Friday, April 29, 2022

"Behind the chiliasm of modern man, is the megalomania of self-infinitization."

Spent the day following the mutual appreciation of the young intellectual left and right each basking in the new, to them, awareness of their commonalities, and, prodded by a reference, remembering my reaction to Hirschman, like my reaction years before to Goffman: Didn't we used to know all this already? Isn't this where where serious thought begins? 

Reading The Rhetoric of Reaction. A primer, a great book for high school students.

By demonstrating that each of the reactionary arguments has one or more progressive counterparts, I generated contrasting pairs of reactionary and progressive statements about social action. To recall some of them:

Reactionary: The contemplated action will bring disastrous consequences.

Progressive: Not to take the contemplated action will bring disastrous consequences.

Reactionary: The new reform will jeopardize the older one.

Progressive: The new and the old reforms will mutually reinforce each other.

Reactionary: The contemplated action attempts to change permanent structural characteristics (“laws”) of the social order; it is therefore bound to be wholly ineffective, futile.

Progressive: The contemplated action is backed up by powerful historical forces that are already “on the march”; opposing them would be utterly futile.

Once the existence of these pairs of argumcnts is demonstrated. the reactionary theses are downgraded, as it were: they. along with their progressive counterparts, become simply extreme statements in a series of imaginary, highly polarized debates. In this manner they stand effectively exposed as limiting cases, badly in need, under most circumstances, of being qualified, mitigated, or otherwise amended.

It's left to older students to face the hard questions: how self-described moderates can be war criminals and their victims' cries reduced, in the liberal imagination, to nothing more than passionate expressions of rage.


Banging my fucking head against the wall. I thought Streeck was smarter.

In the order that seems to be emerging, social bonds are construed as a matter of taste and choice rather than of obligation, making communities appear as voluntary associations from which one can resign if they require excessive self-denial, rather than as ‘communities of fate’ with which one either rises or goes under. The new social media that have fast become almost indispensable tools of human sociability enable people to connect and associate with like-minded others on the most esoteric ‘subjective’ matters. As cyberspace trumps geography, the connection, elementary for traditional political mobilization, between shared interests and personal relations arising from physical vicinity is broken. One consequence is that social control among ‘network members’ is minimized; dropping out is easy, especially when people use pseudonyms—another facet of the new voluntarism of social relationships. Browsing the boundless supply of causes, tastes and lifestyles made available by the internet, one can freely decide to ‘like’ whatever one wishes; in contrast to old-school political parties, there is no pressure for ideological consistency or for adherence to a common programme.
"In the order that seems to be emerging..." As if he were writing in 1905.
Of course Streeck is right. That's why I have a fucking tag for Utopia and Intentional Communities 

It’s the public proclamation of loyalty to a subculture; documenting the need to belong; atomization and the rise of pathologically over-determined imagined communities etc.
 etc. etc. It’s the sociality of baroque individualism.

We now have food geeks as well as science geeks, all with the moral philosophy of Asperger’s patients: so fixated on their mania for [tube amps/Pouilly-Fuissé/Ducati two-stroke engines] that you’d be a fool not to hire them for your [high-end audio store/restaurant/Soho motorcycle salon]. Why be a well rounded adult when you can be an eternal [pre]adolescent and expert, and a happy cog and servant?

Atomization, isolation and the illusion of absolute community. The low buzz and hum—the violence and warmth—of neurological overload. 

From republicanism to liberalism,  the legacy of 1968, and Henry Farrell's favorite band.

continuing, on Hirschman, etc. 

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