Dennis Campbell
February 13, 2008
Two fatal errors of modern liberalism
By Dennis Campbell

Two primary errors of modern liberalism are a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and an inability to learn from history.

Regarding the first, liberals are always chasing the fantasy of human perfectibility, which influences so many aspects of their policies.

Liberals believe that if we give a powerful central government enough resources and authority, wielded by intelligent people of good will, virtually all problems and endeavors of human society can have happy outcomes poverty, education, racial disharmony, crime, affordable housing, universal health care.

Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that government is composed of enormously fallible people, weak and prone to doing things in their own interest, and not in the interest of others. The larger the government, the more these problems are magnified.

When self-interest is channeled correctly, through liberty and free enterprise, with an underlying structure of law militating against the depravity found in varying degrees in everyone, it can produce remarkable benefits.

America's economic system of free enterprise is based, or was in the beginning, on giving freedom to individuals to produce wealth in accordance with their abilities. The result has been the most prosperous society in history. Unfortunately, the liberal proclivity for exercising control over human enterprise threatens to bring that to an untimely demise.

Regarding the second error, liberals seem oblivious to the lessons of history, especially as they apply to dealing with despots and savages. The likes of Barack Obama seem to think that simply sitting down with one's enemies, having a cup of tea and looking for common ground, is all that is necessary for peace.

This is the same inclination that led Neville Chamberlain, prime minister of England, to advocate the appeasement of Adolf Hitler in 1938. Are there any among us who do not know how that turned out?

One of the most extreme examples of a misplaced trust in the goodwill of mankind is ancient Carthage. A prosperous and powerful city state around the first century, Carthage engaged in a series of brutal wars with Rome. While defeated, Carthage had not been conquered.

As part of a treaty with Rome, Carthage agreed to disarm and place itself under the protection of the Roman state. The treachery of the human heart perhaps has never been better displayed, as Rome turned on Carthage and beseiged the city, whose terrified citizens frantically worked to use every available material to fashion weapons for their own defense. Rome eventually burned Carthage to the ground, killing most of the inhabitants and taking the remaining 50,000 into slavery.

These lessons are never absorbed by liberals, it seems. They remain convinced that negotiation and appeasement will win over despots and savages. This leads them to a fatal conclusion regarding Islam: That we can appease and negotiate our way to a peaceful outcome with what may be the most violent religion in the world, indeed, in history.

Notice I did not say "radical Islam." Islam always has been a religion of the sword, winning adherents through violent conflict. Its opponents are given three very clear choices: Convert, submit, or die. There is no other way. There never will be any other way. To think otherwise is suicidal.

Another lesson unlearned by liberals regards the Second Amendment, our freedom to keep and bear arms and the one that secures every other freedom we enjoy.

The historical lesson from our own history is this: Where there are liberal (in the true sense) laws permitting the private ownership of firearms, in accordance with our Constitutional guarantees, there is a low rate of violent crime. Where there are prohibitive restrictions on gun ownership, there is a high rate of violent crime.

At the same time liberals have this nave view of the basic goodness of human nature, it seems they are unable to believe that honest, law-abiding citizens are capable of keeping firearms, whether in their homes or cars or on their persons, without the wholesale slaughter of one another.

The bitter experience of Carthage also comes into play in the issue of gun ownership. The fact is, an unarmed society is a defenseless society, unable to defend itself against the depredations of the lawless or the tyranny of government, as countless societies have learned throughout history.

These fundamental errors of modern liberalism a misunderstanding of human nature and an inability to learn from history not only are serious, but are fatal. If we allow the wrong people to steer our country, they likely will drive it right into an abyss.

© Dennis Campbell


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