Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay  (2022) “Covid was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 1 of 10)

0001 Matthew B. Crawford, at University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, publishes an essay at the website, UnHerd, on May 21, 2022.  The website is worth investigating.  Crawford is worth reading.

0002 But, that is not my only motive for this sequence of blogs.

It turns out that well-organized writers provide excellent material for triadic diagrams.  These blogs aim re-articulate Crawford’s argument, following the technique of association and implication.  The method is the same as with the other blog this month, concerning Vigano’s speech on how Vatican II serves the agenda of the Great Reset crowd.

0003 The title of Crawford’s essay is displayed in the header.  The subtitle reveals the nature of the endgame.  Liberal individualism has an innate tendency towards authoritarianism.  That tendency manifests as real behavior.

0004 What is the real behavior?

Italian Giorgio Agamben (b. 1942) captures its essence with the political philosophical… or is it theological?.. label, “state of exception”.  During the past eighty years, emergency declarations become more and more the norm.  An emergency declaration inaugurates a state of exception and provides cover for top-down programs of social transformation.

0005 What do emergency-justified “liberal” projects aim to accomplish?

The core of the “liberal” regime is both political and anthropological: to remake humans.So, the answer depends on the meaning of “make”.


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 2 of 10)

0006 How are humans to be reconfigured?

Two key political philosophers articulate two visions.  

0008 John Locke (1632-1704 AD) regards humans as self-governing creatures.  Humans are endowed with reason.  Commonsense allows us to rule ourselves.  Democracy is the mode of government most suitable for reasonable citizens.

Liberals remake humans by changing their votes.

Locke’s position may be re-articulated as a nested form.  A nested form?  See A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

Here is the nested form.  The normal context of human nature3 brings the actuality of commonsense2 into relation with the potential of a form of governance suited for self-governing people1.  Democracy1 labels that potential1.  Democracy1 is the potential of a state arising from self-governing people1.

Here is a diagram.

Figure 01

0009 Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679 AD) claims that each human is vulnerable, especially in regards to other humans.  Every person is vulnerable to the ambitions of other people.  We need a state to protect us (from one another).

Liberals remake humans asking the government to protect them from harm.

Hobbes’s position may be re-articulated as a nested form.

The normal context of the state of nature3 brings the vulnerability of each person (especially with respect to other people)2 into relation with the possibility that the state will protect us (from ourselves)1.  Hobbes has a label for a form of governance that manifests the potential of protecting us from one another.  He calls it1 “leviathan”.  Leviathan1 is the potential of a state capable of protecting us (from one another)1.

Here is a picture.

Figure 02

0010 From its inception, the liberal civic religion holds both Locke’s and Hobbes’s positions as a mysterious union.  Of course, this union is filled with contradictions that cannot be resolved.  But, that is the nature of mystery.

What is a mystery?The chapter on message, in Razie Mah’s masterwork, How To Define The Word “Religion”, describes a relational structure corresponding to mystery.  An intersection of two nested forms portrays a mystery.


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 3 of 10)

0011 What is the relation between the following two nested forms?

Figure 03

Remember that democracy1 is the potential of a state arising from self-governing people1 and leviathan1 is the potential of a state capable of protecting us (from one another)1.

0012 Enlightenment liberals know that each nested form does not emerge from and situate the other.

The normal contexts are different.  For example, the word, “nature”, in the two normal contexts, has different meanings, presences and messages.

Similarly, the potentials are different.

For example, the second amendment of the original American Constitution says that all citizens can own and carry guns.

On the one hand, any rational person has the right to defend “himself”, especially against those who would take “his” property (such as a zealous government official).  That’s democratic.

On the other hand, a zealous government official may be commissioned to protect “vulnerable persons”.  Vulnerable persons may be conditioned to fear people carrying guns.  The self-acknowledged vulnerable folk may demand that the zealous government official take the guns (property) away from other citizens.  That’s leviathan.

The Constitution rules in favor of democracy.

0013 So, how do the two nested forms relate to one another?

Enlightenment liberals know that both nested forms constitute a single, contradiction-ridden entity.  I call this actuality2′, “the individual”.

Figure 04

The individual2′ is an actuality that is constituted by the intersection of two nested forms.  The intersection binds two independent actualities.  According to the masterwork, How To Define The Word “Religion”, intersections associate to the message underlying the word.  Intersections are mysteries.

0014 The construction may be also be portrayed in the following fashion.

Figure 05

Now, that looks like an intersection.

This diagram conveys the mystery underlying the liberal civic religion, which accompanies the spread of democracy in the modern Age of Ideas.


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 4 of 10)

0015 Usually, an intersection serves as an actuality2 in a category-based nested form.

Here is a picture.

Figure 06

0016 But, according to the chapter on presence in the e-book, How To Define The Word “Religion”, the individual in communityA belongs to firstness in the following undifferentiated nested form.  Each element in the figure below designates an interscope (a nested form composed of nested forms).

Figure 07

Yes, the mystery of liberalism2′ applies to the tier related to firstnessA.  It2′ resonates with the actualities contained in the interscope for the individual in communityA.  The comparison will be further developed, later.

0017 Since the liberal tradition is a civic religion, liberalism also belongs to the societyC tier.

The societyC tier contains two types of religion, ones above the sovereignbC (suprasovereigncC) and those below the sovereignbC (infrasovereignaC).

The three levels of the societyC tier are (from top to bottom) suprasovereigncC, sovereignbC and infrasovereignaC.

In comparison, for the individual in communityA tier, the three levels are judgmentcA, perceptions and phantasmsbA, and sensations, decodings, impressions and feelingsaA.

“Decodings” convert what someone speaks into a meaning, presence and message underlying the statement.

Figure 08

0018 I offer this comparison because liberalism is a religion on the societyC tier.  Yet, a core mystery of liberalismcoincides with the virtual nested form, in the realm of actuality, for the individual in communityA tier.

So, allow me to juxtapose the virtual nested forms in the realm of actuality, for both the societyC and individual in communityA tiers.

Figure 09

0019 So, the question arises, “Is liberalism a suprasovereign or an infrasovereign religion?”

This answer is both.  Liberalism consists of many different institutions3aC, striving to remake humanity1aC, according to diverse organizational objectives2cC.  The variety of causes is enormous, from teaching people proper manners to ending human trafficking.  These causes appeal to the commonsense2V and the awareness of vulnerability2H characterizing individuals2′.

Only fools have no commonsense2V.  Only sociopaths have no awareness of vulnerability2H.

So all liberal institutions, appealing to anyone who is not a fool or a sociopath, share a relational object2cC, the mysterious intersection of Locke’s and Hobbes’s nested forms.

Furthermore, this relational object2cC, is an actuality that associates to the virtual nested form in the realm of actuality for the individual in communityA tier.

Figure 10

Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 5 of 10)

0020 Remember, the technical definitions of democracy1V(2cC) and leviathan1H(2cC) are:

Democracy1V(2cC) is the potential of self-governance or the potential of a state arising from the cooperation of self-governing people.  Another way to describe this term is the potential of being sensible1V(2cc).  Only fools are not reasonable.

Leviathan1H(2cC) is the potential of a state that will protect us (from one another).  Another way to describe this term is the potential of feelings of security1H(2cc).  Only sociopaths dismiss such feelings.

0021 We thought-align to the liberal objectrel2cC by applying commonsense2V and being aware of our vulnerabilities2H.  In doing so, we embrace the technical definitions of both democracy1V(2cC) and leviathan1H(2cC).

Figure 11

0022 With this denkalignment in mind, Crawford raises the question (more or less), “How stable is the individual?”

0023 The individual2cC is the object that brings the modern nation state into relation.  Liberalism stands at the heart of every legitimate nation-state.

Liberal policies operate in the arena of leviathan1V.  These policies must gain the assent in a democracy1H.

Liberal agendas touch base with feelings of peace and security1V. Peace and security provide motives for adopting a particular policy.  These agendas must be reasonable and sensible1H.  They must not defy commonsense2V.

0024 For example, the liberal civil rights movement in the USA during the 1950s and 1960s demand that the leviathan (the courts) overturn discriminatory laws (“Jim Crow”) in southeastern states.  Protests peacefully threaten civic order1H.  The liberal civil-rights movement appeals to commonsense1V and Christian values.

0025 Christian values?

The concept of the individual is conceived within the womb of the Christian tradition.  The Church gives birth to the individual.  Through the sacraments, an individual can come into mystical union with the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah.  The Church delivers a template for commonsense action and for peace of heart in the political realm.  But, it cannot impose its template.  The leviathan can.

The liberal civil rights movement says, “According to commonsense and Christian values, every person, even the descendants of slaves, are individuals (hence, citizens).”

