The Tolerance Of Classical Liberalism-Ona Grossnickle

Perhaps one of the greatest conundrums of classical liberal philosophy is the tolerance that classical liberalism exhibits towards those who choose to follow opposite ideologies, such as communism, socialism, communitarianism and, more recently, “greenism”. It is a conundrum for the simple fact that it appears counter-productive for the sake of survival ever to tolerate subversive elements. Of all political philosophies, classical liberalism tolerates, permits—and even encourages—people to make their own political choices and follow their political conscience. The same cannot be said of any left-leaning political philosophy or party, even the Australian Labor Party. Political philosophies of the Left do not tolerate diversity of political thought.

Milton Freedman most eloquently described this scenario of the tolerant liberal (and I use liberal here in the Australian sense, referring as it does to classical liberalism; while libertarian more comfortably and more usually now describes classical liberals for Americans). In his definitive text, Capitalism and Freedom, Freedman wrote:
One may believe, as I do, that communism would destroy all of our freedoms, one may be opposed to it as firmly and as strongly as possible, and yet, at the same time, also believe that in a free society it is intolerable for a man to be prevented from making voluntary arrangements with others that are mutually attractive because he believes in or is trying to promote communism. His freedom includes his freedom to promote communism. Freedom also, of course, includes the freedom of others not to deal with him under those circumstances.

But the question remains, why is this the case? Why do liberals tolerate political philosophies within their own society that would seek to destroy all the goods that a classical liberal way of life seeks to grant to human beings—goods such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of association?
Can the answer be as simple as the fact that classical liberal philosophy promotes choice, freedom of association and diversity of thought, therefore it logically follows that anti-liberal philosophies are tolerated regardless of their ultimate consequences and goals? Or could the answer to this conundrum go further? For example, are those who espouse right-wing classical liberalism more enlightened, more “educated” and more rational than left-leaners? After all, not for nothing does the word right imply “the correct” and “the just”. And does classical liberalism use this tolerance to continually test its own strength of argument?


I have just put down a book readers of this website are sure to take to heart — Twilight of Abundance by David Archibald, a fellow Quadrant contributor and currently Visiting Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. The book arrived in the mail, sent to me by the author, so I did the dutiful thing and read the first page, and then I did the self-indulgent thing and read it through as fast as time would allow over the next two days — and with such enormous pleasure that the only fault I might mention is how short it is. (I know, two days for a short book, but I’m a slow reader at the best of times.)

You could say Archibald’s book is about climate change, and it is, and you could say it’s about resource depletion, and it is that as well, and you could also say it’s about the breakdown of international order and it is about that too. But really, what it does is take everything I already believe about the problems the West must face and put them together into a tapestry of such pessimistic realism that it is hard not to be drawn in.
But having read the book, the most astonishing thing is that now, when I find myself in the company of greens and leftists preaching the end of civilisation as we know it, I can now so out-do anything bleak prospect they offer and leave them in the dismal, cooling shade. They talk of fifty year and the rising of the seas etc, etc. But their scenarios have nothing to compare with global cooling’s horrors if anything like the kind of picture Archibald paints comes to pass.
And while the book may be overly pessimistic about the challenges we face – and I emphasise that it may only be overly pessimistic because it might actually be the best set of forecasts available anywhere – there is nothing in it that struck me as seriously over the top. What the book does is outline the kinds of trends he sees, starting with the effects that will flow from a cooling of the global temperature just as we are running out of the abundant fossil fuels we have taken for granted for the past two hundred years.

The book reminds me just how viciously stupid have been the left’s attempts to gag debate on global warming. Had the only evidence available supported the warmists’ cause, there might have been something worth continuing to discuss. Instead, with the abrupt end to the warming phase between fifteen and twenty years ago (depending on whose charts and numbers you prefer), and which has followed the solar cycle in the exact way temperatures have always done, we should actually be looking at the effects that may follow if a solar minimum is about to recur, as it did during the Little Ice Age which ended not all that long ago. Suppose the Thames were to begin freezing over again, as it last did in 1802, how will we get on in a world of such cold and reduced growing seasons? Try that out in conversation the next time some propaganda-programmed dimwit brings up climate change.
Global warming is climate change for idiots. A cooling climate may be the real thing and the possibility should be treated with the utmost seriousness. The subtitle, “Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish and Short’’, is exactly what the book explains. It’s a book with a message we should all be thinking about, and not just here in Australia but across the world.

