Hello to one of the few remaining intellegent capitalists....
: My contention would be that Marxism seeks not so much to do away with religion as to displace it. The idea that one 'may not have any other gods before me' can be seen in the hard-core orthodoxy of any 'good' Marxist; the idea that "God is dead", popularized by Sartre, captured that Nietzschian attitude that we might become our own gods.
Well that really does depend where you stand DC the 'good' Marxist you are describing is more than likely a Bolshevik and if you take a historical perspective and read Rosa Luxemburg she argued that from the onset Lenin was betraying Marx. Then there is the phenomena of Marxist Humanism, it is atheistic but it definitely doesnt attempt to make Gods of humanity or state or party or leadership.
Although point taken anyone who is going to defend Marxism from a religious perspective, or simply from a libertarian one given it's record, is going to have difficulties if it isnt impossible, it is easier to say that while there where points there that your actual perspective, influenced as it is, is your own not some book or orthodox source. It's the only libertarian approach too.
:Similarly, the Christian idea of compassion and self-sacrifice is supplanted by that rhetoric invoking the "New Soviet Man", a figure that resembles in many ways the biblical Samaritan, the "Boxer" of Orwell, the loyal servant to the Party elite.
I'm afraid not, do you know any Christian Socialists or Catholic reformers? They would disagree. The majority of religious socialists are of the non-transformatory variety (EG dont favour participatory economics or any radical change) and believe that class struggle can be overcome through Social Partnership, that is the uniting of capitalist elites, Labour elites and community and political representatives to create collaborative advantage. They are very hot on the social duties of everyone from the individual up to the corporate but essentially not anti-capitalist.
:Liberation theology is thus, also, a movement that harkens back to the future - the post-religious roots of socialism invite a call back to that temporal realm, in support of a secularism that rejects the divine itself.
I disagree (you got to know I would), liberation theology (LT) especially it's contemporary varients are more biblical than political, I mean refer back to the post I made about the bible who needs marx when you have that lefty Jesus? However I am possibly more socialist than Christian in that I believe secularism in public life is a prerequisite to freedom, not in the private realm but definitely the public realm otherwise you end up with a religious despotism.
: In that socialism is a "Christianity without God", one need only look to the practical application of this paradigm to see in what way this system clashes with the realities of human nature (a failure, incidentally, that all too often can be seen in the historical record of traditionally Judeo-Christian societies as well). The absence of a practical, tangible God creates a vacuum that almost begs to be filled, and there are an overabundance of claimants to that position in any culture. That 'revolutionary fervor' so often invoked by these 'movements' (here, again, a metaphor of change, of advance) invariably leads to dictatorship and tyranny, as the public seeks that entity that might invoke the coming Utopia by a perfected exhibition of the appropriate traits. The Party, the Fuhrer, the People's Will, the dictatorship of the proletariat - all these terms become infused with a quasi-divine authority, allowing their secular priesthood license to commit any sort of crime in their name. In this way, the adherents of these philosophies become the heirs of the Inquisition, in word and deed as much as in form.
Very sound explanation DC, in a lot of unsuffisticated socialists, generally bolsheviks or some varient like Maoists, that's what it really is about, a godless religion that they can devote themselves to delegating all freewill and finding happiness through complete conformity. A bit like Huxley's Brave New World. However any socialist really worth his salt who's, done his homework, thought it out and debated it with people like you who have sound points will take all this into account and make the freewill and non-conformity paramount.
: In regards to capitalism, one has an easier time of it. Capitalism claims no "New Free-Market Man"; one can only find the American rhetoric of the democratic citizen to rival the power of communist icons. In point of fact, the only symbol of worship is capital, the Almighty Buck (that ridiculous Randian sigil, the golden dollar sign, could only have been borne in the mind of a Neo-Marxist Russian reprobate). The capitalist seeks only profit, desires only to become wealthy and lazy. He acknowledges the crassness of the material, practically revels in it. Jerry Springer could never become popular amongst Marxists.
I'm not so sure about that, that's what capitalists themselves would like to think but in order to popularise their rethoric among the downtrodden and losers in the 'great competition' they have had to construct a mass movement of neo-conservatives, authoritarians, Intolerant 'Christians' etc. I mean capitalism in the US means a million different things to each of its' proponents and I doubt if they would all agree with your definition.
