Monday, January 10, 2011

On Jared Loughner, Moral Equivalency, and Michel Foucault

“Something about the current state of America has been causing far more disturbed people than before to act out their illness by threatening, or actually engaging in, political violence,” pontificates Krugman. Oh, and the Left bears no responsibility for that? They’re the ones who drop titanic mandates and mountains of regulation on American citizens. Their President has given us 20 months of crushing unemployment. They stole over $800 billion from us for “stimulus” pork and slush funds, and Krugman has gone on record saying he thinks they need two or three trillion dollars more.

Oh my! Regulations! Pork Barrel Spending! Definitely worth watering the tree of liberty over.

Incidentally, a few people have linked Loughner's ramblings about the government controlling your mind through grammar to Michel Foucault's writings, although Judge David-Wynn: Miller may be a more proximate source for these beliefs. However, nobody has yet linked Loughner's ramblings re money/currency to the same well-spring of ideas. For example, in The Order of Things , Foucault argues that money too constitutes a representational system, a system of signifiers--a language, in other words--and thereby another means of controlling the individual.

Its interesting that David-Wynn: Miller's path to freedom has apparently involved attempts to discover a true mathematical language beneath our everyday language. Alternatively Loughner wanted to create a new system of currency to free himself from the clutches of the old.

They're still both loons. But their lunacy does seem at least to have a philosophical component.


Dr.Dawg said...

Besides a reference to "government" (not "governmentality")and language, how, precisely, does Foucault figure in the Loughner comments on grammar? That's just intellectual free-association.

bigcitylib said...

It is, sort of, free association, but the notion that there is a grammar of thought and that it is arbitrary or perhaps even imposed by sinister authorities is common to Foucault and other structuralists (and other non-structuralists as well). Remember, the guy apparently thought himself a philosopher: "What is government if words have no meaning?" for example.

And the idea of money as a repressive language system comes straight out of MF. Not that I think the guy read Foucault. But these ideas exist in a degenerate form, too, esp. on the net.

Dr.Dawg said...

I take your point, but MF did not believe in "sinister authorities." That's overly simplistic, and not what governmentality is all about.

You're on much stronger ground on the money issue. And that question of his is actually quite interesting.