Sunday, July 29, 2018

Never be late for work AGAIN!

more...

Dreams of the Communist Left...

America's liberal elite is both horrified by Donald Trump, and incapable of mortally wounding him. What's needed instead is a profound leftward shift, led by new faces.

Now that yet another week of President Trump's frantic activity is safely behind us, and slowly receding into memory, we can reflect on the chaotic wasteland his foreign trip left behind.

The US President visited three places: Brussels - where he met the key European leaders, London - to see Theresa May and the Queen, plus Helsinki - where he held a summit with Vladimir Putin.

While most pundits noted the apparently strange fact that Trump was much friendlier to (those perceived as) US enemies than to its traditional friends, this shouldn't surprise us too much. Instead, our attention should turn in another direction. As is often the case with Trump, reactions to his acts are more important than what he actually did or said.

Different views

Let us begin by comparing what Trump uttered with what his partners said. When Trump and May were asked by a journalist what they think about the flow of immigrants to Europe, Trump brutally and honestly rendered his populist anti-immigrant position: immigrants are a threat to the European way of life; they are destabilizing the safety of our countries and bringing violence and intolerance. So, we should keep them out.

A careful listener could easily notice that Theresa May said exactly the same thing, just in a more diplomatic and "civilized" way: immigrants bring diversity, they contribute to our welfare, but we should carefully check whom we let in. Thus, we received a clear taste of the choice which is more and more the only one presented to us: direct populist barbarism or a more civilized version of the same politics, barbarism with a human face.

Generally, the reactions to Trump from all across the spectrum, including Republicans and Democrats in the US, were one of global shock and awe. Which sometimes bordered on pure panic. We heard how Trump is unreliable and he brings chaos.

For instance, first he reproached Germany for relying on Russian gas and thus becoming vulnerable to NATO's supposed enemy, but days later he praised good relations with Putin.

Then there are his manners: when meeting the queen, he violated the protocol of how you behave in the presence of a monarch!. And he doesn't really listen to his democratic partners while being much more open to the charms of Putin, who is nowadays cast as America's big enemy.

Too kind

Indeed, the way he acted at a press conference with Putin in Helsinki was not only supposedly an unheard-of humiliation (just think of it – he didn't behave as Putin's master!), and some of his statements could even be considered outright acts of treason, we heard.

Rumours reappeared of how Trump acts as Putin's puppet because his Russian counterpart must have some hold over him (the infamous alleged photos of prostitutes urinating in Moscow?), and parts of the US establishment. Democrats and some Republicans, began to consider a quick impeachment, even if we get Mike Pence as his replacement.

Overall, the conclusion was simply that the President of the US is no longer the leader of the free world: but was the President of the US really ever such a leader? Here our counter-attack should begin.

Let us first note that the overall confusion of Trump's statements contains some truths here and there: wasn't he in some sense right when he said that it is in our interest to have good relations with Russia and China to prevent war? Wasn't he partially correct to present his tariff war also as a protection of the interests of the US workers?

The fact is that the existing order of international trade and finances is far from equitable, and that the European establishment hurt by Trump's measures should also look at its own sins. Did we already forget how the existing financial and trade rules that privilege the strong European states, especially Germany, brought devastation to Greece?

Takes two to tango

Concerning Putin, yes I personally believe that Russians probably meddled in the US elections, but Putin was caught doing… what exactly? Just what the US is doing regularly and massively itself, except in their case, they call it the defence of democracy? So yes, Trump is a monster, and when he designated himself as a "stable genius," we should read this as a direct reversal of truth – he is an unstable idiot who disturbs the establishment. But as such, he is a symptom, an effect of what is wrong with the establishment itself. And the true Monster is the very establishment shocked by Trump's actions.

The panicky reaction to Trump's latest acts demonstrates that he is undermining and destabilizing the US political establishment and its ideology. So our conclusion should be: yes, the situation is dangerous, there is uncertainty and elements of chaos in international relations – but it is here that we should remember Mao's old motto: "There is great disorder under the sky, so the situation is excellent!"

