515. The joyous (X)
In current Western societies equality is normative; however, there is a disagreement as to how to attain equality. Conservatives interpret equality in its narrowest sense, equality before the law; previously, there were different laws for clergy, aristocrats, commoners, and Jews—since roughly the 18th century all citizens have been treated as equal before the law. The problem with this position has long been known, it is a component in Marx’s original critique as regards the Western system. The problem runs as follows: I operate a small website and write a controversial statement about Vladimir Zhrinoff, a notable oligarch-in-exile who lives amid ill-gotten hoes, cocaine, and champagne in a Chelsea mansion. Mr. Zhrinoff is exceptionally thin-skinned and takes umbrage at my online antics. He instructs his learned friends at that estimable Inner Temple law practice Reeves, Reeves, and Moriarty to sue me for libel; and, since English libel law favours the litigant and is hugely expensive to fight, I must take the post down or be bankrupted.
Hence, as Marx observed, equality before the law is still not meaningful equality; the right to free speech, for example, is abridged because the man with greater financial resources can strangle another man’s expression—whether legitimately or not. The people we today call “liberals”, meaning those who would use the state to make society more equal, and who are really “progressive liberals” take this critique seriously and try to make liberalism live up to its promises. They take liberalism’s concern with protection for the “minority view”, initially a minority opinion in Parliament or in a newspaper, and extend it to the view that we must “raise up” minorities who cannot fully realise their rights under law without assistance—by, for example, extending legal aid to libel cases.
Hence conservative liberals, our conservatives, are usually hypocrites; they will say they are for “equality under law”, not literal equality, and yet this equality under law does hide privilege within it; it does not deliver full equality before the law, and this is because the original liberal position—as elaborated in the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution—does not reflect reality. Eventually, conservative liberals are overwhelmed because their position is not consistent—we then arrive at communism, an attempt to make good liberalism’s original impossible promises; in fact, this amounts to societal collapse—and we have to begin again.
Further, there is a liberal anthropological problem. It is normative for liberals just to see individuals, rational unembodied individuals who make contracts with each other—equal under the law. Except, quite obviously, certain people (e.g. the blacks in America) underperform as a group, not as individuals. There are biological explanations for this fact, yet these are inadmissible to liberal anthropology—groups (such as the aristocrats and the clergy) were done away with long ago.
Hence the good-faith liberals turn “woke”; if there is not an inherent explanation for group underperformance then individuals must be being held back by some force—probably racism, residual quasi-aristocratic privilege and irrational prejudice. How, otherwise, do they so consistently underperform as a group? Liberal conservatives, for their part, can only explain the collective differences culturally; and yet culture is mutable, and if a group of individuals consistently fails to perform perhaps the dominant culture is in some way defective and should be altered—hence cultural Marxism and woke politics.
The conservative liberal is always in a losing position; he speaks about being “colourblind” and only seeing individuals, yet the collective outcomes reveal “something” prevents these individuals—be they women or blacks—from realising themselves as other citizens do. If inherent collective explanations are excluded, it is logical and rational to assume some residual privilege is the cause—and no great leap to say liberalism must use the state to protect the “minority” that can only fully exercise equality before the law with help; help that is theoretically temporary, being a cultural correction, but turns out to be permanent—and so liberalism inevitably turns into communism.