by Emmett R Smith
‘I[N A]n e-mail exchange between [Tony Blair] and me in the spring, he suggested a kind of super Asbo for major criminals. This is what the unmediated Blair sounds like. “I would go further. I would widen the powers of police to seize cash of suspected (my italics — HP) drug dealers, the cars they drive round in and require them to prove that they came by them lawfully. I would impose restrictions on those suspected of being involved in organised crime. In fact I would harry, hassle and hound them until they give up or leave the country.”‘
THE Above article goes far in fact, to support the thesis of the end of historical modernism; and, the corollary, namely that the fruits of modernism — such things as extraverted machine- & electronic-technology, evolutionary science, allopathic medicine, democracy & cet — all must now begin to pass away. The advantage for the scholar, of course, is that we now better and better will be able to say what democracy was than we ever could do when democracy was in play.
AS To liberty, that may be a different kettle of fish altogether — the story of the icelandic farmer-republic of the ninth-13th centuries points in this direction, as does the history of Switzerland & especially the story of communal liberty in the old preceding raetian confederation. Barber has written persuasively of this, in The Death of Communal Liberty (Princeton, 1974), and his point about political ‘modernism’ is that it leaves the soi-disant individual entirely naked to the nation- & corporate-state, and with no intervening community on a face-to-face scale.
THE Consequence is, precisely, a load of faux-individual display-behaviours: mucking about with spray-paint; consumerism & excessive motoring; pathological and compulsive, repetitive, air-travel; being ‘normal’ — or, extravagantly abnormal….
WHEREAS Another sort of much more real (sic) freedom may indeed also include being free of oneself; or, at least, of the economic & sociological ‘self’ as mediated by the organs of Big Tee Vee, Big Pornography, Big Footer & the state.
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 8 July 2007]