“Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.” -Oscar Wilde
Scrolling through my feeds is confirming for me how much unironic polemical discourse (posturing as sincere, righteous, or virtuous) has been rendered empty by our bourgeois technocratic neoliberal paradigm. Nuance is dead. Cognitive dissonance is now (and has always been) America’s national beverage, pastime, and anthem (this statement doesn’t make sense, but neither does America).
The only substantial means of discourse today is metaironic, self-deprecatory, oblique social commentary—taking a page out of the paradoxical campiness of the likes of Wilde.
The construal of hot button issues as a conflict of individuals’ rights is a reminder that modern rights discourse is and always has been a vacuous construct of bourgeois enlightenment philosophes. NO ONE has a right to anything, especially not to existence. Existence is both formally and materially a gift.
Rights discourse was invented to obscure the contingency/dependency at the core of human existence, so that elites could create the illusion of the autonomy of the masses. This enables them to make the masses more totally dependent on their whims without the risk of being questioned or held accountable.
Further, a lot of the people posting about their advocacy for others’ rights have done little to nothing to make themselves concretely available to people in need (a la works of mercy). Thus my conclusion that what we today call “advocacy” is really just a means of signaling one’s tribal affiliation—which is above all a desperate but vain attempt to construct a sense of identity.
This is largely a substitute for more substantial identity markers like family, ethnicity, local community etc—all of which have become inaccessible under the regime of bourgeois technocratic neoliberalism. The plethora of “tribes” made available to us under the guise of virtuous positions are really just the extension of market consumerism to the realm of politics, ethics, and ontological anthropology, thus rendering each of these “opposing” positions vacuous.
As Wilde once said: “It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”