The fatal flaws of Classical Liberalism 

by Charles Jansen

The Classical Liberal – as opposed to the contemporary statist-favoring one – was, deep within, a saintly creature. The same can be said for his current heir, the Libertarian. The quest for equal rights embodied in both arises from a search for a compromise between equality and freedom, in short, a carefully crafted synthesis between the two. For the Classical Liberal and the Libertarian, liberty is sacred, but it has to be bestowed on everyone in order to avoid absolutism or unfair domination from the State.

But, of course, a major flaw in all this, is that any remaining difference can be conceptualized as an inequality, so equality has to be stopped somewhere. Rights shall be equal, but individuals' property and social status shall remain beyond the pale of state intervention – as much as possible. Every citizen shall be a right-bearer, but his rights shall not intrude on other people's rights, nor shall he be forced to do anything for them beyond minimal social intercourse. As libertarians say, “we want to take over the world, and then leave you alone.”

Classical Liberals showed a kind of Aristotelian spirit of pragmatism. In Diderot's and D'Alembert's Encyclopédie, Descartes is criticized for relying too much on his “imagination” rather than his experience. “Enlightened” readers of the Encyclopédie, known for scorning royal absolutism and religious “superstition,” were also dedicated empiricists who supported hard science and the progress of knowledge, alongside the internal logic of arguments – their own as well as those of others.

Enlightenment thinkers tended to look for a balance between sheer rationalism on the one hand and an empirical approach that could veer towards phenomenism (the position that “only the perceptions exist”) on the other. Just as Aristotle was both a mindful logician and a thorough experimentalist, Classical Liberals thought that only by relying on both logic and experience could the Baconian “advancement of learning” be achieved. The only Aristotelianism they rejected was the spurious kind, composed of the empty ratiocinations of scholasticists and blind adherence to outdated deductions, i.e. the Ptolemaic cosmology that put the Earth at the center of the solar system.

In essence this was an approach that embraced compromise, sought fair syntheses, defended basic rights, and looked for consistency. How can we find fault with any of that? Those thinkers appear to have had an estimable character.

Anyone inclined towards libertarianism tends to intuitively like them and enjoy dwelling in the eighteenth-century mindspace. Classical Liberals were more than serious thinkers, they were good men, indeed even saintly. Libertarians, currently scorning “Big Government” while showing an interest in statistics, game theory, or evolutionary psychology, are exhibiting the same mindset in a modern context. However, it is a major assumption to believe that history moves inexorably towards the fair and balanced world conceived by Libertarians.

Classical Liberals have been criticized for the very synthesis they crafted: they have been accused of not caring enough about equality. That objection is the heart of the Marxist critique against “formal equality,” implicitly saying that the Liberal equality of rights is not enough, and that a fairer alternative would be a more extended and imposed equality.

As history has shown us, classical constitutions and valid objections by Liberal thinkers, such as Von Mises, Hayek or even Karl Popper, were not enough to prevent Marxism from attracting tens of millions of followers, motivating revolutions, and seizing control of European intellectual life. Whatever falsities, mistakes, and downright contradictions one can find in Marx, it never prevented his thought from becoming tremendously influential and stirring a wave of discontent that would sweep across the whole Western world.

Even when pure Marxism was thrown on the junk heap of economic history, the perpetual critique of “inequalities” kept expanding and leading to fresh outrage. Remember that any difference anywhere can be conceived of as an “inequality,” and can be used for stirring up strong negative feelings. Even genuine equal rights, such as the freedom of speech guaranteed by the American Constitution, can be criticized as a formal contrivance created to deny “real equality.”

De Tocqueville
The careful, balanced Classical Liberal synthesis of freedom and equality is fragile. Someone just has to push on one of its features to make it inconsistent or unstable. In the name of equal rights, one can push for a “right to work” or a “right to integrity” that will turn into a state-forced effort to hire more people than it can pay or into policies that curtail freedom of speech.

The classical liberal thinker Alexis de Tocqueville rejected the “right to work,” arguing that it would force the State to employ many more people than any private company would do, thus severely disturbing the market processes and tending towards the State as the sole owner of all means of production.

