In Review

European Culture, Secularism, Modernity. A Note on Remi Brague

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  • Veronica

    What are you longing for here? A return to the concept of belief in some ‘supreme being’ who will make everything all right? As regards Ireland’s political economy in the ’60s and early ’70s, Marxism was irrelevant. If anything, Ireland was turning away from a failed nationalist project which, via Fianna Fail nationalist ideology, had sought since the 1930s to promulgate a fanstasy that some sort of ‘third way’ existed between a market economy and a hegemonic Catholic/nationalist ethos that would allow Ireland to flourish within the protectionist straitjacket of a paternalist state. I think it is worth bearing in mind that in the 1950s at one point some 20% of Irish citizens were confined in institutions of one sort or another – prisons, industrial schools, lunatic asylums etc.Communists, tiny minority and all as they were, were run out of the place. No dissidents of any stripe, social, political or moral, were tolerated. As for most of the French theorists – although I am not familiar with Brague – the distinguishing characteristic of their work is their endless capacity for circular reasoning. I guess that is why their theories – from Althusser to Foucault to Latour – enjoy temporary fashonability before they are quietly consigned to the intellectual dustbin.

    • FrankLitton

      I am not longing for anything; certainly not a return to the past. That past had its problems and solutions. They are not our problems, still less can they be our solutions. I am interested in the resources available to specify our problems and find solutions. While we have no difficulty in condemning the past for its problems/solutions, we lack the resources to attend to present difficulties. Do you believe that we have no problems and therefore no need for solutions?
      I must admire your mastery of the thought of most French theorists that allows you conclude that so disparate a group have one defining characteristic.