Invisible University
(aa1971@wayne.edu)

SITE MAP

understanding trump:
the wreckage of socialism, the persistence of fascism, and the triumph of nihilism



a must read: "American Demagogue" by  David Remnick (the New Yorker, March 14, 2016)



Figure 1.  PISA Math Scores, 2003 - 2012: 25 Nation
p62
Southeast Asian nations are in light blue; Scandinavian nations + Switzerland

in dark blue
; Anglo-Saxon nations in orange; France, Germany, Belgium and
Poland in green; Italy, Portugal and Spain in brown; the United States in red.
(The advanced capitalist nations.  Some have been
omitted for the sake of visual clarity).


Note the decline in the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian nations.  The results of
the 2015 tests will be released in December of 2016.
from "American Demagogue" by  David Remnick (the New Yorker, March 14, 2016)  

This is not a Seth Rogen movie; this is as real as mud. Having all but swept the early Republican primaries and caucuses, Trump—who re-tweets conspiracy theories and invites the affections of white-supremacist groups, and has established himself as the adept inheritor of a long tradition of nativism, discrimination, and authoritarianism—is getting ever closer to becoming the nominee of what Republicans like to call “the party of Abraham Lincoln.” No American demagogue––not Huey Long, not Joseph McCarthy, not George Wallace––has ever achieved such proximity to national power.

The G.O.P. establishment may be in a state of meltdown, but this process of exploiting the darkest American undercurrents began with Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy and, more lately, has included the birther movement and the Obama Derangement Syndrome. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who compete hard for the most extreme positions in conservatism, decry the viciousness and the vacuousness of Trump, but they started out by deferring to him––and now they ape his vulgarity in a last-ditch effort to keep pace. Insults. Bigotry. Nationally televised assurances of adequate genital dimensions. This is the political moment in which we live. The Republican Party, having spent years courting the basest impulses in American political culture, now sees the writing on the wall. It reads “Donald Trump,” in very big letters.

 There is almost nothing new about the 2016 GOP presidential campaign. 

Consider the GOP rhetorical performances of the Presidential campaign of 2015-16: What are the psychological and cognitive characteristics of the audience response in these theaters of ressentiment that politics provides?  One must wonder at the primitive and repetitive nature of the discourse of the current leader on the right, not merely his racist attacks on a variety of others, but also his primitive language (I like; I don't like; good guys; bad guys; I'm great--so great it will make your head spin; he's stupid; what a face; you're ugly, fat, on the rag . . . ).  This rhetorical performance on the right is not only cognitively primitive.  It should be obvious that on the right there are not issues, but postures, gestures, various encodings (chains of signifiers) of the same sado-sexual reflex (the inner logic of racism.  Rage enacted in a political-media theater of violence: This is the essence of what is called "Conservative" today.  And not only rage, but political pornography.  Sex and violence make up the entirety of the inner logic, the generative matrix, of populist Republicanism.  (See Lee Atwater and The Stupid Party.) 

The generative matrix of populist Republicanism?  The third genetic ontology, Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense.  The question of Being/Dasein now opens before us, as a black hole opens at the center of a galaxy, a rupture in the fabric of space-time.  This site is about
"The fundamental historicity of Being" (Zizek, Less Than Nothing, p. 108).  On Dasein, two seemingly contradictory (but actually complementary) sets of texts: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Freud, Klein, and Lacan on one side; and Dewey, Vygotsky and Dupré on the other.

