October 05, 2010
Mr Rundle being interesting:
The right has become increasingly hardened against voluntary euthanasia over the last two decades, as it has become increasingly addicted to the notion that a state-enforced social conservatism can put some limits on the nihilistic processes of the market, and the disarray that creates.I suppose this differs from the more traditional association of "free" market philosophy and authoritarianism; the merely mechanical relationship between implementing policies that heighten social deprivation and consequent social unrest and criminality, and responding to those with increased state repression (or, as they said about Thatcherism, taking money away from social welfare and giving it to the police). What Rundle describes seems more of a rhetorical sleight of hand, a more robust version of the nanny-police statism of New Labour, where ASBOs and ubiquitous surveillance went hand-in-hand with a relaxed attitude to economic inequality, as the Blairites decided that enforcing pro-social attitudes by law was a meaningful alternative to government itself ever acting in society's interest - not a particularly innovative ruling class grift, and in any case merely a subset of the eternal preference of politicians to appear to be solving problems while avoiding the danger of actually solving any.
By enforcing ‘traditional’ values — even when they’ve ceased to be values held by a majority — you can then go hell for leather in uprooting every other aspect of people’s lives. That allegedly creates a stable society. I think it creates an asocial nightmare, red-bull-vodka-CCTV and tasers world, but there you go.
In such a culture — where any notion of the human, inviolable or genuinely conserved is traded on the open market — abstract notions of traditional value must be instituted. One of them is the idea of ‘life’. Whether applied to abortion, euthanasia, disability or a hundred other issues, ‘life’ becomes this abstract quality detached from the process of living by actual beings.
The US is the home of this, and the Tea Party is its ideal political expression — along with the junk laws whereby an embryo acquires full human rights, standard discontinuation of care becomes murder and so on. A fanatical commitment to ‘life’ becomes a way of affirming it, where every other social process — work, consumption, media — treats people as objects rather than subjects.