Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nothing to lose but our chains?

Roger Scruton misses the old humanism of his parents' generation, at least in comparison to the new humanism of Richard Dawkins and the London bus slogan: "There probably is no God; so stop worrying and enjoy life." At least the old humanists believed in virtue and self-discipline.
.... Like so many modern ideologies, the new humanism seeks to define itself through what it is against rather than what it is for. It is for nothing, or at any rate for nothing in particular. Ever since the Enlightenment there has been a tendency to adopt this negative approach to the human condition, rather than to live out the exacting demands of the Enlightenment morality, which tells us to take responsibility for ourselves and to cease our snivelling. Having shaken off their shackles and discovered that they have not obtained contentment, human beings have a lamentable tendency to believe that they are victims of some alien force, be it aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, capitalism, the priesthood, or simply the belief in God. And the feeling arises that they need only destroy this alien force, and happiness will be served up on a plate, in a garden of pleasures. .... [more]
The American Spectator : The New Humanism

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