I was perusing my blog notebook where I keep all manner of ideas for posts, and happened upon an old summary I had done when I was reading Robert Bork's Slouching Towards Gomorrah several years ago. Many of the posts I've done recently have looked at the idiocy of so-called conservative policies in an attempt to demonstrate that while the Democrats are no friends of Objectivism, neither are the Republicans. And they may actually be more dangerous to the cause than the Democrats.
What struck me about this essay was that it was all before the last elections, before Leonard Peikoff has convinced me that the Republicans and more importantly, their social/religious conservative base were as dangerous if not more dangerous than today's liberals. And yet, here was the same fundamental analysis which I'd put down on paper long before I understood the consequences of it enough to take action with conviction. The second thing that drew me to it was that here in Bork's thinking, published more than 10 years ago were the basic philosophic ideas clearly articulated that if perpetuated by the Republican party will make it a dangerous threat to liberty. So I transcribed it just out of sense of discovery...
2/7/04 - One of the things that has bothered me about most thought labeled as "conservative" is that while it has a tendency toward advocating more (though not consistent) free market policy and less socialistic policy, it seems to want to replace social policy with a more paternalistic, moralistic use of government. Interestingly enough, Robert Bork in his book Slouching Towards Gomorrah espouses just such a philosophical view on more philosophical grounds. I can clearly see the influence of his ideas and those like him on today's conservative thought...
Bork's thesis is that modern liberalism has "over-extended" two ideas: individualism and egalitarianism into mutated forms which he calls "radical". That the founders never intended and which are incompatible with a free society. He then claims that today's conservative thought represents "true" classical liberalism and that we must return to a more moderate form of these in order to survive as a culture. He then goes on to give examples of today's social and cultural decline and ascribes them to the two trends above.
In English, he claims that today's liberals use government (and change culture) to a) force equality, and b) not morality. Borks solution then is to a) stop forcing equality and b) start forcing morality [sic!]. It is Bork's second action that I have a significant problem with.
I believe that the big issue is in the intrinsic-subjective dichotomy, and that Bork's thesis is a crystal-clear example of intrinsicism run amok to the liberals subjectivism run amok. Today's liberals claim no morality is correct and want society to dictate equality in it's absence. Today's conservatives see one morality from God, but because it is arbitrary and absolute, (and divorced from reality) necessitates the force of it on society. Both views result in unnecessary force on society. The liberal's claim to it is bankrupt (and Bork rightly exposes it) but Bork's claim is equally wrong.
Which is more dangerous, a bankrupt ideology, or one that is gaining strength in the wake of today's religious fundamentalist movement?