Sunday, February 09, 2014

Secular Soteriologies

Vladimir Tismaneanu:

Moreover, Marx himself consistently showed an obvious unwillingness to tolerate those socialists who did not agree with him or questioned his authority. The energy he spent denouncing such "heretics" indicates the presence of an authoritarian personality.

In the passionately incandescent lines of the Communist Manifesto, one can decipher the whole tragedy that was to follow: Lenin's forcing of the pace of history, the genesis of Bolshevism as a matrix for generalized terror, the Stalinist horrors, and the universe of the concentration camp. Nations were murdered to carry out Lenin's utopian desiderata. Social classes were victimized in the name of his abstract speculations and moral revolt. The question, therefore, is what connection exists between the Leninist exterminist project and the original Marxist salvationist fantasy. In retrospect, one can argue that Marx's oracular monism, defined by his hyperdeterministic approach, scientism, and positivism, took revenge on the ethical-libertarian dimension and laid the foundation for intolerance and repression.

...With characteristic nineteenth-century hubris, Marx declared his social theory the ultimate scientific formula, as exact and precise as the algorithms of mathematics or the demonstrations of formal logic. Not to recognize their validity was for Marx, as for his successors, evidence of historical blindness, ideological bias, or "false consciousness," which were characteristic of those who opposed Marxist solutions to social questions. Prisoners of the bourgeois mentality, alienated victims of ideological mystifications, and non-Marxist theorists — all purveyors of false consciousness — were scorned and dismissed as supporters of the status quo.

Good book. Still, you'd think these sorts of observations would be common knowledge, but apparently not.

In the interest of continuing to document the charlatanry of a certain fraudulent fat fuck, I also appreciated this section:

With this in mind, I would conclude that Slavoj Žižek's proposed "return to Lenin" means simply a return to a politics of irresponsibility, the resurrection of a political ghost whose main legacies are related to the limitation, rather than the expansion, of democratic experimentation. After all, it was Lenin who suppressed direct democracy in the form of councils, disbanded the embryonic Russian parliament, and transformed terror into a privileged instrument for preserving power. Žižek seems to adopt, and truly enjoy, the role of Thomas Mann's character, the Jesuit dialectician, Leo Nephata: an oracle of the resurrection of what one might call le désir de révolution. In his defense of Leninism, Žižek actually advocates the rehabilitation of chiliastic experiences, secular soteriologies, and visionary messianism, all for the sake of regaining the "authentically apocalyptical Paulinian atmosphere." Simultaneously, though, he (and others who imitate his plea) does not seem to mind the mass graves that people keep discovering wherever the Leninist ideal, in one form or the other, has been implemented.

But...but...but he's the coolest, most influential leftist in Europe!