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The transgressive frission of conservatism. - Elf M. Sternberg
The transgressive frission of conservatism.
So, I'm reading Slavoj Zizek, one of those ultra-wordy postmodern philosophers that "sophisticated" people love to quote even though they rarely have any idea what it is he's talking about. The funny thing is, he's not that hard to read, but you do have to put some effort into it.

He has an interesting idea that I just want to repeat, for the fun of it. The idea is simple: people join ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal movements, movements where some charismatic leader tells them what they should and should not do, say, and even think, not because they fear the "vague freedoms and overwhelming choices of the majority middle," but because they want to engage in transgression, and joining such a charismatic leader thrills them because it gives them the freedom to do so.

I mean, think about it. Right now we, the sorta liberal, sorta conservative, mostly "leave me alone" middle live in a bewildering array of rules and restrictions-- sexual harrasment laws, social injunctions about food, about smoking, about dirty jokes. We use a lot of guilt to make people behave.

Right now, being a Republican and following in George Bush's footsteps, for the time being, gives those who do a certain freedom-- the right to say things about gays, about race relations, about women-- that they could never get away with in polite company. Now, being loyal to a leader who is absolutely convinced of his rightness means never questioning one's own passions, but instead indulging in them, no matter how ugly they might be, without qualm or guilt.

It's an interesting idea. While we look at the Evangelical right and think that they live with such a ridiculous list of restrictions, they're positively loving every second of this new-found freedom. They have been the class nerds for the past decade, clenching their hands and waiting for the time when they can say what they want, do what they want. When they can tell us where we can shove our notions of a polite society. The neocon ascent has given them that freedom. And they're jerking it for everything it's worth.

I suspect they know it won't last long.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

4 comments or Leave a comment
solarbird From: solarbird Date: March 16th, 2004 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
They've been saying this stuff for years, to anybody who would listen. All you had to do was turn on any of their television or radio shows to see and hear it. What they're spastically happy about how is that they get to say it to the larger media, and to a sitting president, and to shove it in the faces of everyone else.
dominic_m_ From: dominic_m_ Date: March 16th, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have the same suspicions elf but lso remember that most of these followers are qite zealot like (even though they just jumped on a bandwagon). Even if people know their position wont last long dont believe it for a second that they will just "let go".
From: flying_pegasus Date: March 16th, 2004 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

You for got One WORD

Believe it..."Segregation" Kid you not. That what all this Political Parties are a Classes of Segeragation. It's nasty, I'm glad I'm my own person or some would claim to call me a Independent.

If you really look at it.....Three Letters....K.K.K.

I just lost my train of thought...oh well. Good Night!
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: March 17th, 2004 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
It's probably true.

Of course, it is just as equally true on the other edge of the spectrum as well.
4 comments or Leave a comment