Saturday, November 10, 2007

What Zizek could have said

. . . today’s liberal-democratic state and the dream of an ‘infinitely demanding’ anarchic politics exist in a relationship of mutual parasitism: anarchic agents do the ethical thinking, and the state does the work of running and regulating society. Critchley’s anarchic ethico-political agent acts like a superego, comfortably bombarding the state with demands; and the more the state tries to satisfy these demands, the more guilty it is seen to be. In compliance with this logic, the anarchic agents focus their protest not on open dictatorships, but on the hypocrisy of liberal democracies, who are accused of betraying their own professed principles. Zizek

One hoped the Zeester would try to go beyond hand-me-down binaries, but no. What would be appealing -- more so than media-sanctioned alternatives involving either shrill fecklessness or suicidal explosiveness -- would be something more along the lines of:

If you allow the massive, complex, superpowerful organism of large states to be directed by individuals, you risk the chance that those seeking power will either enter office insane, or rapidly become such.

Serious, sober, unshrill, non-violent "opposition" could take the form of people simply saying "look, this isn't working in its current form. Doing away with this pair of ungulate testicles in power will merely present a vacancy to be filled by another, conceivably more nauseous set."


Instead of shouting quondam solutions or demands on the D.C. mall or on blogs or on TV, consider that perhaps the problems lie deeper, that things have shifted from where they were in 1776.

Instead of assuming every political/social/economic ill of 2007 can be addressed through stalemated political process and hilariously irrelevant election rhetoric, we need to understand why it's come to this. A Reconstitutional Convention (ReConCon) --could explore how the political matrix can work better.

I.e., eliminate the possibility of morons (vide supra) from even running for office by requiring something in the way of minimal voter literacy. Give those citizens who think it's about Second Life, Liberty to commit corporate rapine, and Ignorance of all but the most commodified, impulsive Happiness the right to worship a virtual president in the privacy of their home entertainment centers.

Make it impossible for psychotic or power-maddened citizens to swagger and spend until the last Middle-Eastern family is raped or killed. Subject corporate activity to communal vision and public policy. Play with various representational and performative schemes to more adequately convey and exercise the will of the people. Criminalize the legal fiction that endows corporations with personhood. Demythologize the nation-state.

Let these schemes be openly discussed, perhaps even tried out in small polities with Reality TV show crews on hand to help us follow their fortunes. And when we've seen that there are better ways to choose, elect, represent and govern than the one we've got now, use our "business intelligence" to make those ways the new law of the land. No need for bloodshed, no infinite demands on an unchanging golem, merely commonsense improvements based on the vertiginous insights we have not yet forgotten as to how, with everyone alternately shrieking and going about their business, things have managed to go so strangely wrong.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jon said...

Brilliant .. and it might actually work.

Something has to doesn't it ? Well, no actually.

I think few people realize that we are actually (or close to actually) living in a form of 2nd Life already, at least in North America.

We should let all those who want to play with power do so, but just not with everybodys' real arms, legs, families and souls.

12/16/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Before there was a compromise document attempting with considerable success as shown in the result to balance power, check it, suspect it and subject it to multiple layers of control, there was an opening to the idea of trying out various political forms, experimenting with some creative interest, based on the awareness that existing models were no longer working, if they ever had.

The "success" of the USian constitutional project has doomed it and us to thinking there are no better models. Preserve and protect what we got because it's less scary than admitting what we got is doing a pretty good St. Vitus' Dance.

12/16/2007 10:04 PM  

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