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The Twilight of liberalism

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And no, I'm not talking about Trudeau. I'm talking small-l liberalism. An essay by Bo and Ben Winegard discusses the danger of increasing rates of change, discarding of traditional guardrails and guidelines, and the dissolving of societal cohesion. It's fairly long and difficult to quickly summarize. But their point is that society is transiting from a sort of uniculture to something where people experience different news, different entertainments, different beliefs and values, and so loses cohesion. We don't all watch the same television shows any more or listen to the same music. We don't all celebrate the same religious holidays any more or inhabit the same public spaces. We are separating both culturally and geographically. And we are deriding and distrusting and expressing contempt for those who don't share our beliefs and interests and values. A few points:

 

Technological progress has increased demand for those high in cognitive capacity while decreasing demand for other skills (and especially decreasing demand for “middle-skills” jobs).These labor market changes fuel inequality and resentment as they destroy middle-income, middle-skill jobs that once provided opportunities for relatively uneducated males.

Technology has increased mobility and therefore the ability of people to sort geographically. Ultimately, this means that many neighborhoods, towns, and cities will become more homogenous intellectually and ideologically. This is especially true of desirable neighborhoods, because only those with the required cognitive capital will be able to afford and thrive in them.  

...

Equally important, technological innovations allow people to sort culturally. People who score high in openness and therefore desire novelty may cultivate a taste for Middle Eastern music and Polish cinema, whereas more conservative people may enjoy traditional American music and blockbuster films. The shared narrative that used to bind people together, the shared discussion about MASH or Monday Night Football, has long since fractured. Very few entertainment spectacles or cultural practices bind people together from across the intellectual and economic continuum. Instead, people exist in cultural cocoons that seem alien and mutually hostile. Elites denigrate “lower” culture for being crude and boorish; and much of the population ridicules elite culture for its inaccessibility and haughty pretension.

...

These three stressors conspire to exacerbate divisions between cognitive elites and others, which creates an unstable and fractious political environment. Adding to this ferment, the West has become increasingly diverse ethnically, culturally, and religiously. One may celebrate this diversity, but it is difficult to contend that it has been an unequivocal blessing. Diversity increases divisions and undermines cultural cohesion, augmenting polarization, bitterness, and alienation.

...

However, the problem is that radical progressivism also promotes policies that exacerbate divisiveness and undermine the cohesion necessary to sustain Western liberalism. For example, radical progressivism promotes a very generous immigration policy because it believes that diversity is everywhere and always a social good. From the perspective of the cognitive elite, this is likely true (at least in the short term). They benefit from the exchange of new ideas and foods and delight in exploring novel cultural practices. Those who are not highly educated or who are less open and less cosmopolitan suffer because their communities are irrevocably altered. Worse, they are then belittled as bigots for attempting to preserve their culture. This, in turn, makes authoritarianism even more appealing to many in the population as a way to protect their communities and countries from rapidly changing demographics and cultural norms.

https://quillette.com/2019/04/21/the-twilight-of-liberalism/

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Kind of a simplistic essay.  Bo Winegard isn't really offering much new here but fair enough.  It's got some balance at least.  It closes off with a strong vote of praise for liberalism, not really explaining why liberalism IS at its twilight but strongly suggesting it MAY be at its twilight.

"What is needed for liberalism from this perspective is a fuller appreciation of the frailties and fallibilities of humans, a deeper respect for tradition and order, and a more tempered understanding of individual freedom—in other words, a kind of liberal conservatism that eschews dogmas about limited government and economic freedom in favor of the more pressing task of conserving the legacy of Western liberty."

Hard to say why liberalism needs a deeper respect for tradition when the forefront of the collapse of liberalism (American Democratic Party) holds  the support of major institutions, the press, intellectuals, Hollywood, and even the staff of the sitting president it seems.

The current populism is not going to help the unskilled masses mentioned in this essay.  It will speak to people who are tired of the intellectuals' concerns appearing above economic concerns.  But with more automation coming, things are looking bad for those unskilled masses and they will have to look for other answers for their problems.

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I wonder if there is some important factor alongside liberalism, that makes the visible results so different in Canada and United States. I don't see much divisiveness in the Canadian society, although it is as diverse as the American one. Maybe I fail to see this divisiveness. Still possible, I admit! But I still think that other cultural and economical local factors made the result different in Canada from what one can see unmistakenbly as a fractured society in United States. It is true however that the liberalism is fading: once it fails in the gigantic and leading society of USA, it cannot survive (or who cares yet if it does ?) in Canada (or Western Europe). What's morally needed now is to make the fans of liberalism own its failure. To make them understand that their dogmatism and fanaticism of ideological purity made them fail as it made fail any other political ideology of the past. For ruining into extinction so many people of the Western world and beyond, they should pay a price, politically, and they owe us at least an sincere "I am sorry". Trudeau is so eager to be sorry for the culturally destroyed aboriginal people of Canada (and that's OK), but has no "i'm sorry" for the policies that racially destroy to extinction the whites in Canada. He and his liberal friends can fight vigorously for many endangered  animal species, but never for the very variety of human species he stems from. They can fight for diversity to such extent that there is no more diversity left demographically in Canada, or at least not one including in any relevant or practical sens the whites.  

 

Edited by зорька

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On 4/21/2019 at 5:30 PM, Michael Hardner said:

But with more automation coming, things are looking bad for those unskilled masses and they will have to look for other answers for their problems.

 

Their problem will very, very quickly be yours too, and your disgusting contempt for them cannot save you then.  Hollywood or the press is not the best examples of what tradition mean for the Americans, nor can save the country from the 50/50 division on race, religious affiliation, wealth and urban/rural criteria. 

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1 minute ago, зорька said:

 

1. Their problem will very, very quickly be yours too,

2. and your disgusting contempt for them cannot save you then. 

3. Hollywood or the press is not the best examples of what tradition mean for the Americans, nor can save the country from the 50/50 division on race, religious affiliation, wealth and urban/rural criteria. 

1. Of course.

2. Wait.  What?

3.  I didn't understand the first part of that but I agree with the second part.

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My take on the american politics is that: the democrats can save the American people from divisiveness, poverty and global ridicule. And save the capitalism from probable future lethal atacks. The republicans/trump cannot save the whites from extinction (you cannot save easily a suicidal person from herself...), but at least they try. Stupidly, toxically and criminally but they try. Other in the western world are not doing even that little or futile effort. Chapeau for Trump and the Republican party! 

Edited by зорька

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On 4/21/2019 at 9:01 AM, Argus said:

the problem is that radical progressivism

Isn't all progressivism considered radical?

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7 hours ago, eyeball said:

Isn't all progressivism considered radical?

Not when done by Progressive Conservatives.

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8 minutes ago, OftenWrong said:

Not when done by Progressive Conservatives.

An oxymoron if there ever was one. 

 Image result for oxymoron

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