- Capitalism and Alternatives -
Hegel: The First Salvo
Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on March 22, 1999 at 12:30:00:
Spectres haunt this room, the spectre of moral postivism, the Spectres of Plato & Aristotle, and the Spectre of Hegel. The Sage of dishonesty, the theiving, befuddling con-philosopher in stark constrast to the character of honesty, that spirit of undertaking an inquiry tegether with the reader, which permeates the words of previous philosophers, disappears here completely. Every page witnesses that this so-called philosopher does not attempt to teach, but to bewitch his reader. What begins with an open revolt against inedividuality becomes a secret revolt against morality in any phase, form, or method. Witness:
As the ideal or material necessity imposes itself upon successive stages of history kings and presidents, interests and classes rise and fall; but the absolute necessity remains the same. Within each age the natural and real or ideal necessity of the absolute imposes its logic upon the situation of humanity. Each individual is but a mere pawn heeding the bidding of 'the logic of the situation'. And in its manifestations the absolute necessity shapes the morals and values containing the hopes, dreams, needs, faults, and passions of the individual abstractions to which it bestows being. These morals are moreover not of the individuals choosing but merely reflect the underlying logic contained within the continuity of the relative phase within the absolute and objective progression of history. Thus, we now possess the real and, therefore, materialist (Marx) or idealist (Hegel) interpretation and theory of morals.
But, you say, what about now? What about the immediate? Where is the morality at the present? But, you undialectical fool, the morality is right now, where it is really and ideally or materially, in its proper place as played out by the absolute and objective forces of history. We must not judge the present according to what our subjective minds, mere social abstractions really, concieve for the good. What is, is good and exists as it should relative to the absolute in its right and currently manifested form. Your subjective musings upon the nature of subjective morality are mere psychologisms, flights of fancy for the pitifully weak-minded without faith in the forces of the absolute in its march throughout history. What is right must be judged not through a subjective and immediate prism by the individual's mind, which is a mere abstraction anyways, but through the judgement and confirmation of objective history manifesting itself in the objective world.
Each morality, ideology, ideal ideality or material situation exists in its necessary historical stage and absolutely relative to the absolute in its relative absoluteness (okay, I couldn't resist, heh heh). But in the ideal or material inexorable march of history we can begin picking out threads discerning the nature of morality revealed in the narrative of the objective world. As we act in futility attempting to impose our simplistic psychological fancies upon the objective world, so we can only judge situations through the prism of moral historicism. What is moral is what has survived. The whole that relatively transcends upon a particular stage is what must and can only objectively be discerned as the right. So, we abstracts can only dimly percieve morality in its revealed form; and this form is history, and history in its turn gives us right. The only ideal, the only lesson in that history teaches us it "might makes right" and deriving from that "might is right". Morality is merely historical success.
In the Spirit of Hegel,
Disclaimer: I do not think this way but was merely showing the nature of moral positivism and how Hegel is possibly its most corrupt and virulent proponent since Plato. And it gives us a nice suegeway into the coming nihilism and existentialism. But moral positivism, revealed morality, does not allow for a real single morality, nor does it posit a pluralistic, functional morality, and not even an "I'm okay, you're okay" pragmatic feeling. No, it is the complete abdication of any morality of any stripe. Forswearing any attempt at dialog and understanding between individuals, which it views as mere abstractions anyway, it introduces and embraces the ideal of relationship as pure power politics and class interest. Morality is amorality, right is wrong, and the absolute is completely relative. Nihilism reigns transcendent.
What actually made sense with Hegel, relating to the analysis of simple historical trends and institutions, was actually stolen from several earlier philosopher including Herder, and especially the great Edumund Burke. I believe that Hegel sincerely did not realize what he was advocating and actually thought his was a genuine philosophy. However, his whole dialectic was a new attempt at mystic-philosophizing in the vein of the Platonic number. His lack of commitment to individual morality, although, I presume, sincere, opened the floodgates for 150 years of totalitarian fascism.