Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society. When you have an immoral society that has blatantly, proudly, violated all of the commandments of God, there is one last virtue they insist upon: tolerance for their immorality.
… In a liberal democracy seemingly everything is permissible, but politically incorrect events immediately trigger an avalanche reaction of resistance: intellectuals protest, journalists on television twist their faces in moral indignation, comedians use the whip of satire, and the lumpen-intelligentsia, delighted with all that indignation, whistle, heckle, stomp their feet, and demand exemplary punishment of the perpetrators. …
The warriors of political correctness thing of themselves in the category of the struggle between David and Goliath. Nothing can be further from the truth. They belong to the mainstream, having all the instruments of power at their disposal. On their side are the courts, both national and international, the UN and its agencies, the European Union with all its institutions, countless media, universities, and public opinion. The illusion they cherish of being a brave minority heroically facing the whole world, false as it is, gives them nevertheless a strange sense of comfort: they feel absolutely safe, being equipped with the most powerful political tools in today’s world but at the same time priding themselves on their courage and decency, which are more formidable the more awesome the image of the enemy becomes.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.104-105
In both communism and liberal democracy we encounter the same peculiarity: what is incidental is treated as a systematic problem, which really means that whatever happens is systemic and nothing is incidental to the system. It thus becomes natural for true liberal democrats—as it was for true communists—to harass their colleagues because of a causal remark, or a lack of vigilance, or an improper joke, making the lives of unruly individuals difficult by constantly admonishing and creating further regulations and stricter laws. By doing so, the self-proclaimed guardians of purity see themselves as carrying on their shoulders the responsibility for the future of liberal democracy worldwide. If not for their effort and dedication, this great political enterprise, they think, would become fouled, and then—perish the thought.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.103
There is nothing mysterious about [the rise of political correctness]. It is simply a practical consequence of the view that the duty of citizens of the liberal-democratic society is to participate in the great collective enterprise, where everyone cooperates with everyone else at all levels and under all circumstances. I we look at three…examples—family life, a book’s content, and popular jokes—we can see that from the politically correct perspective they are no longer irrelevant trivialities. They illustrate what is absolutely crucial for the entire logic of liberal democracy. Because the logic of this system turns on “dialogue,” “respect,” “equal rights,” “openness,” and “tolerance,” everything is by definition political, and nothing that relates, however remotely, to these notations is trivial, minor, or irrelevant. A slight offensive remark must always be regarded as a manifestation of mortal sin. What seems a barely visible mark on the surface conceals underneath swirling currents of hatred, intolerance, racism, and hegemony. The body responsible for ensuring that these terrible things do not surface is the state, with all the instruments at its disposal. It is the state that should incessantly work to impose and improve cooperation policies by removing all real and potential barriers, creating a favorable legal environment, and reshaping public space and education in such a way that the people’s minds internalize the rules of politically correct thinking.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.100
The word “multiculturalism,” still used today despite numerous criticisms and ridicule, represents yet another hoax that liberal democracy created and that turned out to be surprisingly effective. Both parts of the word misrepresent reality. Multiculturalism is not about culture but about politics. In fact, they should be “polit” (as in “politburo”) rather than “cultur,” and “mono” rather than “multi.”
