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October 21, 2007


The SageKing

Before I start, a disclaimer, I don't not believe in the Abrahamic god, so I guess that makes me an Atheist, but I hold to Einstein and mine too is the god of Spinoza.

1, religion in Latin i think means "to Bind", multiculturalism can never "bind" as its based on relativism.

2, see above (bind)

3, The decline of the church has lead to a vacuum in moral leadership (be it right or wrong) that rightly the politicos don't want to take on so they take the easy root and replace god with relativism, which is not a very good swop.

4, once again it an issue of "bind", Kant deals with the importance of the nation state and its relationship to the law and the moral authority of all laws in "perpetual peace"

btw is that crimes committed by nationalism or national socialism? and what about the crimes of godless states and ideologies? the islamists would love to match their numbers would they not?

5, the problem with liberalism is it sees everybody as a intelligent functioning adult, it does not see children and the issues around rearing children at all. we cannot bring up or children in a moral vacuum in societies (plural) with moral black holes, and you need a basis for establishing that morality.

Morality can never be relative. objective and absolute, but never relative, if we cannot agree a foundation then we cant build a house.

Morality is shaped in the nursery, not as Marx said as a product of production, and thus just another relative product aside all the other products of morality.

we have to choose and we need a basis to choose on.

Sacks is right.

Chris Williams

Dover Beach.


Er, the ten commandments don't all start "thou shalt not". Only seven of them do.


«Party politics, with its amoral pandering to the interests of a handful of voters as described by the Daily Mail»

Well, I guess by now you know that I think that this is very wrong: it is 70% of voters, not a handful.

You are trying to imagine a case where a majority of virtuous, reasonable citizens are traduced by politicians that «lust for power without empirical or moral basis - is the embodiment of life "after virtue."». But those 70% of ''f*ck you I am fully vested'' voters think they have already paid their dues, and now all they want is to enjoy their entitlements.

Do you think that a government that imposes on police forces minimum numbers of ASBOs to issue does so out of fancy or because the vast majority of voters want more safety, at any cost to someone else?

One of the common and I reckon believable complaints of this government of wet, ''one country'' Tories is that they don't pander enough to the fear and greed of most voters, and they are afraid of being too far to the left, and they try to quell the popular ferocity within limits. A concern that the drier Tories don't have...

PS An interesting argument suggested by a mandarin for ''administrative detention'' was that it was a way to save suspects from lynching.

Chris Williams

Not sure bout that, Blissex. Research into attitudes on sentencing, for example, suggests that the population splits 3 ways. C.25% are cliche liberals, about another 35% are genuine hanger/floggers, but the 40% in the middle do not belong in either camp.

Once told what sentences offenders actually get, they tend to think that it's about right. The middle 40% are also largely positive about 'tough on the causes of crime' measures, like hoodie-hugging and providing more youth clubs.

It's in here:

Chapter 2 - although they've pulled the pdf elsewhere on the site with the numbers on it.


"Hangers and floggers"? Absurd. That would be to do them in the wrong order.

john b

You don't need to hang them /to death/...

Jon Heath

Sacks has unwittingly argued for the sort of moral anti-realism that he nominally opposes. If the only factor separating morality from taste is the existence of a social consensus surrounding the former, then there really are no moral facts, and morality will vary with society. What he ought to have said is that consensus is necessary to enforce the correct moral values (to which my reply would be that the correct values ought to be able to withstand some healthy competition).


Your counter-argument seems flawed. That because other factors can cause a given problem it undermines the original thesis.


Dr Sachs on the radio this morning - "Four thousand years of development of the Jewish language and we still don't have a word for understatement".

Probably not relevant but clearly a man with a healthy perspective on the world.


Um - honour they father and thy mother?
Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy?


Surely communism and the like are more to blame than religion.


I'm not sure I understand the terms of reference in this.

I think there still is a moral concensus, it is just that it is different than what religious leaders would like it to be. I think a moral concensus underlies or political system and our economic system. Nobody large segment of society is promoting rape, murder and theft as useful ways to interact with our neighbours.

But I think it is relative in the sense that it has different facets for different people in different circumstances (Systems of Survival Jane Jacobs).

We can still have a moral concensus but none-the-less have a moral crisis if we are led by the amoral (The Authoritarians Bob Altimeyer). Maybe, we are looking for the problem in the wrong place. By and large, and think people are every bit as moral as they ever have been.



I'm not quite sure what Runnymede was trying to contribute to the debate, was it meant to be an ironic joke or merely a personal demonstration of naivete?

Matt Munro

Yep because wiping out religion always ensures a spontanous outbreak of secularist utopia, as in Germany and Russia in the 1930s, Cambodia in the 1970s, etc etc. If you take religion away it's just replaced with an equivalent or worse moral framework minus the hocus pocus.


Matt Munro,
ha, ha, ha. Of course the PROCESS of wiping out religion is a moral problem in the first place. Where secularism has triumphed by stealth (much of modern Western Europe) no such problems are apparent.

Matt Munro

But it's not just the initial process, any secular ideology must, by definition, see any alternative ideology (religious or not) as a permanent threat to it's authority and try to restrict or destroy it. Academics publicly uttering anything un PC are victims of contemporary secular ideology as much as Gallileo was a victim of the Roman inquisition.

Stuart Munro

I realise that religion is everybody's whipping boy these days, but I think you are mistaking particular forms of it for the thing itself. Traditionally, the conclusions of a search for moral values became a religion, and prescriptive. But it was really the process of trying to determine what is moral that was so helpful to the individual. What the individual decides is moral they may keep to.
Derivatives of Marx's thought were not coincidentally called the god that failed, but the new pseudo-secular morality that prevailed in Communist countries differed from major religious norms and proved to be remarkably repugnant.
To a large extent modern aggressive secularism is a derivative of those same Marxist ideals, and the result is unpleasant. It is rather like a prisoner's dilemma that was resolved by appointing a supernatural arbiter, only now the arbiter has been removed.
The most aggressively self-interested profit in the confusion, (Burke's arriviste wealthy) and the church or religion now that the church is essentially no longer a political entity, takes the blame.
Who has the stones to write a 21st century Moral Sentiments? Maybe Sacks.

Matt Munro

The secular religions are already taking shape. Pick and mix from a post modern potpourri of political correctness, environmentalism, health, anti-globalisation, vegetarianism, the list is endless. All contain the necessary components of a religion. A moral framework, a means of imposing social stratification, the socially endorsed expression of prejudice, a lifestyle prescription, magical thinking, apocalyptic outcomes, purittanical self denial, opportunities for self gratifying pontification, and all with us as "god", of course.

Stuart Munro

Well anyway,

The result of all this wonderfully liberating post-Sausurrean relativism is that the political world has moved markedly to the right in the last 20 years. Blame religion for that.


"Secular religions" is a nonsense formulation if ever there was one. (Secular by definition being non-religious). In fact, the whole Munro posts (both of them) read to me as meaningless mumbo-jumbo. There may be gems of insight in there, but unless they are illustrated by specific examples I for one will regard them with my customary scepticism.

Matt Munro

Reason - I don't think I have a monpoloy on mumbo jumbo, or gems of insight on this blog, but are you honestly saying you see no parallels between say, environmentalism and christian puritanism ? Both are ideological systems of control that acheive the same end by (not really so) different means.

And I did give a specific example (Gallileo vs the inquisition and JD Watson vs the acadedemic establishment).

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