Normally, we take different ideologies at their word, meaning that if they say they’re taking our money to help the poor, we assume that’s what they’re doing. In the murky underworld where psychology, sociology and philosophy meet, however, there’s reason to peer under that skin and find that their real motivations are almost always baser.
Generally, they do this through definition games. “We’re taking this money for the poor,” Robin Hood, esquire, said. “Granted, about 88% of it goes to my salary, those of my employees, our health plans and retirements and annual bonuses, but those are operating expenses. The remaining 12% goes to poor people who tend to shop at the local convenience store I own.”
Let’s look at Humanists through the 1952 “Amsterdam declaration” which launched this movement into the public eye:
The fundamentals of modern Humanism are as follows:
1. Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction.
2. Humanism is rational. It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends.
3. Humanism supports democracy and human rights. Humanism aims at the fullest possible development of every human being. It holds that democracy and human development are matters of right. The principles of democracy and human rights can be applied to many human relationships and are not restricted to methods of government.
4. Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognises our dependence on and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination.
5. Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognises that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process. of observation, evaluation and revision.
6. Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognises the transforming power of art. Humanism affirms the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfilment.
7. Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.
This is what some would call “wish fulfillment fantasy”: the idea that if we declare our right to do something, we become that which is described.
If we have the right to define our own values and make art, we must all be artists.
If we have the right to define what wisdom is, we can make statements that make us feel wise.
If we have the right to define moral right independent of tradition and reality outside of human beings, we must be right.
It’s transparent when you spend time thinking about it: humanism is a shallow justification for a philosophy of self-indulgence and egomania that’s not in any way distinct from consumerism or narcissism. It’s self-worship using guilt to compel others to not interrupt that self-worship, on the grounds that allowing all of us self-worship is a greater moral good than, say, paying attention to reality.