The art of the insult

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The art of the insult

Postby dtcochrane » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:13 am

Those who have had any sort of discussion with me know what a fan I am of the philosophy of Cornelius Castoriadis. I will note, however, that he is given to insulting those both deserving and undeserving. He will frequently turn his brilliance on an opponent for failing to see what he considers both obvious and essential to understanding Being/being. In this regard, I think he's frequently unfair and flippant.

However, he will also take to task those whom he regards as contributing to the maintenance of heteronomy, ie. propping up the ideology of the vested interest, or failing to see through the ideology. I think these sorts are deserving of every slander and slight and wanted to share one such insult.

"When, as is the case everywhere today, half of the national product goes through the public sector in one way or another (State, local government organizations, Social security); when between half and two-thirds of the price of goods and services entering into the final national expenditure are in one way or another fixed, regulated, controlled, or influenced by state policy, and when one notices that the situation is irreversible (ten years of Thatcher and Reagan made no essential changes therein), neoliberal discourse appears for what it is: a gross farce intended for imbeciles" ('Done and to be Done' in The Castoriadis Reader, p. 410).

I'm not sure where he gets the stat on how much of the price is fixed, regulated, controlled or influenced, but the precision of the number is less important the general idea, which I would believe to be true - although I can't say for certain until I regard the numbers - and certainly deserving of attention. Although government involvement in the 'economy' is much more obvious today, I think we need to refrain from declaring the intervention to be unique, but instead focus on the precise quality of the intervention and the propaganda accompanying it. Lobbyists didn't litter Capitol Hill for their own health.

Anyway, that's secondary to the far more trivial matter I was raising: the use of the well-timed insult to provoke a laugh and hopefully draw the reader back into the heart of the argument.

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