People don’t actually read most internet articles. They read the headlines. Maybe they skim the article. Then they sound off on their opinion in the comments. Quite often, these opinions end up in an online battle akin to the ferocity of the American Civil War. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong and the article is irrelevant. Why is this? Why do people do this? The first inclination for me is to blame the desire of Twitter versions of all information. People want their information in 44 characters or less. But I don’t think that’s the totality of it.
I spend days (sometimes weeks or months) writing most of the things on this website. I have limited ads because they break up the continuity of the writing. I want the focus to be on the writing itself, not the layout. That said, most people don’t read this website because my writings are too long. I know this. That’s fine. I just cannot condense complex concepts into 100 characters. Things are really just far too complicated. But I think this issue is much broader than just this website. Or just online articles.
Yesterday I wrote about the rise of neoliberalism and how it desires unemployment. The implications of neoliberalism are much more far reaching than just simply desiring unemployment. Neoliberalism creates it’s own hegemony. What I see today is the insidious side of neoliberalism. So, yes, I am going to claim that neoliberalism is the reason people don’t read articles or have thoughtful conversations about issues (on or off social media). The core of neoliberalism is the focus on the individual and the dismissal of society. In this way, the dismissal of all authority has a core causality stemming from neoliberal philosophy. To be clear about my fundamental claim here: The denial of all authority is not counter-hegemonic but the result of neoliberalism.
We have seen the rise of “social movements” that profess to be “leaderless.” There is a current epidemic in the dismissal of all authority. The claim of this decade, maybe this new century, is that by smashing the concept of hierarchy, we are smashing the dominant, social hegemony. This is incorrect. The dominant hegemony is one in which every individual is their own authority. By claiming there is no hierarchy that can be legitimate, we are supporting the neoliberal idea that ‘markets’ and that economic systems should be unregulated and that there’s no legitimate authority. That government has no role in contributing to society. I’m going to argue here that this has become one of the dominant themes of our social conception of the current era. Continue reading No Authority