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Old 08-30-2006, 06:30 AM   #1
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The non-Religious Right

Religious conservatives warn that a morality based on reason and observation is not sufficient, because men will not all agree on what reason and the evidence proves. But when have men ever agreed on religion? And without reason and evidence to settle the argument, they usually resort to force.

The real alternative to [the] secular subjectivism [of the left] is not religious faith, but observation of the natural world--the world that can be seen and understood through reason. ...

[T]o derive a secular morality, we need more than narrow conclusions drawn from sociological studies. We need broad philosophical principles drawn from the grand lessons of history. For example, we can observe, in the rise of West since the Renaissance and in the corresponding decline of the Islamic world, what happens when men embrace reason, unfettered scientific inquiry, and technological progress--versus what happens when they cling to religious dogmatism and disparage secular learning. Or, alternatively, we can observe in the history of the Cold War what happens when one bloc of societies recognizes the individual rights of their citizens, allowing them to act on their own initiative in the pursuit of profit--versus what happens when another bloc imposes a totalitarian dictatorship, expunging private property and private profits and forcibly imposing central economic planning.

The lessons of history reveal the basic requirements set by man's nature for his survival, success, and happiness here on earth. That is the secular foundation for morality.

Today's academic philosophers--steeped in the subjectivist dogmas of the left--have not been up to the job of grasping and explaining these lessons. But astute readers may recognize which philosopher I think was up to the job. My own defense of the secular right is based on the ideas of Ayn Rand, the novelist, philosopher, and famous defender of capitalism who originated a secular philosophy she called Objectivism.

...The right needs to have a long, open, honest debate about the role of religion. We need it now more than ever because we are in the middle of a war with an enemy that is defined by his religious fervor and by his attempt to make his religion dominate the "public square," to borrow a catchphrase from the religious right. If we don't understand the real nature and value of Western, Enlightenment secularism, then we can't fully understand what is at stake in this clash of civilizations, and in the long run, we won't know how to win it.

Good article, although I have to say that the historicism should be approached with skepticism.

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Old 08-30-2006, 07:54 AM   #2
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ok, I can hardly be bothered arguing this, but you need to give me an example of a the 'secular subjectivism of the left' before I take much more interest here.

What the fuck does that statement even mean, other than it's a secular perspective that you might not happen to agree with (realising that those aren't your words, obviously, but a quote from an article).
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