Liberalism, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—Pushed Too Far

Liberalism, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—Pushed Too Far
The following is taken from Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, by Robert Bork.
“The consequence of liberalism, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness pushed too far are now apparent. Irving Kristol writes of ‘the clear signs of rot and decadence germinating within American society—a rot and decadence that was no longer the consequence of liberalism but was the actual agenda of contemporary liberalism…[S]ector after sector of American life has been ruthlessly corrupted by the liberal ethos. It is an ethos that aims simultaneously at political and social collectivism on the one hand, and moral anarchy on the other.’ I would add only that current liberalism’s rot and decadence is merely what liberalism has been moving towards for better than two centuries.” (p. 63)
End of quote.
The effects of growing liberalism and its resulting chaos may increase  “feelings of Freedom” for many, in the short-term.
In the long-run, liberalism results in social, economic and political chaos. This leads to governmentally imposed restrictions and enforcements that are inimical to the pursuit of an enduring and meaningful happiness for almost everyone (save those in political power and control). 
Advancing liberalism also imposes increasing controls upon what can be spoken, written, and (to a lesser degree) what is thought. Liberalism bans more and more of our behaviors though its diabolical and amazingly powerful social-control tool called “political correctness”.
Wake-Up America!
V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.    11/24/10

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2 Responses to “Liberalism, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—Pushed Too Far”

  1. Whirled Peas Says:

    Liberals, such as Chomsky, Carl Rogers, and more recently Alfie Kohn, have long been the loudest and longest vocal opponents of Skinner.

    Skinner is an odd mix of today’s conservative and liberal ideas. It is intellectually dishonest to claim that Skinner or his ideas are embraced by liberals or progressives. It would be just as easy to put Skinner in the conservative camp. For example, he was against the “nanny state” because he said it rewarded non-productive behaviors. The idea of rewards and punishments for behavior is the opposite of moral relativism. Consequences are more a part of the conservative vernacular than it is for the liberal (as liberals are more likely to want prisons to be rehabilitative than punitive, etc).

    Skinner’s ideas have been a plague upon America. The sooner we work together to rid ourselves of them, the better off we will be.


    • vtmawhinney Says:

      Whirled Peas,

      I have to suspect that you are a psychologist, sociologist, etc., or at least you have had some post-graduate training. If I am wrong about that, then you must be a very bright well-read individual.

      At any rate, I will not try to label my beloved B. F. Skinner as a political liberal or conservative.

      But, I will say you are correct that the idea of reinforcement and punishment, if used rationally, does require that one identify contingencies for these consequences, I.e., if one does this good behavior they will experience positive reinforcement or, if they do another bad behavior, they will experience punishment or extinction.

      Of course, a society based upon these principles of human learning will be at odds with cultural relativism. The these principles are based upon the Law of Effect, which is one of psychology’s premier Laws. The Law of Effect simply states that behavior is powerfully influenced by its consequences (made more or less probable). If societies do not specify target behaviors to strengthen and weaken, and then effectively manage reinforcing and punishing consequences to achieve well-know predictable behavioral outcomes, the results will be behavioral chaos.

      Dramatically increasing chaos best describes the class of population behavior that we now see in America. Behavioral chaos weakens the viability of any socioculture in which it occurs. So it is now in America. If we intelligently change contingencies of reinforcement to systematically follow very desirable prosocial behaviors and we can change population behavioral outcomes and thereby strengthen America’s viability.

      Thank your for your comment. As you can tell, I am convinced that research-based principles and laws of psychology are most consistent with traditional political and socioeconomic conservative principles. From all that I can detect, Radical Liberal (so-called “progressive”) practices, based upon moral relativism, around the world, reliably fail in the long-run.



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