The End of Liberalism: Why the World is Falling Apart

The End of Liberalism: Why the World is Falling Apart


Good evening everybody and welcome hope everyone
is doing well this evening my name is Francis Beckwith I am the Visting Scholar of Conservative
Thought and Policy here at the University of Colorado Boulder and its my honor this
evening to introduce to you our speaker Patrick Deenan and to say a few things about him but
before I begin I would like to acknowledge the presence of one of the members of the
Board of Regents at the University of Colorado Steve Bosley who is here with us this evening
this lecture is sponsored by the Center for Western Civilization Thought and Policy an
academic unit at the University of Colorado in which I have the honor to hold my appointment
for this year the mission of the Center is to promote a critical reflection on he distinctive
traditions and political perspectives that characterize Western Civilization and as well
as fostering research, debate and diolague about the fundamental issues of our time its
director is Philosophy professor Robert Pasnau who Im happy to say is with us this evening
our speaker this evening is Patrick Deenan he is David a Potenziana Memorial Associate
did I say that right Potenziania, he is David a Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor
of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame before coming to Notre Dame
he was at Georgetown University and prior to that at Princeton University at Georgetown
he was the founder or founding director of the Tokeville Forum on the roots of American
Democracy which became a vibrant center for reflection on the contributions of the political
thought in American politics and culture he earned his BA in English Literature and a
Phd in Political Science from Rutgers University his intelletucal interests are wide ranging
hes written books on the Odessey of Homer, and its reception and meaning in the history
of political thought and on the ways that belief and Democracy is constant with forms
of religious belief he has published articles, essays and books and book reviews on topics
ranging from ancient to modern political thought, democratic theory and practice, american political
thought, political theology, Catholicism in American Liberalism, Literature in Politics
including essays on Mark Twain and Henry Adams and Wendall Barry he teaches across his varies
of interests and offers regular courses with such titles as Political Theory, Consitutioanlism
Law and Politics Liberalism and Conservatism The End of Education The American Regime and
Tokevilles Democracy in America the title of Professor Deenans talk this evening is
“The End of Liberalism: Why the World is Falling Apart” please join me in giving a warm welcome
to Professor Patrick Deenan thanks thanks very much to Professor Francis Beckwith for
the invitation Im honored to be invited I was actually invited last year by Bradley
Burser who I think held it the year before was it 2 years ago they all blend together
and our schedules didnt work out and I lost some hope that I would ever have the opportunity
to make it out to Boulder so Im deeply grateful for a second chance by the holder of the Conservative
Chair here at the University of Colorado I guess in the first instance I apologize this
talk tonight was written while I was at home in South Bend, Indiana so it reflects all
of the deep depressing aspects of life in Michiana 6 months of the year we live under
something called a permacloud a cloud that does never break in which we are we have to
pop vitamin D pills every hour or else we will die and even just having been in Boulder
for half a day Im ready to throw this out my paper is rather dark and pessimistic and
even being here for a few hours has persuaded me perhaps everything isnt going quite to
hell yet at least not here but Ill persist nevertheless my second disclaimer is that
while I have been invited and very gratefully accepted to visit under the office of the
current holder of the conservative thought chair of the Center for Western Civilization
Thought and Policy I came today not neccesairly to praise Western Civilization but maybe in
some respects to offer something of its obituary in this sense I am not appearing tonight as
a Conservative I suppose since I have come to the conclusion that there is very little
left to conserve in American or even broadly western civilization indeed for a number of
years Ive written at least a much in criticism of many of my friends who are conservatives
and conservatism since what we call conservatism generally in America is a variant of Liberalism
what Ill be talking about tonight, and so the great debates that have ruffled our country
for perhaps the past half century pitting conservatives against liberals, republicans
against democrats have generally been debates within the tradition of liberalism and the
variants of the same political philosophy and one that Im going to speak on tonight
has actually conserved very little and which is further premised on deeply flawed and an
ultimately unsustainable vision of the human person and human society and I will submit
in spite of being in Boulder that all around us we are seeing the rotten fruits of the
realization of this flawed political philosophy my thesis deepened the depression is that
Liberalism is failing not because it is falling short, but because it is becoming ever more
