Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Chambers On the Two Faiths: Freedom and Communism

In his book Witness, Whittaker Chambers talks of “this sick society, which we call Western civilization,” locked in a deadly struggle between “the two irreconcilable faiths of our time—Communism and Freedom.” Chambers is right in describing “freedom” as a faith. The philosophy of freedom is a sort of religion, which preaches the establishment of a promised land where there is total freedom. 

After the First World War, the idea of freedom took a utopian trajectory through the work of a wide range of classical liberal and leftist thinkers: I can think of the nihilistic notion of total freedom developed by the Neo-Marxists (the Frankfurt School, the Fabian Society, and the anti-fascists like Gramsci), the ersatz individualism in Ayn Rand’s utopian fiction, and the utopian stateless society of Rothbard.

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