Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Freedom Paradox: Clive Hamilton

This book is basically a somewhat forlorn attempt to tie up all of Hamilton's political and ethical preferences into a grand philosophical statement based on the noumenon. Hamilton says he is constructing a 'post-secular ethics' but he ends up constructing a personal mysticism. Whatever offends Hamilton personally is an affront to the noumenon, and therefore bad. Whatever Hamilton views as positive, i.e. downshifting, is a triumph of the noumenon over the world of appearances.

I am also disinclined to Hamilton’s view that the existentialists are in some way responsible for consumer culture as he suggests in the book. The existentialists diagnosed the problem of meaningless and issued the challenge for people to create meaning in their own lives, largely through creative activity. It was not a philosophy that urged people to go forth and consume as Hamilton seemingly suggests.

If you have read Hamilton's other books you will probably understand where he is coming from on this one. It could have been titled 'all the usual hang-ups': Corporate paedophilia, consumer culture, growth fetishing, affluenza, downshifting, bestiality etc, etc. At the end of the day it wasn’t a bad read, but I don’t think his concept of the post-secular ethic will be wildly popular!


Post a Comment

<< Home