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« Free Reads -- Rape in Australia | Main | Modern Poetry Redux »

September 18, 2002

Free Reads -- Joshua Muravchik

Friedrich --

For a few years I've been boring Wife and friends with my theory that modern art, Marxism, Freudianism, and socialism are replacement religions -- that the whole modernist ball of wax is a credo for those seeking redemption but beyond the reach of traditional religions. But I can offer little to back up this argument beyond my years spent among the true (Marxist, Freudian, modern-art, etc.) believers.

Joshua Muravchik can do a lot better. He has written a book, "Heaven on Earth," arguing that socialism was indeed a religion for many of its adherents/believers. It's a good, substantial work: mucho research, many facts, all of it professionally presented and thoughtfully argued -- it has everything my presentation of the theory doesn't have, in other words.

American Enterprise runs a well-chosen passage from the book here.

Sample passage:

The pursuit of a life liberated from the “superstition” of religion proved surprisingly difficult. Even Diderot, whose Encyclopedia was the flagship of the Enlightenment, confessed that he could not watch religious processions “without tears coming to my eyes.” Perhaps such unbidden feelings explain why, as most anthropologists agree, religion is universal.



posted by Michael at September 18, 2002


Irving Kristol also touched on the idea of socialism as a replacement religion in his book, "Neoconservatism," though not as comprehensively as Muravchik did.

Posted by: Joperd on March 7, 2004 6:59 PM

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