Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hijacked by Winstoninabox

Quoth winstoninabox: "Back in Yesterday's Men, Dr. Clam, you felt there was some incongruity between Points 9 and 12. Would you like to paraphrase it?"

You might recall that points nine and twelve were:

NINTH: The separation of church and state and the separation of ideology and state are imperatives. The state should encourage maximum freedom for different moral, political, religious, and social values in society. It should not favor any particular religious bodies through the use of public monies, nor espouse a single ideology and function thereby as an instrument of propaganda or oppression, particularly against dissenters.

TWELFTH: We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community in which all sectors of the human family can participate. Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and a world order based upon transnational federal government. This would appreciate cultural pluralism and diversity. It would not exclude pride in national origins and accomplishments nor the handling of regional problems on a regional basis. Human progress, however, can no longer be achieved by focusing on one section of the world, Western or Eastern, developed or underdeveloped. For the first time in human history, no part of humankind can be isolated from any other. Each person's future is in some way linked to all. We thus reaffirm a commitment to the building of world community, at the same time recognizing that this commits us to some hard choices.


Perhaps this is not really a contradiction, just an indication of how the axioms should be nested! Historically, systems of federal government draw more and more power to themselves until- if you are in the UK- 60% of all legislation is initiated from Brussels or – if you are in Australia- people start talking about abolishing the states. Where there is one system of world law, and one transnational federal government, the government cannot really ‘encourage maximum freedom for different moral, political, religious, and social values in society.’ The claim is made in the humanist manifesto that governments should be free of ideology, but this is not possible. In truth, these different ‘moral, political, religious, and social values’ will tend be expressed in quite different systems of law and government and the way to encourage maximum freedom is to have many different nations with different governmental ideologies, and allow free movement of people across national borders.
Thus these two points seem to imply that 1>2: ‘We are all the same’ is more important than ‘We should be able to do what we want’, so ensuring that all people have the same choices is more important than ensuring that the widest possible range of choices is theoretically available. This seems consistent with the traditional association- or anecdotal association, anyway- of secular humanism with socialism.

6 comments:

winstoninabox said...

Could it be the case that the humanists who wrote the manifesto might well recognize that there is some incongruity between points, but not care that there is. This is because they consider each point to stand alone as an ideal.

And so when the two points 9 and 12 are extrapolated into ideals, there there is some friction bewteen them. However the humanists still put these ideals down in the hope that the friction can be alleviated by a technological breakthrough, a moral upswing etc.

Just a thought.

Dr. Clam said...

My libertarian self sees 9 as an ideal, and 12 as a regrettable necessity provoked by the horrors of modern war; my theocratic self sees 12 as an ideal, and 9 as dangerous nonsense. I can see how these ideas can co-exist in the one doubelthinking person as independent ideologies, but not how they can be happily accommodated within one ideology unless one is subordinate to the other!

winstoninabox said...

Dr. Clam said, "The claim is made in the humanist manifesto that governments should be free of ideology, but this is not possible."

Actually a closer reading of the manifesto (and a little shoehorning) gives:

"It should not favor any particular religious bodies through the use of public monies, nor espouse a single ideology and function thereby as an instrument of propaganda or oppression, particularly against dissenters." [obviously my italics both times]

So rather than a state devoid of ideology, could they be claiming it should be a state that embraces every ideology!

I like that!

Marco said...

Just many ideologies. There are mutually incompatible ideologies, and ones that are incompatible with other points of the manifesto.

winstoninabox said...

You are of course correct. I've gone too far the other way. Big-hearted the humanists may be, but I don't think their going to be supportive of a return of slavery.

So I reduce the claim to:
So rather than a state devoid of ideology, could they be claiming it should be a state that fosters any ideology that is not incompatable with the ideologies of humanisim!

Dr. Clam said...

Exactly! That is what they are *really* saying. This makes them just like every other ideology.