Tuesday, 15 November 2011

That Good, Old-Time Religion

This is an absolutely fascinating interview with Peter Mandelson, on the subject of the Euro and the future of the EU. It's chiefly fascinating because it shows how unhinged the "moderate" common-sensical mainstream of British and European politics is, and how resistant they are to the mandates of reality.

Very few people understand what the European Union really is, which is not a trading bloc, or a standardising bureaucracy, or a political attempt to nullify Germany, although it became these things accidentally. What the EU actually is is a Revitalisation Movement, by which a morally and culturally decrepit civilisation, physically shattered by the rampages of the quasi-barbarian ancestor cult known as Nazism (itself a bizarre attempt at renewal), tried to reinvigorate itself by the creation of a mission-myth of a New Europe, born again to dazzle the world with its enlightened, endlessly evolving cultural dynamism. It's this essentially religious vision that explains the keep-voting-until-you-give-us-the-right-result fanaticism of the Europhiles; why the likes of Peter (actually a typical member of the British political class with regards to Europe) still believe.

But behind the facade of social democracy with which the EU pretended to distance itself from the "Anglo-Saxon" model of neoliberalism, it was up to the same late-Faustian game of agnotological voodoo-finance - the only way that the West can continue its progress-mythology: by inventing the (no longer plentiful) resources that enable the "progress" that is its very world-soul.

The Euro is dead. The EU is dead. But, like the banks, expect them to continue to stagger on in the standard zombie half-life that characterises the decline of the final institutions of The West.


ralph dorey said...

I've never even heard the word agnotological before, that's going in the glossary.
For someone like myself who is quite ignorant of the history of economics, it is quite fascinating to consider that the Myth of Progress is a thing of increasing abstraction (perhaps mirroring the increasing abstraction of industry itself to an essentially virtual state where for the vast majority of Western users the actual is hidden from view). This is Hauntology in Derrida's original sense (irony indeed that the word itself has been revised to frequently mean simply an echo of the past) that it is a living bundle of simulacra, wild and growing between the minds that believe in it. Progress is a supernatural beast that the world must worship or the whole church will collapse!

Phil Knight said...

Yeah, the strange thing about life in the contemporary West is that it consists of delusion piled on delusion, and you almost have to mine your way down through it.

The Left are no different from the Right in this respect, mainly due to Marx mistaking the purely economic aspect of Faustianism (i.e. "Capitalism") for the whole system. That's why the Left can never defeat Capitalism - it doesn't actually exist (at least not on its own.)

Anyway, you might find this interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rgSJ9oqKLDg

William said...

Surely they believe in economic progress in China, India, Brazil?

Phil Knight said...

Maybe, but perhaps not into infinity.