American Journal of Sociological Research

p-ISSN: 2166-5443    e-ISSN: 2166-5451

2013;  3(4): 73-89


The Problem of Fascism in Everyday Life

G. V. Loewen

Department of Sociology, STM College, The University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, S7N 0W6, Canada

Correspondence to: G. V. Loewen, Department of Sociology, STM College, The University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, S7N 0W6, Canada.


Copyright © 2012 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved.


The structure of power in society tends to the coercive. More or less subtle, authority is identified with the ability to wield power with more or less restrictions, whether these are moral, legal, or customary. The tendency for authority to become fascist in the face of resistance is not merely a function of highly rationalized bureaucracy. It also has its impetus in the character of power's use in hierarchical society. This 'corruption' has, as it were, its own tradition, and the sense that we can compare our own social situation with historical ancestors or alternatives provides individuals their own rationales for coping with the unjustified imposition of authority upon them through contemporary organizations of power. This paper questions the limits and scope of these relations.

Keywords: Fascism, Power, Authority, Rationalization, Bureaucracy, Nazism, Mechanical Solidarity, Organic Solidarity

Cite this paper: G. V. Loewen, The Problem of Fascism in Everyday Life, American Journal of Sociological Research, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 73-89. doi: 10.5923/j.sociology.20130304.01.

1. Introduction

We are used to thinking that the one that makes demands upon us, whether and individual or an institution, has power. But what does this actually mean? Is this the only kind of power, that is, one that can enforce its demands with some other kind of suasion, physical coercion and perhaps ultimately death? There is no socialization without coercion of some kind, but mechanical societies exhibit a rather laissez-faire version of child raising, letting the nature of the surrounding world participate in an immanent manner. Children learn from a wider experience than merely memorizing and thence obeying a multitude of spoken and written rules designed not only for the purposes of social control of the young, but just as tellingly, to distanciate and therefore control the world at large. We like to say to ourselves, 'let children be children for as long as they can', but in fact as soon as they embark on the two-decade or so journey to becoming fully socialized humans, they are more like apprentice adults. The period of transition, of social gestation as it were, has lengthened considerably over the past two centuries, so that even someone my own age might well feel somewhat immature, somewhat less like what might be idealized as a fully adult human being, depending on the social context at hand. The most obvious example of this is the interest adults still maintain in the sexuality of their adolescence. Given that this earlier period is the first time such experiences and feelings arise, this is understandable, but the cloying and nostalgic character of this interest - not to mention, in more extreme cases where such a routine interest is actually acted upon in some criminal or pseudo-criminal way - allies itself with the larger experience of adolescence. Yet since it is in fact a mere memory of this history, and not the history itself within which we seek a sensual refuge, our attitudes are more like that of children, to whom fantasy and reality blend so easily. One need look no farther than much of the erotic illusions presented on the internet, which adults somewhat disingenuously call 'kinks'. Behind each prurient desire however, there lies a real sensibility; that we would like not so much to be fourteen again, but to have access to all of the pleasures of early sensuality, and the more so, with others who exhibit all the fresh traits of the nubile physicality we place so much value upon and indeed, which is held up as the unattainable goal of the beauty myth.
If only youth can be beautiful - this sensibility calls to mind not merely Mahler's Das Lied Von der Erde, the authenticity of which is beyond dispute, as both youth and beauty are cast as poignant reminders of loss and not things of eternal return let alone racist commodities - we are at once reminded of a fair part of the Nazi aesthetics of hygiene, their hygienics of art. Riefenstahl's' 1938 film rendition of the Berlin Olympics has the telling, if also authentic, sub-title. It is indeed youth and beauty we adore at the international games, the epitome not merely of sport, but of physical delight. We need look no further than the parading of teenage girls, and to a lesser extent, the older but equally desirable bodies of the young men, in gymnastics, figure skating, swimming, diving, and track and field, to understand what we watch for. This soft-core erotica reconstructs both the fetish and fantasy of all of our adolescent longings, the mate with the perfect physique, all those boys and girls that we could never, in our own uncertain and blemished teenage reality, get our hands upon. That erotica of most kinds initiates a reciprocity with competitions that involves youth and that seeks 'the beautiful one', only illustrates the source of the desire more profoundly.
Yet the key to this desire is not the pure sensuality of nubile bodies together in wonder and awe of the new experiences of intimacy. If it were only this, there would be no real ethical problem with at least the yearning for the recreation of these moments with other adults who, if they have any theatrical skills at all, should be able to play-act the sincerity of the origins of love, for after all, we are always new to one another in some way. No, it is rather the pure carnality of power over another that fans the convivial flames of the adorable and sensual into the bonfire of vain and criminal desire. For we wish to control and dominate the young, not merely through mock though still very direct sexual relations with them - the corporal punishment of children is the classic example of this, and where it is illegal, the reason is precisely because such coercion has been recognized not merely as violent but also as sexual, and therefore doubly abusive - but by making them our slaves. The role-play of many adult 'kinks' has also this character of mock, but also mocking, servitude. Most often, it is women who are expected, and perhaps inclined due to the very socialization practices of which we have spoken, to adopt and even enjoy this role, but of course this not always the case. Whatever the permutation and however does the ritual of sexual theatre play itself out, the key dynamic is that there exists coercion and at the very least the threat of violence. If we long to play out the sexuality of our youth, then we also, more darkly, long to exert the influence of our adulthood over our youth, both of ourselves and of our children.

2. Objectives: What are Power and Authority?

With all this in mind, it is not a surprise to be unable to imagine some other kind of power relations, even if the idea of coercive or political power still haunts these relations: "From its beginnings our culture has conceived of political power in terms of hierarchical and authoritarian relations of command and obedience. Every real or possible form of power is consequently reducible to this privileged relation which a priori expresses the essence of power." ([4]:16). Almost four decades have passed since the French anthropologist Pierre Clastres redefined our perspective on the politics, or rather, the absence of anything that we call politics, in mechanical societies. Although Durkheim had implied such an absence within his understanding of collective conscience, Clastres illustrates is rich tapestry of peculiarly interlocking relationships, in myth, song, narrative, war and polis. Indeed, one could immediately link this idea of absence of politics and mechanical solidarity with what the Nazis were trying to create for a specific tribal idea of 'race' or genealogy. Once all of the inferior forms had been wiped out - the other villages up and down the jungle river - then the politics of competitive and acquisitive desire would end, resulting in an egalitarian society not unlike hypothetical communism. The predicted future communism too, in Engels classic schema, was based rather romantically on the factuality of 'primitive communism' that held itself to the origins of the social contract in small scale subsistence societies. National Socialism, by definition, betrays its intents in its nomenclature. A nation, or tribe, composed of Aryan citizens, living as one entity. The body of the volk is its mechanical solidarity, and the internalized ideology its collective conscience. But we would be premature in voicing this ultimate link at this point. We would need to have investigated the vectors which in the human imagination, if not in human history, made such a romance reality. Nazism comes out of the nostalgia and anxiety that characterized the fin de siecle period, out of the ashes of the Great War, where German forces, undefeated on the battlefield, were forced to withdraw and be humiliated for specifically political reasons. So we are told, in any case, given that no ultimately decisive allied victory was at hand in November of 1918. The nostalgia, betrayed transparently by Hitler's interest in art from the Bismarck era, not to mention his fetish for classical forms, is kindred to the spirit of an age which fetishized the apparent exotica of Africa and the Orient. It seems a long way from Mahler, Picasso, Stravinsky and Freud's interests and use of these forms in art and discourse to Hitler's rather pedantic and petit bourgeois taste for the drawing room paintings of his childhood. The link is one of nostalgic drive. They both desire an otherness to the world as it was in their own time and place. Whether it is the beforehand of the species, as was imagined by the great artists of the period, or of the volk, as was imagined by the great would-be artists, the desire is the same. The world as it is, is decayed and bankrupt. It should be replaced by more authentic forms of life and art, person and politics. From Durkheim's studied theoretical understanding of the anthropological tracts of the day, to Hitler's unstudied misunderstanding of contemporary political documents, from Wagner to the faked texts of anti-Semitism, there is a continuous line of thinking. From thought to unthought does this crimson thread of human history run.

