A Post-Libertarian Non-Manifesto

Post-libertarianism, while sounding like another bullshit ideological thoroughfare for minoritarian social media communities to trawl, is really only the recognition that libertarianism should be stripped back and seen as part of the wider landscape of options for exit. Political engagement by libertarians has largely been a failure (while laughably admirable) from the dizzying heights of Ron Paul to Gary Johnson and libertarians for Trump. In a world of increasing volatility and fragmentation, the fact libertarians look mostly moronic is evidence of libertarianism never shifting the Overton window nor becoming hegemonic[1]. Continue reading

Advertisements

Politics is the Undead

The position of politics, both in regards to everyday life and in its disposition as the primary focus of social science, is seemingly contestable and always shifting. Statements as banal as “everything is political” underlie the dearth of politics as anything more than a box for people to place different things within. Going into academic distinctions, we can see politics as encompassing this banality further. Mouffe sees politics as the production of grand visions within the Schmittian arena, where ideas lock horns to determine our wider systems of production and identity. However, the Habermasian position is more conceptual in seeing politics as spread across the system-lifeworld distinction, the former the seat of governmental and economic power while the latter is the production of the everyday, where micro-arenas of public and private debate intersect and integrate. In the realm of reality, such distinctions play out when seeing the contrast between new social movements as adhoc figures in overlapping structures of governance and decision-making. They don’t present grand visions, but instead look for pressure points within the system, exerting influence when they can. Continue reading

The Brexit Lebenswelt is Dead

Brexit was already a vapid, pointless event, shorn as it was of any meaning by the continued centralisation of power by the government and having its significance removed by the complete lack of a unifying narrative that tied Brexit to any larger structure of meaning or context. However since the vote these tendencies have been further exacerbated by the increasing separation of Brexit’s constituent elements, culture and economics. Brexit as a cultural malaise can be seen as the direct driver of Leave voters at the time of the referendum, superseding economic imperatives and allowing for economic narratives that emphasise such nonsense as free trade and market openness to infest the background positions of Brexit. Continue reading

Statism’s Typicality

Izabella Kaminska’s recent article in the FT[1] on seasteading does have some genuine criticism’s of the Seasteading Institute’s more utopian goals, including its supposed desire to achieve full political independence from the modern world. No such project can ever truly do this, and despite the heady heights of some of seasteading’s advocates I’m sure most recognise that pragmatism and time are needed. However the rest of the article is a glorified diatribe against political competition and in support of our static status quo. The simplicity of Kaminska’s message underlies the simplistic worldview that defines it. Continue reading

Mass Democratic Assuaging

The supposed nationalist revolt encapsulated by Brexit and Trump have now been adequately shown to be elaborate exercises in pacification, further sweeping away questions of European and American White identity in the 21st century as populist insurgencies prove to be wholly conjunctural. They represent neither the beginning of a new order or the end of the old, instead showing a stopgap in the working orders of modernity. Trump nor Brexit will become harbingers, as both are mired in discourses and forms of mass. Mass in this case being a centralised totality of peoples, flows and governance. Alongside the mass of the Cathedral and the neoliberal economy, these new populist totalities are effectively vying in this centralised arena. Continue reading

Tentacles of Automaticity

Modernity’s fascination with the depolitical continues to be seen even in the heady times of populist groundswells, secessionist movements and economic and climatic change which potentially necessitate new ways of thinking about wider economies and polities. Many dominant and even nascent ideologies implicitly rely upon this drive toward depoliticisation, separating public spheres, counter-publics and the everyday political from the wider governmentality of the macro-environment. In effect, the issue of governance as a multiplicity of issues is skirted by placing institutions and mechanisms into situations of automaticity. The surrounding environment of markets and regulatory agencies are ruled by this automaticity, with their innate laws dictating the movement of resources and assuming an implicit equality of power. This understanding then colours how things are to be seen, with politics as a critique of existing power and an arena for the debate and creation of alternatives sidelined in favour of a kind of expertise and independent knowledge that remains unquestionable except to those ‘in the know’. However this in itself is a political concept. Expertise as knowledge and the structuration of markets and regulatory laws as scientific and ethereal suggest a politics of resources and power that removes agency from the public sphere toward precast institutions that internalise governance. Continue reading

