Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whee the people . . .

Typically dense though this Philip Rieff observation is, it provides a key to the liberal incomprehension in the face of a spontaneous political reaction against the cultural abrogation of traditional morality. According to the liberationist presuppositions of the (increasingly illiberal) liberal order, such a thing should not exist. Therefore, when it occurs it must be racist, neanderthal, fascistic, in other words, a political pathology. 

Rieff:
... transgressiveness that is popularized in the modern social order as freedom and creativity, generating the energy for a break through the social order, is in fact itself the course of the popularity of the term "charisma" -- completely reversing its meaning in the inherited structure of our culture, as the reassertion of authority "from above." The modernist assertion of "charisma" from below is not of authority but of the destruction of authority. The term "charisma" has become literally meaningless, for it covers an endless assertiveness against authority as such -- i.e., against culture in any form.
Like René Girard, Rieff provides an Archimedean point from which to peer into the social turmoil of our time.

1 comment:

Steve said...

cf. Yves Simon, _General Theory of Authority_