The Church and US – Guest Blog by Michael Albert from Znet

Stephen Wellington Mormon 37 Comments

Michael AlbertI was recently in Europe, partly for a vacation and partly for a series of talks in Austria. During the trip I had the pleasure of touring a major church and hearing the guide answer questions. Someone asked, why did people of the distant past support the church so stupendously, with so much of their time, nearly all their income beyond subsistence, and, really, their every life product? The guide answered, I think brilliantly. She said, you have to try to imagine being back there yourself. There was no sewage, no electricity, no color, no music, no entertainment, not even cleanliness, in people’s daily lives. It was harsh, harsh, and more harsh – except when you went to the church.

From dumping waste out windows and working to the bone in colorless and anti social contexts, in church, one entered into a bit of heaven on earth. In church people were friendly and socialized. In church it was clean. In church the windows were incredibly colorful, the seats better than bearable. In church there was music from the organs, an incredible experience beyond anything available anywhere else, and there was even an element of intellectual engagement, also absent elsewhere.

In church there was relative safety…color….sound….life. It was what people lived for, around, and in. The church wasn’t just rhetoric, it was literally heaven manifested today. The church was hope and inspiration, color and cleanliness, activity and more activity. And so, of course, given that the church was what made life worth living, and given the church what promised better in the future, people coughed up their first and last pennies for the church. Even more than in modern times. Way more. And they weren’t tricked. Given the constrained settings they inhabited, their perceptions were accurate, and their choices sensible – that is, short of completely transforming the history. Think about the growth of the fundamentalist church in recent years in the U.S. and, say, in Pakistan. People aren’t giving as much – true – but the logic is the same and what you might say is people are part of the church and supporting it more or less in proportion as the church is contributing to their material, spiritual, emotional, ideological, and inspirational, existence in return.

And what is the lesson in all this? I don’t see how it could be clearer – from the angle the tour guide illuminated, and many other angles as well. If the campaign to create a better world – which is the left – wants to have support from huge numbers of otherwise jammed up and restricted folk, then that campaign has to incorporate the seeds of the future in the present. The left has to aid to people’s lives now, adding color, compassion, creativity, and especially a sense of belonging and social joy, and it has to at the same time promise even more, much more, in the future. People must come to see and feel the left as being at the core of who they are, what they can enjoy today, and what inspires them to seek more tomorrow. Short of attaining that degree of centrality in people’s lives, the left will not have sufficient membership that is sufficiently committed to win even major reforms, much less fundamentally new social relations. Okay, is that claim true or false? If it is false – fine, dispense with it and move on. But if the claim is true, then doesn’t it follow that a left which isn’t addressing this agenda is a left that isn’t even trying to achieve its destiny? No wonder we aren’t winning yet. On the other hand, if the claim is true, then since the implication is so evident, isn’t it time to get on with recreating our efforts in a far more uplifting and humane and socially engaging and intellectually stimulating and artistic and creative shape and substance?

Comments

comments

Comments 37

  1. Michael,

    Welcome to Mormon Matters.

    How would you apply what you have written here to the rhetoric in this year’s U.S. presidential election? The candidates have all had to answer religious questions from the press and have all posed themselves as people of faith, whatever that might mean. Yet their campaigns for the most part are not transcendent ones but are concerned with the here and now…

  2. Incredibly insightful!

    I loved this quote: “And they weren’t tricked. Given the constrained settings they inhabited, their perceptions were accurate, and their choices sensible – that is, short of completely transforming the history.”

  3. Michael, thanks for your thoughts.

    From what I’ve observed for the past few decades, the Left HAS been offering and trying to do all the things you advocate in this post in order to create a better world. In my view, the reason the Left has been unsuccessful in doing so is that it’s preferred tool for implementing its vision is government-run programs. But government-run programs do not succeed for two main reasons: (1) let’s face it, government workers are not the sharpest tools in the shed; and (2) government workers are essentially unaccountable. No matter how much taxpayer money you throw at a problem in an effort to make the world a better place, it will never succeed when it is run by our nation’s most mediocre minds, and especially when they are unaccountable for their waste, incompetence, and failure.

