Is Liberalism Illiberal? Is Liberalism A Cover-Up For Plutocracy Using Racism As A Ploy?

In Europe, “liberal” has a slight pejorative meaning, free market as the prominent value, diminishing other, deeper values, while covered up by a quixotic parody of freedom, absolute belief in the “free market’, in one word, “American”… American supremacy masquerading, in drags, as monkey business. Whereas in the USA, “liberal” is supposed to incarnate the left, and progressive, it is therefore supposed to mean the opposite of the European interpretation of what “liberal” has become [1]…  

So which vision is right? Is liberalism just facilitating world plutocracy, as the European believe, or is it a real “left”, as “Democrats” pretend in the USA?

The record shows that “liberal” as interpreted by US citizens is, in fact, as seen from a world perspective, closer to “liberal” as interpreted by Europeans: US capitalist domination, masquerading as liberty. Indeed most hegemonic, often Xi collaborating firms, from the financial giant Black Rock to Microsoft, have embraced “liberal” values… while fostering much of the present worst abuse on the planet (such as kids extracting cobalt and coltan in Congo, or Xi’s dictatorship extracting resources from its genocidal colonial empire). Obviously the embrace of US political leaders of “liberalism” is rather reminiscent of Hitler’s embrace of “socialism”.

Naturally, although US liberalism’s abuse of the world has been greater than its domestic abuse, it remains that, under their leadership which is the opposite of what they advertise, the US middle and lower classes have been going down, in health, wealth, and prospects. To replace them the “liberal” machinery has been keen to import, at high price, educated immigrants from countries which extensively trained them, such countries now to be painfully robbed from their human resources… And US liberals… applaud this new slave trade… being careful NOT to see the analogy. 

Under Obama, a “liberal”, thousands of billions of dollars were transferred to failing banks owned by the wealthiest. This Transfer of Assets to Rich People replenished the coffers of the wealthiest. This is how “liberal” Obama saved the economy: by enriching the rich. Lo and behold, when Obama was finished with his reign, inequality in the USA was the greatest ever, and life expectancy was going down. Confronted to a similar crisis, Reagan and Bush Senior, both conservative exploiters of the people, nationalized thousands of banks first, depriving their wealthy owners of property. So Reagan was a leftist compared to Obama, the “liberal”. So why do “Democrats” still call Obama “liberal”? Because of the color of his skin? (Same as the color of the skin of my beloved spouse, BTW, so no turning around to call me a white supremacist… for pointing out at the skin color argument!)

The result of liberalism as a masquerade can be observed in California: sky high taxes, except for billionaires who pay none, with thousands of the world’s worst slums (worst, said the UN!) kept at a distance from the residences of the world’s most powerful men. But then Zuckerberg went around Lake Tahoe with an electric foil, while holding a US flag, probably in honor of the liberal sheep who voted for his employees (to manage the country). The symbol of a class for which having no shame is the best defense. 

That inversion of all values is going full bore: those who fear Islam as the Middle Age enemy of civilization, are described as “haters”. “Liberal” values have come to embrace Islam, and hate those for fear Islam… A few centuries after Europe finally got rid of Islam’s initial model, Catholicism (and its inquisition)… And a few centuries after the Enlightenment excoriated both Islamism and Christianism. Now literary works of the Eighteenth Century criticizing Islam are de facto outlawed! 


Embracing the enemies of civilization, foreign, abusive religions and fostering inequality, insufficient education, and declining wealth, health and employment outcomes is exactly how Roman plutocracy put under increasing control the Roman people, while making a show of self-defeating liberalism (citizenship for all under emperor Caracalla).

A society where the most important corporations are monopolies controlling the tech sector is a dictatorship (more exactly, an oligarchy). 

The racist explanation, obsessively claiming people are upset because a change of the color of the skin of… people… is obviously a coverup. For example in California, pure white race gatherings seem to be found nowhere. In my own California family, some are white (one from the UK), some are very brown “African-American”, some are (brown) pacific islanders, some are white Asians (Korea, Japan), some are nearly white “hispanic” (from Mexico)… and one is even from Africa (yours truly). And this is typical. Yesterday I was on a boat and an island, and the kaleidoscope of races, skin, eye, and hair color was amazing. In one concept: nobody is racist. In wealthy northern California, many are millionaires (from real estate) and feel like honorary, if not outright, masters, in other words, whites.

 The less amusing part is that yesterday on “60 Minutes” some white guy from an exclusively white family, with exclusively white assistants (it seemed), who has been making documentaries for PBS for 40 years, came on TV to tell us we are all racists. In truth, he is a racist from a racist milieu, and this is often the case in the east… and thus sincerely believes the whole world is like his world: racist. 

Talking obsessively about racism during an intense class struggle, the attempted take over of the world by global plutocracy, is a cover-up. Racism has become the opium of liberals.