Tocqueville is famous for his criticism of the “passion for equality,” which he saw as a burning desire for expanding “equality” in the name of ever greater fairness, ultimately consuming all individual freedom to act. He pointed to the Procrustean nature of enforcing equality beyond a certain degree. But what could Tocqueville offer against what he criticized? The answer is practically nothing.
“[F]or equality, their passion is ardent, insatiable, incessant, invincible: they call for equality in freedom; and if they cannot obtain that, they still call for equality in slavery. They will endure poverty, servitude, barbarism–but they will not endure aristocracy.”
Democracy in America Alexis De Tocqueville
Any difference considered “aristocratic” or “privileged” by the so-called egalitarian discourse, will soon be subjected to intense hatred. Tocqueville posits nothing to counter this “passion for equality.” He merely describes it with a fine eye. He concludes that men will have to cope with it, because that passion is “irresistible.” His conclusion is fatalist. It is either enthralling – for the one ready to use “equality” as a motto – or depressing – for anyone who cherishes something beyond the equality narrative.

Good Losers

Classical Liberals have failed for the same reason that nice guys fail in gaming girls and in the workplace. Quite simply we don't live in a Republic of Letters, nor in a “traditional capitalist” society where everyone should ideally care about their work, marriage, country, etc., while holding the Constitution sacred.

If everyone were happy within such a world, it could endure endlessly and suffer no important changes. But this is not the reality we are living in. The real world is inherently Darwinian, and this is the reason Classical Liberals are doomed.

They may be able to survive within a state resembling the “Republic of Letters” – roughly the pre-revolutionary eighteenth century – or within in a stable and expanding post-Enlightenment society, such as Victorian England or belle époque France, but many other people willl not. Nor do they necessarily share their individualism and moderation, both qualities which are scorned as bourgeois or as defining the bourgeoisie.

Moderation and individualism may be enough to maintain a society when everyone buys into them, but they are not enough to protect a society when a considerable number don’t.

What happens if you let people “alone” as Libertarians like to advocate? Well, they don't stay alone. Many organize and start forming networks or political parties. Some will try to game the system; for example, trade unionists turning into racketeers by using workers as strike-pawns against companies and corporations, or groups of Muslims building mosques with public money in officially secular France under the status of “cultural centers.”

Some others will try to control the whole system, the Constitution aside, by remaining an organized community among disorganized individualists, practicing entryism into powerful institutions – public and private – and by steering public discourse, government policies, and funding through them. (If you don't immediately think of a particular ethnic community constantly mixing its dubious victimhood with reckless upward mobility, you may not be red-pilled enough.)

They will push the “equality” button endlessly, claiming that there is not enough “equality” in the world or that they don't have enough, the first claim being merely a gateway to the second.

When those manipulators play upon the passion for equality and stir up powerful discontents and dreams of utopias, what do classical liberals answer? Something like, “Hmm, don't change it. That would be dangerous.” Of course it is dangerous. But the egalitarians don't care about that. Just as girls don't care about the genuinely honest and committed nice guys, who seem bland next to adventurous bad boys. Why admit the nice secular path and content oneself with petty pleasures when there seems to be hope for something more enthralling? This is what both Marxists and Fascists had in mind when they scorned the bourgeois mentality.

Leftists don't have to be moderate, nor careful about facts, logic, or plain truth. They conceal important truths, they reject sane science for outright falsities, and criminalize truth. Once their cultural hegemony has dismissed inconvenient science as “racism in a lab coat,” they claim that “the Zeitgeist has moved on.” Then they ridicule and scorn the genuinely honest who haven't absorbed the official narrative enough to fall in line. As long as they win, everything else becomes trivial, or at best marginally important. The plain, old-fashioned entrepreneur who doesn't become a crony will be ignored by the official media and subjected to enormous taxation, unless he quietly games the system. The simply honest guy who cares about statistics and wealth production will be persecuted if he dares to open his mouth.

Unwilling to subject themselves to the requisite mind-melding drama, classical liberals and their heirs end up somewhere in the system with little influence, while a leftist prophet, a feminist attention whore, or a rapping thug are lavished with attention and cultural relevance. In short, classical liberalism lets the motherfuckers win. Nice guys can flourish only if everyone else agrees to plays by the same rules, but as this is never the case, they fail and end up being used as doormats and getting bullied by feminists.

We cannot afford to be saints, nor can we afford to be nice guys. But as Nietzsche wrote, “if ye cannot be saints of knowledge, then, I pray you, be at least its warriors.”

