- Hardcover: 257 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (November 9, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1403982775
- ISBN-13: 978-1403982773
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,667,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ideology of Tyranny: Bataille, Foucault, and the Postmodern Corruption of Political Dissent
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' The Ideology of Tyranny exposes a bankrupt mode of thought, clearing the way for a re-invigorated philosophy and social science of unembarrassed fealty to centrality and truth. What's more, it is an entertaining read, thoroughly unpretentious, jargon-free, and marked by scintillating argument. Preparata makes a compelling, unique and truly remarkable contribution to our understanding of postmodernism, and especially Foucault.' - David MacGregor, Professor of Sociology at King's University College, University of Western Ontario, Canada, and author of The Communist Ideal in Hegel and Marx
About the Author
GUIDO GIACOMO PREPARATA Associate Professor at the University of Washington, USA.
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Its main `theorizer', Michel Foucault, had a liberal aura, because he sided with the madmen and the poor who suffered abuse in asylums, hospitals and prisons.
Georges Bataille (Foucault's main inspirational source)
G. Bataille assailed the modern conviction that people function for the most part as rational beings, while in fact the whole realm of our existence is violence. He wanted to restore the `Dionysian frenzy' even in its extreme form (like Aztec sacred sacrifices) by breaking the power of the `authoritarian nightmare', the modern State with its thrift and capitalistic accumulation.
His means were intellectual destabilization, eroticism and its subversive nature, the squandering of the economic surplus (potlatch) and attacks on all traditional taboos (sex, murder, excretion, holocausts, intoxication).
But seeing that his `Dionysian dream' had no chance in a Liberal State, he championed separatism (individualism) and tried to undermine `the compassionate tradition'.
Bataille's Dionysian violence became Foucault's `madness'. His madmen were not those human beings who we now consider as ill, but homosexuals, blasphemers, libertines, alchemists or venereal patients. Their madness of desire, their most unreasonable passions were, for him, wisdom and reason for they were of the order of nature. The true sin was the attempt by religion, morality and State intervention to neutralize that `dark rage in man's heart.'
Through madness, Foucault denied the existence of a conscious, knowing subject, thereby pulverizing concepts of oligarchy, power, oppression or ideology. There is only relativism.
For him, we should cease to ask: who has power? What is the aim of the powerful? It doesn't matter who exercizes power. Madness is the way of the world.
Lyotard, Hardt and Negri, Baudrillard
For J. F. Lyotard, science is only a sort of discourse. Power is given and there is no pure alternative to the present system.
The delirium went to a new nadir with `Hardt and Negri' pretending that `marketing has perhaps the clearest relation to postmodern theories.'
But, the ultimate scandal was J. Baudrillard's thesis that `the Gulf War didn't happen'.
Kojève, Strauss, Jünger (other inspirational sources)
Alexander Kojève gave a new interpretation of Hegel by stressing that the game of life was man's desire for recognition and prestige (cfr. F. Fukuyama).
Leo Strauss supported the right of the strongest and proclaimed the necessity of tyranny.
Ernst Jünger saw in the the rabble and its violence the purest form of Carl Schmitt's `Partisans'.
G. G. Preparata shows us clearly and perfectly how postmodernist narcotic verbiage is a devilish doublespeak. It masks the real power structures (social control, wealth distribution, empire policy). It embraces violence and the cult of war, oligarchic and tyrannical domination and the necessary clash of civilizations.
While A. Sokal and J. Bricmont with their book `Fashionable Nonsense' prepared postmodernism's coffin, G. G. Preparata hammered the nails in it and buried it deeply.
Never has a `philosophical' movement sunk so deeply in the language morass.
This book based on a massive bibliography is a must read for all those interested in modern philosophy and in the world we live in.
First the good stuff: Preparata's thesis is sound if not that original - namely that in the present day Western democracies, the spirit of dissent has been corrupted by the diversionary tactic of "post modernism". Preparata's innovation is to link such a tactic on the left (the "mocking varlets") with a similar one on the right (the "tomb raiders") and to trace both to the influence of a semi obscure French decadent - George Bataille.
There is a terrific amount of introductory material e.g. Preparata's notion that the trend known as neo-conservatism can be traced to the work of Ernst Junger. Junger is a fascinating figure and his notion of the "anarch" does seem to conform to the neocon notion of the "hidden" intellectual manipulating from the background and carefully preserving his own safety.
All very good. The problem is that Preparata is excellent when telling us what he is against. But what does he advocate?
He is clearly unimpressed with Marxism or perhaps I should say the various movements who call themselves Marxist. In his other book "Conjuring Hitler" he tells us that, as well as manufacturing the situation that led to the Nazis, the Western governments - or, more precisely, what Preparata calls the "Anglo American clubs" - also manufactured the rise of the Bolsheviks. So it seems that even Soviet style communism - and even from its inception - was a pawn in the hands of the Western clubs. Which - to put it mildly - is a bit of a bummer. Where are we supposed to look for a rival system? And if the Anglo American clubs are so powerful and so devious is there even any point in so much as voicing dissent?
(I also can't resist pointing out a certain irony in "Conjuring Hitler". In the first chapter Preparata paints a picture of pre-World War 1 America as a wonderful little paradise before it was corrupted into empire building by the devious British serpent. This little American Golden Age scenario doesn't seem too far removed from the reactionary neo-con fantasy.)
So - we have to turn to Preparata's hero Thorstein Veblen. First let me note a little irony here. Preparata castigates Leo Strauss who he, rightly in my opinion, calls "illegible". But Veblen is hardly an improvement being surely be the gassiest writer of all time; each potentially simple phrase compulsively erupting into the most unbelievably convoluted gibberish.
So it's just as well we have Preparata to translate for us. And - what do we find? We read that Veblen was a "true dissenter" who "remained aloof from politics". (So - not so dissimilar from the "mocking varlets"?)
But Veblen's admittedly perceptive description of Western ills drags after a while. Does he have any positive suggestions? Well there seems to be one: that we reverse the proposition that the workman should work for a living and the owner employer should invest for a profit i.e. the worker should work for a profit and the owner employer should invest for a living. I have no idea (1) how that's supposed to work, (2) how we bring that situation about, and (3) whether it would be a wise thing anyway as we would just be exchanging one form of exploitation for another. (A bit like suggesting we abolish sexual discrimination by making the men the slaves of the women.)
We then see Veblen's ultimate ideal: a world in the hands of "teams of compassionate and competent scientists dedicated to justice and equality". Preparata gives a comment that sounds ironic but is probably not intended to be: "Platonic philosopher-kings yet again".
Well - how delightful! This was precisely the kind of thinking that Marx and Engels derided as utopian. Veblen, like Preparata, sees clearly how dismal the situation is and proposes a shining alternative vision. But as to how we get from one to the other....?
Guido Preparata, uncovers the motives behind postmodernism and the vogue politics of diversity that have been endorsed by institutions and organizations in the West. Motives that he says have not empowered political activism towards politics of compassion but have instead provided a platform of competition for individuals and minority groups for academic paradigms of truth. With academic firebrand the author explores the uncharted territory of postmodern metaphysics. A study that starts with the Great Goddess and Dionysus and in the end has both the contemporary Postmodern Right and Postmodern Left believing in the aboriginal Void. In this book the author asks why is dissent paralyzed, and calls for the reader to commit to unity rather then diversity.