Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Adam Smith Impasse

What we today called the Left drinks of the same philosophical well as that of modern liberalism so that, for example, it would not be at all absurd in principle to call Scottish political economist Adam Smith a man of the Left. It is precisely the existence of the original matrix common to both Left thought and Enlightenment liberalism, which may explain the reasons that have always driven the first to validate the spirit of the second on the essential however much it has found itself (and will find itself) wanting to amend or regulate any particular detail.

These reasons are fundamentally "ontological" that is to say that they pertain to the being and nature of the Left itself. From this point of view, the idea of an anti-capitalist Left (or radical Left) seems as improbable as a reformed Catholicism which would side-step the divinity of Christ or the immortality of the soul. So it is therefore, in reality, the demands themselves of the struggle against the liberal utopia and the reinforced class society it inevitably engenders (a type of society where the indecent wealth and power of some requires the exploitation and contempt of others) which render for now politically indispensable a radical break with all the metaphysical paradigms of the historically constituted Left.

It is perfectly understandable that the idea of such a break might cause many to have grave psychological problems since the Left is first and foremost a substitute religion (the religion of "Progress") and we all know that the first function of all religions is to bestow an identity to its followers and assure them peace with themselves. Many will hold this prism of radically distinguishing the philosophical project of Socialism to different programs of the Left and the Far-Left for a useless paradox or even a dangerous and aberrant provocation the nature of which plays right into the hands of all enemies of humankind. On the contrary, this prism is the only one which allows us to shed light on this partly obscure cycle of defeats and failures of the last century (which remains as such even more in the strange situation we find ourselves).

Regardless, it is the only unexplored possibility which we are left with if we really want to help humanity overcome what philosopher Jean-Claude Michéa called the Adam Smith Impasse.

Remembering the '60s

From Astra Taylor's How the Right Stole the '60s (And Why We Should Get Them Back): "...the liberationist theme of the '60s remains alluring, its appeal rooted in the American ideal of the rugged individualist. Thus, the challenge facing conservatives, and one they have risen to with flying colors, is turning people off from a certain kind of exploratory, experimental freedom we associate with the period. This is accomplished, at least in part, by demonizing the decade and its legacy, and by equating liberation with licentiousness, intemperance and indolence. The hullabaloo about rising divorce rates, rampant crime, welfare dependency, moral relativism and "values," however vaguely defined, never ceases because this method has worked astoundingly well. At least it has so far. The irony is that "the '60s" also serves as shorthand for an array of moral values that remain forceful and have filtered into the mainstream: nonmaterial aspirations, collectivity, environmental awareness, diversity and nonviolence, to name a few. This is a heritage progressives should be proud of."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Transhumanist Beat "Airborne" by Jaga Jazzist

The Transhumanist Beat "My TVC15/Boys Keep Swinging" by David Bowie

The Transhumanist Beat "Lotus on Irish Streams" The Mahavishnu Orchestra