Friday, August 02, 2013
The Good, The Bad and El Che
Of necessity the materialist rejects what he or she sees as the religious notion that actions have fixed and lasting moral properties. For how could this be so in the universe thus conceived?
This explains in part the conundrum we often face with the example set by Che Guevara.
It would not be difficult to characterise el Che as a 'good' man, one who dedicated his life to pursuit of justice and one who would have understood his own inclinations as towards the side of the 'good'. And yet even the Comandante's most ardent apologist would surely have to admit that, in the name of political expediency, he often committed (or permitted) actions that anyone guided by a traditional Christian theodicy, would almost immediately recognise as bad, if not properly evil.
El Che was brought up a Catholic and migrated to Marxism. Adherents of the latter creed, at least when they have thought things through properly, have a materialistic view of the cosmos and a dialectical take on history and politics. This leads to a kind of hyper-relativism when it comes to the moral nature of men's deeds, specifically the potential for evil in their own actions.
Your bog standard relativist considers that the same action might be judged differently in different circumstances. The Marxist-Leninist on the other hand tends to believe that two superficially identical actions are not the same action, if the political context is different. Trotsky was very clear about this when he wrote of the necessity of slaughtering innocent children in the interests of the proletariat; specifically the Tsar's children. And so it would have been with Che Guevara and his firing squads.