I went to the grocery store yesterday. Several times I caught myself grabbing something I always buy, noticing the price, and putting it back because the price is not what I’m used to. The raise I got this year will be eaten up entirely by the inflation.
I’m sure soon enough we’ll get inured to the high prices. And that’s not good because it’s part of what I keep talking about. The dispossession, the robbery, the enormous transfer of capital that is being deployed against us on all sides. That’s the most important thing happening right now.
A great article on postliberalism by Sohrab Ahmari.
Ahmari reproaches Dreher for not being done with liberalism already and moving on. Liberalism – a worldview that places human liberty above everything else – is doomed to become illiberal, coercive. We’ve discussed this on the blog when we talked about Patrick Deneen’s work.
For those who missed it, here’s an example. Say, you want to live as 15 different genders. In order to do that, you need me to refer to you as corresponds to each gender whenever you feel like it. Moreover, you need me to believe that you are, indeed, 15 different genders. But I don’t want to do it. In fact, I can’t. Your freedom to be what you want is in conflict with my freedom to think what I do. Eventually, you’ll need a moral order to rank whose freedom is more deserving. And a political order to coerce one of us into relinquishing their freedom.
Or, say, you want to be free from fear of COVID. And to achieve that, you need me to modify my behavior. But I don’t care about your freedom from COVID. Whose desire is going to win? Again, a moral and political order will come into existence to rank our freedoms as more or less important and coerce one of us.
Ahmari is right when he says that liberalism is as coercive as any other worldview. Why not just ditch it altogether, he asks, and accept a way of being which is also going to be coercive but at least won’t be as sterile and misery-inducing as liberalism? He’s impatient with Dreher who can’t renounce liberalism and move on.
The problem is that within liberalism you still get a chance to negotiate whose freedom is more deserving of protection. Everybody still gets a chance to win. In the alternative order that he seems to propose, some people will always lose. It will be a lot more static and less protean than liberalism. That’s not an easy thing to accept, especially when nobody says clearly who the non-negotiable losers will be.
After playing with a bunch of kids for a few hours, Klara asked, “mommy should I do what other people think is right or what I think is right?”
Took everything I had not to deliver a speech on COVID in response. But I’m very glad she’s asking this crucial question at an early age. The sooner you start, the easier it goes.