Are we seeing the end of liberal society? Or the end of the illusion of it?
One can only hope that both camps of dogmatic liberals, that is, both the new Left liberals angry at society and the classical liberals angry at the Left and government, will continue to be seen more and more as unproductive.
But they are just the loudest voices of an essentially liberal minded society, whether people vote right or left or not at all, whether they live here or in the countries more recently indoctrinated into into the liberal democratic empire. In any case the framework is a trap. It puts us all at odds with each other, judging each other, caught in a dialectic that needs to be broadened with an understanding of the larger system and how that system mediates all individual action. Something that gets covered up by everyone fighting for their “liberty” and by a dumbing down of our tradition to the most polarized cliches.
Both classical liberalism and the new Left arose at times in history when the rights of individuals or minority groups needed to be brought into the foreground. But given the seriousness of our collective problems, I hope we are learning that, like it or not, the future will be some kind of socialism. To what extent that will be an improvement or a nightmare, depends on how willing we are to negotiate our collective future together with people we don’t agree with and with a society that is nobody’s fault and everyone’s responsibility.
The West is all about transcending limits which is why Christianity evolved into idealism, socialism and eventually postmodernism, and why it may still yet evolve into a truly inclusive philosophy of universal brotherhood as liberalism originally put it, and which it may achieve as the dialog of ideas that is the “Western” tradition becomes more deeply integrated into the organization of our communities and social structures. Of course the tradition isn’t essentially Western, but rather merely the sublimated spiritual bounty of the planet’s colonial transition through the dialectical trauma of war and genocide, the evolving cultural legacy of all the world’s peoples.