0026 The liberal civil-rights movement also relies on legal warfare that challenges the so-called “Jim Crow Laws”, supports legislation to assure civil rights in federal jurisdictions and undermines apparently “unequal” separate educational institutions.

0027 The civil-rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s succeeds in implementing its organizational objective2aC and remakes humans, that is, re-orients individuals in communityA.

The concept of the individual, liberalism’s relational object2cC remains intact as individuals in communityA change alignment on the content, situation and perception levels.

Figure 12

Here is a liberal movement that successfully remade humans by changing individual hearts and minds.

0028 Unfortunately, the use of lawfare, short for “legal warfare”, during the civil-rights movement, calls the stability of the individual2cC into question.

Subsequent movements follow under the banner of “civil-rights”.  None carry the same legitimacy.  Each defies commonsense1V.  The federal government gains in scope and power, promising to reduce the vulnerability of its citizens to a diverse range of threats, from industrial pollution, to financial distress, to systemic discrimination, to lack of “equity, and to more and more, until finally, to the sudden appearance of a novel coronavirus that can be “diagnosed” by a newly marketed polymerase chain reaction test (that, everyone learns later, also tests positive for influenza).

0029 The leviathan’s response to the last threat, according to Crawford, unravels the mystery.


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 6 of 10)

0029 What does it mean to unravel a mystery?

The intersection unravels into a resolution, where one nested form emerges from (and situates) the other.  A two-level interscope results.  One nested form goes into the content level.  The other occupies the situation level.  The two-level interscope is discussed in A Primer on Sensible on Social Construction, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

0030 Say what?

To start, what would produce the conditions where a mystery resolves into a heresy?

The intersection2 is the union of two actualities2, so it2 should enter the slot for actuality2 in a nested form.  So if the normal context3 shifts, then the internal dynamics of the actuality2 may change.

Crawford suggests that the recent political response to the novel coronavirus completes a historic transition, from modern liberalism3 to hypermodern (some would say, “postmodern”) technocratic progressivism3.

0031 Here is a picture.

Figure 13

0032 In liberalism3, the goal is to move the mystery2, in a spiritual sort of way, by exploiting democracy’s and leviathan’s abilities to remake humans1.  Appeal to the people’s commonsense.  Set limits to what is acceptable.  Offer inspiration.  Apply peer-pressure.  Certainly, liberals think that they are smarter (or better, more enlightened) than other citizens.  But, they respect the wisdom of tradition, particularly the Christian tradition.  Indeed, liberalism3 seeks to practically implement the Christian vision in a fallen world, by calling the individual to be reasonable and by cajoling individuals to recognize their weaknesses.

0033 In technocratic progressivism3b the goal is to move vulnerable persons2b, in an efficient sort of way, by using the leviathan1b to situate the impulses of human nature3a.  Insist that commonsense2a is defined by technocratic calculations1b.  Frame every challenge as a fear-inducing crisis.  Offer scientific and technical explanations, using terminology that confounds the literal meanings of words.  Insist that alternate policies have dire consequences.  Label the opposition, “malevolent”.

0034 The result is a new relational structure, “the unraveled individual”, which casts a shadow upon the originating mystery.

Figure 14

Vulnerable persons2b virtually emerge from (and situate) commonsense2a.A mystery unwinds into a heresy.


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 7 of 10)

0035 A mystery resolves into a heresy.  An intersection unravels into a two-level interscope.  One nested form goes into the content level.  The other nested form enters the situation level.  Two configurations are possible.  Typically, one predominates.

What is a heresy?

You tell me.  The answer appears before you.

0036  In the heresy of technocratic progressivism3leviathan1b virtually situates democracy1a.

What is leviathan1b?

Leviathan1b is the potential of a state that will protect us (from one another)1b.  Another way to describe this term is the potential of feelings of security1b, in a world filled with sociopaths2a.

Figure 15

0037 The implication is that human nature3a coheres with purely calculated judgments2cA, dispassionate perceptions2bAand stoically accepted sensations and decodings2aA.

Such dedication to reason means that humans are basically sociopaths, unable to register the emotional reactions of others.  There is no way that these sociopaths can govern themselves.  Therefore, democracy1athe potential of self-governance1a or the potential of a state arising from people being reasonable or sensible1amust be virtually situated by a leviathan1b, underlying a state of nature3b

Figure 16

Human nature3a is sociopathic3a.

The state of nature3b is a state of fear3b.

0038 Yes, the state of fear3b, which describes what the leviathan1b apparently aims to prevent, becomes the normal context favored by technocratic progressivism3, as it3 brings the actuality of the unraveled individual2 into relation with the potential of ‘remaking humans’1.

0039 Surely, this does not makes sense.  Yet, it is precisely what Crawford witnesses during the lockdowns.

Human nature2a is ruthlessly3b suppressed by sovereign acts and decrees from a department of the leviathan1b aiming to protect vulnerable people2b, on the basis of a threat to health from the state of nature3b.  Lockdowns and mask requirements violate commonsense2a, yet anyone questioning the sovereign acts and decrees is regarded as a sociopath1a, who does not care about the health of vulnerable people2b.

I suppose that Crawford’s witness implies that the state of nature3b is a state of fear3b that, contrary to rational calculation3a, arises from the potential of a state that aims to promote feelings of security1b and to provide both material and psychological safe harbor for vulnerable people2b.

Does that sound like lockdowns and stimulus checks?


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 8 of 10)

0040 A suprasovereign liberal civic religion dies with the unraveling of the individual2, defined as the intersection of commonsense2V and vulnerabilities2H.

In the normal context of technocratic progressivism3, a mystery2cC unravels into a two-level interscope.  But, the unraveled individual2b does not make sense to humans in their natural… um… state3a.

0041 The two-level interscope characterizes sensible thought.  However, the emotional judgments2cA, phantasms2bA, impressions2aA and feeling2aA of vulnerable persons is more like a religious experience2b, compared to an exercise in commonsense2a.

Yet, this religious experience2b is sensible in the normal context of a state of fear3b, where the leviathan has the potential to declare a state of exception1b.  Consequently, in technocratic progressivism, the perspective levelc does not come into play.

Or, at least, itc appears not to.

0042 Here is a diagram.

Figure 17

0043 How does Locke’s human nature3a become regarded as sociopathological3a?

How does Hobbes’s state of nature3b manifest as a state of fear3b?

The original normal contexts do not seem exceptional.

The latter normal contexts do.

0044 Crawford writes that, in the 1990s, social scientists dispose with the “rational actor” model of human behavior.  Cognitive psychology (and evolutionary psychology) sees humans as unconsciously employing evolved cognitive modules.

Along the same lines, bureaucratic criteria1b, such as performance metrics2b, replace commonsense judgments2a.  Examples include so-called “evidence-based medicine”, standardized tests and curricula, and self-driving automobiles.  These policies are designed to protect vulnerable persons2b, given the sociopathic (unconsciously employing evolved cognitive modules) nature of doctors, teachers and ahem… people who drive.

0045 Here is a picture of what human nature transitions to under the normal context of technocratic progressivism3.  Evolutionary psychology informs us that human nature is full of sociopathic tendencies, due to our “selfish genes”.  Cognitive psychology models human thought processes as circuits of unconscious modules, working in tandem.

Figure 18

Commonsense2a gets redefined.

Some call this progress.  Others call it, “dehumanization”.

0046 During the 2000s, theatrical political initiatives introduce a perspective-level actuality2cthe state of exception.  Astate of exception is declared in order to confront emergent vulnerabilities2b.  These declarations do not need to satisfy commonsense2a, in the old sense of the word, because “commonsense” has been redefined.  In fact, the original concept of human nature3a has been narrowed by scientific inquiry into a suite of sociopathic tendencies3a.

Technocratic progressivism3 dons the mantle of science in its pursuit to remake humans1.

0047 Here is a picture of the transitioned unraveled individual.

Figure 19

0048 Of course, the most recent theatrical incident coincides with a complex sequence of conjunctions among Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in the Houses of Capricorn and Aquarius.  See Razie Mah’s blogs for March and April 2020.  A novel coronavirus (the common cold) rages through Wuhan after the New Years Festival celebrating the Year of the Rat, then spreads to the world.  The virus’s progress is marked by the technocratic implementation of a polymerase chain reaction test.

Never mind claims that the test also shows positive for influenza.  Hospitals in China and Italy are overwhelmed with old people in the middle of winter suffering complications and the doctors are calling for experts to save them with medical protocols.  Corporate television reports the breaking news.

Disease translates into data.  Data feeds panic2b.


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 9 of 10)

0049 The federal government responds.  But the term, “federal”, is now delocalized.  It used to refer to a federation of sovereign states in America.  Now, it means a federation of sovereign states in both America and Europe, even though the Europeans have not recognized the subtle shift in terminology.

