Universalism vs tribalism

24 May, 2023 at 15:17 | Posted in Politics & Society | Leave a comment

Moral universalism: Global evidence | CEPRIt’s now an article of faith that universalism, like other Enlightenment ideas, is a sham that was invented to disguise Eurocentric views that supported colonialism. When I first heard such claims some fifteen years ago, I thought they were so flimsy they’d soon disappear. For the claims are not simply ungrounded: they turn Enlightenment upside down. Enlightenment thinkers invented the critique of Eurocentrism and were the first to attack colonialism, on the basis of universalist ideas …

In the last few years the Enlightenment has been held responsible for most of our misery, just as a century ago, the source for contemporary suffering was called modernity. Something big, after all, must be to blame. Enlightenment-bashing may have begun in American universities, but its reach has swept through the culture in much of the Western world …

They forget that the Enlightenment emerged from a blasted landscape, on a continent soaked with blood. Those who dismiss Enlightenment thinkers as naive or optimistic not only ignore their writings; more importantly, they ignore the history that formed the background to their thought.

Susan Neiman

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