Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The “Good” Liberal

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (EvKL) examines what he calls “Real Liberalism” in chapter 13 of this book.  I think it is worthwhile to capture his understanding of this political and economic philosophy.

Let us look at the verbal meaning. The root is liber ("free"). The term liberalis (and liberalitas) implies generosity in intellectual and material matters.

Such generosity, at least in intellectual matters, would seem a natural result of the freeing of the individual from the religious and cultural traditions of pre-Renaissance and pre-Reformation Europe.

Up to the beginning of the Nineteenth century the word "liberal" figured neither in politics nor really in economics.

For his timeline, he points to the first use of the term in politics or economics in 1812 Spain.  The revolutions in both America and France at the end of the eighteenth century would mark a more appropriate starting point; I think the distinction in events is important, even though the few decades separating EvKL’s timeline and mine seem rather insignificant.

He describes the Manchester School of the eighteenth century as “pre-liberal,” as forming or advancing ideas that we would be realized both politically and economically:

We are referring here to the Manchester School whose philosophical (or theological) roots were deep in the soil of deism. God, the Great Architect, had created the world nearly perfect. All evils were due to human intervention which upset the Divine plan.

As God’s creation was nearly perfect, what was required was for man to intervene as little as possible in state or society:

If state and society never intervened in commerce and industry, these would automatically flourish, while all artificial limitations, rules or regulations-for instance, guilds, labor laws, tariffs, currency reforms, etc.-would bring about the downfall of prosperity.

A libertarian can easily agree with the issue of non-interference by a state actor in commerce and industry.  This causes one to wonder: if God’s plan is perfect and it is beneficial for man to not intervene in matters of commerce, why is not beneficial that this perfect plan not also be interfered with in the social, cultural and religious fields.  In other words, why not remove the interference into God’s perfect plan by these voluntarily-formed societal institutions?

EvKL finds a mix of Calvinism and the Renaissance in this pre-liberal thought.  There is much good in the offspring of this marriage; for example, one cannot deny the valuable economic progress.  I have written elsewhere about the dangers – especially about the focus on the individual at the expense of all possible reasonably voluntary governance institutions.

Next comes the early liberal phase – the phase that EvKL first associates with the “good” liberal.”  Such as these were active primarily in the first half of the nineteenth century:

Though perhaps not entirely unaffected by deism, it had to a large extent the leadership of thinkers with decided religious affiliations or at least strong sympathies for the Christian tenets.

I cannot parse out the distinction between “not entirely unaffected by deism” and “strong sympathies for the Christian tenets.”  Deists hold strong sympathies for the Christian tenets: they appreciate the ethic and they believe in the watchmaker. 

The distinction hinges on troublesome features such as the Virgin Birth and physical Resurrection.  Once these are taken as myth, the slippery slope has begun to the loss of Christian ethics.  No eternal life?  Well, then: he who dies with the most toys wins.  I am not sure when the slippery slope hit bottom; maybe World War One?

We rightly cringe when greed is blamed for the economic woes of the last decades – as if greed is something new.  Instead, perhaps, it is that the belief in the reality of eternal life was the now-missing regulator of greed.

So, I do not see a very clean distinction between the pre-liberal phase and the early liberal phase: the pre-liberals (as EvKL labels these) gave us the two most important liberal revolutions in history – this cannot be swept aside; both phases were driven by a religious view based on something less than the Christianity of the Bible.

He offers the names of several contributors to this early liberal phase.  While I am not familiar with each of them, of the ones I am familiar it is safe to say that they are those that Classical Liberals and libertarians would point to and say “this is what we mean by ‘liberal.’” 

These “good” liberals were influenced by some aspect of the monotheistic God as depicted in the Christian Bible:

Many of these early liberals were not lovers of freedom besides being Christians but took their political inspiration either directly from Scripture or from theology.

To these “good” liberals, there was no freedom outside of Christian ethics and some selected aspects of the theology; yet, this should not be taken to mean anything more than Deism, given my reading here and elsewhere.  The benefits of the ethics without the foundation for the ethics – a house built on sand.

