Liberal is one of those words whose meaning has morphed into the exact opposite of the original. Just as those who grew up in the eighties and nineties may remember using the word ‘wicked’ to describe something innovative, exciting and worthy of hyperbolic praise rather than something evil and diabolical, so ‘liberal’ has come to mean ‘illiberal’.
It wasn’t always thus. Liberalism, in its 18th century day, meant freedom of conscience and religious belief, and the freedom to use one’s own intelligence and reason to discuss and debate openly and freely in the Socratic tradition. We still speak of living in a liberal democracy, where there is freedom of speech and thought, people may trade or not trade as they see fit without interference by the state, and all are equal before the law.
The British tradition of law is inherently liberal in its true sense: everything is permissible unless it is specifically prohibited. This is the opposite of the Napoleonic code from which European law stems, where nothing is permitted unless the state has passed a regulation to allow it.
British classic liberalism – democracy, free speech and equality before the law – is something to be cherished and conserved. If it is eroded and dissolved, it will not easily be re-created. Some of the confusion as to what liberalism actually is arises because the 18th century Enlightenment, in which reason and free thought were encouraged, followed very different paths in Great Britain and France. Indeed, it could be argued that there were two enlightenments.
In Britain, it was guided by conservatives such as Edmund Burke, who were grounded in Judaeo-Christian belief and culture. In France, it was both an economic and a cultural revolution. The economic aspect is clear: the proletariat rose against the bourgeoisie and took power, but the key cultural aspect of this revolutionary ‘enlightenment’ is often overlooked: secularism overthrew Christianity.
The ‘enlightenment’ and ‘liberty’ of the French revolution overturned what was seen as the tyranny of the King and Church, only to be replaced by the Terror, which was far worse than that which had preceded it. In the Terror, church buildings were appropriated by the state without compensation, and an aggressive secular humanism was instigated while Christianity was violently suppressed. Anyone disagreeing or dissenting with the new order was imprisoned or sent to the guillotine. It could well be described as Marxist, before Marx was even born!
The same pattern is repeated throughout history wherever Marxists have tried to impose their warped version of ‘liberty’ on society. The Bolshevik October Revolution of 1917 led to the closure of churches, the liquidation of the kulaks and the gulags in which at least 20million died. Mao’s so-called Great Leap Forward led to the deaths of 60million or more.
The chilling precursors to these horrors are now being seen in the West, as the actions of Western governments follow the same trajectory of illiberalism as Robespierre, Lenin and Mao.
The self-identifying liberals of the Left, which these days inhabits almost the entire LibLabCon uniparty, are not liberal but progressive. Progressivism is very different from liberalism as it is not at all liberal. It seeks not to extend freedom or speech or thought, or to encourage debate and discussion, but rather to restrict them.
British classic liberalism was perverted into progressivism during the Western cultural revolution of the sixties. Liberalism came to be associated primarily with the promotion of pansexual hedonism rather than intellectual liberty conferring freedom of speech and thought. Unsurprisingly, this was a stratagem of the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School, specifically Herbert Marcuse who spoke of promoting ‘polymorphous perversity’ to undermine the family as the backbone and building block of Western civilisation, and ‘repressive tolerance’, whereby people who did not agree with his own ‘tolerant’ Marxist ideas should be shut up, by force if necessary.
Today, there is an appearance of freedom, so that anyone can say whatever they like within a very narrow window. Everyone is required to agree with the basic tenets of progressivism which are essentially anti-conservative and and seek to undermine the nation state, the family and Christianity: multi-culturalism and mass immigration is good, abortion is a right, all women must work even if they are mothers with young children, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, there are 73 genders from which you can choose when you get up in the morning, and all beliefs and cultures are equal.
We are corralled by neuro-linguistic and psychological techniques refined over many decades into believing progressive propaganda or censoring ourselves. One of these techniques is to slur or slander anyone who speaks out. If you don’t toe the politically correct line you are immediately cast as a racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic or Islamophobic bigot.
However, more people are waking up to the reality than the establishment had gambled on. This is why they have started to show their true colours and are ramping up the use of the ‘hate crime’ and ‘equality’ laws they have created to intimidate conservatives. People are being thrown out of their jobs for disagreeing with the gender confusion insanity, and it may soon be a ‘hate crime’ to state that a child needs a mother and a father, as nature intended.
A Canadian reporter, Lauren Southern, who is opposed to uncontrolled immigration and Islamism, was recently prevented from entering the UK under terrorism laws, when she is clearly not a terrorist, and labelled with the obligatory slur of being ‘far Right’. Even comedians are being threatened with imprisonment.
Yet at the ballot box in country after country, people are throwing off the shackles of the progressives who call themselves liberal. After the British electorate voted to leave the European Union, from where many of the illiberal progressive rulings come in the form of EU directives, voters in the USA, Austria, Italy and Hungary have voted for conservatives and populists. The people of these great countries are true conservatives who love their nations and the heritage bequeathed to them by their forefathers. They are also true liberals in the classic sense, who understand and cherish the value of freedom of speech and thought which is being eroded by progressives.
Just as readers of this site know that the Conservative Party is no longer in any way conservative, it is time to start calling those who say they are liberals, but are not, what they really are: intolerant, repressive and illiberal.