Let's not lose our nerve. Instead, we can exploit the confusion by systematically organizing another anti-establishment front from the left. The signs are clear here – the surprising electoral victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, against 10-term House incumbent Joe Crowley in a New York congressional primary was, hopefully, the first in the series of shocks that will transform the Democratic Party. People like her, and not the well-known, and tired, faces from the liberal establishment, should be our answer to Trump.
- Slavoj Žižek, "Democratic left, not liberal establishment, can defeat Trump"

Monday, July 23, 2018

On How the Road to Socialism is Paved...

A communist experiences himself as simply an instrument whose function is to actualise a historical necessity. The people, the mythic people, whose instrument the totalitarian leader is, are never simply the actually existing individuals, groups of people and so on. It’s some kind of imagined idealised point of reference which works even when, for example in rebellions against the communist rule, like in Hungary 1956, when the large majority of actually resisting people raises up, is opposed to the regime. They can still say no, these are just individuals, they are not the true people. When you are accused of ‘My God, how could you have been doing all of these horrible things?’ You could have said and this is the standard Stalinist excuse, ‘Of course my heart bleeds for all the innocent victims, I am not responsible for it, I was only acting on behalf of the Big Other… As for myself, I like cats, small children, whatever’.
- Slavoj Zizek, "A Pervert's Guide to Ideology"

Saturday, July 21, 2018

20th/21st Century Bread and Circuses...



...featuring the traps of Snark and Boojum for the Populist Masses.


Proving, once again, that Hubris is the mortal enemy of elites, populists, and all human social sub-types.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Glasnost

"Candor and generosity, unless tempered by due moderation, leads to ruin."

---

"All things atrocious and shameless flock from all parts to Rome."
-Cornelius Tacitus

A Parting of Ways...and Realities

"Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty."
-Cornelius Tacitus

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

LOL! Britain Still Imagines Itself Relevant on the Global Trade Stage...

The Coming Global Trade Reality

...or aka, "I hate to inform you of this Europe, but post-WWII economic conditions are history."

Monday, July 9, 2018

Which Way, Eden?

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden
"For tribal man space was the uncontrollable mystery. For technological man it is time that occupies the same role."
-Marshall McLuhan

Saturday, July 7, 2018

On the Marxist Discourse

Paul Austin Murphy, "Slavoj Žižek Demands Revolutionary Violence"
It may seem like a waste of time to write a piece on a 21st-century Marxist. Many people believe that Marxism is dead and gone and has been since the fall of Communism in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Indeed many others believed it was dead long before that—at least here in the West. Therefore, any Marxists such people acknowledge to still exist are deemed to be the largely ineffectual and harmless members of a dying cult.

Whatever the case, books by Marx are currently political best-sellers all over the place; including in Marx's country of birth, Germany. And now we also have Slavoj Žižek, Jeremy Corbyn, and John McDonnell. (Žižek has classed himself as, variously, a "radical leftist,” a "communist in a qualified sense,” and, in tune with Labour's John McDonnell, a “Marxist.”)

If you believe that Marxism is a cult or religion (or as close to being a religion as it can possibly be without thereby being a literal religion), then of course Marxism isn't dead. Essentially, Marxism isn't based on truth or accuracy. It's based on various hopes, dreams, and memes which seem to have a long shelf-life and still fire the spirits of many people in the West. (And not all those people are middle-class students and academics.) These Marxist hopes and dreams are based on theories that don't really require either truth or accuracy in order to inspire and motivate people. They are, essentially, Sorelian myths.

In addition, because it was the case that no communist revolution was ever forthcoming in Europe and the United States, Marxists, on the whole, stopped believing in the imminent possibility of a violent revolution—even though they continued to agitate for one. Consequently, many took the advice of the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci (first offered in the early 1930s). He directed Leftists to “take over the institutions” in order to create a new “hegemony.” (The Frankfurt School and many other Marxist theorists offered similar proposals.)

When it comes to Slavoj Žižek himself: he both has his cake and eats it. That is, he still believes in violent revolution and in taking over various and numerous institutions. Currently, Žižek is a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia; the international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities (London); a professor of philosophy and psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School; and an Eminent Scholar at Kyung Hee University, South Korea.

