"The Liberal still thinks in terms of political differences which can be settled by negotiation, and of religious differences which have ceased to matter; he assumed further that the cultural conflict is one which can, like political conflict, be resolved by tolerance. But the cultural conflict is the religious conflict on the deepest level: it is one whole pattern of life against another.,'

T. S. Eliot '46


   "The believing mind reaches its perihelion in the so-called Liberals. They believe in each and every quack who sets up his booth on the fair-grounds, including the Communists. The Communists have some talents too, but they always fall short of believing in the Liberals."

H.L. Mencken


" the supreme form of generosity; it is the right which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded in this planet."

-Jose Ortega Y Gasset


"I mean the cool rational liberal approach-the balancing of argument and fact, the reasoned and qualified and documented statement, the honest suspension of judgment in case of insufficient, contrary, contradictory or doubtful evidence; the empirical investigation guided by strategic hypothesis and theory. And above all, by that which is supposed to be the essence of the philosophic temperament (why, I don't know; the history of philosophy illuminates the conspicuous absence of the "philosophical attitude" in professional philosophers)-detachment, disinterest and serenity-wisdom seasoned with humor and irony."

-Edward Abbey


"Liberal- a power worshipper without the power."

-George Orwell


"Liberalism is enjoying a rebirth in China’s intellectual circles….Even the prime minister of China has (Friedrich) Hayek’s works on his bookshelf….

The old ideology has failed, and the attendant "right to rule" has lost almost all of its "true believers". Some observers may wonder how liberalism will be able to sprout and grow in Red China. The answer lies in the market economy or, as Adam Smith called it, "The system of natural liberty."

From Cato Policy Report (Nov-Dec 1999)


"Liberals. " "They are men and Women who tend to believe that the human being is perfectible and social progress predictable, and that the instrument for effecting the two is reason: that truths are transitory and empirically determined; that equality is desirable and attainable through the action of state power; that social and individual differences, if they are not rational, are objectionable, and should be scientifically eliminated; that social and individual differences, if they are not rational, are objectionable, and should be scientifically eliminated; that all peoples and societies should strive to organize themselves upon a rationalist and scientific paradigm."

W. F. Buckley



"A Liberal is a man who wants to use his own ideas on things in preference to generations who, he knows, know more than he does. "

Will Rogers


"Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned."

-Dick Gregory


"He stands...for independence of mind on all occasions, for thought free from obligation to any authority save the authority of 'reason. ' His circumstances in the modern world have made him contentious: he is the enemy of authority, of prejudice, of the merely traditional, customary or habitual. His mental attitude is at once skeptical and optimistic: skeptical, because there is no opinion, no habit, no belief, nothing so firmly rooted or so widely held that he hesitates to question it and to judge it by what he calls his 'reason' ; optimistic, because the rationalist never doubts the power of his 'reason' (when properly applied) to determine the worth of a thing, the truth of an opinion or the propriety of an action."

Michael Oakeshott

Rationalism & Politics

Basic Books N.Y.


"The liberals are the most sinister enemies of free men."

Henrik Ibsen



"In general, liberals have been rationalists (holding) the conviction that man is essentially a rational creature.. .What is known as rationalism endeavors, by using reason, to subject all matters, religious as well as non-religious, to critical inquiry. The rationalist looks primarily to science for enlightenment. Reason. . .is his mentor. Hence, what cannot stand the test of reason is not be accepted."

J. Salwyn Schapiro

Liberalism: Its Meaning and History

Princeton: D. Van Nostrand 1958



"To hold the liberal view of history, meant to believe in 'progress' It meant to believe that man could better his condition indefinitely by the application of his intelligence to his affairs."

Professor Charles Frankel

The Case for Modern Man

Harper & Bros N.Y. 1956



   "Compassion is not what motivates the Left, which is oblivious to the human suffering its generations have caused. What motivates the Left is the totalitarian Idea. The Idea that is more important than reality itself. What motivates the Left is the Idea of the future in which everything is changed, everything transcended. The future in which the present is already annihilated,and reality no longer exists."