3. Methods

The great thinkers and artists of the post-romantic period were, due to their social location and radicality, unable to formulate their discourse into new aesthetic principles. Yet their influence was still enormous. It was, ironically, this very influence that the Nazis tried to destroy, but the irony is not so strong if one acknowledges the fact that this other nostalgia, this creative anachronism of back-read consciousness is seen as the immediate enemy and competition to the Nazi's nostalgia. Art and the other are crucial elements of both, and the displacement of time is the result of both threads. The difference was, of course, that the Nazi's gained real political power in their own time and attempted, with wide and popular success, to vanquish their competitors, whether the Jews who were seen to have maintained their 'racial purity', or the new discourses of modernity which threatened the very foundation of the traditional social order. Yet Nazism was merely picking up the disorganized pieces of an instrumental resistance that had long been a staple of the still recently minted bourgeois society. It is another eye-witness to the genesis of this entire set of forms of social life, that calls then contemporary attention to it an a variety of ways: "One of the most familiar political truths is that, in the course of social evolution, usage precedes law; and that when usage has been well established it becomes law by receiving authoritative endorsement and defined form." ([14]:18). Just as Nazism hardly invented anti-Semitism, it also did not invent the diverse elements of its new aesthetic. Eugenics, anthropometry, race theory, academic art history, the fetish items of the art market, Teutonic mythology and Wagnerianism were all readily available to be placed together, like pieces of a profane puzzle that the gods would have willed forever disassembled.
Yet the more profound link between the historical consciousness of that era and the advent of one of its logical outcomes was not so consciously aware of itself. Rather, one might insist that it was its own self-consciousness, naive and self-denigrating, uncertain and yet longing, a true adolescent consciousness, that brings together the new theories of original humanity and the equally new ideology of Nazism. In both mechanical solidarity and the new state, the idea of individual will and responsibility is negated. In the former, because the concept of the individual was non-existent - not even 'inexistent', a term which suggests a prelude to existence, because other social forces had to emerge in order for such a transformation to ultimately have been made, some three centuries ago or so - and in the latter because the authoritarian state wipes them out: "The pact of submission by which the individuals renounce all their rights and freedoms is the necessary presupposition, the first step, that leads to a social order. But it is, in a sense the ultimate step. Henceforth the individuals no longer exist as independent beings. They have no will of their own. The social will has become incorporated with the ruler of the state." ([3]:174). With the original social contract, there was no actual loss by implication or in historical reality by taking such a step. Indeed, we imagine our distant ancestors as raising themselves above the will-less and soulless creature of the animal in taking such a step, and thus making themselves human for the first time. But it is a very different order of expression to have humanity and thence proceed to make it over into a new kind of animal.
The ideology of the very existence of the nation state presumes this make-over. The tension between the one and the many has been with us at least since the first forms of hierarchical social organization began to individuate division of labor and status role-players. This is said to have begun perhaps up to twenty millennia ago, with the appearance of pastoral societies in Central Asia and nearby regions. The tension between individual and society has a very much more recent origin, and indeed, one might say that the state would not have been possible at al unless it could assert itself over a diverse conurbation of individuated wills and persons. That mechanical solidarity is anxious to preserve the oneness of each member of the many through the collective conscience and the egalitarian relations of production in hunting and gathering suggests that insofar as they fear unity it is not unity itself that is feared but the wielding of the one by the one, rather than the being of the one by the many. The result of the latter is always the same: "Statism postulates the doctrine that the citizen has no rights which the state is bound to respect; the only rights he has are those which the State grants him, and which the state may attenuate or revoke at its own pleasure. This doctrine is fundamental, without its support, all the various national modes or forms of Statism which we see at large in Europe and America - such as are called Socialism, Communism, Naziism, Fascism, etc., - would collapse at once." ([14]:x-xi). Thus the potent dynamic that strains our own society, the tension between the latter day one and the latter day many, is dissolved. It may well be that the individual, in her striving for oneness and uniqueness, self-responsibility as well as the freedom of the will within her own vehicle of conscious thought and action, has inadvertently, but inevitably, thrown over her own powers to the state, which is merely the same desire writ larger than social life, and written deeper into the projected self-consciousness than any suite of unconscious vanities could produce at the merely individual level.
This desire for the unity of the self also has a temporal dimension. We enter into a negotiation regarding our own biographical past, the convenience of an auto-political memory, and we are often just as culpable with regard to our rewriting of actual history which we ourselves have lived through and made some small contribution thereto, as any nation state is of constructing official political histories. It is also not enough to merely make the historian responsible for 'real' history and leave the rest of us to the margins as biased bystanders. The mute witness of the past in the present remains forever stilled. The state of today might mimic the Reich of a supposed yesterday, especially if that past is secured to firmly behind the veil of a living present. Just as with selfhood, the state, and the past, the goal of history seeks a premature unity where none can possibly exist: "The telos of the process of negotiation is not, however, perfect congruence between the two narratives, that of the actors and that of the historian, for such a goal is impossible to obtain. No uniform meaning can be assumed to have existed for all the participants in historical events, even in the most harmonious society, let alone one in which the conflicts were as radical as Nazi Germany." ([11]:104). The perceptions of events as both diverse, interpretive, and generating unshared meanings as well as the pressing necessity of shared meaningfulness no matter the perceptions, events, or interpretations, puts an oppressive onus on the professional mediator of lived time as memorial. In spite of the fact of diversity, the one still must be approached, especially, we think, in those terms where events such as the Holocaust are at stake. We simply cannot afford to have too much declension, with the risk of sabotaging a generalizable meaning. How abstract can a memory become, before it is too vague for the present to comprehend as a specific kind of event, good or evil? The presence of diversity, however empirically correct, however mortal and thus authentic to its perceivers' judgements and experiences, at length gives over its power of representation to any and all newcomers. At the level of social formations, and particularly at that of the state apparatus, such a power might be worth a great deal in terms of how it might be rewritten in the present. History might well assume the role of a handmaiden, an intermediary with its own political suasion, aiding those who wish to repeat the contents or forms of what cannot be repeated, either phenomenologically or ethically: "Consequently, whether we assume discontinuity between non-power and power, or continuity, it appears that no classification of empirical societies can enlighten us either on the nature of power or the circumstance of its advent, so that he riddle remains in all its mystery." ([4]:10-11). It is the political suasion of our own time, that of the history of the origins of the state, the omnipresence of hierarchical relations of power, and the superiority of the idea of superiority - technological, aesthetic, economic, etc. - that appears to forever cover over the anthropological origins of power itself.
This is surely as much a myth as the sensibility that generated it. The distance between history and mythology is one that might rather be gauged by rational means. Yet at the same time as we are asked to never 'forget history', we are also bidden by the demands of the politics of the day. This suggests that it would be inevitable that in the forced collusion amongst memory, history and politics, the meeting of biography and autobiography, ethnography and historiography on the supposed neutral ground of the descriptive text, the dispassionate observation of the professional witness or the social theorist, we ourselves would become part of a story directed toward the goal of forgetting itself. To live on in the present is to also deny the full presence of the past. No doubt it is not rational to live within a past which is itself but a memory. Such a life has no authentic connection with the ongoingness of either time or personal change. Yet at the same time, the contemporary myth of the presence of power and the writing of history to further aims of contemporary political power surely also cannot be rational. Their conflict with our daily experience as both empowered beings, freed from the constraints of many traditions that for thousands of years had weighed on the template of what humanity could imagine itself as being, as well as with our sense that we are not at all free beings in a world of coercive power relations, unsettles the thought that we can participate in the one and the many in a sincere and unique manner that is also striving after a more mature community: " man's practical and social life the defeat of rational thought seems to be complete and irrevocable. In this domain modern man is supposed to forget everything he has learned in the development of his intellectual life. He is admonished to go back to the first rudimentary stages of human culture." ([3]:3-4). This is the demand not of rationality, but of mythology. Yet it is a demand not of ancient narrative, as we will see below, but one that ironically comes from our own day, with the goal of resurrecting a unity that indeed, the social contract in its simpler forms always sought to avoid. Only a return to the primordiality of consciousness can cleanse us from the stunning diversity of the present. When all humanity must have been the same thing, when the social contract first united us, this must have been the moment of the authenticity of the one, before the many clouded it with the shadows of doubt that surround even the deer in the blinding glare of an oncoming vehicle. There is nowhere to go but straight into the light.

