16 Nov 2008
"The cold logic of Nazism, communism and Islam..."
Was a bit puzzled by this. How is Islam "Logical"? If anything, their militancy in the face of the cold capitalism that you so deplore would make them idealists (by your definition) par excellence.
Your article would be more aptly titled "the decline of absolutism", because you do not eulogize not the things that motivate humans today--human rights, the scientific enterprise, environmentalism--you are bemoaning the loss of an absolute claim on morality.
Christianity, like all other ideologies, was sidelined because of the results its grand project brought to bear on the world: starting with the crusades all the way to the fundamentalism of today, Christianity has already proved itself unsuitable as a means to restraining the human instinct of violence, mistrust and hatred.
This recent influx of polemics in "high-brow" magazines like this one that militate against the rampant moderation and pragmatism today are borne out of most peoples' frustration with a reality that is not easily understood (and hence open to interpretation) by a simple set of maxims. This article stands not as an indictment of the "godless" moderns but as proof positive of the decline in educated dialogue in recent years.
Your invocation of Plato as the classic "Ideologue" is a sort of cherry on top of the ice-cream sundae you hurtle at the reader. Plato wasn't an idealist: he sought to explain the constant flux of reality through the human's ability to hold many seemingly contradictory abstractions in mind at once. One doubts whether you have actually read Plato's few dialogues concerning the basis of the forms; instead you have taken them as a given, and co-opted them for your own devious enterprise. The problem isn't that humans no longer strive after things greater than life; it's that humans like you can no longer discern the new permutations of beauty, truth, and justice in a reality that is confusing to the old christian sensibilities.
18 Nov 2008
Yes Islam is extremely logical. It is, in my view the ultimate form of materialism - materialism as religion. And from what I can understand of it, I simply disagree with the rest of what you have written.
21 Nov 2008
Also the idea that a greater reality lies behind the reality of the senses runs all through Plato's work, not just the dialogues which specifically discuss forms. See "The Allegory Of The Cave" and pretty much everything else. He certainly placed mind above matter on the scale of reality.