Quotable (#204)

Badiou is not amused:

I don’t say that there is noth­ing at all on this [Left] side. We know new riots, new occu­pa­tion of places, new mobil­isa­tion, new eco­lo­gic­al determ­in­a­tion and so on. So, it’s not the absence of all forms of res­ist­ance, prot­est­a­tion — no, I don’t say that. But the lack of another stra­tegic way, that is, some­thing which is at the same level as the con­tem­por­ary con­vic­tion that cap­it­al­ism is the only way pos­sible. The lack of the strength of the affirm­a­tion of another way. And the lack of what I name an Idea, a great Idea. A great Idea which is the pos­sib­il­ity of uni­fic­a­tion, glob­al uni­fic­a­tion, stra­tegic uni­fic­a­tion of all forms of res­ist­ance and inven­tion. An Idea is a sort of medi­ation between the indi­vidu­al sub­ject and the col­lect­ive his­tor­ic­al and polit­ic­al task, and it’s the pos­sib­il­ity of action across and with very dif­fer­ent sub­jectiv­it­ies, but under the same Idea in some sense. […] … the gen­er­al and stra­tegic dom­in­a­tion of glob­al­ized cap­it­al­ism, the decom­pos­i­tion of clas­sic­al polit­ic­al olig­archy, the pop­ular dis­or­i­ent­a­tion and frus­tra­tion, and the lack of another stra­tegic way — com­pose in my opin­ion the crisis of today. We can define the con­tem­por­ary world in the term of a glob­al crisis which is not redu­cible to the eco­nom­ic crisis of the last years, which is much more, I think, a sub­ject­ive crisis, because of the des­tiny of human beings is more and more unclear for them­selves.

Quotable (#179)

Union and its discontents:

The founders believed horizontal and vertical federalism was the salve for … factionalism and regionalism. The federal government should have the limited powers necessary to unite the various factions for national ends, but otherwise should leave people alone. Those who wanted a liberal paradise should be able to live together and those who wanted a conservative stronghold should be able to have it. But now everyone is vying for a one size fits all homogen[e]ous tyranny where we are a truly diverse, heterogen[e]ous republic and all that does is drive up the stakes.

Quotable (#175)

Stephen M. Walt on ‘The Collapse of the Liberal World Order’:

As you’ve probably noticed, the heady optimism of the 1990s has given way to a growing sense of pessimism — even alarm — about the existing liberal order. The New York Times’s Roger Cohen, a thoughtful and committed liberal, believes that “the forces of disintegration are on the march” and “the foundations of the postwar world … are trembling.”

(UF emphasis.)

Cultural Speciation

New media are eradicating the (practical) idea of a common culture. Everything print media integrated, by universalizing literacy, is now being disintegrated into bubbles. It’s bound to be an upsetting development, from certain perspectives:

Another tech trend fueling this issue is the ability to publish ideas online at no cost, and to gather an audience around those ideas. It’s now easier than ever to produce content specifically designed to convince people who may be on the fence or “curious” about a particular topic. This is an especially big issue when it comes to violent extremism, and pseudoscience. Self-publishing has eliminated all the checks and balances of reputable media ― fact-checkers, editors, distribution partners.

It turns out that ‘trusted’ cultural curators aren’t actually trusted much at all. When their reputations are — for the first time — put to the test, they crumble to nothing very fast.

The fission of authorized ‘common purposes’ into meme wars certainly isn’t going to be welcomed by everybody. Nothing is going to be welcomed by everybody. Fragmentation is now the driver, so it isn’t (at all) likely to be stopped.

Rule-of-thumb for any techno-propelled regime transition: What the existing establishment hates and fears most is the already-palpable threat, whose arrival is as close to inevitable as history allows anything to be. (Completely inevitable, in the opinion of this blog, but no one is under any compulsion to follow us there.)