Friday, 25 November 2011

Of an Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of State."

Alain Badiou. "Of an Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of State."in: lacanian ink. Vol. 22, Fall 2003. (English).
Democracy triumphs on the ruins of communism, say our prose writers. Or it is going to triumph. The greatest triumphalists evoke the triumph of a "model of civilization." Ours. Nothing less. Those who say "civilization," especially in the form of a triumph, also proclaim the right of the civilized to their gunboats — for those who might not have understood in time on what side the trumpets of triumph sound. The rights of man are no longer a tired intellectual demand. It is the time for rights with muscle, for the right of intervention. Triumphal movements of democratic troops. The need for war, that obligatory correlate of triumphant civilizations. Iraqi deaths, accommodated in silence by millions, even exclusive of any count (and we know to what extent the civilization of which we speak is a counting one...), are only the anonymous remainder of triumphal operations. Shifty Muslims, after all, non-civilized recalcitrants. Because, take note, there is religion, and there is religion. The Christian and his Pope are part of civilization, rabbis are a considerable part, but Mullahs and Ayatollahs would do well to convert.
We are, and this is important, in a moment of confession. That the substantial content of every "democracy" is the existence of gigantic and suspect fortunes, that the maxim "get rich!" is the alpha and omega of the epoch, that the brutal materialism of profits is the absolute condition of every respectable member of society — in brief, that ownership is the essence of "civilization" — this is the consensus, after having been, during almost two centuries, the adventurous and slandered theory of the revolutionaries who wanted to end a rather pitiable "civilization." A "Marxism" without proletariat or politics, an economism that puts private wealth at the center of social determination, the rediscovered good conscience of the corrupt, the speculators, the financiers, the governments exclusively preoccupied with supporting the enriching of the rich: there's the vision of the world presented to us under the triumphal banner of civilization.
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