Republicans won the Senate. It doesn't matter. If anything it is a good thing because they are a joke and anyone who doesn't know they are a joke will get to see it on an even larger scale.
The 2016 elections matter, but only because it could signify the formal and explicit beginning of American Oligarchic rule. These next two years, this is it, you get two choices: a type of absurd authoritarian spectacle that resembles a Hunger Games reality TV show, or a real revitalisation of the left that demands a systemic reorganisation of political structures and a permanent de-concentration of power. In the end, I believe, the choice between the two comes down to leftist theology. Here me out.
If you live in America, or have been strongly influenced by American political culture, there is no getting around the fact that the American nation-state is not just political entity. It is a theopolitical entity. On a deeper level, I would argue that this is not just an American phenomenon, but rather, that there is no such thing as a secular political entity. This is the lie of the modern world. The nation-state itself is theopolitical, just as all political structures from the emergence of agriculture, have been theopoltiical. As classics scholar and psychoanalyst Norman O. Brown stated in The Challenge of Islam:
- To come to understand the true nature of the polity is to understand the true nature of God. Or, if you prefer, the function of the idea of God in human affairs, in the human psyche, and in society.
What is this God up to? Well of course, as any good God, it is up to Creation. Not the Creation of the Universe, but Creation of a "living" (or jobs). What does this say about America, and what does this say about our current situation between the present moment and 2016.
When analyzing the American right, it is quite explicit that the American state is both a religious and a political entity, and not just one or the other. For the American Conservative, the God here is the Free Market (the job Creator), and the true form of government that they desire is not at all a democracy, but rather, a monarchy. After all, for the American Conservative heaven is a monarchy, not a democracy. What this means is that they will defend the free market, even if it means giving up democracy. They do not care at all about true democracy, which is why Obama is an idiot for trying to negotiate with them over the past 6 years.
The problem for America and the rest of the world is that, this blind faith in the free market, is going to drive the country, and perhaps even the planet, off a cliff. This is because the free market as it currently functions cannot work in a world of increasing automation, which makes labour far less important to economic growth. As Martin Ford plainly explains in Lights in the Tunnel (2009):
- Conservatives generally favour low taxes and minimum regulation of producers in the expectation that this will result in increased economic activity and job creation, which will lead to strong consumer demand. The problem with this way of thinking, of course, is that, in an increasingly automated economy, the job creation will not occur. Consumers will have little opportunity to participate in the production process as workers and will lose access to the wages that sustain them. In the absence of an alternative income mechanism (i.e., basic income), a collapse in consumer spending will be the inevitable result.
In other words, as long as conservative free-market ideology (religion) continues to dominate the U.S. government (which seems probable), another financial collapse is as inevitable as large-scale automation from advancing computing is inevitable. American Conservatism is simply not built for the future; it is in fact, built to delay the future, as it has been doing just this since the 1970s at least. It got a taste of the hippies (or "godlings" of the 60s) and said "fuck that".
The religion in the liberal democratic side of America is less obvious, and they are less devote about it, but it is still obvious: the State itself. The government is God and that is where we will create our jobs. But the problem is that many government jobs are bullshit and mindless, we don't actually need them, and creating a bunch of government jobs doesn't solve the problems presented by automation anyway.
However, more importantly, the nation-state is not a structure that makes any sense in 2014. I cannot stress this enough. The nation-state was enabled by print culture. Meaning that, with the emergence of print, you get the concept of "public opinion" -- of an imagined community that must be taken into account (but mostly manipulated) by a small group of rulers. But print culture is obviously dying or is already dead. And the Internet creates a new type of public consciousness and attitude. This public consciousness is still forming but it certainly is far less concerned with the nation-state in particular, and boundaries of all kinds, and far more concerned with the world and humanity as a whole (i.e., the beginnings of a global brain).
But the problem then is that Conservatives, who are far more immersed in the politics of the nation-state because they are still inhabiting the past and their print culture ideology, are far easier to mobilise (read: manipulate). And of course, they are being manipulated on a large scale, and will continue to be manipulated on a large-scale between here and 2016. We cannot underestimate the stupidity of American Conservatism, and the inability for most people to understand the present moment.
And so this is why I would argue that the only real solution to a complete nightmare in 2016, is the outright rejection of the current political system, and the rejuvenation of a new radical leftist movement. It seems that now is the time for this as the insanity of the current structure should be obvious enough. Everyone knows that the Emperor has no clothes: the market and the state are both non-solutions.
That is why I think the solution involves the formation of an international re-organization of the leftist dream for an equal cooperative society. Enough with the nation-state. It once served a function, but doesn't work anymore. Enough with politicians. They once served a function, but don't anymore. We can organise collectively using the Internet. People think this is a dream but it is not. We can design large-scale decentralized argumentation systems. Enough with poverty. Everyone gets food. There is enough to go around. But achieving this would require liberals to wake up to the fact that we are never going to win while we play by the rules of an ideological group operating under totalitarian theology:
- Events like the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Arab Spring, demonstrations in Greece and Spain, have to be read precisely as signs from the future. We should turn around the historicist perspective of understanding an event out of its context and genesis. Radical emancipatory outbursts cannot be understood in this way. Instead of analyzing them as part of the continuous development from past to present. We should bring in the perspective of the future. We should analyse them as limited, distorted, sometimes even perverted, fragments of a utopian future, that lie dormant in the present as its hidden potential.
- What civilization is, is 7 billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each others shoulders and kicking each others teeth in. It’s not a pleasant situation. And yet you can stand back and look at this planet and see that we have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the scientific know how, the love, and the community to produce a kind of human paradise. But we are led by the least among us, the least intelligent, the least noble, the least visionary, we are led by the least among us. And we do not fight back against the dehumanising values that are handed down as control icons. This culture is not your friend. This culture is a perversion.