I know the Church of England is a strange one but…..

All of which presents an opportunity to clear the decks and say why I am not a liberal. No, I\’m not a conservative either. I\’m a communitarian. Blue labour, if you like. But certainly not a liberal. What I take to be the essence of liberalism is a belief that individual freedom and personal autonomy are the fundamental moral goods. But I don\’t buy this. What we need is a much more robust commitment to the common good, to the priority of community.

So the former Canon of St Paul\’s doesn\’t believe in the idea of individual salvation then? The very basis of all Christian Churches?

Given that they\’ve had Bishops who weren\’t all that certain over the God thing I suppose it shouldn\’t come as much of a surprise.

13 comments on “I know the Church of England is a strange one but…..

  1. ” What I take to be the essence of liberalism is a belief that individual freedom and personal autonomy are the fundamental moral goods. But I don’t buy this.”

    At least he’s being honest. Of course, most so-called “liberals” are anything but. They’re nasty jumped-up little would-be dictators and moralysing hypocrites. Take Murphy for example: not a liberal bone in that man’s body. You could easily imagine him as a Stasi informant or O’brien from 1984.

    We need to get rid of this unhelpful American import of calling our socialist fruitcakes “liberals”.

  2. Tim: I see absolutely no contradiction between the sort of communitarianism Fraser is talking about, and the concept of individual salvation. If there were a contradiction, how could monasteries and convents exist?

  3. He’s denied he’s a MArxist anymore:

    “I used to be a pretty hard-core lefty – though, as my first two choices might indicate, I have now lost a lot of my faith in traditional left wing politics. Nonetheless, I still love to read Marxist thought, not least because it offers many significant parallels with Christianity.”

    But he still fundamentally believes in the primacy of the state. He just calls it fluffy things like ‘community’ instead.

    To a Liberal, or Libertarian individuals can sacrifice their ambitions, money or life to the state, but it is, fundamentally, a choice. Fraser and Murphy disregard the choice. The individual MUST act for the state. They see the primacy as coming from the state, not from the individual.

    Fraser has simply swapped (or swaddled) one form of totalitarianism for another.

  4. We already have a word for what he describes as “blue labour.” It is fascism. It would be nice if people holding those beliefs had the intellectual honesty to use the term when describing themselves.

  5. @PaulB ‘ If there were a contradiction, how could monasteries and convents exist?’

    Because the existence of monasteries and convents proves what?

    By the way, has the fuckwit not heard of the doctrine of free will?

  6. PaulB,

    Tim: I see absolutely no contradiction between the sort of communitarianism Fraser is talking about, and the concept of individual salvation. If there were a contradiction, how could monasteries and convents exist?

    A monastery is a voluntary community like the boy scouts, CAMRA, a kibbutz and the rotarians.

  7. Fraser says that “What we need is a much more robust commitment to the common good, to the priority of community.”

    Evidently the church does not see that as being incompatible with the doctrine of individual salvation, since it operates religious communities which sanctify a system of communal living.

  8. PaulB, read Fraser’s article.

    When he says “community”, he is very clear that he means compulsory, enforced State action, not the voluntary coming together of a religious community.

    His idea of “community” is “using the levers of government to shape (impose, if you like) a fairer, more redistributive society”.

    To my mind that’s a “community” in the same way that a prison camp is.

  9. Paul, aren’t you conflating Christianity the religious philosophy with Christianity the community here. Was a time when not being a member of the Christian community’d have Christians collecting firewood. At least one of the monastic orders you’re referring to was very enthusiastic on that account. All in the name of saving souls, of course but what individual salvation is found on the rack?
    From an outsider’s point of view the conflict between Christian teachings & Christian practice it problematic. How do they square excommunication for instance? Does their god take orders from bishops? Why is there a church hierarchy when the entire preaching of its figurehead is against exactly that? The Christian god, as defined by its church, is like the worship of a fractious 5 year old, constantly needing reminding how clever it is.
    Christianity is a lot like Marxism, right enough. OK if kept on the page. Put 2 Christians together & like 2 Marxists, they want to convert a third person. By force if necessary.

  10. BiS, it all makes perfect sense; in particular, racking heretics is actually a great kindness. But I’m far too pissed to explain it just now .

  11. Fraser’s views seem both heretical and communistic.

    “Choice is the only moral currency they acknowledge.”

    As John Milton noted, there can be no morality without choice:

    “If every action which is good, or evill in man at ripe years, were to be under pittance, and prescription, and compulsion, what were vertue but a name..?”

  12. It’s not entirely clear to me what Fraser is proposing, but I’m confident that the church has never seen individual freedom and personal autonomy as prerequisites for individual salvation. I’d be interested to read any evidence that it has.

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