There’s something strange at work in your soul (presuming its existence) if your only take on the upheavals of the new millennium, to date, has been that democracy and freedom are mutually exclusive. Then again, I guess that’s to be expected when the alternative you offer is to build a floating city adrift in international waters. Almost like an enormously expensive life-preserver for every dickhead that buys a yacht for more than the worth of a third world country.
I am, of course, talking about tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who at least has since admitted that Rapture is probably not so practical of an idea. I am now left wondering how he felt about Fyre Fest, Ja Rule’s music festival turned impromptu gulag. Alas, I’ll never know. And, alas, it’s not important. Thiel himself is not important, but what Thiel represents. Let me take you on a little trip down crazy lane.
An anhedonic ooze is burbling to the right of the far right that has no coherent belief structure. It’s comprised of a glut of toads that subscribe to a set of beliefs philosopher Nick Land has characterized as the Dark Enlightenment, which he covers in full here. I won’t do his work twice, but in sum they reject the advances of and the causes put forth by modern liberalism. Democracy was a mistake; identity politics have failed to change society in a meaningful way; and the Great Experiment has amounted to the conclusion that we’re all just hyper-aware beasts in service to the market.
And this isn’t really anything new. It’s the same ideology that has been prevaricated through the mouthpiece of Western political thinking for the past 50 years. Just with the mask ripped away, revealing a runaway system of consumptive self-destruction that can only be tinkered with or the whole thing will implode.
At their core, this describes most of the day’s establishment political movements. Some tinker more heavily than others, but they still recognize the system presented by the market and worship at its altar. What’s interesting are the stand-outs. The Peter Thiel’s, the Paul Ryan’s. Those who see the forest for the trees, but are bald in their desire to burn them all down. They don’t subscribe to any other kind of thinking. Just numbers without any moral argument to clothe them.
While some on the Left and the Right see themselves as a ship in a storm, looking for the lighthouse to show the way into port, these guys don’t see a ship or a sea or a storm. Just a point of black on the horizon that gets bigger every time a child enrolls in a public school or an elderly chap starts drawing on his social security. The image circumscribes the absurd hilarity of their priorities, but the heart of it is much darker.
The line of thinking that our growth has outmatched our capacity to govern, that we are a churlish mob which needs guiding by the austere hand of the free market, amounts to the admission that the future has died with the past. We’ve been thirsting for the end of history since history began, and there was no end of self-congratulatory dicksucking to that effect after the fall of the Soviet Union. All without considering what that would mean in its present context. If you’ve peaked, all that there is left to do is decay – and, of course, manage the collapse. I don’t have to tell you what that means for all the dead weight.