Let us take the case of neoconservativism: on the level of the signified this ideology offers us a field of meaning structured around the opposition between secular, egalitarian humanism and the values of family, law and order, responsibility, and self-reliance. Within this field, freedom is supposed to be menaced not only by Communism, but also by the welfare state bureaucracy, etc, etc. At the same time, however, this ideology works “between the lines,” on an unspoken level. A whole series of fantasies are in play without which we cannot explain the efficacy of neoconservatism, the fact that it can capture subjects in such a passionate way: sexist fantasies about the menace that unruly “liberated” female sexuality presents for men; the racist fantasy that the WASP is the embodiment of Man qua Man and that beneath every black, yellow, etc., there is a white American longing to emerge; the fantasy that the “other” — the enemy — endeavors to rob us of our enjoyment, that he has access to some hidden enjoyment, inaccessible to us; and so on. Neoconservativism lives on this difference, it relies on fantasies that it cannot put into words, integrate into the field of its ideological signification. The frontier that divides neoconservativism from rightist totalitarianism is trespassed precisely at the moment there is a short circuit between the field of signification and these fantasies, i.e., when fantasies directly invade the field of signification, when they are directly referred to — as, for example, in Nazism, which openly articulates (includes in the field of its ideological meaning) the whole texture of sexual and other fantasies that serve as support of anti-Semitism. Nazi ideology openly states that Jews seduce our innocent daughters, that they are capable of perverse pleasures, etc.; this ideology does not leave it up to the addressee to surmise these “facts.” Herein lies the grain of truth of the common wisdom according to which the difference between the “moderate” and “radical” right consists merely in the fact that the latter says openly what the former thinks without daring to say. Zizek, Looking Awry, 1991, pp.179-80 (note 4)
Here’s a video of Slavoj Zizek using Kung-fu Panda to explain how cynicism functions as a form of ideology. According to Zizek, Kung-fu Panda is being ironic and is making fun of its own ideology, and yet the ideology survives. It’s like saying, “Yes we know but we’re going to do it anyway.” This cynicism as a form of ideology made me think of what Christina said about the general response of her other class to the Adorno and Horkheimer reading. They had the cynical attitude of so what, we know this already. So the cynical response is to know that ideology is working on us, and yet continue to do what we do. The mask of ideology has been demystified and yet ideology survives.
Sorry to bring the conversation back to economics, but I think this is relevant to ideology, practice, and intellectuals. It is an example of how theories are useless unless they can be put in practice.
As an intellectual, Bernanke’s opinion was that the government should be aggressively proactive in helping the economy, however, as Chairman of the Fed, Bernanke is not exhausting all his resources. Why? What’s stopping him?
The article cites several reasons why there could be this incongruity: political, institutional, or personal.
What/where is his struggle with power?
After re-reading several times the conversation between Foucault and Deleuze, I understand their position on power to mean that no sole group or persons should have the responsibility for speaking on behalf of consciousness, truth or knowledge. In the past Foucault admits that this chore was assigned to the intellectual but now everyone is aware of their position in society and they should be able express that without being an intellectual exclusively. Deleuze seems to agree with this position because he thinks that those who claim to be reformers, and want to gain power for an under represented group are actually making themselves powerful by speaking for others. Instead, both of these intellectuals think that revolutionary moments are the way to go instead of reforms . I never realized there was a difference between the two.
Further along in the reading Foucault mentions power under a fascist regime, and how the masses actually wanted certain people in the position of power even though they committed atrocities to the people. this reminded me of Germany when Hitler came into power and he managed to get the support of so many people. I understand that the country was distressed at the time and needed a strong charismatic leader but in terms of interests and desires what else could have made it so easy to go along with this dictator’s plan? I wish Foucault would have given an actual example of a fascist regime and explained what benefit did the people have in accepting a dictatorship.