Man has an immortal soul, man has a personality, man is not an accident of blind forces of nature, man needs freedom because God wants him not only to develop his personality in the right direction but also to live a moral life, freely (but rightly!) choosing between good and evil.

Good and evil under whose definition?  It is easy to proclaim a Christian ethic; it is difficult to sustain a Christian ethic without an institution in a position of authority behind it.  No, for the one-thousandth time, I am not calling for theocracy.  One need not find in every moral transgression a physical punishment here on earth. 

When the Church excommunicated a king, it did not throw him in prison; it was the king that had the army, after all, not the Church.  Yet, this excommunication often worked to modify the king’s behavior.

EvKL points to the broader denominational affiliations of such liberal thinkers: 

From the aforementioned it is obvious that the religious aspect of early liberalism was more strongly developed among Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and those supporters of the Reformation faiths who had broken with the strict views of the Reformers, who were "Erasmian" and Zwinglian rather than Calvinistic or Lutheran.

Liberalism finds its way into the various Reformation faiths only in the eighteenth century: one cannot say that Luther or Calvin were in any way “liberal.”

One cannot be but struck by the broad array of denominations of the individuals that in some way or another contributed to the development or advancement of liberal thought.  They had one thing in common, an unfortunately unstated premise, perhaps; a premise without which all of their writing about liberty was in vain.  The writing was based on the assumption that such liberal thought was meaningless if not built on the Christian foundation from which it came.

But why state it in a Europe and America in which all were Christian – albeit by now of multiple denominations?  It would be, perhaps, like writing about a market economy with the unstated premise that it was humans who were to participate.  Who would have to state such a premise?  (And I know one of you will find an article about how chimpanzees are seen to be trading via indirect exchange…. What next?  The vote?)

EvKL does offer that the political side of liberalism carried more sway in those from the Catholic faith while the economic side of liberalism was better appreciated in the Reformed.  It is an interesting distinction, perhaps one that finds light today in the debates about moral versus pragmatic and economic arguments regarding liberty.

EvKL continues to describe in some detail the political evolution of the times, the ideas of equality and individual that transformed their aversion to democracy into an embrace of democracy: one man, one vote.  Ultimately, this led to the forces of the left dominating, as has been seen throughout the west since at least the beginning of the twentieth century – coinciding with the birth of the period we today label as Progressive.

There were now, mostly in central Europe, thinkers who viewed the problem of liberty in a different light than the men who belonged to a somewhat older generation and in many ways could have been called their teachers. (Almost all of them, to be sure, as far as economics go, had been inspired by Ludwig von Mises.)

He describes these as “neo-liberals,” interestingly, when it comes to economics; they met at the Mont-Pèlerin Hotel in 1946…

…these newer lights were less radical in their outlook and they admitted curbs on mammothism and colossalism to preserve competition. They thought that the state had a right and even a duty to correct possible abuses of economic freedom…

I only mention this point for completeness; as it is not the focus of my post, I will leave it here – but will certainly welcome comments on this topic.  It is the next point that most interests me:

Yet probably more important than this change was the reappraisal of religion, especially of Christianity. Many of the neoliberals declared that it is not sufficient to prove that "liberty delivers the goods," that freedom is more agreeable or more productive than slavery. There must be philosophical and even theological reasons why liberty must be achieved, fostered, preserved.

EvKL cites Professor Wilhelm Röpke, who says even if it is proved that a planned economy is materially superior, he would still prefer freedom.  A somewhat different view than that held by libertarians who see material improvement as the measure of liberty.

Under these circumstances sacrifices of a material order would have to be made to preserve the dignity of man.

Them’s fightin’ words in many libertarian circles.  But one sees just this in the economic laws of the Middle Ages.  While infinitely less onerous than what we face today, a handful of laws restricting the absolute freedom of the private property owner in relation to his property.

From such views we can deduct that the neoliberals had, in a certain way, a greater affinity with the early liberals than with their immediate predecessors.