The Power of the Left

I have always enjoyed the intellectual company of classical liberals, and I also had a libertarian period. Eventually my adherence to libertarianism expired because it seemed incapable of leading anywhere. The most famous libertarian blogger in France, H16, keeps blaming the State or the “socialists” for every problem in sight, but pointedly ignores people's religion, race, group-affiliation, or anything like that. He even managed to talk about the affaire Dieudonné without mentioning Judaism. In this he out-competed the almighty cultural Left by being more non-racist and secularist, but he did not out-compete them in terms of supposed solutions. Instead, he just took a pseudo-neutral stance that blamed the Socialist Party in general and prime minister Manuel Valls for his political calculation, blithely ignoring Valls' blatant ties with international Zionism.

This “balanced,” “moderate” “good guy” pose is just a way to attack others, without offering anything solid to be attacked in return. It is essentially playing from the sidelines. Later on, several guys – including your humble servant – were strongly attacked on one of the few French libertarian forums for mentioning The Bell Curve and endorsing an evidence-grounded racial realism. The majority of the “good guys” there remained close to the leftists, making the same points in a more sophisticated manner, but some of them became much angrier than any libertarian would making a point about socialism. The argument ended with a pseudo-libertarian threatening to physically harm one of the race realists, while one of the “good guys” tried ineffectually to calm things down, before the thread was locked.

Moderate libertarians are a pathetic bunch. They are enlightened in some aspects, but upon the whole remain ensnared within their own PC-inflected bourgeois posturing. “Nazism” is automatically evil, anything explicitly White tends toward evilness, and talking about race is taboo. They believe that everyone is born the same and that genetics don't matter. Culture is all. And the moral high ground is reserved for anyone from pseudo-oppressed minorities.

Apart from economic issues and a few weak points on individual rights, moderate libertarians are leftists twenty years late. They have swallowed the same blue pill of political correctness and so-called minority victimhood as everyone else. Their love for science and evidence-based truth vanishes in the face of Leftist shibboleths.

Eventually, I found out that the one making the violent threats was a proud Arab, of course backed up and facilitated by weak, sophisticated Whites. Yet another ungrateful non-European who probably owes his very existence to generous European colonizers who brought advanced medical technology to his ancestors and built hospitals for them, and whose shameless sense of entitlement thrives on European rights and technology.

Whites have a deep love for equal rights, but the problem is that this ultimately turns out to be self-defeating, because the others – and even many individual Whites – will become unsatisfied with the existing order and crave more. The degree of equality already enforced by the current social order is irrelevant to them. What matters is that influential people will perceive it as not enough, never enough. A social order justified on egalitarian grounds will always be trumped by the “gimme more” organized groups. We cannot afford the luxury and ultimate insanity of being genuine egalitarians.

Pierre Manent
The philosopher Pierre Manent, in line with the classical liberal tradition, advocated for a new synthesis between freedom and equality by endowing each people or ethnic group with equal collective rights, including the right to a specific physical territory: “On both sides of the border, we will be equal.”

Another thinker, Regis Debray, this time from the Left, supported borders and the right for every group to be protected by borders as singular, valuable entities. A previous idol of third-worldism, he has been accused of “fascism,” “xenophobia,” and the like by mainstream media.

It is clear that a genuine egalitarian society, ruled by a balanced synthesis of freedom and equality and a bourgeois class, is opposed by a “progressive” Left that draws moral and emotional power from a narrative of “oppressed groups” that it then seeks to transform into privilege and special status to compensate for their “oppression.” Instead of egalitarianism, the Left has therefore come to represent a form of identitarianism and privilege in the  name of egalitarianism. Welfarism, “affirmative action,” support for alien cultures, legal recognition for polygamy, quotas against those who naturally do best, etc., etc., are enforced by increasingly outraged leftists with a mob mentality, while libertarians mumble about the ever-violated basic principles and "moderate" them with SJWisms.

Classical Liberalism, whatever its theoretical merits, is bound to be subverted by people who are intelligent, organized, savvy, and self-delusive. The “open society” advocated by someone like Karl Popper is just too open to social subversion and parasitism.