How Now White Cowman? by Mark Steyn

“I think it’s absurd and obnoxious that an obscure and unaccountable government agency should rule an area the size of France, Germany and Italy combined. What for? Why should the 26th largest country on earth (which the Bureau of Land Management is) be maintained in perpetuity as the world’s biggest nature preserve for the desert tortoise? The seven-eighths of the United States that isn’t under the iron rod of the BLM is the Brokest Nation in History: it wouldn’t hurt to have a little more productive land”

Like everyone else, Gavin McInnes has weighed in on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s observations on “the Negro”. Mr McInnes concludes:

This isn’t about some old guy’s views on slavery. It’s about government control. We’re not saying Bundy is the messiah and we accept him as our personal savior. We’re saying the government is wrong.

Let’s stipulate that Cliven Bundy is a racist. Let’s also assume, if only to save time, that he’s Islamophobic, homophobic and transphobic. So what? Does that make criticizing the Bureau of Land Management “racist” or “homophobic”?

During my battles with Canada’s “human rights” commissions, defenders of the racket liked to point out that the people it targeted were generally pretty unsavory. And I’d respond that the reason the standard representation of justice in statuary is a blindfolded lady is because justice is supposed to be blind: If you run a red light and hit a pedestrian, it makes no difference whether the pedestrian you hit is Nelson Mandela or Cliven Bundy. Or at least it shouldn’t: one of the basic building blocks of civilized society is equality before the law.

Likewise, if what the Bureau of Land Management is doing is wrong, the fact that Cliven Bundy is a racist sexist homophobe whateverphobe doesn’t make it right – any more than at Ruby Ridge FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shooting Vicki Weaver in the back of the head as she was cradling her ten-month-old baby and running away from him is made right by the fact that she allegedly had “white supremacist” sympathies. As I wrote last week, I’ve little doubt that, in the era before cellphone video, the bureaucratic enforcers would have been happy to off Bundy and then come up with a reason why it doesn’t matter. At Waco, there were supposedly children being abused. So Generalissimo Janet Reno killed them all, and now they’re not being abused. In that sense, Mr Bundy is a lucky man: He got to live, and to trash his own reputation rather than having the feds do it for him.

All Quiescent on the Western Front by Mark Steyn

In the London business paper City AM, John Hulsman writes:

The greatest global political risk can’t be found in Kiev, eastern Ukraine or any of the other hotspots that get the media so excited. It lies in the perception of Western weakness among those countries that find themselves dissatisfied with the current global establishment. For them, the enfeebled state of the West, as laid bare in Ukraine, means the possibility of expansion…

As seen from Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Damascus and Tehran, this is the inspiring, hopeful narrative of Western decline. These countries know they must be careful not to miscalculate, not to press too hard as the lessons of this calamity for the West slowly dawn. But in the medium term, it looks like Iran’s nuclear programme is safe, that Assad can soon pop the corks in Damascus, that for North Korea, torturing Seoul at the edges looks like a no brainer, and as for China, well, the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands await. With time, and after Putin’s groundbreaking efforts, the way history is moving couldn’t be clearer. The West simply doesn’t exist anymore.

That’s not, yet, strictly true. The G7 guys still get together, pose for summit group shots, host banquets. But is it a club others will want to join? After the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, Eastern Europe decided it wanted to be western: Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have all joined the EU; all the preceding plus Albania have joined Nato. In the Nineties, “the west” was the coming man, the order maker of “the end of history”.

It doesn’t look that way now, not if you’re Estonian or Ukrainian. Where next? If you’re Japan and the Philippines and South Korea and Singapore and maybe even India, you too live in a tough neighborhood. If American power is increasingly felt by its absence, China will fill the void and, to one degree or another, those nations will re-orient themselves accordingly. When Iran goes nuclear after years of Euro-American dithering and hollow words, Arabia’s Sunni monarchies will also make new security arrangements as best they can – but America and the west will not be a part of their calculations.

On NBC the other day David Brooks said Obama had a “manhood” problem. I am loathe to lay it all at the feet of his mom jeans, but it’s certainly true that for America’s global rivals he’s easy to despise. “Mr Obama,” writes Peter Baker in The New York Times, “seems intent on not letting Russia dominate his presidency.” Which, as Mr Putin well understands, is a polite way of saying Mr Obama seems intent on letting Russia dominate anywhere it wants to dominate.

LORI LOWENTHAL MARCUS:NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices

The NYU Students for Justice in Palestine admitted they distributed their propaganda by shoving the leaflets under the doors of students in the dark of night. That action has been recognized by no less than the U.S. Supreme Court as unprotected activity.

The latest distribution of mock eviction notices being distributed in the dorm rooms of students – primarily Jewish – in order to inflict upon those American students what they claim are the “horrors of life” for Palestinian Arabs took place at New York University on Wednesday evening, April 23.

