“The tianxia worldview is hardly glowing in its description of the human condition. Without a monotheistic faith as a guiding light, the Chinese weltanschauung constantly falls back on science, which means every justification is reduced to ‘bugman’ notions. To give a few examples, existence rather unglamorously seeks to persist (hardly distinguishing it from a virus), growth is adored for the sake of growth (the philosophy of cancer), and ethical behaviour is rational (because bad behaviour becomes a pattern that destroys the rewards of bad behaviour). It’s barely a stone’s throw away from exactly the sort of empty, technical and scholastic utilitarianism of the West the Confucian and Taoist philosophical soundbites are meant to refute.”
Source: All Under Heaven — @im_1776
One of the things that plagues opposition to the ruling regime is a poverty of language to label what is happening. The bad guys have a million ways to label their enemies, but the good guys are lacking a language to categorize the other side. The paleocons got close when they coined the term managerialism. This is both accurate and simple, but it only describes one aspect of the current system. Managerialism is one result of an ideology that has evolved over the last century.
When people hear the word “Marxism” or “communism” they immediately think of a set of economic arrangements. They may not know much about Marx or Marxism, but they know that it means the end of property and the rule by a party of ideologues. It is a simple and effective label. The same is true of communism or socialism. These words have connotations that make for effective shorthand. Even capitalism, a thing that may not actually exist, carries meaning for people.
We don’t have a label like that for the current political regime. Liberal democracy is probably accurate, but it has positive connotations. Democracy is supposed to be a good thing and liberal government is peaceful and accommodating. There are examples of things that are good separately but horrible together, like fish ice cream, but that is not really the same thing. When people in the public square use the term liberal democracy, they tend to use it in a positive way.
This conundrum is the inspiration for the show. Instead of trying to come up with a clever label for the current political order, maybe the better starting place is to just describe some of the big attributes. After all, the word “Marxism” did not come into use until the thing itself existed in some form. Once we can come up with a description for what we are experiencing, then maybe a label comes into focus. At the minimum, it starts the process of thinking about it beyond platitudes.
Source: The World State I | The Z Blog
John Zerzan is an anarchist and primitivist ecophilosopher and author. In this episode we discuss his latest book When We Are Human: Notes from the Age of Pandemics, alongside discussions on the death of civilization, anarcho-primitivism, modernity and more.
David F. Skrbina is a former Senior Lecturer in Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Michigan at Dearborn. In this episode we discuss Ted Kaczynski’s book Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How
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