    The problem is that the Left won’t adopt the solution, which is to rely on the organic, grass-roots institutions that have already proven themselves capable of creating a better world, at least for the communities those institutions can touch. Those institutions are private charitable organizations (which usually have a church sponsor or religious affiliation) and the churches. But because too many in the Left have such utter disdain and distrust for anything religious, and are preoccupied with enforcing an over-broad interpretation of the “separation of church and state,” they won’t even consider partnering (at least not in any large-scale, official way) with the organic, grass-roots institutions that are already successfully creating a better world in the communities in which they exist.

    So I don’t see the Left’s problem as a lack of vision, or even a lack of seriousness about wanting to achieve that vision. Rather, I see the Left shooting itself in the foot by eschewing and refusing to seriously partner with the only institutions that are actually capable of creating the better world they envision.

    Instead of urging the Left to start talking and acting more like a church, and indeed, to even become like a church in terms of its centrality in the lives of the citizenry, why not just partner with the already-existing churches (in a much more serious and sustained way) to help create a better world?

  4. Then there are leftist social democratic states like Germany, which have contracted with the major churches in their country to provide social services, from refugee housing to welfare provision to counseling. The Knights of Malta, a Catholic order, runs refugee housing, and the Johannines provide transportation for the disabled. It seems to work well.

    Jim Wallis in his book God’s Politics makes some of the same points…

    Was this post written with the international left in mind, the British left, American left, etc? There are differences.

  5. But government-run programs do not succeed for two main reasons: (1) let’s face it, government workers are not the sharpest tools in the shed; and (2) government workers are essentially unaccountable. No matter how much taxpayer money you throw at a problem in an effort to make the world a better place, it will never succeed when it is run by our nation’s most mediocre minds, and especially when they are unaccountable for their waste, incompetence, and failure.

    Thanks so much, Andrew, for letting me know that I’m “not the sharpest tool in the shed,” “essentially unaccountable,” one of “our nation’s most mediocre minds,” wasteful, incompetent, and a failure. Surely, attitudes like yours are the true key to helping “create a better world.”

  6. Hey Andrew,

    I think I’m a government worker too! There are a lot more of us than you think! 🙂

    I love being a dull, unaccountable spade. It’s a lot of fun.

  7. Nick and John, believe it or not, I’m a former government worker as well. My generalization is a broad one to be sure, and of course there are always exceptions to the rule. But I bet you’ve had plenty of days when you’ve been absolutely dumbfounded by what you’ve seen internally. I know I did.

  8. Wow. I guess we’re supposed to read #7 as:
    “I’m sorry, Nick and John. I obviously made an unthinking generalization that was untrue, disrespectful, and extremely unkind. Next time, I’ll think before I type.”

  9. Andrew makes some good points. Nick and John have always seemed a little slow on the uptake, and now I know why. 🙂 Mystery solved.

    Andrew, don’t churches suffer from the same two problems: 1.) Dim Bulbs running things (with some exceptions); and 2.) Leaders/Workers/Volunteers/etc. who are essentially unaccountable? Despite the innumerable shortcomings of government, aren’t there are far more checks and balances (and watchdogs) in government than religion?

  10. Matt (10),

    There are drawbacks to relying on private church-run or church-affiliated charitable organizations as well, but I think overall the pros and cons balance in favor of them over a purely government-run program. Just a few examples:

    1. Charities can save money by relying on volunteer labor.
    2. Charities are usually staffed by people who are motivated by a “cause” rather than getting a paycheck.
    3. Government often cannot get rid of lousy employees because they’re entitled to due process of law before losing their jobs, unlike private charities who essentially can hire and fire at will.
    4. Charities funded by government dollars ARE accountable to the government agency that funds and oversees their activities. But the government is only accountable to itself, which ultimately means it’s accountable to no-one.

    Ultimately it’s not an either-or decision, but rather one of partnership between government and charities that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the shortcomings of both. It’s best when government provides the funding and the oversight, but that the “boots on the ground” who deliver the programs are private charities.

    I’m not an expert on this, but in the past I have been: (1) a government worker; (2) an employee of a non-profit charitable organization funded in part by government and by private donations; and (3) an employee of a private for-profit company hired by a state agency to provide social services.

  11. Well, you know, there are drawbacks in relying on the LDS church organization as well, and I think overall the pros and cons balance out against them over almost anything else. Just a few examples:

    1. The LDS church can save money by guilting people into coughing up cash or working for free.
    2. The LDS church is often run by beauracrats who are motivated by getting a paycheck, rather than by a “cause.”
    3. LDS members generally can’t get rid of lousy LDS leaders because the latter declare themselves chosen by deity, unlike other organizations who essentially can hire and fire at will.
    4. The LDS church is, at best, accountable to the government agency that grants its tax-exempt status. Other than that, LDS leaders are accountable only to themselves, or to what they claim deity thinks of them, which ultimately means they’re accountable to no-one.

    I’m not an expert on this, but in the past I have been: (1) a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; (2) not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; (3) an employee of a private for-profit company hired by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to provide marketing services.

    (Lest anyone wonder, yes, this is my snarky way of pointing out that posts #7, #9 and #11 are unfounded generalizations, evidently written by someone who’s feeling a little too proud today to admit he acted like a jerk–something he almost never does, btw—in #3.)

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    Andrew,

    I agree somewhat with your second point that government work is, to a degree, unaccountable. We need self responsibility.

    But Andrew do not forget all the Uber-Capitalists in the Banks in Wall Street that just got funded by the government because their hedge funds and investments were irresponsible and….unaccountable because they knew that the govenment would have to bail them out.

    We must have self responsibility across all playing fields…

    As a future doctor (fingers crossed and with hard work) where I will be working most of my life for the government…I would like to think that I am somewhat mentally capable…

    I think a problem with getting pre-existing insitutions involved is that they, like politicians, exist to ensure their survival although they once started as real movements for social change. Nevertheless…they do have great resources at hand.

    Matt Thurston…I must agree. Here is an example, As a missionary…the mission cars were socialized…they were provided by “the mission”(arguably by all tithe paying members of the church) and not by the missionaries. They were NOT taken care of at all.(No accountability) I believe in private property and self resonbility. I think the cars were not taken care of because people were not “dumb”. I believe it was because there was no sense of ownership, accountability and responsibility. I am sure the same principles also exist in other economic ventures of the church.

    Michael…

    I see the younger “left & right” generations differing from the “older” generations in ways that whill help push the horizontalism of society forward. I think there is great scepticism amongst the younger generations across all political lines. I also think the this secpticism of the church, state and private corporations is also extending through all political lines…which again I think is healthy. And the internet is a great tool.

    Truth is self sustaining….Illegitimate power is not. It takes much more effort…(billions on advertising, government subversion, manufacturing public consent in the media, illegal wars, corrupt banking practices etc.) to keep the current social imablances in favour of the rich. Through Social-Conflict Theory & the laws of nature…this will be corrected naturally…with what will feel like little effort….And we will dance during the revolution(nod to Emma Goldman.)

    I believe in your vision Michael…but I would extend the invitation to all from the political spectrum to seek true democracy in our political and economic lives.

  13. >>> It takes much more effort…(billions on advertising, government subversion, manufacturing public consent in the media, illegal wars, corrupt banking practices etc.) to keep the current social imablances in favour of the rich

    Stephen, do you really believe this?

    I am not trying to argue with you over this… I’m honestly curious. What I mean is I’m shocked you said it because I’ve long believed that capitalism *naturally* leads to imbalances between those who have money and those that don’t and that it takes billions to keep it from getting worse. (In case you’re wondering, I’m one of those “I hate capitalism with a passion but it’s better than any alternative” people. For example, I think “monopoly power” is a natural outcome of the capitalistic system and just one of it’s many failings.)

    Please explain further. It strikes me as strongly counter intuitive. Why do you believe this? (I know, I know.. you’re going to give me a book to read 😛 Go for it. I’ll add it to the list.)

  14. The left has a hard time winning for one main reason: It’s hard to inspire when your central message is a whining diatribe.

    Obama will win the nomination for one reason (the same reason Reagan won): He can inspire.

    Fwiw, I don’t think it’s much more complicated than that.

    Andrew, apologize to the other children, so everyone can start acting like adults. 🙂

  15. Is it possible that the Left’s real problem is that they have no truth claims that aren’t self-contradictory? If you have a “church” or “religion” (which is what the Left is, in a sense) whose truth claims are “you should be ethical despite the fact that there is no reason for it in the big scheme of things since when you all die you are dead” I would think that would be terribly difficult to get people motivated around. (Forgive me for the implied generalization that “the left” are atheists. I’m just exploring thoughts. My point is that “the Left” as a “church” have no coherent after life truth claims.)

    As per Michael’s example, there is no meat to the belief because the truth claim of that religion is self-contradictory. So I’d expect little long range commitment compared to a “church” that teaches that the universe is morally aligned in a such a way that your actions have permenant consequences as well as immediate consequences that typify what is to come.

    I believe this might be the inherent problem with liberal Churches as well. If you believe you should follow the teachings of Christ and his disciples, who in fact lied (or were gravely mistaken) about Christ being divine, well, you have a self-contradictory truth claim and I wouldn’t expect long term commitment compared to an conservative Christian religion that actually believes Jesus was the Son of God and thinks their actions affect them here and in the afterlife.

    While people are unlikely to say “I can’t get behind this because of the self-contradiction in it’s truth claims” I do think people naturally understand when a belief system is self-contradictory and they realize that they should limit their fervor towards that cause to a certain level of enlightened self-interest or ethical hedonism.

  16. MrmonMatters is saturated!

    By the time a discussion/argument gets going there’s 4 more post to read! Far too many post during the week imo

  17. Stephen Wellington,

    I enjoyed your podcasts with J Dehlin over in LDSCooperative but couldn’t make the comments work.

    Also after reading your comments here I think that you could read up more on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ which has being catching on across the world since the mid ’90s -and started in the US. This is probably the key to getting cooperatives to work more, AND within the US type of economic capitalist system.

  18. Nick #12, (1. should be ‘…church does save money’)

    I actually think you are right there; only difference is that here we call church employees the ‘Carlingford Mafia’ (because their offices are located in a suburb called Carlingford)

    But see, the fact that you understand how it all works is more proof that you’re still a closet mormon -who should repent and go back to your wife 🙂

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    Carlos JC….thanks for the complements. I personally have niggles with the left right paradigm and think it should be seen in terms of justice, soveriegnty and populism. i.e. similar to the perspective of Thomas Jefferson and other enlightenment figures but we just need to position it in the context of industrial capitalism.

    I will go and research corporate social responsibility…I would definitely be less of a “corporate hater” if they were socially responsible to those in the community and to their employees….yes and that includes the “employees” that they subcontract work too in Asia and South America. Thanks CarlosJC. I dont believe in giving hand outs but I believe in treating others as we would like to be treated.

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    Bruce…I wrote a load and it deleted. To put it concisely:
    1) I do not like the l3eft right paradigm but like to focus on maximising humanity, justice, liberty and equality from whichever end of the spectrum.

    2) I recognize that you are writing your thought processes…but I think that one can be religious and also not be a capitalist. Leo Tolstoy was a fantastic example of this. I think that we should entitle all people to worship, speak and live how they may without coercion aslong as they are not impinging this right on others. In this case we are both opposed to athiestic communism.

    3) Like I said before…I do not believe in hand outs for the poor or for the rich (e.g. recent credit crunch crisis and bail out of banks) but I believe that we should be responsible and treat others as we would like to be treated. Nothing radical there.

    4) And to answer your question..yes I dont believe that state capitalism nor state communism are a natural form of government. And I dont believe they develop from the soveriegnty of the people. I think that Libertarian Socialism best embraces the classical liberal thought of the enlightenment in an industrial age. (Hence why I also enjoy paleoconservativism and other philosophies that are influenced by classical liberalism) I think that this is the neutral, natural and most sustainable societal form of government, Libertarian Socialism, and I think that social evolution balances itself out according to the Social Conflict Theory.

    I think it takes effort…but is natural and progressive. My post Subliminal Battle For Our Free Agency demonstrates, in a small blog post, the great effort that has been used to construct the state capitalist society in manufacturing desire amongst the population in order to buy things they do not need..

  21. Stephen,

    While I’m not likely to agree with you, I would like to understand you (and your view) better. Please feel free to “write a load” to me off line about your political beliefs. I won’t argue at all (well… you know what I mean… I *will* ask you tough questions…) I’m just honestly curious about your political beliefs.

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    Bruce…did that last post give a sufficient explanation of my feelings? What about your hopes for how we can help to make a better and safer world…starting with us and then as a society?

    I dont really go around calling myself “left” because I think that libertarian socialism takes the good from both camps.

  23. Stephen,

    To be honest I didn’t understand a lot of your terms. For example “Libertarian Socialism” means nothing to me. In fact, I know quite a bit about Libertarianism and I see it as mutually exclusive from Socialism. So it sounds to me that you aren’t talking about the kind of “libertarian” I am thinking of…

    What I’m trying to say is, no, I didn’t really understand you. (This is not your fault. This is not an area of expertise for me is all.)