David Horowitz

The Politics of Bad Faith



"The self-deification of mankind, to which Marxism gave philosophical expression, has ended in the same way as all such attempts, whether individual or collective: it has revealed itself as the farcical aspect of human bondage."

-Lezek Kolakowski


"Ironically enough-ironically, because it is liberalism that has maintained so exaggerated a faith in science-almost all modern scientific studies of man's nature unite in giving evidence against the liberal view of man symbolized as a creature motivated, once ignorance is dispelled, by the rational search for peace, freedom and plenty. Every modern school of biology and psychology and most schools of sociology and anthropology conclude that men are driven by profound non-rational, often anti-rational, sentiments and impulses, whose character and very existence are not ordinarily understood by conscious reason. Many of these drives are aggressive, disruptive, and injurious to others and to society. Some of them, as seen by modern science, are destructive to the self: seeking pain, suffering, even death. And these negative impulses( if they are to be designated so) are no less integral to the human psyche than those positive impulses pointing toward the liberal ideals."

Suicide of the West

James Burnham 



"It is also ironic that liberalism-so prevalent among modern intellectuals and so widely regarded as the truly creative outlook in modern society-has failed to attract any of the major creative writers of our century. Professor Lionel Trilling, who seldom deviates from the liberal line on specific political or social issues though he is mildly heterodox in theory, discussed this little remarked but surely significant fact in an article published in 1962 by the magazine Commentary. He pointed out that none of the major writers has been a liberal and that most of them have been anti-liberal; and that there is no great twentieth-century literary work infused with the liberal ideology as 'De Rerum Naturae, the 'Aeneid' , The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, Faust and 'War and Peace' were infused with other ideologies. In the twentieth century, Professor Trilling declares, there has been "no literary figure of the very first rank. ..who, in his work, makes use of or gives credence to liberal or radical ideas." Many secondary writers and a substantial majority of critics have been and are liberals; but Henry James, Marcel Proust, Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Andre Gide, Thomas Mann, T.S. Eliot-all of whom the liberals so much admire, so frequently imitate and so endlessly comment on-have all bean, often explicitly and scornfully, anti-liberal."

The Suicide of the West

James Burnham



"Though the principles of liberalism and communism thus largely overlap in the abstract, communism gives them an altogether different historical content; and communism differs from liberalism even more grossly in the methods it employs. Communists are serious, historically serious one might say, in a sense that liberals can neither be nor understand. Liberals cannot believe it when the communists say that they propose to establish a world federation of soviet socialist republics, when they pledge that they will bury us, when they frankly State that they will use 'any' means to accomplish their ends; liberalism cannot believe that every domestic communist is committed on principle to treason. Liberalism cannot help seeing the communists in the mirror of its own doctrine about human nature and motivation-as sharing, fundamentally, the same interests and goals, in particular the goals of peace and universal well-being. Inevitably, therefore, liberalism tries to meet the challenge of communism by means of the approved procedures that follow from liberal principles: plenty of talk and free speech-negotiations, as talk between nations is called; the appeal to man's better side, his rationality and supposed common interests in peace, disarmament and a lift in the general standard of living; reduction of tensions; avoidance of risky confrontations; ex- change and Truth programs to prove to the communists the goodness of our intentions; reform and economic improvement for everybody in the world; in short, peaceful coexistence phasing into appeasement and collaboration. The communists, since they are serious and since they are irrevocably fixed on their goal of a monopoly of world power, simply turn the liberal-inspired overtures into additional weapons to further their own advance. Shut off from reality by their ideological wall, liberals draw no conclusion from the obvious and frequently documented fact that in every negotiation ever conducted between communist and non-communist nations, the majority and often the entirety of concessions wave always come from the non-communist side; the net political and strategic profit has always gone to the communist."

James Burnham


" Liberalism, we have found, is committed to a relativist theory of truth. Liberalism holds that there is no such thing as objective truth; or, if in some abstract sense there may be objective truth, that it is impossible for us to be sure that we know it. That theory is the ultimate justification for universal free speech and democracy: no man has the right to believe that his truth has any priority in the marketplace over any other man's. Indeed, his truth is in no way privileged even over the other man's error, for who can know, and know that he knows, which is which? Truth too, at least with respect to political, economic and social affairs, must accept the verdict of democracy's tribunal. Everyone should speak his piece, advocate his own truth, and then let the majority decide.