I said that Marxism isn't dead: it's certainly not the case that Žižek is dead. In fact he's been called the “Elvis of cultural theory.” The journal Foreign Policy listed him in its Top 100 Global Thinkers list in 2012. Žižek has also appeared in films and documentaries, including the 2005 film, Žižek! And it's even the case that there's a journal dedicated entirely to his work: the International Journal of Žižek Studies.



Revolutionary or “radical” Marxists have often come clean about their “demanding the impossible” from what they call “capitalist democracies.” They do so because they know full well that such democracies can't grant their impossibilist demands—by definition. Again, Marxists know that they're literally demanding the impossible. And that's the whole point!

So, why do Marxists like Slavoj Žižek demand the impossible? They do so primarily to destabilise the state and also to “radicalise” and “mobilise” people. (At least that's the hope.) When Marxists demand that the state change water into wine (or provide free second cars and foreign holidays for all), they know that it won't come up with the goods. Therefore, “the people” (or “workers”)—Marxists hope—will get angry at this and then storm the barricades.

Similarly, Marxists promise an infinitely-funded welfare state (or NHS) that will be perfect in every respect. Then they demand exactly the same from the actually-existing state. However, because Marxists are knowingly demanding the impossible, they hope that the people (at least in theory), will rebel and then bring forth a revolution. And that's precisely why Marxists like Slavoj Žižek hate counter-revolutionaries such as the non-Marxist members of the Labour Party and “post-modernists.” Such wimps don't demand the impossible and therefore they'll never bring about Žižek's Total Revolution.

Žižek also believes in the (to use his own words and capitals) “Big State.” He's categorically against “the need to curtail Big State expenditure and administration.” He believes in the Big State in precisely the same way Stalin believed in it. There are no apologies from Žižek here. In fact he's explicit about his Big State dreams. He says that True Marxists (such as himself) will never defend themselves “by saying we are no longer the old Socialists.” Again, as a True Marxist, he will both demand and promise the impossible. Only such cases of modal political logic will guarantee the truly revolutionary situation Žižek yearns for.

Žižek traces this demand for the impossible back to what he calls the “1968 motto:” Soyons Réalistes, Demandons L’Impossible (“Let’s be realists, demand the impossible.”). That is, the workers must demand the impossible just as the French revolutionaries demanded the impossible, and, later, so did the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge, Mao's Red Guards and so on. This demanding the impossible comes along with the absolute and total overhaul of society—that extreme possibility which turns Žižek on so much. Like many Continental philosophers before him, Žižek is obsessed by the extreme and by the violent—except, of course, when that extremism and violence is carried out by Nazis/fascists or indeed by what he calls “Rightists.”

Is all this an exaggeration on my part? Well Žižek himself talks about the revolutionary “Terror” he so desires (complete with platonic/Hegelian capital 'T').

It's no coincidence that Žižek refers to “Terror” because he explains why he does so. Just as Žižek isn't happy that the Nazis didn't go all the way (i.e., they didn't destroy capitalism), or that the post-modernists haven't done so today (at least according to Žižek), so he's also unhappy that the Jacobins didn't “go to the end:” i.e., they didn't smash capitalism as well as faces. In Žižek's words, the French revolutionaries suffered from an “inability to disturb the very fundamentals of economic order (private property, etc.).” And that's why the Jacobins became “hysterical.”

Žižek doesn't mind “Terror.” What he does mind is the fact that the Jacobins didn't “disturb” such things as “private property.”

The other point worth mentioning is that on the classic Marxist account of the French Revolution, it wasn't to be expected (according to Marx's “historical laws”) that the 18th century French revolutionaries would overthrow Žižek's "private property." What they did was simply carry out “the first revolution:” the “revolution of the bourgeoisie.” Thus, it was also only the inevitable forerunner to a latter proletarian revolution (which was prophesied by Marx).

Now, if we jump forward to the 21st century, Žižek believes that a New Terror will also be inevitable because, as he puts it, the revolutionary will pursue his “goal with an inexorable firmness.” (This is the sort of revolutionary hard-man's language Lenin indulged in in his The State and Revolution.) In fact, the postmodernist “proliferation of multiple shifting identities” is, Žižek hopes, a prelude to a “new form of Terror.” And, as stated, if you demand the impossible (or if you're “opting for the impossible”), then Terror is almost bound to follow. Take Žižek's word for it.

