Liberalism, in its broadest sense, has become suspicious of its own ideals. . .(via Normblog)
When you encountered someone of professed left-of-centre opinions, you used to be able to draw broad but important, and generally reliable, inferences about what these entailed.
They included, at a minimum, commitments to secularism, freedom of expression, individual liberty against collective authority, women’s rights, homosexual equality and the combating of xenophobia. Times have changed. Now these stances are unusual, even heterodox.
The degeneration of progressive idealism has many roots. But among the most important is the instinct that the ideas of Western liberty are specific to time and place -- that they are Eurocentric. . .
The only characteristic that matters for politics is common citizenship with equality under the law. The notion that democratic politics acknowledges, even celebrates, group identities leads inexorably to the idea that the loudest figures in such groups have a claim on the attention of everyone else. Livingstone notoriously (and literally) embraced a visiting Islamic cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who defends suicide terrorism in Israel and advocates the "punishment" of homosexuals.
It ought to be obvious that liberalism should not stomach that type of thing. Yet there is a type of left-wing thinking that regards militant Islam almost as idiosyncratic liberation theology.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Leftist Oliver Kamm in the May 23rd Times of London: