say, collectivist states always end this way. For evidence that the cause is not Hitler, but Nationalism and Socialism, I recommend reading The Black Book of Communism.

Of the two collectivist pillars of NAZI political thought, which do we blame more, NAtionalism or soZIalism? I’m not sure it matters. When you combine nationalism and socialism, you’re on the road to justification for “racial purification.” In fact, you’re likely to need the justification because someone like Hitler, Stalin or Mao is always lurking.

Update 4:10PM:
Here is an example where collectivist supporters of federal funding for Planned Parenthood will not engage in “noxious debate,” and they condemn any such discussion “widely and rapidly.” But when you cut a living baby’s face open in order to extract the brain intact, I’d say a Mengele comparison is not only apt, but required. So are criminal charges.

Speech impediments

Bosch Fawstin’s winning cartoon

The First Amendment is a staple topic of this blog. I highly recommend ‘reading the whole thing’ for all the following:

“Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”
-Mark Steyn

The Washington Post offered the celebrated headline “Event Organizer Offers No Apology After Thwarted Attack In Texas”, while the Associated Press went with “Pamela Geller says she has no regrets about Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that ended in 2 deaths”. The media “narrative” of the last week is that some Zionist temptress was walking down the street in Garland in a too short skirt and hoisted it to reveal her Mohammed thong – oops, my apologies, her Prophet Mohammed thong (PBUH) – and thereby inflamed two otherwise law-abiding ISIS supporters peacefully minding their own business.

It’ll be a long time before you see “Washington Post Offers No Apology for Attacking Target of Thwarted Attack” or “AP Says It Has No Regrets After Blaming The Victim”. The respectable class in the American media share the same goal as the Islamic fanatics: They want to silence Pam Geller. To be sure, they have a mild disagreement about the means to that end – although even then you get the feeling, as with Garry Trudeau and those dozens of PEN novelists’ reaction to Charlie Hebdo, that the “narrative” wouldn’t change very much if the jihad boys had got luckier and Pam, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer and a dozen others were all piled up in the Garland morgue…

“Stay quiet and you’ll be okay:” Those were Mohammed Atta’s words to his passengers on 9/11. And they’re what all the nice respectable types are telling us now.

The First — and a Half — Amendment
-Victor Davis Hanson

If a Christian cake decorator does not wish to use his skills to celebrate gay marriage — an innovation that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed until very recently — on a wedding cake, then he is rendered a homophobe who must be punished for not using his artistic talents in the correct way.Note that we are not talking about nondiscrimination concerning fundamental civil rights such as voting, finding housing, using public facilities, or purchasing standard merchandise. Meanwhile, are we really prepared to force gay bakers to decorate Christian wedding cakes with slogans that they find offensive or homophobic? Or to insist that an Orthodox Jewish baker must prepare a cake for a Palestinian wedding featuring a map of the Middle East without Israel? Or to require a black-owned catering company to cook ribs for a KKK group? Instead, radical gays demand the exclusive right to force an artist — and a cake decorator is an artist of sorts — to express himself in ways that they deem correct.

Without free speech, the United States becomes just another two-bit society of sycophants, opportunists, and toadies who warp expression for their own careerist and political agendas. How odd that we of the 21st century lack the vision and courage of our 18th-century Founders, who warned us of exactly what we are now becoming.

How Liberals Ruined College
-Kirsten Powers

The belief that free speech rights don’t include the right to speak offensively is now firmly entrenched on campuses and enforced by repressive speech or harassment codes. Campus censors don’t generally riot in response to presumptively offensive speech, but they do steal newspapers containing articles they don’t like, vandalize displays they find offensive, and disrupt speeches they’d rather not hear. They insist that hate speech isn’t free speech and that people who indulge in it should be punished. No one should be surprised when a professor at an elite university calls for the arrest of ‘Sam Bacile’ [who made the YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims] while simultaneously claiming to value the First Amendment…”On today’s campuses, left-leaning administrators, professors, and students are working overtime in their campaign of silencing dissent, and their unofficial tactics of ostracizing, smearing, and humiliation are highly effective. But what is even more chilling—and more far reaching—is the official power they abuse to ensure the silencing of views they don’t like. They’ve invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools that include “speech codes,” “free speech zones,” censorship, investigations by campus “diversity and tolerance offices,” and denial of due process. They craft “anti-harassment policies” and “anti-violence policies” that are speech codes in disguise.