In this Leftist Terror—or in this “revolutionary situation”—there will be “no a priori norms” such as “human rights” and “democracy.” (Will the Terror continue after the Revolution? Is the Pope a Catholic?) Instead there will be “the ruthless exercise of power [and] the spirit of sacrifice.” Now, this is incredibly repulsive, adolescent-male stuff. It's also the sort of psychotic and exhibitionist love of violence you'd expect from such previous philosophers as Georges Sorel, George Bataille, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Michel Foucault. (Think here of Foucault's “erotic infatuation” with Iran's theocratic violence after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.)

Žižek is proud of his demands for the impossible. In fact those who reject them (or who deny their feasibility) are nothing less than “status quo cynics.”

Žižek also comes out with what comes very close to being a non sequitur when he tells us that True Revolutionaries believe that “everything is possible” and that they therefore want to “change everything.” It also follows (to Žižek at least) that “status quo cynics” must believe (here's the non sequitur) that “nothing at all is really possible.”

Žižek believes that post-modernists, non-Marxist socialists, Greens, and God-knows-who-else don't believe in Total Revolution then, they must be, in effect, counter-revolutionaries. Not only that: because they don't accept that the Only Solution is Total Revolution, then they must be the friends of capitalism and also believe that there's “no other game in town” (to use Žižek's own words).

Now, take those on the Right who don't believe in Žižek's Total Revolution. Because of that, he concludes that they believe “nothing at all is really possible.” I suppose it's possible that the phrases “everything is possible” and “nothing is possible” aren't meant to be taken literally. The former, I presume, works like the Georges Sorel's myth of the General Strike: simply as a meme to fire up “the people." Nonetheless, what sense are we to make of the claim that some people—or anyone—believe that “nothing is really possible?” Has Žižek simply concluded that because millions upon millions of people sincerely believe that a Total Revolution will create more harm than good, that they must also believe “nothing is really possible?” Even if one is mindlessly committed to capitalism, it doesn't follow from this that one would also think that nothing is really possible. All sorts of things have been possible within capitalism. And, as Žižek himself has admitted, capitalism has created—or allowed—multiple “subjectivities” (or “hybrid identities”); as well as the adult vote, democracy, health care, and myriad other things.

But none of that matters to Žižek because defenders of capitalism believe that “nothing is really possible” simply because they would rather stick with “capitalist democracy”—thank you very much. That, to Žižek, means that they think nothing is really possible.

However, most people who defend capitalism don't do so because they think that “capitalism is natural,” “inevitable,” or even incapable of alteration (as Marx and Marxists have it). Žižek is the essentialist here. It's not the case that capitalism is “the only game in town” either. There are lots of other games in town: including Žižek's Total Revolution, Islamism, post-modern “hyperreality,” a Green hegemony, the Third Way, fascism, the Nihilist Party, and so on. It's just that most people—those who, by Marxist definition, suffer from “false consciousness”—don't want Žižek's Total Revolution. There are many possibilities that literally millions of people accept and even champion in the West. It's just that Žižek's Total Revolution isn't one of them.

Apparently, I think all this because I'm a (to use Žižek's own words) “bleeding-heart liberal.” I thought that Marxist radicals hated such macho-talk. I thought they weren't fascists. Yet this sounds like the language of a fascist to me. Žižek's overall ideology may be dissimilar in some minor respects to that of a Nazi or fascist. Nonetheless, Žižek's talk of Leftist “Terror” and violence; his Marxist absolutism, fundamentalism, and essentialism; and his love of complete change for its own sake—all that sounds pretty fascistic to me. And, as many people know, revolutionary Nazism and fascism were (at least in large part) off-shoots of 19th century revolutionary Marxism. So, all the claptrap designed to distance the International Socialists from the National Socialists needn't be taken seriously when you think of the behaviour of the Bolsheviks, Stalin and his henchmen, Chairman Mao's Red Guards, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and today's street-fighting Antifa (as well as of the “anti-fash” generally).

And now, to top all that, we have the violent words and fantasies of Slavoj Žižek.

