P. 1
Leftism From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse

Leftism From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse

|Views: 179|Likes:
Published by Burgales

More info:

Published by: Burgales on Sep 12, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less






Equality and Liberty

Since this book is written by a Christian let us first deal with the well-
known cliche according to which, even though we are neither identical
nor equal physically or intellectually, we are at least "equal in the eyes
of God." This, however, is by no means the case. None of the Christian
faiths teaches that we are all equally loved by God. We have it from
Scriptures that Christ loved some of his disciples more than others. Nor
does any Christian religion maintain that grace is given in equal amount
to all men. Catholic doctrine, which takes a more optimistic view than
either Luther or Calvin, merely says that everybody is given sufficient
grace to be able to save himself, though not to the same extent. The
Reformers who were determinists did not even grant that minimum.
It is obvious that the Marquis de Sade and, let us say, St. Jean Vianney
or Pastor von Bodelschwingh were not "equals in the eyes of God."
If they had been, Christianity no longer would make any sense, because
then the sinner would equal the saint and to be bad would be the same
as to be good.

It is, however, interesting to observe what inroads secular "demo-
cratic" thinking has made among the theologians. Obviously equality
does not figure in Holy Scripture. Freedom is mentioned several times,
but not equality. Yet there are far too many minds among religious
thinkers who would like to bridge the gap between religion, i.e., their
Christian faith and certain current political notions. Hence they talk


about adverbial equality-and are not really aware that they are play-
ing a trick. They will start out saying that all men have souls equally, that
they are equally called upon to save their souls, that they are equally
created in the image of God, and so forth. But two persons who equally
have noses or banking accounts, do not have equal noses or equal bank-
ing accounts. While our physical and intellectual differences,
inferiorities, and superiorities can be fairly obvious, our spiritual status
is much more difficult to determine. We do not know who among us
is nearer to God, and because we do not know this very important fact,
we should treat each other as equals. This, however, is merely pro-
cedural. We are in a similar position to the postman who delivers two
sealed letters indiscriminately, the one that carries a worthless ad and
the other that brings great joy. He does not know what is inside. The
comparison is far from perfect, because all human beings have the same
Father and we are therefore brothers-even if we are spiritually on dif-
ferent levels and have different functions in human society. (From a
social viewpoint one person obviously can be more important than
another; however, since everybody is unique, everybody is indispens-
able. To state the contrary is democratic nihilism.)
This is also the place to say a few words about the other equality
mentioned by so many people in a most affirmative way: equality before
the law. At times, equality before the law might be an administrative
expedient, saving money and the strain of lengthy investigations. In
other words, equality before the law is "practicaL" The question
remains whether it is really desirable, whether it always should be
adhered to, and, finally, whether it is just. It is obvious that a child
of four having committed manslaughter (it does happen!) should be dealt
with differently from a child of twelve, an adolescent of seventeen,
or a mature man of thirty. The egalitarian will accept this but will add
that all men or women at the age of thirty should be punished the same
way. Yet most (not all) courts in the civilized world take "circum-
stance" into consideration. St. Thomas, for instance, insisted that steal-
ing in a real emergency is no sin-for instance: a desperate beggar
having received no alms and thereupon stealing a loaf of bread for his
family. The Austrian law practice, under such circumstances, would
invoke unwiderstehlicher Zwang (irresistible urge) and the "criminal"
would get either a suspended sentence or go free. When the Germans
were freezing in the winter of 1945-1946 Cardinal Frings of Cologne
told the faithful that, under the circumstances, to steal coal was no sin,
no crime in the eyes of God. (Hence the phrase: Kohle fringsen, to
fringsize coal). In certain situations the difference between the sexes


will put obstacles on the path of equality before the law. Women, for
instance, can decide to conceive and thereby get pregnancy leave with
pay, while a man cannot do this. When the topless bikini became a
fad in 1964 a German paper humorously protested against police inter-
ference because it was a violation of the highly democratic and
egalitarian Staatsgrundgesetz ("Basic Law" of the Federal Republic)
which forbids all discrimination between the sexes; Why should women
be compelled to cover the upper part of their bodies while men are
not? Has not God discriminated physically between the sexes? Equality
before the law might be highly unjust: witness the outcry, Summum
ius, summa iniuria.
Indeed, justice is better served by Ulpian's principle
which we have already quoted, Suum cuique, to everybody his due.
A third kind of equality is invoked by a great many: equality of
In the narrow sense of the term it can never be achieved
and should not even be attempted. It would be much wiser to demand
the abolition of unjust discrimination, arbitrary discrimination without
a solid "factual" foundation. I.n employing labor we must discriminate
between the skilled and the inexperienced, the industrious and the lazy,
the dull and the smart, etc. It is interesting to see, however, that there
is a trend in many trade unions to protest against such just discrimina-
tion and insist on "indiscriminate" wage rates and employment secur-
ity. (On the other hand, trade unions have an ugly record of racial dis-
crimination which is patently unjust-especially so in the Union of
South Africa where the "common man" tends to be a racist while capi-
tal and big business are "color-blind" P
"Just discrimination," in other words, "preference based on merit"
is conspicuously absent in a process which, in our society, has a deep
and wide influence as a sanctified example-political elections.
Whether it is a genuinely democratic election in the West or a plebis-
citarian comedy in the East, the one-man-one-vote principle is now
taken for granted. The knowledge, the experience, the merits, the stand-
ing in the community, the sex, the wealth, the taxes, the military record
of the voter do not count, only the vegetable principle of age-he must
be 18, 21, 24 years old and still "on the hoof." The 21-year-old
semiliterate prostitute and the 65-year-old professor of political science
who has lost an arm in the war, has a large family, carries a consider-
able tax burden, and has a real understanding of the political problems
on which he is expected to cast his ballot-they are politically equal
as citizens. Compared with a 20-year-old student of political science
our friendly little prostitute actually rates higher as a voter. One should
therefore not be surprised if in the "emerging nations" -and even in


