Sunday, September 26, 2004

Highlights and Lowlights

Some highlights and lowlights from around the small world of blogs I swim through like a fish in the night - or something.

Hak Mao gets all hot under the kitty collar about religion, in response to a Nick Cohen article about secularism. OK, much of this I agree with, but I find myself equally hostile to those who are stridently anti-religious as those sorts of fundamentalists Hak mentions. In particular I agree with Hak that 'the emancipation of humanity is achievable through education and the equitable distribution of wealth and resources, not by prayer and hopes for the hereafter.' However, a hostile attitude towards religious belief is, I think as much a bigoted stance as that of say some US televangelist. Remember, after all that religion is not just the 'opium of the people' in some pejorative sense (indeed opium was used as a medicinal relase from pain) it is also the 'sigh of the oppressed' and the 'heart of heartless world'. Like everything, theology and religious belief must be seen in a dialectical way - it is changeable and it may have many positive and negative points about it simultaneously. It is also mistaken to see any religion as a homogenous mass and certainly wrong to denounce it as always reactionary. Think of the catholic priests amongst the Sandinistas, Camillo Torres, etc. Think of the many socialists who were and are also Christian, Jewish, Muslim etc.

Harry's Place get all reactionary and bothered about the 'cult' of Che Guevara. Apparently Che was a committed 'Stalinist'. These guys just don't give up.

Lenin provides us with an interesting essay in defence of the idea of the 'withering away of the state' in response to the ex-Marxist, Norman Geras' worries. In my Debsian Socialist guise I weigh in with a typically unfocussed stream of consciousness somewhere in the comments box.

Finally, Mahagonny gives the libertarians a good kicking over their misinterpretation of Hegel and also manages to get one of them to change his rightwing little mind over the aforesaid philosopher's arguments.

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