    And I don’t think of Libertarians as “the Left” at all, so I’m shocked that you identify with “the Left” at all. (Not shocked in a bad way… more in a ‘wow, this is something new’ sort of way.)

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

    I think the government structures most approved by prophets in the BoM and by Brigham Young and early LDS prophets is that of a Libertarian Socialist model. I think you should read this Bruce if you get a chance…http://ldscooperative.com/proclamation

    Libertarianism Socialism takes the good elements from Libertarianism and from socialism. It basically means…”make us free to cooperate and take care of eachother.” It aims to horizontalize and truely democratize power structures in society. A true democracy would mirror a libertarian socialist form of society…but today we live in a polyarchy.

    I quite like mutualism and anarcho-syndicalism and am not keen on anarcho-communism.

    And I really like, for industrial society, the idea of participatory economics. I think these best reflect how the United Order would work without becoming a centralized socialist mini-state…something I do not want. When the oil runs out in about 40 years then we will probably move into a post-industrial era unless another energy source is found.

    I think Private Property is essential…and I mean private property as in your home and garden. But I think that privatising the means of production is immoral just as owning a slave 300 years a ago was immoral.

  25. #16:
    Is it possible that the Left’s real problem is that they have no truth claims that aren’t self-contradictory? If you have a “church” or “religion” (which is what the Left is, in a sense) whose truth claims are “you should be ethical despite the fact that there is no reason for it in the big scheme of things since when you all die you are dead” I would think that would be terribly difficult to get people motivated around.

    Bruce, I understand that you’re not trying to say that all, or even a majority of, political liberals are atheists. Still, I think it’s short-sighted to think that the only reason for ethical behavior is belief in a “heavenly reward” or “hellish punishment.” I see this view from time to time among religionists, and it always makes me wonder—am I really supposed to believe that the only thing keeping Thomas Monson from becoming the Hitler of modern times is his faith? Was Mother Theresa just another Hannibal Lecter, barely kept in check due to her religion?

    Ultimately, there is no political system or program that will create long term social improvement, until individuals improve themselves from within. Some believe the only way to do that is through devotion to the Judeo-christian deity. Others believe it can be done in other ways. I would suggest, however, that if a man only behaves ethically out of “hope for heaven” or “fear of hell,” he’s a man not to be trusted.

  26. >>> am I really supposed to believe that the only thing keeping Thomas Monson from becoming the Hitler of modern times is his faith? Was Mother Theresa just another Hannibal Lecter, barely kept in check due to her religion?

    Nick, thanks for the thoughtful response. But you should read what I wrote more carefully, as it was limited only to the concept of “the Left” as a group/whole getting people as movitivate as religions that believe there is more than this life. And I am asking the question, not demanding that I have an answer.

    I see a tendency amongst unreligious people (and I don’t mean you, Nick) to take any thoughtful attempt at analysis of the real differences between a believer and non-believer and try to boil it down to “well, we are good people too.” (Often acting offended that anyone would suggest otherwise.) But it’s always a point no one was arguing. Religionist don’t have any wide claim that atheists are unethical, as atheists often act.

    And I disagree that if a man behaves ethically out of “hope of it meaning something after death and/or in the big scheme of things” (which might be the same as “hope of heaven” for Mormons) that they can not be trusted.

  27. But you should read what I wrote more carefully, as it was limited only to the concept of “the Left” as a group/whole getting people as movitivate as religions that believe there is more than this life.

    Fair enough, but wouldn’t you agree that this has little to do with the validity of any particular religion? In fact, I’d suggest that some people become motivated to the point of extremism, by religious claims that 99.99% of the human race would find completely bizarre and unbelievable. In some cases, it almost seems that the more “out there” a religion is, the more zealous its followers will be.

    And I disagree that if a man behaves ethically out of “hope of it meaning something after death and/or in the big scheme of things” (which might be the same as “hope of heaven” for Mormons) that they can not be trusted.

    Now it’s your turn to read more carefully, Bruce. I suggested that ” if a man only behaves ethically out of “hope for heaven” or “fear of hell,” he’s a man not to be trusted.” If a man’s behavior is only held in check by his religious views, he can easily use those same religious views as justification in carrying out atrocious acts. What we all want to see–and what true religion aims for–is the kind of internal transformation that makes a man do good for its own sake, not out of reward/punishment.

  28. >>> Fair enough, but wouldn’t you agree that this has little to do with the validity of any particular religion?

