Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The new nihilism

Peter Laarman at Religion Dispatches:
It still strikes me as odd that no one has taken to calling either Wall Street ethics or far-Right economic beliefs by their right name, which is nihilism. There’s been some prattle in the press about Ayn Rand’s influence, but religiously the problem is so much bigger and deeper than the renewed attention paid to this minor figure. What gives the New Nihilism a certain degree of invisibility is that some of the fiercest functional nihilists claim to be staunch supporters of traditional beliefs and traditional hierarchies. Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are no more likely to say they don’t really believe in anything than are Brian Moynihan and Lloyd Blankfein. These dudes believe in markets, of course, but they don’t choose to see that the way in which financial markets actually function today — with huge mechanical trades done at lightning speed and at great profit but without any regard to recognizable human values — perfectly expresses a high-order moral nihilism, if not a metaphysical nihilism. I can’t bring back Nietzsche or Heidegger to validate me on this. You just have to take my word for it: nihilism.