The mock eviction notices were distributed in Palladium Hall, a dorm at NYU which most students acknowledge is known for having a heavy representation of Jewish students.

These notices misrepresent reality and are a cowardly method of harassment. It allows anti-Israel students and their leadership both to make themselves feel as if they are actually doing something constructive and also to make life unpleasant for Jewish students. It has happened at enough campuses – half a dozen others already this year alone – that one would expect university leadership would be fully prepared to respond quickly and effectively.

But if you were expecting that, you’d be wrong.

NYU students at Palladium Hall woke up early on Thursday morning and found the mock eviction notices in their rooms.

A current NYU student, Laura Adkins, wrote about the matter in a blog at the Times of Israel. Variations of the story appeared throughout the day, including at the influential legal blog, Legal Insurrection.

The Jewish Press reached an NYU spokesperson mid-afternoon on Thursday and was told the school was still “investigating and preparing a statement.”


Someone in the United States government is afraid of Israelis. That has to be the best explanation why Israelis’ ongoing attempts to enter the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are encountering stubborn resistance, despite the fact that 38 countries, some not as closely allied with the U.S., are part of the program.

The stated reason, according to a report in, is that dropping visa requirements “would increase the risk of Israeli espionage.” Yet this explanation does not bear scrutiny. Israeli tourists were never caught spying here.

The two members of the U.S. defense establishment, Jonathan Pollard and Ben-Ami Kadish that have been convicted of spying for Israel, were American born citizens. Not Israeli tourists.

The VWP include 38 countries, among which the United Kingdom is a a close ally, as well as the likes of France, South Korea, Brunei, Taiwan and several former Soviet republics.

France, for example, is described as having a “penchant for stealing American defense technology, bugging American business executives and generally annoying U.S. counterintelligence officials,” and as a “proficient, notorious and unrepentant economic spy.” A diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks quotes a German technology executive saying “France is the evil empire [in] stealing technology.” This is a continuing process going back at least a quarter-century — a 1989 document lists U.S. aerospace companies reportedly targeted by
French intelligence, and the CIA claims first-class cabins on Air France were bugged from at least 1980 until 1995. Yet the U.S. curiously overlooks “the risk of French espionage.”

The growing and increasingly radicalized Muslim populations in countries such as France, Germany, and the U.K. pose a growing security risk that should limit free entry to the U.S. For example, Zacharias Moussaoui flew undetected to the U.S. under the visa waver agreement with France, and Richard Reid, a U.K. citizen, was caught on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami. Both plotted mass-casualty terror attacks. Had they been required to apply, both would have been denied a visa , just by a cursory review of their history.

Other countries pose similar threats. The inclusion of Brunei on the waver list is simply incredible — a conservative Muslim dictatorship that plans to introduce Sharia law stipulating death by stoning as punishment for adultery, defamation of the Prophet Mohammed or the Koran, homosexuality, robbery, and murder. Anyone from this country, including the very clerics who administer these punishments, can enter the U.S. for 90 days with perfunctory scrutiny. But tourists from Israel, one of the most progressive countries for religious freedom, women, minorities, and gays, are suspect.

Did US Choose War over Qaddafi’s Abdication? Written by: Diana West

This week’s syndicated column

More than Benghazi skeletons should haunt Hillary Clinton’s expected 2016 presidential bid. It now seems that the entire war in Libya — where thousands died in a civil war in which no U.S. interest was at stake — might well have been averted on her watch and, of course, that of President Obama’s. How? In March 2011, immediately after NATO’s punishing bombing campaign began, Muammar Qaddafi was “ready to step aside,” says retired Rear Admiral Charles R. Kubic, U.S. Navy. “He was willing to go into exile and was willing to end the hostilities.”

What happened? According to Kubic, the Obama administration chose to continue the war without permitting a peace parley to go forward.

Kubic made these extremely incendiary charges against the Obama administration while outlining his role as the leading, if informal, facilitator of peace feelers from the Libyan military to the U.S. military. He was speaking this week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi was presenting its interim report. Kubic maintains that to understand Benghazi, the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in which four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed, “you have to understand what happened at the beginning of the Libyan revolt, and how that civil war that created the chaos in Libya could have been prevented.”

Particularly in light of his senior military experience, Kubic’s eyewitness story demands careful consideration. Like everything else about Benghazi, it also demands the official focus of a select committee investigation in Congress.

A short chronology sets the stage:

— On March 19, 2011, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, made a dramatic announcement from Paris on behalf of the “international community.”

