Saturday, September 30, 2006

Zizek, perhaps

"Zizek explores how an ideological edifice is sustained by underground transgressions: "Law can be sustained only by a sovereign power which reserves for itself the right... to suspend the rule of law(s) on behalf of the Law itself.""

The Zizekian bon mot regarding sovereignity does not seem entirely off-topic in regards to the present torture bill: the sovereign as Law-enforcer, whether judicial or clerical (i.e. the Catholic Church, Inc.), assumes for itself the monarchical right to enforce laws and codes (which were never agreed to via an egalitarian, social contract), but grant itself whatever exemptions it needs, at least in potentia--the judge or priest pedophile/adulterer; a Scalia enforcing theocracy [state approved displays of Decalogue, etc.], and then watching porno. (An undergraduate yippie-in-training shrieks "Hypocrisy", but Z. suggests the judicial/clerical sovereign's Janus face is a bit more subtle and detailed than the sentimental liberal might believe). The legal sovereign may also at any time view any code as provisional, regardless of possible infringement of presumed contractural rights: at once upholding the liberal's feel-good concept of "due process" and then modifying/denying its "scope" when necessary. (Zizek, like many a empirically-minded Hegelian, really addressing issues similar to those raised by Hobbes in Leviathan--if not a Platonic dialogue somewhere).

One might ask, though, how the Marxist-statist argues in favor of retaining Habeas Corpus laws at all: from a purely statist viewpoint, the ruling would be (if Congress were comprised of hip leftists) thought to be quite acceptable, HC being the remnants of a liberal entitlement based on decadent views of the individual. The statists and Zizekians objecting to the torture bill (and it should be objected to) are showing their own janus-face: Lenin had no problem ending due process not merely for the aristos but for anyone who posed a threat to bolshevik power: the bipolarity of the sovereign reveals itself either in fascist/monarchy or communism.

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