4. Results: Actual Social Organizations of Power

We consider the center of things to be a space of enlightenment. We too are attracted by the dazzle of its orbs. We think ourselves into the midst of the glowing globes of its glitz. The point is to become the point, to have the final word and thus to secure meaning in a sacred arc that transcends interpretation even though it be its outcome. Interpretation is fine if it leads to shared meaning, we might reassure ourselves. We do not need to be anxious about thinking, but only insofar as it leads away from thought, only insofar as it can get rid of itself and pronounce, in the end, an end to thinking. We thus imagine ourselves to be preserving the calm of the eye of a storm which we also know to still be raging in tight circles around us. We use the present in our own lives as this eye. What is now is always at the center of our best attention. We are exhorted to be forward looking beings, to overcome the obstacles of the dead weight of history, our own, or that of others, and at the same time we are encouraged to keep alive the memory of all that we have been. We are thus coerced, and still further, coerce ourselves to be the one amongst the many, to unit past and future in a dynamic present which cannot suffer shipwreck on the tortured waters that any storm brings to life. In doing so, we are said to participate in the best form of power, that which has control over what has been, can calm the seas of strife, and can stem the tides of an ongoing rush of experience, can temper the torrents even of time itself. We believe in this kind of power and elevate it to a mythology of its own, because it always appears that modern life is involved in some kind of crisis. This in itself agrees with the much less mythological approach to the problem of power and its differential actuality in all known social organizations, and ironically, aids its fuller presence in our contemporary lives: "The model of coercive power is adopted, therefore, only in exceptional circumstances when the group faces an external threat. But the conjunction of power and coercion ends as soon as the group returns to its normal internal life." ([4]:30). This appears to be the case for mechanical solidarities, but do we, as individuals socialized to conform to the same thing but lacking a collective conscience, ever return to a 'normal' interiority? Is there ever a true eye of the storm that rests becalmed under the surface of our skins?
Our biographies, however partial in relation both to an idealized completeness or completion, as well as being partial to our own current evaluation of them, by definition cannot be either entirely critical or dialectical. We do not attempt a synthesis which preserves the meaning, the essence of the first two terms. We do not place our births and our deaths in the full presence of Erlebnis so much as we think that being alive means to have accepted our birthright as the ability to postpone mortality, our living inertia seen as the same physics which keep the cyclist on her mount. As long as the wheels turn at a certain speed, all is well, and one cannot fall into the earth as one does into one's grave. The question then becomes, which speed must be maintained? In contemporary society, the genealogy of such a judgment is given a fateful pedigree. Before I did this, however vanilla or radical, normative or dangerous, and yet I am still here today. Of which dossier of memories can we, without too much further risk, allow ourselves while pedaling forward? At the societal level, the myth that power cannot but be coercive is the larger than biographical life version of the dynamic of risk and surety. This power can always be applied, and thus it appears to be only a tool. The larger the perceived risk, or crisis, the more coercive the result of its application. But all is still well, for a course correction is the only goal of the instrumental use of power. Yet the politics of the use of power also creates a genealogy, and "...the rise of such a system culminates either in a social stratification that negates the structuring value of the rules of filiation, or else in the confirmation and even overvaluation of these rules: it might be said that lineage is diacritical in nature." ([4]:72, italics the text's). That is, the entire point of a pedigree is disestablished when the value of power is one applied only as a present point, as a punctuality rather than even as a punctuation of a series of events long-evolved from older and perhaps more stable forms. Thus the line of ideas that reinforce or lend discursive inertia to the use of power in a coercive stance or a manipulative maneuver loses its object - historical consciousness and critical self-reflection - between the problem of the dialectic on the one hand, and critique on the other. Thus a diacritics of power is no delicate balance of suasion of thought, but rather a fragile moment of insight that can only glimpse its past through its present use. Like a god who has outlived his usefulness, in the manner of which Leuba, and James after him, speak, power's pedigree is anxious to reinstate its contemporary relevance. It accomplishes this by denying its own history, as well as the effects that have be3n wrought through its application: "The seemingly balanced account of an unbalanced situation - particularly the appeal to comparisons that even-handedly show the distribution of horror in history - may well be coded in a specific manner as mechanism of denial that seek normalization and a 'positive' identity through an avoidance or disavowal of the critical and self-critical requirements of both historical understanding and anything approaching 'normality'" ([12]:112). It is not as if we are saying to ourselves, let alone the victims of power, that 'it wasn't so bad, after all'. But consider the effect of routinization that occurs when we do ensconce radical evil in a normative framework. The usual examples in the case of Nazism would have to do with industrial capitalism, Fordism, the Treaty of Versailles, eugenics and the history of anti-Semitism, amongst others. To say to the victims - not 'of the past' per se, as this was itself a title of a Nazi propaganda film regarding the 'failed specimens' of human cultural evolution - who live on in the shadow of genocide, as well as to ourselves, that the Holocaust was the logical outcome of a diverse confluence of social forces is in fact to make it normative in an oddly disturbing manner. We think to ourselves, there must be a 'more' to this event than what history is made of. But what is this 'more', and how can it itself be distanced from the problem of a metaphysical evil which would then deny human responsibility in some radical manner of its own?
First of all, we may state that the abuse of power is written into politics, and that coercion is the interiority of political power. Justice is usually seen as the conceptualization of the balance for the existence and use of such forms of power. Yet the power of justice does not, in the modern world, or perhaps in any kind of organic solidarity, equate with either the power of the just, or the rights of the just person as just anyone: "The lack of rigor in the distribution of products and defective justice and equality doubtless do not have all the importance that is commonly attributed to them: in any case, this lack of rigor goes hand in hand with a slower accumulation - that is, with an easier life in spite of everything, and not just for the privileged class but for the people as a whole." ([1]:297). We feel injustice all the more so in a society where we expect its opposite. The lengthy and sometimes anguished movement toward the mature society has, in our modern consciousness, provoked both a visionary future - the technological communism of science fiction, for instance - while at the same time a correspondingly sobering lack of imagination about what might happen to us in the day to day, and in our own day. The Holocaust, before it was fully exposed at Nuremberg and afterwards, was unimaginable to most people, and was, indeed, unimaginable to most of its victims even during its own internal evolution, at least until 1938 or so. No less so, this absence of an imaginative understanding of the possibilities of the present, light or dark, prompts us to run one again into the fantasies of a future not yet fully comprehended. It is almost as if we are more comfortable not knowing about what we may become. This distanciated disinterest may well descend from a general anxiety regarding the end of life, but this is not an excuse for fetishizing it. One must rather evaluate with the rigor of just distribution the present 'in spite of everything' that tends to sway our judgement away from the world as it is. Perhaps surprisingly, even Spencer can be relied upon to have done so, and his world is still very much our own: "...they persist in dwelling on the evils of competition and saying nothing of its benefits; yet it is not to be denied that the evils are great, and form a large set-off from the benefits. The system under which we at present live fosters dishonesty and lying. It prompts adulterations of countless kinds..." ([14]:57). Each worldview contains numerous contradictions. Perhaps these are precisely the conceptual resonances of the mechanical system of beliefs within which power was diffuse and politics constrained by the many imagined as the one, the multitude thinking that they were the same thing. Our abstract conceptualizations seek to unify what in actuality are diverse. Critique too, if it be justly distributed, if it not become either the one-sided apologist or saboteur of what occurred, if it not understand itself to be the vehicle of a world sentiment that says 'we can do better, yes, but we must all of us fare better, be better', then its critiques will serve not so much to unify thought but to remind us of the sources of thinking, as Merleau-Ponty famously said of philosophy. It is not that 'body of knowledge' but a kind of vigilance which does not let us forget the way in which knowledge occurs to us, is formed and constructed, is used and abused. At the same time, abstraction in human consciousness is an equally necessary construction as it provide the test of ideas of all kinds, as well as orders the universe so that we can comprehend it, at least in part. It makes 'cosmos', quite literally, and out of nothing: "In all human activities and in all forms of human culture we find a 'unity in the manifold'. Art gives us a unity of intuition; science gives us a unity of thought; religion and myth give us a unity of feeling." ([3]:37). No doubt these unifications are dangerous if they are harnessed up to the goads of politics. The paragon of Nazi mottos - one state, one blood, one leader - is a chilling example of this. And it is not only in the abstract that we find the collusion of unity, the desire for the one by the delusional 'oneself'.
Mechanical solidarity betrays its reliance on a oneness that, through radical egalitarianism, through treating of all in the same manner no matter the situation, of making the mundane almost the entirety of things - that is, what is sacred is the contract of the everyday, and a crisis is only extramundane in the sense that it is improbable or if having occurred, its occurrence would be rare or nonexistent - and above all else, keeping the justice and injustice which inhabits all human social organization as flat as possible through the law of a metaphoric body that does not metastasize itself into a 'people': "The law they come to know in pain is the law of primitive society, which says to everyone: You are worth no more than anyone else; you are worth no less than anyone else. The law, inscribed on bodies, expresses primitive society's refusal to run the risk of division, the risk of a power separate from society itself, a power that would escape its control." ([4]:186, italics the text's). As long as what it means to be powerful has meaning only within the community of all others, and not merely some or few, this method of the metaphoric body can stay its course. One does not need to be tolerant but only be able to tolerate the pain of knowing that one is the same as the other. Even this is unaccountably organic, as we today would more than wince at both undergoing the rites of passage of mechanical societies, as well as equally shy away from the notion that we are the same as the next person, and will always be treated in the same way, come justice or injustice. In an oddly perverse manner, the Nazis created 'The Jews' as part of their own auto-mythology and rewriting of history. We do the same with the vast hinterland of geopolitical otherness upon which we, as citizens of the 'developed' world, imbibe and lean upon. 'they' are the same thing. It is we who are diverse and unique to ourselves. Thus' they', also want the same thing, which, ironically, and egotistically, means to be the way we are. There is even a misguided morality of globalization and neo-colonialism that is supposed to offer a just guide through this process. 'They' have seen the light, and the light is how we are. How then, to help them attain what we already have, without destroying the earth?
All of this is old hat. What we need instead to recover is both the sense that diversity is dangerous only if fused to a politics which would make power itself diverse, while at the same time a more authentic self-reflection on the character of diversity, both in ourselves and in the world: "...tolerance is at work in all of this not only as a virtue of social intercourse that has been bred into us, but also as a basis for that human way of thinking that reckons on the otherness of the other and the multiplicity of othernesses that exist alongside one another in our complicated and diversely tangled reality." ([7]:98). We presume upon tolerance as a base-degree. It is less than acceptance, more than disdain. It is at the same time, at within a wider spectrum of human reaction, much less than conversion, much less than murder. The virtue of tolerance lies precisely in its centeredness regarding the possible range of interactions.
Of course we fully expect this tolerance to be reciprocated. We are hardly any more perfect than the next person, group, or culture. At the same time, because we preach tolerance, we might more easily be able to give ourselves airs that bely the significance of the potential decoy action of tolerance itself. Within each cultural group, then being tolerant of one another is seen as more of a hardship on two fronts. First, we might well feel that if one is an in-group member, then we should expect to have little or no conflict with them. The eccentricities of the marginal sociality are more disdained than truly tolerated, though we would not label as eccentric had the person more visibly come from somewhere else. Secondly, an following from the resentment we might feel building up if we have to deal with too many marginals who also claim the status of cultural comrades, is the idea that all the others, tat is, those who have what we take to be a more legitimate claim on being different, should paradoxically all be the same in their differences. Another culture is just that, a culture, and not a detailed and diverse complex of human beings such as we might find, somewhat to our continuous dismay - in our own. The decoy of tolerance is precisely its ability to shroud our sincere disdain or frustration with ongoing differences - within ourselves even, aside form the more obvious ones between or amongst persons - and allow us to further our own expectations that others should refrain from judging our idiosyncrasies: "But this relationship, by denying these elements an exchange value at the group level, institutes the political sphere not only as external to the structure of the group[that is, difference may exist exogamously, but no endogamous diversity should be given political cantor] but further still, as negating that structure: power is contrary to the group, and the rejection of reciprocity, as the ontological dimension of society, is the rejection of society itself." ([4]:41-2). The paradox here is fully assumed by in-group members. Within a group, all should be alike, but this does not constitute a unity of power. Rather, the purpose of in-group solidarity is to keep the representation of unity diffuse. It is not so much the many that combine in a 'united we stand' attitude, but instead, the many unify in the face of any political oneness that might arise as a claimant of singular representation. Ironically, the tolerance we show to out-group members cannot be extended to our own brethren, lest the exposed differences catalyze a new politics of further division.
Yet there are many social institutions that counter this more casual and unwritten ethic of pseudo-tolerance as at once the decoy for resentment and the pretence of a sameness which in organic society cannot possibly exist in actuality. Differences that we tacitly note and then proceed to ignore in everyday life have real effects elsewhere, especially when it comes to the division of labor in relation to the hierarchy of power. Long gone is the authentic mechanism of making every in-group member the same with relation to the mode of political production. With the modern nation-state, politics is the integral dynamic of becoming political: "Here, as everyone knows, birth, age, backstairs intrigue, and sycophancy, determine the selections rather than merit. The 'fool of the family' readily finds a place in the church, if 'the family' have good connections." ([14]:138). It is interesting that Spencer names a number of examples that are either arms of the state, for instance, the military, in the same breath as speaking about archaic social institutions, such as the church, the state's erstwhile competition, as having welcoming homes for those ignorant of politics in its most radical sense. One might well suggest that politics of selection is of a different, and more well established, species than the politics of state activity itself. Once 'elected', though we must immediately qualify this term by reminding ourselves that usually only the previously 'elect' are elected, the reciprocity of tolerance may accede to the more edgy play of true politics. When one can assume an elite of in-group members, the mastery of which one fully participates in, and the eccentricity within which one has already weeded out, then the sky of political power and its uses is the limit. We have moved at once into an 'amoral' sphere of cultural action, where we no longer need have the same expectations of others, and, more shadily, we need not exhibit the same responsibilities to them. All are now 'princes', and must act within this new ambit, where the means are justified by the ever transient ends: " political life we cannot draw a sharp line between 'virtue' and 'vice'. These two things often change places: if everything is considered we shall find that some things will be ruinous to the prince, whereas others that are regarded as vicious are beneficial. In politics, all things change their place: fair is foul, and foul is fair." ([3]:151).

5. Discussion

5.1. Individual and Group Coercions

Even so, there are solid empirical patterns of conduct that can be predicted in most political contexts. They exhibit indeed a dreary logic. The absolute value for all involved in the modern political sphere is to hold onto and perhaps increase one's political power, and thus control over other kinds of state and even non-state resources. The pursuit of power 'for its own sake' is relatively rare. Even Hitler had an agenda, and power was merely a means to it. The idea of the power, exercised at random simply because one can do so reminds one more of the evil genius of a literary character such as a Moriarty, but even he had the sensibility that the use of power should increase its ability to be used, not entirely unlike the Nietzschean will that seeks to understand itself as a power unlike any other. Because this kind of power, conceptual and abstract, is never quite understood as only a praxis, the pragmatic means necessary for attaining or reproducing the same power relations within which one is a relative master often go unrecognized. Hence it should be no surprise to recognize that "There is a great want of practical humility in our political conduct. Though we have less self-confidence than our ancestors, who did not hesitate to organize in law their judgements on all subjects whatever, we have yet far too much." ([14]:123). Lawmaking itself is a result of the desire for the one by the many who all think of themselves also as one thing amongst many other ones. The idea of law, a scion of the early agrarian combination of bureaucracy and metaphysics - reflected immediately and tellingly in the first examples of writing that archaeologically known; records of transactions and mythic narratives - is a concept of the sign of the one. Thou shalt and thou shalt not apply to all. Everyone is equal under the law. The early legal codes, more so than our own given the evolving art of jurisprudence, attempt to be metaphysical restatements of the mechanical idea of sameness through the metaphoric body. But it does not actually function in the same manner for community members have now become citizens. Because " his private capacity he is one of those to whom rights are given; and in his public capacity he is one of those who, through the government they appoint, give the rights." (ibid:188). There is no equal reciprocity here, as well we know that once appointed, the twice 'elect', as it were, represent more themselves than anyone else. Given as well that the electoral franchise is still hardly universal - we may pause again tat his point to remind ourselves that the arguments we use to prohibit children from voting were the same arguments used to delay women the vote, and on top of this, the vote itself is only a marginal and momentary aspect of most political behavior - the idea of a representative government is eerily akin to the decoy of tolerance. We are tolerant of a polis that asks little of us.
The other himself is someone to whom we would like to owe little more. Being a community member is mostly sensed for us at a distance. We do not experience the chagrin of another's political fate, as we are also well aware that for most careers in the public realm, both the structural advantages that brought these persons to the fore in the first place are also expected to settle all account with whatever variables come, and at length, they come to all of us in one way or another, with the will to dethrone us. The CEO is deposed only to find himself with large stock option and some other position on the board of a related corporation. Or at worst, he can retire into a healthy and lucrative consultation practice. Similar destinies await many if not most politicians or military persons, though the fates of worn out stars of the entertainment world are sometimes less assured. Even ex-dictators, if they have survived a more Machiavellian end, may find themselves well-ensconced in some other countryside where their political history has no relevance and constitutes no further threat. None of this is at all familiar, for obvious reasons, within mechanical solidarities. What occurs there is the absence of any sense of individuated destiny. Either the group survives or it does not. The membership within may wax or wane pending demographic and subsistence variables, but the culture of the whole, as well as its communal consciousness, does not wither. The key is clear enough: "It is a deep and ardent desire of the individuals to identify themselves with the life of the community and with the life of nature. This desire is satisfied by the religious rites. Here the individuals are melted into one shape - into an undistinguishable whole." ([3]:38). Indeed, we might further state that the group is itself its own individual. The expression of group individuality, however paradoxical this sounds to our modern enlightenment ears, where there is nothing but the noisome tension of the one contraposed against the many, resides in the one who has been named the 'chief' of the tribe. Not that his demise signals the end of the cultural group in question. He is just as replaceable as the next person. Yet it is he who lends the focus of the intents of the entirety and provides some physical and personal representation of the power of the whole. He is created, seemingly ex nihilo, out of the absence of power, out of the vacuum of the center, to fill not the role of the leader, but the space of leadership: "It is because there is a central institution, a principal leader expressing the real essence of the community - and this existence is experienced as unification - that the community can permit itself, as it were, a certain quantum of centrifugal force that is actualized in each group's tendency to preserve its individuality." ([4]:60). The many who are already one, but who shun the One as if it were the ultimate evil, are yet drawn towards the center. Not because the chief holds the charisma of another world, vaunted and exulted, but because each is drawn to the other, as if the entirety of the cultural cosmos were collapsing upon itself. This gravity, which shows the leader is still within the space of the ultimate vacuum, the black hole of the very origins of the social contract, from which nothing human can escape, is what attracts just enough to both hold the group together in the community akin to corroborree, and yet repel any suggestion that the leader is more than the next member of that intimacy.
It is nothing to compare such a social organization which eschews any politics of power with our own situation. The tiny scale upon which the soul of humanity is exposed has been shrouded in a false mystery simply because these 'combinations' cannot survive in the power relations of the sate: "Judge then what must happen when, instead of relatively small combinations, to which men may belong or not as they please, we have a national combination in which each citizen finds himself incorporated, and from which he cannot separate himself without leaving the country." ([14]:49). Even upon doing so, one is in fact all the more a member of the homeland, because when reaching some foreign shore, or crossing some international boundary, she find herself identified with no others but the one's she had hoped to leave behind through emigration. Not that mechanical solidarity is at all as optional as Spencer suggests of previous social organization. When one leaves these groups one commits both social and individual suicide in a manner much more literal than the modern ex-patriot. Even if we doubt Schutz's famous but perhaps premature conclusion concerning how the once 'stranger' becomes part of the new culture and is a stranger no more, we certainly can see everywhere, especially in our own day of massive globalization and migration, both within and without national borders of all kinds, that persons and even entire groups may be at least tolerated in terms of their new domicile and loyalties. Attend any citizenship ceremony, however, and we are impressed by none other than the set of new expectations that demand that the individual simply, rapidly, and without reserve, trade her former loyalty for the new one. One cannot elect to have no such ties, to be officially stateless in the way that Nietzsche during the last decade of his life so fittingly was. Rather, and within each national grouping, one can choose "...either to lead a private, harmless and innocuous life, or to enter the political arena, struggle for power, and maintain it by the most ruthless and radical means. There is no choice between these two alternatives." ([3]:148). Given this, what are we to make of the Greeks admonition that he purely private life, the turning away from the polis, is for the citizen an idiot's life. It would seem, rather, that the only ethical choice would be to be but a 'private citizen', even though this appears to be an oxymoron. But just here the essential problem of non-participation is exposed. What causes the 'Machiavellian' character of modern power relations is precisely the retreat of the citizenry away from the action of the public sphere. Mechanical solidarity has no politics because everyone is involved, and involved in the same way. There is no distinction to be made between public and private, just as there is none to be found distinguishing the individual from the group. No doubt Engels had this in mind when he both nostalgically and romantically labelled the first societies primitive versions of the communism he and Marx hoped would succeed the bourgeois society. The scale of participation necessary to recreate the collective conscience of early human groups is daunting, perhaps forbidding. Yet it is precisely the problem of representation that must be overcome, if power is to be made a function of the community, rather than a political function.
The fullest expression of the absence of the polis that the Greeks had in mind to maintain, with its sole purpose of embodying the vigilance that power requires in order for it not to become uncontrollable, may be found in the expertise of bureaucratic arms of the state, where unelected, and therefore radically non-representative, bodies of persons compose and carry out the orders of the day. The elite quality of these inner circles, held within the bounds of a pseudo-sacred sanctum and giving the air of not merely respectability but of power itself, are difficult to compete with form the outside: "A comparatively small body of officials, coherent, having common interests, and acting under central authority, has an immense advantage over an incoherent public which has no settled policy, and can be brought to act unitedly only under strong provocation. Hence an organization of officials, once passing a certain stage of growth, becomes less and less resistible..." ([14]:35). This is not all. The form that such an increasingly hypothetical resistance must take in order to brook the power of these recently minted elites, the 'state nobility', to borrow Bourdieu's title, must become more than symbolic. It is the case that these groups have successfully, though somewhat mockingly and ironically, mimicked the mechanical character of the social contract, but they have also been able to carve out a polis anew, where both policy and police protect the new interests, and the attitude that inhabits these spaces, and inhibits the outsider from ever stepping across their political thresholds, is one of either an archaic paternalism at best, or a sheer disdain bordering on megalomania at worst. Policy itself can well be understood through the elite atmosphere of the spaces of power. One feels, once ensconced within them, that anything is possible, and more than this, that one is the agent for the possible, unconstrained by other factors, such as the sentiments of the wider culture, the morality of tradition, and even the desires of other individuals unlike oneself: "And this relative dignity of State-servants as compared with those occupied in business increases as the administrative organization becomes a larger and more powerful element in society, and tends more and more to fix the standard or honour." ([14]:36). That is, not only are the most important persons involved in such political interiorities, but they come to believe that they are also the best persons society has to offer itself.1
The symbolic thresholds of who can be, or who is, an 'honourable' person are redefined in such a way that it appears that these elites themselves are apolitical. Because they are unelected, and because they are accredited by other kinds of institutions who themselves curry and receive political favors of all sorts, the actual individuals seem to be insulated from both the burlesque and the travesties of modern political power relations. This of course is a myth, but it is a convenient one to ell ourselves, due to the steeply hierarchical character of modern rational-legal organization and authority. Hardly any of us can clamber into these elusive echelons. Even the region into which one is born by happenstance is a major variable, given the distribution of universities and their relative standing across large nation states. We certainly disdain the bureaucrat. His very title has become a pejorative, and the 'bureaucratic personality' is somehow seen as all the more evil, besting the authoritarian simply because the former is seen to have no political motive, that is, his evil is banal and therefore more apt to become the function of an amoral void. The addition of this factor to Adorno's famous analysis of the Holocaust is crucial for its understanding, and this is exactly what Arendt accomplishes later on. But it is no better in the sphere of politics proper, where the structural variables influencing life-chances are much more exposed and traded upon. Elected officials differ little from unelected ones to this regard, but they must sow off their advantages both to the general public to whom they are at least symbolically beholden, and as well to one another who are their immediate and immanent competition. In allowing these persons to become the expression of the culture, we are giving away any hold we might have had on the control of power through the function of the community, prompting critiques from all quarters of social and political theory: "If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they thereafter any the less slaves? If people by a plebiscite elect a man despot over them, do they remain free because the despotism was of their own making? Are the coercive edicts issued by him to be regarded as legitimate because they are the ultimate outcome of their own votes?" ([14]:17). From Hitler to our own time, where persons like Morsi in Egypt are playing with the same totalitarian fire, Spencer's commentary is prescient. Of course, politicians are regularly able to fool voters into freely electing them, and if the general system has not the checks and balances that thwart the would-be dictator, all of us must hold our communal breath. Even in parliamentary democracies, a majority government can foster dictatorial powers of an aspiring prime minister. There is always the next election, we might think, but the laws can be changed.
It is no better within the situation of unelected officials, whose role is that of a body of consultants. Their rationale is similar to the politicians; to maintain their position of relative privilege and power. Their logic differs from the remainder of the population not only because of the elite overtones of the spaces they inhabit, just discussed, but as well due to their own quasi-political aspirations. They imagine themselves the true rulers of the society, because it is their efforts and their plans that are made real by those to whom they give direction. The stuff of their works is quite dubious, however, as it is often out of touch with the world as it is: "The reason of ordinary people trying to create a better and safer world for themselves and their children[ ] has very little in common with these ignorant and irrational dreams of domination. Unfortunately, commonsense is too common an instrument to impress intellectuals and so they abandoned it long ago, replaced it by their own conceptions and tried to redirect political power accordingly." ([6]:102). The situation is ironic, because the best-laid plans of the consultants fall afoul not merely of the world, but of the wayward character of the political game, where each plan must be sounded by another form of commonsense that dictates to the dictators. The bottom line of this sensibility is the measure of political risk involved in carrying out the plan. Even the Nazis, up until around 1940, had severe doubts about the liquidation of mental patients and others regarding how it would be perceived by the German people. Though they had no doubt that it was the right thing to do amongst themselves, yet this totalitarian juggernaut looked over its political shoulder for many years, and used the early part of the world war as an excuse for such programs as part of mobilization efforts. A short time later, of course, all such caution was thrown to the winds and physical coercion became the chief tool of political management. The Nazis, and all other criminal governments - and all nation states have at least a streak of criminality about them, however well-shaded from he public glare - are able to proselytize their ideological notions because every culture is already structured to elicit widespread response if it imagines it is under threat. It is also instilled in us that society must make sometimes dangerous demands of us as individuals, to allay the still more fatal risks of general annihilation: "Therefore, society cannot be formed or maintained without our being required to make perpetual and costly sacrifices. Because society surpasses us, it obliges us to surpass ourselves; and to surpass itself, a being must, to some degree, depart from its nature - a departure that does not take place without causing more or less painful tensions. We know that only the action of society arouses us to give our attention voluntarily." ([5]:163). If politicians can identify themselves with the social body - and the people with the body of the volk, for instance - than any sacrifice becomes possible, even plausible. This was certainly the case within the Third Reich, and we have see n numerous other versions of this attempt by power to once again diffuse itself within the mock mechanics of an artificially regressed sociality. Instead of authentic mechanical solidarity, however, organic solidarity devolved in this manner yields only a mechanism. Even so, vastly separated as we are from the social contract of our species' infancy, we still respond to the call to arms voiced by those we imagine represent this ancient covenant. This is perhaps the most dangerous political moment, the hinge upon which the fate of the history of this or society and culture turns. If we make the lap with those who sole interest is power, we push the hinge outward until it can bend no farther, with obvious results. If we resist, we push the hinge backward, folding society into itself once again, and the danger, for a time, has passed. We cannot avoid this dynamic, because "The soul of the individual is bound up with the social nature; we cannot separate one form the other. Private and public life are interdependent. If the latter is wicked and corrupt, the former cannot develop and cannot reach its end." ([3]:63).2 The one who seeks power as either a means to further power or as a means to forge an agenda which endangers the culture in question has excerpted himself form the life of the culture, and has exempted the presence of his soul from communion with its necessary others. The soul 'itself', then, is only a partial essence without the essential company of other souls.

5.2. Some Specific Politics of ‘Power Over’

Yet it is no great surprise to find those who reject this essentiality. From the inertia of the historical record, one might well adduce that there will always be enough politicians. The first result of the departure of the partial soul, embodied in the individual, from its community, is the sense that the others, whom one has left behind in search of the vision of either representation, if paternalistic, or power 'itself', if more purely egotistic, are incapable of making a society on their own, without this help from a leader. This Aristotelian sensibility is never far from intellectual shores: "There are a great many men who are incapable of ruling themselves. They cannot be members of the state. They have no rights or responsibilities of their own and must be commanded by their superiors. According to Aristotle the abolition of slavery is no political, or ethical ideal; it is a mere illusion. The same holds for the relations of Greeks and barbarians." ([3]:99-100). This kind of rather non-philosophical sentiment is a resonance of even more ancient systems of social stratification based upon caste. Caste in the strict sense is by definition a rationalization of the cultural arbitrary that states that the differences amongst groups of persons are part of the cosmic order. No mere human nature constructed them, they are the creation of nature itself. The classical civilizations that we, and Hitler, adored in our schoolrooms were very much slave based, but occupied an intermediate position between the true caste societies such as ancient India, and those of class - a partition of groups based on their relationship to the mode of production which was seen more as an historical invention, or at the very most, part of a God's will and order. Thus one could find more reasoned judgements in the Hellenic period, beside those of the juried bigots: "No Stoic writer could accept the saying of Aristotle that here are slaves 'by nature'. 'Nature' means ethical freedom, not social bondage. It is not nature but fortune that makes a man a slave." (ibid:103). Certainly the happenstance of birth and thus vicissitudes of warfare lent empirical evidence to such a counter-claim to cosmic nature. But it is not only our classical ancestors that have debated the various merits of the natural and the cultural orders. The former is often used as a rationalization for the latter. Given that history shows us that the latter can be changed, and is often changed, the value of the former, depending upon the vested interest involved, takes on metaphysical mantle.
Yet it is our own time, when historical and geopolitical inequalities are transparent and hardly anyone is willing to robe them in metaphysics, when vested interests can take on a yet more rationalized spirit: "Increasing power of a growing administrative organization is accompanied by decreasing power of the rest of the society to resist its further growth and control. The multiplication of careers opened by a developing bureaucracy, tempts members of the classes regulated by it to favour its extension." ([14]:40). The 'public service', an insulated nest of such organizations where those who are by definitions servants of the public can forget and even invert this responsibility - once again, it is politicians who are the most apt to do so - is the result of a mixing of metaphysical suasions. The cosmic and more ancient suggests to us that we have found ourselves with privilege because by nature we were destined for it, or by definition we fit the bill. The idea of searching the prospective employee who has the 'best fit' for this or that position has roots in the caste system, for it desires an ideal whereby the newly hired employee, be she a veteran or a neophyte in terms of skills and experience, will not need to change or adapt. She is what she is and that is in fact what we need right now. It is somewhat sobering that individual persons often apply this rigid rubric to prospective partners or mates, even 'friends', which harkens us back to at least one thing Aristotle did get right, that friendship takes years to become what it is. However that may be, the metaphysics of the first wave of agrarian societies, birthplace of the first bureaucracies, still has a role to play in our modern context. The other partner in the metaphysical routine of modern rational organizations is of course the class-based relationship between actual skills and the personality of the worker or officer. Only certain class background produce the 'beautiful' person or further, the 'professional' person. Other must be professionalized, and still others beautified. Finally, there are those who cannot fit within this organizational nest of muddled metaphors and for them an entire series of alternative institutions awaits, from the asylum system in the late-nineteenth centuries and onward, to the gas chambers, to our contemporary service sector. Note again their appears that term 'service', and indeed, in this labor role one also serves the public. Perhaps we might suggest that the major difference between the division of labor today is not so much between that of worker and owner, but also between those who can invert their public service role, thus making the system work for them, and those who cannot.3
Structures are always more difficult to notice than behaviors. It is in the hurly-burly of the hourly face to face relations that we first get a clue as to the relationships of power that inhabit the political spheres, and inhibit those personal. The deinos, or the one who is said to be possessed by an 'evil genius', as his demon, whose talents Aristotle calls deinotes, is the virtuoso of the social scene. At once Machiavellian - though we should immediately qualify this epithet as unfair to the actual writer and observer Niccollo himself - and perhaps also a Don Juan, a John the Baptist, and several other archetypical persona, indeed treads the social stage like no other. He is most difficult to expose for the insincere chameleon he appears to be, because indeed the charisma that emanates from the deinos is in fact authentic to his true nature. Hitler is often mistakenly given this credit, his evil being more transparent by far than his genius, but it is clear that he possessed enough dangerous charisma to possess others' wills and call them into his own ambit: "Anyone who possesses this capacity is, as we say, capable of anything and is able, where it is exercised without reservation or any sense of responsibility, to win from every situation a practical advantage and profit from it." ([8]:48). This idea of responsibility must be other-directed, and in a manner very different from what that same phrase connotes in Riesman's famous dichotomy of modern personalities. The Romantic artist, for example, might well be the epitome of the modern inner-directed person, while his lonely crowds of dwellers within the nation state mostly represented a slavish following of the 'others', breeding a potent mix of adoration and resentment. Instead of this, 'responsibility' must rather be beholden to some idea of the common good. But just here we encounter a problem, because the greater good, the good of the community, can be used to rationalize as much evil as good, and thus is one way of exposing the entire problem of modern politics in its ultimately amoral space: "...if the common good could justify all these things that are recommended in Machiavelli's book, if it could be used as an excuse for fraud and deception, felony, and cruelty, it would hardly be distinguishable from the common evil." ([3]:145).
No metaphysical vantage point becomes suddenly available to us, in the nick of time, along the horizon of the contemporary use of power within the political sphere. Nor is thee any immediate way in which one could, equally, suddenly, become apolitical and thus avoid the entire question. We each of us must take our chances both within the public and the private. No amount of sifting of each sphere leavens either the ethical load, sorting the bad and the good, the positive and the negative, and certainly no amount of moralizing about either sphere - the Greeks, with their sense of the infinite idiocy of that private, and we moderns, with our sense the infinite corruptibility of that public - aids in defying the sober facts that each sphere is mutually imbricated with one another, and that within each there is good and evil aplenty. This pause in reflection, which threatens to disable the analysis of any politics which seeks to get itself beyond both the good and evil of metaphysics while at the same time not replacing it with the non-moral spectrum of pure rationality, is akin to the historical moment - repeated in a variety of modes of production from the very earliest human societies to our own - whereby evil is exorcised by placing it upon, in the manner of an ancient scapegoat, some other whom we regard as benighted and thus already and always within the shadows of immanent darkness/ yet to speak this evil into our presence if only to banish it, is still to admit that we know it and not merely know of it, that we can communicate to it and that it also understands us, in the way Nietzsche's abyssal plain of the monstrous immediately finds us out and dwells within us: "This troubled, ambivalent moment could breed either a deep compassion or a demonization of the other race. If the sense of evil gets the upper hand, scapegoating becomes inevitable as a way of marking the evil, of making its hidden presence biological and photogenic. The correspondence between inside and outside is saved, but a group is ritually excluded from the human community to bear the stigma of what is evil and now markedly inhuman." ([10]:330). One might go still further, and suggest that what is aimed at is ultimately the marking of the space of the non-human, and not even that which is judged beneath our own humanity, as in the subhuman, or yet what is the inverse of it, the inhuman. For the non-human entity cannot partake, however viciously and in some manipulative fashion denoted by the deinotes, in our sacred community of being human. Non-humanity is its natural and ordered lot, and thus, akin to Himmler's direct statements that equated 'Jews' and lice, anything may be done, and rightfully, even righteously done, in exterminating it. There is nothing, biologically, photogenically, or what have you, that resembles the human in the lice, and that is the entire point.
The construction of the non-human also absolves the problem of the common good, for now, everyone who remains human remains within that good, and there is no apparent ethical problem with taking measures against that which in any case cannot be human. So the good for all includes all, and not merely all that are good, but all in all, all who are all. The 'other-directedness' of the common good is short-circuited by truncating the scope of the other in his or her humanity. Instead, the common good becomes self-directed, to oneself and others that are recognizably, by the new more narrow definition of human life, like myself. It may even become, in its megalomaniacal moments, inner-directed, as if the interiority of the good in itself were embodied by the body of the self, metastasized into the body of the volk (cf. Spencer's comments regarding the 'liberalism' of this moment, where the common good is pursued by means originally antithetical to it, op. cit 8). The common good so defined, one can proceed by populating it with the vision of a more beautiful world, a better humanity, unhampered by the otherness of what cannot be fully human, or partake in the beauty of what is truly human. Of course we now recognize this as the good in itself, for not only is it universal, and includes all of us who are human, and leaves no human being without its goodness, it also beckons us to act to better ourselves, to make human beings more than they currently are, thereby increasing the distance - if there still be any doubt about the separation - between ourselves, we humans, and the other things left out there. It gets worse still: "Now if one combines such dreams (which I have) with an idea of objective values (which I reject) and calls the result a moral conscience then I have no moral conscience and fortunately so, I would say, for most of the misery in our world, wars, destruction of minds and bodies, endless butcheries are caused not by evil individuals but by people who have objectivised their personal wishes and inclinations and thus have made them inhuman." ([6]:311). The term 'inhuman' now appears in its appropriate context, as a critical term, a term of objection, to the will that supposes itself to represent and indeed embody the common good. In organic solidarity, no morality can ape the collective conscience. The phrase moral conscience itself deserves the most severe critique and rejection, as Feyerabend has done here. But what can be accomplished by the philosophical rejection of conscience cast in an objective landscape? One still needs one's conscience, as it were, and it yet needs to be both our own and also, immanently other-directed. It is a personal compass, but its cardinal points indicate all that is away from us. Its arrows do not push our gaze towards its center, the epicenter of moral suasion and the structure of tradition, and the world as it is, with its contextual and historical ethics.
It is also not a matter of separation, just as it was not in the original problem of the common good. We as persons do not embody either goods or evil, but use them as tools, in ethically redefined situations and moments. Yes, the 'evil genius' knows how to use both to his ongoing advantage in an almost uncanny way, but these persons are few, and, like other social roles filled with absent though not vacant evil, and evil which is rare but not at all banal - the child molester who is a stranger to that child is a very common urban mythological figure but a very rare actual individual - we populate these social spaces in order for them to function as a continuous and convenient decoy, focussing media and sometimes political attention away from our own iniquities, which we carefully and discreetly all the while carry on.