As EvKL writes, they “they refused…to make a fetish of economics.”  Such as these “refused to deal with economics in an isolated way, detached from all the other disciplines.” 


Indeed, we have before us two problems to be solved: first, to find out how it happened that liberalism in the United States evolved into the very opposite of what it set out to be-if it did "evolve"!-(thereby morally forfeiting the right to call itself "liberal''), and second, later on, to analyze what conservatism, old and new, really stands for or, at least, ought to stand for.

Yes.  An interesting question, that of the “bad” liberalism” and this transformation from good to bad.  Presumably to be addressed by EvKL in his next chapter, entitled “False Liberalism.”


  1. "Deists hold strong sympathies for the Christian tenets: they appreciate the ethic and they believe in the watchmaker.

    The distinction hinges on troublesome features such as the Virgin Birth and physical Resurrection. Once these are taken as myth, the slippery slope has begun to the loss of Christian ethics. No eternal life? Well, then: he who dies with the most toys wins. I am not sure when the slippery slope hit bottom; maybe World War One?"

    This is an excellent quote. I offer that "Mere Christianity" was written from a BBC series of talks Lewis engaged in from 1941 to 1944- which were probably in response to your surmised "bottoming" and fit timeline wise.

    I have to say that I'm probably more in line with the Deist thinking at this moment in my life, but CS Lewis's eternal questions posed in Mere Christianity are always in the back of my mind, one of which includes "Where does morality come from?"

    In that regard, I think there plenty of people that don't default to "those with the most toys" mentality that fall along Deist lines of thinking- probably out of an internal acknowledgement of Lewis's question/thinking on the topic of morality in the back of their minds.

    That being said, I have no doubt that some Muslim's that throw gays off of rooftops think they are doing the moral thing...or Neocon's starving/bombing babies to oust "oppressive" regimes(irony).

    So the question of "Where does morality come from?" remains as relevant as ever.

    1. Nick: "Where does morality come from?"

      Morality is the operating system of society. I believe it is partly genetic, partly epigenetic and partly nurture.

      If you live alone in a cabin in the woods, can you then be moral (or a-moral)?

      I would argue for 'no'. It is impossible to be moral or amoral if you have no interaction with other people.

      Thus morality only exists between people. It rules how people interact. I.e. its the API (or operating system) of society.

      Since people interact to improve their chances of survival, morality is subject to selection. And hence it has gone into our very DNA. But since it must be flexible, it also must have epigenetic components. (Where I see a connection with r-K psychological evolution theory)

      Btw: I am perfectly willing to concede that morality as a ding-an-sich does not exist. Its just a name we have given to a concept that has proven useful. I.e. morality (as name) is created after the fact.

    2. Some months ago I came across the etymology of the words "moral" and "ethics." They both derive from the word "custom."

      Now, whether one believes that this custom was God-given, gods-given, or developed based on 100,000 years of "what worked" (worked toward what end...perhaps to sustain and advance life), is secondary to the point I think - at least regarding the conversation at this blog.

      As to today's morality of "he who dies with the most toys wins," Nick I agree it isn't driving the vast majority of people; I find it the guiding morality of those who society sees (or is told) as "noble."

      Nobles no longer act noble, in the civilization-building sense. That's what I am getting at.

    3. "Nobles no longer act noble, in the civilization-building sense. That's what I am getting at."

      I think your commentary regarding the need for the Christian community(s) to lead a resurgence in a moral(noble?)ethics to counterbalance to state power is spot on.

      I think I've mentioned before here that I find the overwhelming glorification of the state(in various ways) by what are in essence lapdog Christian churches to be both distasteful personally, but more importantly a giant distraction to Christians themselves(I can't count myself as such at this time) from what their priority should be- meaning an "everlasting kingdom" instead of the ones they happens to live under today. Maybe at the risk of their "everlasting soul".

      The Church(s) do a huge disservice to their "flock" by their glorification of the state.(I visit several churches a year of differing denominations and almost all of them engage in this in one way or another)

      I've joked, but really it's "kidding on the straight", that Christians in general and their churches were better off(spiritually) when the state was feeding them to lions before they made their pact with the proverbial Devil and they embraced the state and in turn the state embraced them.(speaking of ancient Rome- but it may relate to other time frames) Granted, the incentive to not be fed to lions is strong.

      The interesting thing about the Founders notion of the separation of church and state, specifically Jefferson's really, was so the state did not subvert the Church- but he probably didn't see the fact that Christians would willingly subvert themselves to it regardless of their moral conflicts.

      The state still pecks around the edges of the Christian community- like threatening to withhold tax exemption status over what they deem as "political speech", but on the whole the state doesn't need to do much as many of the Christian population has willingly subverted their moral code/beliefs to the state.

    4. Nick, enjoy your comments.

      One question though. You talk about visiting churches that glorify the state. I am curious to know how they do that. I am trying to understand if I am in churches that do the same thing but am blind to it. Trying be more self aware.

    5. One other quick note that may be of interest to you BM, there's a BBC series that is "historical fiction" I've enjoyed watching from time to time that is done around the time period that you referenced in some of your earlier works, specifically that of Alfred the Great and his fights and allegiances with the Danes set in the late 9th century- that I think in my ways is relevant to your exploration of the impact of German/barbarian culture on "liberty" and the interplay between them,the Church, and the state.

      There is certainly some "hollywood" to the series, but there are also many interesting explorations of said interactions from a Saxon viewpoint and especially highlighted is the role of the Church between the pagans/heathens and the King.

      I stream, but I think Netflix picked it up as well- I think you would enjoy it if you have time to watch it now and then.

    6. I forgot to mention the name of the series! lol

      "The Last Kingdom"

    7. Nick,

      I watch that show too. The third season just came out on Netflix, so I'm excited to watch it. Is Utred a real character or is he someone the writers made up to make the show more interesting? He has a difficult line to walk with allegiances to both Alfred and his viking brother.

      It's kind of neat that this show picks up pretty much where the show Vikings left off. Vikings is another good show even if it tends to romanticize the Norse culture and somewhat disparage the Christian one.

      Recently I saw a fantastic movie about a later period in the UK called "Outlaw King" with Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce. This movie sort of picks up where Braveheart left off. It shows how important the Church's blessing was to crowning a new king and also how important it was for kings to get the consent of the other nobles and powerful families. It also portrays a successful war of secession against a more powerful opponent.

      Of course, I'm excited about the last season of Game of Thrones coming out in the Spring. It's obviously not historical but there's a lot of hard truths woven into the story and George R.R. Martin has said that it was the 100 years war between the nobles of England and France that inspired much of the story - apart from the dragons and the icemen I suppose.

    8. " I am curious to know how they do that. I am trying to understand if I am in churches that do the same thing but am blind to it."

      I'll give you examples of just this year(since it's almost done):

      1. At a VBS in a Presbyterian church this summer they had the US flag next to Christian flag and started the services with the pledge of allegiance. I told my kids to remain seated(always fun) while the rest of the congregation started off with the pledge.

      I don't think I have to explain further in that case.

      The other big one that occurred several times this year at several other church(usually doing holidays) is when they stop in the middle of the service and have military members stand so everyone in the church can "thank them for their service". This happened 2 or 3 times this year in churches I was visiting. My kids/wife participate in several different churches for different reasons, including homeschooling groups, choir, VBS's, and a liturgical reasons...so I end up visiting several different ones a year. I support them in being Christian obviously despite my own leanings.(it's gets complicated)

      My wife's father was a Presbyterian minister(passed away) and though I loved the man, I once had to sit through a sermon justifying the US's entrance into the Iraq war using the siege of Tyre as an analogy to modern times. (he was a huge Trump supporter too...wore MAGA hats and the whole deal)

      He was a brilliant man, though obviously misguided. I just didn't feel like arguing the point as I'm already considered "extreme" to most of my family members on both sides of my family and it gets tiring and is disruptive to argue with them all the time.

