February 05, 2008

Action For Its Own Sake

An excerpt from David Neiwert's appendix on fascism:

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values. ...

And action is naturally taken based on the ideas that are lying around, the ones that the chattering classes have uncritically, seemingly unthinkingly, agreed to:

... Hegemonic institutions in or with easy access to the media are particularly important in regulating the common flow of acceptable (i.e. hegemonic) political discourse, and that is precisely what we saw in this instance. Certain things are simply unspeakable, and hence, unthinkable.

Thus, not only does the right use its array of hegemonically controlled positions to attack and reverse potential challenges, but to shape the very limits of acceptable critical questions, perspectives and ideas. It creates "unpersons," "unthoughts," "unrealities," even though these persons, thoughts, realities continue to be very much alive in the real world, outside the media bubble. ...

On the one hand, the range of acceptable action is narrowed sharply. On the other, action is glorified as an end in itself. Then the public is told that something must be done, and by the way, there's no time to think critically about this, even if it were patriotic. Which it isn't.

Good times, as they say.

Posted by natasha at February 5, 2008 10:43 AM | Philosophy | Technorati links |