Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Sublime Donald Trump?

The Sublime...marks the moment at which something emerges out of nothing - something new that cannot be accounted for by reference to the pre-existing network of circumstances. We are dealing here with another temporality, the temporality of freedom, of a radical rupture in the chain of [natural and/or social] causality... When, for example, does the experience of the Sublime occurr in politics? Whem 'against their better judgement', people disregard the balance sheet of profits and losses and 'risk freedom'; at that moment, something that, literally, cannot be 'accounted for' in terms of 'circumstances' miraculously 'becomes possible'... The feeling of the Sublime is aroused by an Event that momentarily suspends the network of symbolic causality.
- Slavoj Zizek, "The Ticklish Subject, the Absent Centre of Political Ontology"

28 comments:

FreeThinke said...

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, this guy is an absolute SYCOPHANT –– or so I thought at first, but then he went beyond the bounds of good taste, and suddenly the joke stopped being funny.

One of axioms of show business tells young performers, "Always leave them begging for more."

Thersites said...

I actually much appreciated the "you're a deviant" line. I think it points to the fact that we seldom give anyone, politicians especially, the "benefit of the doubt" as to their "intentions" when they speak anymore. "Grace" and "polite acceptance" in the public sphere, is gone. And with it have gone "trust" and any expectation of an improvement in the state of political and/or economic relations.

Thersites said...

I think I've finally uncovered Trump's "appeal". He promises to be the Berlusconi of American capitalism. Whereas he promises to be extremely entertaining, it's the ultimate in self-indulgent cynicism (which when compared to both the neo-liberal Establishment variants (D-R), Americans are finding refreshingly "honest").

And Sanders is the ultimate in Left-Progressive cynicism. The neo-liberal welfare state is dead. Not even direct central government control can save it. So it's time to put it out of its' misery.

Thersites said...

...and take a chance on "the temporality of freedom".

Thersites said...

ps - I'll be voting 3rd Party again this year. Fiorina has the right diagnosis, but no workable presciption. Rand Paul has a good diagnosis, but not a chance in hell of winning. And let's face it, the good "Dr. Carson", while an honorable and intelligent man, has no clue.

The only prospect of any radical change that would "weaken" the current oligarchy (but build up an entirely new one) is Bernie. And that is 10 steps in an even worse direction, Chinese capitalism.

Thersites said...

Plato was right to divise a means of separating "powers". Unfortuantely, "capital" has now devised a means for recombining them. We need a new structural-institutional means for separating and dividing both capital AND government.

Thersites said...

Zizek is right... The populist Right moves to occupy the terrain evacuated by the Left, as the only 'serious' political force that still employs an anti-capitalist rhetoric - if thickly coated with a nationalist/racist/religious veneer (international corporations are 'betraying' the decent working people of our nation). At the congress of the Front National a couple of years ago, Jean-Marie Le Pen brought on stage an Algerian, an African and a Jew, embraced them all and told his audience: 'They are no less French than I am - it is the representatives of big multinational capital, ignoring their duty to France, who are the true danger to our identity!' In New York, Pat Buchanan and Black activist Leonora Fulani can proclaim a common hostility to unrestricted free trade, and both (pretend to) speak on behalf of the legendary desaparecidos of our time, the proverbially vanished proletariat. While multicultural tolerance becomes the motto of the new and privileged 'symbolic' classes, the far Right seeks to address and to mobilize whatever remains of the mainstream 'working class' in our Western societies.

The consensual form of politics in our time is a bi-polar system that offers the appearance of a choice where essentially there is none, since today poles converge on a single economic stance - the 'tight fiscal policy' that Clinton and Blair declare to be the key tenet of the modern Left, that sustains economic growth, that allows us to improve social security, education and health. In this uniform spectrum, political differences are more and more reduced to merely cultural attitudes: multicultural/sexual (etc.) 'openness' versus traditional/natural (etc.) 'family values'. This choice - between Social Democrat or Christian Democrat in Germany, Democrat or Republican in the States - recalls nothing so much as the predicament of someone who wants an artificial sweetener in an American cafeteria, where the omnipresent alternatives are Nutra-Sweet Equal and High & Low, small bags of red and blue, and most consumers have a habitual preference (avoid the red ones, they contain cancerous substances, or vice versa) whose ridiculous persistence merely highlights the meaninglessness of the options themselves

Thersites said...

