Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Drucker on fundamentalism

Today I reread a Peter Drucker essay from 1989 entitled, "No More Salvation by Society," in which Drucker reflecting on how both the Soviet and Chinese Communists were backing off their promise of delivering "an everlasting society which achieves both social perfection and individual perfection, a society which establishes the earthly paradise." At the conclusion of the essay, Drucker notes that,
The death of the belief in salvation by society, which for 200 years had been the most dynamic force in the politics of the West and increasingly in politics world-wide, creates a void. The emergence of fundamentalist Islam is an attempt to fill this void. It is the result of disenchantment alike with the welfare state of the "democratic" West, and with the communist utopia. The strong resurgence of religion as an element in public life in the United States, the resurgence of evangelical and pastoral churches, is in some measure a reaction against the disappearance of the secular faith in salvation by society.
Dig this: here's Peter Drucker­ -- the man who invented "management" as a discipline; the man Newt Gingrich has hailed as "the most influential writer of the twentieth century"; the man who Karl Rove credits with providing the basis for Bush's approach to management -- yes, here's Peter Drucker putting forth two points I have made repeatedly (here and here). Namely, first, that there is an essential parallel between the rise of politicized Islamic fundamentalism and the rise of the politicized Christian fundamentalism, and second, that a primary driver behind both has been the loss of hope about the possibility of this-worldly redemption.

Pace Fukuyama, the void left in the wake of ideological collapse of high ideals of socialism has been filled not by a mild, beneficent liberalism, but rather by a ferocious anti-modernism -- of the creationist variety at home, and of the purdah-enforcing sort abroad. How telling that both the Taliban and John Ashcroft consider dancing a sin!

I guess Drucker must secretly be part of that damn liberal elite!

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