The road to hell is paved with good intentions

In the face of the current crisis, no credible response emanates from progressive forces. Paradox?

How can we explain that the current crisis of capitalism, which, like the liberal globalization that has provoked it, is causing a rise in right-wing and far-right forces? Otherwise posed. How is it that no progressive response is taking shape in societies that are showing discontent all over the world? Especially since this social AND identity crisis is coupled with an ecological crisis that calls into question our life on the planet?

We are trying to provide an element of explanation

In his novel « Animal Farm » published in 1945, George Orwell [1] describes the evolution of a society that revolted against oppression and drove out its former masters. In this animal fable, animals take power and free themselves from the men who made them live the worst of oppressions.

The upturn is short-lived

The animals revolted with the hope of eating better, working less, and being respected. Gradually, the pigs, who led the revolt and run the farm rid of humans, arrogate more and more power to themselves. And privileges. And they find all the quibbles to justify the new statuses and advantages they have granted to themselves.

After repelling an attack by humans from the surrounding farms, they take the pretext of their encirclement to decrease food rations and increase working hours. The animals are exhausted and hungry again. As before. Meanwhile, the beer flows into the house of the old masters now occupied by the new rulers, the pigs. They have joined the services of specially trained dogs to protect them and bring about new order.

Within them, the new leaders engage in fierce fratricidal struggles that lead to the eviction of one of them. The ruling caste is shrinking as its powers and prerogatives increase. The dream of emancipation turned into a nightmare.

An animal transposition of the situation in the USSR

The fable, published just after the Second World War, is a transposition of the situation that the power of Stalin and the Communist Party installed in the USSR. By the force of its police and repression. By that of propaganda. But also, by the gigantic war effort made to repel and defeat the army of Nazi Germany.

George Orwell also demonstrates his immense capacity for analysis and foresight, as in his famous novel « Nineteen Eighty-Four »  [2].

The mortal weakness of progressive thinking or "Hell is paved with good intentions" cover ot the book

Denying the part of evil, a mortal weakness

George Orwell’s « Animal Farm » inspires us on this blindness of progressive thought to the part of evil that inhabits each human being.

This is what Jean Baudrillard, in his essay « The Transparency of Evil » [3], identifies as a mortal weakness of the thought that supports the contemporary progressive movement.

To think that the human being spontaneously desires the good, to repress the cursed part that inhabits each of us, leads to this disaster. Not a drift that could be corrected at the margins. But on the contrary absolute of the first intentions.

The mortal weakness of progressive thinking or "Hell is paved with good intentions" pavés from Louvre

« Hell is paved with good intentions »

That is what it is all about. Yes, « We have lost » [4] by ignoring the deep meaning of this famous adage! By dint of thinking that people spontaneously wish for the good. To believe that the people are always right. Didn’t he give Hitler’s party a majority in Germany in March 1933?  [5].

The « evil » in each of us

We think, on the contrary, that the « evil » is in each of us. It is up to us, to each of the individuals, to use our freedom, our responsibility, to contain this « evil ». Or let us be invaded by him.

« Tous racistes ? »  ==> HERE

The radical imagination, in the depths of the human being

All the work of a civilization (in the broad sense) is about this effort to contain our morbid, destructive, aggressive impulses present in each of us. An effort to limit our common fascination with hatred, with death.

Cornelius Castoriadis helps us to understand how, from childhood, the human being possesses this part of radical,  dark and devastating imagination [6].. Why ‘radical’? Because it is born in the first moments of human existence, at its root. As a fundamental part of the human being, and this, from childhood.

Evil, omnipresent in the major texts that found our imaginations

And if the reference to Castoriadis is not enough, let us see in the founding texts of monotheistic religions what it is. These texts support the social imaginaries of our worlds. With differences, certainly. But with a common fundamental trait: the haunting reference to evil, embodied by the Devil, Beelzebuth or the Sheitan. Whether one is a believer or not, this imaginary remains present in the foundations of each of the people who live in the cultural areas of monotheistic religions. An imaginary beautifully put into a poem by Dante Alighieri in the « Divine Comedy ».  See  ==> HERE

The mortal weakness of progressive thinking or "Hell is paved with good intentions" Jesus temptation by the Devil

In fact, Western progressive thought was built by ignoring a major part of our imagination! Was it to erase the religious heritage? Western progressive thought wanted to free itself from this profound wisdom that mixes evil with the other elements that make up our psychic and collective life.

It should be noted that the expression « Hell is paved with good intentions » is of religious inspiration!! And of profane use.

The growing grip in societies of heroes who stir up evil, cuts our failure into hollow

President Trump was emblematic of this phenomenon. He laid bare the lowest feelings that can animate each of us. He shamelessly claimed them, in a continuous burst of winning provocations [7]. Selfishness, racism, sexism, contempt, and violence against the weak, class hatred… Bolsonaro is doing the same and so many other hate-meers.

Their discourses mobilizing identity, hatred of the other, succeed in overplanting social themes. A large fraction of the popular strata is thus diverted from the consequences of liberal globalization, which is hitting them hard.

The important thing here is not the filthy nature of their attitude and words…

The important thing is that masses of fellow citizens follow them. Thus, in recent years, authoritarian leaders have come to power through uncontested elections. Openly racist, hate-singing leaders were elected. Trump, Bolsonaro, Netanyahu, Modi, Duterte, Orban, Putin, Erdogan… And if a good part of the media has amplified their protrusions, it is because it brought them an audience. In Europe and especially in France, right-wing, far-right and other bateleurs leaders are at the top of the bill.

But we can also add bin Laden and the other leaders of this engeance. Admittedly, they do not conduct elections. But their hate speech is in unison with that of the leaders named above. And they are supported by significant fractions of societies of Muslim culture. See Tina et Daesh vont en bateau  ==>HERE

There is a fascination for « evil »

No one escapes it. Individually, we have the freedom to let ourselves sink into it. To each of us not to try to erase the social and identity anxiety that embraces us by throwing us into hatred [8]. Hatred of the Other. It is up to us to retain the enjoyment that comes from the feeling of hatred of the one who is different.

Without taking the step of sinking into assumed hatred, many « progressives » drift in a soft thinking towards support for the leaders in place who claim to stand in the way of this outpouring of hatred. The same leaders who fabrication the cause of social anguish at the source of this hatred. What a rout!

So, collectively, what do we do?

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Voir l’article en français  ==> ICI

[1] On « Animal Farm », see  ==> HERE

[2] On « Nineteen Eighty-Four« , see  ==> HERE

[3] See reading note on this digital site  ==> HERE

[4] « Nous avons perdu », see  ==> HERE

[5] On the German elections of 1933, see  ==> HERE

[6] [5] Cornelius Castoriadis : Définitions et cadre analytique de sa pensée 2   ==> HERE

[7] La stratégie de la provocation  ==> HERE

[8] La haine, remède à l’angoisse ?  ==> HERE