The Tyranny of Liberalism
By Israel Shamir
A Talk given at the conference on Religion in the International Relations: Liberalism and Tradition, International Relations Faculty, St Petersburg State University,
24 November 2006
Modern Liberalism is the dominant paradigm in the US, and it plays a major role in Europe, in post-Soviet Russia and elsewhere. This line is preached by the powerful world-wide mass media syndicate whose elements are ostensibly independent yet they transmit the identical message James Petras has called The Tyranny of Liberalism. A Ã¢â‚¬Å“liberal tyrannyÃ¢â‚¬Â may strike some as oxymoronic if not a contradiction in terms since Liberalism likes to represent itself as the neutral ground of freedom rather than as an ideology and as an arbiter of religious pluralism and freedom rather than an anti-religious ideology. Liberalism is the ideology than denies that it is such a thing; ask a liberal and he will tell you he is against the dominance of any ideology or of any religion.
In our attempt to pierce this protective colouring we shall apply some ideas of the late German thinker Carl Schmitt who learned of liberalism the hard way. After Germany was subdued and conquered in 1945, Carl Schmitt lived for a while in the Soviet and the American occupation zones, which were later converted into the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. On the basis of his comparative experience in the occupation, Carl Schmitt noticed that American Liberalism is a militant ideology less prone to compromise than Soviet Communism. The Americans demanded that Schmitt give proof of belief in Liberal Democracy, while the Russians never asked him to swear an oath upon the Communist Manifesto. This personal experience led Schmitt to conclude that the Modern American Liberalism is not an ideology-free live-and-let-live paradigm, but a positive ideology, and an ideology even more dangerous than the Communism he greatly disliked. Schmitt saw the traditional balance of power threatened by the new triumphant Anglo-American air and sea global imperium based on an aggressive ideology. For this reason he welcomed the Cold War, as he thought the USSR the only force capable of containing the American ideological drive.
In recent years with the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, many others have come to share SchmittÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s realization that Liberalism is an aggressive global ideology calling for certain principles to be implemented world-wide by force of arms. [Read more...]