Part 3 of 3
Translated by Greg Johnson
The System is Nourished by Fake Opposition
One of the characteristics of the system is that it is nourished by its seemingly most extreme opponents. If one is astonished by this surprising fact, one is forgetting that the opposition known as the “left” and the system share the religion of humanity and thirst for deconstruction; they are the same in essence. Thus nobody laughed when the papers of an implacable rebel (Guy Debord) were classified as a “national treasure” by the director of the National Archives in June 2009.
Explanation: “soft commerce” needs the counter-culture and its opposition to nourish the unlimited appetite for “pleasure without boundaries” which feeds the market. The fake rebellion of the cultural realm has been co-opted and institutionalized. The experiments of people who are more than a little crazy renew the language of advertising and haute couture which nourish innovation and excitement. The rights of minorities—ethnic, sexual, etc.—are also extended without limit since they constitute new markets and offer moral support to the system.
The unlimited is the horizon of “soft commerce.” It nourishes the work of moles in the realms of culture, the stage, teaching, the university, medicine, justice, or the prisons. Those who are naively indignant when delirious and repugnant buffooneries are extolled do not understand that they have been promoted to the rank of commodities, and as such they are both ennobled and essential.
The only dissent that the system cannot absorb is that which challenges the religion of humanity and stands for respecting diverse identities. The irreducible ones who cannot be dissolved by “soft commerce” are those who are attached to their city, their tribe, their culture, or their nation, and also honor the attachments of others. This is why, in spite of their possible electoral representation in the European Parliament, these dissidents are subjected to rigid segregation (except in Italy).
This uncomfortable fate could lead them to think they have only one political option when the system is disrupted and distracted by an emergency, Politics might regain its rights. Then “soft commerce” could be put back in the subordinate and dependent place where it belongs in a world in order.
Appendix: Two Different & Opposed Conceptions of the Economy: Adam Smith & Friedrich List.
Adam Smith (1723–1790). British economist born in Scotland. Traveling to France, he connected with the physiocrats (Turgot). In 1776 he completed his great work, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations , which made him the theorist of economic liberalism. For Smith, the psychological engine of all economic activity is self-interest and the hedonist principle which drive men to seek maximum satisfaction with minimum effort. He believes in the spontaneity and beneficial character of economic activity (the “hidden hand” and “soft commerce”). It realizes the designs of Providence. The State must “laisser faire, laisser passer.” Adam Smith justifies international free trade which is appropriate for maritime powers like Great Britain and later the United States.
Friedrich List (1789–1846). German economist. Partisan of the abolition of tariff barriers between the German States (Zollverein), he could not make himself heard and thus exiled himself to the United States (1824), where he made a fortune. After his return to Germany, when the Zollverein was achieved (1834), he pioneered railroad construction. Ruined by a financial crisis, he committed suicide in 1846. He theorized the autarky of great spaces: an economy that is protectionist externally and liberal internally. Unlike Adam Smith, List did not believe in the mutual enrichment of nations by “soft commerce” but in eternal economic war. His principle, “strong economy and strong army,” would be applied by the great powers: The United States practiced protectionism while prohibiting it for the rest of the world.
1. Politics with a capital “P” designates the superior principles of power (to command, to judge, to protect. Politics with a small “p” designates practice.