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Monday, October 20, 2008

9. What is the most totalitarian concept in politics today?

Without doubt, it is the "politics of meaning."

Goldberg writes,

The politics of meaning is in many respects the most thoroughly totalitarian conception of politics offered by a leading American political figure in the last half century. (P. 330)

[ ... ]

Liberal fascists don't want to mimic generic fascists or communists in myriad ways, but they share a sweeping vision of social justice and community and the need for the state to realize that vision. In short, collectivists of all stripes share the same totalitarian temptation to create a politics of meaning ... (P 327)
Once the government is supposed to provide meaning for your life, you have lost the battle for freedom in the historic sense. Traditionally, religion was supposed to give your life meaning, and religion is the only thing that can.

Please note that, when I use the term "religion," I am speaking very generally. By religion, I mean "what gives your life meaning" rather than "the Christian God."

Secular humanists, for example, say that their beliefs give their lives meaning. As a group, they behave pretty much like a typical Western religious sect, even though they don't believe in God. (Incidentally, the courts generally take this view of religion.)

If government is going to give your life meaning, it will need to have much more power than liberal democracy would permit.

Next: 10. But surely it is good to want the country to be one, big happy family!

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