Mass Delirium: Initial thoughts on the 2012 Republican primaries

Mass Delirium: Initial thoughts on the 2012 Republican primaries

Underneath all reason lies delirium, and drift.

~Gilles Deleuze

Gilles Deleuze—one of France’s most dynamic philosophical thinkers—was, alongside his frequent collaborator Felix Guattari, being interviewed about the connective threads lying between schizophrenia and capitalism. As with much of the pair’s thoughts, the idea of schizoanalysis extends beyond mere economics (and capitalism, in particular); it also governs the full spectrum of reality as a way of seeing and interpreting the world. Why not then apply it to electoral politics?

Three weeks after New Year’s Eve, in this cataclysmic year of 2012, one would be hard-pressed to find any sign of primary season interest in New York City. No wheat paste posters featuring idealized portraits of candidates. No provocative quotes. Talk of the election: non-existent. One would think all sense of politics had simply evaporated after Occupy protesters got caught in recursive memes and predictable direct action. It would seem apathy is now the governing principle.

Things are quiet, even as the GOP candidates (the sons of God) plot the various ways to restore the American Empire. The only common denominator is the belief that Obama must go. That’s real vision. The type of vision that moves a people forward, although backward is almost always the operating principle of any GOP candidate.

I don’t have cable, so I’m saved from the annual bombardment of campaign ads crafted by shadow organizations. But if curiosity overtakes me, and I want to see a self-lacerating GOP tactical hit job, the internet is more than happy to oblige. And it’s full of madness. Rife with schizophrenia. The GOP primary contest is a banquet of ideas at a looney bin. Trajectories often cannot be traced. The charade only rarely makes sense.

What it seems to be is a collective parody of electoral politics, which is in itself already a parody of democracy. What we’re seeing is an experiment in how far the basement of politics descends. However, there is only mass delirium at the bottom and it’s being helped along by a Democratic Party that not only attempts to engage this sort of illogic, but often bathes in this sea of shit to win elections, otherwise it’ll be out to the political wilderness for decades to come.

Each of the GOP candidates attempt to occupy the realm of reason in opposition to the Obama administration; but, as Deleuze points out, underneath it is all delirium.

The whole lot of them are in a mad dash to outdistance the others in demonstrating “true conservative” bona fides, though none of the candidates see just how alike the other actually is, with perhaps the exception of Ron Paul. He differs markedly on a number of issues, but still retains the social conservative hysteria concerning abortion and homosexuality, to say nothing of his religious faith in capitalism.

To believe that strengthening business (though corporate America is, as always, quite naturally robust) will restore America, and to do so all social endeavors must be dismantled, indicates a complete divorce from reality. It’s the purest form of tent revivalist demagoguery imaginable, except now the high priests know the immortal soul cannot be simply enslaved by religion alone, but through a total supplication before the throne of commerce and government, those twin impostors.

Religion has evolved. It has mutated like a virus, as it were.

Religious faith always involved delusion, a parting of ways with reality, but as long as learning was limited to clerics, nobility and the offspring of wealthy merchants, the plebes could rather easily be fooled. After our liberation from ignorance and superstition by Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press and the science method, no one could demand that others seriously believe an omnipotent father was always watching, like Big Brother, using a looming apocalyptic presence to impose their will upon us.

New times demanded new measures, and religion, particularly the Christian sort, had to mutate to absorb commerce and democracy and shit out more damned nonsense and absurdities. Everything old becomes new again. The faith now is in the market to, again, liberate us from the convulsions of a system that is buckling under its own weight: an immense, unstoppable fusion of bureaucracy and commerce.

Forget the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The new trinity is God, Commerce and Democracy—all fictional constructs.

And so the (GOP) priests currently selling their shit ornately painted with gold try to pass their triangulated ideology off as reason, but it is, in the final analysis, as ripe for dissection and ridicule as the old faith.