Lookin' for Trouble
if you believe in politics
Ever since I encountered Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt’s notion of the political, as the distinction between friend and enemy, my whole view of the world has changed.
See, we are all taught to believe that politicians are benevolent agents that care about people like me.
Wrong. Politicians are looking for an enemy to fight. Ditto “activists.”
But wait, you say. Apart from the Nazi fascist Hitler, where’s your enemy?
Yep. That’s the Narrative. Apart from a little cleanup on Aisle H, according the the Narrative — Kaisers and Czars in World war I and Nazi fascist dictators in World War II — the world of democracies is devoted to peace and to the peaceful welfare and development of humanity.
On the contrary. I say that the Age of the Educated has been one bloody war after another. Foreign and domestic.
And you know what did it? The bloody Germans, with their Gutenberg printing press. Yes, you knew it had to be the Germans.
The point is that once we humans had the printing press, and books for “everyone” to read, the first thing that happened was the Thirty Years War in Germany from 1618 to 1648. It was, you may recall, at least in part a religious war, the mostly peaceful protesting Protestants against the Holy Catholic Church. Or at least Protestant monarchs against Catholic monarchs.
Then we have the Age of Revolutions, starting with the Brits in their Civil War: Cavaliers against Roundheads, ending in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that established a new order, with much more power to Parliament. La Wik dates the English Civil War from 1642 to 1641, but realistically the Brits spent the whole 17th century reordering their political arrangements, and putting the old-style kings in their place.
Then the American Revolution, with Harvard graduate Sam Adams riling up the natives with his slashing articles in the printed press, making Brit soldiers defending themselves from a crowd of what we now call “armed insurrectionists” into a Boston Massacre. I thought that wars were all about argumentative kings, not noble educated-class scribes riling up the masses.
I’ve just finished Citizens by Simon Schama, a blow by blow account of the French Revolution. I’d previously thought that the Reign of Terror ended when people just got fed up with living in the intolerable pressure of total politics. I now realize that the French Revolution was a succession of wars against some domestic enemy, starting with King Louis XVI, but then progressing to fights between various factions of revolutionaries that experience the “other” as an enemy, not to mention the city intellectuals imposing their Enlightenment world view on the pre-Enlightenment rural areas like the Vendée. Finally it wasn’t just Jacobins offing Girondins, but Jacobin against Jacobin. That’s when the calmer heads called a halt to the efficient work of Madame La Guillotine. Then, of course, with the enemies at home sorted it was time to deal with the external enemy: Prussia, Austria, and the bloody Brits.
Yes, but these were advanced, enlightened moderns trying to end the horrors of the feudal kings and the absolute monarchs. I know. That is what we are all carefully taught.
Let’s say that up to and including the French Revolution the war was between the old knightly order and the new educated class. But in the 19th century we start to see the educated class in control and fighting not against royalty but against employers and, what came to be called in the 20th century, “malefactors of great wealth” and “economic royalists.” And we have the curious case of Otto von Bismarck, the creature of the Hohenzollerns, making Germany into a “nation” by fighting three wars, against Danes, Austrians, and French.
But really, until we come to the 20th century, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I can’t see the 20th century without “World War” in front of it. First was the world war against Teutonic monarchy. Then the world war against Nazi tyranny. Then the world war against Commie bastards. That took up until 1989, and a ten year rest until the start of World War Islamic Crazies starting in 2001. After 20 years of that it looks like we are now graduating to World War Ukraine.
Gotta have a World War.
Then there is the World War on the domestic front. Of course there is, because politics is always about the enemy.
And the fact is that when you say that you are going to fight for justice with politics it means you are going for civil war.
And I realize there is a fundamental contradiction in the left’s devotion to Peace.
Sorry, lefty, there can be no Peace when politics is involved.
There can be no Peace where “activism” is involved.
There can be no Peace where intransigent small minorities — e.g., trans activism — is involved.
Like I say. The solution to all our problems is a new regime by, for, and of, the Commoner middle class.
Because the ordinary middle class is not that interested in power.
And the ordinary middle class is not that interested in politics.
Because the culture of the ordinary middle class is to work with other people, not dominate them, and not kow tow to them.
What a concept.
But I need a phrase to complement World War. On the domestic front.