Sunday, September 21, 2008

Elitism, Politics & Religion

http://www.newsweek.com/id/160080

The above article is written by author Sam Harris ("The End of Faith", "Letter to a Christian Nation") about the underlying issues within the political arena that have been brought to light by the candidacy of Sarah Palin for Vice President. Putting aside the elements of being a Republican or Democrat (which I admit is difficult given what each party brings to the conversation), the article raised a few questions for me.

Does political elitism equate snobbery? It would not be looked upon negatively to expect our soldiers, doctors, athletes, or pilots to be elite (as Harris points out). But when it comes to the political field, elitism carries the element of snobbery to it. Being knowledgeable about the world; its policies and practices, seeing power and desiring to be the best all of a sudden is looked down upon. I see elements of Nietzsche's master and slave moralities here-we want people to lead that are like us, we want to see compassion, pity, etc.

From our reading on Durkheim, morals cannot be divorced from religion. Is it possible then to have a democracy that is neutral on religion but has moral principles? Or are we forced to have the religion card played time and again? Whose religious morals do we follow or are they the same? I sense pluralism around the corner with this argument. There is talk of wanting God back in the government/classroom (at least there was in the environment I was brought up it) but whose God or view of God?

1 comment:

richie w said...

well, according to feuerbach, whoever seems more closely related to God, and thus is in a closer relationship with God, acting in ways pleasing to God, that person is closer to who they "ought" to be, which is God, since God represents all that is good, or as Augustine might say, the supreme Good. thus, if elitism does equate to snobbery, and we elect our leaders and legislators with a moral bias, whoever projects themselves as being who they "ought" to be, and thus closer to God, then surely they wouldn't be snobbish. unless, of course, God can be snobbish.