Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Black Mass: so if we can't have a Utopia then...?

Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia sets out to make two major points.  Firstly, that the secular political ideologies which sprung out of the Enlightenment, such as liberalism, capitalism, communism and more recently neo-conservatism are all deeply rooted in Christian notions of history as a narrative process.  In other words, the Judeo-Christian legacy views history as an unfolding story, with a beginning and more importantly, with a definite end point.  Different ideologies have taken this endpoint to be different things, either a bloody final battle between good and evil, or a catastrophe followed by a restoration of harmony or even Communism.   Unlike in other cultures (which are very vaguely defined by Gray) which view history as a cycle which repeats, the Judeo-Christian model is set on the idea of progress and movement towards a final destination.  Secondly, Gray wants us to believe that this is not the case and that history is headed nowhere and that any attempts at creating a Utopia will merely end up in bloodshed.  As a result, he advocates a purely real politik form of small c conservatism, whereby we make changes as they are needed, stay pragmatic and embrace pluralism and religion without enforcing any one creed or ethnic identity.

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