Language, Politics

According to John Berger (of Ways of Seeing fame, who is now a novelist living in France), the real masters of postmodern deconstruction are not leftists academics but centrist politicians. The following is an essay he wrote in response to a recent speech by Jacques Chirac:

In the past political leaders, when addressing the nation, proposed construction. They might exaggerate, minimise the price to be paid, or simply lie; their projects could be as different from one another as the Third Reich, the United States of America or a Socialist Republic. Their propositions nevertheless evoked the realisation of some vision, or the creation of a society which did not yet exist. Construction.

Under other circumstances in the past, political leaders proposed the active defence of already existing institutions and practices, more or less respected by those they were addressing, and now considered to be threatened and in danger. Such propositions often led to chauvinism, racism and witch-hunting. Yet their rhetoric encouraged and made real, however briefly, a widespread and lived sense of shared loyalties, during the saving of something.

The rhetoric of today’s political leaders serves neither construction nor conservation. Its aim is to dismantle. Dismantle what has been inherited from the past, socially, economically and ethically, and, in particular, all the associations, regulations and mechanisms expressing solidarity.

The End of History, which is the Corporate global slogan, is not a prophecy, but an order to wipe out the past and what it has bequeathed everywhere. The market requires every consumer and employee to be massively alone in the present.

(via Lenin’s Tomb)

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