Sunday, April 01, 2012

Roger Garaudy and Freedom

Once the philosophical leap is made from materialism to idealism, the vista of liberty opens up.

For the idealist philosopher, Giovanni Gentile, philosophical logic should be presuppostionless. He wrote, ‘life in all its fullness is neither art, nor religion, nor science. It is morality’. Morality is meant here in the context of man’s freedom of choice, for good or ill.

Self-realisation was the fundamental moral imperative for Gentile. He considered philosophy to be ‘continual vigilance and reflection over what we are, and what we make of ourselves… The dialectic of self-consciousness…is the root of philosophy’.

This philosophy counters the predominant cultural Marxism of our day that permeates politics on both the Left and Right. Roger Garaudy captured exactly the essence of the freedom made possible when he wrote, ‘the future is not a scenario written, which we only have to act out; it is a work which we have to create’.

John Dunn.

The Oxford Debate

I attended the debate in the Sheldonian theatre on Sunday 25th March between A.C. Grayling and Roger Scruton on the subject of – ‘Do we need God in our society to prevent self-destruction of us and our culture?’

All the usual warm woolly arguments were trotted out both for humanism and religion, to the point where it was hard to recognise a difference between the two debaters. Scruton made the case for religion and belief in God giving life a moral underpinning of certainty and morality, as well as an awareness of the eternal that makes life worth living.

Graying responded, arguing that humanism had morals and ethics too and what’s more, these could exist without resort to God for an explanation. (Yawn.)

What a bind these people are in, both the believer and the atheist.

What Grayling omitted to say was that humanism, in its political guise as liberal democracy, masks the most exploitatively ruthless economic system that has ever existed upon this earth. As for tolerance and diversity, well, just look at the way liberal democracy is being brutally imposed upon all the peoples of the earth by economic sanctions and military force.

No Grayling – humanism has no morality. By its very nature it is amoral. Some would call it evil and the Enlightenment marked the beginning of the end for diversity.

Of course Scruton, as a conservative, could not make this case against Grayling, arch defender of the bourgeois capitalist system as he is.
So we had a debate in which two apparent opponents were trying to out-moralise each other – and isn’t that always the way in our liberal so-called democracy. The reality is that both were contributing in their own small way to the relentless march of bland, exploitative uniformity across the earth, to which the rigid acceptance of all is ultimately enforced – squashing out diversity – all in the name of morality.

The very fact that both remain in positions of some intellectual influence suggests they pose no threat to the relentless march…

By the way, neither debater actually answered the question that was central to the debate. I would say that we do need God in our society, but it is not the god of either of the speakers’ ‘religions’.

John Dunn.