true to itself Liberalism is failing because Liberalism is succeding as liberalism has
become more full of itself as its inner logic has become more evident and its self contradictions
manifest it is generated pathologies that were once the formations but also realizations
of its idealology a political philosphy that was launched to foster greater equity, defend
a rich pluraless tapestry of different cultures and beliefs, to protect human dignity and
of course above all to expand liberty in practice has generated a titanic inequality and forces
uniformity and homogenity fosters material and spiritual depravation and has undermined
freedom Liberalisms success can be measured by the achievement of the opposite of what
we have come to believe what it would achieve but rather instead of seeing the accumulating
evidence of failure to live up liberalisms ideals I would argue that we rather see clearly
that the ruins it has produced are signs of its very success those ruins surround us like
decays of antiquity that are everywhere to be found in todays Rome opinions about America
those that have been paying attention recently have taken a decisevely negative turn here
in the early part of the 21st century some 70% of our countrymen believe that the country
is headed in the wrong direction and half or more than half the country thinks that
is best days are behind it most believe that their children will be less prosperous and
have fewer opportunities than the previous generation our election season yes I hesitate
to mention it has been one of unexpected drama tinged with more than an edge of madness the
usual well scripted performances tossed aside as a popular uprising against our governing
class and economic system threatens to upend business as usual evident to all is that the
political system is broken and our social fabric is fraying particularly as the growing
gap the wealthy has left behind increases as a hostile divide widens between the faithful
and the secular and deep disagreement persists over Americas rule in the world wealthy Americans
continue to build gated enclaves in and around select cities Where they congregate this might
be one while growing numbers of christians compare our times to that like the late roman
empire and ponder a fundamental withdrawal from wider american society to updating forms
of benedictine monastic communities signs of the time suggest that much is wrong with
america growing course of voices even suggest that we may be witnessing the end of the republic
unfolding before our eyes with some yet unnamed regime with with the mets of taking its place
if indeed something more fundamental and transformative than normal politics then its quite possible
we are witnessing just a political realignment or the dying gasp of an old white working
class or the lashing out of a debt burden youth but rather an increasingly systemic
failure of a political system that we have come to take largely for granted more then
just a break down in electoral politics or a moment for institutional tinkering the possibility
increasingly presents itself that we are witnessing at least the beginnings of the death throws
of the political philosophy of liberalism the fabrics of beliefs that arouse some 500
years ago and gave rise to this 226 year old american constitutional experiment now well
a number of our founding fathers believed that they had lighted on a new science of
politics and in a particular one that they thought they’d thought would resist the inevitable
tendencies of all regimes to decay and eventually to die even in the words of one comparing
the constitutional order to an entropy defying motional device describing it as a machine
that would go of itself we might rightly wonder though whether america is not in the early
days of its eternal life but approaching the end of a natural life cycle of corruption
and decay that seems to limit the life span of all humans and all human creations this
political philosophy of ours liberalism has been for modern americans like water for a
fish a largely undiscerned encompassing political ecosystem in which we have swum largely unaware
of its’ existence It is the first of the world’s great modern ideologies and of the three great
and in some cases obviously quite pernicious modern ideologies that also included fascism
and communism is the only one that is still standing liberalism as a philosophy in practice
is the world’s first ideology that first architecture that proposed transforming all of human life
to conform to a preconceived notion of human nature in a political plan We live in a thorough-goingly
liberal society the first nation founded by the explicit embrace of liberal philosophy
and whose citizenry is shaped almost entirely by its commitments and vision yet unlike the
horrific regimes that arose in dedicating and dedicated to advancing the ideologies
of fascism and communism liberalism is less visibly ideological and only surreptitiously
authoritarian and thus also far more insidious as an ideology it pretends to neutrality of
having no preference or shaping force over the souls of humanity under its rule it ingratiates
by invitation to the pleasures of attractions of freedom pleasure and wealth it makes itself
invisible much like an operating system on a computer that goes largely unseen well at
least until it malfunctions or crashes liberalism in a sense becomes daily more visible to us
