What is it to be human? Currently, it follows the trend of increasing specialization, like all disciplines. I have spent 65 years working and fighting for left-wing postulates at universities and in the public sphere. If I have spent a quarter of a century fighting for greater political integration of the European Union, I do it with the idea that only this continental organization is capable of bringing unfettered capitalism under control. Is that right?
1. What are science and religion, and how do they interrelate?
In , you came up with the political concept of constitutional patriotism, which sounds almost medicinal today in the face of other supposed patriotisms that involve anthems and flags. In , I was invited to give a talk in the Spanish Congress. Afterwards we went to eat at a long-established restaurant.
If I remember rightly, it was between Congress and the Puerta del Sol, on the left side of the road. As soon as we knew this, we had a totally different feeling. Constitutional patriotism needs an appropriate backstory so that we are always aware that the Constitution is a national achievement. I feel like a patriot of a country which, at last, after the Second World War, gave birth to a stable democracy and, over subsequent decades of political polarization, a liberal political culture.
Karl Marx as Religious Eschatologist
I am proud of our culture that includes second or third-generation Turkish, Iranian and Greek immigrants, who produce amazing filmmakers, journalists and TV personalities as well as CEOs, the most competent doctors, the best writers, politicians, musicians and teachers. The right-wing populist aggressive rejection of these people, without whom it would be impossible, is nonsense.
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- Marx's Religion of Revolution?
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Can you tell us something about your new book on religion and its symbolic strength as a remedy to certain modern-day ills? I hope that the genealogy of post-metaphysical thought based on an age-old argument about faith and knowledge can go some way towards preventing a progressively degraded philosophy on the scientific front from forgetting its function to enlighten. Speaking of religion and of religious and cultural wars, do you think we are heading for a clash of civilizations? The oldest and most influential civilizations were characterized by the metaphysics and great religions studied by Max Weber.
All of them have a universal potential, which is why they thrive on openness and inclusion. The fact is that religious fundamentalism is a totally modern phenomenon. It grew out of the social uprooting triggered by colonialism, the end of colonialism and global capitalism. You have written on occasion that Europe should nurture a European version of Islam. In the Federal Republic of Germany, we make an effort to include Islamic theology in our universities, which means we can train teachers of religion in our own country instead of importing them from Turkey and other places.
But really this process depends on us managing to truly integrate immigrant families. The only way to deal with that would be to tackle its economic causes in the countries of origin. You are quoted as saying that Europe is an economic giant and a political dwarf. The introduction of the euro divided the monetary community into north and south — the winners and the losers. The escape valves, such as mobility in a single labor market and a common social security system, are missing.
Europe also lacks the power to come up with a common fiscal policy. Add to this a neoliberal political model incorporated into European treaties that reinforce the dependency of the nation states on the global market. The rate of youth employment in southern countries is scandalous. Inequality has increased across the board and eaten away at social cohesion.
Émile Durkheim (1858—1917)
Among those who have managed to adapt, the liberal economic model has taken hold, which promotes individual gain. Among those in a precarious situation, regressive tendencies and reactions of irrational and self-destructive anger are spreading. I get the feeling it is all about economics. What do you think? I think that politically isolating a population of around two million people with aspirations to be independent is not realistic. And not easy.
We are always blaming politicians for the problems with the construction of Europe, but perhaps the public is also guilty of a lack of faith? Up to now, political leaders and governments have taken the project forward in an elitist manner without including the people in the complex questions.
Full text of "Marx's Religion Of Revolution"
I have the feeling that not even the political parties or national MPs are familiar with the complicated material that constitutes European politics. Has Germany at times mistaken leadership for hegemony? And where does that leave France? The problem has surely been that the Federal Government of Germany has had neither the talent nor the experience of a hegemonic power.
If it had, it would have known that it is not possible to keep Europe together without taking into account the interests of the other states. In the last two decades, the Federal Republic has acted increasingly as a nationalist power when it comes to economics. In their only known dispute, Marx backed down — apparently the only time he ever backed down in any dispute.
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He was a spoiled, overeducated brat who never grew up; he just grew more shrill as he grew older. We will probably never know. Whiners, if given power, readily become tyrants. Marx was seen by his contemporaries as a potential tyrant. Marx is very jealous of his authority as leader of the Party; against his political rivals and opponents he is vindictive and implacable; he does not rest until he has beaten them down; his overriding characteristic is boundless ambition and thirst for power.
Despite the communist egalitari- anism which he preaches he is the absolute ruler of his party; admittedly he does everything himself but he is also the only one Engels wrote to Marx, telling of his loss on January 7. The next day — the letter went from Manchester to London in one day! Raddatz Boston: Little, Brown, , pp. Preface xxxv to give orders and he tolerates no opposition. It has been the characteristic feature of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and subse- quent Communist dictators.
It is inherent in the Communist system. Taking into account only the economic question, he insists that only the most advanced countries, those in which capitalist production has attained greatest development, are the most capable of making social revolu- tion. These civilized countries, to the exclusion of all others, are the only ones destined to initiate and carry through this revolution. This revolution will expropriate either by peaceful, gradual, or by violent means, the present property owners and capitalists.
To appropriate all the landed property and capital, and to carry out its extensive eco- nomic and political programs, the revolutionary State will have to be very powerful and highly centralized. The State will administer and direct the cultivation of the land, by means of its salaried officials commanding armies of rural workers organized and disciplined for this purpose. At the same time, on the rains of the existing banks, it will establish a single state bank which will finance all labor and national commerce.
It is readily apparent how such a seemingly simple plan of organi- zation can excite the imagination of the workers, who are as eager for justice as they are for freedom; and who foolishly imagine that the one can exist without the other; as if, in order to conquer and consolidate justice and equality, one could depend of the efforts of others, particu- Cited by Raddatz, Karl Marx, p. For the proletariat this will, in reality, be nothing but a barracks: a regime, where regimented workingmen and women will sleep, wake, work, and live to the beat of a drum; where the shrewd and educated will be granted government privileges; and where the mercenary-minded, attracted by the immen- sity of the international speculations of the state bank, will find a vast field for lucrative, underhanded dealings.
Soviet Premier Gorbachev is criticizing the highly central- ized, uncreative, bureaucratic economic legacy of his predeces- sors, as it surely is. Economic restructuring perestroika is now being implemented in the Soviet Union, we are told. A great decentralization is taking place. Anyway, Gorbachev is attempt- ing to implement it. This is democratic verbiage, political drivel! David McLellan ed. In , I wrote Appendix B of this book, which deals with this continuing economic swing back and forth: from centraliza- tion to decentralization.
The Soviet bureaucracy always tri- umphs in the swing back to centralized economic planning.