As with the Leftist pro-borders positions of Manent and Debray – so-called White Nationalists start from an egalitarian premise: every people should have an equal right to its own culture and soil: “Why can’t we be cuddly racial preservationists, like Amazonian Indians?” David Duke keeps asking for equal rights for Whites by reminding his audience that Blacks are allowed their own identity, Muslims too, and that even our women can go gender-identitarian with feminism.

But such attempts to play the equal rights game just like the others merely provokes laughter and contempt. It gets framed as “neo-Nazism” by pseudo-egalitarian Leftists merely looking for more privileges, more social recognition, more enjoyment of the entitled status of “minority” in the official discourse ad infinitum. Today an “oppressed minority” merely means a recognized interest group with actual privileges and moral superiority over the flock of more atomized and disorganized Whites and males.

Even if we legitimately ask for equal rights and base our case upon irrefutable evidence, we are still playing a game that has been wholly rigged against us. Pseudo-oppressed minority groups ground their special status and identity on the idea that Whiteness and masculinity are inherently bad. Feminists keep ranting about any difference between male and female that remains, while redefining rape and inventing false rape cases to justify their existence and sustain their cultural hegemony. All of this is grounded in our demonization.

Suicide by Logic

Cultural hegemony didn't exist in Gramsci's day – it exists today by the sustained efforts of Cultural Marxists. The deck is stacked. Playing in their field, by their rules, is not a long-term option. MRAs are deemed as "whiny" by the very people who think their own whining should entitle them to "affirmative action." Begging respect of those who chose to demonize us until we disappear is no road for salvation.

Being genuinely egalitarian means never being as motivated, manipulative, and pushy as those who use equality to demonize us, enforce their false narratives of oppression, and establish their privileges upon our backs. Thus genuine egalitarianism – an exclusive product of the Western civilization – is fated to lose. Its fairness cannot overcome its flawed nature that lays it open to abuse by the threefold pattern of demanding tolerance, pushing an agenda in the name of “justice,” and gaining hegemony over the  discourse and enforcing it in the name of "consensus," "equality," and other weasel words.

Some years ago I took a class on American Indians and collective rights. The papers on my class list defended collective special rights for the Indians, or at least advocated for a compromise between clannish rights and individual ones. Some of the views expressed there were frankly identitarian, calling for normative assessments according to cultural integrity rather than moderated egalitarianism.

This was appealing to me, and doubtlessly played a role in my awakening, but even then I chose to argue against it. Why? Not for official respectability – I well knew that those ideas relating to Indian collective rights were more fashionable than Libertarianism. But because, in my mind, equal means equal: if we admit equal rights to all individuals, then we cannot also accept additional collective rights or anything beyond, as it would create privileges for the chosen set of individuals endowed with the new right. Equal means equal, no less and no more, period. Equality has to stop somewhere, or else turn into deranged Procrusteanism.

Thus, even as a so-called White Nationalist trying to fit into Libertarianism, I remained staunchly egalitarian and mindful of logical consistency: “I chose the camp of individual rights and nothing more. If I allow collective rights for Indians that means allowing different rights for different people, but grounded on what?”

Although Libertarianism was a way to reconcile official respectability and the public expression of my thoughts, it was also counter-productive as hell.

Ludwig von Mises
The classical liberal system was fair. We can feel at ease in it, enjoy the intellectual company of Tocqueville, Taine, Von Mises and the like. But we shouldn't forget that it works only if everyone accepts its basic premises, respects the social order, and is honest enough not to seek privileges masked as “justice.”

The game is not about being fair, especially when being "fair" means merely being consistent with explicitly stated principles while other groups, like the Jews, whether by sheer self-deception, a conscious disdain for Gentiles, or a seething resentment for “Christians” (European Whites), keep acting upon concealed principles of self-righteousness, self-victimhood, and collective narcissism. But it's not just the Jews. Before Jewish influence broke out, the Jesuits had achieved the same results with roughly the same strategy. Being honest and nice in the face of organized social predators is stupid.

Instead of a rights perspective, we should aim at knowing what the other players are doing and what ends they are pursuing. We have to be able to defeat whoever chooses to be the enemy of White survival both ideologically and epistemologically. Nothing can be morally worse than what has already been done to our genuinely generous and productive civilization, nor worse than what is yet to come.

While classical liberalism and the Enlightenment should remain in our rear-views as jewels in our history, their failures should also be recognized so that, if we are to survive and thrive, they are never repeated again.