precisely because its deformations are becoming too obvious or visible to ignore as socrates
tells us in the republic of Plato most humans in most times live in a cave but believe it
to be the complete reality or the whole of reality whats perhaps most insidious about
the cave that we occupy is that its walls are like the backdrop of old movie sets think
of the Wizard of Oz promising seemingly endless vistas without constraint or limits and thus
whose walls or methods of containment are invisible to us indiscernible as a cavern
that constrains our capacity to see and to discern the nature of our confinement I teach
the republic of Plato none of my students think that we live in a cave that to me is
already a sign that they’re so deep in the cave that they can’t even see that they’re
in a cave but among the few iron laws of politics few seem more unbreakable than the ultimate
un-sustainability of ideology ideology fails and has failed at least historically for two
reasons first ideology is based on a falsehood about human nature and can’t help but ultimately
fail and second as those falsehoods become more evident the gap grows between what the
ideology insist what we believe to be the case about it and the lived experience of
human beings under that ideology until the point arrives that the regime can no longer
persuade people but it claims it is in which it can no longer be believed and becomes unsupported
by its people and illegitimate in their eyes Thus even as liberalism has succeeded penetrating
nearly every nation on earth besides from a few holdouts its vision of human liberty
seems increasingly to be a taunt rather than a promise far from celebrating the utopic
freedom at the end of history that was seemingly our inheritance when the last competitor ideology
fell in 1989 and that was the year that Francis Foo published his now famous essay The End
of History liberal humanity today is burdened by the mounting failures of its successes
and in particular pervasively perceives itself to be caught in a trap of its own making entangled
in the very apparatus that was supposed to grant pure and unmitigated freedom we can
see this especially today in four distinct but connected areas in our common life that
I will touch on briefly politics of the false Promises of representatives democracy economics
or how free markets have made the globe its prison education or why Liberalism has killed
the liberal arts science and technology or how the tools of our freedom have made us
its tools in each of these domains liberalism has transformed human institutions in the
name of expanding liberty and have increased mastery and control of our fates and in each
case we witness today pervasive anger and deepening discontent arising from the felt
and I think a very real sense that the vehicles of our liberation have become to iron cages
of our captivity citizens of advanced liberal democracies are today in near revolt against
their own governments the establishment and the politicians that they themselves selected
in most cases as their leaders and representatives and the overwhelming super-majorities that
regard their governments has distant and unresponsive holding them in very low regard in spite of
the fact that they’ve chosen these leaders regarding them has entirely captured by wealth
and ruling solely on the basis of the advantage of the powerful at its inception liberalism
promised to displace the old aristocracy in the name of equity and of liberty and yet
as it eliminates every last vestige of the Old Order the errors of their hopeful anti-aristocratic
forebearers regard its replacement has anything other than a new and perhaps even more viscious
kind of aristocracy a kind of liberalocracy if I can coin a new term Liberalism was premised
upon the limitation of government and the liberation of the individual from arbitrary
political control but growing numbers have of citizens regard their government as an
entity seperate out of their own will and control not their creature and creation as
was promised in liberal philosophy the purported river limited government of liberalism today
would provoke jealousy and amazement from the pirates of old who could only dream of
such extensive capacities for surveillance and control the movement of finances of deeds
and even thoughts the various liberities that liberalism was brought into being to protect
individual rights of conscience religion association speech self goverenance extensively compromised
by the ongoing expansion both of government activity and of self patrolling political
correctness into every realm of human life get this expansion continues insiginificant
part as a response to peoples felt loss of power over the trajectory of their lives and
so many distinct fears and fears including economic as ill get to eating to demands for
further activity and intervention by the one enitity that seems even nominally under their
their control to redress their weakness not just channeling tocqueiville straight here
right out of the right people who feel weak and powerless will turn to the governemnt
because its the one thing that they think they can control our governemnt of course
readily complies moving in a ratchet wrench like a ratchet always in one direction always
enlarging always expanding in maine in the main in response to civic demands for redress
of injustice and grievences and weakness but ironically leading in turn to the further