These sado-sexual fixations that are the essense of right-wing signifying chains may dress themselves up as issues (such as abortion or Obamacare), as if they were subject to rational debate and beholden to empirical checks.  But they are clearly not, and one of the indications of the intellectual bankruptcy of liberal and progressive discourse is that it is fundamentally incapable of grasping this elemental fact. Presupposing the universality of the Cartesian self, they take at face value the "reasons" given in the political discourse of the right (i.e., the Texas abortion law now before the Supreme Court) and provide fact-based critiques, as if facts really mattered.  One should understand that the rage against Obama (constantly evoked in the GOP "debates") is racism at its most primordial.
  And this is not new.  This has been the history of the rhetorical appeals of the modern right since McCarthy and Goldwater, and is well established in the scholarly literature on the question.  And it goes even farther back.  The Know Nothing movement (the Tea Party movement of its day), which arose out of the anti-immigrant nativist fervor of the mid 1850s, was a major source of voters in the newly formed Republican Party. (William E. Gienapp, "Nativism and the Creation of a Republican Majority in the North before the Civil War," The Journal of American History, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Dec., 1985), pp. 529-559)

The Republican Party's success in 1856 and later demonstrated, as the 1854 elections had as well, that the strongest political party in the North was one that combined opposition to the Slave Power with anti-Catholicism.  p. 559
the Musso Rant

Video: Father of gun victim to hecklers: ‘What happened to my daughter wasn’t propaganda’
johncantin
A security officer hovers near John Cantin as gun rights activist Daniel Musso harrases him at a gun control rally

Article: Kelly Ayotte Criticized by Domestic Violence Activist, Examiner.com

"Understanding all of Cantin’s words was complicated by the din caused by the guns rights activists, who did not relent in their verbal harassment."

a.  historical literature
b.  chain of signifiers
c.  psychoanalytic lit
d.  Tran Emp/Internet fields of immanence
from Wiki on Know Nothing:

Abraham Lincoln expressed his own disgust with the political party in a private letter to Joshua Speed written in August 24, 1855. Lincoln never publicly attacked the Know Nothings, whose votes he needed:

I am not a Know-Nothing — that is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to that I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.[36]

Notice that Lincoln, who needed their votes, never publicly attacked the Know Nothings. 

At the right is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Lee Atwater.  Atwater was one of the major architects of the GOP's rhetorical strategy, a  political consultant and strategist to the Republican Party, an adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1989-1991.   In 1981, he gave an anonymous interview to political scientist Alexander P. Lamis.  The portion of the interview excerpted at the right is an astonishing exposition of Jacques Lacan's concept of a signifying chain.  What is noteworthy is not Atwater's use of the "N-word", but rather his account of the mobilization of signifiers (states' rights, cutting taxes, etc.) that connect with the unconscious primordial material that itself cannot be simply signified, but can be theorized.  I call it the sado-sexual reflex, but this is not my invention, just a hopefully useful formulation of Freud, Klein and Lacan.  Indeed, this ever-evolving chain of signifiers does not represent the "N-word".  The latter is itself a signifier, and thus part of the historical chain of signifiers (now politically incorrect and thus replaced by other signifiers evoking the same signified) so central to American politics.
from Lee Atwater (Wikipedia)

Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."[10][11]

So the prevalence in our political life of this kind of rhetoric--of this sado-sexual form of identity politics--is not new.  And once the concept of a signifying chain is deployed--once it becomes part of our conceptual armory--politics can never look the same.

What is new is the hijacking of this ship of fools--the base--by a partrimonial outsider, a self-proclaimed führer.  Hitherto the GOP had been dominated in regard to policy-making and personnel by the networks of power centered in the financial and corporate interests reprresented by the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell (the Securities Bloc in Figure 1, at the time referred to as the Eastern Establishment) and by old guard U.S. Chamber  of Commerce businesses (This does include firms associated with the Committee for Economic Development, the preeminent centrist think tank of the post-war years).  At the level of the party apparatus the GOP was dominated by the small town WASP establishments of town and country.  (Miles is good on this.)  And in the domain of the semiosphere the party electorate was dominated by the Chicago Tribune and similar media enterprises. 
[Even Reagan
This was up until 1964.  The Goldwater campaign of 1964 ruptured this relationship between the Eastern Establishment and the WASP party apparatus of town and country.  The significance of Nixon's presidency is in its reintegration of the Party through concessions to the right, achieved through an incorporation of the racist constituencies of George Wallace with a modified signifying chain (Dan T. Carter is good on this).  This was know as the Southern Strategy (see Atwater above right).  The Reagan revolution's massive and catastrophic tax cuts is another landmark on our way to the present, but "Establismnent" appointments predominated in the staffing of the regime.

