S.T. Karnick in Books and Culture—The Fate of Secularism

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Secularism is and has always been a concerted effort by a relatively small group of people to increase their power and enrich themselves by declaring the great majority of their neighbors to be dangerously intolerant and deluded. [Hunter] Baker's suggested alternative to secularism is simple: pluralism. "In a pluralistic environment," he writes, "we simply enter the public square and say who we are and what we believe." Whereas secularists require "that individuals with religious reasons pretend to think and act on some other basis," we should recognize that everybody has motives and none has a right to claim hegemony over the discussion: "The focus should be on the wisdom and justice of particular policies, not on the motives for the policies."

That sounds wonderful, but it's difficult to imagine why secularists would want to go along with it. Baker does not say, nor does he explain the book's title. I'll take a stab at it. Perhaps the "end" to which Baker refers is not a finish but instead a goal—as in a political end. Perhaps it does not matter if secularists refuse to accept a social contract of pluralism. Maybe clarifying that the end of secularism is the enrichment and empowerment of secularists will embolden the great majority of American society, the most religious economically advanced nation in the world, to insist that choices be made on the basis of "the wisdom and justice of particular policies" instead of who offers them and why.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism

Posted February 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. IchabodKunkleberry wrote:

The secular elites of the West have grown ever more shrill since the
stupendous and total collapse in Europe of that murderously
secular experiment known as communism.

February 24, 3:24 am | [comment link]
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