August 4, 2008

"under the skin of the post-moral left"

I was just rummaging deep in the archives and found this quote from Melanie Phillips, which bears posting again, since it is very close to certain of my own themes...

...Such people often think of themselves as liberals. But authentic liberalism is very different. For it was at its core a moral project, based on the desire to suppress the bad and promote the good in the belief that a better society could and should be built. What has happened in recent decades is that this moral core which upholds social norms and discriminates against values that threaten them has been replaced by a post-modern creed of the left, which has tried to destroy all external authority and moral norms and the institutions that uphold them, and replace them by an individualist, moral free-for-all —the creed which has led to the moral relativism and denial of truth that lie at the core of the anti-war movement.

Where Sullivan is absolutely right is to call Bush a liberal. For in repudiating the corrupted values of both the post-moral left and the reactionary appeasers of the right, Bush has indeed exhibited the classic liberal desire to build a better society, along with the characteristic liberal optimism that such a project can and must succeed.

And this is surely why Bush is so hated by the left. For this hatred wildly exceeds the normal dislike of a political opponent. It is as visceral and obsessive as it is irrational. At root, this is surely because Bush has got under the skin of the post-moral left in a way no true conservative ever would. And this is because he has stolen their own clothes and revealed them to be morally naked. He has exposed the falseness of their own claim to be liberal. He has revealed them instead to be reactionaries, who want both to preserve the despotic and terrorist status quo abroad and to go with the flow of social and moral collapse at home, instead of fighting all these deformities and building a better society....
Posted by John Weidner at August 4, 2008 5:10 PM
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