 The election of Barak Obama was a psychic shock to the cultural-historical organic mass--the base--of the GOP.  Out of this shock media agitators of the far right created the Tea Party "movement" in 2009, which included storming and disrupting town hall meetings meant to explain the Affordable Care Act.  (
"keep your government hands off my Medicare!") The GOP apparatus at the state levels was transformed by the affordance this gave to ambitious politicos (who make the inhabitants of Sinclair Lewis's novel Babbitt look like Quakers), who turned the noun primary into a verb: to be primaried, so that as the immediate prelude to Trump we had a House of Representatives becoming a theater of rage and apocalyptic daring, culminating in the debt-ceiling crises of 2011 and 2013.  Poor speaker John Boehner!  One must appreciate the position he was put in, and why he was so relieved to be out of there.

There is something uncanny in this persisting sado-sexual obsessiveness in politics, in that we see it and simultaneously avoid it, so that in all seriousness Virginia's governor Bob McDonnell can support a bill requiring transvaginal ultrasound of women seeking an abortion . . . and the media takes it seriously on its face, arguing not that the Virginia GOP is suffering from a disease of Nietzschean proportions, but rather that it is an invasion of  privacy, there are medical risks associated with the procedure, etc.  Uncanny!  A political party equal to the realilties of the 21st century will hold up the mirror to this uncanny political posturing, and name it. 

from Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, III, 14:

Here the works of vengefulness and rancor swarm; here the air stinks of secrets and concealment;  . . . and what mendaciousness is employed to disguise that this hatred is hatred!  What a display of grand words and postures, what an art of "honest" calumny!


And this only begins to delve into what is happening, into what it is.  For what is required is a return the question of being.  A new ontology.  And here it is.
uspol
A new ontology?  So far we have refered to the hijacking of the GOP base (augmented to be sure by a new flow of existentially challenged organisms into the field of ultra-nationalist, right-wing, fascist politics) by a new kind of actor made possible by the latest form of capitalism (latest but regressive): patrimonialism.*  This hijacking of this base comprised of existentially challenged organisms is achieved though the seizure of the chain of signifiers and giving it a new twist.  The context of this seizure certainly includes the economic catastrophe that has befalled the less educated segments of the white population, but this does not explain the psychic content, the efficacy of this remobilization of the chain of signifiers.  Unlike Adolph Hitler, who had a party, support from segments of the militiary, etc, trunmp is even more of an outsider.

Now the sadism is more openly performed, boundries of civility are overstepped, taboos trampled in the dust.  Media are so perplexed by this: Trump offends Christian sensibilities.  How then can he gather up the flock.  Here is where we

What this sado-sexual chain of signification is built out of, is an expression of, is the third genetic onntology of Dasein: Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense.

*
 (Piketty,

Richard Lachmann,
American Patrimonialism: the return of the repressed (The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science July 2011 vol. 636 no. 1 204-230), in Patrimonial power in the modern world

special editors, Julia Adams, Mounira M. Charrad  
Ivan Ermakoff and Richard Lachmann: Who Holds Power in the United States
Weber
Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard, 2014): " . . . at the beginning of the twenty-first century Europe seems to be in the avante-guard of the new patrimonial capitalism . . . " 154.  See Paul Krugman review:  the resurgence of “patrimonial capitalism”)Why We’re in a New Gilded Age 

So what happens if we Compare the Democratic and Republican debates of 2015-16: we can ony avoid the question of ontology by remaining blind to the sado secual ...  And blind to it cogntive performativity.

a concept of psuedo-speciation is required to make sense of the differences, which are fundamental
(a first approximation: the Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein).  We are dealing here with different orders of being (and simultaneously with ontological instability) having nothing to do with genes and everything to do with history and culture, culture and power, power and the reactions to power, all made possible by that wonder of wonders, mind and language: "The more we disarmed our environment the more we became our own environment."  (Mind: embodied, extended, enacted and distributed LINK; construction and deconstructon of the subjectLINK.)


Figure 3.  The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontologies
(Five Principles of the Production of Practices)

Genetic Ontology
Sources
(Full page here)
Primate
   Dominance and Deference
Mazur, deWaal, Wrangham . . .
Paleolithic
   Dynamic Egalitarianism
Whiten, Descola, Chase, Price . . .
Ressentiment & the Mechanisms of Defense
   Patrimonialism; Despotic regime;
   Racism; Nationalism; Fascism
Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Clarke, Paxton, Knox . . .
Bildung & the Will to Power (Jouissance)
   Progressive Narcisism; Individuation;
   Progressivism, Socialism, Communism
   the UAW and the Keynesian Elite
Hegel, Nietzsche, Vygotsky, Piaget, Kohut, Alcorn . . . Lacan
Nihilism & the Last Man
   Regressive Narcissism and the   
   Culture of Consumption; Repressive
   Desublimation; Disindividuation;  
   Neoliberalism
Nietzsche, Hall, Ehrenberg, Stiegler, Illouz, Marcuse . . .


To see what I mean when I say pseudo-speciation, consider this example from Sophia Rosenfeld, A Revolution in Language: the Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France (Stanford, 2001).  Two other examples, drawn from the current political scene, are the Musso rant and the Ground Zero debate.  The enormous cognitive gulf between the enlightened representatives of the French Revolution and the villages folk, between the two protagonists in the Ground Zero debate, and between Musso and the modern civilized citizen (Cantin), has been inadequately conceptualized.  The two ontological modalities on display in these texts and videos are emotionally and cognitively at odds.  Of immediate relevance: this excerpt from Jeremy E. C. Genovese, "Piaget, Pedagogy, and Evolutionary Psychology."  [Stalinism]

Language on the threshold of gesture and reflex.  Regression to infantile narcissism via processes of identification, to a politics of patrimonialism.
  This all caught on video, available on the Internet, there for all to see and study.  Certain American classics of the 1940s should be reread today: Lillian Smiths's Killers of the Dream, Wilbur Cash's The Mind of the South, and others.  "The fundamental historicity of Being" (Zizek, Less Than Nothing, p. 108).

This is the Enlightenment's nightmare.  Expectations of progress, civilization, reason--all dashed.  At their most advanced expression in the 20th century--Russ Rev, New Deal, post-war Finland--two of these three lie in ruins.  And for the same reasons, apparently.  It is not Progressivism and Marxism which have failed the people; it is the people who have failed the test of reason, whose cultural-historical (and this means psychological and congitive) development, which showed some promise (see stuff on KE and UAW)
What is the world-historical significance of this hijacking of the Republican "party"?  Figure 3, permits, in the manner of Deleuze and Guatarri, a periodization of not merely history, but Being: the Being of Man.  "The fundamental historicity of Being" (Zizek, Less Than Nothing, p. 108).

We start with the history of the tribe hominini, which contains the genus homo (the only extant variety of which is homo sapiens sapiens) and the genus pan (this latter contains chimpanzees and bonobos).  Dominance and deference.

Turning to ‘egalitarian’ hunter-gatherers, Flannery and Marcus stress various factors: the role of humour, teasing and ridicule as levelling mechanisms; how influence is won not by bullying but through generosity, modesty and diplomacy; how language and intelligence serve – and most probably evolved – to promote social networking; the absolute imperative to share. They remark how strikingly the urge to maintain egalitarianism contrasts with the jostling for power in chimpanzee societies. The explanation, they suggest, is that while apes put sex first, followed by food and then defence, the order for humans is food, defence and then sex.  Dynamic egalitarianism.

The rise of the patrimonial-bureaucratic state.  Ressentiment as adaptation to domination and compulsion.

