Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"The model of intellectualism as expertise elides the earlier questions of preference. The myth of individual self-invention renders such questions irrelevant, renders history irrelevant. The subject imagines himself founded not on preferences developed in infantile experience, as reaction and response, but as something generated solely by himself, godlike, and yet impersonal, objective, Platonic. "

Posted elsewhere
False consciousness is Chomsky's rationalist assumptions as to the roots of human behavior. It's abb1's simplistic assumptions concerning the US; it's Engels' conflation of his own righteous anger with thoughtful analysis; it's Henry Farrell's knee-jerk fixation on libertarianism as a means of escape from the backwards reactionary communalism of his country of birth. It's Miracle Max's disgust with Gangsta Rap and effusive praise for the psycho killer revenge porn of Dexter, which allows him to vent his frustrations at the world and the idiot adolescent blogosphere from the comforts of a rec room in suburban Maryland. The most violent rap is flooded with tragedy. Dexter by comparison is more the cynical marketing of symptom . It's corporate gangsta-pop.
And Max is one of the good guys. What makes DD and Max and Perrin bearable is that all of them start from and cultivate their own subjectivity, using reason as a tool to argue what they believe: in fact what they assume, and hope. You'll never hear any of them claim "Reason made me an asshole" or "The numbers made me do it." And they're all assholes too. God luv'em.

What are the economics of the passive voice?
Assume: People act out of self-interest.

What are the economics of the ambiguities of the the world?
Observe: People are greedy, and yet they're often torn. Many, even most, are raised not to be greedy so live negotiating the anxiety of multiple and conflicting obligations.

But if they have multiple obligations, then people are not free, and don't people want freedom?
By and large, people don't want freedom, they want respect. Freedom is an invention, in fact, an illusion. It's an idea and an idée fixe, never a reality. People who celebrate it are celebrating themselves. As it exists in this world it's the freedom of newborn babies laughing and rolling in their own shit and sociopaths who kill without anger or regret.

The logic of the passive voice: The assumption that people are monads does not begin with observation but the preference for monadism. Show the supposedly impersonal logic for what it is: taste, sensibility, reaction, and you'll begin to reconstitute society as social in origin.
Max, put down that computer manual and pick up some Philip Roth. Better yet, read Armies of the Night. And drink more.

Observe: educated liberals act largely out of self-interest but have feel-good hobbies and the most engaged ones the best intentions. Working class conservatives act in their personal lives of out obligation that liberals disdain. Working class conservatives, like educated liberals, recognize the false consciousness of others. You follow me now?
 I was so wrong about Davies.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:19 PM

    OK, Seth, I just read your comment on the "Savage Mules" thread at Crooked Timber and favorited your blog. I'm looking forward to perusing your archives and will re-connect next week.

    Laser-like criticism.


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