Aside from some purely expository remarks theologians have not paid much attention to Marcuses’ historical calculus

19 May

Moving in the opposite direction to the morality of nonviolence, and also away from the traditional criterion, is Marcuse’s ethical reflection on revolution.  In his opinion the fact of revolution, judged by the concepts prevailing in normal state of affairs, is always immoral by very definition: for basically revolution attacks the legitimacy and morality of the established order.  But revolution is designed to do just that; it seeks to generate some new moral order and set up a different moral order.  The ethics of revolution decides between the “right of the existing order” and the ‘right of what might and perhaps should be” on the basis of “historical calculus”  that is rational and basically empirical.  It is an inhumane calculus insofar as it operates in quantitative terms, counting up the victims of the revolution on one hand and those of the established order on the other; but its inhumanity is the inhumanity of history itself.

Aside from some purely expository remarks on the arithmetic of Marcuses’ historical calculus theologians have not paid much attention to his reflections.
Only Trutz Rendtorff seems to echo Marcuse here, when he quotes and then adds his own comments “Change itself is an ethical category, a category of the morality that is possible and real here and now.”

Alfredo Fierro,  The Militant Gospel A Critical Introduction to Political Theologies (Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York (c) 1977)

the-militant-gospel

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