God and Guns 2


The Burning Block Vol II No. 8

If democracy was lauded for the activity which it actually performed, its advertisement would go something like this: 'It is better to entertain and flatter than to strike fear or threaten. Therefore, let your rule be iron only underneath a bed of softness. One who wishes to rule the people with the wisdom of a serpent must both set and allow obstacles. By these obstacles will people create grievances which will reveal their vulnerability. It is possible to both exploit the grievances of the people whilst satisfying them. One would do best to accord the law to such grievances, as the failure of any measures taken to satisfy these grievances will not fall back on him who creates these failed measures himself, but on all those who were insufficient in their grievance, whom they mistake to be the cause on account of their passivity.'

Democracy is a war of all against all in which a mostly unnoticed party always wins. There is not really any such thing as 'direct democracy.' There is always a party which exploits the antagonism of opposing value systems (or manufactures them) within the same bloc. Any democracy more 'direct' than this would quite simply be conflict as such, the implications of which range as wide as the nature of conflicts themselves.

When one looks closer at democracy, one sees that its basic assumptions and program of action are not too different from fascism. They both rely on the passions of the crowd, both rely on strong leadership to meet and manufacture the measures which can satisfy societal grievance (all the more effective if scapegoating manifests as a direct analogue), a general tendency for the law to remain flexible, etc. There is one deleterious region of programmatic execution which democracy boasts quite above fascism, however: the conclusions of fascism, if not appropriated, cause an othering to occur, just like democracy, however, fascism concludes that this other must go, be dealt with, exported, killed. Democracy, on the other hand, others those who don't appropriate its conclusions and then says that not only is disagreement not an option, exit is not an option.

It becomes rather painful to have to sit through the tired discursive tactic which calls anything which is less than one hundred percent agreeable with everyone's subjective prejudices 'fascism,' and yet, it is arguably necessary to do so here for the fact that democracy tends to accrue the secular version of a near theological authority in direct proportion to its discursive distancing from fascism by dissimulating its very internal mechanisms which most resemble fascism but for which it could be said that, were they not contemporaneous with democracy, there would be no democracy - and no fascism for that matter. One might think of the example set by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus, raising fascism to a metaphysical ubiquity of potential human evil. Though Deleuze and Guattari are often near the truth in their assessment of the problem, their psychological topography remains within the realm of western society's prejudices concerning its relationship to evil. The hermeneutic reading of history - which is ultimately postmodernism and dialectical materialism's intellectual destiny though of a secular trajectory rather than a theological/ecclesiastical one - is steeped in the language of a western logos from which it cannot adequately escape, as its main esoteric object of worship was not killed - only the exoteric form, the simulacra of God. The forms of the modern logos, not given the room transcendence requires for nuance to spread a notion like evil across a pattern from which an approximate extraction can be deduced from a nominal value set, thrive best where they produce large ruptures. The holocaust became a transvaluation of values; a reversal of historical anti-Semitism whose victory was won entirely by disproportionate horror. If one dares to bury one's brain for a moment in the discourse of internet Hitlerlites (or even just Hitlerwasalrights), one rarely sees justification for the holocaust; only a drive to reduce the horror by any means possible, whether by decreasing numbers or augmenting the guilt of classically unmentioned parties. This grand erasure is not unlike the Muslim version of Calvary, in which Christ is rescued from the cross while Satan puts an impostor in his place. Both mark the event of a religious correction. Both deal with the terrible truth of a sin so necessary and so large and so constituting the hidden nature of that which cannot be explained away with logic. Truth is ultimately the recognition of horror; recognition of the reality of evil a gasp of the extreme possible. The transvaluation of values was complete when it could no longer be said that fascism/Nazism is evil, but when it could be said evil is fascism/Nazism. 

The mania for reduction which accompanies the negation of transcendence acts much like the incarnation of spirit into matter. Just as logos is incarnate in Christ, so Satan evaporates from his role as Prince of the Air so that the petri dish of humanity could grow its own evil, adequate to its own task, perturbed and stifled by no truth but its own self-evident power to act and execute. All too often, the attitude that 'I know evil when I see it,' simply amounts to the peak of what is possible when one lives in a logo-less world whose very meaning is determined in conjunction to its distance from evil. One sees the world through evil goggles. It is a morality of pure horror, in which that which most horrifies makes one as holy as one is distant from it; a negative theology of absence from the evil which constitutes existence itself.

What, you may cry, in the holy hell does this have to do with guns? Precious little, perhaps, but it does have everything to do with God, which often ends up having to do with guns in the end.

In a world in which God is dead, the ultimate horror of this statement, contrary to the popular reaction to it, is that it doesn't so much imply a world in which evil is not kept in check with an objective good, but rather, a world in which one's horror in the face of evil generates the negative good which cannot be satisfied save by one's distance from it. In other words, in a world without God, everyone is sure what evil is, and yet, good has entirely vanished. Good is a passive affair. And because the lack of God requires an active evil big enough for us to categorize it in contradistinction, we're left wandering in a world where what is good amounts to the vapidity of an idea like 'Thou shalt not do holocausts.'

The holocaust has replaced God in modernity. It is the secular religious event par excellance.