On View from the Right, an enthusiastic reader recently praised Auster for understanding political correctness. I agree with the reader’s judgment; Auster has a knack for expressing the essence of complexities simply. Auster writes in “George MacDonald Fraser, the ruin of Britain, and the possibility of true resistance to liberalism”:
The point I am getting at, which I’ve often made before, is that attacking political correctness goes nowhere. It adds up to a catalogue of complaints. Yes, PC makes patriotism an embarrassment; yes, PC suppresses and criminalizes conservative speech; yes, PC suppresses negative truths about the behavior of minority groups; yes, PC takes away the legitimate rights of association and expression even as it gives vastly expanded rights to the libertine, the jihadist, and the thug. The problem with focusing on PC is that PC is not just a collection of annoying attitudes and rules and “double standards.” PC isn’t some weird thing that popped into existence for no reason. PC is the manifestation of an entire world view. PC exists because people believe in the world view that gave birth to it. Therefore we can’t successfully resist political correctness unless we attack and discredit that world view.
That world view is liberalism, the belief in equality and non-discrimination as the ruling principles of society. Liberalism attacks all the larger wholes—natural, social, and spiritual—that structure man’s existence, because those larger wholes create differences and distinctions which violate the rule of equality and non-discrimination. Liberalism attacks God, truth, religion, objective morality, standards of excellence, social traditions, the family, parental authority, sex differences, nation, ethnicity, and race. It aims at a world of liberated, equal human selves, with no God above them and no country or culture around them, free to interact on a basis of total freedom and equality with all other human selves on earth. To achieve this universal freedom and equality, the ability of actual peoples to define and govern themselves must be eliminated. Democratic and constitutional self-government must be replaced by the regime of the global elite, a regime that is beyond criticism and democratic accountability because it represents and embodies the very principle of liberal goodness: the equality of all.
That’s the liberal vision. Political correctness is one of the weapons by which this vision is imposed, it is not the vision itself. To complain about political correctness, when the problem is really liberalism, is like complaining about “enemies of freedom,” when the problem is really Islam. If we are to have any hope of defeating political correctness, we must understand the liberalism that begets it. Once we understand the positive vision that drives liberals, once we understand what liberalism has taken away and why it must take it away in order to realize the liberal vision, then we are in a position to start opposing liberalism.
Opposing liberalism means rediscovering, re-articulating, and restoring those elements of true human order that liberalism has delegitimized and suppressed. There is no simple way of summarizing these elements of true order. Each civilization consists of a unique ordering of mankind for the purpose of realizing the good life in a way that is appropriate for the people of that civilization. Lest I be misunderstood, I am not speaking of some Nazi-like tribalism but of the traditional moral order of a society under God.
There is much more to be said, but for the moment these are the basics with which we can begin:
There are universal principles of order of human existence.
There are particular principles of order for each distinct human society based on its unique history and character.
Liberalism, the belief in non-discrimination as the guiding principle of society, wages a relentless attack on these universal and particular principles of order, not ceasing until they have been suppressed and the ways of life based on them destroyed.
Therefore there can be no meaningful resistance to liberalism without a grasp of the vision that liberalism seeks to achieve and without the opposing vision of the transcendent and traditional goods that liberalism seeks to destroy.
Once we understand what liberalism is, and what liberalism is not, we can start building up a counter vision to liberalism—the seeds and cells of a new society. Merely complaining about political correctness or the endless idiocies and treasons of liberals leaves us thrashing at the symptoms of liberalism, even as we remain locked within its gravitational field.
If only the establishment “Right” in this country understood our situation as much as the intelligentsia’s pariah Auster, we would at least have a proper debate in this nation. As it stands, there is no conservative voice. As Dabney correctly noted, American conservatives only object to the latest follies and manifestations of social decay. They stand athwart history, yelling “Stop,” but time continues. One cannot defend or cultivate a traditional society if one accepts Hegelian sociohistorical metaphysics.