Sunday, July 09, 2017

Humanist Religions

Harari argues that the last 100 plus years has been dominated by what he calls the humanist religions. The Twentieth Century, in his analysis, was dominated by an epic struggle between three versions of humanism: liberalism, evolutionary humanism (culminating in Naziism), and socialist humanism, with Marxist-Leninism. He summarizes the various critiques that the warring branches leveled against each other. Here is his version of the socialist critiques of classical liberalism.

What good is the liberty to live where you want when you cannot pay the rent; to study what interests you when you cannot afford the tuition fees; and to travel where you fancy when you cannot buy a car? Under liberalism, went a famous quip, everyone is free to starve. Even worse, by encouraging people to view themselves as isolated individuals, liberalism separates them from their fellow class members and prevents them from uniting against the system that oppresses them. Liberalism thereby perpetuates inequality, condemning the masses to poverty and the elite to alienation.

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (pp. 261-262). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

That's pretty much my critique of Libertarianism, an extremist version of classical liberalism. Of course we now know that socialism in general, and Marxism-Leninism in particular, have failed miserably in bringing the promised benefits to the masses. It just doesn't match up well with human nature.