Tuesday 19 August 2014

The asymmetry of religious and secular politics

 A religious politics is one that tries to establish the conditions necessary for the practice of - and beyond that the thriving of - its religion. And the religion provides the meaning and purpose of life.

By contrast, secular politics has not meaning or purpose - it is a means not an end, and it is a means which denies the reality of ends.

In practice, therefore, secular politics never stops, it just keep on expanding - secular politics is totalitarian by its nature. Yet this totalitarianism is not about meaning or purpose - it is about means to an end which is denied.

So, secular politics might be about freedom (or equality) - but cannot answer the question 'freedom for what' (or equality for what?) - but must assert that freedom (or equality) is in and of itself good, and that there cannot be too much of it - so everything is about wrangles over whether or not policy x truly increases 'freedom'/ 'equality'.

Politics becomes a fight over definitions, and definitions are arbitrary and incomplete and biased - yet definitions direct policy because there is nothing else to direct it. So with secular politics there is a totalitarianism of definitions which, actually, nobody believes in - and the only alternative is another set of definitions.

(And this model itself contains the definition of 'religion' - a real religion is one which can coherently, without leading to paradox, provide meaning and purpose to politics. SO the traditional monotheistic religions are religions in this sense, while ideologies such as communism, fascism, socialism, liberal democracy are revealed as not really being religions.)

No comments: