History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Zizek’s social darwinist confusion over the ‘last man’

September 4th, 2014 · No Comments

Zizek on ISIS

Zizek seems to wish to go out of his way to ignore my recent text on the the Last Man question, actually a way to transcend that take by Nietzche with a larger perspective. It is his way of saying ‘I am a celebrity and rule on this question’. That is tiresome… Why the blazing fuck is it so hard to cite a recent work on the subject by a comrade? A simple courtesy reference to a fellow leftist could have helped a lot. From comrade to enemies on the left. You asked for it. But clearly Zizek is paranoid: he fears increasingly he is being perceived as stupid,
Coyne tries hard here with his usual arrogance. i dunno, is Zizek stupid? Not at all. Just muddled by bad philosophy. Zizek seems determined to create emnity, with his ‘marxist fundamentalism’.

It may appear that the split between the permissive First World and the fundamentalist reaction to it runs more and more along the lines of the opposition between leading a long satisfying life full of material and cultural wealth and dedicating one’s life to some transcendent cause. Is this antagonism not the one between what Nietzsche called “passive” and “active” nihilism? We in the West are the Nietzschean Last Men, immersed in stupid daily pleasures, while the Muslim radicals are ready to risk everything, engaged in the struggle up to their self-destruction. William Butler Yeats’ “Second Coming” seems perfectly to render our present predicament: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” This is an excellent description of the current split between anemic liberals and impassioned fundamentalists. “The best” are no longer able fully to engage, while “the worst” engage in racist, religious, sexist fanaticism.

Last and First Men challenges Nietzsche’s idea of the Last Man, which is a dangerous eugenic/genocidal confusion with darwinian overtones, with a new phrase, ‘last and first men’ (echoing the scifi classic): the last and first men are the successions of evolving species of homo (among other associations) and the ‘last of homo x versus the first of homo x+1’…This usage can be ironic as the first and last often trade places.

Nietzche’s idea is flawed, and the left should be wary of it.
But Zizek’s idea could be rescued: the last of the Mohamedans confront the first men of the future (bronx cheer, maybe), and then a reversal: the American ‘last man’ is still short of becoming the man of the future, and is even regressing, making the Mohamedan seem to move toward the future beyond the realm of ‘American wasteland’ culture.

Check out the Preface to LFM:

We have many times criticized the left’s stance on darwinism: this kind of thinking from a marxist is part of the social darwinist ideology to justify genocide on the capitalist populations as ‘evolution’. The left needs to get beyond darwinism, and LFM can help.

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