    That’s the question I am asking. I am suggesting as a possibility that motivation for a “religious” point of view has as *one* of it’s very important factors that the “religion” (even if it’s one that doesn’t believe in God) does not have any self-contradictory truth claims. (Or more accurately, none that the individual in question cares about.)

    Here is my hypothesis (that has not been proven true by any means.) That “the left” can’t motivate to the degree, say, Christianity can because they have a self-contradictory truth claim: that ethics matter eternally, but when you are dead you are dead and probably no one will remember you. (Perhaps, for the sake of tolerance, I should rephrase this “some might see it as a self-contradictory truth claim.” I’m sure some people could try to build up the idea that it makes a better world after your death, even if no one remembers, etc.)

    Likewise, I think “liberal Christianity” would likely bump into the same problem. Motivating people to be like Jesus and spread the word, complete with fraudulent claim to being deity, is probably pretty difficult.

    However, if we have a really “bizarre” (from our point of view) religion that has no self-contradictory truth claims (Scientology?), the possibility of motivation is unimpeded and we can end up with some pretty motivated people.

    I am not suggesting that “motivation” is “good” and “less motivation” is “bad.” As you pointed out, one can be “highly motivated” to something bad due to a non-self-contradictory truth claim that is bad.

    >>> If a man’s behavior is only held in check by his religious views, he can easily use those same religious views as justification in carrying out atrocious acts… is the kind of internal transformation that makes a man do good for its own sake, not out of reward/punishment.

    Your rephrase helped. I agree with you.

  29. Jumping in a little late here, but seems to me that if a person is moral, kind, self-sacrificing, generous, etc., with NO thought of any possible reward either here OR in the hereafter (read – nonbelievers in an afterlife) that that is actually a higher form of moral reasoning than if a person is all those things with the thought that they are earning an eternal reward. Did that make sense? To me, loving ones neighbor solely for the sake of loving one’s neighbor is a higher form of moral reasoning than loving ones neighbor because they are trying to earn a reward in the afterlife. This type of moral reasoning is just as available to an atheist than it is to a deist.

  30. >>> To me, loving ones neighbor solely for the sake of loving one’s neighbor is a higher form of moral reasoning than loving ones neighbor because they are trying to earn a reward in the afterlife.

    There is a difference between loving one’s neighbors in return for a reward in the afterlife and loving one’s neighbors more because you believe that love will continue in the afterlife. I speak of the latter. You and Nick have adequetly spoken of the former. And I agree with you that the former is a poor reason for motivation.

  31. I like your explanation of sacrifice, Stephen. However, your “lesson” requires quite a leap. According to the tour guide, from enjoying stain glass windows to sitting in a decent pew, people sacrificed for benefits in this life. Therefore, your last paragraph’s connection to the remaining essay remains tenuous.

    Your dichotomous comparison between medieval religiosity and its contemporary secular alternatives is too narrow. I am not sure that you appreciate how broad and diverse “the left” is and you insinuate that anyone who is not religious is a member of the straw man left.

    More importantly, there are examples of leftist ideologies with a profound commitment to transcendent truth. Marx’s dialectic materialism is all about asserting a transcendent human nature against contemporary experience.

    Just like Roman Catholicism, Bolshevism and Anarchism have their martyrs, which is perhaps the most compelling evidence that the “left” can inspire sacrifice that is every bit as profound as that of their medieval predecessors.

    Fortunately, there are more rational alternatives to medieval Catholicism than Bolshevism. Pragmatism and critical rationalism come to mind. Their goal is not to bring about heaven on earth but to improve life incrementally.

    Your initial observation is fascinating. If you stick to it more closely, both logically and empirically, you can arrive at more interesting and more reliable conclusions.

  32. Michael Albert is LDS? Is he a Mormon Worker?

    http://www.themormonworker.org/about.php

    I think Anarchists should have an entry similar to “Stoics” in the Bible Dictionary (i.e., “There was much that was noble about their teaching, and [anarchism] represents a high form of religious belief attained to by man’s unaided efforts”).

    A Muslim friend and I have decided that anarchy is a soulless religion, which requires at least as much faith as do Islam or Mormonism: soulful alternatives to “anarchy” that provide the same ends, but which predicates those ideals with the knowledge that they are commandments from God and not just good ideas.

    Long live aristarchy!

    I once met the ZNet editor that’s a dude who likes to wear dresses…

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