experience of alienation and distance and powerlessness among its citizenry that offends
us feel disconnected and powerless each only tenuously connected to the pedal political
representatives whose work it was in the beginning and according to the federalist papers to
refine and large the public sentiment speak to representitives when i worked at georgetown
i would often meet represetatives are elected leaders speak to them do they feel powerful
do they feel in control of the government its striking they will admit to you fully
that they feel powerless in relationshop towards a permanent bureacucracy staff my carrer employees
who are incentivized to maintain or enlarge their budgets and activity to affect political
ends more up more power accruses to the executive branch which of course nominally at least
controls the bureacuracy and through administrative rules can at least provide the appearance
of responsivness to arrest of policy more power accrues to the head of the state with
tenuously popular lawmaking by the legislature replaced increasingly either by laws that
are essentially grants of power to the bureacuracy think Obamacare or literally simply mandates
of the executive whose office is achieved and accomplished through massive influences
of donations and luca Liberalism remember one of its core claims was to replace arbitrary
rule by a distant powerful and popularly unchosen leader with responsive rule through popularly
mandated elected public servants at our electoral process today as i think so many of our citizens
feel appears to be more of something like a potemkin drama meant to convey the appeareance
of popular consent for figure who exceresise incomparable arbitrary powers over domestic
policy international arrangements and especially war making powers the disance and
lack of control keenly felt by the citizenry of modern liberlism is not a condition to
be solved by better and more perfect liberalism rather it is itself
the culmination of the liberal order its crisis of governance a sign of its very success liberalism
believe that could she acheived a kind of modus vivendi encouraging private ism among
the citizenry right possible rule by the its elected leaders it would encourage focus on
private concerns particularly among the citizenry of the economy it would create what ive called
a risk video dica was to rest public arrest video to kind of the word in your taste and
the greek means private person idiot means private/ they created in fact the risk video
to come that they called a republic it believed then it could achieve a kind of modus vivendi
by encouraging privatism culminated in near complete disassociation of a government class
citizenry without a key with us our civic unhappiness is mirrored in economic discontent
citizens today are more likely to to be called consumers if you read the newspapers or listen
to the news yet the liberty to buy every imaginable consumer good does little to swage the widespread
sense of economic anxiety and discontent particularly over waxing inequality indeed the assumption
by economic leaders seems to be that increased purchasing power of inexpensive goods will
compensate for the absence of economic security and the division of the world into generational
economic winners and losers in the minds of most human modern humans also fears of our
life exists to ensure success in the economy politics and politicans are judged on whether
or not they can increase our gdp schools justify their existence to ensure economic success
of their consumers people we once called students and even families increasingly our judge for
example by sociologists on whether theyre failing or succeeding depending on whether
they produced well adjusted workers what we used to call children economic historian karl
polanyi describes it is i think too often unread book the great transformation how it
came to be that what was once regared as a tool or a means for human flourishing the
economy which means literally the managment of the household white ghost know most the
wall of the household came to be understood as an end in itself as palani describes in
his great book before the advent of the modern era economic exchange was understood to exist
to support the moral norms of the community religious social and familial the replacement
of this form of economy or understanding economy with what we know of today driven above all
by considerations of utility maximizing individuals to the end of maximizing especially their
wealth was not simply the result of liberating people from their backward societies but the
result of concentrated forceful and often violent reshaping of an existing life world
most often by economic and political elites disrupting and displacing traditional community
practices of course in their own historys most visibly the case with native americans
but it was part of a long standing project that had begun before the end of the middle
ages also required not only the seperation of markets from social and religious context
in some cases requiring the actual physical destruction of markets and its replacement
by an abstract market but for people to reimagine themselves in the world as in the way which
palani describes as fictious commodities as materials for use in industrial processes
in order to discuss this associate markets from historical religious social and moral