A Tribute to Fiction Writers

Friday, July 6, 2018

Alternatives to Capitalism - Models for American Immigration System 2.0

Kafala
from The Guardian
A foreign worker can only come in to the Arab Gulf states through a kafeel (sponsor). However, the essence of the kafala system is the relationship binding employee to the employer, which has often been criticised as "slave-like".

The kafala directly contradicts the labour law. The raison d'être of the law is to bring about a balance, in terms of rights and obligations, between the employer and the employee, but the kafala puts far too much power in the hands of the employer/sponsor. The employer can dictate the recruitment process and working conditions. The paradox is that the kafala is not a law but a tradition that seems to have precedence over the labour law. This is at the root of abuses of workers' rights.

The sponsorship system has become a lucrative business. In its early incarnation in the 1930s, it was in the best tradition of Arab hospitality, but now unscrupulous kafeels exploit the system.

The main issue is that kafala restricts labour mobility. In fact, one could argue that it prohibits any mobility on part of the worker unless approved by the kafeel. If the kafeels are unwilling to let them go, workers cannot leave them for better employment. In fact, workers can even be victims of blackmail by kafeels: if they protest or question their terms of employment, kafeels can have them deported. Being in a precarious situation forces them to accept whatever terms and conditions are given to them.

The kafeel can also shift the financial burden on to the worker. The law says the kafeel is expected to pay for medical insurance and fees for employment and residence permits and the like. Workers, on the other hand, are not supposed to bear any of these expenses. However, kafeels and intermediaries such as recruitment agencies often charge such fees to foreign workers. Indemnities for delays in registration are also often billed to workers. Similarly, some kafeels partially withhold final payments to foreign workers to recover some of the recruitment costs. Also, many kafeels exploit the workers by only leasing their sponsorship against payments. Although kafeels behaving in this way remain a minority, their victims are in the tens of thousands.

The retention of passports and identity documents has, in many instances, led to forced labour situations. Under such conditions migrants can be forced to work in arduous conditions for longer hours than envisaged by the law, without overtime payments. They are often deprived of weekly rests, annual leaves or home leave. Many have even complained of harassment.

The authorities forbid the retention of passports and recognise expat workers' right to complain and recover their passports. However, workers know such a move would be considered as a hostile challenge by employers, which may result in punishments, reduction in wages, non-renewal of contracts, false accusations or ultimately deportation. In extreme cases, kafeels exchange passports for declarations by workers that they have received their dues, especially end-of-service payments and wage arrears.

The kafala is not compatible with modern labour practices and should be abolished.

Justifying the Coming Violence

Justifying ANTIFA

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Slavoj Žižek, Fashionable Revolutionary

Slavoj Žižek, Fashionable Revolutionary

The superstar Slovenian philosopher has dedicated his undeniable talent and intelligence to spreading some truly repulsive ideas.

Communist philosopher Slavoj Žižek seems to publish at least one book every year, and as of this writing The Courage of Hopelessness: A Year of Acting Dangerously is his latest. It contains seven long essays on a wide range of political matters. The first essay offers a Marxist critique of global capitalism, the principles of which inform subsequent essays. Then follows commentary on the Greek debt crisis, the rise of China, the challenge of Islamic terrorism, the issues facing the LGBT community, the threat of populist movements, and the problems with U.S. foreign policy. Erudite if a bit meandering, Žižek manages to provoke but never to surprise — regardless of the question at hand, he always arrives at the same two conclusions: Capitalism is the disease, and Communism is the cure.

Like much of Žižek’s work, The Courage of Hopelessness seeks above all to convince us that the neoliberal world order is fatally deficient. In Žižek’s view it allows “politicians, bankers, and managers” to “realize their greed” by stashing their ill-earned wealth in offshore tax havens. It creates false scarcity and exacerbates already-savage income inequalities. It destabilizes the lives of working people. It establishes sweatshops (in Asia), resuscitates slavery (in Qatar), and necessitates oppressive policies of social control. The way to overcome these troubles, Žižek argues, is by reinvigorating the politics of the radical left, unabashedly embracing Communism, and confronting the behemoth of the capitalist economy.

