Geogie De Mattos/Mustang News

“Life is a consequence of war, society itself a means to war.” – Nietzsche

Even for a straight white middle class cis male, change and the unknown of graduation are pretty scary. As a great pop song from my childhood once said, “I am unwritten.” Commonly in western society, the “good” has been associated with certainty, predictability and rationality, while “evil” with fear, contingency and the unknown.

The good life supposedly comes from the security against violence that comes from a strong sovereign. Death, the greatest certainty, is the enforcer of sovereignty. However, violence in the modern state is not a break from the norm; conversely, the norm is the direct product of violence. The comfort of our privileged lives comes at the expense of the developing world. We are all Little Eichmanns in a neoliberal capitalist system in which wealth is becoming increasingly polarized and suffering and violence persist.

Currently, the modern realist nation-state intended to put an end to feudal and religious warfare has been replaced by the cosmopolis. It was believed that mankind Post-Cold War had reached an end of history, an end point in ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy. However, it turns out the cosmopolis is similarly dependent on violence for control. The use of mimetic conjuring’s internally by talk of drugs, immigration, Black Lives Matter and Islam switches over to constructed threats abroad.

Realist rhetoric of war objectifies power, fetishishizes weaponry, idealizes the state, virtualizes violence and globalizes new media. Virtual things become reality (opinion polls, worst-case senerios, Microsoft and Disney) while war itself has become a simulacra. What’s the difference between cyberwar, info war, pure war and real human suffering? These media spectacles do not belong to ontology, to the discourse of being or to life or death.

The question one needs to ask is: Does globalization enhance democratic peace theory or does virtualization assume the persistence of war by other means? Virtualization is globalization. Meaning disappears into the media black hole of insignificance.

Still, it seems like we should not go back to a world of totalitarian, genocide and revolution just to counter the Western line that propagates inequality, exploitation and endocolonization. But hey, isn’t knowing you are unfree better than believing that we live in a post-ideological world? The freedom to change the very social structure of one’s existence is becoming more and more unthinkable as ideology becomes more and more of an unknown known, to put a spin of Donald Rumsfeld’s Iraq War statements. Freedom in the modern era often means the freedom to consume prepackaged and commodified identities and not to actually do what makes oneself happy.

The first step is to accept that the neoliberal capitalist future is a utopian pipe dream. The OECD has reported suppressed growth for the next 50 years. Climate change is quickly destroying human existence, and the aging population and rise of the Global South only look to make economic and environmental problems more complicated. Suppressed wages, destroyed bargaining power of the workforce and the expanded money supply create boom and bust economies. This leads to the adoption of austerity measures, which end up chipping away at the welfare state, and the entitlements that make life bearable for many, while leaving the basic debt problem.

Can technology aid the end of neoliberal capitalism? Perhaps. The automation of some services and production could reduce the number of hours we work. Additionally, we can support ending the monopoly of big business on information and support the rise of open source software. Finally, we can support food co-ops and time banks and other less oppressively hierarchical institutions. Is this utopian? No, what’s utopian is thinking that oligarchs controlling the political parties, fiscal coercion of the big banks, and the surveillance state can continue the way they are.

It’s time to not just change reality to conform to one’s dreams, but to change one’s dreams altogether. The problem with the leftist revolutionary movements of the 20th century is that though the governing and economic structures were changed, the egalitarian society was never implemented. The old dreams still existed and became nightmares. It’s time to conceptualize a world in which neoliberal capitalism in its current form is not the dominant economic system. It’s time we stopped naturalizing violence, oppression and hierarchy. It’s time to reclaim freedom.

Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.

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