30 Not-Violent Populism (II)
The trouble with assisted “suicide” is that governments, to the extent that they end up supporting such programs, present it as a matter beyond criticism and that government has taken into account the concerns of all traditional concepts of religion. Nevertheless, a presumption of secular religion as the replacement of traditional religions is also made clear.
As stated in the link in Blog 29 [see box therein]: “The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences… wants regulations requiring a patient to have repeated discussions with his or her doctor over an extended period.” In short, neither my nor your conscience can function nor make sovereign decisions and consult with whoever it chooses without the intercession of government law and a government agent. The agent is of course the doctor maneuvered into the role of priest.
Secular religion, as defined above and long disguised as neo-Christianity, thus makes officially acknowledged (documented) citizens enjoy their human rights, while it keeps for itself only your sovereign right over your death. Thus, the slum dwellers may remain sovereign in their poverty and street traditions, yet are outside the pale of responsible citizenship and, thus, “democracy”.
The experience of the 20th century and earlier times proves that a democratic political system works only among economic equals, but becomes dysfunctional the moment economic equality is no longer enforced as an absolute requirement. The moment democracy meets with a situation of economic inequality, democracy becomes possible for only those who are economically more equal than others. In short, democracy is not a workable political system for our time in the sense that it is inclusive of all people.
What is absolute economic equality and how does democracy work in such a society?
Anthropologist Michael Taussig in his book “Mimesis and Alterity” (Routledge, 1993) discusses economic democracy among the aborigines of Tierra del Fuego and its fate following the discovery of the Fuegians by the West. Toussig quotes Charles Darwin, who because of his travels on the famous research ship HMS Beagle is almost the first among outsiders to meet them. Darwin writes in his Journal: “The perfect equality of all the inhabitants will for many years prevent their civilization, even a shirt or other article of clothing is immediately torn to pieces.”
A shocking literal interpretation of “equality”, is it not? But it is certainly democratic. According to Toussig, who studies the extraordinary mimetic abilities of aboriginal peoples, such economic equality and democracy is the result of the profound human ability to mime, thus, to empathize.
Standing opposite of such a mimeticized world is (to quote Taussig): “[A] disenchanted [world], one [that] is home to a self-enclosed and somewhat paranoid, possessive, individualized sense of self severed from and dominant over a dead and nonspiritualized nature, a self built antimimetically on the notion of work as an instrumental relation to the world within a system wherein that self ideally incorporates into itself wealth, property, citizenship, and of course ‘sense data’, all necessarily quantifiable so as to pass muster at the gates of new definitions of Truth and Accountability.”
Notwithstanding Taussig’s long and complex sentence, it can be reduced to a few horror filled facts. In the words of The Daily News, London, 1882: “It is thought that the country of Tierra del Fuego would prove suitable for cattle breeding, but the only drawback to this plan is that to all appearances it would be necessary to exterminate the Fuegians.” Toussig then continues: “The serious exterminating [had already] beg[u]n with the discovery of gold in 1878, and acquired a thoroughgoing character with the setting-up of sheep ranches by whites shortly thereafter…. Paid hunters were encouraged to wipe out the Indians*…. they (Toussig cites Gusinde, another anthropologist) were offered the same price for a pair of Indian ears as the going rate for a puma—one pound sterling. A pregnant woman’s ears together with those of the fetus extracted from her womb paid more….”
This is how “democracy” arrived to Tierra del Fuego. Similar “democratic” politics—though better disguised—continue to be practiced in “democratic” European Union. At the time this is being written, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the agreement of Brussels, the capital of the European Union, has saddled the “dumb Latvians” (according to Latvia’s own sociologists, politicians, and ‘politologues’) with a debt the service that will kill thousands of its elderly, cause untold suicides among others, and will virtually destroy the birth rate among the young. This horror to be visited on a country that was in the throes of a demographic burnout before the debt was incurred. There will be nary an empathetic tear shed by the “democratic” people among the more equal than others people of such countries as England, France, Germany, Sweden, you name them.
How is democracy to be realized in times, where Truth and Accountability are clearly caused to be dysfunctional by the likes of IMF, helped along by the ruling and academic classes of Latvia itself? Whatever praises are sung to democracy in our day, it is faith based, self-induced political religious gobbledygook of which its “God” (democracy) is far removed from Earth. Jesus Christ lies frozen in a man-made Heaven somewhere in the sky. Must we return to the early years of the 19th century in Tierra del Fuego, this time because Europe needs to grow and cut more trees to have 3 and 4-ply toilet paper, and Latvia has plenty of land for growing trees?
The answer to the problem among “developed” nations is plain: the nation and its military and police forces will prevent problem from becoming a problem—as they have done in the past. Moreover, this exceptional presumption is because (to quote Georges Bataille) “National and military life are present in the world to try to deny death by reducing it to a component of a glory without dread.” In other words, make death cheap or irrelevant not only in current wars, but from the very foundation of society’s dysfunctional faith in a God removed from Earth.
This is why a renewal of democracy demands a return to the reality of death.
The Latvians, currently in late-early phase of a die-out are most certainly gripped by the fear of collective disappearance. But, alas, the Latvians have no military force worth speaking of to start a desperate war against someone, anyone. If such a war—against the European Union for dumbing down the Latvians—were to be fought, the Latvians would simply die sooner. Which raises the question if resistance to demographic death (without seeking immortality) is possible in the first place? In addition, is the reported death of the neo-Christian God (first reported by Nietzche, circa 1883) actually true?
The answer is yes and no. No—if self-sacrificial public death is shied away from for reasons of mind-paralysis resulting from faith in the virtual God of nations and military armies. Yes—if Latvians begin to practice self-sacrificial public death at the doorstep of the European Union and the IMF. Though the Latvians may not survive their daring and dread (if they ever do dare), they may begin an overdue reconstitution of society the globe over.
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