6. Conclusions: Dispelling Hierarchical Myths

Because precisely all of this affects social reality, and not the reality of the wider cosmos or of life in general, does it impinge upon the conscience. We struggle with it in a purely ethical sense, and we know, in the background, there are those who apparently struggle with it much less than do ourselves. But this 'struggle' is always of the moment, and it is resolved in a manner very different from survivorship and evolution: "Let it be clear that no biology of culture is being suggested here; social life is not life itself and exchange is not a struggle. The observation of one primitive society shows us the contrary... ([4]:123). This is the key for the power relations in mechanical solidarity - that power can never become 'itself'. It cannot think itself back to its true needs, as it were. For "...while exchange as the essence of the social can take the dramatic form of a competition between those who exchange, this competition is doomed to remain static because the permanence of a 'social contract' requires that there be neither victor nor vanquished and that the gains and losses balance out for both sides." (ibid). The dual variables of gradual population growth and subsequent cross-cultural contact make the original dramatic competition real. The fact that there exited some ready-made predisposition to understand the character, even the 'nature' of competition is, however, telling. The duel between human and animal may be its basis, as in all hunting groups surviving into the modern period, such a competition is recorded in song and mythic narrative, at all levels of metaphor. This basic confrontation, that nature is now no longer part of what we have become, and we must extract a living from it in an entirely novel manner, different from any other creatures who remain within the nature of nature, suggests that humanity itself is by definition prone to understand life as an exercise n competition. But this is where we must stop, for competition per se is not at all necessarily what we come to understand it being in modern capitalism: "In the course of thousands of years mankind have, by multiplication, been forced out of that original savage state in which small numbers supported themselves on wild food, into the civilized state in which the food required for supporting great numbers can be got only through continuous labor. The nature required for this last mode of life is widely different from the nature required for the first..." ([14]:77). The implication here, then, is that human beings are not so much competitive by nature but have the ability to adapt to a variety of lifeways that necessitate certain forms of competition. Indeed, even the first kind of competition between humanity and the now suddenly distanced nature of its origins could be seen as something that was 'forced'. Yet the sheer fact of population growth which is soundly linked archaeologically with the newer modes of production such as pastoralism and especially early agrarianism suggest that humans were very successful when these forms were encountered and reinvented through patient study. Even so, this success cannot be solely measured by size of society nor yet by its relative complexity. A measure which is most suitable to our post-enlightenment ears would not naively participate in the mere distinctions of Culture in the grandest sense. Culture exists wherever there is culture, that is, wherever there are people. The idea that sacrifice is our destiny is a romantic, and perhaps a recent one, and one that has greatly informed the ideologies of fascism, and the polities of the nation-state more generally, not to mention the work ethics of our contemporary competitive global economies: "Men work more than their needs require only when forced to. And it is just that kind of force which is absent form the primitive world; the absence of that external force even defines the nature of primitive society." ([4]:195).4 It is an anthropological truism that he societies with the most leisure time are those of the hunting and gathering type, in the Kalahari or the Mindanao, etc. It is an odd thing for us to imagine, given that we tend to lack even the most rudimentary skills to make sense of such a symbiosis, let alone to have these very empirical and experiential skills in such abundance that we can sit back for much of every day and tell stories around the campfire or what have you. Of course, our modern society impresses upon the need to learn and hone a complexity of skills that no subsistence oriented cousin of ours could imagine, or at least, imagine in its own terms native to our world. The stories of anthropologists bringing the natives 'home' with them are both famous and notorious. Aside from the petty risk of allowing ourselves a laugh at the expense of the 'primitives', in the manner of a colonial period advertisement, say Pears soap, there is the much more morbid danger of imagining the these 'simpler' folk lack some of the elements of neither the greater humanity, or further, humanity itself. The nomadic character of early Hebrew society was not lost on the Nazis, and the propaganda slogan of the 'eternally wandering Jew' was in plentiful use during the Reich. The intended import of such cross-cultural travelogues is supposed to be about the wonder of just how diverse is the human imagination, and just how astonishingly adaptive it can be or become. The 'magic;' of twisting metal and having water appear, as Colin Turnbull relates regarding the Mbuti, or the disdain projected against our having our lavatories actually inside our home, as Ross Crumrine discovered with his Mayo, are ultimately about perspective. Yes, it is rather disgusting, when you think about it, to mix the spaces of consumption and excretion too closely, and yes, how odd a thing it is to turn on a faucet made of one so solid a substance and have the life-giving flow of another utterly unlike substance suddenly appear. This is what anthropologists intend, but, there is an immediate slide from this originary perspective to the judgement of how it could be so. We are as protective of our own cultural bigotries as the next society is, and the 'how' trumps the 'why' in these cases more often than not. But the judgement that is passed on the 'primitive' imagination is one that is kindred to that literary. The subsistence hunter and gatherer,, or the horticulturalist, or even the dirt farmer and fisherman is elevated to rank of a great poet, for only a poet, in our imagination, that s, could think of the routine and banal in such round-about terms. This romanticism is really not much better than the darkness of mutual incommensurability, the Nazi ethnographic theses, in which cultures were seen as having no real manner of coming to terms with one another, and each must be regarded as their own state of affairs. No doubt Boas would not have approved of this kind of interpretation of cultural relativism.
The ultimate reason for their being such perspective within the diversity of the human imagination is that we have, in our modern guise, distanced ourselves from the original distance between nature and culture. We have taken, perhaps, both terms to vividly, and thus have made the 'mistake' of the poets; that concepts become metaphors beyond themselves. Nature has become too natural, culture too cultural. The gap between them was bridged each day in routine activities for the social contract societies. For us, we speak of 'getting out in nature' or wilderness, or of insulating ourselves against it. We speak of becoming 'cultured' or that we must defend our culture, another Nazi favorite. Rather, what links us to nature in spite of our best efforts is the cosmic cycle of being: "The life and death of nature is part and parcel of the great dram of man's death and resurrection. In this regard the rites of vegetation that we find in almost all religions bear a close analogy to the rites of initiation. Even nature is in constant need of regeneration - it must die in order to live." ([3]:40). Though basic to human consciousness, this trope to may easily find a home in the romantic fantasies of fascism. The Spenglerism of the Nazi doctrines cannot be ignored on this count. The world is decaying, and thus it must be purged of what is dying, what is already dead. What comes out of this is not merely a more beautiful world, but a world that embodies new life. Death, then becomes not merely an instrument for an anthropological hygiene, but a sacred means to the end of necessary regeneration: "The extreme possibilities, then, are marked. On the one hand, limits exist because they must: human culture and consciousness cannot do without them. On the other hand, limits (at least the limits of representation) are at most conventional and thus open to continuing, even limitless variation because they cannot be more than that: any specific representation, if not the act itself, is in these terms unnatural." ([13]:302). In this vein, perhaps it would be better if the acts 'themselves' are of no real moment. If they lack profundity, their interpretations and representations might well be less able to be taken so seriously.5
Conventions and essences are two sides of the same coin. One could use either as evidence that their counterpart is either essential or 'merely' arbitrary. What is of import is not so much the question that plagues abstract existentialist or essentialist philosophies in turn, but how and why we choose certain aspects of both of these arguments to support this or that claim we feel to be of immense or of lesser value. Social order is a result both of fascism and 'primitive communalism', of both organicity and the mechanical nature of the collective conscience. So neither is it a question of questioning dictation, of resisting the authority of a collective, but rather, and following from the first line of query, when such decisions are made, who makes them, who benefits, as Robert Merton famously asked, and what are the effects of the decisions once carried through? For organic society, maintaining social order is a more complex process than it was for our ancient ancestors if only because that process itself must be maintained. The rites of the metaphoric body, though forbidding, are done when they are done. The courageous youths take some time to get over their physical pain within the new knowledge that they are now fully members of the community by which they live, and through which they will not be endangered. For ourselves, with the gradual specialization of the division of labor, and also due more precisely to the concurrent rise of the politics of power, subtle as no doubt it was at first - one can note anthropologically that the myths of satire regarding shamans drop off in favor of myths of intercession after the religious specialist becomes codified; the shaman becomes a priest, in other words, and this shift in narrative is the result of his 'calumniation' - the question of order is elevated in its breadth and its intent. For now, we no longer merely seek to maintain the equality of all in the face of nature or the village down the river, but to preserve a specific hierarchy differentiated from the others, as well as preserving, most importantly the idea of hierarchy itself, and further still, that hierarchy is in itself a common good. Intellectuals may resent this slant ,but they cannot deny it. The 'deconstruction' of discourse is no match for the construction of institutions, and the allocation of resources in modern capital provides the best evidence for what political power, as well as perhaps most people, value or even cherish: " the amount of money that is being used to uphold chaos with the amount of money that supports monotony. The percentage for Defence and for contributions to the arts of the Gross national Product would give a first approximation; they show how little the arts and humanities amount to - and the forces of chaos are only a miniscule part of them." ([6]:276). Perhaps because we know that modern mass society is actually so diverse, where the slightest advent of a street conversation about profound topics such as politics, religion, art and thought might well get you an angry retort, resentment, or not quite convivial disagreement that we quite naturally shy away from such encounters. This may well be to our ultimate detriment, but we cannot be blamed for seeking the succour of at least the pretence of conformity. Feyerabend, for all his critical merits, makes a similar error that sometimes sabotaged some of the Frankfurt School: that 'normal' people conform against their will and yet they are nothing but the passive receptacles for all that the state, corporation and their media apparatuses throw at them. This is not only a paradox, one cannot be both at the same time, but it is also doubly untrue. In fact, we denizens of organic solidarity conform because it is the easiest thing to do, and not because it is the only thing, as in fact it is in mechanical societies. We also use the products and even the messages of mass consumer culture in our own way. Not all brand launches are successes, and many objects appear in our private worlds in ways that the advertisers and designers never dreamed. It is fair to say, however, that the commodification of life, the rationalization of the