Thursday, February 16, 2006

Marriage of Collectivism and Religion

Collectivism is the mind-set of a group. It is the lack of strong or coherent identify of the self. Many philosophers believe it is even impossible to know, let alone define, what the “self” really is. They argue that identity is only derivable from the Other-than-self. Sartre, among others, held that belief as the crux of his philosophy and his formulation of the Being-for-itself. In fact, according to Sartre, a person would be acting on bad faith and would be insincere in making any claims of “I am” because not only is one’s consciousness always changing and never static, but also there isn’t any concept of self-consciousness that is unamendable to objectification by the Other. Sartre’s entire metaphysics of the human being places individuals in a state of constant conflict against each other. According to Christine Daigle who discusses Sartre’s key concepts in Philosophy Now, Issue 53, “Sartre made such a good case for this conflictual relationship [that] he had made it impossible for him to elaborate a workable ethics…. Sartre is struggling to establish an ethics that rests on reciprocity and authenticity.” My own view is that a metaphysic that does not recognize the identity of the individual is a metaphysic of Collectivism. And any such metaphysic that is based on collectivism simply does not allow or permit any coherent and consistent ethical or moral principle to be formulated and that which can be applicable universally. Hence, every attempt to extrapolate an ethics from such a metaphysic will inevitably run into problems and dangerous inconsistencies. Collectivism, by definition, has to mean the suppression of the individual – the repression of a minority voice or opinion, the lack of self-determinate autonomy. Any mob mentality has to smother individual mentality. Every and all human beings do not think alike, behave the same way, and have similar tastes or opinions. Thus, the concept of majoritarianism, mob mentality, sacrifice of the one for the many, has interpersonal conflict inseparably built-in to the system. A universally applicable ethics cannot ever arise from such a system unless it is accompanied by force or dogma. People can gather in groups and be affiliated with collective bodies based upon their chosen values. However, the attempt to spread those values upon an entire population by force, law, or by doctrine without accepting or recognizing the right of the other to choose their values is the essence of ideologies based on collectivism – at their very fundamental root, they begin by the violation of the rights of the individual, thus they cannot possibly sustain any ethical principle that can be universally applied to all individuals. This is where religion comes into play. An alliance of religion and collectivism necessarily leads to gross, widespread, and unspeakably evil violations of human rights in all cases. As I said, collectivism as an ideology simply cannot support any ethics that could even fake a veneer of benevolent morality. Religion, however, comes in easily and paints a layer of morality on the ethics of a collectivist ideology. For example, if the collectivists wish to get rid of a race of people, or subjugate them for their own arbitrary whims and purposes, the ideology of collectivism will simply not be able to justify such an act on any ethical principle that can be defended and upheld as being a moral principle. In this case, the collectivists can take recourse to religion and spin the collectivist ethic into the religious ethic. Jews should be exterminated because they are responsible for the death of Christ. Christians should be exterminated because we are obligated to establish the supremacy of Islam. Blacks should be shunned because their dark skin colors are expressions of sin and evil in the human race. Muslims should be expelled from India because India is Hindu country. In the above examples, regardless of how many voices speak out in dissent of those activities, if that is in the mind-set of the collective majority, all they need is for religion to paint a veneer of a high-minded moral principle in order for them to feel justified in not only suppressing the minority dissent, but also in carrying out their dastardly evil acts. Collectivism is not only just a philosophical ideology; it is an incredible evil in itself. As Rand said, it is not enough to just study a philosophical ideology as abstract principles, but think of the ramifications in concrete reality if those principles were to be put into practice. That is philosophical detection, according to Rand, and therefore her philosophy of Objectivism is primarily a philosophy of living life on Earth, not just a rich system of principles to be held abstractly. Tag:


Blogger Mark said...

A very coherent posting. Collectivism, or rather, moral relatavism is destoying the world.

Your calling out of the implicit involvement of religion in this destruction is courageous, correct and necessary.

Always good to read a clear-thinking objectivist voice.

7/11/2006 05:57:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nobody gives a fuck what you think you twat
go back to your sweatshop

11/14/2007 08:23:00 pm  

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