The contradiction that destroyed classical liberalism

“Classical liberalism” was an organization of society that would have better been called “broad Protestant integralism”: it was a form of social organization structured by the values and interests of white, Protestant, property owners.

But given that the people formulating its ethos were bewitched by enlightenment ideas of universal reason, they found themselves generally unable to state this fact. (Locke recognizes it somewhat when he refuses to extend religious toleration to Catholics: and right he was! Catholicism is incompatible with classical liberalism.)

Because they had adopted this pretense of universality, the guardians of the classical liberal order found themselves severely hampered, almost unarmed, when challenges to the order arose from those not sharing its worldview. If they had been honest, they could have said “Of course public schools will display the 10 Commandments, and teach that the pope is the whore of Babylon: our society is built on these beliefs.”

But that would’ve expose their claim to universality as the façade that it, in fact, was. And so to maintain the façade, they let the enemies of the structure hack away at its supports. 

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