Friday, June 20, 2008

With faith-based politics, we are witness to an ethical reconciliation between religion and technology

by Rich on Thu 19 Jun 2008 06:53 PM PDT Permanent Link
Born Again Ideology (religion, technology and terrorism) A. Kroker
from Science, Culture and Integral Yoga™ by Rich

We, the inhabitants of post-Enlightenment society might have thought that the current cultural horizon was exhausted by fateful struggles between modernism, postmodernism and posthumanism, but it turns out that the past will not be denied. Out of the ashes of the Book of Revelation emerges a form of faith-based politics which is, in every political sense, the ascendant historical tendency in American public life.

Here, putting on the policy garments of the "culture of life" movement, there waging bitter political combat against the heresy of "same-sex marriage," now opposed to scientific claims concerning stem cell research, allying itself actively with the crusading spirit of American imperialist adventures, dominating the media with faith-based cultural perspectives, the New Protestant Ethic easily sweeps aside secular discourses in the interests of a vision of culture, society and politics which is as cosmological in its theological sweep as it is eschatological in its historical ambitions.

Understood metaphysically, it may well be that the insurgency represented by faith-based politics is the representative political form of what Heidegger's Nietzsche described as the age of "completed nihilism." In this interpretation, power in its mature (nihilistic) phase -- sick of itself, possessing no definitive goal, exhausted with the historical burden of remaining an active will, always sliding inexorably towards the nothingness of the will-less will -- desperately seeks out a sustaining purpose, an inspiring goal, a historical mission. Into the ethical vacuum at the disappearing center of nihilistic power flows a strong historical monism -- the New Protestant Ethic -- that will not be suppressed.

To power's empty formalism, to liberal humanism's (emotionally) ineffective proceduralist ethics, to the empire's cybernetic equations written in violence and in blood across the landscape of imperial wars, the New Protestant Ethic provides a singular historical purpose -- the crusading spirit of evangelical Christianity which is reconstructionist, resurgent, and reanimated -- backed up by the semiotic purity of the foundational texts of the Old Testament. To those who would discount faith-based politics as only the most recent instance of the politics of cultural backlash, it should be noted that this fateful, and entirely original, entwinement of (fundamentalist) religion and (imperial) war technologies in the American mind may well be in the order of a great overturning.

With faith-based politics, we are witness to something entirely unexpected, and for that reason, deeply ominous -- an ethical reconciliation between religion and technology in which the apocalyptic visions of the Old Testament will be future-coded in the power languages of empire politics and networked capitalism. What is now only in its preparatory rhetorical stages as the "culture of life" movement may soon emerge full-blown as the essential life-principle of American, and by imperialist extension world, culture. Arthur Kroker

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