Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Liberal Mockery of Rights and Duties. — The odd thing about liberals is that they believe they are being magnanimous and not absurd or malevolent in seeking to impose on everyone the non-existent duty of defending the non-existent right to falsehood, stupidity, vice, or whatever other depravities they cannot be bothered to oppose. [1] From their featherbrained credal belief that everyone has the right to believe whatever he wishes, it follows that everyone has the right to false and vicious beliefs, from which it follows in turn that everyone has the corresponding duty of defending the right of their maintenance and growth. Naturally there is no such duty and therefore no right to impose it. Given that every man has the duty and the right to pursue and uphold the true, the good, and the beautiful, it follows that he cannot also have the duty and the right to the contrary. [2] Where morality by reason imposes a duty, liberalism by whim imposes a mockery of it. In seeking to impose the mock-duty of defending the mock-right to the false, the bad, and the ugly, such that they flourish thereunder, liberalism shows itself to be the enemy of the true, the good, and the beautiful, that is to say, of knowledge, culture, society, personhood, and mankind itself, and it is consequently the duty of every man to oppose it.

[1] An example: Rod Liddle, “We must defend the right to be stupid, vile and obnoxious”, The Sunday Times, 17th January 2010. Tim Worstall calls Mr Liddle’s screed “impeccably liberal”, and he is right to do so: it is stupid and smug and seeks to spread its own miscreancy as widely as possible. (Tim Worstall, “One for the anti-Liddle crowd”, Tim Worstall (weblog), 17th January 2010.)
[2] For more depth and discussion, see: David S. Oderberg, “Is There a Right to be Wrong?”, Philosophy, 75 (2000), pp.517-537.


xlbrl said...

That is damned good.
If you were Carlyle you could have made the same point in twenty times the print, and I wouldn't have read it.

Stephen said...

This is a damned good post.

"Anybody has the right to be stupid, but not to demand that we revere his stupidity."

"The modern world demands that we approve of what it should not even dare to ask us to tolerate."

--Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Deogolwulf said...

Thanks, both.


If I were Carlyle, I would have done some more cursing.


I have read Michael Gilleland's translations of some of Davila's aphorisms, and I was even thinking of learning Spanish so that I might get at the rest. I am very glad to see that you are rendering more of them into English.