Leur religion en lambeaux, leur Foi pulvérisée

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La crise a ceci de bon, dans une époque où la place de l’information et la force de sa diffusion sont considérables, qu’elle agite les esprits et qu’elle délie les langues. La police de la pensée a beaucoup d’hésitation ces derniers temps, d’autant qu’elle est soumise elle-même à bien des incertitudes. La crise ayant frappé d’abord le Saint Office (Wall Street) et son bureau de surveillance de la Foi (la City), le doute est au cœur du fruit et l’amertume se fait partout sentir, et la colère éclate. Ainsi du magnifique article de Madeleine Bunting, ce matin dans le Guardian, qui fait le procès de cette religion qui a converti le camp occidental à partir des années 1970.

Bunting remonte aux origines les plus récentes de cette installation de la Foi au cœur de notre raison, notre nouvelle religion dont les caractères furent définis par quelques réflexions essentielles qui suivirent la Grande Dépression. (The Great Transformation de Karl Polanyi et The Road to Serfdom de Friedrich Hayek, le premier avertissant des dangers de ce qui est aujourd’hui le néolibéralisme, ou laisser faire, le second exaltant la doctrine et la présentant comme la formule pour l’issue heureuse d’une humanité souffrante, deux livres publiés en 1944.) Bunting examine les effets de cette religion imposée au monde durant les trente dernières années, jusqu’au paroxysme des sept dernières années, le paroxysme avant la chute. Bunting met à sa juste place la fable grotesque du terrorisme: «Then 9/11 and for the next seven years a sideshow was offered as a distraction with caricature villains and thriller drama. While eyes were on the absurd charade of the "threat of Islamist terrorism to western civilisation", the real doomsday scenario that poses a far greater threat to western civilisation (whatever that is) was gathering pace right next to Ground Zero, in Wall Street.»

L’article est à lire de toute urgence, tant il restitue bien ce caractère essentiel de foi, de croyance absolu, ce caractère complètement religieux qui a conduit notre raison pendant ces trente derrières années, jusqu’où nous nous voyons aujourd’hui.

«At the time Polanyi was writing, there were many who agreed with him that free-market capitalism was chronically and destructively unstable, with terrible political consequences. But in the 70s and 80s, Hayek's neoliberalism began to take hold on the US ruling elite, Margaret Thatcher was recruited - and in due course Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. “Roll back the state, leave the economy to run itself” has held sway ever since. As Ann Pettifor points out on her website, debtonation.org, Alan Greenspan wrote enthusiastically in August that “the past decade has seen mounting global forces (the international version of Adam Smith's invisible hand) quietly displacing government control of economic affairs”. He blithely continued that the greatest danger facing the economy was that “some governments, bedevilled by emerging inflationary forces, will endeavour to reassert their grip on economic affairs”. Last week, Greenspan did a gigantic volte-face as he pleaded for government to do just that – reassert its grip in the form of the bail-out.

»We are now learning what countries across the developing world have experienced over three decades: unstable and inequitable neoliberal economics leads to unacceptable levels of social disruption and hardship that can only be contained by brutal repression. Add that to the two other central charges against deregulated capitalism: first, it may create wealth but it does not distribute it effectively; and second, that it takes no account of what it cannot commodify – neither the social relationships of family and community nor the environment, which are vital to human wellbeing, and indeed to the functioning of the market itself. Ultimately, neoliberal capitalism is self-destructive.

»We are now witnessing the collapse of this absurd economic orthodoxy that has dominated politics for nearly 30 years. Its triumphalist arrogance, its insistence on orthodoxy, has been comparable to Soviet communism in its scale. For two decades, we've been told “Tina” – “There is no alternative”.

»Economists talk of trust, belief, faith; we now understand that all along neoliberal capitalism was a form of mythology. That's why the triumphalism was necessary - you could not afford to have anyone challenge the system or we might all realise we were gawping at the emperor's nakedness. Rowan Williams was right to quote Marx, that “unbridled capitalism becomes a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that have no life in themselves”. Richard Dawkins should be critiquing this superstitious belief system.

»Fortunately Thomas Frank did so in his brilliant book, One Market Under God (2001). This is the second book on the reading list, because it explains how neoliberalism entrenched its triumphalism into the political system of the US; how it marginalised and delegitimised all challenge and established hegemony in the so-called free world.

»Now, as it all totters, we can take stock. We can ask how and why the critique – of which Frank was a part and Polanyi the bible – which was emerging in the late 90s was crippled. The anti-globalisation movement argued that neoliberal capitalism was unjust, unstable and destructive to human and environmental wellbeing. Sounds sensible now, but at the time it mysteriously got smeared by association with anarchists with a penchant for smashing Starbucks' windows. The broad network of social grassroots movements – US unions, Mexican peasants, Indian farmers – were misnamed, misunderstood, ridiculed and ignored. There is no alternative, the politicians intoned mantra-like.

»Then 9/11 and for the next seven years a sideshow was offered as a distraction with caricature villains and thriller drama. While eyes were on the absurd charade of the “threat of Islamist terrorism to western civilisation”, the real doomsday scenario that poses a far greater threat to western civilisation (whatever that is) was gathering pace right next to Ground Zero, in Wall Street.

»As in all mythologies, the only option, according to Timothy Garton Ash (not noted for his religious faith) on these pages recently, is to pray. What makes me frightened is that this is a corrupt mythology which, like that of the Aztecs, may require a lot of human sacrifice.»

Nous ne connaissions pas l’acronyme “TINA” (“There Is No Alternative”), qui fut effectivement le moteur terroriste de la Foi interdisant la pensée alternative, mais nous connaissons bien le triomphalisme qui a accompagné les commentaires sans cesse et sans fin qui rythmèrent d’un champ martial la marche en avant du néolibéralisme. Entre ces deux armes dialectiques, – “rien d’autre n’est possible” et “le néolibéralisme triomphe”, – fut effectivement établi un terrorisme de la pensée comme il n’en exista jamais auparavant, sans le moindre doute possible. Ce terrorisme réussit à imposer cette formule orwellienne selon laquelle le conformisme de la pensée c’est la liberté de la pensée, et cela marcha à tombeaux ouverts. Ce fut ce que nous avons désigné comme le diktat. Nous devons effectivement à cette crise et à la peur qu’elle suscite au sein du clergé de la chose qu’effectivement le voile est soulevé. Le roi est nu, comme on dit.

Cette mise en lambeaux de leur religion et cette pulvérisation de leur Foi sont, sans aucun doute là non plus, le grand événement de ce mois de septembre 2008, bien plus important que la crise elle-même, et il s’agit du plus grand événement depuis 9/11 qu’il surpasse évidemment en conséquences. De celles-ci, de ses conséquences, nous ne savons rien. L’événement ne nous promet rien, ni dans un sens ni dans l’autre, il accomplit cet acte fondamental de libérer la pensée de ses chaînes, – il déchaîne la pensée. Nul ne sait ce qu’il résultera de ce déchaînement. Il suffit d’admettre que l’acte se suffit à lui-même pour arguer de son importance fondamentale. Il suffit de l’admettre pour se tenir désormais prêt à tout.


Mis en ligne le 6 octobre 2008 à 06H25