Technocratic progressivism knows how to shift the meanings of words.

0050 Here is a picture of the plague-unraveled individual.

Figure 20

0051 The normal context of the federal government3c brings the actuality of a medical state of emergency2c, complete with quarantines of healthy citizens, into relation with the potential of ‘biosecurity’1c.

The normal context of a state of fear3b brings the actuality that the novel coronavirus endangers vulnerable persons2b into relation with the government apparatuses of subsidiary states, such as Germany and Italy, as well as America and Canada1b.

The normal context of the sociopathic reactionary resistance3a brings the actuality of common folk denying the well-publicized dangers2a into relation with the potential of a countervailing democratic initiative1a.

Of course, the federal government3c and the leviathan1b can manage the anticipated3a commonsense2a democratic1ainitiative.  That is where the control files on politicians, influencers, corporate media celebrities, religious leaders, and so on, enters the picture.

0052 How about some anecdotal evidence?

Crawford describes his observations of people in the California Bay Area, a technocratic progressive heartland.

First, people wear masks outdoors, not so much for personal protection, but because zero covid is a heroic battle, requiring a literal effacement of the individual.

Ah, wearing masks1a signals one’s virtuous solidarity with vulnerable persons endangered by the virus2b.  It is an expression of democracy1a in support of the leviathan1b, rather than common folk, who do not care about those designated as “vulnerable”2a.

0053 Here is the virtual nested form in the category of firstness.

Figure 21

The normal context of biosecurity1c virtual brings slogans from the leviathan1b into relation with the potential of affirmation by democratic expression1a.

Here is a diagram.

Figure 22

0054 What about lockdowns?

Does staying home during a lockdown show democratic assent?

Here is a picture of the virtual nested form in the realm of actuality.

Figure 23

0055 Crawford describes how lockdowns force social isolation.  Social atomization is one of the conditions that support the rise of totalitarian movements.  The Party offers the only way to… um… party.

Also, social isolation purifies the citizens of the Bay Area, who democratically assent1a to the leviathan1b rather than what used to be called “commonsense”2a.  Those wearing masks outdoors dance to the cultish vibe of hygiene maximalists.  Here are the uncontaminated spiritual warriors of a nascent hygiene state.

Crawford waxes eloquent about a social scene that makes common folk want to puke.

0056 Here is a picture of the virtual nested form in the category of secondness.

Figure 24

0057 Need I continue?

The denizens of the San Francisco Bay Area abandon commonsense2a and embrace medical tyranny1b.


Well, they aren’t individuals anymore, are they?


Looking at Matthew Crawford’s Essay (2022) “Covid Was Liberalism’s Endgame” (Part 10 of 10)

0058 The coronavirus of 2019 ends liberalism as a civic religion.

These diagrams, inspired by and roughly coherent with Crawford’s text, provide complementary food for thought.  The resolution of the mystery of the individual marks the death of liberalism and the coronation of technocratic progressivismas a suprasovereign being.  A religion is supplanted by its heresy.

0059 The liberal religion holds a mystery as the object that brings all into relation.

The individual is the intersection of commonsense and vulnerability.  Crawford notes that individuals have a certain nobility.  Liberals never strive to destroy that spiritness.  They desire to create a better individual, the old fashioned way, through reform and renewal.

0060 The religion of technocratic progressivism (which I also call big government (il)liberalism), suspends the lively, spontaneous party that defines individuals, and imposes a three-tiered interscope, where the normal context of the federal government3c virtually brings the actuality of a state of fear3b into relation with the potential of a reactionary resistance3a.

The virtual nested form in the category of thirdness is prophetic, since it suggests that an ultimate state of exception2c will occur when common folk become dangerous to vulnerable persons2b because of the common folk’s tendency to use commonsense and value self-governance2a is declared to be “toxic”.  In short, “commonsense2a” (in the original sense of the word) is regarded as “criminal2b” (according to the leviathan1b).

0061 Indeed, what Crawford does not say stands just beyond his mournful lament of the tragic end of individual spiritness.

What Crawford does not say is prophetic.

0062 The website is UnHerd.

Michael Crawford contributes regularly.

0063 The overall argument is introduced in Razie Mah’s masterwork, How To Define The Word “Religion”.

The topic of the individual is discussed in A Primer on the Individual in Community and in points 0081-0086 in The First Primer on the Organization Tier, by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.