Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Four tough questions for the secular right


1. What do you want? And what do you not want?

Is your list any more than a mere wish list? If so, what binds-together these core values and necessary exclusions?

2. Having listed these requirements, is it possible to sustain a society which gives you what you want, and not what you do not want? What are the mechanisms by which your ideal society would be maintained? Are they plausible? Are they strong enough?

Or are you just engaged in day-dreaming?

(Anyone can come up with their own ideal utopia - but in the real world, stable options are heavily constrained.)

3. How would your ideal society stop itself recapitulating the course of all existing Western societies?

In other words, what is to prevent the re-emergence of radicalism, communism, socialism and political correctness? - in other words, what is to prevent the return of that suicidal embrace of active self-destruction which prevailed in all Western societies, at more or less the same time, apparently independently.

4. In such a society as you conceive, what will motivate people? And are these motivations plausibly strong enough to resist relentless, implacable and dedicated foes who cannot be convinced of the virtues of your favoured society and who are prepared to sacrifice pleasure, experience pain, and even willingly to die to get what they want?

Because these are people which will try to destroy modernity and which must therefore be-stopped for modernity to survive; and since they will not voluntarily stop themselves from doing this, who will stop-them?

Who (in your ideal society) will draw a line and fight and (if necessary) die to stop people who otherwise will not stop?

And why, in your ideal society, will the people who matter, really do this, actually make their best efforts to stop implacable and highly-motivated foes when we know that such people will not do so at present (will indeed assist the implacable foes of modernity).


At root this is just one question: what would be different about your desired secular society which would plausibly make it self-maintaining when all previous secular societies have become progressively more self-destroying?