August 27, 2016 § 18 Comments
Modern political life has the incoherent logical singularity of liberalism at its center. Freedom as political act is self contradictory, because politics is essentially the public resolution of controvertible cases: the restriction of all possible controverting parties’ wishes in favor of a specific authoritative result. Authoritative acts – politics – always and necessarily assert authority to reduce an infinite number of potential resolutions to one particular actual resolution.
That is what politics, governance, authority is: it is the deliberate constraint of the infinity of potential choices by subjects into a limited, particular actual range of choices: a constraint asserted and imposed by men with authority. This explains why a society that becomes more liberal is always attempting to abolish politics in favor of ‘neutral’ bureaucratic procedures (e.g. democratic elections or neocameral formalism), really important documents in filing cabinets and under glass in museums, expert morally neutral scientific knowledge, and other quite literally inhuman forms of governance. Every important question must already be begged, so that authority can be invisibly exercised without admitting that authority is being exercised.
At the incoherent liberal singularity in the center all reason breaks down and reality disappears. When man’s reason breaks down and reality disappears all that is left of him is the hellish agony of his insatiable desire and will. We define any man who is committed – at all – to liberalism as a liberal. The purest form of liberal, then, is an anarchotyrannical madman, a madman who has lost all capacity to perceive reality and to reason.
However, the liberal singularity does not exist in a rarified world of ideas. It exists in reality: in a real, physical, social, and spiritual context. If the singularity existed ‘on its own’ it would have no impact on reality. But because it exists in reality it structures and orders that reality in more or less comprehensible ways.
The interaction of liberalism with reality gives rise to various more or less comprehensible structures and features in liberal societies. Unprincipled exceptions in the most general sense are interactions between liberalism and reality – or at least with the reality of particular concrete desires by particular people – which leave liberalism itself intact and unquestioned. When we get close to parts of reality where liberalism dominates less, or where it has been ‘mugged by reality’, those interactions become more overtly violent. Closer to the singularity the violence necessary to maintain the delusion doesn’t disappear, it just becomes more clinical and is not acknowledged as violence.
I’ve criticized ‘no enemies to the right‘ before, and that criticism stands. But you can certainly see its appeal to someone swimming around somewhere on the right, whose eyes are beginning to open. Once someone on the right has perceived the horror at the center, or even just the horror at the event horizon past the center, he is going to want to damn the torpedoes and get as far away from it as possible.
But once you’ve broken symmetry you can see how someone on the alt left — like Dorothy Day, for example – might quite reasonably hold a different view, and might even be inclined to assert ‘no enemies to the left’.
The important thing is to escape as far as possible from the hellish insanity at the very center. But escape from the hellish center is only the beginning: an exit from the unreality immediately around the liberal singularity into somewhere else. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves: nobody escapes from at least the material influence of the gravity well, as long as liberalism dominates global politics.