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The functions of Nihilism

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From our old forum: "What purpose do Tariq Ali and his ilk serve then?" is a very important question.

I just posted the following to The Profits of Nihilism at Harry's Place:

"What purpose do Tariq Ali and his ilk serve then?" is a very important question. Hinting at a profit motive is a very petty answer. It descends from politics to the sort of dirt throwing they engage in.

A much better answer is in the posting from Mike S:

"The revolutionary wishes to change the status quo. The rebel is careful to preserve it, since he defines himself by railing against it."

I would prefer to use "leftist" and "pseudo-leftist" rather than revolutionary and rebel, because revolutionaries are not the only people who at least "wish" to change the status quo and because I see "rebel" as a positive term rather than something to denigrate. Tariq Ali is a pseudo-left, not a rebel (and not just in it for the money).

This idea should be deepened into an analysis of the social basis for pseudo-leftism.

Why are these sort of ideas actively encouraged by the bourgeois state through tenured academics at universities, broadcasts from government authorities such as the BBC and Australia's equivalent, the ABC etc?

Its not a "conspiracy", but encouraging people to rail against the status quo as a way to define themselves instead of doing anything to change it is a very natural response from a moribund ruling class.

"Isn't everything wonderful in this best of all possible worlds" does not go over very well these days, but pseudo-leftism serves the same social function of propping up the status quo.

"What purpose do Tariq Ali and his ilk serve then?" They serve the function of demoralizing and dissipating opposition to the status quo by encouraging people to "define themselves" by their opposition rather than figuring out how to change things.

That "function" is a necessary one in a decaying system. No special consciousness of it or "conspiracy", let alone monetary motives is needed for people to carry out that function.

Created by keza
Last modified 2005-01-04 04:47 AM

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