context and to retrain people to think of themselves to imagine themselves primarily
as individual actors whose economic activities were conceptually disconnected from the atomic
activities of anyone else think of adam smiths description of why we engage in trade because
if you dont do so out of concern for anyone in their own as palani pithily described this
transformation i quote lays a fair was planned one of the fruits of this new economic system
was the replacement of social hierarchy and relatively similar economic conditions social
hierarchy but relatively similar economic conditions so even the status of the king
for visited castles in medieval europe you have to know theyre probably really drafty
uncomfortable places no toilet trees no plumbig wasnt good. we replaced social hierarchy but relatively
similar economic conditions with equality of opportunity and type panic economic inequality
theres always been and likely always will be economic inequality but few civilization
to have complet seperation of economic winners from economic losers and a massive apparatus
to winnow those who will succeed from those who will not marks once argued that the greatest
source of economic discontent was not necesarily inequality itself but alienation the division
of worker from product is it the division of the human from the thing that they did
and the attendant loss of any connection with their conneciton to the goal or object of
ones efforts todays economy not only it maintains in many ways extends this form of alienation
many people can hardly describe what it is they do in their cubicles but it adds to a
profound new form of geographical alienation physical seperation of beneficiaries of the
globalized economy from those is left behind leading economic winners both the simulatenous
lamenations of economic inequality stto voce denunciations of the backward views of those
who condemned globalization force lets leave while the losers it produces are consoled
with a reminder that they are wealthy beyond compare even to the wealthiest aristocrats
of an earlier age cereal comforts are to be ready solved for the discontent of the soul
as the reactions in the urban centers the outcome of the brexit vote and the nomination
of donald trump events those same leaders are shocked that the terms of the agreement
appear not to be acceptable to walmart shoppers or whatever that is in london still nothing
can finally be done nothing can be done because globilzation is not only the culmination of
liberalism civilization is an inevtiable process unstoppable by any particular person political
leader or nation what everyone thinks of economic integration standadization homogenize action
of markets it is pointless to entertain thoughts of alternatives one of globilizations cheerleaders
thomas friedman has defined globlization just these terms of inevitablility ill quote him
it is the inevitable inegration of markets nation states and technologies to a degree
never witnessed before in a way that is enabling individuals corporations and nation sates
to reach around the world farther faster deeper and cheaper than ever before and in a way
that is enabling the world to reach into individuals corporations and nation states farther faster
deeper cheap or whether indviduals or corporations our nations want the world reaching into them
is not a matter for discussion or debate because the process is inevitable i could also give
you a lot of quotes by hillary clinton the secretary of sate saying exactly doesnt say
it right now these days but she sure did earlier economic system is some simultaneously both
liberlalisms handmade and his engine like like a frankenstein monster takes on a life
of its own and its processes and logic can no longer be stopped or controlled by people
reportedly enjoying the greatest freedom in the history of humanity the wages of freedom
are bondage to economic inevitability the way in which we educate moving on has transformed
the keeping of economic and political demands the rising generation must embrace a political
and economic system that in the words of many certainely in my experience they widely empoor
filling them with cynicism towards their future and their participation in maintaining an
order that they cannot avoid and in which they do not believe and which they do not
trust far from feeling themselves to be the most liberated and autonomous generation in
history young adults certainely in my experience teaching at the institutions ive taught really
good schools, top 20 schools feel themselves to be believe less in their task at hand then
Sysiphus rolling the boulder up the mountainside they exceed they do exceedingly well in the
duties demanded of them by their elders to succeed in these systems without joy and without
love only with a keen sense of having no other choice their overhwhelming response expressed
to me in countless responses over the years in which Ive asked them to describe their
experiences and their expectations of their own education is the sense of entrapment with
no exit of being cynical participants in a system that produces winners and losers in
which they can only harbor keen hopes that they will be among its winners but which at
the same time demands that they declare that the system be a vehicle of social justice
one can hardly be surprised at even the winners admit during a frank moment that have swindlers