Aristotle was the first of the many philosophers who have pointed out that a wholly relativist theory of truth cuts the ground from under its own feet, is self-refuting. As a relativist, I say that there is no way to be sure of the truth, and therefore every man is entitled to his own opinion. But how do I know that it is true that there is no way to be sure of the truth? And how can I prove to you that every man is entitled to his own opinion if you deny this? By my own principle, may not your denial be just as true as my assertion? We are thus plunged into an unending series of mutual contradictions, with no way of reaching a conclusion. Suppose that you deny and reject the whole doctrine of liberalism. Then, by that doctrine itself, you are not only entitled to your opinion, but there is just as much chance that your opinion is true as that liberalism is true.

The fact is that all human discussion, all communication among human beings-and thus every form of human society-must assume that not all opinions are true, that some of them are false, that there is an objective difference between truth and falsity; and that if you and I hold contrary views, then at least one of us is wrong,

There may be a trace of sophistry in this Aristotelian critique; and some modern logicians belie they avoid the theoretical dilemma it poses by introducing the idea of logical types or levels, Even so, liberalism must extend the freedoms to those who are not themselves liberals and even to those whose deliberate purpose is to destroy the liberal society-in effect, that is, must grant a free hand to its assassins; or liberalism must deny its own principles, restrict their freedoms, and practice discrimination. It is as if the rules of football provided no penalties against those who violated the rules; so that the referee would either have to permit a player  (whose real purpose was to break up the game) to slug, kick, gouge and whatever else he felt like doing, or else would have to disregard the rules and the throw the player out. This practical dilemma has been driven home in our day by the growth of totalitarian movements operating within the structure of democratic and liberal society. It suggests a grave weakness in the liberal ideology, one that has troubled many liberals. Surely there would seem to be something fundamentally wrong with a doctrine that can survive in application annoy by violating its own principles.


Suicide of the West

James Burnham


   "Since liberalism became a kind of official party line, we have been enjoined against saying things about races, religions, or national groups, for, after all, there is no categorical statement without its implication of value, and values begin divisions among men. We must not define, subsume, or judge; we must rather rest on the periphery and display "sensibility toward the cultural expression of all lands and peoples. " This is a process of emasculation."

Richard M. Weaver

Ideas have Consequences


"To a liberal it seems eminently normal that all members of the political science or history or economics or philosophy department of a university should be, as in many important cases they are, liberals plus a few somewhat left of liberal. But it seems shocking if a sizable percentage is of the Right, even a rather moderate Right. Nearly all liberals believe communists should be allowed to speak on college campuses, and most liberals believe communists should be permitted to teach in colleges; and there have been many liberal campaigns of protest against the attempts of some college administrators to prevent communists from speaking or to fire them from faculties. There is no comparable liberal solicitude for fascists or even for those belonging to what liberals like to refer to as "the Radical Right." Even the strictest civil liberties liberals, who do defend in principle the right of fascists to speak in a public place, are seldom around when the issue comes up. In both Britain and the United States, liberals began in 1962 to develop the doctrine that words which are "inherently offensive," as far-Right but not communist words seem to be, do not come under the free speech mantle."


Suicide of the West

James Burnham



"Generalizing, we may say that those who by career and occupation

are 'verbalists' exhibit an above-average predilection for liberalism."

James Burnham



"To modern liberalism the idea of a spiritually unanimous society seems both impossible and undesirable. It suggests the ecclesiastical totalitarianism of the Middle Ages and the restriction of man's liberty of thought. But liberty of thought is not an end in itself, and if pursued for its own sake results in utter confusion. Thought is free to discover reality, to find out what man is for. Liberalism must face that plain fact that is we do not know what man is for, we can neither educate him nor heal his infirmities. If you do not it  can not run or repair it intelligently."


Alan Watts

The Supreme Identity



"Liberals always overwater houseplants."