Catalan Independence as a Spear for Decentralisation

The Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence is not a sea change in the way modern governance will work, particularly as the Spanish government has come down on this declaration of independence with an iron fist, allowing the Guardia Civil to abuse referendum voters and now removing the Catalan government from power. Instead it is a potentially catalytic moment that signals new possibilities in a world still largely (but only nominally) determined by the consensus of large, centralised nation-states controlling the main levers of political and socio-economic power. And judging by the reactions of the Spanish government and the EU, such potentiality worries the established governmental frameworks in Europe. Of course the Catalan independence movement is not a panacea, with many problems from the actors involved to the endgame vision envisioned by activists and politicians. Its strength lies in its innate ability to question received wisdom and the apodicticity of the state as the only means of legislation and decision-making, suggesting that Catalan independence can become a spear for further decentralisation and the move toward a multi-scalar, multi-institutional complex of governance and rule-making. Continue reading

Brexit as Conjuncture?: Developments in the Modes of Production and Politics

Brexit is being considered the most important geopolitical development in the UK this century. It has already been cemented as a great plebiscitary revolt that has smashed the establishment narrative, repositioning British politics and causing a sudden change in the way the general electorate understand politics and government. In this sense, Brexit can be seen as a conjuncture, splitting open the common sense of modern politics in a fragmentary and indeterminable way. The way this conjunctural effect has evolved in the referendum vote and the resultant Brexit can be seen as a development of the extent of neoliberal subjectivity in the UK, where the economy has become practically depoliticised, removed from political/social critique, which the Leave campaign and the vast majority of Leave voters accepted as a political norm, as polling data and campaign discourse showed. Brexit then is a conjunctural revolt of culture, developing a half-way house lebenswelt that is pre-nascent, unable to develop a fully explanatory critique of modernity due to neoliberalism’s enclosure of the economy as an unquestionable dynamic of modern life.

The full study is here: Brexit as Conjuncture Continue reading

Charlottesville as a Microcosm

Charlottesville seems to have been the coming together of two groups who pine after political power and control. Both Antifa and the Alt-Right seem determined to control the cultural and societal apparatuses that inform the major narratives and discourses of the US, pushing their understandings to the forefront of media exposure. Thus both groups are trying to stake their own political power within the state structures of the US government and its subsidiaries, attempting to exist within the centralised organs of governmental control. With this we see the fundamental problem. Two completely opposed groups vying for socio-cultural recognition and fighting for scraps from the US government itself. The fact that both are trying to do this will inevitably lead to conflict like that seen in Charlottesville. There will never be a political system that will encompass both anti-fascists (and their narratives of white privilege, structural racism and anti-dialogic engagement) and the Alt-Right (and their narratives of White identity, ethnocentrism and cultural homogeneity). The violence of Charlottesville shows the innate tendencies of modern politics when there is no dialogic or deliberative arena in which to air grievances and construct debate. The views of both groups are so anathema that such an arena is not even theoretically possible. The simple reality is that these groups cannot co-exist, and will when possible chase after the illusive power of institutionalised governance and the control of social and industrial complexes. Continue reading

Meta-Order

In my previous essay I outline the conceptions of an idealised natural order of political and socio-economic authority[1] consisting of overlapping platoons of varying organisational modes and jurisdictional structures. While an idealised type, this concept of a natural order is not a fully prescriptive universality, that prescribes particular hierarchical forms of governance upon the multiplicity of governmental forms. Rather, it is a recognition of the non-egalitarian nature of social life, and thus pushes against utopian ideals that take on a universal quality. It is a meta concept with varying degrees of applicability that presents the potential for new governmental forms to emerge, moving beyond both neoliberalism and egalitarianism which are themselves overarching abstractions that aim at the assimilation of heterogeneity and variety. Continue reading