Emergence of the bourgeois subject; the Enlightenment to New Deal (1753 to 1953).  Modern capitalism.  Production and reality-bound finance.


chain of signifiers = exisential crisis at the heart of being
hijacking

"The so-called 'motive': another error.  Merely a surface phenomenon of consciousness, an accompaniment to an act, which conceals rather than exposes the antecedentia of the act." {re Imus and that which is called racism}

Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (Penguin, 1968), p. 49


Riskiest Political Act of 2016? Protesting at Rallies for Donald Trump
(NYT 3-10-16)

 . . . Trump has unleashed the pent-up fury of economically displaced Americans . . .

The response when a protest breaks out can seem almost biological.

Trump supporters typically begin shouting, pointing, jeering — and sometimes kicking or spitting — at the protester, surrounding the offender in a tight circle, like an antibody trying to isolate and expel an unwanted invader from the bloodstream.

In Louisville on March 1, Ms. Nwanguma was shocked by the reaction from Trump supporters, she said in an interview later. A video of the episode shows her clutching her cellphone and pinballing among outstretched, shoving hands. She said she was thinking, “Oh my God, this can’t be happening,” adding, “I didn’t have any way to assign any names to my feelings.”
Ther is no smoking gun, nothing important behind the scenes.  All that has to be done, as Martin Heidegger (My favorite Nazi philosopher) said, is to make a clearing in which the truth can appear.  Actually, I think Heidegger was something of a bullshit artist.  Hegel and Nietzsche, Heidegger the phenomenologist, then "Freud" and Foucault: they are the intellectual foundation on which this site is built.  And others, mostly communists and socialists active in the New Deal era In New York and Detroit, Pontiac and Flint--these were my mentors.

Because of the dangerous times in which we live--more dangerous perhaps than we can imagine--I am rushing into hypespace with this site.  The original title Man is a Bridge: the Twenty First Century is Nietzsche's Century was an investigation of the "The fundamental historicity of Being" (Zizek, Less Than Nothing, p. 108).

There has been a simple brutishness to the rhetorical performances of the right, an inexhaustible reservoir of rage, cognitively primitive, sadistic in impulse and sexual in symbolic content.

Look at the video above right (Father of Gun Victim) and read the article (Kelly Ayotte Criticised).  John Cantin, who had just lost his daughter to gun violence, and was simply reading the names of recent victims of gun violence, was treated by the Tea Party crowd with a relentless brutishness--relentless and simple (as in simple-minded).  If you watch the entire video you will hear Cantin comments on the intellctual limitations of Musso and the crowd.  (I will include some of them here.)  The article gives you a sense of the texture of the event.  These people are not expressing an opinion on gun legislation; they are performing their rage in the theater of ressentiment that politics provides.

Language on the threshold of gesture and reflex.  Regression to infantile narcissism via processes of identification, to a politics of patrimonialism.  This all caught on video, available on the Internet, there for all to see and study.  Certain American classics of the 1940s should be reread today: Lillian Smiths's Killers of the Dream, Wilbur Cash's The Mind of the South, and others.  "The fundamental historicity of Being" (Zizek, Less Than Nothing, p. 108).

The politics of ressentiment, of projection and displacement, of rage and revenge, of proto-Dorian identification, vicarious . . . in video interviews Trump supporters give reasons as part of process of identification.  I.e., the reason given for supporting Trump is actually a performance of identification.  Once the subtext has come out of the closet and become the text, Trump himself embodies that subject.  Thus, to give reason for support (rhetorical fragments supplied by Trump himself!)

