Saturday, November 08, 2008

Moral Politics

I’m reading George Lakoff’s Moral Politics concurrent with Politics, Law and Morality by Soloviev. The former is a kind of psychologized analysis of morality and politics while Sloviev takes a position that is, perhaps, more enlightening for anyone wondering about the current drift of American politics.

“Perhaps one thing we might learn from the history of the twentieth century is that liberal societies overlook spiritual questions at their peril. We may have something important to learn about the requirements for a lasting pluralism from Dostoevsky, Soloviev and Bakhtin. Pluralism demands not an absence of values but an open dialogue among them. Capitalism and democracy deliver the goods, no doubt about it but do they deliver the Goods?”

--from the Intro by Gary Saul Morson

I hear a lot of echoes in Soloviev on issues that I focused on heavily in my first draft ms: Politics and the Soul: Adventures on the River of Gold. Whatever one might think that God really cares about, there is no doubt that western morality and spirituality, either rightly or wrongly, is founded on the notion that God’s goodness demands some behaviors be elevated above others as a standard or even as the basis on which one might approach the deity. To assume that God might be neutral on issues such as homosexuality and abortion is to run counter to the intuitions of western morality. There is, perhaps, a desire to reinvent morality on the basis of a kind of materialism that dispenses with the notion that some behaviors may be pleasing to the deity and some not. The consequences of this sort of re-moralizing, divorced, so to speak, from a transcendent God are seldom reflected on (except by conservatives) as running counter to the mindset, for example, of the Founding Fathers.

It is very, very difficult for me to accept homosexual behavior as normative, except relative to those who have the orientation. I find it far more satisfying to understand that human beings are simply and primarily pan sexual upon physical maturity and that all sexual behavior, despite a huge variety of observable inclinations, is chosen behavior and thus open to the calculus of moral reward or condemnation. I have chosen to think about this on the material level in terms of energy consumption using the model of the chakras but this is only one model—one that happens to support the spiritual model but it is the spiritual model—that some behaviors are pleasing in the sight of God and others not acceptable that is at the root of my focus on sexuality.

“My father desires worshippers in spirit and truth.” This presupposes that there is something called truth and not just the agnosticism of Pilate.

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