      Anyway, I could go on forever really...but maybe I'm just more "in tune" or "sensitive" to it than others.

    9. (cont.)

      I did have refreshing conversation with an ophthalmologist this summer from my wife's home church in which he offered that he thought that the "just war" criteria had not been fulfilled in any of the recent wars the US has been engaged in- but he was early in his thinking on the topic so I didn't add too much, just kind of reinforced his direction. He's Episcopalian.

      My wife has spent most of her time in protestant churches(and kids), but the last few Christmas's I've hauled them into Catholic churches(I was baptized Catholic) just for a different perspective. I have to say, I see far less of the state worship in the Catholic churches than the Protestant.

      Thing is, there's the old tropes, especially here in the South about the "worship" of Mary over even that of Jesus in the Catholic church. I remember as a youth that did seem more of a "thing", but my occasional visitations to Catholic churches have lead me to believe that has been dialed back. There's of course the molestation scandals too, which is being played up especially here in the South. It doesn't also help that the current Pope is for all intensive purposes a commie and as a result a statist. My Mom told me a story about growing up that her mother(my grandmother) regretted allowing my grandfather to raise my mother and her sister Catholic. This was back in the days(50's/60's) when the women/girls wore "chapel veils" at mass and what not, but my grandmothers(anglo from the Deep South) slur towards my grandfather(anglo from the North) right before church on Sunday mornings was to call him a "Catholicker"...lol...will all the attendant inferences. If I recall, there was a big concern around that time in the US when Kennedy was elected that he'd listen to the Pope over the Constitution. (there's a whole lot to unpack in that last sentence...)

      I could be exposed to more "state worship" of different varieties in churches due to regional differences as well, as it's kind of a "big thing" here in the South more so than my time in SoCal or Detroit.(there's a lot of military bases and influence in South Carolina)

      "Nick, enjoy your comments."

      That is very kind and thank you.

    10. I have seen the US and Christian flags together. But it hasn't been prominent in churches I have attended. I think I have seen the pledge in a Baptist church before a youth event. I agree let's get the flag and pledge out of churches. I do think we should respect the government we are under for the moment and I think it is even okay to thank God that we live in a country where we can worship out in the open. I am not comfortable doing much more.

      Even though my brother is in the military, i have always been uncomfortable with people thanking those in the military for their service. They chose it. They get very well compensated for it. Most of what they do doesn't directly protect me. I still think there is some role for the Navy to protect trade routes. It would probably be better if the US Navy controlled less and worked with other nations though.

    11. ATL-

      "Is Utred a real character or is he someone the writers made up to make the show more interesting?"

      Well the writer of the book series the show is based on, Bernard Cornwell, created the character based on his personal lineage that ran through Bebbanburg and there were "Uhtred"'s about that timeframe but nothing much documented beyond that.

      The wiki entry is pretty good on it:


      I like their treatment of mysticism and grounding in reality as opposed to Game of Thrones, which I watch too, but requires dramatic suspension of disbelief- unlike The Last Kingdom.

      I'm coming around to the "historical fiction" genre.

      The writer himself seems an interesting person and has written historical fiction in other areas and a purely historical treatment on Waterloo.

      I can relate to Uhtred's conflicted allegiances due to his upbringing personally for a variety of reasons, including my ethic background as I'm English, Irish, Dutch, French and obviously Italian-all mixed within a roughly 22 year span. To merely say it brought familial conflict both on a cultural and religious level doesn't quite do it justice...lol

    12. RMB-

      "I do think we should respect the government we are under"

      I disagree, but I appreciate the fact you're here and reading- obviously you're intellectually challenging yourself which is commendable.

