Liberalism born out of the 1950s and 1960s used to protest against the "Establishment" or the status quo of government. Now that liberalism is the Establishment, just what is the point of liberalism? What's left for liberals but the empty shell of a broken system?
From Euripides' Blog
Before the US Civil War, Southerners used to refer to slavery as "our peculiar institution." Peculiar in this case means "one's own," referring to a distinctive trait among the Southerners. Slave owners, seeing no moral ambiguity in their institution, held on to it as necessary and integral to the South's self-definition. Despite the moral imperatives from the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, the South clung to its peculiar institution. Slave holders defended it against all argument and moral objection.
We can all agree that chattel slavery is an immoral institution, despite those yesteryear slave holders who defended their "rights" to buy and sell humans as property. Every bit as connected, and stemming from the moral failure of the South's peculiar institution, is the deep rooted and pernicious institution of racism. As current events demonstrate, we, as Americans, have made progress in the dialog of race, yet racism remains.
Modern liberalism, born out of the 1950s and the 1960s, has its own, definitive, peculiar institutions. To modern moralists, and yes, to the religious, these peculiar institutions lack the very moral backing that slavery lacked more than 150 years ago. Social conservatives decry these modern and peculiar institutions of liberalism with the same backing and moral outrage as the abolitionists of old. And, as the old Southerners of antebellum America, liberals cling to their peculiar institutions with all the fervor and zeal as those slave holders.
Also, as the Southerners of yesterday used political power to keep and hold onto their peculiar institution of slavery, modern liberals also skew political power to keep their own versions. Yet, as US history showed us in the mid-1800s, despite the political backing, an immoral institution remains immoral.
Here are a few examples modern liberalism's peculiar institutions:
No other social issue defines modern liberalism more than abortion. It has grown to be the definitive issue around which liberalism rallies. Traditionally liberals have renamed the institution in various ways, hiding its true meaning and purpose behind the monikers of "Pro-Choice" or "Women's Rights" or "Reproductive Rights."
How aborting babies came to be so intimately connected with modern liberalism dates back to the early 1900s with its roots in people such as Margaret Sanger. However, it wasn't until the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade
that state abortion laws in the US were declared unconstitutional and abortion became liberal's peculiar institution.
In one fell swoop, and with a Supreme Court decision that was every bit as convoluted as the antebellum Dred Scott case, modern liberalism succeeded in creating an institution every bit as morally reprehensible as slavery. In essence, Roe v. Wade
says that a woman's right to privacy (in this case to abort her fetus) is politically more expedient than the morally substantive inalienable right to life.
Yet modern liberals cling to their peculiar institution of abortion with all the fervor of a moral imperative, derived from political and economic expediency.
To say that racism doesn't exist in this country is to turn a blind eye to the modern problem. Racism is divisive, creating legal, social, and economic inequities across the country. Of course, liberalism helped expose the immorality of racism under the moral imperative established by the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
How then, did racism become modern liberals' peculiar institution? Simply because of the liberal view that now filters all human transactions in terms of race, instead of viewing the broad range of interactions that humans actually have. In other words, modern liberals stereotype all interactions as racial interactions.
The idiocy of liberal stereotyping, can easily be seen when applied to extreme cases. For example, when the Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested and, in turn, decried his arrest as racist. Then, when the president of the US got involved to decry racism and when it turned out that no racism was intended or implied in Gate's arrest, in such a case we see the vacuous stereotyping of liberalism's peculiar institution.
An even more absurd example stems from the current nation-wide protests against Congress' healthcare bill. Members of Congress and the White House have labeled protesters racist. Why? Ostensibly under the definition that anyone who disagrees with a black president, in any capacity or under any pretense, is a racist. When Nancy Pelosi says that protesters are showing up with swastikas, all protesters are condemned for racism.
In another example, gay activists apply the term against anyone who disagrees with them about same sex marriage. The concept attempts to equate homosexuals in terms of race despite the absurdity of such an equation. Yet they make the connection because, according to liberals, all human interactions are racial interactions.
What was once a serious description of a real division between Americans has been trivialized, becoming one of liberalism's peculiar institutions. Liberals fling the term "racist" around like mad carnival barkers attempting to hawk their wares, and by doing so, they cheapen and degrade any real or meaningful discussion about race itself.
Modern liberals also wrap themselves in the cloak of self-delusion, that they are the only ones who are qualified to talk about race (hence making racism liberals' peculiar institution). Yet, by clinging to race within political discourse, liberals perpetuate and extend the problem - in effect creating class warfare to maintain the liberal agenda.
Liberals perpetuate the peculiar and immoral institution of racial divide to create political expediency, because without racism, liberalism would sputter and die.
Same Sex Marriage
One of the newest peculiar institutions on the liberal scene, the concept of same sex marriage derives its basis out of denying the foundations of the established social institution of marriage based entirely on a disagreement with the moral imperative to preserve it. In other words, liberals claim a right for homosexuals to marry for no other reason than marriage is denied to them. The peculiar institution denies the historical fact of marriage by trying to make marriage meaningless.
It seems inevitable, that liberalism which so desperately clings to race to create political tension, should invent new class struggles to maintain the status quo
. Above all else, liberals must
fight against the Establishment, whatever the Establishment is. In the case of same sex marriage, liberalism has defined the Establishment by the very nebulous term "the religious." The subject of attack - religion - is obvious. Liberalism is the new Establishment. Hence, other enemies, apart from government, must be sought, other causes must be taken up, liberalism must progress
at all costs.
The problem arises from liberalism naming religion as im
moral. By doing so, the peculiar institution of same sex marriage, which a majority of Americans views as immoral, is set against the liberal imperative that religion is immoral. Liberals clash with most Americans on this point because, by definition, liberalism claims anyone opposed to same sex marriage is an immoral and religious nut.
All the same, modern liberals cling to their peculiar institution of same sex marriage with all the fervor of a moral imperative, when, in reality, it derives from political and economic expediency.
In order for modern liberalism to survive, it must maintain its status quo
. However, just as over 150 years ago slave owners clung to their immoral, peculiar institution with all of the fervor of a zealot, liberals also cling to their immoral, peculiar institutions of abortion, racism, and same sex marriage. Without these, liberalism fears the death of its own system.
Yet, as we have seen in US history, even without slavery, the South remained.
It's time for modern liberalism to give up its immoral, peculiar institutions in favor of the core values that made it successful in the first place. Instead, if liberalism maintains its peculiar institutions, it will find itself without the power base it so desperately desires.