Eyes steady, voice freighted with dignity and moment, Clinton demanded that Qaddafi — a post-9/11 ally of the U.S. against jihadist terror-armies such as al-Qaida — heed a ceasefire under a newly adopted United Nations resolution, or else.

“Yesterday, President Obama said very clearly that if Qaddafi failed to comply with these terms, there would be consequences,” Clinton said. “Since the president spoke, there has been some talk from Tripoli of a cease-fire, but the reality on the ground tells a very different story. Colonel Gaddafi continues to defy the world. His attacks on civilians go on.”

That same day, NATO air and sea forces went to war to defeat the anti-al-Qaida Qaddafi and bring victory to Libya’s al-Qaida-linked rebels. Uncle Sam, as I’ve often written since, joined the jihad.

Through Libyan intermediaries whom he knew in his post-naval career as an engineer and businessman, Kubic was hearing that Qaddafi wanted to discuss his own possible abdication with the U.S. “Let’s keep the diplomats out of it,” Kubic says he told them. “Let’s keep the politicians out of it, let’s just have a battlefield discussion under a flag of truce between opposing military commanders pursuant to the laws of war, and see if we can, in short period of time, come up with the terms for a cease-fire and a transition of government.”

— The following day, March 20, 2011, Kubic says he relayed to the U.S. AFRICOM headquarters Qaddafi’s interest in truce talks as conveyed by a top Libyan commander, Gen. Abdulqader Yusef Dubri, head of Qaddafi’s personal security team. Kubic says that his AFRICOM contact, Lt. Col. Brian Linvill, a former U.S. Army attache in Tripoli then serving as point man for communications with the Libyan military, passed this information up his chain of command to Gen. Carter Ham, then AFRICOM commander. AFRICOM quickly responded with interest in setting up direct military-to-military communications with the Libyans.

— On March 21, 2011, Kubic continued, with the NATO war heating up, a senior aide to Qadaffi, Gen. Ahmed Mamud, directly submitted a set of terms for a 72-hour-truce to Linvill at AFRICOM. The Benghazi commission made the basic text of these terms available to press.

During a follow-up telephone interview I had with Kubic, he underscored the show of good faith on both sides that created hopefulness that these flag-of-truce negotiations would come to pass. On the night of March 21, Gen. Ham issued a public statement on Libya in which he noted the U.S. was not targeting Qaddafi.

— By March 22, Qadaffi had verifiably begun pulling back troops from the rebel-held cities of Benghazi and Misrata. The cease-fire Hillary Clinton said the “international community” was seeking only days earlier seemed to be within reach, with the endgame of Qaddafi’s abdication and exile potentially on the table.

Then, shockingly, Kubic got what amounted to a “stand down” order from AFRICOM — an order that came down from “well above Gen. Ham,” Kubic says he was told — in fact, as Kubic said in our interview, he was told it came from outside the Pentagon.

The question becomes, who in the Obama administration scuttled these truce talks that might have resulted in Qaddafi handing over powers without the bloodshed and destruction that left Libya a failed state and led to Benghazi?

Had talks gone forward, there is no guarantee, of course, that they would have been successful. Qaddafi surely would have tried to extract conditions. One of them, Kubic believes, would have been to ensure that Libya continue its war on al-Qaida. Would this have been a sticking point? In throwing support to Islamic jihadists, including al-Qaida-linked “rebels” and Muslim Brotherhood forces, the U.S. was changing sides during that “Arab Spring.” Was the war on Qaddafi part of a larger strategic realignment that nothing, not even the prospect of saving thousands of lives, could deter? Or was the chance of going to war for “humanitarian” reasons too dazzling to lose to the prospect of peace breaking out? Or was it something else?

Kubic, the military man, wonders why the civilian leadership couldn’t at least explore a possibly peaceful resolution. “It is beyond me that we couldn’t give it 72 hours — particularly when we had a leader who had won a Nobel Peace Prize, and who was unable basically to ‘give peace a chance’ for 72 hours.”

It’s beyond all of us, I’m afraid — unless a Select Committee on Benghazi finally comes together to do the people’s business.


1. It is with unbearable ease that the foundations of free society can be shaken.

Not too long ago, Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla, was fired from the company, which is responsible for the Firefox browser, among other things. The poor guy was fired because gay and lesbian groups found out that he had once donated $1,000 to the campaign for California Proposition 8, which sought to make same-sex marriage unconstitutional in California by defining marriage as a union between a man and woman.

Though everyone agrees that he never discriminated against anyone in the company on the basis of sexual orientation, he believes that a marriage should be between a man and a woman, heaven forbid. As a result, the liberal fundamentalists threatened to boycott, a move that quickly led to the Eich’s termination.