others-literacy is not required for voting. It is this egalitarianism of
the voters which has psychologically fathered (as we shall see later)
other egalitarian notions and which has been so severely criticized by
Pope Pius XII.2 And not only by him.3
Let us return to "Equality of opportunity." In a concrete sense, not
even a totalitarian tyranny could bring this about, because no country
could decree that a child upon entering this world should have "equal
parents." They might be equal to all other parents in the nation as far
as wealth is concerned, but will they have equal pedagogical qual-
ifications? Will they provide equal heredity? Will they give their child
the same nutrition as other parents? The cry for an identical and equal
education has been raised again and again in democracies, totalitarian
or otherwise, and the existence of various types of schools has been
deemed "undemocratic." Just because parents are so different (every
marriage offers another "constellation") egalitarians have advocated not
only intensive schooling, but boarding schools for all. Children should
be taken out of their homes and collectively educated twenty-four hours
a day. This, at present, is the tendency in the Soviet Union where (if
everything really goes according to plan) more than 90 percent of all
children after the age of six will be in boarding schools after 1980.
(How this will affect the birthrate is quite another matter).4 Yet even
all these measures will never result in complete equality of opportunity
unless one also totally disregards idoneity (capacity, skills, etc.). If this
should happen, a general decline of all levels would set in.
However, as Friedrich August von Hayek has pointed out, a certain
equality of treatment is necessary in a free society.5 Only by treating
people equally do we find out who is superior to whom. We must give
the same test to a group in order to classify its members. We have
to see that the horses in a race all start from the same line. By treating
people equally (we are back at the adverb) we are not making them
equal. Naturally, in a free and open society the timocratic principle will
prevail: Those more qualified than others will get ahead faster. "Honor
to whom honor is due." There can be no doubt that from the point
of view of the common good, the commonweal, the open society is
best, because talents have a better chance to be developed in it than
in societies divided by castes or estates.6

It is in the nature of class
barriers that they can be transcended. It would, however, be a great
mistake to think that the absence of fixed social handicaps increases
personal happiness. The gifted bourgeois who failed in pre-
Revolutionary French society always had the consolation that an iniquit-


ous system prevented his rise to the top. The man in a free society
must either blame himself (which leads to the melancholia of those
plagued by inferiority complexes) or will be bound to accuse imaginary
conspiracies of ill-wishers and downright enemies.
Psychologically his stand is now a far more difficult one. A society
with great mobility naturally will bring a great many fulfillments but,
as it is in the nature of things, even more disappointments. In fact,
we would not be surprised to find that the number of psychological
disturbances, "nervous breakdowns," and suicides among males
increases with social mobility (as well as with something quite different,
loss of religious convictions). This, however, does not cancel the intrin-
sic superiority of an open society over a closed one.
Egalitarianism, as we have already intimated, cannot make much
progress without the use of force: Perfect equality, naturally, is only
possible in total slavery. Since nature (and naturalness, implying also
freedom from artificial constraints) has no bias against even gross
inequalities, force must be used to establish equality. Imagine the aver-
age class of students in a boarding school, endowed with the normal
variety of talents, interests, and inclinations for hard work. The power-
ful and dictatorial principal of the school insists that all students of the
class should score Bs in a given subject. This would mean that those
who earned C, D, or E would be made to work harder, some so hard
that they would collapse. Then there would be the problem of the A
students whom one would have to restrain, giving them intoxicating
drinks or locking them up every day with copies of Playboy or The
New Masses. The simplest way would probably be to hit them over
the head. Force would have to be used, as Procrustes used it. But the
use of force limits and in most cases destroys freedom.
A "free" landscape has hills and valleys. To make an "egalitarian"
landscape one would have to blow off the tops of the mountains and
fill the valleys with rubble. To get an even hedge, one has to clip it
regularly. To equalize wealth (which so many "progressive" countries
on either side of the Iron Curtain are now doing) one would have to
pay "equal wages and salaries," or tax the surplus away-to the extent
that those earning above the average would refuse additional work.
Since these are usually gifted people with stamina and ideas, their
refusal has a paralyzing effect on the commonweal.
In other words, there is a real antagonism, an incompatibility, a
mutual exclusiveness between liberty and enforced equality. This is a
curious situation if we remember that in the popular mind these two


concepts are closely linked. Is this only due to the fact that the French
Revolution chose as its slogan "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" -or is
there another reason?
Apart from this formulation there is in fact no basis for this state
of affairs except for the psychological nexus we mentioned earlier. If
A is superior to B-more powerful, more handsome, more intelligent,
more influential, wealthier-then B will feel inferior, ill at ease, and
probably even afraid of A. If we subscribe to the famous "Four Free-
doms" and accept the formulation of "Freedom from Fear," then we
can see how inequalities actually engender fear-and envy, though envy
is rarely mentioned in this connection. Fear and envy, needless to say,
are twin brothers, yet we really should speak of triplets, because hate
keeps them good company.
This psychological tie notwithstanding, equality on one side and free-
dom on the other are mutually hostile. Since equality is the dynamic
element in democracy, while liberty lies at the base of true liberalism,
these two political concepts do not really mix.


You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->