Since 9/11 there has been a resurgence of the “political religion” thesis…
Alberto Toscano’s new book, Fanaticism, provides a powerful response to the argument. His central thesis is that crying “fanaticism!” has been a strategy across the ages used by conservatives to pathologise radical political projects, including by those “raving with reason” and dedicated to the highest ideals of the Enlightenment.
By blurring the line between both religious fanaticism and “Enlightenment fanaticism”, Toscano undermines the growing consensus that the Enlightenment is something already established and in need of defence. Yet he also manages to avoid the cynical position of Gray, who simply denounces the deluded “Enlightenment cult”. Rather, Toscano argues, “If we can speak of it as a project, much of the Enlightenment is not merely unfinished: it has been ignored, buried or traduced…
if, as Toscano argues, the Enlightenment has barely started, progress may require the radical breaks that only fanatics can see through to the end.”
‘We’re not enlightened yet’: Cif belief on Alberto Toscano’s Fanaticism
July 14, 2010 by versouk