biopolitics, capitalism, Foucault, Hegel, political theology, socialism, voyeurism

A Future Project for Political Theology

A problem with US pragmatism, especially US jurisprudence: changing the commodity form (e.g. vhs or cassette to digital or in this case, landline to wireless) somehow means the ‘rights’ of a previous form, like copyright or consumer ownerships, has to be reinstated in the new content form (e.g the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) because the previous rights do not seem to entirely transfer automatically.

This vision of newness without continuity–newness as sheer autonomy in order to be authentically new–stays until ‘unfortunately conquered’ by an old but equally large vision (like different types of the public good: the common good or its perversion called the greater good). This seems to be another, albeit apocalyptic, articulation of the old, conflicted division in liberalism of property vs. equality: property is ‘free’ until re-imagined as a communal good because all own themselves equally. Considering this, even if one could make a law establishing a more direct link between different forms such that the re-imagining is never even an issue, I am suspicious that US pragmatism would thoroughly resist the link.

I also wonder, then, if the real question posed to the globe isn’t the red herring of capitalism vs. socialism, but between a pragmatist neo-liberalism (with the illusionary choice to be surveilled) or a fused capitalist and state absolutism like that articulated by Hegel (or a softer version called liberal communitarianism) now wedded with obligatory and invasive surveillance, a la the NSA. The point is, whichever variation or combination of the two options that will be the new political economy, it will be its own mode of voyeuristic absolutism.

And if anything is contrary to such new ‘political bonds,’ it will be a terrorist or spy, or both. We see the beginning of this in the conviction of Plowshare activists as terrorists and the US has charged Edward Snowden with variations of espionage: “theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence [sic] information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.” This re-defined reality is not the beginning of the eschaton as dispensationalists and conservative US evangelicals tend to proclaim–one does not even opt into a ‘beast mark’ here–but rather, this is a furthering of the attempt to ‘end’ history by controlling humanity’s telos via a thoroughgoing biopolitics made possible by this near-total voyeurism.

Theology will probably respond with “Maranatha!”, critical Orwellian appeals, or ‘super sizing’ Foucault’s analysis of the panopticon, but we need a better response. I suspect part of the future task of political theology will lie in confronting voyeuristic absolutism because it will be part of the unifying and protective force of an even more static classism that, in new and old ways, will continue to oppose the theopolitics of the gospel option.

capitalism, polemic, political theology, socialism

My Polemics

I’m feeling a little polemical today. Reading John Courtney Murray does that to me. So what the hell, heres a few very short (mostly) polemical statements. Oh, and in an effort for some disclosure, I think I fall into some sort of Christian social-anarchism. Whatever that is. Mostly its about participating in the eschatological kingdom of God today.

My Polemic to Capitalism:
Screw all y’all, God favors the poor.

My Polemic to the Economists:
You do have a metaphysics and an anthropology. Hell, you even have a metanarrative. See Greenspan. And of course, it sucks. I don’t think its a stretch to say that the housing collapse is the failure of economic theory to be interdisciplinary and to take seriously theology. We’d let you know in a heart beat that humans are oriented in a way that is self-collapsing as it takes advantages of others, and creation in general.

My Polemic to Socialism:
Screw all y’all, you ain’t much better than Capitalism, even if you do fail better.

My Polemic to Anarchists:
Screw all y’all, the rule of God is good.

My Polemic to Washington DC:
Screw all y’all, the rule of God is sovereign and so you’re not.

My Polemic to the NSA and other arms of the government scrolling through theo-blogs looking to call us terrorists as well:
Screw all y’all, the church will still speak whether you deem it subversive or not and the church will still speak whether it is legal or not.