amateur hour in politics 101...
Communism: The USSR and China (where no democracy had yet existed) banned religions, private enterprise and private ownership of real estate. Politically, only communism was condoned. In other words, authoritarian and totalitarian communist regimes evolved. And they were expansionist, seeking to spread their doctrines across as much of the of world as they could.
Capitalism: By its very nature, expansionist. The Western reaction to communism was that the Christian and Jewish religions increased the intensity of their courtship of the business world (and the business world increased the intensity of its courtship of these religions) for the mutual benefit of putting up a united front against what they saw as a mortal threat to their very existence, including the democracies which had evolved. Similarly, the Christians and the Jews were driven closer together by this common threat. And anti-communism gained a huge power boost.
But in their fear and panic, the West, and America in particular, also became authoritarian and totalitarian, not just with regard to how they dealt with communism at home, but also the type of regimes and political movements they would allow in the countries over which they had power. And in this regard America stands out as having been the bloodiest and most globally ambitious. And as we can now see, this has predictably morphed into a religious fundamentalism that is wedded to Big Business and which has hijacked politics to the degree that America's behaviour in the world has become identical to that of an authoritarian and totalitarian regime. They have become that which they feared.
Communism's own behaviour has a lot to do with the kind of monster America has become. And perhaps the machinations of the early capitalists originally created the monster that communism became.
Enter socialism and secularism in the West: Capitalism sees socialism as no different from communism and fears it just as much. Socialism comes hand in hand with secularism and secularism scares the pants off some Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Yes, there are some Christians, Jews, and Muslims who are are politically secularist (and/or socialist), but I'm talking about the secularism driven by atheism and agnosticism, and those who see secularism as a means to becoming (or remaining) free from the intrusion of someone else's religious beliefs or values into their lives.
And so, a side-play to the communist/capitalist bunfight has been the increased threat religions have felt from the increased stridency, militancy and authoritarian tone of secularism in open societies. I think this has helped boost fundamentalism not just in the Judeo-Christian world, but also in the Islamic world (Bin Laden thinks he's waging war against secularism.) A fundamentalist mindset seems to have hijacked secularism just as effectively as it has the other major religions of the West.
Fundamentalism, absolutism , intolerance, monoculturalism. All of these now reside just as much in secularism as they do in the other religions. Secularism has been hijacked by extremism.
Speaking to the left (because there's no point in trying to speak to the right), get this: There are moderate, left-leaning Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Zionists, just as there are moderate, left-leaning secularists. If secularists keep alienating their moderate, religious brothers and sisters, the left is doomed to perpetual impotence.
Similarly, these religious, moderate, left-leaning people want nothing to do with violent and destructive politics, so if true pacifism doesn't become the left's dominant paradigm, left wing politics will just continue to be a bunfight between various ineffectual, small, extremist factions, great for causing death, destruction, retribution and disruption, but not big enough to get a democratic mandate. And quite frankly, I think the world has moved on from this style of "politics".
The common enemy we face today is fundamentalism, absolutism, intolerance and monoculturalism. In other words, extremism.
It's been said that I teach best that which I most need to learn...
Hope you found this interesting enough to want to leave a comment. Thanks for your time. For intellectual stuff, read other blogs.