mercredi 17 septembre 2008

The poverty of philosophy

The Guardian is shyte - we all know that - but it has excelled itself today in its shitness. The economic turbulence continues despite all the free cash the bankers and scammers get, and in response, the paper has asked several 'prominent' left wingers what they think about the current fiasco. Their selection of left wingers must have some kind of political message behind it - it includes Ken Livingstone and Jarvis Cocker, hardly left wing or serious respectively. It is a message that says in a jokey tone - "Look everyone, in the name of balance, here's a load of goofy lefties with their crackpot ideas!".

(Hmmm What's this......?)

Now, I have to say, in the last few minutes the report has been erased from the Guardian site so I only have this excerpt from a 'philosopher' on the crisis.

Michel Onfray is a contradictory figure. He's a French philosopher for a start - arf(1), just joking - and combines elitism, psychoanalysis and support for the French Revolutionary Communist League. What he has to say about the situation atm does not reflect very well on my idea of joining the new party the leader of the LCR has just set up:

"Is this the end of capitalism? Absolutely not. The key feature of capitalism is that it's malleable. It has been through antiquity, feudalism, the industrial era, it has worn the guise of fascism and now it's wedding itself to the ecology cause. After this latest event, it will take on a new form. It is indestructible and works like the Hydra of Lerne, cut off one head and another grows in its place. Is this the end of society's obsession with money and credit? Not at all."

Now, how to make sense of that word salad. Capitalism has been through antiquity? Wha'? How can the idea of capital exploiting labout take on 'another form'. What kind of form - a six foot lizard conspiracy change of form?

But what puzzles me on a number of levels is his claim that capitalism is somehow 'indestructible'. Firstly, why on earth describe someone as left wing if they think like this. True, this is an extremist website - left wing means revolution or at least profound social change in favour of the working class. To say that capitalism is 'indestructible', though, is to basically give up, (See 'Yawning financial chasm' below), snuggle down and learn to love the system. Slight to moderate changes may well be the best 'we' can hope for but failing that OK OK I'll just get on with teaching philosphy and forget about everything. Further, there is something insiduous about the inclusion of Onfray in the list. Not conspiratorally so, but nevertheless pointed. His views have been included to calm expectations down, nullify doubts, reassure, soothe and calm.

True, the list did have Chris Harman next on the list - but the article was pulled before I got to his contribution. But the point stands - this philosopher is just another social policeman, posing about on the left to quell sign of dissent and to confuse and disorientate the people who really count and who really have the power to solve the ongoing fuck up that is contemporary capitalism - i.e. US.

1 As in, the idea of being French and philosopher were two contradictory ideas given the madness of Descartes, Satre, Foucault etc. But obviously this was just a poor joke brought about by by my thingstodothismorning hurried writing here. Désolé.