What Liberalism Rejects

by Caleb Roberts

There have long been ample grounds for the rejection of this or that part of Marxism; what is interesting, however, is the way in which the rejection of Marxism normally entails the rejection of the possibility of constructing any view of the world which possesses the dimensions of Marxism.  Not only are the moral attitudes of Marx, or the analysis of past history, or the predictions about the future abandoned; so is the possibility of any doctrine which connects moral attitudes, beliefs about the past, and beliefs in future possibility.  The lynch pin of this rejection is the liberal belief that facts are one thing, values another — and that the two realms are logically independent of each other.  This belief underpins the liberal rejection of Christianity as well as the liberal rejection of Marxism.  For the liberal, the individual being the source of all value necessarily legislates for himself in matters of value; his autonomy is only preserved if he is regarded as choosing his own ultimate principles, unconstrained by any external consideration.  But for both Marxism and Christianity only the answer to questions about the character of nature and society can provide the basis for an answer to the question: “But how ought I to live?”  For the nature of the world is such that in discovering the order of things I also discover my own nature and those ends which beings such as myself must pursue if we are not to be frustrated in certain predictable ways.  Knowledge of nature and society is thus the principal determinant of action. (123-124)

Alasdair MacIntyre | Marxism and Christianity

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