The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies

I"m just getting into this, so here’s the blurb that caught my attention:

“The book is about how liberal democracy tends to develop the qualities that were characteristic of communism: pervasive politicization, ideological zeal, aggressive social engineering, vulgarity, a belief in inevitability of progress, destruction of family, the omnipresent rule of ideological correctness, severe restriction of intellectual inquiry, etc. . . . The paradox is that in today’s liberal democracy there are more thought crimes than in communism: racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, ageism, binarism, Eurocentrism, white supremacy, and many others which a person like myself long ceased to keep up with. They give the latter-day Bolsheviks enormous power and countless instruments to silence all opponents.”

Author: Ryszard Legutko lived and suffered under communism for decades—and he fought with the Polish ant-communist movement to abolish it. Having lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, however, he has discovered that these two political systems have a lot more in common than one might think. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity, and accept similar presuppositions about history, society, religion, politics, culture, and human nature.

I find the mixture of liberal and democracy as a category odd.
Liberalism is a political philosophy whereas democracy is a political mechanism. There are democracies all over the world and within them are both liberal and conservative philosophies vying for dominance by way of the democratic system. Democracy is the tennis court and philosophies are the players.
The fact that progressivism has taken over liberalism and is on a trajectory towards communism is well established. There is a culture of communism spreading like cancer in that people are being shamed, silenced, demonized and ostracized in order to silence dissent against the new order they desire.
But this isn’t all that new. The fruit of oppression has been around for thousands of years, its just that liberalism seems to be a kind of pied piper phenomenon whereby people are led away by the promises of greater justice and equality. In fact its simply a ruse that intends to merely turn the tables and the balance of power not so much to create equality but reverse the oppression.

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I understand. I noticed that the wording in the blurb did say

and the use of the word ‘tends’ is no doubt important; it is not a necessity that lib dem develops those qualities, only that they have tended that way, and therefore are an object lesson as to what can happen.

Liberal and conservative both have oppressive potential.

Liberalism is tempted to oppress those who are standing in the way of progress and conservatism is tempted to oppress those who threaten what they are trying to conserve.

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Agreed. At the present moment, the excesses of the liberal far left are far and away, imo, a greater threat to civilization, and must be opposed. At other moments, the Right must be opposed.

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True. As well, those are not the only forms of government that are corrupt; the ‘form’ has little to do with it, as human greed, insecurity, and fallen-ness in general do the actual steering of the boat no matter the form.

Allowing a government (people, just ordinary people) to determine business size and that sort of thing for the rest of us, is centralized and at least as corruptible as any other centralization.
The only answer to a just society is a just and virtuous people. Trying to replace that justness and virtue with a particular form of government may work in the short term only.

Maybe. But who is going to remove money from politics? And if money is removed, power and greed and lust remain. Even in socialism, there must be a very wealthy elite at the center - and those espousing it here in the US fully intend to BE that elite - they will NOT want to be out here with us trying to live under that system. I think we all know this.
If we really want representation - and I don’t think democracy gives us that, a republic is more likely to - then the government must be an expression of the citizens, who pledge allegiance to, say, a constitution. But the citizens, according to the NT as I read it, are no better intrinsically than the people they elect. Thus we rely on systems rather than virtue, which is somewhat realistic but only a concession to our weakness as human beings in revolt against God.
Liberals as a whole, I understand, believe rather in the inherent goodness of mankind and of each individual. The fight over that stance and the more realistic (imo) that human nature must be curbed, bounded, restrained by the willing allegiance to a social contract - that fight has always, like the poor, been with us.

True, among other things.
Being rich - so I hear, having not ever been cursed with riches personally :slight_smile: - is not good nor bad. I don’t begrudge rich folks their riches, nor do I think that I have less because they have more. Wealth is not fixed as to amount - it is CREATED by free economies - that is something the socialists will not acknowledge, and I think it is a big fault in their worldview.