:Socialism promises prosperity for all, without the laziness. This is the main failing of the philosophy, of course; that lack of the ultimate bourgeois pursuit is its inevitable Achilles heel. In capitalism, that laziness is also an unkept promise, but the energies such promise invokes allows for a substantially better standard of living for those who live under its spell. For no rich man can sleep soundly in a free-market society, surrounded by competitors and would-be competitors - in these sorts of regimes, it is the corporate CEO that is the hardest worker of all, even as the most talented representative of his peer group.
I doubt very much if he's the hardist worker at all he maybe stressed as fuck, which increasingly isnt even the case given the tendencies of the corporates towards cartelism and co-operation against working people.
:Were it not so, he would soon be replaced, without the benefit of a coup or purge. Capitalism is a self-correcting methodology, and in this lies its strength.
Not really, it isnt self correct it's just the rule of the worst in the human characture emphasised and promoted as the natural good and best, it isnt really self correct either it just appears to be, if you consider all the things that went on in Soviet Economies, price fixing etc. they are still going on under capitalism the only difference is the command economy is under private rather than public control. People tend to forget there is no real difference between the Soviets and the Capitalists just different people doing the planning.
: In the secular world, capitalism is king. We must submit to the fact that Mammon rules the secular realm, especially if we give even the slightest regard to the inclinations of the proletariat - not that beast of Marxist mythology, that saintly creature of legend, but the actual article, in the flesh, as he really is.
That's why I could care less about the 'proletariat' however I do know that working people have been immiserated by Capitalism and promise to be in the future only more so, so why should capitalism be considered might and good?
:Take away his identity as an accumulator of wealth, and all that remains is tribal affiliations, Rand's "brotherhood", the curse of ethnicity and nepotism and the vicious rivalries they foster.
But do they really accumulate wealth? Or is it just commodities? What is a big bank account other than a record of missed opportunites all the holidays, drinks and meals, entertainment that have been missed by the saver?
: I think that the answers to the problems of Western society (and, in regards to those in other social systems, ours are positively trivial) can be found amongst the intelligensia, even in the ideas of those lured by Marxism, or by other religious fanatics.
Elitism the begining and end of Capitalism.
:There was a pope who said that he might find ideas amongst the Marxists worthy of expousing, yet not be a Marxist.
This the historical confusion of Marxism with Socialism and socialist economics or social organisation.
:One might bless the troops of Mussolini without embracing fascism - the hope that the Lord might forgive the follies of war can extend even to those practitioners within the camp of "Il Duce".
Yes but a church with courage would have said that the followers of Mussolini where excommunicated and could not be blessed, I mean they pulled that shit on the LT's and they are like so, so not a threat when compared to WW2 facism.
:What I would remind those who would tamper with the foundations of Western society is that the foundation of that system is capitalism - and it has proven to be a strong one. Remove that core, strip that society of the engine that makes it, and every industrial society that has ever existed, successful and prosperous, of the mechanism of personal profit and self improvement and self-ordained success, and you crush any hope of 'social improvement' you might optimistically entertain.
I would reject that entirely how did the world survive before Capitalism? Was it baseless?
:For when I am separated from responsibility for my own success and livelihood, no welfare state can replace the sense of self-respect that is lost with it. When my ability to purchase freely is made a crime, no wall of laws can stem the inevitable centralization to follow, for some expert of the state shall need to decide in my place what I must have, and what is merely a luxury, and I shall be beholden to him, and he shall be my patron.
The statist mirage, the horror of the welfare state, DC these ideas are no doubt important to you, I mean no mockery but really do you think that the people who will pay the price of downsizing, technological revolution and automation, as work disappears and the information economy cant provide jobs for all will really appreciate this rethoric when they cant afford to buy food or a washing machine or a TV set or a Fridge or any of those commodities you take for granted?
:To ignore that simple fact is to ignore over one hundred years of socialist failure, and to turn a blind eye to the clearly evident nature of the modern welfare systems of the West.
I hope your scaving critic of Corporate Welfare is following on because I cant wait to see how the Corporations are suffering through dependency on the state and the population for the three way sub(you pay if you actually buy the thing at the inflated invented price, you pay through taxes which have been translated into subsidies or tax breaks for the rich, you pay from the inevitable environmental impact of the whole production process, the private goods and the public bads)
: P.S. How's that for an overeducated conservative hack historian? Huh?
No bad, I hope this response can enlighten you a bit further.