Inability to Produce Subjectivities

UFO Breakfast checks in with a powerful post on our liberal plight:

What’s at stake is liberal complicity in the destruction of a lifeworld that would produce qualities of character that would make sustenance and resistance possible, not just for the next electoral brouhaha but for generations to come, and not just in news-junkie blog discussions but in all the rockbottom ethical domains in which we get by from day to day. That’s what Phil’s critique of liberalism at WB has always been about, not that “satire will make us more politically effective in the next election.” It’s a prepolitical argument, and properly so because it sees the toxin that has brought liberalism down occurring at the prepolitical level, long before it gets to any strategy planning….

The whole technocratic, managerial,”strategic” aspect of liberalism is precisely what engineered its deepest failure, its disdain for the lifeworld, its inability to produce subjectivities that can move effectively in the authoritarian terrain that they’ve ceded to the right. A certain kind of liberal will always portray the call to “have guts” as the adolescent to his parental cool, the id to his ego. That’s the automatic discourse of a failed managerial class who staked their social expertise on divesting oneself of passion, of the particularities of upbringing, in favor of a utilitarian rationalism. But what looked like an ascetic process of maturation open to everyone, has turned out to be an increasingly narrow motor of self-selection in which only a small, anal subfraction of an urban professional elite can see their temperament in that mirror….

We don’t argue “principles” like the liberal schoolmarm, smugly, because we think we have more of them than everyone else. We argue them out of terror, because they’re being taken away on every side, we have no one providing the resources to have a backbone in each daily small exchange, because we’re deliberately made to feel defenseless and bearbaited by “our” side as much as the enemy, as a way of pressuring us toward the accomodations which they deem necessary in their use of us, and because we’re tired of living with the humiliation of ceding ground in ways which seem in retrospect to be cowardly. That, finally, is what people won’t live with….

Read the whole thing.