Psychopolitics, Part 8

Neoliberal psychopolitics seduces the soul; it preempts in lieu of opposing.

Totalitarian regimes coerced people into ratting out their friends and colleagues by creating the environment of terror. There is a powerful scene in Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle where a graduate student is being terrorized by the secret police to become an informant against the professors and the other women in her dorm. She doesn’t want to narc on her friends, but she’s completely terrified of saying no because she knows she’ll end up in a concentration camp if she does.

Now contrast this with our current situation where nobody forces hordes of angry students to hound anybody who doesn’t toe the ideological line. They have not been terrorized but, rather, seduced into this role by the promise of a cool, shiny identity that will enhance the value of their personal brand.

Activism is a marketing strategy. And the product on offer is the neoliberal self.

Of course, the reading of the book goes slowly if I read one sentence and it leads me all the way to what you just read.


6 thoughts on “Psychopolitics, Part 8

  1. From your quotes, it sounds like this book would drive a lot of people to screaming temper tantrums. Nothing makes an activist more furious than suggesting that their motives are less than totally altruistic and pure.


    1. I have to say, though, the only thing from Byung-Chul Han here is the quote at the top. The rest comes 100% from me. He doesn’t even mention activists at all.

      I don’t want people to get the book expecting to find all of this there and to be disappointed.


  2. Instead of threats for being “disobedient” they offer rewards for being complicit in the system’s treasonous conspiracies against select “undesirable” individuals.
    And this is the modern world’s definition of “progress”.


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