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.
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.
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.”
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.)