Untenable Unity (Reading Religion, Politics, and the Earth, pt II)

More thoughts on Clayton Crockett and Jeffrey Robbins’ book Religion, Politics, and the Earth: The New Materialism. Earlier post is here.

This thought is with Chantal Mouffe’s critique of John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas – about them flattening the inevitability of real, irreducible difference by presuming rational consensus is possible (at least most of the time) – in mind…

While Religion, Politics, and the Earth is deeply democratic in nature, the monism of Crockett and Robbins threatens to broad-brush over difference (even while they might protest this, I don’t see much evidence to the contrary) and thereby gloss over the inevitable tensions intrinsic to democracy. In the name of a single substance (for them, energy, 111), Crockett and Robbins operate within roughly the same troubling framework as ‘equality’ and seem unable to accommodate irreducible otherness. This may be a problem remedied by further explanation and development, as I too want to say we humans are all of the same stuff, but it is important to emphasize that we are not all the same. More specifically, in their dismissal of Carl Schmitt’s externalizing inimical thinking in the development of the political (49-53), they never give the inevitability of internal opposition any consideration.

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