Exclusion , Inclusion and the End of Xenophilia  Cover Image

Atskirtis, įtrauktis ir ksenofilijos baigtis
Exclusion , Inclusion and the End of Xenophilia

Author(s): Algirdas Degutis
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų
Keywords: epistemic relativism; moral relativism; postmodern liberalism; xenophilia; the Other; individual freedom.

Summary/Abstract: Contemporary liberals (no relation to classical liberals) are concerned with the calamity of social exclusion, and they are excited about the idea of putting an end to it by fostering tolerance of, compassion with, and embrace of all those who have been marginalized and disenfranchised by the soulless bourgeois society. They are following in the foot-steps of the “progressive” movements of the last century, and their intention can be traced even to the older emancipatory idea of Karl Marx. However, at this juncture they are no longer much interested in theories of capitalist exploitation, since they have joined the ranks of postmodern epistemic and moral relativists. They are premised on the simple idea that since all people are morally equal any factual inequality can only be the result of an injustice, most often conceived as overt or covert oppression exerted by those possessing power. By blurring the distinction between political power and social power contemporary liberals open the floodgates for state interventionism, for the use of political power to break down social power, i.e. all those dividing lines, hierarchies and established mores that help keep the excluded at the fringe. The liberal project is ultimately counterproductive. Those excluded in the private society cannot be included without exacerbating the causes of their exclusion in the first place. To demand equal inclusion for people, whether in economic or moral sphere, requires that the more productive or better behaving people be treated worse than they deserve, and that the less productive or worse behaving people be treated better than they deserve. This is an inversion of ordinary moral reasoning that can only lead to wealth destruction and the spread of bad behavior. The emancipatory endeavor creates a political market for do-gooders whose competition for the empowerment of the weak leads to an indefinite expansion of state power at the expense of individual freedom. A corollary of postmodern liberal relativism is its proponents’ obsession with the Other, allegedly marginalized or repressed in the dominant Western culture by the mere fact of its dominance. If all cultures (or ways of life) are ultimately morally equal, if, say, barbarians are only those who believe there are barbarians, then tolerance of, and openness to, the radically Other on the part of the enlightened post-moderns is the only non-repressive value. This view, which may be dubbed as xenophilia, implies that hospitality to the most radically Other, ultimately to the enemy, is the highest virtue. However, there is a fatal complementarity between a culture defining itself as openness, as being a mere opening (a gap or a hole), and any intolerant Other. The former can only succumb to, or be destroyed by, the latter.

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 132-148
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Lithuanian