...against copratism, but unwilling to advance any stated direct program willing to curb and tame it.

Gert said...

Couple of questions:

The neo-liberal welfare state is dead. Not even direct central government control can save it. So it's time to put it out of its' misery.

And continue the erosion of the welfare state caused by neoliberalismby finishing it in one fell swoop?

...and take a chance on "the temporality of freedom".

What does the latter mean?

Define Chinese Capitalism, please?

Thersites said...

What does the latter mean? I would refer you to the text in the post which initiated this thread.

Chinese Capitalism? Zizek's "Capitalism with Asian Values".

Thersites said...

aka - Capitalism without democracy.

Thersites said...

Unlike Oligarch's like Putin, Trump and Berlusconi running the world's capitalist "nations", a corrupt Communist Central Committee runs it.

Tui Dang!

The Absolute Marxist said...

The day democracy died in its' "birthplace".

Gert said...

The only prospect of any radical change that would "weaken" the current oligarchy (but build up an entirely new one) is Bernie. And that is 10 steps in an even worse direction, Chinese capitalism.

I don't quite see how Bernie would lead to Chinese capitalism. He's very aware of the grip the oligarchy has on US democracy (and elsewhere, of course).

And what's Fiorina's diagnosis? I don't know her very well.

Paul attracts you because he's basically anti-government. Yet what but government (or alternatively the sheer use of force) can reign in the 0.1 - 1 % robber barons?

Mrs. Grundy said...

Is Bernie about "regulating" and/or "controlling" multi-national corporations or "eliminating" them and having them expunge their accumulated wealth to shareholders? If it's only the former, then the US will have nothing over Chinese capitalism.

Fiorina knows that the economic solution lies in freeing up the market for small business to flourish, but it is doubtful that she fully realizes the need to simultaneously drive a stake through the corporate vampires heart, or it will all have been for naught. For it is the growth of small business' into mid-caps and mid-caps into large-caps that ultimately chokes off the market for small-caps. Capturing production and managerial "efficiencies" are what drive these corporate entitities into consolidating and growing ever larger. I simply "prevent" ANYONE from exploiting these efficiencies and thereby "level-the-playing-field" for the small and eventually actively "tilt" it against the large.

IMO, you reign in robber barons by eliminating the government regulatory loopholes and structures that enable them to monopolize accumulated efficiencies and shield their collective assets from government reach. You put limits on their ability to transfer wealth off-shore. You tax large capital investments MORE (not less) heavily. You don't shield investors from the damages incurred through corporate limited product liability's, you let them bear both risk and responsibility. And you tax corporations based upon market capitalization, and thereby incentivize those corporate entities that do issue stock to pay out dividends to stockholders and not grow over-large.

Government currently functions to help the established aristocracy preserve its' wealth. I would put reasonable "caps" on the amount of wealth it would allow a private or corporate "individual" to accumulate on a "totalized" basis.

Capturing benefits from the efficiencies bourne from the division of labour is all well and good up to the point. Ensuring that the surplus values derived through its' productive efficiencies are more equitably shared by all its producers (including labour), and not merely those who control the means of production, is in a general social interest and should be a function of government.

Gert said...

Thanks for the clarifications.

Thersites said...

Mine is just a divserse collection of ideas to prevent the further large accumulation and consolidation of capital. To prevent that which Marx forsaw, and critiqued, as an inevitability.

Thersites said...

Naive? Most certainly. But I don't care.

Gert said...

Getting scared of Frankenstein (the monster, not the doctor)?

Earlier this month, billionaire Charles Koch had a surprising message: In a speech to his fellow conservatives, he said politicians must end taxpayer-funded subsidies and preferential treatment for corporations.

Why is this surprising? Because the demand came from an industrialist whose company and corporate subsidiaries have raked in tens of millions of dollars’ worth of such subsidies.

The Koch-organized conference at a luxury resort in Southern California reportedly attracted roughly 450 conservative donors who have committed to spending nearly $900 million on the 2016 presidential election. The event included appearances by Republican presidential candidates such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

“Where I believe we need to start in reforming welfare is eliminating welfare for the wealthy,” said Koch, who, along with his brother David, is among the biggest financiers of conservative political causes. “This means stopping the subsidies, mandates and preferences for business that enrich the haves at the expense of the have nots.”