The Persistence of Fascism


The persistence of fascism--the political culture, psychological dispositions and praxiological modalities of ressentiment (Nietzsche's concept).  Ressentiment is the inner life of fascism, racism, and ultra-nationalism
In the United States fascism has become normalized, legitimized within media discourse.  Consider the GOP rhetorical performances of the Presidential campaign of 2015-16: What are the psychological and cognitive characteristics of the audience response in these theaters of ressentiment that politics provides?  One must wonder at the primitive and repetitive nature of the discourse of the current leader on the right, not merely his racist attacks on a variety of others, but also his primitive language (I like; I don't like; good guys; bad guys; I'm great--so great it will make your head spin; he's stupid; what a face; you're ugly, fat, on the rag . . . ).  This rhetorical performance of the right is not only co
gnitively primitive.  It should be obvious that on the right there are not issues, but postures, gestures, various encodings of the same sado-sexual reflex (the inner logic, the generative matrix, of racism).  Rage enacted in a political-media theater of violence: This is the essence of what is called "Conservative" today.  And not only rage, but political pornography.  Sex and violence make up the entirety of the inner logic, the generative matrix, of populist Republicanism.  (See The Stupid Party.)  These sado-sexual fixations may dress themselves up as issues (such as abortion or Obamacare), as if they were subject to rational debate and beholden to empirical checks.  One should understand that the rage against Obama (constantly evoked in the GOP "debates") is racism at its most primordial.

At what grade-level is the Trump rhetorical performance?  Donald Trump Talks Like a Third-Grader.  (Politico, August 13, 1915.)  For presidential hopefuls, simpler language resonates: Trump tops GOP field while talking to voters at fourth-grade level, (Boston Globe, Auguast 20, 2015).  Milbank: Trump’s ‘Captain Underpants’ campaign (Washington Post, Feb. 26, 2016).  This fourth-grade mentality holds the sphere of public discourse hostage.

Compare the Democratic and Republican debates of 2015-16: a concept of psuedo-speciation is required to make sense of the differences, which are fundamental
(a first approximation: the Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein).  We are dealing here with different orders of being (and simultaneously with ontological instability) having nothing to do with genes and everything to do with history and culture, culture and power, power and the reactions to power, all made possible by that wonder of wonders, mind and language: "The more we disarmed our environment the more we became our own environment."  (Mind: embodied, extended, enacted and distributed; construction and deconstructon of the subject.)

To see what I mean when I say pseudo-speciation, consider this example from Sophia Rosenfeld, A Revolution in Language: the Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France (Stanford, 2001).  Two other examples, drawn from the current political scene, are the Musso rant and the Ground Zero debate.  The enormous cognitive gulf between the enlightened representatives of the French Revolution and the villages folk, between the two protagonists in the Ground Zero debate, and between Musso and the modern civilized citizen (Cantin), has been inadequately conceptualized.  The two ontological modalities on display in these texts and videos are emotionally and cognitively at odds.  Of immediate relevance: this excerpt from Jeremy E. C. Genovese, "Piaget, Pedagogy, and Evolutionary Psychology."

Language on the threshold of gesture and reflex.  Regression to infantile narcissism via processes of identification, to a politics of patrimonialism.
  This all caught on video, available on the Internet, there for all to see and study.  Certain American classics of the 1940s should be reread today: Lillian Smiths's
Killers of the Dream, Wilbur Cash's The Mind of the South, and others.  "The fundamental historicity of Being" (Zizek, Less Than Nothing, p. 108).

What follows are a few moments in the recent politics of ressentiment, of projection and displacement, of rage and revenge, moments that are remarked upon in the media but yet go unobserved. This sado-sexual discursive practice is the essence of the GOP's public presence.  For starters: transvaginal ultrasound.
the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State
RRkenewdeal
Source: "Membership List, May 1927," in the Morris L. Cooke Papers, box 66, FDR Library. and the United States Government Manual, 1937
sugggest here that there is a persistent existential catastrophe manifested in fascism, or better, to use Nietzsche's term, ressentiment.

This catastrophe often simmers beneath the surface of "great" politics; it is the raw material molded into a pollically useful form by the inherent opporutinism of political managers and professionals (as dinstinct from the hegemonic elites tha t they either serve or share power with)

Usually something that is catastrophic is seen as a cataclysmic event rather than a persistent condition.  But that all depends upon the level of analysis chosen.  At the level of the organism homo sapiens historicus--post-paleolithic man--life is a series of catastrophes--eternal recurrence, repetition compulsion, mechanisms of defense . . .  The perpetual work of adaptation to power, and the tremendous range of possibilities opened up by the increasing symbolic and institutional complexity of Dasein, give us our being in the world, fractured, dynamic, creative, stagnant, withdrawn, depressive, bold, fearful, anxious, ecstatic, explosive, gregarious, autistic, etc. Ernest Gellner has written a very interesting book--The Psychoanalytic Movement: The Cunning of Unreason--in which he dismisses psychoanalysis as a cult whose therapeutic promise is a false one. To which I respond, the failure of therapy (which is to greatly overstate the case, but I accept his premise for the sake of the point I am making) is hardly an indictment of a specific instantiation of the Second Copernican Revolution (page under construction). Attempts at therapy, whatever their outcome, leave us a record, among other things, of the persistent existential catastrophe that Nietzsche conceptualizes.  Psychoanalysis, together with literature and cognitive-developmental psychology, constitute a counter-narrative to the narrative of neoliberalism  . . . . . . .

It is in the theaters of ressentiment that include the politics of rage and identity that the organism's attempts to deal with this persistent catastrophe are on display.  Look again at The Stupid Party: that's the concrete, everyday stuff that I'm talking about.  And look at Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense, which assembles state-of-the-art contemporary texts indicating that this persistent catastrophe can be traced at least as far back as the First Crusade. To summarize: sado-sexual rage dominates the discursive practice of the GOP's relationship to its base.  This is the emotional side of right-wing politics, a bruitishness, a sado-sexual obsessiveness, that results in institutionalized violence . . . .  a persistent existential catastrophe that Nietzsche diagnosed as ressentiment.  Marx was wrong; Nietzsche was right.


found via Lacan search
 
 

from Michel Foucault, Remarks on Marx : conversations with Duccio Trombadori, translated by R. James Goldstein and James Cascaito (Semiotext(e), 1991)

"It was a matter of calling the theme of the subject into question once again, that great, fundamental postulate which French philosophy,  from Descartes until our own time, had never abandoned.  Setting out with psychoanalysis, Lacan discovered, or brought out into the open, the fact that the theory of the unconscious is incompatible with a theory of the subject (in the Cartesian sense of the term as well as the phenomenological one). . .  Indeed, Lacan concluded that is was precisely the philosophy of the subject which had to be abandoned on account of this incompatibiity, and that the point of departure should be an analysis of the mechanisms of the unconscious." p. 56-7

from stupid party 2015
In fact the sado-sexual obsessiveness of the right is of far greater significance than the endless repetitions of the shibboleths of free market individualism, which themselves function as floating signifiers and performative cues.  The Trump campaign as contextualized theater of ressentiment--meaning the totality of its setting (theater), audience, and rhetoric, cultural-historical contexts--is a good example of this.  Specifically, Trump began his summer offensive with blatant racist comments about Mexicans, and of course the base ate it up.  Subsequently, much of what he said, about political correctness, for example, or about Megan Kelley, functioned as signifiers of the primordial howl.  Thus, by tone and context Trump evokes the racist configuration: the sado-sexual obsessions of the base, and provides an outlet for a chronic non-specific rage, notwithstanding efforts by commentators to Cartesianize this phenomenon by assumping real external causes for this anger (illegal immigration, the economy) processed by a rational cogito.  Lacan's notion of a chain of signifiers and Stuart Hall's concept of the floating signifier are indespensible in seeing beyond the ontic ephemera of the "issues" to the underlying genetic ontology of the politics of ressentiment.
The ad-hocness of democracy: elite competition (which includes mobilization of a variety of mobs and other milieu--the Federalists vs. the Jeffersonians in election of 1800) modified by popular insurgencies
The Imus Brouhaha and That Which is called Racism