Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Interrogation of Theocratic Suitability

I've long been opposed to theocratic governments, preferring pretty much all forms of government, even despotic ones, over them. There are times when I review religious philosophy, and see some very well thought-out elements of ethical systems (that suggest extension into the temporal realm), and similarly I have read about the efforts of Islamist parties in Africa, when taking towns putting a swift stop to the rampant corruption that plagues much of that continent. There is much good learning and action coming from political Islam - how can I feel comfortable with opposing that? Part of it is that I feel that theocracy enforces values of the distant past, which is suitable (and wonderful) in dealing with the long-lived defects in character in humanity, but it blocks progress and embodies some long-lived defects itself. I feel that a good political system should be (cautiously) open to the future - the past should be of relatively little interest. Another, related part is that I feel that more than most other forms of government, theocracy changes the spirit of humanity in a way that poses difficulty for return. I've long believed that people, en masse or individually, are quite mallable - they can be shaped for any society (eventually, and if the right means are found and no historical accident deflects them), and were quite different in the past. Die Weltanschauung a"ndert mit der Welt. I believe that some of these changes are more difficult than others - capitalist character may be cured, as may feudalist mentality, and the mechanisms of one form of state may be bent and beaten into a new form, evolving as required for changes in society. I believe these changes to be particularly difficult both in the state and in the people when moving from Theocracy, because of the special, intimate way that faith and belief touch on the human psyche. Because of these things, I see theocracy as being an evolutionary dead-end - it does have some serious advantages as a system of government/social arrangement or thought, but it faces backwards and is difficult to return from.

Tags: philosophy

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