work-place and of personal relations, and the setting up of status oriented goals that involve the relentless pursuit of both material and symbolic capital have dumbed us down, both in intelligence and in conscience. The one because talent is absorbed at an astonishing rate into the black holes of wealth-mongering, and the other because within these lurid arenas those who meet with the greatest success for the most part have the slimmest qualms about taking advantage of their fellows: "There seems to be no getting people to accept the truth, which nevertheless is conspicuous enough, that the welfare of a society and the justice of its arrangements are at bottom dependent on the characters of its members." ([14]:52). If this be the case, we must look as well to the forces which shape character, or even define it, so that the political realization of power continues unabated, and not only without much resistance, continues both adored and adorned with the cause of the highest and best aspirants of the community. The irony for organic systems is that their 'best and brightest' seek to distance themselves form their community, even to the extent of absolving themselves of it. This is common-place for elites of all massive social organizations. They are 'bred', and the term is used advisedly, for authority in the political sense. They are thus by 'nature', if one follows Nietzsche's elision here, prepared to lead and to shrug off ensuing and inevitable ressentiment. But in contemporary capital, this aristocracy of politics is archaic,. The entire society, ideally, but if not, then at least right into the lower middle classes, must be endowed witrh the sensibility that authority is theirs as well. The voting practices of the democracies are hardly enough to support such a claim, let alone allay its reality. The 'Aryan Citizen' was not the first form of this new politics of authority, but it was a concise distillation of trends which were leading in such a direction, from Carlyle's 'heros' to Wagner's demi-gods, to Baden-Powell's loyal and upstanding paramilitary elites, always 'prepared'. What all this was a preparation for was the gradual dissemination - indeed, the diffusion - of the authority f elites into the population at large. No doubt there would still occur thresholds of some kind. Not all living beings had the right to authority, the right to wield collective power over themselves and others. Even so, whether it be through the delay of voting rights for women (and to this day children?) at the soft end of the spectrum of thresholds, to the gas chambers at the hard need, the diffusion of power still proceeded apace. Note now as well that those imbued with the symbolic status of the authority of power could well hail form many more diverse backgrounds than before. Nazism, insofar as it was a movement of ressentiment itself, but also, and soberingly, a democratic movement contained any persons from rustic backgrounds who collected in its higher echelons. We have to remember that the 'demos' can be defined in any way or shape one wants. The Athenians were hardly strangers to the undemocratic democracy, and they are credited with its invention. Given Hitler's fetish adoration of classical Mediterranean societies - a fetish which many in the philosophical and historical elites of our own day still share - it is not surprising that the Third Reich should be modeled on some collision of their most famous examples. The Greek city-state 'democracies', The Roman 'republic' (again, a term which has little contemporary meaning) and Sparta, in its 'racial' purity, provided the ideals.6
In any case, the extension of the franchise regarding the authority of power is eventually accomplished most securely along lines of class interest, and not so much gender or 'race' or dubious definitions of citizenship. And it is through mass education that this process is most successfully demonstrated in both its program and its effects: "Although it is almost always by the bourgeois ideology of grace and giftedness, the petty-bourgeois ideology of laborious ascesis succeeds in profoundly marking scholastic practices and the judgements passed on them, because it encounters and reactivates a tendency towards ethical justification by merit, even when relegated or repressed, is inherent in the dominant ideology." ([2]:202). Just as the new middle classes were sold the aspirations of their betters by the mid-nineteenth century - that is, the wealth and lifestyle of the aristocracy - through the mass production of articles of common use and not so common function as well as through the literacy of the new profession, medicine, engineering and the like, the lower middle classes were sold these same things by the mid-twentieth century by the further democratization of schooling, the over-production of the technologically competent factories, and most importantly, by the new advertising that begins around 1925 with John Watson and carries through on its mandate so well today. Selling things we do not need, turning wants into needs, selling things because they exist, because they must be sold, must have been a challenge, and whatever we may think of Watson's ethical character - viz. Spencer above - he was undeniably a clever man. All of this is compelling, but nevertheless, the ideology that authority must be political, and that politics is about the use and control of power, however diffuse, with a view to maintaining social order, however defined, does not, as we have seen fully exhaust the human possibilities of social organization. The Hobbesian thesis is simply "...not true, since there are some small uncivilized societies, in which, without any 'common power to keep them all in awe', men maintain peace and harmony better than it is maintained in societies where such a power exists." ([14]:176). Indeed, the vaunted powers that are seen to be are just that, figureheads for some wider more structural apparatus of 'power over' that exercises a more compelling vision. What we are in awe of is our own slow deaths, generally through starvation or exposure, and this is no different than what held in thrall our ancestor's attention and helped him invent the social contract, although death for them may well have taken many more sudden forms, given the prevalence of wild predators contiguous with human habitations. The ethic of work or die only really comes into its own with agrarianism, but even for the mechanical community member, the original 'communist', one would get hungry and would have to do something, however little. The mythic validation of work does not occur until much later, of course, for death through inactivity or through political resistance to the subsistence practices of small scale social organizations was unheard of. At some point, however, perhaps, as Clastres imputes, when religiosity arises as an offshoot of military movements in times of population expansion, the beginning of our modern sensibility take shape: "Everything is thrown into confusion, therefore, when the activity of production is diverted from its initial goal, when, instead of producing only for himself, primitive man also produces for others, without exchange and without reciprocity. That is the point at which it becomes possible to speak of labor..." ([4]:198, italics the text's). We are utterly formed and eerily formulated by this concept today, and not only as an internalization of a conceptuality or an ethic, labor as work or die or as wage-slavery, the reality and the theory coming together in a specifically narrow form of activity, but as a mode of being. The 'mode of being laborious' as a phenomenologically structure of human consciousness would at one seem to vulgar a thing to contemplate in this way. How could it take its place within the array of those other modes we venerate and perhaps even put on a pedestal so that they continually escape us - in the meantime, we labor - those of the mode of being loving, of being aesthetic, of mitsein, and the like? It is not a question of our tastes. Yet it is also not a problem that shows itself by appealing to nostalgia. We may well be the successors to those who first pined for mechanical social relations, the relations of 'primitive communism', as evidenced in the early mythologies of the archaic agrarian civilizations, the narratives of the garden of cosmogonical paradise, but we are not died in the wool Rousseauists. We long for the relations of such a mode of production, but hardly the means. We do not, in any case, have the skills to out-compete leopards and hunt elephants, to know which berries are which, and to follow the stars. What we know we can do is be with each other in some manner akin to the first humans and their supposed ethnographic analogues from which, ultimately, al of this longing, theoretical and mythological, comes down to us. We must recall to ourselves that activity, what we do to make both a living and to make a beingness out of living-on, is first and foremost of significance, by definition as it were, within the realm of signs, for it frames the fundamental relationship between mortalities in either culture or nature: "...the real act is of a strictly symbolic nature, it consists in the very mode in which we structure the world, our perception of it, in advance, in order to make our intervention possible, in order to open in it the space of our activity (or inactivity)." ([15]:245). We are our own preconditions in this way. We do not so much know as experience, as feel, what must be done. That is also why there are errors, as there must have been even in the earliest moments of the social contract. Fraternizing with one's potential prey must have been a common occurrence, indeed, such a symbolic 'error' was not in itself a structural flaw, as one could take advantage of the animals' surprise that their once mere foraging competitor becomes their hunter, but of course this could not last for long, as animals are more 'clever' than humans in all the ways that humans had now suddenly forsaken, and remain so to this day. Even so, it is the experiential nature of human nature, its non-instinctual grasping of the world as it is, and its then architectural cognition of fashioning a world as it must be, that has taken up formal and permanent residence in our consciousness. It does not give us immediate insight, and it cannot claim to possess full knowledge even of itself: "No man or men by inspecting society can see what it most needs; society must be left to feel what it most needs. The mode of solution must be experimental, not theoretical." ([14]:156, italics the text's). Humanity has very much become itself through the combination of experience and experiment. All primates are curious in a way that felids, for example, however they appear to enjoy exploring and searching for food, are not. Only humans carry forward this order of curiosity to the next stage, only we make of it something lasting that we can pass down the generations. Curiosity in humans gives forth the relationship between experience and experiment, and the world, so forbidding and often seemingly immune to our understanding, is in fact precisely the kind of world we need to survive using what are our quintessentially human characters. Indeed, the wider cosmos appears to be of just this type as well, where certain things are at once in the realm of experience and others only painstakingly so. We have even learned to distrust the rapid explanation, sometimes even the simple one, but generally, the simpler one is correct in so far as it goes, and can be known in its relative entirety. Furthermore, the experience of this process itself has another major and evolutionary effect upon us as a species - it makes us feel good about ourselves. It reminds us of exactly who we are, and who we must be, not in any moral sense of the word 'must', but in every human sense. But there is an ever-present danger here that arises as immediately with and even within the sense of accomplishment, the sense of coming home to our true selves as humans, and this is the sensibility that experiment, once proven through experience, should always be of this or that sort, should always conform to what we have accomplished and what we do know. This is of course never the case, and it is perhaps the phenomenological origin of all fascisms that we take umbrage at this reality: "The course of the world constantly and inevitably frustrates our moral demands. Our consciousness does not accept this frustration; but instead of accusing ourselves, we accuse reality. And this estrangement from reality goes so far as to attack and destroy the actual order of things." ([3]:256-7). We are much more familiar with the general mythology of fascism than even its cosmogony. But if we are not fall headfirst into the morass of rationalization - why the world does not always conform to our expectations or why we even feel like it should, according to this or that local strain of a dogma that, though itself had originally the same source as all human experience, has through a fascist auto-rendition acceded to a point that claims itself as beyond further experience and interpretation - we must heed the world before ourselves. Everything that became primordially human is human still, and it is the same with the world. We two remain the mirror of one another's finitude.


