sábado, 15 de agosto de 2015

Rationalistic accounts of morality and human nature of the kind that undergird libertarianism have been around long enough...

Catholic Philosopher Challenges Modern Spiritual Wasteland


In his new book Moral Matters, Irish Catholic philosopher Mark Dooley presents a lucid appraisal of the ongoing calamity of liberal modernity, and a passionate and often moving account of the world of meaning that liberalism has so extensively eroded and threatens to completely destroy.

At the heart of Moral Matters is the idea of home; homebuilding and homecoming are Dooley’s chief motifs. Against the traditional homestead and the pastoral outlook that sustains it Dooley contrast the spiritual wasteland of “Cyberia” and its ethic of instant gratification. Cyberia, the virtual world of video games and “social networking” websites, of fast food and online shopping, is a realm of immediacy and isolation, a place where lasting attachments are shunned in favor of fleeting exchanges and superficial allegiances. Where the customs of our homeland foster enduring fellowship and allow us to live in harmony with our neighbors and with nature, in Cyberia all those customs are rejected or perverted. Inhabiting Cyberia means submitting to a state of amnesia, forgetting how to see the world as home and thereby forgetting the demands of responsibility and reverence. “When you no longer regard somewhere as home,” Dooley warns, “when you no longer perceive it as a source of selfhood, it very soon becomes derelict.”

A defense of patrimony and a call to reverently submit to the demands of absent generations runs throughout Moral Matters. As Dooley puts it early on, “we are products of the past…, individuals whose identity is not of our own making but forged from the sacrifices of others. Repudiating the past, therefore, is nothing less than a repudiation of oneself.” This attitude is a fundamentally conservative one, for “when conservatives look at the world, they see an omnipresence of ghosts. For them, all objects bear witness to their creators.” Where the liberal is “blind to the reality that he is a product of those he now endeavors to erase from memory” and “[ceases] to identify existing things as a bequest from the dead, one to be cherished and maintained for absent others,” the conservative, by contrast, understands that “it is only by recognizing the dead and by honoring their sacrifices that we can establish who we are and where we came from… It is only by giving new life to our ghosts, by following their direction and continuing their work, that we can find our way back home.” Rarely has Burke’s vision of society, as a trust between the living, the unborn, and the dead, been so ardently or so powerfully affirmed.


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