A fundamental (and faulty) premise of liberalism is that people should do what they want as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. Under these conditions, all legal acts, whether virtues or vices, are considered morally neutral—one having just as much value as another. Liberalism may have other economic and political manifestations, but the ultimate goal is to create a man-centered culture that maximizes individual freedom.
Thus, a liberal society lets individuals determine what makes them happy even though it might make others unhappy or prove self-destructive. If all mind their own business, liberals hold, everyone will be better off. The nation will be free to prosper without cumbersome moral restraints.
In matters that require agreement among quarreling individuals, liberal democracy established a consensus based upon majority rule to bring some kind of order to society. This “live-and-let-live” liberalism focusing on maximizing individual freedom has dominated American society for decades.
Liberalism Creates Tensions
To say this system worked well over the years is an exaggeration. It gives the appearance of a peaceful consensus where everyone gets along. However, beneath the surface, this brand of liberalism creates social tensions and discord when reality fails to correspond to its utopian ideal.
When society decays due to this everything-goes ethos, people contest the moral neutrality of acts and question the gratification of the passions as a determinant of happiness. As a result, this system gradually tends to polarize the nation. The clash caused the culture war that still rages inside America today.
For example, liberals tried to pass off abortion as a live-and-let-live option. Those opposed to the barbaric practice were advised not to have one. However, pro-lifers disputed the neutrality of the act of procured abortion. They declared it morally wrong—which led to the Dobbs victory and the present illiberal impasse.
The Limitations of Live-and-Let-Live Liberalism
Despite the tensions, the great success of live-and-let-live liberalism is its ability to frame any vice into an expression of freedom and any virtue as an oppressive restraint. Moreover, this liberalism let society slide gradually into decay without entirely suppressing virtue.
However, this gradual method of advancing the liberal agenda has its limitations. Inherited Christian morals held in check many excesses that liberalism proposed. In addition, the system’s emphasis on individual freedom still allows people to disagree with others, reject practices personally deemed evil and even take action against those aberrations they think harm society. Some more radical sins, while privately allowed, remain hidden, stigmatized and separated from the mainstream.
Thus, live-and-let-live liberalism is now an obstacle to an emerging post-liberal society. The unbridled passions liberalism unleashed now demand total liberation and the destruction of any Christian morals from the past that stand in the way.
A New Phase of Liberalism
This new post-liberal society challenges old liberalism’s social structures, conventions and narratives and no longer tolerates major opposition.
One tactic consists in turning personal choice into the supreme value above all others. Anyone who opposes what is chosen is accused of being against all choices in general.
This position demands that all personal choices be officially recognized even if it offends others, cause individuals harm or are held by a minute minority. Every erroneous choice must be granted instant citizenship in the public square… and the public school.
Totemizing personal choice as the supreme value forces the immediate acceptance of unacceptable choices that destroy the Church, society and the family. Indeed, it allows the other side to frame the debate and choose the battlefield. It marks a significant policy change.
Accept and Validate
Thus, post-liberal activists no longer permit live-and-let-live liberalism since it still hinders the total liberation of the individual by insisting upon the need for structures like logic, identity and sexuality. Post-liberalism also cannot “let live” forms of morality that clash with its frenetic intemperance.
Live-and-let-live liberalism is replaced by accept-and-validate post-liberalism. The post-liberals claim that all choices, even bad ones, must not only be tolerated but validated. Any hostility constitutes denying them equality and citizenship and must be condemned as hateful, hurtful and bigoted.
In this sense, the word “democracy” is hijacked to mean a regime of ever-expanding choices in which one person can rule over the majority—as long as it favors the left.
Examples of the New Tyranny
Examples of accept-and-validate post-liberalism abound and now dominate the culture war scene. The goal is to suppress what little remains of Christian opposition. Those stuck in a David French-ian accommodate-drag-queens mindset will be swept away, even as they try to appease the opposition with concessions.
One example of the new paradigm is pronoun tyranny. It is not enough that individuals deceive themselves by denying their sexual birth identity. Everyone must validate these erroneous choices with the wrong pronouns or face dismissal, fines or legal action. It matters not if one individual or a whole community has problems of conscience using these terms. The “democracy” of one must prevail.
The pandemic of Drag Queen Story Hours everywhere is forcing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ agenda upon the population. It is not enough that men dress as garish women to terrorize children; they must be forced upon libraries and schools. They must be given an equal platform to indoctrinate children with their morally-skewed stories. Parents who protest must be canceled and defamed.
The After School Satan Club must be granted the same rights as the After School Christian Club despite the opposition of most local taxpayers. All it takes is for one Satanist to appear before the school board demanding equal access to students, and all must bow down before the idol of choice, represented by Satan.
In the same way, agendas like Critical Race Theory and Gender Ideology are finding their way into society and schools demanding not only acceptance but validation. No choice can be denied as wrong or evil since all are deemed equal.
A Natural Consequence
Accept-and-validate post-liberalism is a natural consequence of live-and-let-live liberalism. The free reign of the passions under an accommodating liberal regime will sooner or later lead to a revolt against any restraint, authority or inequality.
Post-liberal society reaches the point when it can no longer live together with any Christian moral foundations. Eventually, even the slightest Christian custom, gesture, tradition or censure—be it a bathroom, wedding cake, flag or pronoun—becomes unbearable. Post-liberal activists then insist these “hurtful” practices be suppressed and demand an end to Christianity’s claim to moral authority.
The radical promoters of post-liberalism have no scruples about ruthlessly employing the full force of the law to enforce “choice.” They will implement “democracy” to ensure that an immoral minority rules.
Fighting Liberalism’s False Premises
Liberalism is in crisis today because its accommodating position that treats good and evil equally has reached its inevitable and absurd consequence: the triumph of evil.
The way to fight accept-and-validate post-liberalism is by denying its false liberal premises. The process has advanced so much that there can be no return to any classical liberal alternative.
Thus, the premise of the moral neutrality of acts is false. Objective good and evil exist. According to the dictates of the (much-denied) natural law, “good is to be done and pursued, and evil avoided.” This law is valid for all times, everyone and everywhere. Virtue and vice can never be equal. Satan is evil and must be rejected. People must make moral judgments about what they do that reflect God’s law if society is to function well.
Likewise, choice must not be weaponized. A choice is a means and not an end. There are good and bad choices. True positive freedom consists of choosing things according to human nature and avoiding the contrary. One can never validate sin and error.
Adopting this strategy is no longer an option but a necessity since the radical post-liberals force this choice upon those who still hold to Christian morals. However, just opposing premises is not enough.
Targeting the Church
The ultimate target of liberalism has always been the Catholic Church. The great battles of the nineteenth-century liberals against the Church sought to change a God-centered society into a man-centered one. Liberals promoted a naturalistic, materialistic and secular order affecting intellectual, religious, political and economic life. They sought emancipation from the Church’s supernatural, moral and Divine order.
Live-and-let-live liberalism is dying. Accept-and-validate post-liberalism is ready to impose its tyranny on a world without values. The principal concern of those engaged in the fight should be to embrace this supernatural, moral and Divine order for which so many postmodern people yearn.
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