and swindled they are swindlers and have been swindled as one student describes to me in
a paper I assigned at the beginning of the semester Applaud of his generation and the
description of his ceaseless striving in school that got him into Notre Dame and beyond and
Ill quote “we are mayrtocrats out of survivalist instinct, we do not rise to the very top,
if we do not raise to the very top the only remaining option is a bottomless pit of failure,
simply work hard and get decent grades doesnt cut it anymore if you believe there are only
2 options, the very top or rock bottom it is a classic prisoners of war dilemna to sit
around for 2 or 3 hours at the dining shooting the breeze or to spend time engaging in intellectual
discussion and moral or philisophical issues or go on a date all detract from time we could
be spending on getting to the top and thus will leave us worse off than everyone else
because we view humanity and thus its institutions as corrupt and selfish the only person we
can rely upon is our own self the only way we can avoid failure of being let down and
ulitimately succumbing to the chaotic world around us therefore it is to have the means
and financial security to rely upon ourselves” very articulate student, advanced liberalism
remakabely is eliminating liberal education with keen intent and ferocity finding it to
be impractical both idealologically and economically students today are taught by most of their
humanities and social science professors that the only remaining matter at hand is no longer
to grapple with the great ideas and the great debates but to equalize respect and dignity
neccesary in accordance to all people even as they work in institutions that are factories
for sifting the economically valuable from those who are not from those who have backward
views on trade immigration nationhood and religious beliefs the near uninimity of political
views represented on college campuses is echoed by the pervasive belief that education must
be economically practical illciting in high paying jobs in a city populated by like minded
graduates who will continue to renforce their keen since of outcry for inequality while
enjoying the bountiless fruits of their credentials, connections, and upward mobility, universities
scramble either to provide practical learning outcomes either by introducing a raft of new
programs aimed to make students immediately employable or by redescribing existing studies
in order to tout their economic relevance there is simply no choice to do other wise
in a globalizing economically competitive world Few if any remark upon the fact that
this location there is no choice is ever more common in advanced liberalism that system
that regime that was supposed to shore endless freedom at the moment of liberalism’s culmination
that we see around us the headlong evacuation of the liberal arts think about this what
are the liberal arts why are they called this the liberal arts were understood the be the
from of education that is liberal that’s why its called liberal cause people are on the
left or the right education of a free person escpecially for citizens who aspire to self
government the emphasis on the great texts and the traditions western civilization was
not simply because they were old but because they contained hard won lessons on how humans
learned to be free especially free from the tyranny of their own desires this education
is increasinly jettisoned in favor of what was once called an in earlier time survial
education and education concerned exclusively on moneymaking and with a life of work and
hence an education that was reserved for those who did not enjoy the title of citizen todays
liberals condemn a system that once seperated freeman from serf, master from slave, citizen
from servant yet even as we have ascended to the summit of moral superiority over our
beknighted forebearers by proclaiming that everyone is free we have almost exclusively
adopted the educational form that was once reserved for those who were deprived of the
privielage of freedom but in the midst of our freedom we dont think to ask why it is
that we no longer have the luxury of an education whose ver name the liberal arts indicated
the fundamental support of the cultivation of a free person today’s students are especially
encouraged to study a discipline that is useful particullarly related to STEM and science
technology engineering and mathematics liberalism’s tools of liberation of humanity from various
forms of bondage were especially to be achieved through the transformation in politics representative
system ive mentioned economic system particullarly market capitalism whose globalizing logic
cannot be resisted and of course science and technology arguably among the greatest sources
of our liberation especially from nature and yet simultaneously the reason for so many
of our contemporary crisis our imperiled enviroment the deformations brought by our own technologies
on our very personhood and the deep and pervasive anxiety that arises from a suspicion that
we may not be able to control our own innovations the modern scientific project that envisoned
human liberation from the tyranny of nature framed this project originally at its conception
as the effort to master or to control nature and was more often than not described as a
war against nature in which the study of nature would provide the tools for her own subjication
