Freedom is the most ambivalent ideal. It offers the great promise. (The promise of what? This by definition, or lack of definition, can never be answered. The very mutability is the promise and the source of what warmth it has.) It also promises danger. It often brings persecution. Freedom is so ambivalent that almost no one truly loves it, but only for himself and those he identifies as his, and will persecute the freedom of others. Most of all those who hate all freedom but Mammon’s devilish perversion of freedom, which is the license extended only to those who accumulate sufficient markers of the beast, money and property, which then become the intoxicants and weapons of this perversion of freedom. But in fact this is not freedom at all but universal enslavement to the markers.
Yet even those who love some measure of freedom, and even the few willing to go all the way and truly be anarchists, must love with ambivalence. The truly free are always doomed to some measure of outlawry, and indeed the outlawed of medieval times were often called “free as a bird”. Is an outlaw, is a runaway slave “free”? In the end the exercise of freedom, the faith-in-action of freedom, is always the quest to attain freedom. Freedom can never be a noun, only a verb. It is never a place, only a striving.
This recently has been borne in most unequivocally, there’s no there here and no striving to get to any other “there”. The vileness of the circus, everyone reveling in dementia, with even those who affect superiority over it really doing this only as their pose in the thick of it, their own cultism/fandom demonstrated by their fixation, indistinguishable from that of a paid hack….
It’s horrible to have it flaunted constantly even when you’re making the effort to avoid it. It’s horrible forcibly to be made aware of the basic evil of those you know personally and who you’d normally think are better than that. But few, if they can’t be good, at least have the decency to be “apathetic”, as the term goes…
To be sure, most of them exemplify the “banality of evil”, and their cheering for the Democrat (or in a few cases Republican) Party is based on stupidity, short-sightedness and ignorance more than conscious malignity. But that doesn’t change the fact that, at least among middle class Westerners with formal education and internet access, all ignorance is willful ignorance. Whatever they don’t know is because they don’t want to know and don’t care.
This is what Nietzsche thought was the most excruciating evil of all, the day to day petty evil of an atomized society completely submerged in Mammon and suffused to the core with the ideology and temperament of Mammon. (Or, as it is called in economic history, the bourgeois ideology.)
Well, at least this situation has the virtue of clarity. To take another point from Nietzsche, try to prove your enemies did you some good. So in one sense I owe a debt to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and the whole vomitous crew. They, and the lunacy they’re still capable of generating amid a modern civilization after all these years of their self-evident insanity, failures and crimes, is the final proof that this is a terminal case. There’s nothing left but evil and what’s been co-opted by evil in any institution, any idea that has anything to do with this civilization. I no longer believe we can redeem from this shipwreck the idea of democracy the way I used to believe. Whatever may exist of positive democracy and participatory politics in a post-oil, post-capitalist world will have to evolve anew with no taint carried over from the modern Babylon’s funhouse mirror images of “democracy”. Those who want to be agents of this evolution will have to write and preach this way.
The only thing we can redeem from the wreckage is the science of agroecology, though this exception proves the rule since it is not new but rather the form contemporaneous with modernity of the evolution of thousands of years of human ingenuity in getting our daily bread. It turns out that agriculture as commonly known was wrongly seen as the final form rather than perhaps a necessary transition. The final form, which offers the only solution for bread, health, freedom, and happiness, is agroecology’s middle form between agriculture and horticulture, its fruitful melding of empiricism and science.
And so the great task is neither to “reform” modernity nor even to explore its alleged transition to new forms. Physically, culturally, spiritually, the great fossil fuel binge has been a unique, ahistorical experience which temporarily broke with the normal path of evolution. This normal path is now about to resume. Therefore the task requires a much greater arc of thought and word and action which will survey the greater evolution, make history its province, and search out the true threads which flow unhindered from the best aspirations of the past to the best ambitions for the future. This is the only reformation, redemption, renaissance, revolution, and restoration. Those who will be part of this true natural, historical, spiritual evolution will write and preach from the aspect of a thousand years hence, and a thousand years ago.
To be sure, the fundamentalist cult of false election is an aspect of modern Mammon. This cult didn’t exist prior to the advent of fossil fueled modernity and the rise of capitalism. Thankfully we can expect it will perish with these.
As Jesus said, it is impossible to worship God and Mammon, the murderer of all human values and holy faith. We add, it is impossible to exalt freedom and Mammon, the murderer of all freedom and exalter of psychopathic license for those who have sufficient money. Finally, it is impossible to cherish the good and Mammon, the murderer of all love, all friendship, the killer of all that makes us human.
Well, if a prophet is doomed to have no honor in his own country, then it’s no surprise I have no honor or help or support or friendship in the depths of modern America, Babylon, the ground zero of Mammon. Here I must accept that I’m alone. My time and place is only there and there, where “there” exists. Not here.