Liberalism as Addiction

Modern liberalism, so apt to see every social pathology as a form of mental or emotional illness, invites the application of a similar perspective on itself.  Whether the issue in question has to do with teenage promiscuity, adultery, prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, kleptomania, school shootings, child abuse, gang warfare, or corruption in government (though never corporate greed, tax evasion, or white-collar crime), the liberal is always in a hurry to attribute the cause to the irrational yet irresistible impulse to antisocial behavior.  But this Weltanschauung that dims and enfeebles the moral imagination is a form of mental and moral addiction, operating on the mind and soul much as cocaine or whiskey act upon the body to induce intoxicating highs in the short run and intellectual deterioration, moral laxity, and self-indulgence in the long one.

For thousands of years, Homo sapiens has resorted to drugs and alcohol to achieve gratification across a spectrum of powerful sensations, among them euphoria, the illusion of power, the transcendence of limits, and self-integration with the cosmos.  Liberalism provides access to all these sensations, by ideological rather than chemical means.  It is not coincidental that 20th-century liberalism, and not libertarianism, should have been inseparably associated with what originally was called “free love” and later “sexual liberation,” and with...

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