The Impossibility of Politics

Just what is meant when one speaks today of politics? One man calls it a set of principles in action, another man calls it a set of necessary fictions. But if principles prove to be as provincial as the borders that contain them, and if the very necesssity of our fictions cause us to crawl back toward the most stale platitudes and excuses to keep someone else operating the machine of society, no flippancy or good natured will to spontaneous organization or revolution will save you from the one who likes to pull levers in place of another. Eventually, the lever puller will demand something of you in exchange for the insolence of your inactivity (in other words, your existence). It matters little if he is a monarch, just as it matters little if you are a serf. It matters little if he is a communist revolutionary, just as it matters little if you are the worker, committing what you're able for the sake of whatever incongruous need accompanies your ability. It matters little if you're a neo-liberal or neo-conservative shot-caller, just as it matters little if you're a capitalist consumer, forever driving on broken roads. It matters little if you're a millionaire in the hills, just as it matters little if you're an anarchist in the streets, proving your aversion to property by destroying rented buildings and loan-bound cars. The language of politics, at every turn, co-opts the sacred and offers a paltry substitute. It is a laborious, slow-moving business. We are forever trapped, metaphysicaly, in the polis, just as we are forever trapped in the Left-Right dyad long after it has seized to mean what it once meant and long after the two have simply exchanged certain of their meanings with one another a dozen times. Both sides of the dyad claim a different heritage with a less prescribed, more traditional way of life, even if the tradition is meant to move one to progression with a sort of religious force.

        One speaks of traditional values, but what does this mean? What is called ' 'traditional' today, whether through praise or denigration, is far removed from the traditions of those men who ate the skulls and drank the blood of their enemies, who had a dozen wives and more children, who  flagelated themselves in order to achieve exalted states. Far removed are we today from the bonds created by local crimes--rapists punished by being forced to marry their victims, splitting the genitalia of those who might even constitute preemptive sexual threats. States and parties do not contain or perpetuate culture, nor is there a culture today in the west which has remained the same for more than a few years, nor are there old cultures which did not give away and let fall that which did not suit them after a time. Statesmen are not priests who preserve but marketers of trends. They use the language of culture which suits them to gather the people into a bond tight enough to unite their serfdom and loose enough for them to think they created it.

        For one, organization itself is equivalent to suppression, and for another, it is the only sure means of protecting the village from raiders. After a time, however, the organizers may prove no better than raiders. This is the vulgar simplification lying behind the very impossibility of politics itself, but it goes further than organization. The anarchist claims that only states go to war, but what happens when an autonomous zone meets a state? The anarchist calls the result war, invasion and coercion, while the state calls it real estate. Coercion itself is ill defined on the tongues of libertarians. They limit violence to fists and weapons, yet often set aside the possibility of subterfuge, manipulation and intimidation. The possibility of violence keeps all organizations running, even if the violence takes the mere form of ostracism.

        Gone are the prophets and oracles who traveled to the outside to reach for an answer away from the constant involutions of the stagnating and festering polities and agoras. It was not guaranteed that the prophets would even bring back a message from the divine unlike that of the statesmen.

        When all kingdoms are destroyed, states toppled and bankrupt, polities invaded and ransacked, the absence of the structure is no sure guarantee. One then contends with the polity within.