Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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February 03, 2011
bread, circuses, thymos

Digging into the recycling pile of TiR's material read two months ago, we find Sloterdijk's (then-) new essay, in a form currently readable here (.pdf)
[i.e., found via Courrier Interational No. 1047, but originally from Der Spiegel, here]

, & we find . . . .

after Sloterdijk's somewhat elusive employment of the concept of "thymos" (puzzled out by others here and here),

& after his remark that the doings of the current German government resemble, to him, more and more, the "monologue of a club of autistics,"

                                                                                       [unfair to persons w/ autism?]

we find his grim prediction about life in the 21st Century:
Drawing no lesson from the crises, most modern states bet on their citizens' passivity. The governments of the West bet that their citizens will continue to make do with entertainment. The Asiatic governments bet on the eternal effectiveness of open repression. The future will be determined by the outcome of the competition between the Euro-American form and the Chinese form of exclusion of citizens. [in orig.: Modus der Bürgerausschaltung.]

Sloterdijk's chilling prediction is delivered with enough aplomb that he stops us until a second or third reading from noticing that he sets up a false choise. Rather, we could imagine that the truly devious states of the future might already be experimenting with a formula that combines both forms of exclusion, though perhaps exerted respectively on citizens increasingly locked into divergent tiers.