at the hands of a very victoroius humanity the originator of this project Professor Beckwith’s
forebearer Francis Bacon who rejected classical arguments that learning ought to aim at virtue
especially wisdom prudence and justice instead argues that knowledge is power in striking
passages in his writings describe nature as comparable to a prisoner who withheld her
secrets from an interragator but that undertorture might be compelled to reveal her long hidden
secrets now even if we dont speak in these terms anymore and we did until fairly recent
times the modern scientific project now dominates our thinking and what we regard as useful
and rewarding inquiry yet nature seems not to have quite waved the white flag yet as
the farmer and author Wendall Berry writer Ive mentioned Ive wrtiten on before “if modern
science and technology was concieved as a war against nature then as he wrote in the
1st instance it is a war in every sense nature is fighting us as much we fighting it and
2nd it appears we are losing so much of what we call today as enviromental crisis climate
change, resource depletion, groundwater contamination. aquifer shortages, species extinction and
so on are signs of battles won and a war being lost today we are accustomed to arguing that
we should follow the signs thats the term of art listen to our political candidates
follow the science in issues such as climate change ignoring that our crisis is the result
of what had been considered following the science in its day and indeed the fruits of
the long standing tree triumph over science and technology our carbon saturated world
is today the hangover of a 150 year old party in which till the very end we believed had
allowed us to liberate ourselves from nature’s limits and achieve the dream of human liberation
from the constraints of nature I would submit that we still believe this generally holding
the incoherent view that science can liberate us from limits while simultaneously solving
the backhanded consequences of our own limitations meanwhile our technology to talk a little
bit closer to home to many of us these devices that we all carry when we use the word technology
we usually mean cellphones these days the technology that promises liberations from
time and place and even given identity even freeing us from our given identity itself
increasingly shapes us at least the arguments have been advanced by the likes of Nicholas
R and Sherry Turkler to be credited Carr has argued in a book I think everyone should read
called “The Shallows” that our technology is shaping the very structure of our minds
the pathways that once shaped our thinking turning us into different creatures conforming
us to the demands of nature of the technology that is supposed to allows us to express ourselves
how many of us can sit for an hour reading a book? or simply thinking or meditating without
that longing of an addict just for 1 hit of that cellphone that craving wont allow us
to think or concentrate until weve had that hit and Sherry Turklers argues in a book shes
written called “Alone Together: Using Experiements and Studies in Social Psychology that the
technology that is supposed to connect us more extinsevley and initmately where ever
we go or wherever we are is making us more isolated more lonely more apart that which
is supposed to allow us to transform our world is instead transforming us making us into
creatures that many if not most of us have not given our consent too or at least not
informed consent indeed it is making us evermore into the creatures that liberalism presupposed
is our nature in that state of nature before the existence of law of civilization of government
ironically but perhaps not uncoincidentally the political project of liberalism is shaping
us into the creatures that it positived was our nature in some prehistorical fantasy autonomous
free individual at which in fact has required the combined massive apparatus of the modern
state the modern economy the modern education system and our science and technology to turn
us into increasingly seperate autonomous non relational selves defined by our rights and
defined by our liberty but insecure powerless afraid alone so ill conclude on that happy
note liberalim’s success today as i suggested at the beginning is a sign in some ways of
its failure it has remade the world it its image especially through the realms of politics
economics education and even technology all aimed at achieving the condition of supreme
and complete freedom through the liberation of the individual from particular places relationships
memberships and even identity in our liberation then we are rendered increasingly incapable
of resisting the forces that have insured our freedom the tools that were supposed to
free us now in many ways are the tools that shape us that make us powerless now I had
another 15 pages to tell you my answer to what is to be done unfortunately I wont have
time to talk about that tonight so Ill just have to have another invitation Frank I will
end there on that happy note but at least with the hope that until we can correctly
diagnose our condition we will continue to treat only these various symptoms of a system
in crisis as a seperate and insolvable by that system rather than as its manifestations
of a system itself has generated these titanic pathologies that I think were beginning to
have to call by name thank you very
much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *