Category Archives: Politics

The Tyranny of Enjoyment

DOLMANCE: . . . What is it one desires when taking one’s pleasure? that everything around us be occupied with nothing but ourselves, think of naught but of us, care for us only. If the objects we employ know pleasure too, you can be very sure they are less concerned for us than they are for themselves, and lo! our own pleasure consequently disturbed. There is not a living man who does not wish to play the despot when he is stiff: it seems to him his joy is less when others appear to have as much as he; by an impulse of pride, very natural at this juncture, he would like to be the only one in the world capable of experiencing what he feels: the idea of seeing another enjoy as he enjoys reduces him to a kind of equality with that other, which impairs the unspeakable charm despotism causes him to feel. ‘Tis false as well to say there is pleasure in affording pleasure to others; that is to serve them, and the man who is erect is far from desiring to be useful to anyone. On the contrary, by causing them hurt he experiences all the charms a nervous personality relishes in putting its strength to use; ’tis then he dominates, is a tyrant; and what a difference is there for the amour-propre! Think not that it is silent during such episodes.

The act of enjoyment is a passion which, I confess, subordinates all others to it, but which simultaneously unites them. This desire to dominate at this moment is so powerful in Nature that one notices it even in animals. See whether those in captivity procreate as do those others that are free and wild; the camel carries the matter further still: he will engender no more if he does not suppose himself alone: surprise him and, consequently, show him a master, and he will fly, will instantly separate himself from his companion. Had it not been Nature’s intent that man possess this feeling of superiority, she would not have created him stronger than the beings she destines to belong to him at those moments. The debility to which Nature condemned woman incontestably proves that her design is for man, who then more than ever enjoys. his strength, to exercise it in all the violent forms that suit him best, by means of tortures, if he be so inclined, or worse. Would pleasure’s climax be a kind of fury were it not the intention of this mother of humankind that behavior during copulation be the same as behavior in anger? What well-made man, in a word, what man endowed with vigorous organs does not desire, in one fashion or in another, to molest his partner during his enjoyment of her? I know perfectly well that whole armies of idiots, who are never conscious of their sensations, will have much trouble understanding the systems I am establishing; but what do I care for these fools? ‘Tis not to them I am speaking; soft-headed women-worshipers, I leave them prostrate at their insolent Dulcineas’ feet, there let them wait for the sighs that will make them happy and, basely the slaves of the sex they ought to dominate, I abandon them to the vile delights of wearing the chains wherewith Nature has given them the right to overwhelm others!

Dialogue the Fifth, Philosophy in the Bedroom in Sade, Richard Seaver, and Austryn Wainhouse. Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings. 1st paperback ed. New York: Grove Press, 1966, 344-45.

Decomposition

It’s likely that much of the western left—infected by liberalism and obsessed with identity politics and political correctness—will mark the centenary of the October revolution this year with a smirk and say “nothing to do with us, mate” and get on with writing their love letters to Hillary Clinton. But there are, I believe, important lessons to be learnt from the strategy employed by Lenin in 1917—and the left dismisses them at its peril.

As was the case one hundred years ago, a corrupt, arrogant, and hideously out-of-touch establishment lies teetering on the brink. As was the case one hundred years ago, the gap between rich and poor is truly staggering. Only last January, Oxfam revealed that half of the world’s wealth is owned by just 62 people. Yes, that‘s right—62.

But unlike 100 years ago, it’s the populist right—and not the left—that’s making all the headway. Instead of embracing working-class populism and positioning themselves at the forefront of anti-establishment protests as Lenin and the Bolsheviks did in 1917, the liberal-dominated Western left of today seems scared of proletarian rebelliousness, and has instead sided on issue after issue with the neo-liberal militarist establishment.

We see this in the liberal-left’s attachment to parliamentarianism, and the failure to promote more democratic ways of organizing society e.g. the greater use of referenda, the introduction of workers’ councils and peoples’ assemblies and elected people’s courts (interestingly the attachment to Parliamentarianism didn’t seem to apply to Ukraine in 2014 when many “liberal-leftists” in the West supported the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government).

We also see it in the way that “bread-and-butter issues” which affect the everyday lives of ordinary people are largely ignored with the focus instead on fighting culture wars and promoting wars of “liberal intervention” in the Middle East, which only benefit elite interests.

Clark, Neil. “1917 and its lessons for 2017: Learning from Lenin