Rome was not racist. Actually, genetic analysis and other evidence show that the Roman population became mostly eastern genetically, as Rome became an illiberal empire, imbued with ideologies and religions from the Eastern Mediterranean. Thus the Roman turn-for-the-worst was taken not for racial, but for class reasons: the wealthiest against the rest.  

The paradox is this: as We The People are treated illberally by a dictating class, the natural reaction is to fight fire with fire and become illiberal oneself. This is exactly what happened when Roman civilization went down, and dictatorship kept on rising: monks, “men in black” would ravage all they could ravage, and vast armed rebellions arose (Brigantes in the West, Nikka riots in Constantinople). Something similar happened in the Middle Ages (Jacqueries, when nobles got butchered and butchered back) and, after centuries of turmoil, culminated in the French Revolution four centuries later. 

The gap between the rich and poor is not accidental, or incidental. It is not a consequence. Instead, it is the engine. The wealthiest, as they get ever wealthier and more powerful, thus evil and deluded, correctly perceive the poor and the middle class as their enemies, and conspire to weaken them ever more, the more evil they themselves become. Reciprocally the poor and the middle class have started to realize that they are preyed upon, and that a mechanism similar to the downfall of the Roman republic is at work. So they are starting to react… with increasing ferocity, through their ‘populism”… 

As Rome declined and fell, We The People lost democracy (=people-power), and we have been recovering much of it recently (more or less culminating around the GI Bill after World War Two). What is going to happen next? Power, that is knowledge, will guide. Telling people why they are becoming illiberal against their loud, but fake, “liberal” oppressors liberally exploiting them, is an indispensable start. 

Know thy enemy and thyself! Thus your big stick will carry a long way!

Patrice Ayme


[1] The understanding of what “liberal” meant was the same in the US and Europe up to the 18th century. The divergence started after this, and, I claim, slavery (a US practice) had everything to do with it)…. As the next essay will show…

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7 Responses to “Is Liberalism Illiberal? Is Liberalism A Cover-Up For Plutocracy Using Racism As A Ploy?”

  1. benign Says:

    Uh, duh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark R Reiff Says:

    Mark R Reiff

    Thanks for this comment. It illustrates a number of important misunderstandings that must be cleared up if we are to appreciate what the contest between liberalism and illiberalism is all about.

    First, you are quite right that when Europeans are using the word liberalism, they are often referring to “neoliberalism.” I am not using the word “liberalism” in that way. Neoliberalism, as you correctly point out, is a form of illiberalism, not liberalism, despite the similarity of the words. It began life as an economic theory, but eventually morphed into a political theory, and in both its economic and political version, is embraced by neoconservatives, not political liberals. The labelling gets even more confusing here, unfortunately, because neoconservatives are neither new nor conservative, but rather radical paleo anti-liberals who embrace a view of the ancient world that never really existed and hope to reconstruct this fantasy in place of liberalism. Indeed, it has been one of the great triumphs of illiberalism to use a word to describe their beliefs that sounds so much like liberalism, for this has confused much of the world into thinking that liberalism is to blame for horrendous effects that neoliberal theory has had on the US, Europe, and indeed, the entire world.

    If you would like to read an in depth discussion of the history of the neoliberal movements and the numerous illiberal elements it embraces, see my “Two Theories of Economic Liberalism,” which you can download for free from my website (

    And by the way, it was not Obama who bailed out the banks, but his predecessor, George Bush Jr. This was a fait accompli before Obama took office. Nor did Regan or Bush Sr nationalize any banks. Many Savings and Loan institutions (not banks) failed, but they were not nationalized. Their assets were purchased (not seized, which is what happens when an industry is nationalized) by the federal government after the government paid off their depositors, and then sold off. Whether any of this was a good idea or bad idea is debatable, but if you don’t think the recent bailout was a good idea you should blame Bush, not Obama.

    The rest of your comment complains that we have done poor job enforcing the various laws designed to prevent anticompetitive behavior and other forms of economic oppression. Absolutely correct. But I worry you also seem to be suggesting that this is somehow built into liberalism, not an evasion of it. Others put the matter more directly – they claim that liberalism is just a tool of unbridled capitalism, which is then assigned the role of the root of all evil. Under this view, we can only free ourselves of capitalism if we get rid of liberalism. The thinking here being that because capitalism is viewed as the being dedicated to exploitation and oppression, anything that facilitates it must be treated with disgust. The most forceful early source of such criticism, of course, was Marx, a left-wing illiberal, but this attitude has since trickled-down to many non-Marxist leftists who now think that they must abandon capitalism for socialism, and to do that, we must abandon liberalism too.

