The Fascism in Us All

Light of truth

Michel Foucault wrote: “I would say that Anti-Oedipus is a book of ethics… How does one keep from being fascist, even (especially) when one believes oneself to be a revolutionary militant? How do we rid our speech and our acts, our hearts and our pleasures, of fascism? How do we ferret out the fascism that is ingrained in our behaviour?” But there is fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behaviour, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.” We have to track down of all varieties of fascism, from the enormous ones that surround and crush us to the petty ones that constitute the tyrannical bitterness of our everyday lives. Two things are clear from Foucault, he is against the so called Oedipus complex and he is for conscious rational morality.

It is Sigmund Freud who founded his Oedipus complex from Sophocles drama rather arbitrarily, for the story is not the vindication of fate that he shall kill his father and marry his mother. Freud argues for the Law of the Unconscious and not for the law of morality which is the law of the conscious. Freud’s famous saying “where id is, there ego shall be” validates his position. “The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions.” “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways…” It is only with extreme unwillingness,” Freud adds, “that man gives up his claim to an exceptional position.” He returns to his animality of violence. When Freud suggests that Sophocles’ tragedy made “a voice within us ready to recognize the violence of fate” he is laying out the ontological conditions under which law is forced to seek its foundation in violence. He recognizes the violence of fate within ourselves. Freud’s interpretation of the play refers only to “the inevitability of fate.”

But Freud as a Jew argues something quite different in Moses and Monotheism. According to him Moses was murdered by the Jews themselves. Freud said that the guilt from the murder of Moses is inherited through the generations; this guilt then drives the Jews to religion to make them feel better. Moses invented a religion of morality of the Decalogue. What binds the people to each other and to their God is that they killed him.” It is this act of violence which ultimately makes the Jews Jewish, for it is the memory of this act that causes the Jewish people both to repress and to return to the Mosaic religion. Mosaic religion had not vanished without leaving a trace; some sort of memory of it had kept alive. While Freud insists that the Jewish tradition has been genealogically transmitted, he attends to the image of the Jews as the “People of the Book” and to the ways in which texts transmit certain traces from the past. As he notes, the “pre-eminence given to intellectual labours throughout some two thousand years in the life of the Jewish people has, of course, had its effect.” Freud “spiritualises” Judaism as against the Greeks attempted to Aryanise and masculinise. “Holy Writ and the intellectual concern with it” has not only “held the scattered people together,” it has also “helped to check the brutality and the tendency to violence which are apt to appear where development of muscular strength is the popular ideal.” Freud explicitly contrasts the violent brutality and muscular physiques of other peoples against the Geistigkeit of the Jews.

Freud wrote in The Future of an Illusion, “Religion is a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find nowhere else but in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion. Religion’s eleventh commandment is “Thou shalt not question.” There are illusions without which man cannot live and live with. He must live the critical reasoning without which faith will reduce itself to paganism and fundamentalism. It is the Mosaic of critical sense that purifies and sustains faith with morality. Such pagan faith, as it robs us of power, is what teaches us to desire our own repression. Everybody has been oedipalised and neuroticised at home, at school, at work. Everybody wants to be a fascist. This is the tragic situation the world now faces.

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