Many ingredients of the multicultural cake are not ingredients any more but have become the cake itself. Feminism is not the “culture” of feminists or feminist parties or women, but the political platform espoused by governments, the European Union, and many international institutions; the ideology of homosexuality is no longer in the hands of homosexual activists and their organizations but is a major item in national and global agendas. A nation that would dare to entertain any misgivings in this regard or, for example, include wording in its Constitution—as was recently done by the Hungarians—that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, would be subjected to almost worldwide condemnation expressed in the rhetoric of rage and hatred.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.95-96
Multiculturalism, an idea that has become extremely popular in recent decades, is nothing more that a program to build a society in which there exist not many cultures, but many political identities attached to many real or, more often, imagined collectives. Multiculturalism encourages what is today called identity politics. This term may be misleading. It has little to do with a defense of the rich fabric of societies and their historically constituted communities, but should be rather seen as a program of politicization of certain groups that could radically change the fabric of society. …
Women, homosexuals, Muslims, ethnic groups are being perceived as, and transformed into, quasi-parties, organized from above by the political or ideological leadership and not possessing other characteristics than those resulting from the struggle for power against other groups and no other identity than that provided by this leadership, allowing no ideological dissent. Whoever is not a member of this quasi-party, even though for some reason—be it sex, birth, or color—he should be included, but stays outside its boundaries or sometimes even opposes it, is the enemy, a sellout, and a traitor. A black American who condemns the absurdity of African-Americanism, regardless of his virtues and achievements, is considered as much a traitor to his race. A woman who rejects feminism for its crude and destructive ideological content is a traitor to the sisterhood.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.95
Just as communism was not possible with families adhering to the feudal-patriarchal system, so liberal democracy is believed to be incomplete and unsuccessful with schools respecting traditional moral and cultural authoritarianism. The arguments are analogous. Just as a person coming from a noncommunist community could not become a full-fledged, dedicated, and efficient citizen of the communist state, so a graduate of a traditional school will never be a faithful and reliable citizen of the liberal-democratic state.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.93
Liberalism is primarily a doctrine of power, both self-regarding and other-regarding: it aims to limit the power of other agents, and at the same time grants enormous prerogatives for itself. In a sense it is a super-theory of society, logically prior to and—by its own declaration of self-importance—higher than any other. It attributes to itself the right to be more general, more spacious, and more universal than any of its rivals. Its goal is—as the liberals say—to create a general framework within which others will be able to cooperate. The liberals will never voluntarily give up this admittedly highest of political prerogatives to anyone and will never agree to share it. …
In its essence, liberalism is unabashedly aggressive because it is determined to hunt down all nonliberal agents and ideas, which it treats as a threat to itself and to humanity. The organizing principle of liberalism—as in all other philosophies aiming to change the world radically—is therefore dualism, not pluralism.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.77, 78
Communism and liberal democracy are related by a similarly paradoxical approach to politics: both promised to reduce the role of politics in human life, yet induced politicization on a scale unknown in previous history.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.73
The universities are undergoing the same process [of liberal takeover], which is most unfortunate because they were regarded for centuries as free industries of the human mind. Today, any such belief is clearly in discord with reality. The entire educational process has been systematically standardized to make it as close as possible to the liberal-democratic model, in which group rights are carefully watched, detailed verification and appeal procedures have been established, and the principle of equality in increasingly more influential in academic community relations. The humanities and social sciences have long since declared a keen interest in participating in the process of liberal-democratic changes and are vigorously supported in their actions by ministries of education, political associations, and supranational institutions. The liberal-democratic jargon, which so painfully dominates political life also invaded academic life, which slowly became a reflection of the entire public sphere. Universities are increasingly eager to introduce a liberal-democratic regime, which makes the vast majority of academics convinced that they operate in an institution that enjoys the greatest freedom in its history. But in fact, freedom is in retreat.
The emergence of liberal democracy at educational institutions led—as elsewhere—to considerable restrictions of the very liberty that universities enjoyed previously. These developments are undermining a long and admirable academic tradition. Of course, in the post communist countries, not much was left to be undermined because the old regime managed to deal with the academic tradition very effectively—with no small participation of the academics themselves. Remnants of tradition were occasionally still invoked as a weapon against the excessive intrusion of the communist government. Whatever else remained of the old days was wiped clean by the new order. In an age of an increasing number of rights, continuous group demands, equality, and officially hunted deviations from the established political line, academic tradition did not stand a chance. The Universities began to resemble businesses on the one hand and liberal-democratic political structures on the other.
Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, pg.68-6
Today, while waiting for some food at a high upscale place, I again noticed not only all the overweight, unattractive people, but the truly laughable hairstyles of some. So many females, including one that had to be sixty or so, with purple or pink dyed hair. So many with uncombed, sloppy hair. Too many with that extra short look that often advertises a hatred of men. And the men with all the shaved heads. Are there that many guys who are going bald now? With so many balding men desperately trying to save what they have, or miraculously grow back what they’ve lost, why do so many even young males just shave it all off completely? Again, even forty years ago, that shaved head look advertised potential criminality. Think Lex Luthor.
One can’t help but notice the absurdly casual, slovenly way most Americans dress now. Not at home. In public. Did anyone envision seeing adults parading around in stores wearing pajama pants? So many men and women just appear to have “punted,” to simply have stopped trying to appear attractive in any way, shape or form. Instead, they slide on their XXL sweat pants, and their XXXL tee shirts, and parade about as proudly as their in-shape ancestors did.
Factor in the gratuitous tattoos that are everywhere now. I see otherwise good-looking young girls with an entire arm, perhaps both arms, completely covered in tattoos. There’s a good reason why, in the past, only pirates and drunken sailors got tattoos. They don’t make anyone look better. And when your skin is mostly camouflaged by ugly conglomerations of ink, it automatically causes others to view you less respectively. Tramp stamps, and all that.