Yet, in the last 15 years, Koch’s firm Koch Industries and its subsidiaries have secured government subsidies worth more than $166 million, according to data compiled by the watchdog group Good Jobs First. The group says since 1990, Koch-owned properties have received 191 separate subsidies worth a total of $195 million.


These numbers...

Source.

Thersites said...

Imteresting. Who knew the Koch's felt guilty?

Gert said...

But do they? Or are they just afraid of that stake that might be driven through their hearts? ;-}

Thersites said...

...and want to control it's rate of approach. Sounds like a plan!

There are no white knights who can ride in (ala Soros) with bails of money with which to attack the problem. The pawns will have to fight it out one blow at a time.

Gert said...

In a similar vein ("Nightmares of burnt-down castles"?):

That fear is proliferating, according to a New York Times Op-Ed this weekend by former marketing conglomerate CEO Peter Georgescu. Joined by his friend Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot, Georgescu warns his fellow 1 percenters that “[w]e are creating a caste system from which it’s almost impossible to escape.”[my emph.] The column raises the specter of “major social unrest” if inequality is not addressed.

Georgescu writes:


I’m scared. The billionaire hedge funder Paul Tudor Jones is scared. My friend Ken Langone, a founder of the Home Depot, is scared. So are many other chief executives. Not of Al Qaeda, or the vicious Islamic State or some other evolving radical group from the Middle East, Africa or Asia. We are afraid where income inequality will lead.

In June, Cartier chief Johann Rupert — worth an estimated $7.5 billion — delivered the same message to his wealthy colleagues, telling them that the intensifying inequality and what it portends “keeps me awake at night.” He told his fellow elites that “We are destroying the middle classes at this stage and it will affect us.” Like Georgescu and Langone, Rupert feared unrest and asked, “How is society going to cope with structural unemployment and the envy, hatred and the social warfare?”

But while Rupert only mused about the prospects for continuing to hawk jewelry and the restfulness of his nights amid the tumult, Georgescu and Langone are being proactive. Georgescu writes that he and Langone “have been meeting with chief executives, trying to get action on inequality,” taking advantage of Langone’s tremendous access to business leaders. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a major CEO that wouldn’t take his call,” said a close associate of Rudy Giuliani of Langone in 2012. Georgescu and Langone are telling their patrician peers that if “inequality is not addressed, the income gap will most likely be resolved in one of two ways: by major social unrest or through oppressive taxes.” The word seems to be getting around at the global aristocracy’s water cooler, and Georgescu writes that they “find almost unanimous agreement on the nature of the problem and the urgent need for solutions.”

It is remarkable that Langone is partnered with Georgescu on this crusade for social justice. Langone served on the board of a leading populist philanthropy group called the New York Stock Exchange, and his deep concern for the downtrodden led him to chair that gang of do-gooders. He’s a longtime generous contributor to Republican presidential candidates who have been on the front lines of the battle to institute supply-side and neoliberal economics. “[T]here’s nobody better than him,” said Rudy Giuliani last year about Langone’s prowess as a bundler for GOP politicians. And when he isn’t giving money and raising funds for the political friends of big business, Langone gives the invaluable gift of his careful insight, last year comparing progressives’ attention to income inequality to Hitler’s political project in 1933.


Source.

Thersites said...

From the Salon article, the money boys seem to operate under the false premise that the salaried bourgeoisie that work for them have no dreams of making "partner" and are willing to be satisfied making a surplus hourly wage. Whereas the reality is that everyone seeks to occupy a position of "F*ck you"!, not just members of the billionaire boys club.

Gert said...

What I like about these 'confessionals' is that the 'prove' I'm not dreaming, that analysis of current runaway neoliberalism isn't some dumb conspiracy theory, that 'blames the rich' reflexively but without basis in reality.

Meanwhile back in Albion, 'Labour' establishment mandarins are crapping their silk panties at the more though or sight of Jeremy Corbyn. Things are slowly stirring, I tell you...

Gert said...

[...]it 'proves' that[...], damned typos!

Gert said...

'[...]mere thought[...]' Afternoon catnaps make me drowsy.

Thersites said...

Well, let's hope that a space for some real dialogue opens up at some point in the near future. The "masters" interpreters of the university discourse have had a monopoly on Coeus for FAR too long now. It's time that the analyst discourse explain the hysterics symptoms for a change.
We need to stop asking the master's university pets, "Che voui"? It's time instead, for the hysterics to ask it of themselves.