Autophilia and the Puer Aeternus: the Twin Pillars of Modern Liberalism

“Conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.” – Russell Kirk

Ideologies can best be understood as secular religions. They are born when a person or people rejects God and Natural Law. As history reveals time and again, a people may divest a ruler of power, but they cannot eradicate power itself. Likewise, the history of ideas shows us that while a person or people may reject God and his laws, they cannot remove their instinctive need for religion. Enter ideology.

The religious nature of ideology becomes clear when one examines the modern progressive liberal, for if ideologies are secular religions, surely liberalism is the most successful, aggressive, and dogmatic of them all. Anyone who has tried to have a civilized debate with a liberal knows their zeal for their beliefs is matched only by 17th-century Puritans and medieval Nizari fedayeen. 

This is well known to conservatives. The conservative looks at his philosophical/political opponent and sees a man with differing opinions, the liberal looks at his philosophical/political opponent and sees only heresy to be stamped out. This is why the left constantly boycotts and denounces and censors.

Whether they are trying to have a Catholic school teacher dismissed for being a Catholic, a CEO fired for supporting the traditional and true definition of marriage, or an academic cast out of the ivory tower for research that supports the concept of human biodiversity or undermines the idea of global warming, the message is clear. Dissent and apostasy will not be tolerated; heretics will burn.

Of course, all religions have a god or gods, and in liberalism Man is God. Autophilia, love of self, has been at the heart of political radicalism since Lucifer fell from heaven, the driving force behind almost all revolutionary thinking, from Luther’s revolt, to the Enlightenment and Masonic ascendency, through to modern progressive liberalism.

Even the Church was not spared from this disease – Vatican II stands as a testament to the temptation of autophilia even amongst those who are supposed to be theophiles. Ending the practice of genuflection in the presence of The King of Kings and having the celebrant face the congregation during Mass rather than the Lord were acts of extreme anthropocentric pride and arrogance.

Autophilia explains the two central commandments of liberalism: “if it makest thou feel good, it is good and thou hast the right to do it” and “if it hurts thy feelings, it is bad and thou hast the right to destroy it”. These principles, which can together be paraphrased as “ME, ME, ME!” have brought us wonderful things like no-fault divorce laws, sexual promiscuity, unscrupulous and immoral corporations, and the toleration and promotion of deviant sexual practices, just to name a few.

The simple yet slightly-twisted morality of personal pleasure equals good, and personal discomfort or pain equals bad should be familiar to anyone who has ever taken care of children, and that should not be in the least bit surprising. If autophilia is the driving force behind liberalism, the main result of that drive has been the creation of generations of pueri aeturna.

This pathology of perpetual adolescence pervades the entire progressive worldview. The thought that the world could be conflict free, or that everyone is actually equal (or should be, for that matter), or that two gay men with an adopted child and a slip of paper from the state could ever truly be the same as a heterosexual couple married under God with their own family, or that there could actually be such a thing as a perfect world are the sort of absurd fantasies one is supposed to grow out of by adulthood.

That famed misquotation of Winston Churchill, “show me a young conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart, show me an old liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains”, and the François Guizot quotation on which it is based, “not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head” are predicated on the idea that man’s mind, like his body, actually matures and grows up.

Now, however, after generations have been inundated with autophilic liberalism, we have, as a society, largely stopped producing real adults; grounded human beings who accept Man’s fallen nature and are able to see the world as it is, not as they want it to be. The mark of the puer aeternus is everywhere, and not just in politics: grown men and women of means totally lacking in basic manners and etiquette, the pervasive desire for instant gratification, and fewer people marrying and waiting longer to do so.

It is a vicious cycle that only further strengthens liberalism, as the more pueri aeturna there are in society, the more popular liberalism is in society. Of course, no one grows up over night, but as long as the autophiles continue to hold power and that power grows, eventually no one will grow up at all.

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