Here I go again - another damned link to another damned article. Will I never learn? Well, I’m NOT asking for comments (!!) just doing my linking thing for those interested. Really. :slight_smile:

Not a perfect article to be sure; thanks for reading it and commenting!!

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These are real problems…

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?
Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

Hey, many will read this and not have an iota of what it represents…

And that is sad.

I don’t see how it could be mis-understood; disagreed with no doubt, but clear enough.
I get what you’re saying.

There is some very fine print under those graphs. As well, I don’t know how to assess the methodology he used to make HIS assessments.Like:
“To derive this, I initially take …” - these are HIS derivations, based on how HE chooses to make the assessment that leads to the graph. Of course the graph is HUGE and colorful and carries more weight than his words - even though it may not be sound.
If on the other hand you are just wanting to poke at America, there are plenty of other targets.


How ‘Democratic Socialism’ Wreaked Havoc On My Native Sweden

“The one period when Sweden practiced what may be considered “democratic socialism” was between 1960 and 1980. During this period, the country nationalized industry and massively expanded the welfare state financed by tax increases and currency devaluations, and it paid a high price. Sweden fell from the top of the list of wealthiest countries in the world to the middle of the pack of industrialized nations, bringing it to the brink of ruin in the 1990s.”

Sweden stood as the world’s fourth wealthiest country nearly five decades ago. Its taxes were lower than most western countries, including the United States. The economy was deregulated, and public spending was hardly above 10 percent gross domestic product (GDP).

But Sweden was soon teetering on the brink of collapse from its experiment with socialism.

“Free markets and small government made Sweden rich,” said Swedish economist and Cato Institute fellow Johan Norberg. “The experiment with socialism crashed us.”

I’m more focused on what was said; there are huge donors on each ‘side’ that influence the way stats are used, and how history is interpreted.
But putting all that aside, I have no reason to believe we would be more successful than Sweden if we went the democratic socialist route.
Though in an ideal world, there may be something to be said about that system.

Not tanking the economy, like happened in Switzerland.

I linked to two such in my post.
Again, I hope we are talking, not just trying to win an argument, about these things. I’m a little tired of intimations that conservatives hate people or don’t care or are only concerned about their standard of living etc etc. Those are incorrect evaluations of people, and beg for retaliatory accusations about the very wealthy Biden, or AOC, or Hilary, of any of the other 387 democratic nominees who would gladly be in the rich MINORITY of a socialist system. Let’s try to keep it above that if we can, and discuss the merits or demerits of political systems as they actually are?

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Easy fella. You and others HAVE accused conservatives of many things including hate, love of money, and neglect of the poor, and no, I’m not going to comb the archives to prove it to you. Do it yourself. You are simply wrong.
My point was - keep on track, and you haven’t. Did you read the articles or not?
I was worried it would go this way. I’m tired of it.
Anyway I’ll be gone to California for awhile, my brother is in hospital - so go for it, and frankly here’s another thread gone to hell already. good work.

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I find these arguments keep going in the same circles:
The right insists Sweden displays capitalism, not democratic ‘socialism.’
So Dems say o.k., let’s learn from and imitate their successful programs.
The right retorts, No! Their disastrous leftist approach won’t work!
(perhaps followed by more Hillary Clinton accusations :frowning: )

" Today the rigid orthodoxy of Progressive Leftism prevails in the land. It is a noxious compound of several related tendencies and opinions, including the application of radical doubt about the nature of reality, the widespread acceptance of moral relativism, and the imposition of political correctness. The Left emphasizes will over reason and ends over means. It scorns tradition and mocks the good. It stifles and bullies and silences unfashionable ideas. Its internal logic is to expand into every aspect of social life, for to come to rest would be the start of its undoing. The Leftist Outlook expands either subtly, by co-opting individual and institution alike, or aggressively, by denouncing or ridiculing any idea that does not conform to itself" - James Soriano

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