Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Out with the Old... Again
Stewart Home writes in The Easy Way to Falsify Your Credit Rating:
The God of modernity is not the God of the Old Testament. There is no God but God, and in the twentieth-century he was sent to the back of a dole queue, that is until "Islamoprotestant" neo-traditionalists reinvented him as a movie director. The 9/11 hijack script followed the cultural logic of slasher movies, where the invisibility of the killer is used to overcome the non-representability of evil. If all sides in the post-9/11 "conflict" feel or felt able to invoke God as justification for their actions, then they must necessarily configure each other as emissaries of Satan. It doesn't matter whether or not they've seen The Exorcist or The Omen, they've absorbed the scripts by osmosis. Religion has been Hollywoodised. A lust for dramatic crises has been mixed with a conservative desire for crisis management, that assimilates and defuses the threat of free and spontaneous human activity.
The reader can take away two conclusions from this passage:
a. The "War on Terror" and the seeming conflict between Western secular, modern, liberal democracy and Eastern traditional, theocratic Islam is another false dichotomy, stylized and determined by the power elite as a cover from the actual workings of reality. Or rather, a guise used to prevent people from making their own conclusions as to the workings of their external reality. This can also be termed a false narrative and has been called such things as "the clash of civilizations." From the Western perspective it is usually expressed in absurd statements such as, "They hate us because we are free." From the Islamic side it usually comes across as simply, "They're infidels!" The false narrative of the Terror War is the logical next step from the false narratives of the Cold War and the two World Wars previous. Because America needed an enemy to legitimize her unipolar role as police-officer-to-the-world, there is much that is even phonier about the Terror War narrative than with the previous narratives. With the Cold War there was an actual race for global hegemony and both sides were equally equipped in terms of weapons and technology. Contrast this with the disproportionateness of the current "conflict." Then there is the matter of the identity of the enemy itself. By all accounts, Al Qaeda is what the US media and political regime uses as an umbrella term for any Islamist insurgent group fighting against it. Of course, the fact that they are dealing with Fourth Generation Warfare and a multitude of groups and individuals (many of whom hate each other as much as they hate the United States) who are only aligned by a general ideological framework defined from the outside is never mentioned in mainstream discourse on the Terror War because it would undermine the ability to pigeonhole the situation into easily consumable terms. The more one looks at the Terror War, the more it seems to be collective delusion set up by a bored MIC in need of an outlet for all their weapons left over from the Cold War and, again, legitimation. At the very least, the whole "conflict" is being determined entirely by the cultural terms of late modernity, namely simulacra. This certainly includes the way the Other side is viewing it as well. Along with Home's comments on the Hollywoodization of religion, consider the very unIslamic behavior of the 9/11 hijackers prior to the attack. Clearly they were imbued with a very modern sensibility and viewed their task as hand as such. This was not the mindset of a traditionalist, rather it has all the markings of a modernist: creative destruction, material excess, letting losse, and the labor value theory applied to the spiritual realm.
b. As Home notes, "The God of modernity is not the God of the Old Testament." This is because the latter is long dead, pronounced as such by Freddy Nietzsche all the way back in the 19th century. The current protestations against secular society by Muslims and Christians alike is simply because these misbehaving ingrates are a bit slow on the pick up. The fact of the matter is that liberal secular society is the one on wane and is dying. So if modern secular liberalism is in its final throes, that means that religious society must have died a while back. That is why these idiots are frothing at the mouth for Armageddon and actively trying to bring it to fruition. They know they are old hat, more out of date than a gramophone. The very fact that they are either fermenting environmental collapse or nuclear war shows that they don't even believe their own nonsense. After all, why should mere mortals tamper with God's plan if it is inevitable? For another example, take the Christian Zionist attachment to Israel. A true Chrisitian traditionalist would never lend allegiance to a nation-state created by the godless United Nations. This is because Israel can only be created by God himself, hence Orthodox Jews are intensely anti-Zionist.
1. The other fundamentalists in this equation are the modern fundamentalists. Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis, the Euston Manifesto crowd, and those dyed-in-the-wool neoconservatives who cut their teeth on issues of Partisan Review, that handy journal of literary high modernism. These folks believe fervently, dogmatically so, in the liberatory aspects of secular liberalism, the representative democratic republic, and the welfare(-warfare) state. The thought of these things coming under intense scrutiny by a new generation with new ideas, by the dawning of a new era, scares them very much and has put them in a corner where they are lashing out. While I would happily have all the Abrahamic nutjobs kill each other off and leave the rest of us in peace, these irrational rationalists, illiberal liberals, and dogmatic skeptics worry me just as much.