Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Totalitarianism From Democracy

We Americans don't like to stay at home. Canadians, Swedes, Norwegians, Australians, New Zealanders are unlike us. They haven't tried to reorganize themselves on the principle of money making. For them society is good enough because it allows them the home life they're satisfied with. The rest of us have set out to look for a better home. We leave home because as tolerant and skeptical democrats we know we are in truth living with strangers, and no matter what we tell ourselves we're not really comfortable. The Canadians, the Swedes, Norwegians, Australians, New Zealanders, don't care if they are living with strangers. They are in accord with Shakespeare, for whom the only justification for disrupting society is its failure to protect home life. But we are different. We are fascinated by the strangeness of our democratic life, and by money as a tool for resolving the strangeness. This fascination overpowers our love of home, suggests that since money is used by all the world with money we can be at home in all the world. We make the most money by perfecting ourselves in role. And to allow us make the most money the state must be perfected in its functions.

Democracy for those who love to stay at home is a tool for protecting their homes and does this job fairly well. Democracy for those who leave home for good is a tool for perfecting role play and leads to totalitarianism. This is how:

1. Democracy demands people accept their neighbors' different ways of life.
2. Because they don't get to know each other in what matters most to them people are strangers to each other.
3. As strangers, people play roles which establish probabilities that they are who they say they are.
4. People playing roles see nothing wrong with the idea that society should create the story and staging for their acting. Doing things in role for each others approval a priority is given to action, to doing, at the expense of thinking and desiring.
5. Stories about how role players ought to play together, whatever the particular story chosen, are about how society looks, what it says about itself, how it shows itself, not about what it actually does, just like roles are how people seem, not what they really do.
6. Putting the chosen story most efficiently put into practice, protecting it, extending it, all of life is regulated, and totalitarianism is the result. What people want, how they think life should be best lived, are disregarded. It makes no difference if the disregard is in the name of free market or controlled market, everything is put into service of the market, which is another name for doing things in exchange for others doing things, which is to say, for role play.