Down with the Old Regime
and in with the new
The Zman is writing today about it’s “Time to Move On” from “civic nationalism,” a Narrative based on the veneration of our founding documents. That Narrative was destroyed by the Caesarist regime of Roosevelt. I suppose it continues as the current narrative of “our democracy.” But what comes next? Zman doesn’t say.
Whatever comes next is going to be fashioned by those who close the door on the past and accept the present, along with what future can be made of it. There are lessons to be gleaned from America’s past. There are lessons to be gleaned from the Franco-Prussian War and Revolutions of 1848.
No doubt. Then there’s Mattias Desmet writing at The Epoch Times about “The Psychology of Totalitarianism” and how modern governments have exploited the riptides of the masses. He compares the ever-shifting experts of COVID to the changing message of the pigs in Animal Farm.
He takes a parallel to my take on Reign of Terror from Crane Brinton’s The Anatomy of Revolution.
We are experiencing the moment in which an old ideology rears up in power, one last time, before collapsing. Each attempt to remediate the current social problems, whatever they may be, on the basis of the old ideology will only make things worse.
What comes next?
The solution to our fear and uncertainty does not lie in the increase of (technological) control. The real task facing us as individuals and as a society is to envision a new view of humankind and the world, to find a new foundation for our identity, to formulate new principles for living together with others, and to reclaim a timely human capacity—Truth Speech.
What Desmet proposes is to break through the barrier of reason and mechanism to a more spiritual and immediate experience of life, to experience “truth speech” in direct communication between individuals that transcends rationalism-mechanism, and is the opposite of indoctrination and propaganda. See BitChute from 1:33.
Of course, increase of control has been the goto tactic of our current educated ruling class since not later than the French Revolution.
But, I would say, the French Revolution was set up, in part, by the hollowing out of the feudal ruling class by the absolute monarchs. They were able to sideline the feudal lords by replacing the feudal host with national armies. Think Louis XIII and Louis XIV and Henry VI and Henry VIII. But when they got into financial trouble they found they had no support. Britain curtailed their absolute monarchs with the Civil War and the selection of a foreign prince to be king; France collapsed into the Revolution.
So, are we experiencing “the moment in which an old ideology rears up in power, one last time, before collapsing”?
Who knows? Clearly though, the current rulers are going to enormous effort to control the Narrative and to cancel any Narrative that conflicts with their own power interests. And when the Narrative fails, as in the COVID experience, and in the post-COVID economic dislocation, the rulers amp up their control and propaganda efforts.
Perhaps when their Narrative collapses, we will see the new Narrative, of person-to person conversation and shared experience, arising already out of the rubble of the Old Regime, what Jürgen Habermas calls “the intersubjective lifeworld [that] offers a possibility of discourse rather than domination, interchange rather than injunction, emancipation rather than subordination.”