Re: MD Church/state separation

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Sat Mar 01 2003 - 22:31:32 GMT

  • Next message: David Buchanan: "RE: MD Pirsig the postmodernist?"

    Hi David,

    One last attempt to explain my point of view.

    > Sam said:
    > As such, the Church/State division is 'non-negotiable', as it is one of
    > foundation pillars of the public sphere within the US. In making this
    > element non-negotiable, that element becomes absolute and hence - as I
    > understand the term - it becomes philosophically equivalent to a theology,
    > and the system which supports it is theocratic in an analogous sense.
    > DMB says:
    > Um. Excuse me, but for something to properly be called "theocratic"
    > it have to be about God? Checks are non-negotiable too. Does that make
    > theocratic? I think you're stretching words beyond recognition and
    > bending over backwards to turn political principles into religion, into
    > theological absolutes. I'd hate to see you slip a disk. :-)

    In MoQish, non-negotiable checks are the outcome of values that are static
    latched. Checks are a static latch within a much larger system, that of
    modern finance. That larger system itself is embedded in an even wider
    system of static latches, ie modern capitalism (property, free trade, GATT
    etc etc). And finally that system of modern capitalism, although autonomous
    in many ways, can be embedded in an intellectual framework of values (fill
    in a description as you wish) - and it is certainly structured around
    certain values, whether they are consciously articulated or not. Thus checks
    derive their value from their role in the wider system.

    My point about absolutes refers solely to the highest values in that
    structure, not to all the different elements cascading down (although I
    would exclude human decisions from that - which has interesting implications
    that can be pursued elsewhere). Those highest values - which theologians
    call the
    'ultimate values' - determine the overall structure. These ultimate values
    are what I claim to be "philosophically equivalent to a theology", for the
    simple reason that I think the word 'god' (not God) can be substituted for
    the phrase 'ultimate value' without loss of sense.

    The Church/State separation is a static latch of a particular value
    structure oriented around a certain highest value - one, I would argue,
    descending from John Locke's subordination of religious beliefs to rational
    evaluation (a good contender for the birth of modern thought, even more than

    Now that particular value structure makes certain claims about religion and
    rationality that are unavoidably judgements of value (something which SOM
    thinkers would doubtless deny, but which is surely axiomatic from a MoQ
    point of view).

    Hence my line of thought that the Church/State division is itself theocratic
    in the way I described.

    Perhaps the problem is what we count as 'religion' - because as you've said
    many times, for you religion irrevocably tied in to the social level, and
    can't be intellectual. I disagree with that.

    So let me ask: how would you describe the value structure of which the
    Church/State division is a static latch, and do you think there is a
    governing value for it? (The intellectual level as such? In which case, what
    is the guiding value of it?)


    "Bush's speechwriters may be able to help him talk the talk, but does he
    kneel the kneel?" (Alex Pennell)

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun Mar 02 2003 - 09:52:53 GMT