      I think a Socratic question regarding the government we find ourselves under if you're a Christian might be regarding the famous Romans 13- and asking yourself at what time respect/submission should be dispensed with as said government comes to represent a set of values that resemble the opposite of Biblical teaching. (using the old cliche of the Nazi empire as an example)

  2. BM: "how it happened that liberalism in the United States evolved into the very opposite of what it set out to be-if"

    It is difficult to look at this problem from the intellectual angle, possibly because we are only looking at the results from a deeper mechanism. If the mechanism selects the philosophy then looking for philosophical caused will always fail -or at leats be unsatisfactory.

    One candidate for this underlying mechanism might be economics. The cycle would be something like: Authoritarianism provides a stable environment in which liberalism can flourish which allows the emergence of socialism. Socialism undermines authoritarianism such that the stable environment collapses, destroying liberalism, destroying socialism after which the cycle starts anew.

    Evolutionary speaking, this allows for better and better societies to emerge. If the process got stuck in liberalism, then evolution (of societies) would stop as well.

    1. Personally, I don't think it's any more complicated than people coopting popular movements for their own purposes. Not even sure it requires authoritarians to implement. The number of people following a movement tends to be much greater than the number of people who truly understand it.

      Most of the followers are primarily concerned with some, er, injustice the movement is intended to address. Other proposed methods of addressing the injustice can easily be grafted to the movement, even if those methods are fundamentally in opposition to the movements true goals. I've seen this happen so many time in my life I've become wary of backing any idea that reaches the level of public awareness.

  3. Not sure I followed this one that well. Which is the bad liberal the Neo-liberal? Or the socialist?

    The main thing I focused on though was the initial idea of the Deist, "The world is near perfect and therefore individuals should be left alone." Can I agree with the 2nd part and disagree with the 1st?

    The 2nd, individuals should be left alone to pursue their own ends is what I would call, liberty. It presupposes the dignity of the individual and their right by the creator's intention to do what they want more or less. Once you take that presupposition away, I don't see a good defense for liberty.

    I believe this so far because the 1st statement, the world is more or less perfect is false. I agree there is an order to human interaction that works as described by Mises. It does work theoretically and can be shown by logical axiom. But how things proceed practically is not as clean as the theory. This is explained by a major tenet of the Bible, that humanity is fallen and as a result the rest of the world. The perfect created order is broken. It doesn't function as it should.

    I think that is one of the big problems with the liberal or neo-liberal world view. That doesn't mean that authoritarian government is then necessitated. You don't give more and more rule over to a fallen man or small group of men. They can't be trusted.

    From this error, I think it reasonable to think that liberalism proceeded from "good" to "bad" because it became further and further un-moored from the Bible.

    If my response sounds jumpy and dislocated a bit that is because my understanding of the article is also dislocated a bit.

    1. RMB

      “’…and therefore individuals should be left alone.’ …individuals should be left alone to pursue their own ends is what I would call, liberty.”

      “I think it reasonable to think that liberalism proceeded from "good" to "bad" because it became further and further un-moored from the Bible.”

      If individuals should be left alone to pursue their own liberty, on what basis could you suggest that good liberalism was lost due to the un-mooring from the Bible? Or, is it necessary (call it helpful, perhaps) for liberty if the Bible does NOT leave us alone – in which case perhaps you DIS-agree with the second part?

      In other words – are there preconditions to a generally libertarian society – preconditions that should not leave us alone if we value liberty?

    2. I associate liberty with volunteerism. You have to value and pursue the Bible on your own. If it is forced on you, then it is hard for me to call it liberty. I think that is why early liberals fought against the church and organized religion. They had no choice. It was a part of the state. You were taxed to pay the church.

      I think liberals in their quest for freedom made a big mistake. They through out the baby with the bath water so to speak. There may have been coercive or constraining aspects of European Christendom but that doesn't mean that a relationship with God through His Word is not a requirement to understand and pursue liberty.

      I think metaphorically the Bible should not leave us alone, but practically an individuals volition needs to be involved otherwise it will be viewed as another source of repression, which it has historically. Society has done that to its own peril as you have described eloquently on this blog. They have lost freedom in the pursuit of freedom. But how do you go back to church/state or unified catholic Church? I don't see a way forward like that. The only path I see is convincing individuals.

