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Saturday, 2 September 2017

Liberalism

The Right and Left always blame each other. The Right now blames the Left for cultural Marxism. This rather new label caught my interest - and surprise. Partly as the Left has been defeated and even decimated in several recent elections. Partly because Left vs Right dates back to the 20th Century and has been replaced by Nationalism vs Globalism. Partly as the correct label should have been cultural Liberalism.

Liberalism started as a philosophy which focused on the liberty of (certain, not all) human beings. The ancient Greek democracy of proportional representation (i.e., one man, one vote) is an early example. In other territories, the rights of individuals have been restricted for many centuries, which resulted in divisions between heads of State and their populations.

The rise of a small very wealthy middle class in the 16th and 17th Century challenged the sole role of several heads of State. The philosophical concept of Liberalism was used in enforcing parliamentary democracies and in restricting Kings and Queens to more ceremonial roles.

It took some 200 more years before personal liberty became meaningful in someone’s life. Being free and poor is rather meaningless. The Industrial Revolution (c. 1760-1820/1840) expanded the middle classes and their economic liberty – hence the birth of economic Liberalism. The growing economic liberty in the 20th Century first eroded the role of Labour and then Left, and expanded the role of political Liberalism.

The systemic World War II (1939-1945) caused many changes to Western societies, of which one was a split between conservative and social Liberalism. Essentially, this split emphasises the focus on economic versus personal liberty. Their division becomes most clear in the role of the State: less State to boost economic liberty versus more State to protect personal liberties.

The Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 has seen 3 major waves so far: Mechanization (1800-1900), Automation (1900-2000), and Artificially Intelligent Robotics (2000-2100). The 1st and 2nd technological disruption caused temporary mass unemployment. The 3rd disruption and the swift rise in global population from 7 billion in 2015, to 10 billion by 2050, and 11 billion by 2100 (UN) is cause for caution, if not alarm.

The prospect of meaningless economic liberty may cause the persistent shift to personal liberties in Western societies. The 4th wave of Liberalism - following philosophical, economic and political – is about personal liberties like gender, language, nationality, race, religion, and sexuality. Hence, cultural Liberalism rather than cultural Marxism.

There seems to be a developing systemic crisis in which leaders, nations and people fail to understand each other. To some, the solution is in electing a strongman. To some, the focus is on emphasizing cultural roots (eg, Brexit, Nationalism, Political Islam). To some, the solution is in an ever-expanding economic alliance while simultaneously preventing a political alliance. The many global disruptions seem geared towards a 1-way ticket to eruption and a systemic reordering.

One Way Ticket (1979) by Eruption - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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