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Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'

Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 23, 2011, 03:39:19 AM
I am a hardcore liberal, in that I am a nihilist. I have come to the conclusion that, at present, the collection of facts about the universe and the collection of value judgements of any sort that we as human beings form, do not overlap. At some point you have to introduction words like 'should', 'good', or 'bad', which are never contained in factual premises. If you believe that emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rapid rate is' bad' for the environment, what you are really saying is that it will destroy the systems which the environment requires in order to continue functioning. Asserting that this is a 'bad' thing, is a further assertion which comes from human preferences, which are ultiately rooted in evolution (selfish-genes) directly or indirectly.

However, I have induced that human beings seem to be happier if they are part of something bigger than themselves, i.e. if they have a 'purpose'. Now purpose is often antithetical to 'freedom'. If you have a purpose, and want to act in the world according to that purpose, you will face various constraints, in order to 'get shit done'. If you engage in a COLLECTIVE purpose, you will enter into certian roles and your success or failure as an individual will be determined according to the teleology you have assumed for yourself by picking up and engaging in the specific collective purpose (close to 'virtue ethics'...).

However which collective purpose I will engage in remains, objectively speaking, a choice for me. On the political level then, liberalism can be translated into a liberalism of collectives, which is antithetical to a mass-state, in which there is no purpose beyong not having a purpose (pluralism). But it is also antithetical to the absolutist vein, which I have encountered around these forums more in the last few years, which seems to run dangerously close to: purpose is good, I have a purpose which is supported by this and this philosophical tretchery, therefore EVERYONE should abide by it.

I am not a christain, a pagan, a conservative or a traditionalist, and I would not choose to live with any of these outdated and static belief systems in a collective defined by a COMMON GOOD. But I do not believe the tenants of nihilism should be dominated by these groups. A certain kind of liberalism is compatible: that of a liberalism between COLLECTIVES.

As a liberal, I like the philosophy of active nihilism because I do not like the kind of liberalism which advocates NO standards, as opposed to the kind which recognises that there are no OBJECTIVE standards, but that people could, with some shift in the current political paradigm, enter into social contracts of sorts. Stemming from this I advocate a kind of virtue ethics (in which moral judgements only gain meaningful content, and actually come alive in this and only this situation: when informed by a conception of the 'good life', or a teleology). I would simply defend, violently if necessary, my evident ability to choose my own conception of the good life. Any desperate metaphysical wankery to convince me that there is a SINGLE common good, I percieve, righly I think due to the reality of nihilism, as actually quite passive aggressive.


Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 23, 2011, 05:00:04 AM
In your view, LIBERALISM =

there is no purpose beyong not having a purpose (pluralism).

Sounds like a religion to me, and not a smart one.

A nihilist is a realist.

A liberal is a narcissist.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 23, 2011, 05:53:44 AM
In your view, LIBERALISM =

there is no purpose beyong not having a purpose (pluralism).

Sounds like a religion to me, and not a smart one.

A nihilist is a realist.

A liberal is a narcissist.

As was the point of my original post, I'm using 'liberal' in the following senses:

Liberalism can mean either a liberalism external to common-goods, or one internal to common-goods (i.e. pluralism). There doesn't have to be just one common good/purpose/social organising princple in the universe. In fact, I don't believe you can consisently be a nihilist and disagree with this.

Traditionally, people who accepted this different sense of the world liberal were called 'pagans' and those creatures who could recognise only one common good were called 'christian'.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 23, 2011, 08:06:29 AM
There doesn't have to be just one common good/purpose/social organising princple in the universe. In fact, I don't believe you can consisently be a nihilist and disagree with this.


I agree with this, but adopt a different stance in response to it.

It is clear to me that there is nothing normative about reality. My value system is not an extension of divine will except insofar as all systems are an extension of divine will. My goals are ontologically 'equal' to those of an 'adult baby' or crack addict. However, I feel perfectly comfortable pursuing my goals even where they override the goals of these other types of people. The 'equality' of this plurality of goals does not translate into some kind of mutual respect of 'protected status'. I love what my nature compels me to love and despise what my nature compels me to despise. Thus do I happily scheme against the paradigm of the 'adult babies' and 'crack addicts', and hope to work together with other people who have similar motivations.

God doesn't care who wins. All possibilities, however hideous or beautiful (all beautiful from a reality revering perspective in the end) are sanctioned. I merely strive to externalize the ones that are inherent to myself, knowing that I represent one small pattern in a unified reality that integrates all patterns. Isn't that what we're all really doing here?

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 23, 2011, 02:15:17 PM
There doesn't have to be just one common good/purpose/social organising princple in the universe. In fact, I don't believe you can consisently be a nihilist and disagree with this.

Actually, you're arguing for the opposite of nihilism, which is that many beliefs are true at once.

Nihilism says look at the world, see what is there, and adapt/interpret.

You're conjuring up new "valid" beliefs that have nothing to do with reality, and that's fantasyland.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 23, 2011, 03:24:48 PM
There doesn't have to be just one common good/purpose/social organising princple in the universe. In fact, I don't believe you can consisently be a nihilist and disagree with this.

Actually, you're arguing for the opposite of nihilism, which is that many beliefs are true at once.

Nihilism says look at the world, see what is there, and adapt/interpret.

You're conjuring up new "valid" beliefs that have nothing to do with reality, and that's fantasyland.

I read these types of statements more as a primitive endorsements of perennialism, actually. Perhaps we're having trouble distinguishing between the type of pluralism you describe and the "many paths to the same mountain" lesson gleaned from writers like Huxley, Eckhart, Guenon, etc., and at points I think this website has endorsed all of them. Perhaps you could elaborate on the distinction you see between these two worldviews?  

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 24, 2011, 05:14:47 AM
There doesn't have to be just one common good/purpose/social organising princple in the universe. In fact, I don't believe you can consisently be a nihilist and disagree with this.

Actually, you're arguing for the opposite of nihilism, which is that many beliefs are true at once.

Nihilism says look at the world, see what is there, and adapt/interpret.

You're conjuring up new "valid" beliefs that have nothing to do with reality, and that's fantasyland.

I'm not saying ANY (normative) beliefs are true. Some normative beliefs might be more adaptive (which, if you are an active nihilist, means they are 'better'). But there will be different interpretations of what will be 'adaptive', as i've tried to tell you before.

Example: You say 'kill all people under iq 120' to take pressure from the environment. I say destroy the catholic church's influence in the third world, for instance, get contraception in there, family planning etc. The first will be more effective an some abstraced 'ideal' world, but will never get off the ground in your life time. The second will be more effective because it could, actually, see some action! What is more adpative... realism or closet idealism? Even if you disagree here you can see the point i'm trying to make, i'm sure:

Smart people are not going to agree on one single type of social organisation, even if they agree that society should be organised 'upward', with a view to future survival and evolution. Do you compromise or do you enact some kind of parallelism of common-goods; parallel 'illiberal' societies, all working according to their shared conception of what is adaptive?

What do others think?

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 24, 2011, 04:53:39 PM
I read these types of statements more as a primitive endorsements of perennialism, actually. Perhaps we're having trouble distinguishing between the type of pluralism you describe and the "many paths to the same mountain" lesson gleaned from writers like Huxley, Eckhart, Guenon, etc., and at points I think this website has endorsed all of them. Perhaps you could elaborate on the distinction you see between these two worldviews?  

Here's a good transition point:

The 'equality' of this plurality of goals does not translate into some kind of mutual respect of 'protected status'. I love what my nature compels me to love and despise what my nature compels me to despise. Thus do I happily scheme against the paradigm of the 'adult babies' and 'crack addicts', and hope to work together with other people who have similar motivations.

God doesn't care who wins.

However, it rapidly obliterates pluralism.

Pluralism is entirely a fantasy construct that bestows "validity" to all viewpoints.

A nihilist has no use for validity. To us, there is one world, and this suggests one way of dealing with that world. However, this one way is a spectrum. For example, if you want third world results, use third world methods. If you want first world results, use first world methods.

It's similar to grades in class. There is one subject; you can answer the test in any way you want. Some of you will get As and some will get Fs. The test itself is objective in that you know the teacher, you know what has been taught, and roughly what will be asked.

If you want, you can write "I LOVE FECES" on the test and hand it in. You will get an F. But your viewpoint is "valid."

As a nihilist, I have no need for these circular arguments. Pluralism is a human construct. Reality is a reality construct. The latter is all that matters.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 26, 2011, 02:57:04 AM
As a liberal, I like the philosophy of active nihilism because I do not like the kind of liberalism which advocates NO standards, as opposed to the kind which recognises that there are no OBJECTIVE standards, but that people could, with some shift in the current political paradigm, enter into social contracts of sorts. Stemming from this I advocate a kind of virtue ethics (in which moral judgements only gain meaningful content, and actually come alive in this and only this situation: when informed by a conception of the 'good life', or a teleology). I would simply defend, violently if necessary, my evident ability to choose my own conception of the good life. Any desperate metaphysical wankery to convince me that there is a SINGLE common good, I percieve, righly I think due to the reality of nihilism, as actually quite passive aggressive.

In my opinion, this is not a belief that corresponds with human nature or reality. It is destructive to cohesion. You linked Haidt's work here before (thanks for that by the way); isn't this belief at odds with his findings and conclusions? Your conception cannot be (is not) a universal one, do you believe a system would naturally form after the kind of universal reset I think you are advocating? It would, naturally, but the process would also be incredibly destructive. Eventually, its enforcement and preservation would require levels of violence far more than one advocating a separation of developed, somewhat inherent traditions and cultures. While my personal view is somewhat at odds with the views expressed on this site, when it comes to the essence of liberalism/conservatism there is absolute parity.

I don't believe we can fill the void of religion, which is surely as evolved as any other system in our relationships, with anything else so casually. The "objective" standard (whatever one nation settles on) must be one that has the weight of esoteric feeling, faith, being convinced of truth. If it isn't, this void is always filled by something that leads to decay, in my opinion. Whether it is materialism, worship of authority (even Kings must be accountable, even they must know their place.), whatever. You get a lot of bad shit and eventual chaos. It needs to be strong enough to keep people of different natures and dispositions together. I'd much rather it be an invisible angry sky person. Now this doesn't mean it inherently needs to be so, there may indeed be something else we can replace it with. As an interesting aside, I recommend reading the first two Culture series novels by Iain M. Banks, a sci-fi vision of a pure left society which has created its own God. It shows the only place essential liberalism can work, a post-scarcity society.

There is of course, a single "objective" standard. The very existence of a single reality means that it is so. What that means from that point onwards is usually a matter of perspective, but it is so.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 26, 2011, 02:57:47 PM
There is of course, a single "objective" standard. The very existence of a single reality means that it is so.

Liberals (and others) recognize only one reality -- the self and its desires, feelings and judgments.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 26, 2011, 05:22:00 PM
I'm hesitant to agree with that, though it ends up being the truth. Liberal-minded individuals do likely recognize immutable values and standards on a personal level, but since they end up being vociferously opposed to any group-wide ones beyond "no one gets hurt"; in concert that is how they act. As in all human groups, there is a spectrum. While this may be exactly what you are referring to, I think it's important to give some considerations to courtesy if nothing else.

Additionally, society needs naysayers on every level, they need this force to resolve goals with natural human empathy. It is very unwise, imo, to ignore or downplay this emotion. If society's standards of desirable chastity are eroded by rampant promiscuity, if their concern for the esoteric is ruined by materialism, then I don't think it's a stretch to say that downplaying empathy would degrade this part of our nature. Even if the intent is excellent, straight-talking may not be appropriate when not everyone is a straight-listener.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 26, 2011, 07:22:26 PM
Conservationist mainly uses the term "nihilism" as a device to denounce any dissenter as some form of "reality-denier" if they don't agree with his version of trying as hard as possible to relocate immagints and nuclear waste to third-world countries.

"Liberals (and others) recognize only one reality -- the self and its desires, feelings and judgments." - this sounds like a pretty good place to start for any society that doesn't want to descend into murderous anarchy. Certainly, a hallmark of all first-world states has been their strong commitment to liberalism.

Re: Why I'm a 'LIBERAL'
December 26, 2011, 07:25:41 PM
No, do not relocate nuclear waste to third world countries. That is a terrible idea. I favor we continue to use desert containment areas and concentrate it in natural rock-based structures.