Sadly, it hardly ends there. These excerpts touch only three of the more egregious offenders. Other enemies of the First Amendment are left unmentioned. For example, radical feminists, CAGW ‘settled science’ zombies and the IRS.

First they came for Indiana pizzarias

Easter Sunday, and this past week’s events, prompt me to worry specifically about the future of freedom of conscience in the United States and, generally, about erosion of 1st Amendment rights. Contrast the MSM treatment of Iran’s Mullahs of Mass Destruction with that of obscure private citizens in the United States.

Our Secretary of State is engaged in granting the right to produce atomic bombs to a farrow of fanatics in Iran. Iran’s leaders claim their State religion requires destruction of Jews and Christians – in fact, any they identify as apostates. Our leaders tell us Iran’s screams of “Death to Jews!” are merely internal politics, while we observe Iranian inspired mass murders proving the opposite.

Here in the land of the free, the Media have mostly been approving of letting Iran have nuclear weapons. “Nothing to see here,” they say, “the real outrage is Indiana’s anti-gay law.” This law, similar in all essentials to laws in 19 other states, and to one at the federal level signed by President Clinton, is intended to protect the free exercise of religion. This is intolerable to a vocal cadre of Social Justice Warriors intent on enforcing thought control. That is, establishing their relativist, secular religion.

The furor eventually ensnared a Mom and Pop business (Memories Pizza) in Indiana when a TV reporter perpetrated a bit of “gotcha” journalism. Threats of violence forced the pizza parlor to shut down after the owner indicated (when specifically asked) she would decline to cater a gay wedding. “Glad to serve gays,” she said, “but we wouldn’t do a wedding.”

She’s in hiding at the moment.

The good news is a GoFundMe campaign supporting Memories Pizza is approaching a million dollars. The bad news is that it was necessary.

It is noteworthy that the “Liberal” outrage on this has been applied exclusively to Christians. I would really like to see some intrepid reporter asking Muslim photographers, bakers and pizza makers in Dearborn the same question. Muslim businesses in Dearborn, though, would be considered “hard targets” compared to Christian businesses in rural Indiana.

If gays need to worry about religious persecution, Christianity is not first on the list of dangers. I have not heard that any Christian sect is debating whether the proper way to kill gays is to throw them off tall buildings vs. collapsing a wall on them. This is a consequential theological debate for some Imams. Baking a cake doesn’t enter into it.

The intent of this broad assault on religious conscience goes far beyond whether bakers can be forced to provide cakes with 2 grooms, or photographers frog-marched into the local Satanist temple to take pictures of 2 brides in front of the Sigil of Baphomet. As usual, the real object is aggrandizing the State. How else can “Liberals” make you act as if you agree with them?

That is, calling it Fascist is fair and accurate, however much that seems like hyperbole. Classical liberals did not flinch from naming it, nor should we.

Leo Strauss (1899-1973, the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago) offered this note on the difficulty classical liberal democracies face in his book Spinoza’s Critique of Religion:

Liberalism stands or falls by the distinction between state and society, or by the recognition of a private sphere, protected by the law but impervious to the law, with the understanding that, above all, religion as particular religion belongs to the private sphere. Just as certainly as the liberal state will not “discriminate” against its Jewish citizens, so it is constitutionally unable or even unwilling to prevent “discrimination” against Jews by individuals or groups. To recognize a private sphere in the sense indicated means to permit private “discrimination,” to protect it and thus in fact to foster it. The liberal state cannot provide a solution to the Jewish problem, for such a solution would require a legal prohibition against every kind of “discrimination,” i.e., the abolition of the private sphere, the denial of the difference between state and society, and the destruction of the liberal state.

Consider the destruction nearly complete.

Update 3:55PM – added ‘classical’ to describe the Strauss quote. Trying to prevent any confusion, he wasn’t talking about “Liberals,” aka “Progressives.” He meant Locke, not Alinski.
Hat tip Powerline for the Strauss quote.