    3. RMB,

      I guess it depends on what we mean when we say "forced."

      To me there is a crucial difference between using physical force to coerce payments to and behavior in accordance with the doctrines of the Church, and using social pressure (via public rebuke, dissociation, boycott, ostracism, etc.) to accomplish the same.

      "There may have been coercive or constraining aspects of European Christendom but that doesn't mean that a relationship with God through His Word is not a requirement to understand and pursue liberty."

      I could not agree more. I think it is the great tragedy of the modern age that liberty got stuck on the side of social radicalism (Puritanism, democratism, spiritualism, subjectivism, nihilism, libertinism, socialism etc.) against the socio-religious institutions that had served for a 1000 years or more as its great benefactor and steward due to their corruption thanks to the reemergence of the state in the 17th century.

      It's very clear in the Bible and in Catholic teaching that it requires individual devotion to Jesus in order to be saved. You cannot be saved without choosing Him. I think this fact should dissuade us from using physical violence to force the Christian way of life on anyone. Social pressure, however, may be necessary.

      As far as a way forward goes, I don't think anyone has a better strategy than Robert Nisbet (well, him filtered through a Rothbardian lens). We must quest to rebuild community locally from the ground up by strengthening the ties of our families, friends, churches, charities, and associations. I think this means we have to ignore the services of the state, even though we're forced to pay for them, and solve our problems ourselves.

      "Multiply your associations and be free." - Proudhon

    4. "...how do you go back to church/state or unified catholic Church? I don't see a way forward like that."

      Nor do I, though God's powers and vision are greater than mine.

      However, individual denominations, churches, etc., can do the task of speaking truth to power. I am on solid Biblical and Christian ground to expect this much from them.

      Unless something like this happens, I find it difficult to find a meaningful move toward liberty.

      As to the issue of force / voluntary, ATL has offered thoughts with which I agree.

  4. Kuehnelt-Leddihn is someone who simply must be read by anyone who is (or sympathizes with) Christian(s) and cares about liberty. I like to highlight in my books as I read, and with him, I find myself nearly highlighting every sentence. I pat myself on the back when I find a few sentences or even a paragraph that isn't worthy of the yellow ink. There's almost no filler in his books.

    Having said that, there are some things in his analysis of liberalism that give me the impression he has at least a slight error somewhere. When he breaks down what left and right is, I think he is spot on, but then when he applies the label to individuals he baffles me at times.

    For instance, he has Ludwig von Mises, Clemenceau and Bismarck in the same category of liberal. Bismarck, the liberal precursor to everything that is wrong with modern liberalism was the same kind of liberal as Mises? No way.

    He also portrays Alexander Hamilton in a favorable light in regards to liberty (or rightism) as compared to Thomas Jefferson. Given his descriptions of left and right, I cannot fathom how he failed to see the more potent leftism in Hamilton.

    This guy is so brilliant though, perhaps there is something I am missing? I know Jefferson had his leftist side as well - I won't deny that. I think Kuehnelt-Leddihn is basing his classification of liberals more on culture than economic or political characteristics.

    1. There are parts of his analysis, etc., with which I also struggle - and disagree. Like you, however, I find many gems that make him still worth reading.

  5. The word "liberalism" has many definitions. You might read "Liberalism is a Sin" by the Jesuit Salva y Sardany for an interesting exposition.

  6. Anything left of Yahweh's right is left, liberal, and ungodly.

    Yahweh's right, that is, His *right*eousness is reflected in His triune and integral moral law, that is, the Ten Commandments and their respective statutes and judgments. Consequently, today's antinomian (anti-law) Christians are left, liberal, and ungodly. They're essentially humanists with a Christian facade.

    For more, see blog article "Right, Left, and Center: Who Gets to Decide" at http://www.constitutionmythbusters.org/right-left-and-center-who-gets-to-decide/

    For more on how Yahweh's immutable moral law applies and should be implemented today, see free online book "Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant" at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/law-kingdomFrame.html.