The Self-Destruction of Modern Liberalism
Earlier this week, a professor came under fire for tweeting that Black Lives Matter was a racist organisation. The ‘liberal’ section of the Internet quickly responded by doing what they do best: silencing his opinion and embarrassing him out of his academic post.
The bullying tactics of modern liberalism have a long history of applications. But they all have the same goal of warding off intellectual opposition, for fear having one’s own convictions jeopardised. The modern dissident treads with care over minefields of trigger warnings, circumventing a hermetically-sealed world of ‘safe spaces’. One misstep and one could easily succumb to a barrage of hysterical ad homs, and have his own carreer unfold before his eyes.
This cult of political correctness feeds invariably into a perpetual culture of victimhood. Anyone who so much as dares to disagree with you is by default your oppressor. The fashionable narrative of ‘the privileged versus the marginalised’ pervades every aspect of contemporary discourse, from post-modernist journals to the less delusory world of Buzzfeed feminism.
The untempered triumph of identity politics is the surest sign of the (self-) defeat of liberalism. It deems any person who does not look or think like you incapable of having a valid opinion regarding anything which pertains to your way of life. The standard of open exchange that characterised Mill’s defence of liberty is no more than a façade concealing an underlying totalitarian demon. It is racism and despotism of the most spectacular kind: one which purports to fight against itself and is simultaneously its own greatest enemy. In this tautological world of Orwellian contradictions, everyone is immune to intellectual challenge and reasonable objection.
As for the racism of Black Lives Matter, I cannot speak against all its advocates, but it seems to me that there is indeed no precedent since the KKK to the racist sentiment inherent in some presentations of its worldview. There is an ever-blurring line between racial justice and racial intolerance. Separate housing for black students, the vestige of our segregated past, is once again fashionable. For many so-called ‘liberals’ of the present day, the idea that a coloured person could be racist or ‘privileged’ is unthinkable. And in a delicious twist of irony, a person who refuses to see or differentiate colour is deemed the racist.
Ultimately, the regressive left is a breeding ground for equally fatuous opposition from the right. No one is more responsible for the current rise of alt-rightism than that cancerous segment of liberalism which has all but inverted the classical values of liberty. We now dwell in the wreckage of our own intellectual failings. It may be too late before we ever find the way again.