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The consequences of liberals insisting on a truly awake existence




(originally posted at Clio's Psyche, Nov. 9) 

This is going to be hard thought to express, but here goes: 

Most are assuming that the massive power of #metoo right now means we've finally become more progressive. I'm not sure that's the only reason for the timing of this, though, this mass demolition of opponents, of predators, who successfully cowed people for decade after decade. I think in play is also a public's sense that this is all about licentiousness, about people using their power and having revelled in it (picture Weinstein right now; his gloating), and believe it or not I think this could hurt progressives more than it will conservatives.

I think people assess that when liberals partake in "spoils" it's all done for their own enjoyment, their own sick pleasure; but when conservatives do so it's somehow not the same thing, for they assess conservatives as those who fundamentally have forsaken themselves the right to self-individualize, to reach heights never reached before, to glory on top of fallen bodies to themselves be the ones who grasp at a crimson flag, who touch the very hand of "god" and reach even beyond. Rather, they assess them, they understand them, as those who began the climb up but were immediately cowed away from further doing so, and thus they conserve, halt, stop, rather than progress, for they are broken; are stewards of the broken, and count amongst the miserable. Liberals reach for the new, the forbidden, the apple in the garden -- and they are understood as essentially sinful for this: sex, drugs, rock and roll. Conservatives never go there, and so their behaviour, however egregious, tastes differently to us; can be surprisingly easy to pass over when nothing makes us more anxious than "immodest," "spoiled" behaviour. 


At the end of this we may find that liberalism loses. For being for full individual self-realization, for what is ostensibly a quintessentially American ambition, an American glory -- the undeterred right to happiness -- still arouses guilt in almost all of us, creates chaos in our minds, and this can be "addressed" in projecting our own sinfulness into others and punishing them for it. Many powerful liberals, simply for being possessed of something genuinely virtuous -- an unwillingness to deter their own self-growth -- may be guilty of a surprising degree of predatory behaviour... it might be lopsided on the liberal side, at least amongst the powerful. If they are all outed, a culture may decide that the lesson to be learned is that we must be more modest in our ambitions -- for look what belief in intrinsic human goodness rather than sinfulness leads to when its lead propagandists arrange things so they go unsupervised, unchecked.

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