The same bourgeois consciousness which celebrates the division of labour in the workshop, the lifelong annexation of the worker to a partial operation, and his complete subjection to capital, as an organization of labour that increases its productive power, denounces with equal vigor every conscious attempt to control and regulate the process of production socially, as an inroad upon such sacred things as the rights of property, freedom and the self-determining ‘genius’ of the individual capitalist. It is very characteristic that the enthusiastic apologists of the factory system have nothing more damning to urge against a general organization of labour in society than that it would turn the whole of society into a factory.
…if “everything is a social construction,” then so is that sentence, which denies its own truth and (by the law of contradiction) is logically false. If “everything is a social construction,” then “incommensurate paradigms” that various “discourse communities” accept (like magic and physics) are equally valid, though physics (unlike magic) gets testable, cumulative results with applications in technology, which cannot be faked. And if “everything is a social construction,” then “consistency and responsibility to fact” do not matter. There is no check on sophistry and humbug; dogmatism and credulity have free rein. No one is obliged to refute opponents with argument—it is enough to dismiss them as “politically suspect,” the winner being whoever has the power to compel agreement. If postmodern antinomianism is correct, then the hypothetico-deductive “consistency and responsibility to fact” view of rational inquiry is vanity-and vice versa.
To the postmodern
An anticipation is not a prediction, in the sense in which positivist ‘social science’ tries to produce predictions, either on a grand historical scale, or within the limits of a careful isolated model or system of methodological simplifications (most of the time implicitly governed by practice, therefore political, imperatives). It is also not a prophetic calling or announcement, whose characteristic is repetitive intemporality and historical indeterminacy (which, in fact, explains its irresistible power on a certain category of subjects). But it is an attempt at identifying within the present itself the limitations which are also ‘limits of possible experience’, where the reproduction of the existing structures, the continuous realization of the ongoing tendencies, or the applicability of the existing solutions to crises and contradictions, will prove impossible, and therefore call for heterogeneous actions.
Capital is dead labor which, vampire - like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks
Karl Marx, Capital.
Since money does not reveal what has been transformed into to, everything, commodity or not, is convertible into it. Everything becomes saleable and purchaseable. Circulation becomes the great social retort into which everything is thrown, to come out as the money crystal…. [E]very qualitative difference between commodities is extinguished, so too for its part, as a radical leveler, it extinguishes all distinctions…. Ancient society therefore denounced it as tending to destroy the economic and moral order. Modern society…greets gold as its Holy Grail, as the glittering incarnation of its innermost principle of life.(229-230)
Karl Marx, Capital Vol. I
Eloquent and accurate, the description of our world in one paragraph. The subsumption of that is natural and profane into the cold hands of rational and selfish calculation. The destruction of the social and natural of today and tommorow to accumulate inordinate social power over the production of man and nature. This shortsighted, endless and ultimately contradictory question is destroying the Earth and humanity’s capacity to be reasoned beings.
Unlike the feudal past, where power was presumed and privilege inherited, the conservative future envisions a world where power is demonstrated and privilege earned: not in the antiseptic and anodyne halls of the meritocracy, where admission is readily secured—“the road to eminence and power, from obscure condition, ought not to be made too easy, nor a thing too much of course”85—but in the arduous struggle for supremacy. In that struggle, nothing matters, not inheritance, social connections, or economic resources, but one’s native intelligence and innate strength. Genuine excellence is revealed and rewarded, true nobility is secured.
Corey Robin - The Reactionary Mind
I think this is what distinguishes conservatives from fascists and racists. All three believe in hierarchy, and the inherent rightness of superiors controlling or guiding those who are deemed inferior. What distinguishes them is the metrics they use to determine who is actually inferior and superior.
The first distinction is that the conservative believes that all men—and for the more progressive conservatives, women as well— have the ability to be superiors, but not all individuals can be superior. The quote by Robin highlights well what contemporary conservatives think, and it is important to make a note that this is what makes the different from fascists or racists.
To fascists, there is a neo-feudal element to their belief system. There is a natural aristocratic class that are destined to rule over others. How they determine this is esoteric, at best—to my knowledge. I do not think it strange that fascism and mysticism are so closely aligned in the actual praxis of fascism, if not the theory. Another way they determine this is through warfare, and the ability of men to prove their masculinity and superiority (since these are synonymous in this worldview) through victory. The fetishism of violence is part-and-parcel of this worldview of having to constantly prove the superiority of some over others. Their use of violence is often justified on the idea that the victims of the violence of sub-human, if not vermin.
Racists are not different, but arguably they are populist in the sense that if you belong to the proper race you are inherently superior, regardless of your actions or social position. This is, as Foucault notes, the supreme anti-revolutionary ideology. It allows individuals to displace their hostility towards the inequality they face by empowering themselves against the non-master race. The “wages of whiteness” was sufficient to stave off the radical potential of the working classes throughout the Americas for centuries, and even to this day.
I think it important to create these typologies of right-wing in order to better tackle it as a viable political project.
As in Marx’s formula of the expanded reproduction of capital, M-C-M’, the interplay leads to a cycle: the institution of politics-as- order, followed by the political life subversion that seeks to institute new (different) figures of political order, and so on. However, in the case of politics, the M’ of the new figures is not prima facie bigger or better than the original M; it is simply different.
…overcoding…is just one ‘dialectical’ way of following out the logic, methodologically speaking: if everything in our world exists on the same flat plane, then things that don’t at first seem to have much in common quite literally have to be related in some way(s)…. In short Jameson’s work, both the content and, just as important, the form, is targeted decisvely against the theoretical and political imperatives of logical positivist empiricism—against seperating out realms of social life into more easily policeable and controllable chunks, never confronting one social code with the values, language, and force of another. (22-23)
As Nealon states, arguing from Jameson’s observations, the postmodern method of inference is effectively impossible. Unlike positivism that focuses on more discrete forms of knowledge and claims, the postmodern and post-postmodern method (from what I could gather) argues that what seems desperate from the perspective of positivism is actually part-and-parcel of that which is being observed. If everything is relevant and interconnected through a single logos, then I have to wonder what is this universal mechanism that unites these seemingly desperate ‘life worlds?’ The claim made by Jameson and Nealon is that we can articulate history through ‘epochs’, but there is no real discussion of how to know when an epoch starts or finishes. Since the cultural is as important as the economic, appealing to the economic, as Nealon seems to be doing, suggests to me a hidden Althusser of the ‘last instance.’
Another problem I have with this method is that it is not really a method. I think the ontological claim being made is one that could have some real validity, but that is insufficient. The reality is that epistemologically, we take stands that they have real costs associated with them, and there should be more awareness from the post(post)modern perspective of the real lacunae of their methods of inference. I doubt the claims made in this way of thinking can be generalizable, or comparable; indeed, can it even be re-tested to check for its veracity? If not, then how does this contribute to the accumulation of knowledge?