[Marxism] Islamist, Socialist revolutions do not mix

Haines Brown brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Fri Oct 5 05:19:04 MDT 2007

> PS: As an aside, the real lunatic fringe of the Religious Right in
> the U.S.--the "Christian Reconstructionists"--are so fundamentally
> anti-modernist that they want to restore the practice of stoning of
> adulterers.  So, wouldn't this wipe out most of the U.S. government
> and almost the entire of the capitalist class?  Just an
> observation....

ML, I'm not challenging the truth of your aside, but it leaves me a
little uncomfortable. My comment here is not directed specifically at

The term "modernism" is ambivalent, for it is sometimes used to refer
to whatever is contemporary or recent, and sometimes it refers to a
specific era that arose with the Enlightenment and is associated with
capitalism. For example, with decorative styles, "modern" is a _past_
style that most be consciously recovered (Bauhaus, Art Deco,
1950s-style home decoration, etc.) and is not at all the same as
"contemporary". The term "post-modern" is used to imply a rejection of
Enlightenment ideas, and as such can justifiably be used to refer to a
new intellectual current that is emerging in recent decades to replace
the Enlightenment tradition. For example, Marxism today could well be
described as recovering as a post-modern Marxism - a rejection of the
Enlightenment values associated with its earlier career (as long as it
is not also associated with some objectionable and well-known excesses
of post-modernist thinking). I suspect, contrary to the views of many
noteworthy Marxists, that the development of Marxist thinking has been
held back by the Enlightenment heritage and is right now entering upon
a new era of vitality (but I don't wish to pursue this side issue

I mention this because it may be that the religious right's rejection
of modernism might possibly be in some cases more a rejection of
capitalism than a desire to flee to an imagined past. However, a lot
depends on just who we include in the "religious right".

My point is that there are a lot of issues here that need some careful
thought rather than hasty generalization. I say this as the husband of
a fundamentalist evangelical preacher and musician. My own experience
could offer empirical evidence pointing in quite different directions,
all at the same time. When we use the term "religious right", do we
mean political authoritarians who happen to harness religion to their
agenda, or do we mean people of a conservative religious faith who
instinctively gravitate to the political right simply because that is
the only people raising the kind of issues of concern to them?

I could go on, but my aim here is only to suggest we be careful when
we use terms such as "religious right"; that we not too quickly assume
a close functional relationship between political and religious views;
that we not assume too quickly that the outlook of religious right is
lunatic, monolithic or insensitive to the contradictions of

       Haines Brown, KB1GRM


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