In a review of Žižek’s oeuvre, Roger Scruton observes that his intellectual output is the product “of a seriously educated mind.” Scruton is right: Žižek’s books usually include many passages indicative of nothing less than sheer brilliance. Upon encountering them, even the most ardent anti-Communists might catch themselves reconsidering their positions. But one should be careful; Scruton notes that as readers “[nod] in time to the rhythm of the prose,” Žižek slips in “little pellets of poison.”

And so it is: Impressive insights are sometimes followed by poisonous pellets within the space of a single page. Thus, Žižek notes (correctly in my estimation) that while “the French colonized Haiti, the French Revolution also provided the ideological foundation for the rebellion that liberated the slaves and established independent Haiti.…In short, one should never forget that the West provides the very standards by means of which it (as well as its critics) measures its criminal past.” Fair enough, one thinks — Žižek lauds the power of Western ideals, and rightly. But a few paragraphs later we learn what Žižek really intends to commend. “Radical egalitarianism,” he writes, “is European; the notion of modern subjectivity is European; communism is a European event if there ever was one.” Insofar, then, as Žižek can find anything to praise in the Western heritage it is, bafflingly, the legacy of Communism.

Such remarks are par for Žižek’s Marxist course. He possesses an extraordinary analytic tool, inaccessible to most others and deployed frequently in The Courage of Hopelessness: He can discover ways to blame anything on capitalism. With a wave of Žižek’s wand any issue can be converted into a matter of class politics. Of the causes behind the Syrian civil war, for instance, Žižek writes that, “while the dominant factor is political (where Arab tensions play the main role), the determination in the last instance is exerted by the global capitalist economy.” (Those are his italics; you can tell because as elsewhere in his writing they serve no discernible purpose.) Wherever a problem arises in the world, Žižek is certain to be there, ever-ready to find a connection, however tenuous, to the dynamics of global capitalism.

It’s all part of Žižek’s overarching theory: He overstates the nature of the challenges we face and misstates their causes to create the intellectual space needed for the projects of the radical left. “The change required,” The Courage of Hopelessness explains, “is not political reform but a transformation of the social relations of production — which entails precisely revolutionary class struggle rather than democratic elections.” Liberal democracy is incapable of handling the disasters brought about by capitalism. Overcoming them requires a total departure from extant political and economic systems. But, asks Žižek, “Can such [a departure] remain within the confines of parliamentary democracy?” The answer for him is no. Extreme problems demand extreme solutions, which are not laid out in this book.

Žižek has, however, proposed specific solutions in the past. His clearest statement of how humanity might escape capitalism appears in “Robespierre or the ‘Divine Violence’ of Terror,” an essay published over a decade ago.

“Our task today,” Žižek writes in that essay, “is to reinvent emancipatory terror.” One cannot achieve true liberation without wanton violence, because “as Saint-Just put it succinctly: ‘That which produces the general good is always terrible.’” When Žižek elaborates on this idea his language is uncharacteristically lucid. He believes there come points in human history (France 1789, Russia 1917) when the masses awaken to their status as brutalized and degraded creatures, when extraordinary leaders (Robespierre, Lenin) recognize the critical importance of the times and take charge of said masses, when there arises an opportunity, at last, to shatter the systems that oppress us (feudalism, capitalism), and in those moments — in those precise moments — we must decide: Should we embrace “revolutionary-democratic terror?”

Žižek argues that we should, and that we must: During the moment of revolutionary fervor, passivity is tantamount to complicity with the forces of reaction. Anyone who does not participate in the terror is fit for elimination. To create a better world, destroy capitalism, and bring about liberation, one should not be reluctant to employ pitiless methods of political action. Those unwilling to inflict slaughter on behalf of revolution are “sensitive liberals” who long for “revolutions which don’t smell of revolution.” Such people want freedom without violent struggle, and for Žižek such a position is morally bankrupt: One must accept terror “as a bitter truth to be fully endorsed.”


Žižek in this essay is somewhat exceptional. Unlike other (perhaps more reserved) radical thinkers, Žižek makes the connection between utopianism and terrorism explicit: He demands utopia at the expense of terror despite knowing full well that utopia is unobtainable. Indeed, Žižek himself acknowledges that the Jacobin, Bolshevik, and Maoist utopian experiments failed utterly to bring about Communist bliss, yet he is willing nevertheless to encourage similar undertakings in the future. One more revolution, one more outburst of emancipatory terror, and we will finally arrive at the truly “just” society. He therefore contradicts himself when he says that he wants a revolution only so that the brutalities of capitalism can be washed away in the carnage. One comes to realize that he is not opposed to brutalities as such; he only objects to brutalities that he perceives to be caused by “the system.” When atrocities are committed for “correct” (i.e. Communist) causes, he morphs into their foremost intellectual apologist.

