Monday, December 22, 2008

Charles Taylor and modern 'altruism'

I was terribly impressed by Charles Taylor's understanding of modern 'altruism': it is a codified, moralized altruism and blind to the consequences that it involves (A Secular Age, by Charles Taylor).

I shudder to think how many fathers are going to be burying their politically active sons after the election imposed by western governments this year (interestingly, Taylor mentions Mandela: he lied to his people about the first election - though Taylor doesn't mention this, probably out of politeness – but he approves of the code-defying behaviour of Mandela: he was after a 'higher' good, even if it wasn't rights-based, that is, formulaic. He waived the rights of the 'victim' for peace, to avoid civil war.)

Taylor contrasts this sort of 'goodness' with agape, which is a 'gut' feeling of love. Agape extends towards the living, breathing individual: the good Samaritan crossed a line, not because any code told him to (on the contrary), but because he was moved by
a man's suffering.

So many women have been raped in Bangladesh by politically active young men in the service of the political parties - and so many of these young men have killed each other!

Doesn't this move anyone, as the Samaritan was moved? NGO after NGO has evaded the subject, never mind western governments.

Here is an article that might be of interest: A Defence of Religion

It is, in fact, a defence of the irrational: I come at the subject from economics, since that's the discipline I (literally) laboured under. The whole idea of a rational producer-cum-consumer seems repellent since contrary to the evidence right under our noses!

No comments: