This past few weeks, the wild-eyed fellows at r/wallstreetbets have shown us another glimpse into the dark world of neoliberal power. The system is rigged, we know that. But so many have been tought that the solution is to continue the culture war on the side of the universal anticulture - the multiculturalism stripped of all cultures' core essences, morality stripped of duties, aesthetics stripped of beauty, rules stripped of legal tradition, education stripped of learning. Zizek didn't take his decaffination metaphor to the end, it seems. Perhaps because he enjoys the bullshit universe we are in. After all, why else would he be shilling for the Great Reset?
Other leftists have bashed their heads against the glass pane of Capitalism more earnestly, but they have been just as stifled, bound to an eternal return to the same "revolutionary" regurgitations that have already framed the status quo, and are fed by the cordycepted climb toward the gaslight. Are our imaginations insufficient to imagine a world without Capitalism? Or are they insufficient to describe the world without resorting to the idea of Capitalism?
The most obvious and prevailing observation by the right has been that what the white, culturally middle class precariat have done, shut out of and humiliated by the prevailing institutions, is to quite literally seize the means of production (admittedly, not much of it, but certainly some). But they have done so by employing the one method the left would never consider. It is something of a smugly enunciated joke The left have always been an instrument of monopoly capital, and Antony Sutton or Dmitry Galkovsky will eagerly tell you.
The left, even at its most inventive, is stuck. It is married to the material, while Power is married to the Ideal. Materialist ideology, by rendering subjugation a scientific necessity, and activism a moral necessity, has the peculiar, if logical consequence of inculcating a sense of anxious helplessness beneath godlike historical forces, only able to act in moments of hysteria, institutional parasitism or astroturfed mass demonstrations. The wealthiest and most powerful institutions use propaganda, psychological warfare, cognitive infiltration and indoctrination because it is ideas that are king. Material determinism is a potent weapon of spiritual subjugation, because it reduces the subject to one who must beg Power to facilitate its atomic submission to the mass vanguard.
This suits futile acts of artistic degeneracy as much as street-fighting and the crab-bucket of ruthless boardroom drones - unable to act, except in terms of the images that mean liberation, never those that mean nobility, self-sufficiency, or autonomy. Always fighting games of trivial inequality among the working and middle classes, desperate for maternal dependence, carrying a powerful but vague resentment at distant billionaires whose power is too large and distant to be touched, except by the promises of politicians, who are in reality bought-and-paid-for. These politicians use left-wing economics to consolidate public-private partnerships in the common interest between the permanent managerial classes of monopoly capital and permanent bureaucracy, and the Transatlantic oligarchs.
The great representative of the venerable, honest Left tradition, Mark Fisher, has in his passing, appealed to the constant sense of tragic defeat and frustration the Marxist left shares in common with the sentimental Right. He was preoccupied with a need to escape the traps of desire and imagination set by us by the modern order, and tried to appeal to his comrades to abandon the divisive and poisonous strategies of identity politics created by Laclou and Mouffe, Butler and Crenshaw. He realised they were dissolving any kind of class solidarity and disrupting the possible discourses of rebellion. And yet he endorsed the precise strategies Transatlantic capital endorsed - open borders, anti-family morality, cheap consumerist rebellions.
His critique of Occupy 1.0 was a simple one - it never led to any real re-imagining of the system. The activities of the protesters were performative contradiction - the fashionable symbols of revolution accompanying fashionable student ideologies and comfortable iPhone and Starbucks consumerism. But while he longed for some great cultural acid trip to shake us out of stasis, he never achieved it himself. He spoke the language the left had grown attached to longing for, with the intellect to point out how frustrated and co-opted it all seemed to be, "admiring the problem" so to speak. But he hardly grasped that Critique is the very thing that traps the communist, just as analysis traps the perennial analysand. It isn't so much that Capitalism has become the unconscious background, but that anticapitalism has. Hence why Wall Street backed Lenin and profited off of Bolshevism. Hence Global Mugabenomics.
All the left solutions to the shitness and the poisoned nature of the modern world are aggressively promoted by billionaire oligarchs. Anything that smacks of wealth or material comfort are a source of class guilt, while the obsession with inequality is a source of paralysing anxiety. In reality, there is nothing preventing an inequality from producing an aggregate improvement, it just depends on the degree of jealousy with which the material wealth is defended - the greedy, zero-sum Malthusian philosophy of the global oligarchs does little more than suck blood through finance and taxation. Trying to upend the entire system creates a Sisyphean task that demands total understanding, thus defeating all human intellect.
Besides, a lot of the things anticapitalism attacks are good. Creating value through free exchange begets many comforts. And a rich man may have a harder time holding onto his virtues. But not so much if he sees money as a means to an end, passing mercurially through his hands, neither knowing what the other hand does. In this, we find the capitalist who cares for nothing more than to build, the trader who cares for nothing more than the thrill of the ride. Why hold on to the security of the material? You only live once, bruh.
The left, Fisher included, have had a moral aversion etched into their souls so deeply that they cannot imagine a way out. That aversion is the acquired revulsion at the bourgeois - a word that now emptily means "middle class", but which used to mean what many associate with the "Protestant work ethic", though it was just as present in Catholic France. The haute-bourgeois values are those which are conducive to the preservation of the traditional nuclear family unit in urban conditions. Piety, diligence, education, thrift, continence, self-control, good manners. They also have another mode - the petit bourgeois, which Marx made a great deal of in The Jewish Question, in which he rebuked and castigated the Jewish society from which he derived for its "hucksterism" - a tendecy to be flexible in seeking the next hustle, the next means to a leg up in a fluid society outside of large bureaucratic restraints. A tendency to be mercantile, a tendency to be ruthless in the exploitation of available circumstances.
In the combination of both classes in their death throes following the economic nuclear bomb that was the Great Reset, the remnants of these two great cultural streams in America seized the bull by the horns, and rode it right into the citadel. While GME, AMC and so on will pop once the hedge funds have been sniped, and the price snaps back to equillibrium, a message will have been sent that cannot be articulated in the great illusory political world we live in. The self-sacrificing ardour of the haute-bourgeois, and the cynical quick-wittedness of the great American tradition of hucksterism pulled together to burn the wealth of their nation, just to take some of the bastards with them.
And by doing so, they held up a mirror to the Vampire Castle - it cannot let mere mortals inside.
The English language has declined in a very specific fashion in the past century, as the spiritual order has shifted from Christianity to the Illuminist spiritual order and its materialist accompaniments. Specifically in its use of the auxiliary verbs. As a speaker of Dutch, I can see the differences quite strikingly. When making commitments to actions, we used to use the shall (zal in Dutch). Now, we use the less definite will. Lawyers remain the only class who habitually use shall, since is gives clarity and definiteness to legal documents which will does not. Lawyers are not blind to the power of words.
The independent meaning of the word will has also been stripped away. It now sounds positively alien and archaic to express that we will something to happen, or that something is our will; that we will it. Instead, we want – we express limbic desire, subjective lack, instead of a positive exertion of conscious autonomy.
Similar semantic stretching of the words desire and need have some interesting dimensions. Desire has been stripped down in ordinary speech to refer to little more than erotic impulses, and need has expanded its territory to encompass much of what previously was the domain of mere desire.
Passion has migrated from the realm of wonton impulse and emotional incontinence, to the domains of destiny – a passion is something which supposedly ennobles one through a blind and hypnotic dedication in the name of the self, or of some ideal. If one felt a “passion” for something, it was a sign that one was being manipulated by external forces. Now we are told (and, remarkably, without having altered the underlying phenomena referred to) that passions are higher and greater inspirations, signs of genius.
The Romantics gave Genius a peculiar flavour. The word means spirit – if one has genius, one is taken by a spirit. Kierkegaard has made much of the ontology of genius and disciple. Christ was in this sense a genius, and one to which we ought to supplicate ourselves as mere disciples. But to see ourselves as geniuses, that the source of inspiration is from within, has a peculiar effect.
Rather than gain pure autonomy, the genius remains tossed in the same tempest as the rest of humanity, only in more greatly exaggerated cycles, lit by the inner illumination. But is that illumination truly internal? When one barks for honour or recognition, is that a pure thymic essence or a mere exertion to please the tug of the emotions, the incomplete external recognition we sublimate into ambition as life wears on?
The true submission to God, when and for whom it is possible, grants a freedom unmatched, in which the anxieties of the state of The World become quietened. Anxiety melts and the decay and impermanence of things become as shifting colours on a melting canvas, and pain becomes no more than another colour in the Great Artist’s palette.
What is life within this surrender? It is one in responsibility for every breath is shouldered and the will becomes a tangible weapon we press against the world in the name of the Lord. When the Divine Will is manifest, we no longer have our wills to consider, and then, we can only do as we shall – that which has been willed for us. Our desires are of little consequence, and what we need is imminently provided, what we want, what we lack, is filled, the storm of our passions, calmed.
But today we do not surrender ourselves consciously, but unconsciously. Anxiously chasing what the passions demand, willing this or that without any commitment, tortured by desire, by an appetite that is never enough to satisfy our psychological needs, our desperate search for a passion to devote ourselves to creating the fear of a lack of fulfilment, a desperate clawing after what we want until it numbs us with a thousand tiny pricks until we are slaves to our limbic impulses, fleeing from the potent universe of shall which appears to demand so much of us at once.
If we don’t feel it, is it “real”? If the youthful glow of postcoital intimacy fades to domestic comfort, are we no longer in love? If life becomes a narrowing corridor of duties chosen by chosen paths, are we less free because we pay the price for the roads not taken? In the great uncertainty of that noumenal future, our efforts may not be rewarded as we want them to, or as the World has told us they ought to be rewarded.
And yet, as the merchant who bargains his whole stock for a single pearl, he who embraces obligation is free, and he who runs from responsibility, retreating into the self in pursuit of individual liberty remains a slave to the flesh, to passing temptations.
Some grow fat on these temptations, and learn to chase the dragon of power, and will nothing but power for the rush that it gives, always at the cost of freedom and for the product of suffering. And the great seething tower of Babylon, built on the myriad impulses, the billions’ Will to Power, gyrates in blood and sweat, gunpowder and engine grease, glowing with the LED jewels of our urban cyber ziggurats, heaves into the sky, sucking all into its anxious gravity well.
The narratives of power frame the centre-right as the airlock for acceptable populism, and the left gets to be used as a battering ram on the tools of resistance to Power by telling them that the strictures which make moral athletes are the shackles of the hypocrite. The family, the nation, the church, the crown, loyalty, chastity, health, self-discipline - instead we have material wants conflated with immaterial needs, and familial bonds replaced by bondage to Morozovian snitches. The centre-right, steeped in the laissez-faire moralism of Power, tells us that the omnicensorship by the total social media organism and the coordinated cancellation of dissidents' bank accounts is fine, because it is "private domain", sternly refusing to look at the deeply enmeshed public-private partnerships and revolving doors which coordinate these conditions at the highest levels of politics.
Because desire can only be articulated either in a hedonic, deracinated vernacular, or the politically-bound psychoanalytic tradition of the left establishment, we remain stuck in the paradigm of the 1960s, attempting to relive that foetid dream of fornication and narcosis where responsibility evaporated in clouds of cannabis. A few generations of "what do you really want? Express your authentic self!" and the moral and aesthetic skepticism of liberalism has created a population that terrorises the good and the beautiful to demonstrate their "freedom" and "enlightenment", while delivering their will to the designs of the public relations man.
Mark Fisher was keen to point out that the myriad of images and messages distorting our perception of the world draw our desires into the instruments of capital. But stuck in the hedonic learned helplessness and hollow universalism of the leftist anticulture which feeds the Great Beast, he could see no escape, so long had his years been absorbed in the empty void of its subject institutions and romantic intuitions. He failed to convince very many, though his earnestness and honesty has brought an influence which has steadily grown. He felt trapped within a system of psychological torture and saw hope eroding around him as all of the traditional mechanisms for popular revolt were subsumed into the new global managerial system.
He dreamed of the potential of the internet to deliver something more powerful than liberal democracy, a greater mechanism of feedback and and popular checks on vampire capitalism. And yet the one place nobody looked was the stock market. Leftists, enamoured by the spectacle as it emerged this past week, attempted to join in, but being trained as the familiars of the vampire class, they have become feds, reporting the traders' forums for thoughtcrimes committed in the heat of the trade. Nazis. Homophobes. Fascists. White men. Men who use plain language, disregard taboos and shibboleths, and seize what they can. Because the solutions were writ in the mercurial opportunism of the petit-bourgeois and the focused dedication of the haute-bourgeois, dressed in the faint echoes of traditional prejudices in common vulgarity, liberation was impossible, sealed off by the great veil of taboos, the only redemptive moves were beyond his grasp.
Mark Fisher died a single man, out of shape, buried in an academic department, besieged in his social circles by the demonic admonitions of the woke Pharisees. He struggled so hard to answer questions so simple that the simplest child could answer it. How do we escape Capitalist desire? And can we desire something beyond capitalism? How does one escape a vampire?
Stop obsessing about vampires. Stop believing in Capitalism. Capitalism (and anti-capitalism), as McConoughey's character in The Wolf of Wall Street put it, is a fugaze. Trying to imagine an alternative to capitalism is to be caught in the infinite fugaze - the definitions that have been employed under this sign are so broad as to include all possible economic relations aside from effective slavery. And as a result, the fight against capitalism will always produce slavery, whether through Rutger Bregman's propaganda for the World Economic Forum's global blockchain podslave green-walled Kallipolis or the graveyard of broken tractors over the Ural mountains.
The language of revolution is not on the old-, nor on the new left. The great archaeologies of the post-left pseudodoxologists, the neoreactionaries, the traditionalists, the Misesians, all uncover a great, should-be-obvious, set of truths that the plain, graham-cracker conservatives in their hearts have known but failed to successfully articulate and defend - sobriety is good, marriage is good, family is good, friendship is good, memory and history are good, health is good, legacy is good, knowledge is good, loyalty is good, beauty is good, truth is good. More than that, they are necessary, sacred, pure. And if something is abusing the sacred and the pure for their debased will to power, then only a violent turning of the tables in the name of what is sacred can hope to liberate anyone.
Doing things which earn money is no sin - building legacies for your loved ones, and creating goods and producing innovations can lift many into a wholesome common activity of creation and distribution that fosters brotherhood, creates beauty, and alleviates suffering. Everybody loves Elon Musk because to him, the money brings fun, but its primary purpose it to facilitate a greater good, not by imposing a brutal and compulsory order on mankind, but by offering him a ladder to heaven. And by joining in the frenzy to strip the vampire castle of its foundations, he has brought closer attention to strategies that may have more staying power than short pinches on GME stock.
Vampires, after all, are allergic to silver.