Resurrecting solidarity

I want to point out a very good review, by Robert Fitch, criticizing a couple of recent and influential books by Michael Lerner and Jim Wallis arguing that the secular Left needs to get more religion. (Thanks to David R. Harding for leading me to the review.)

Having leftish inclinations myself, I’m naturally interested in such debates. And even secularists who do not politically fall on the left might be interested—after all, the left-wing political tradition has been home to much serious thought about how to live our lives together if we do not take our marching orders from Revelation anymore. Fitch’s review, in fact, is one of the better recent writings I have encountered that brings this out, emphasizing how modern social ethics such as that of solidarity differ from traditional religiously-bolstered moralities. All of us with an interest in promoting more secular societies might, I suspect, benefit from a closer engagement with leftist thought, not just to figure out how it has failed, but perhaps to try and reclaim the significant humanist impulse that still has a home in what remains of left-wing circles. There’s a lot more to the Left (the actual Left, and not just what Americans call “liberalism”) beyond stereotypes of Marxist dogmatism or postmodern identity politics.