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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Liberalism's Sin

By Jim Mahoney
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Recently, liberalism's been characterized as a mental disorder. While that assessment makes entertaining rhetoric, it misses the mark.

Liberals are fully capable of functioning in their daily lives. They are often highly successful. They can be very pleasant and engaging people. Obviously, the alleged insanity isn't incapacitating. Nonetheless, elite liberals in particular are prone to behavior that appears insane. A great example is the moral certitude saturating the JournoList files. The blind and often vicious self-righteousness in the JournoList exchanges is light-years beyond the wildest liberal caricature of fundamentalist "bible-thumpers."

Morals are the domain of religion and philosophy and influence politics as a consequence. Our laws reflect our collective judgment of right and wrong. Without a moral base, political action is pointless at best; more often, it's dangerous. Since 1789, liberals have overthrown traditional morals, replacing them with a succession of intellectual fads. The results have been predictably disastrous.

Years ago, a friend gave me a little book written in the 1880s by a Spanish priest named Don Felix Sarda y Salvany. The book, Liberalism is a Sin, caused quite a commotion in its day, and much of the book is still vivid and compelling more than a century later. More importantly, Salvany's diagnosis of liberalism is far more accurate than casually writing it off as insanity.

Liberalism is a profound error. At its core, it is the rejection of all authority, leaving the individual to decide what is right and wrong without reference to any external influence. Ultimately it is a rejection of truth, blinding people to the evil in themselves and in their world. The disorder is one of the passions, not the faculties. (...)

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