    But this is not true. Nothing in liberalism requires that one adopt capitalism as one’s economic system—liberal socialism is possible too. Indeed, liberal socialism was identified by perhaps the most famous and esteemed liberals of the twentieth century, John Rawls, as one of his two preferred systems of social organization. Those who go to great lengths to claim that liberalism is simply a means by which the capitalists try to dominate everyone else are really buying into what is in fact an illiberal criticism without thinking it through, and without acknowledging that socialism, like capitalism, has practical problems when trying to fully instantiate liberalism too. I talk a great deal more about this in my upcoming book, but I’ll have to stop here because I am out of room.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thank you for the kind answer. However, we disagree, and it was unethical that AEON did not allow a reply/correction, on my part to what you replied to me.
      Unfortunately your website does not either, and your email is not public. This enables the diffusion of what I view as FALSE information. An example of asymmetric propaganda.

      The word “liberal”, from “liber” (free) entered usage to oppose tradition in the Fourteenth Century… top thinker and Paris university rector Buridan refused to be anything else than “magister in artibus”, as the Pope bemoaned.

      “Liberalism” was a driving thought of the Enlightenment. Yet, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica: “In the United States, liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal programme of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies”. In the United States the ideas of individualism and laissez-faire economics previously associated with classical liberalism became the basis of libertarianism and components of American conservatism.
      Unlike Europe and Latin America, the concept liberalism in North America refers to social liberalism. Governing parties, the Canadian Liberal Party, and the US Democratic Party, are considered “liberal” in the United States.
      I claim that American “liberalism” has been mostly fake since LBJ. Actually Clinton repealed the financial reform of FDR, the Banking Act of 1933. I have written thousands of pages on the subject, from many historical perspectives, going back centuries.
      American style fake liberalism was founded by Jefferson, the “founding liberal”. Jefferson was a great US president: he doubled the territory of the USA. Lofty words covered up his evil power (Pluto-Kratia). Exalted thoughts from Jefferson are all over Washington: all men are created equal… but may as well be his slaves, he had 200… 200 slaves, and never freed them.
      Supremely exploitative mentality, then, by this Founding Father, covered up by big words to the contrary. Jefferson got in trouble with the police in Paris for keeping slaves (slavery had been unlawful in France for eleven centuries, since 657 CE!) Is that the “liberalism” the world needs? Talking gloriously, implementing genocide? Is that the American way?
      This is why “liberalism” got to mean very different things on different sides of the Atlantic. Organizers of the “Democratic” party were plutocrats such as the Harrimans, heirs of a railroad monopoly, decorated by both Stalin, and Hitler… for formidable help (think Baku offshore oil).
      The US never did one thing while talking the opposite under Roosevelt… thus making World War Two, its holocausts, and the “American Century”. possible. This will be scrutinized someday.
      The banking crisis of the late 1980s was a forerunner of the one 20 years later. More than 800 “thrifts” (a type of bank) and related institutions failed, plus more than 1600 commercial banks. The US gov took control of these institutions while their value was roughly zero (as happens in nationalization). However, by retaining an interest in asset portfolios, the Resolution Trust Corporation was able to participate in the extremely strong returns being realized by portfolio investors.
      Obama, instead, gave to the rich. Obama agreed to the Bush approved, Goldman Sachs devised, plan of transferring assets to rich people. Between TARP, Quantitative Easing and “Twist”, more than 5,000 billion dollars were transferred to the wealthiest people in the USA… by “liberal” Obama, asking for nothing in return… just because he was told what to do by the invader of Iraq? Or because he wanted to become wealthy afterwards, by pleasing the wealthiest?
      I know Obama personally, as a friend for several decades, and can testify to the fact he just did what he was told, indeed, and understood very little beyond that. So he was completely manipulated in a totally illiberal strategy.
      With President-elect Obama’s full approval, the Fed started to buy 600 billion of mortgage backed securities in late November 2008. Quantitative Easing finished in 2014, with gifts of 4.5 trillion dollars to banks… without anything in return (differently from the RTC 20 years earlier!)


  3. Gmax Says:

    Isn’t some of what Mark Reiff say patently false? His timeline sounds awry. Those Dems always say it’s somebody’s else fault, like Obama had to do like Bush told him.


  4. Tony Delgado Says:

    Tony Delgado
    I completely disagree that ANY SINGLE affiliation (left, right, Rep, Dem, etc) has the corner on making race a central issue in the social and political landscape today. It is used by BOTH major political parties, ALL affiliations and — of course — the media.
    What people need to understand is that RACE and every other issue that you hear the media scream about nowadays is a smokescreen, as I’m sure I’ve said before in this group. Its sole purpose is to keep us all fighting amongst ourselves so that we stay out of the way of the rich corporations that are polluting our planet, supporting wars to sell more weapons and armaments, and so that the uber rich can enjoy their wealth at our expense because most of us are just too stupid to see through their BS.


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