[Marxism] Matter-of-Fact Materialism vs. Militant Materialism (was"Political Islam")

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Sun Aug 20 07:22:57 MDT 2006

From: "Yoshie Furuhashi" <critical.montages at gmail.com>
> In my view, socialists in the 21st century should be matter-of-fact
> materialists.  Militant materialism belongs in the 18th century, the
> age of Enlightenment in the West where materialism was still an
> anathema and philosophers had to fight for toleration and make space
> for science.  That intellectual struggle is already over: materialism
> won.  That is why even socially conservative Muslims, Catholics, etc.
> -- with a minor exception of Protestant fundamentalists in the United
> States -- usually have no trouble practicing and promoting science,
> including Darwinism and population genetics.

Can you clarify your precise definitions of 'matter-of-fact materialism' and 
'militant materialism' (or even simply 'materialism' as opposed to 
'historical materialism' or 'dialectical materialism'). I'm not picking 
holes, I'm genuinely unclear as to the nature of your use of the concepts.
> Moreover, militant materialism is irrelevant in countries like Japan
> and China where religion as a matter of personal faith rather than
> social rituals has never become the norm.

But how does that make it irrelevant? Are not the social rituals engendered 
by instituitionalised religious practices akin to some vestiges of 
feudalism, to which a historical materialist analysis is relevant?
> Lastly, militant materialism isn't necessarily the best weapon against
> social conservatism on such things as women's rights, sexual freedom,
> racial equality, disability rights, and so on.

Not always, but those forms of oppression frequently have a material basis 
as well (especially in the case of women's rights and racial equality; the 
material oppression of women and minority races within a nation are palpable 
and primary).

> Materialism is no more
> inherently favorable toward women's rights, sexual freedom, racial
> equality, disability rights, etc. than idealism is.

The terms are getting so broad as to be almost meaningless here. What type 
of 'idealism' and 'materialism'?

> Gender and sexual
> oppressions, racial oppression, oppression of the disabled, and so on
> have begun to be legitimized more often in the name of nature and
> science than in the name of God and religion, at least since the 19th
> century.  Fascist eugenics is the extreme example of that secular
> trend.
Certainly, but those are false ideological conceptions of nature and 
science. More than simple misappropriation, they are full distortion. Unless 
one wants to be a full-on postmodernist and argue that science is nothing 
more than an ideological system with no greater claims to truth than any 


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