The very public spat between the leaders of North Korea and the United States might be entertaining in some respects. But the politicians are playing with fire and reminding us of humanity's fragility.
Right now, you can’t avoid media reports on the, increasingly ridiculous, exchange of insults between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. The irony of the situation is that while we have two, apparently, immature men venting their rage and hurling insults at each other, our only hope is that there is some anonymous and invisible institutional constraint preventing their anger from exploding into a real war.
Normally, we tend to complain that in today’s alienated and bureaucratized politics, institutional pressures and constraints prevent politicians from expressing their personal visions. But now we hope such constraints will prevent the expression of all too crazy dreams from these characters. So, how did we reach this point?
Alain Badiou recently warned about the dangers of the growing post-patriarchal nihilist order which presents itself as the domain of new freedoms. The disintegration of the shared ethical base of our lives is clearly aligned to the abolition of universal military conscription in many developed countries. Today, the very notion of being ready to risk one’s life for a common cause appears more and more pointless, if not directly ridiculous.
Which means that, throughout the world, the armed forces, rather than being a body in which all citizens equally participate, is gradually turning into a mercenary force. This disintegration affects differently the two sexes: men are gradually turning into perpetual adolescents with no clear passage of initiation that would enact their entry into maturity (military service, acquiring a profession and even education no longer play this role).
Thus, it’s no wonder that in order to bridge this void, post-paternal youth gangs proliferate, providing ersatz-initiation and social identity. In contrast to their male peers, young girls have become more and more precociously mature, treated as little adults and expected to control their lives and to plan their careers at an early stage. In this new version of sexual difference, men are ludic adolescents and out-laws, while women appear as hard, mature, serious, legal and punitive.
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