A few blogs back, I was writing about Liberal Fascism (by Jonah Goldberg), I described liberalism as the philosophy that worships gods in lab coats with slide rules, and believes in the perfectibility of mankind by (flawed) mankind — an ideological oxymoron.
So today I found this essay in the American Thinker blog that does a much better job of developing the theme. Reading it was one of those serendipities that happen when you stumble on an idea or theme, and suddenly see it repeated, reinforced or developed elsewhere.
In this case, the writer does a good job of adding new long-view dimensions of history that complement Goldberg’s provocative autopsy of liberal fascists such as Hitler and Woodrow Wilson. (Goldberg’s book opens the door on a fresh view of American history that contradicts and exposes the liberal revisionism taught in schools and universities. Good stuff.)
In J.R. Dunn’s essay, the key word is not fascism but rationalism, defined this way:
For our purposes, rationalism can be defined as a reductionist doctrine holding that the universe and everything within it is a mechanism, governed by simple laws easily discovered, understood, and manipulated. A rationalist is a very smart individual who, if he doesn’t know all the answers, can tell you where to get them. A political rationalist is all this and more, since political rationalism is the arena in which the limitations of the ideology first became apparent. Namely, rationalism, taken to its logical extreme (and how could it be otherwise?), leads inevitably to chaos, misery, and death on continental scales.
Most leaders of the modern era were political rationalists: Lenin, Mussolini, Woodrow Wilson, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Clement Atlee, FDR, Lyndon Johnson, Harold Wilson, all the way down to Mr. Barack Obama, who lives in Washington in a building called the “White House.” Whether communist, fascist, progressive, socialist, or liberal, all believed in the tenets of rationalism. Since the universe is a mechanism, and everything within it shares that quality, then society, in all its varied manifestations, was a mechanism to these rationalists as well. The social and political machinery was open to manipulation, along with all the little machines within — humans, they were called. All were perfectible, and all could be made right with the proper formulae.
In other words, rationalists are the kind of people whose gods wear lab coats. The kind of people who believe in “political science,” another oxymoron. They are progressives, aka liberals.
I’m not sure I agree with Dunn that American voters get all this and were voting against it. But instinctively, on a common-sense level,voters know it when they see it in Obama, and they are having none of it. Because at its heart, rationalism, progressivism, socialism — all those liberal isms — are fundamentally anti-American and poison to our individual liberty that comes from God, not political science.
The entire essay is here. It’s worth a read.