We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Progress, liberalism and enlightenment — these are the watchwords of those, like Hitchens, who believe that in a modern world, religion has nothing to offer us. Don’t we discover cures for diseases every day? Doesn’t technology continually extend our powers and offer the promise of mastering nature? Who needs an outmoded, left-over medieval superstition?
Eagleton punctures the complacency of these questions when he turns the tables and applies the label of “superstition” to the idea of progress. It is a superstition — an idol or “a belief not logically related to a course of events” (American Heritage Dictionary) — because it is blind to what is now done in its name: “The language of enlightenment has been hijacked in the name of corporate greed, the police state, a politically compromised science, and a permanent war economy,” all in the service, Eagleton contends, of an empty suburbanism that produces ever more things without any care as to whether or not the things produced have true value.
" according to Eagleton, the inhabitants of those places are complacently in bondage to the false idols of wealth, power and progress. That is, they feel little of the tragedy and pain of the human condition, but instead “adopt some bright-eyed superstition such as the dream of untrammeled human progress” and put their baseless “trust in the efficacy of a spot of social engineering here and a dose of liberal enlightenment there.”
Yeah. Take that you school yard atheists. As for that untrammeled human progress, stop it with the mosquito nets to those skinny black people in Africa. Send a fax to Bill Gates to stop his millions from helping the poor in India - Same to Oprah and her schools in Africa. Oh, and stop the scientists from working on a flu vaccine. Where is the faith in those endeavors, by god? Enough of shallow reason: Until reason finds its genesis in faith, it is nothing, nothing, I tell you.
School yard atheists. Hello, and we have a hot little corner in hell waiting for you even if you don't believe in hell, it believes in you.
Eagleton makes the error he attributes to others when he tries to label our trust in science, et al. as superstition.
We trust some disciplines more than others because they produce better results. The farmer trusts fertilizer will give better results than sowing the field with salt. Physicians are a better option than Witch Doctors.
"of an empty suburbanism that produces ever more things without any care as to whether or not the things produced have true value."
Why single out "suburbanism"? What does that mean anyway?
Nearly all of the area of our large cities was suburban or rural at one time. The cities grew by incorporating the surrounding land.
IMO the author means people who do not live as he prefers and would no doubt mandate.
Of course words and concepts are hijacked and twisted. "Democratic Centralism" is one of my favorites.
Eagleton does have a point. We should not blindly believe that a book is known from the title. Or agreeable words mean agreeable goals. Or that the brightest and most able automatically have our best interests in mind.