Monday, 05 April 2021 17:31

Liberalism: Abdication of Reason (December 16, 2013)

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New version after 1980; the wave of “Globalization 2.0” carried its dominant power, that is, the neoliberal understanding, to all its capillaries, in short, from economy to politics, from culture to moral values. Neoliberalism has built an understanding of knowledge that excludes the possibility of moral knowledge. In this understanding, morality has turned into a subjective opinion issue, not a rational matter of belief. In a world opposed to belief and dogma, morality can only exist as a matter of personal belief or dogmatic opinion.

In either case, morality cannot maintain the authority it needs to play its role in social and individual life. “… A society in which people come to complete agreement on what truth is, cannot exist, did not exist. A good society is a society in which social life is based on the rules of peaceful coexistence rather than common truths. In these societies, everyone's truth is their own...” with his statement (Yeni Şafak, November 13, 2013), Atilla Yayla reveals the codes of liberal philosophy and confirms that "morality has turned into a matter of subjective opinion”. However, when we think in terms of its results, the fate of the neoliberal way of thinking and the final point of its future is nihilism that Nietzsche emphasizes through the concept of modernity. According to Nietzsche, this is a destiny that should be embraced with joy and enthusiasm in terms of modernity. Heidegger goes deeper, namely to refer to the origin of nihilism, and sees nihilism as the basic elements that make up Western thought. When Nietzsche says “there is no such thing as moral facts”, he says, "it is absurd and unnecessary to set moral standards and norms", not that there is actually no concept of morality. Morality has unfortunately been under suspicion and ruined in a way that has never been before in the neoliberal world. These perplexed perceptions are rapidly driving societies along with nihilism towards an Epicurean philosophy, that is, hedonism. In the doctrine of Amoralism or in the Amoralist philosophy, it is argued that it is unnecessary to establish moral rules in society, and otherwise, it is thought that it will turn governments into a form of oppressive, tyrannical authoritarian and people enslaving.  

However, from the perspective of Islamic epistemology, since the creation of man; When the soul is given to man, together with other genetic codes, “clean nature”, which we can call the chosen morality, is given to man. When the set of values that are fed from the divine source and guiding the life of the human being unites in the axis of reason and conscience, it also gains the title of eternal and universal values. Afterwards, the most important factor is the society and lifestyles, starting with the family. Apart from the legal reason that Kant defended, there is also a real morality that takes moral values from divine values and adds these values to the moral values of the society in which they live, and shapes society and governments. Today's liberalism accepts the Weberian thesis that values are not part of the objective world but are largely a matter of individual choice. The notion that the world does not contain objective values often raises its voice in alliance with a thesis on freedom and says that “individuals are free or should be free to choose their own values”. Liberal person, a pluralistic society; in other words, s/he envisions a society in which individuals trace their own choice of “good” life understanding, which is characterized in various ways and which takes individuality as a primitive. Now in such a situation, individuals may pursue their own understanding of “good” in such a way that it may contradict with the lifestyle of others; therefore, the ways in which individuals maintain their chosen lifestyles must have some limits. This is the restriction area, or literally the “right” area. As a liberal, Atilla Yayla also admits that such a restriction area should exist. For liberals, the majority, moral principles cannot be imposed by order; these principles must be discovered or formed in the real world, as revealed by conventional experience and modern social sciences. The only concern of the interpretation of morality, which is fed from the divine source, is not to establish the principles of how people should live; it also believes in putting people's lives into a larger and more meaningful context and being rewarded with eternal favors and rewards. At the same time, one acknowledges that there must be an understandable connection between acting as required by universal Divine morality and that a person's actions are meaningful both on the basis of that person's personal destiny and on the basis of a universal world order.

The neoliberal capitalist understanding has brought about an eclectic perspective identical to the aphorism of "a bread that never makes you full" in the last century. Although Calvinist Protestant morality has a dynamic and continuous renewal philosophy, it has internalized individualism by reducing it to individuality, and has not deliberately and intentionally extended the Divine reference and the understanding of truth to world affairs. Economic liberalism, which is the most important pillar of this axis; while it manifests itself with the motto of “let them do, let them pass”, social liberalism, on the other hand, has come to the streets by taking the youth into the spiral with the slogan “anything goes”. In fact, there is no doctrinal postulate or paradigm that this school will actually put forward and propose to the conscience of society. Thus; (Although the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm calls this movement the most consistent movement ever), the Hippie Movement, which emerged in the 1960s, showed the bottom of the dimension of liberalism reflected in the morality with its understanding of absolute rejection. We have seen a similar example in Gezi Events.

First of all, we should have a word to say to the approaches that violate the “right” area we define as the restriction area and that upset all values, that do not make any positive contribution to our world of meaning, and that impose individualistic values on society, above all social values. We should be able to express our basic references to our faith values to this society and the world without hesitation. Otherwise, the idea of a civilization on the basis of alleged justice and compassion will not go beyond the myth.

Watching the degeneration and erosion of the elements that keep society alive, as in the ship metaphor exemplified by Muhammad the Prophet (pbuh); not developing a humanitarian measure above all social, psychological, economic, political, legal, educational means allowing the ship to be drilled from the very beginning, and accepting sinking with it. This means bringing the “social end”, which the Holy Qur'an has preached as the Divine law, with our own hands. Our basic social reflexes and references are becoming more and more deformed, refraining from bringing up these ancient and divine references, and our uncertainty about how and how to resist whom is becoming increasingly visible. We are going through rare periods of fracture in which nation states are purged, uncertainty, chaos, where we cannot predict exactly where it will take us. In such a transition period, we can never stand by the substitution of modern congregations in which the understanding of the nation state is considered “anything goes”. The book of a religion that makes man away from being an object and makes a subject, but never compromises individualism, I wonder, in the words of the Qur'an, “... they strive throughout the land to spread mischief in it and destroy crops and cattle ...” (Surah Al-Baqarah-205) is a systematic structure. We cannot help but ask whether it is attempting to shape the society with its different versions and provide opportunities in line with its goals or not. Perhaps we are witnessing moments of separation and reflection of reason and morality, which are unique to neoliberalism, unfortunately, and we are experiencing an abdication of reason.

Liberalist theorists should probably look for the most answers to the question of what rules and principles will be taken from the basic reference criteria in shaping social morality today. Because the faithful mind, acting on divine facts and laws, has already answered this question.  

*Chief of ASSAM Islamic Countries Joint Foreign Policy Examination and Research Board


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