Wednesday, July 26, 2006

When Objectivism Is Destructive

Polanyi believed that "Objectivism" created a particular moral problem for the "modern mind." On the one hand, the effectiveness of the scientific revolution intensified the human thirst for moral perfection and for a truly just society. These impulses Polanyi thought the inheritance of the Christian civilization of Western Europe. On the other hand, the objectivist principle caused a deep cynicism and doubt about all traditional and received wisdom. Instead of thinking that the modern problem was a kind of moral decline, Polanyi thought the modern problem an intensified moral impulse diverted from the controlling channels of traditional morality. The result was a flood of moral fanaticism which produced both Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia. The hallmark of this fanaticism was a horror of hypocrisy. All moral claims were seen as unreal and capable of being reduced to the outworking of biological, psychological or class dynamics. This leads to a hatred of existing moral traditions as hypocritical and a fervor for building a new world now on the wreckage of the old. With great moral enthusiasm and a sense of righteous indignation modern Europeans literally destroyed themselves in the service of utopian visions. The process by which the moral sense becomes unmoored from common sense notions of good and justice and then justifies what would have heretofore been called immorality in the name of a greater good, Polanyi calls "dynamo-objective coupling" or "moral inversion."
-Dr. Leander Harding

via Pontifications

No comments: