The Paradox of Liberalism

The Paradox of Liberalism April 19, 2012

Apropos of Kyle’s excellent earlier post, “Church and State: Still Learning This Whole Democracy Thing,” I direct your attention to an article by the atheist Slavoj Zizek that appeared last November on the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In the piece, titled “Liberalism as Politics For a Race of Devils,” Zizek highlights a basic paradox of the liberal order: the more it takes hold of a given society, the more illiberal it becomes. In the “marketplace of ideas” that Kyle rhapsodizes below, voices that call for the imposition of any notion of the Good on society as a whole must eventually be proscribed. Noam Chomsky described it this way: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

Anyway, as always Zizek has written a great piece, and he can’t be accused of being an intolerant Catholic.

NOTE: This is my last piece here at Vox Nova, for reasons having more to do with some disagreements in the “backr0om” than anything happening up front here. I’ve enjoyed it, and I expect to encounter most of the contributors and commenters here somewhere down the line. May the Lord bless each one of you.

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