1. This kind of personality could readily develop into the classic 'authoritarian', but it is an open question whether or not this kind of person, acting within a group of persons who all cast themselves as the one with the vision and means to carry it out, can actually act on their proclivities, actually be the One who is followed and believed. Indeed, the Nazi ministries were in constant competitive conflict with one another, not only for Hitler's favor, but for access to wider resources that the authoritarian state had both commissioned and confiscated: "...Adorno's view of fascistic personalities or inborn characterological compulsions to kill, argues that much of the horror of the Holocaust can be understood as a hatred fundamentally social in origin and practice, a set of attitudes turned into practice and making it possible for vast numbers of Jews to be killed." ([9]:59), is questionable along these lines.
2. This dynamic is further strengthened by the fact that we do not act alone, a fact that the political aspirant would like to forget, or imagines that he or she alone can be the one who overcomes it, precisely because they are the chosen one to be the One who makes the ultimate choices. This situation departs radically from any social ethics: "Ethical character arises only with the distinction between what the individual may do in carrying on his life-sustaining activities, and what he may not do. This distinction obviously results from the presence of his fellows." ([14]:196, italics the text's).
3. Even Spencer, who is grossly overcharged with being an apologist for this very system, recognizes its inequities in a regular manner, and his editorialized posthumous career is an excellent example of how not to read history. The same may be said of the relations amongst workers, supposedly organized to support one another within an oppressive system of wage-slavery: "...if there exists no expressed or understood contract between the union and its members respecting unspecified objects, then for the majority to coerce the minority into undertaking them, is nothing less than gross tyranny." ([14]:180).
4. That is to say, that any external compulsion other than that of the physical fact of nature as ranged over against the desires of humanity to subsist. The physicality of resources, their existence but also their distanciation - the degrees of distance between our needs and the ways of nature of course differ widely, but no creature nor plant exists for our benefit; we must take it from itself, from its own 'being' - creates the interface between their physical fact and the social fact of human life oriented around subsistence first of all. Clastres continues: " is when that dimension of the 'total social fact' is considered as an autonomous sphere that the notion of an economic anthropology appears justified: when the refusal of work disappears, when the taste for accumulations replaces the sense of leisure; in a word, when the external force mentioned above makes its appearance in the social body." ([4]:197).
5. Indeed, this is what most of us do in any case. The bulk of entertainment commodities are geared away from profound topics, but at the same time, underscore profundity in general precisely because they shy away from it in such a studied manner: "Table-talk proves that nine out of ten people read what amuses them rather than what instructs them; and proves, also, that the last thing they read is something that tells them disagreeable truths or dispels groundless hopes." ([14]:38). General education does not amount to the extension of the learned franchise, and, aside from being the outcome of child labor laws and the like, our modern system of intellectual improvement takes us just far enough so that we may imbibe of a greater spectrum of entertainment media: "That popular education results in an extensive reading of publication which foster pleasant illusions rather that of those which insist on hard realities, is beyond question." (ibid).
6. Hegel's political philosophy, which marked so deeply the nineteenth century, along with his personal conservativism, are sometimes shown to be direct precursors to the fascist political development which marked the twentieth century just as deeply, but his interest in the prior nature, and thus the priority of authority, of custom, in some ways precludes such a judgement, even though the analogies might well be tempting: "As regards his character and his personal development he was opposed to all radical solutions. he was a conservative who defended the power of tradition. Custom (Sitte) was to him the basic element in political life. In his early writings Hegel had given a description of the Greek polis and the Roman Republic in which he glorified this ideal." ([3]:251).


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