Post-liberalism – a struggle for freedom or permissiveness?

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June 13, 2015

Dmitry Belyaev

Translated by Kristina Rus

Once liberalism achieves its goals of freedom it continues to struggle for permissiveness 

Yesterday, on the day of Russia some childishly celebrated, and some, on the contrary, grudgingly recalled a decade of liberal reforms. From which today many have developed a good immunity.

Liberalism came out a winner among other “isms” out of the grinder of the twentieth century — some say. I say – liberalism is dead. What we see today is at least post-liberalism, at most — an attempt to desecrate the stinking corpse of liberalism.

Let us ponder, in principle, on liberalism as a phenomenon. Let’s not rush to Wikipedia, but think with our heads.

Liberalism emerged as a movement in the era of “Enlightenment” as a response to the Inquisition of the Catholic Church and the unlimited power of the European feudal lords.

What were the goals of the founders of liberalism? Freedom, equality and brotherhood. For all people to have equal rights. For constitution, that would guarantee all of it. To have freedom of choice, freedom of religion.

So what do we have today? Almost all developed and developing countries have their own constitution, proclaiming those very freedoms.

It is clear that our world is far from perfection. And it is impossible to achieve. Especially in ideological movements. Well, you just cannot make everyone equal. Remember, Orwell in “Animal Farm” – some are still “more equal than others”.

In fact we live in a world that was dreamt of by the liberals of the XVII-XIX centuries. What else do ours and yours today’s self-professed “liberals” want? More and more of the freedoms that are beyond decency.

However, in the second half of the twentieth century, in my opinion, liberalism has become obsolete. It has reached the point when all its goals declared over centuries, albeit formally, were implemented. Its path is over.

In my opinion, the turn towards ultra-freedoms, permissiveness and a collapses of morals that we see today in the world of post-liberalism is due to an interception of control over the ideological movement.

Today, the term “liberal” in Russia is often contrasted with the term “patriot”. We’ve learned that the typical “liberal” is a traitor, a Westerner who just can’t wait to inflict some damage and run abroad. Where he will sit on the loot, like a chicken on golden eggs.

If we put aside all these stereotypes, is there anything bad in having a constitution, equal rights of citizens under the law, the right to choose civil government and religion? But this is traditional liberalism.

However, like I said, what we see today is very reminiscent of “the walking dead” or “zombie-liberalism”. It seems to be similar to the original one, but its inside is rotten, it stinks a mile away and has such an appearance that a typical [Russian] creakle-liberal is difficult to perceive without irony, with all his paraphernalia.

At a recent conference, “Traditional religions of Russia against religious extremism”, which took place within the walls of the historical St. Petersburg State University, I spoke on this subject with a well-known political scientist, writer, a member of the haPublic Chamber of the Russian Federation — Valery Mikhailovich Korovin.

This was his answer:

“Liberalism is a modern ideology emerging out of modernity, just like the ideologies of Marxism and Fascism, all three of these political theories have ended along with modernity. Humanity has reached a conceptual dead end. There is no paradigm basis, which can be used to built an idea of a state. 

Post-modernity cancelled the criteria and values of modernity, such as domination of reason, positivism, absolute materialism and progressivism, on which modernity and liberalism were based on. The absence of any criteria does not allow to formulate a new ideology, because there is no foundation for it in post-modernity. At some point emerged an idea of extending liberalism at the expense of extending modernity through ultra-modernity, as an attempt to adapt modernity to post-modernity, which is in itself impossible. Thus, post-liberalism is a surrogate of liberalism, which existed in modernity. 

Post-liberalism, unlike liberalism of modernity, strives for totality. If liberalism competed with Communism and Fascism for primacy, after victory it ended in a state of paradigm shift, losing its opponents and a foundation. Post-liberalism strives for totality. Today only the most horrible forms are left, which had destroyed modernity as such, destroying humanity, a human as an object, and nature as a subject, diluting the object-subject pair, on which modernity was based. Thus post-liberalism under post-modernity leads to the end of humanity as such, and the end of a human as a whole, an individum – an indivisible human, turning him into a divisible human. 

From there comes the emergence of new concepts in post-liberalism, such as mutants, clones and cyborgs. What does post-liberalism offer humanity? On the one hand – improving human physical qualities by way of mutation using various supplements, improving certain functions. For an athlete – he can improve his legs, a surgeon can improve his fingers. Mutation becomes normative in post-liberalism. 

Clones shall replace the natural reproduction of humanity. The world is moving towards a gender-free environment. Post-liberalism rejects gender as a collective identity, replacing it with an abstract human, who is unable to reproduce, and is replaced by a clone. 

Cyborg is a mechanized human, a human in a state of a technological upgrade, when a poorly functioning or lost organ can be replaced by its artificial analogue – brain, hand, kidney – what makes a human invincible, endlessly extending his functions with technology.

This is a prospect of post-liberalism, what liberalism has evolved to in the context of post-modernity. It is a horrifying prospect for humans and humanity Unfortunately no real alternative has been developed, and if it does it can only emerge in Russia were tradition is being revived.”

What do you think about this? Can today’s orgy of permissiveness be called “liberalism” or is this really “zombie-liberalism”?

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