[OPE] The degenerate bourgeoisie (II): Tony Blair's last struggle against humanism and rationality

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sat Oct 11 2008 - 21:12:30 EDT

Excerpts from Tony Blair Speech on "Faith & Globalisation", The Cardinal's Lectures 2008, Westminster Cathedral, London. Thursday 3rd April 2008 http://www.keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com/blair-speech-on-faith-globalisation:

(1) "As you can see from the Presidential race in the U.S., there are new questions that cross traditional Party lines: free trade vs. protection; engagement in foreign policy or isolationism; supporting immigration or opposing it. In these, the issue is less left vs right but open vs closed. And they all derive from a fear that globalisation is throwing people, cultures, countries together but with no common sense of values or understanding of each other. The landmark Gallup Poll, being taken world-wide, demonstrates the huge centrality of inter-cultural sensitivity as to how globalisation is perceived."

A rational response is: help people get over their fear, and make an effort to understand others. The real problem is the culture of fear and intimidation that Mr Blair helped to create, and reinforced with his religious, racist and cultural hate propaganda against imaginary enemies and imaginary threats. Nobody is afraid of globalisation, because it means just anything you want it to mean, it means nothing. It is like saying "the world is round". What does exist is bourgeois imperialism: brutal violence, slavery and human degradation to support commercial exploitation, conquer new markets, and dominate foreigners. Mr Blair would like us to believe the British empire never happened, but it did, and it had real consequences for human development.

(2) "I believe, in this era of rapid globalisation, where power is shifting away from its traditional centre in the west, the world will be immeasurably poorer, more dangerous, more fragile and above all, more aimless - I mean without the necessary sense of purpose to help guide its journey - if it is without a strong spiritual dimension. Today, precisely because all the fixed points of reference seem unfixed and constantly in flux; today is more than ever, when we need to discover and re-discover our essential humility before God, our dignity as found in our lives being placed at the service of the Source and Goal of everything. I can't prove that religious faith offers something more than humanism. But I believe profoundly that it does."

A humanist response is: the whole problem is precisely that, as Mr Blair himself admits, he can never give any proof, and this is not a prudent orientation for human action and learning. It creates a politics by dogma rather than an experiential dialogue which verifies what's what. Humanists have never denied that all human beings have a spiritual side, that they must also believe some things in advance of proof, and that, to find and keep their personal balance, people apply their personal metaphysics. The problem is rather that powerbrokers want to deny the spirituality that people truly and empirically have, lest they escape from their domination. They want to harness that spirituality, with religious organisation. Mr Blair's "faith" idea just lets him off the hook from having his beliefs submitted to the test of experience, there is always another way out, to justify anything at all. It's just words, that can mean anything at all. In reality Mr Blair's "guidance of the world" is not wanted. For example, he was a leader in mass murder, in flagrant contravention of international law, and then he says "history will prove me right, that it was all for the best". He wants us to have faith now, and the proof will arrive when we are all dead. This is useless and gives license to do anything. Mr Blair's typical reply is "if I did not have faith, nothing would get done", but that is an open door, because the issue is what kind of faith, why faith has to substitute for known scientific fact, and what is the difference between this faith and a self-confident understanding arrived at through practical experience which is verifiable.

(3) "Faith answers to the basic, irrepressible, irresistible human wish for spiritual betterment, to do good, to think and act beyond the limitations of selfish human desires. More than that , it is rooted in a belief that the impulse to do good or try to, is not utilitarian or self-interested but is about putting aside self, in being aware of something bigger, more central, more essential to our human condition than self."

A spiritual response is: Mr Blair just believes some things should be sacrosanct, but he cannot explain why beyond asserting that (again without proof) societies might function better. Funny how Mr Blair just counterposes faith and desire. Doing good while "putting aside self" is mainly useless and harmful. Doing good should affirm, improve and express the self, and if it does not, there is something badly wrong. The exploiter is always going to say you should sacrifice yourself, to serve him. Everybody knows that you shouldn't reach out to help other people, if you really need help yourself, you just make things worse. The problem is not at all as Mr Blair claims that most people are just selfish, there is absolutely no scientific evidence for that. It is just that in class society, those that rule the roost can generally only get there, by ruthlessly pursuing their self-interest, and forcing the kind of cooperation on others that they want to see. Mr Blair has simply forgotten what it means that human beings are social beings from birth, and that they cannot even exist without social solidarity. Mr Blair just wants other people to fight his wars for him, and he wants religion to solve social problems - for example, christianity could bolster Western bourgeois civilisation. People could according to his theory feel dignity, although they are broke. He wants workers to sacrifice their lives for a greater good that is not provable, worse than Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky, who at least promised a tangible reward for sacrifice, here on earth. Blair's issue is essentially the old managerialist problem of, "how do we get people to cooperate, and stay in power over them, while extracting maximum wealth from them?". He thinks you can rope people in, with a bit of good ol' spirituality. Plus, if they think more of God, they are less likely to beat each other up. What a sad joke.

On balance, I think Mr Blair's analysis of human spirituality is fake, and that he is a pretty mad fanatic. He is basically a dishonest person, who habitually misrepresents the real motivation for his actions. No doubt his memoirs will also be a tissue of lies, a forgery. I suppose that he can go lecturing at some American university, and the American girls will go "gobble, gobble, gee wow, what an amazing depth of understanding", but here in Europe he will only get stern criticism about his viewpoint from thinking people. Truth is, he does not really know what is the matter with people, and he offers faith instead of finding out. He should go fishing.


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Received on Sat Oct 11 21:20:41 2008

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