Friday, April 13, 2012

Balderdash, Nonsense, and Bullshit

As one looks round and about the world as it actually is, one of the more compelling conclusions is that the current system isn't all that hot. Indeed, looking backward at the long history of the present, one might conclude that the violence, both moral and physical,[1] necessary to create the various version of a centralized state aren't out weighed by the current misery and its likely continuation. Indeed, as you and I are not moral cretins, when we consider what is to be done, we conclude that it ought to be something rather different.

Perhaps, as Graeber suggestively suggests, the future might look like a society bound together by mutual respect and material reciprocity, which is really just another way of saying the future is not going to be a neoliberal laboratory for the creation of sociopaths.

On the other hand, if you have no moral center and don't particularly care if the world continues past your next paycheck, which is to say you are David Brooks, you might write of seeking an alternative method of social organization and melioration as a
prevailing service religion [that] underestimates the problem of disorder. Many of the activists talk as if the world can be healed if we could only insert more care, compassion and resources into it.
The very idea that improving the world depends on creating a nonviolent, nonhierarchical social solution is impossible because
[h]istory is not kind to this assumption. Most poverty and suffering — whether in a country, a family or a person — flows from disorganization. A stable social order is an artificial accomplishment, the result of an accumulation of habits, hectoring, moral stricture and physical coercion. Once order is dissolved, it takes hard measures to restore it. 
Leaving aside what Brooks knows about history and historiography, he seems to think that the socio-political order we currently enjoy, and by we he means America, is not only an but the ideal set of social, political , and economic relations and, furthermore, with no evidence at all, he implies that the long strange path to the present is a natural one.

These are both commonplaces of the neoliberal thinkers, whose job it is convince the rest of us that change is impossible because the inhuman and dehumanizing present is culmination of human progress and the ideal expression of humanities essential nature.

This position is, of course, balderdash, nonsense, and bullshit of the highest order. But it does show how Brooks sticks to his chosen profession with a tenacity that reality cannot dim nor possibility mar. On the plus side, given that he is wrong about everything, the efforts of those he belittles might indicate that they are winning.

He is a horrid little man, who like nothing better than to smother the potentially effective alternatives to markets because it pays the rent.

[1] By moral, I mean something like Elias' Civilizing Process.

No comments:

Post a Comment