Monday, October 16, 2006


The Australian Prime Minister recently praised Thatcher, Reagan and John Paul II for being the three main figures who dismantled soviet communism, the enemy of western liberal democracy - I thought it sort of rotted from within, but that's another story - Yet JP II described liberal democracy as a "culture of death" in his encyclical ‘Gospel of Life’.

John Milbank, in support of the papal view, wrote:
"recent events" [does he mean the War in Iraq?]"demonstrate that liberal democracy can itself devolve into a mode of tyranny. This occurs for a variety of reasons. An intrinsic indifference to truth, as opposed to majority opinion, means in practice that the manipulation of opinion will usually carry the day. Governments then typically discover that the manipulation of fear is more effective than the manipulation of promise. This is in keeping with the central premises of liberalism, which, as Pierre Manent says, are based in Manichean fashion upon the ontological primacy of evil and violence: at the beginning is a threatened individual, piece of property, or racial terrain."

Milbank needs to clarify what he means by ‘liberalism’.
"In the US, the word ‘liberalism’ belongs above all to the left of the political spectrum, while on the European continent it belongs to the right. In one case, liberalism is the opposite of conservatism, while in the other it could in fact be confused with it. For most Europeans, the most typical ‘liberal’ politicians of the second half of the twentieth century are Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. In Europe, liberalism is defined above all by individualism, belief in free exchange and the omnipotence of the market, and the critique of the large state."
-Alain de Benoist, ‘Reply to Milbank’, Telos Spring 2006

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