Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mario Vargas Llosa

"The perspective of [liberalism] is no less stupid than what the Marxists preached once. The Marxists explained everything economically -- and some liberals believed, that the market can master all problems - - however not one great liberal so primitively argued.

Correctly understood liberalism is not ideology, but an open system of ideas, obligated to self criticism. Its strength, endowed by modernity, is based undisputedly on the fact that from it came the philosophies which shape our democratic societies: human rights, liberty to express of opinion, the acknowledgment of difference, tolerance, division of power and distrust in relation to each kind of large political power.

We erred, when said that humans could manage without religion. Only a minority is able to replace religion by culture. This is at least my experience of the small world which I know. The large majority of humans needs transcendence, faith in another world. Therefore one cannot fight religion. Communism tried - and not least because of it failed. In the democracies, however, religion must remain a private thing - in the context of the legal order which free societies give themselves. [R]eligion does not interfere into the affairs of the state or, conversely, the state [does not] identif[y] itselfwith religious goals."
From an article in Die Welt, translated poorly from German by yours truly.


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