A quick chat with Jon Seagrave this morning has got me thinking – we were talking about how dreadful it all is and how it’s beyond satire and how it’s like the fall of the Weimar Republic and I just couldn’t find the words to describe how dire it all is here and in the USA. Perhaps the words don’t exist. It’s something polysyllabic and poly-dimensional and we need a neologism: what is it?
But I thought about it a bit more when biking up to Bisley to take some pictures of emigrant lists from 1837 …
A key text for my particular political micro-generation was Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man – how liberal-capitalism gave the illusion of freedom through the seeming allowance of opposition: Penguin Marxism, for example.
But that’s gone now hasn’t it? Opposition is either ridiculed or presented as false news or simply not reported or obliterated, and then there is the awfulness of the press and the BBC: ‘The People have spoken.’ ‘The People have spoken.’ ‘The People have spoken.’
We’re not imprisoned as at the end of Weimar, but dissent feels impossible today.
And the sense of impotence is, I think, accentuated rather than reduced by social media. That is the next dimension - for that once more gives that illusion of freedom feeling; that seeming allowance of opposition arena: the trick of One Dimensional People whilst projecting an image of the opposite.
We need a new word to describe this suffocation of dissent. This multidimensional, all embracing cat’s-cradle of negation - ‘Oh brave new world that has such creatures in it.’