Wednesday, 28 March 2012


"We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom" ["Introduction: The Missing Ink", in Welcome to the Desert of the Real!: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates (2002), p. 2]
Neat! But why isolate freedom like this? Surely this works with almost any value of x: "We feel happy because we lack the language to articulate our unhappiness"; "We feel oppressed because we lack the language to articulate our freedom"; "We feel because we lack the very language to articulate the fact that we are incapable of feeling." The possibilities are endless!
There is a somewhat analogous situation with regard to the heterosexual seduction procedure in our Politically Correct times: the two sets, the set of PC behaviour and the set of seduction, do not actually intersect anywhere; that is, there is no seduction which is not in a way an "incorrect" intrusion or harassment — at some point, one has to expose oneself and "make a pass." So does this mean that every seduction is incorrect harassment through and through? No, and that is the catch: when you make a pass, you expose yourself to the Other (the potential partner), and she decides retroactively, by her reaction, whether what you have just done was harassment or a successful act of seduction — and there is no way to tell in advance what her reaction will be. This is why assertive women often despise "weak" men — because they fear to expose themselves, to take the necessary risk. And perhaps this is even more true in our PC times: are not PC prohibitions rules which, in one way or another, are to be violated in the seduction process? Is not the seducer’s art to accomplish this violation properly — so that afterwards, by its acceptance, its harassing aspect will be retroactively cancelled? [The Fragile Absolute: or, why is the Christian legacy worth fighting for? (2000), 111.
This, though, is not neat: it is blockheaded. It descends, rather shamefully, from that innocent-faced but profoundly disingenuous Freudian question 'what do women want?' -- as if women are alien beings, perfectly inscrutable. 'I fancy this woman and am contemplating asking her out, but I've literally no idea whether she'll say yes or scream rape and spray me in the eyes with a pepper spray!' What ... are you blind? Or just an idiot? This passage, though, from the same volume is very cleverly put:
It is also crucial to bear in mind the interconnection between the Decalogue... and its modern obverse, the celebrated 'human Rights'. As the experience of our post-political liberal-permissive society amply demonstrates, human Rights are ultimately, at their core, simply Rights to violate the Ten Commandments. 'The right to privacy' — the right to adultery, in secret, where no one sees me or has the right to probe my life. 'The right to pursue happiness and to possess private property' -- the right to steal (to exploit others). 'Freedom of the press and of the expression of opinion' -- the right to lie. 'The right of free citizens to possess weapons' -- the right to kill. And, ultimately, 'freedom of religious belief' — the right to worship false gods.

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