Moving on. Brandeis University recently decided to award Somalian rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who became famous for her brave battle for women’s rights in the Muslim world, an honorary degree.

But then, the liberal fundamentalists, with freedom of speech burning their throats and the sword of boycotts glistening in their hands, decided to apply immense pressure on the “Jewish” university. They argued that Hirsi Ali was an “Islamophobe” and “racist.” In actuality, Hirsi Ali is an amazing intellectual who, as a Muslim, was subjected to nine circles of hell (she was circumcised and forced to marry against her will, among other things) before she was able to flee to the West. Since then, she has published several books and articles on the big lie often obscured by Western culture: the shameful status of women in the Muslim world and Western naivete when it comes to Islam’s totalitarian aspirations. One of the more vocal feminist leaders, Germaine Greer, coined the saying, “One man’s beautification is another man’s mutilation.” This is true mainly the other way around: Female circumcision, considered to be crime in Western society, is actually completely legitimate in terms of global tyranny of thought. She compared it to our Jewish circumcision.

Unfortunately for her, Hirsi Ali believes something that deviates from the leftist chorus that dictates what is good and right to all of us. The weapon of boycott and silencing was used against her too. And indeed, the cowardly heads of Brandeis University caved to the pressure and rescinded the degree. A great victory for the silencing bullies, but a huge disgrace for the university for being so narrow-minded.


Prize fighter: Edward St Aubyn takes revenge on the literary world with new satire

Overlooked by Booker judges for his Melrose novels, Edward St Aubyn takes a swipe at the literary world in his latest work, says David Sexton

Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, the Spanish advise. Just get it any way you can, others say.

Between 1992 and 2011 Edward St Aubyn published a sequence of five short, brilliantly funny and biting novels about an alter-ego called Patrick Melrose, taking him from a small boy, sexually abused by his father in the South of France, through to adulthood and his attempts to survive this experience, first through drink and drug addiction, then by gradually coming to some terms with it, following the deaths first of his father, then of his addled, foolish mother, and through becoming a parent himself. The Melrose sequence is one of the really notable achievements of contemporary British fiction and, given that it is closely based on St Aubyn’s own traumatic experience, an act of courage too.

If you haven’t read it yet, you’ve really missed out. It’s quite possible that you haven’t, though, for it is still not yet as widely known as it deserves to be. That seemed to be about to change when, in 2006, the longest and perhaps the best instalment, Mother’s Milk, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The novel won St Aubyn a larger readership than he had enjoyed before, selling some 120,000 copies — but it didn’t win the Booker, which would have transformed his fortunes far more radically. The prize went instead to the splashy, overwritten, under-structured Indian saga The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. It was an injustice, a ridiculous choice, even.

One of the judges, Anthony Quinn, who had supposed St Aubyn would win as he wanted, wrote a couple of years later: “It’s not an exaggeration to say I felt sick to my stomach. I was pleased for Kiran Desai … but we chose the wrong book.”

But then the Booker, like most other literary prizes, so often gets it wrong. Arundhati Roy, DBC Pierre, Ben Okri, Keri Hulme, Aravind Adiga all won, Muriel Spark never. During my own Buggins’ turn as a judge, I consented to John Banville’s The Sea winning over Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Most writers manage to shrug their shoulders and swallow their disappointment — although the often shortlisted Julian Barnes had taken to jeering at the Booker as “posh bingo” before he finally won with The Sense of an Ending in 2011.


John McCain to host Hillary Clinton in Sedona, Ariz.Philip Rucker

Since leaving the State Department last year, Hillary Rodham Clinton has racked up scores of accolades and appeared on many a big stage. Still, it might come as a surprise that a past Republican presidential nominee — specifically, the one who is among the loudest critics of Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attacks — would invite her to his desert retreat for a lofty conversation about leadership values.

This is precisely what Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has done.

Clinton, a prospective 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, will appear on stage Saturday with McCain at the Sedona Forum, an annual ideas festival hosted by the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Clinton is among the national and international business leaders, philanthropists and public figures appearing at the gathering, held in Sedona, the tony red-rocks oasis in Arizona’s Verde Valley.

In a statement released Thursday, McCain called Clinton “my friend” and praised her public service career.

“From her years of service as first lady, in the U.S. Senate and the State Department, one would be hard-pressed to find a leader with Secretary Clinton’s informed perspective on the many challenges facing America across the globe,” McCain said.

According to a news release, Clinton is scheduled to “participate in a conversation” with McCain. This year’s forum will focus on “Crisis in the Middle East: Values, Strategy and Options,” and will include a session on Russia and Ukraine and on combating human trafficking.