And yet, in my view what makes the Žižek phenomenon truly remarkable is not that he openly advocates the mass murder of civilians, not that he is taken seriously by the Western academic establishment (he has 100,00 citations on Google Scholar), not that despite all his writing on Stalinism he cannot muster an unambiguous moral condemnation of Stalin’s butchery. It is, rather, that the terror he endorses is ultimately nihilistic. If utopia is impossible, then any society born after a terrorist uprising is bound to be flawed in some way. Certain classes of people will continue to be excluded from the “benefits” of the revolution — Jews in the former Soviet Union are one obvious example. If Žižek will stop at nothing until full and perfect equality is attained, and if he sanctions terrorism to attain that perfect equality, then he must (and to be fair he does) endorse a perpetual cycle of revolutionary terror to achieve that which cannot be achieved. Seduced by the aesthetics of revolution rather than committed to a serious pursuit of justice, Žižek’s philosophy collapses under the weight of its incoherence.

In a world where his dreadful revolutionary project could be separated from his descriptive commentary, Žižek’s books would perhaps be useful interventions in public-policy debates. But we do not live in such a world. Book after book, Žižek applies the same Lacanian–Marxist theories to analyses of current events in a quixotic attempt to prove that doomsday nears, that capitalism is begetting catastrophe and only terror can save us. Bearing all this in mind, readers who engage The Courage of Hopelessness will find themselves captivated by its insights, furious with its absurdities, and repelled by its implicit proposals.

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Little Sun Tzu Time...

HUH!
Yeah, we're comin' back in with another "Bombtrack"
Think ya know it's all of that, HUH!
Aiyyo, so check this out...
Yeah...

KNOW YOUR ENEMY!
C'MON!

Born with insight and a raised fist
A witness to the slit wrist
As we, move into '92
STILL in a room without a view
Ya got to know, ya got to know
That when I say GO, GO, GO!
Amp up and amplify
DEFY, I'm a brother with a furious mind
Action must be taken
We don't need the key, we'll BREAK in
Something must be done
About vengeance, a badge and a gun
Cause I'll rip the mike, rip the stage, rip the system
I was born to Rage Against 'em!
Fist in ya face in the place and I'll drop the style clearly...
Know your enemy!

KNOW YOUR ENEMY!

YEAH!
Aiyyo, get with this...UGH!

Word, is, born!
Fight the war, FUCK the norm!
Now I got no patience
So sick of complacence
With the D, the E, the F, the I, the A, the N, the C, the E
Mind of a revolutionary, so clear the lane
The finger to the land of the chains
WHAT?! The "land of the free?"
Whoever told you that is your enemy!
Now something must be done
About vengeance, a badge and a gun
Cause I'll rip the mic, rip the stage, rip the system
I was born to Rage Against 'em!
Now action must be taken
We don't need the key, we'll BREAK IN!!

[Band singing (along with Maynard James Keenan of Tool)]
I've got no patience now...
So sick of complacence, now...
I've got no patience, now...
So sick of complacence nooow..
Sick of, sick of, sick of, sick of...you..
Time...has...come...to...PAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY-EEEEEEEE!!!
KNOW YOUR ENEMY!

C'MON!
Yes, I know my enemies!
They're the teachers who taught me to FIGHT me!
Compromise! Conformity! Assimilation! Submission!
Ignorance! Hypocrisy! Brutality! The elite!
All of which are American dreams!
ALL of which are American dreams!
ALL of which are American dreams!
ALL of which are American dreams!
[*music stops*]
ALL OF WHICH ARE AMERICAN DREAMS!
ALL OF WHICH ARE AMERICAN DREAMS!
ALL OF WHICH ARE AMERICAN DREAMS!
ALL OF WHICH, ARE AMERICAN DREAMS!