W.F. Buckley



"The function of Liberalism in the past was that of putting a limit to the power of Kings. The function of true Liberalism in the future will be that of putting a limit to the powers of Parliaments."

Herbert Spencer (1892)


"Liberals’ obsession with fascism, moreover, leads them to see "fascist tendencies" or "proto-fascism" in all opinions unsympathetic to liberalism, just as the far right detects "creeping socialism" in liberalism itself. If liberals have been victimized by red-baiting, they have perfected their own technique of dismissal by expanding the concept of fascism to embrace everything that falls outside the tradition of the enlightenment."

Christopher Lasch

The True and Only Heaven


"The Liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them."

Lenny Bruce


"Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of every country save their own."

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81)


"Liberalism, above all, means emancipation-emancipation from one’s fears, his inadequacies, from prejudice, from discrimination…..from poverty."

Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-78)


"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate."

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68)


"The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things-war and hunger and date rape-liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things…..It’s a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don’t have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal."

P.J. O’Rourke


"Liberalism-it is well to recall this today-is the supreme form of generosity; it is the right which the majority concedes to minorities and hence it is the noblest cry that has ever resounded in this planet. It announces the determination to share existence with the enemy; more than that, with an enemy which is weak."

Jose Ortega Y Gasset (1863-1955 )



""Liberal institutions straightway cease from being liberal the moment they are soundly established. Once this is attained no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions."

Nietzsche 1888


"So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot."

George Orwell


"A liberal is a conservative who has been arrested."

Tom Wolfe

Bonfire of the Vanities


"A conservative is a liberal who got mugged."

(a quote  heard in 70’s New York City)



"Why is it that right-wing bastards always stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, while liberals fall out among themselves?"

Yegeny Yevtushenko (Observer, London Dec15,1991)


"The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment."

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Unpopular Essays


"Liberal-a power worshipper without power."

George Orwell (1903-50)


"In a pinch the liberals can always be counted on to back up the principles of the established order-private property in the implements of production, special privileges, and the more moderate and lucrative phases of imperialism."

Scott Nearing


"What does it mean to hold on to this faith, to be radically Left within the political tradition of the liberal West? This Left, whose project has culminated in human calamity beyond comprehension, began with the famous passage in Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality in which he first articulated the radical myth of social creation:

The first man, who after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say, this is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society.

To which Rousseau exclaims, in words that reverberate through the tragedies of our time: "How many crimes, how many wars, how many murders, how many misfortunes and horrors, would that man have saved the human species, who pulling up the stakes or filling up the ditches should have cries to his fellows: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are lost, if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong equally to us all, and the earth itself to nobody!"

   For the next two centuries, this idea served as inspiration for the radical onslaught against liberal democracy in the West. Indeed, the charge that private property corrupted humanity became the basic proposition of all political Lefts, that is of all attempts to construct a radical future in which "socially created " evils, like inequality and injustice, would be relegated to the museum of human antiquities.

   Two centuries later, the relentless unraveling of those socialist schemes has shifted the onus of Rousseau's question .Now we must ask: How many crimes, how many wars, how many murders, how many misfortunes and horrors, would the human species have been spared, had the world not listened to this radical impostor, when he assaulted private property, the very foundation of liberty, while invoking the unlimited powers of the state to make men virtuous and equal?"

   It is this question and this recognition that mark the dividing line between Left and Right."

David Horowitz

The Politics of Bad Faith


"The liberal party-no matter what its particular name was at the time-believed in the wide wisdom and efficacy of the will of the great majority of the people, as distinguished from the judgment of a small minority of either education or wealth."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


Book: "Happy Days Are Here Again: The 1932 Democratic Convention, the Emergence of FDR-and How America Was Changed Forever" by Steve Neal

Book: The Politics of Bad Faith:" by David Horowitz

Book: "Liberalism" by L.T. Hobhouse

Book: "Community Denied: The Wrong Turn of Pragmaic Liberalism" by James Hoopes

Book: "Against Liberalism" by John Kekes

Book: "The Guardians: Kingman Brewster His Circle and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment" by Geoffrey Kabaservice


© 2001



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