• Les hommes ne détestent rien tant que le changement...



    Les hommes ne détestent rien tant que le changement. On pourrait presque lire l’histoire humaine comme une lutte permanente pour le conjurer. Le génie humain pourrait presque se résumer à l’art de contenir et d’encadrer, tant bien que mal, l’écoulement du temps. Ce qui caractérise la modernité, c’est en fin de compte l’effondrement des digues temporelles traditionnelles, effondrement qui se caractérise par un double mouvement : le renforcement centripète d’un pôle de stabilité autour de l’État — le Léviathan de Hobbes relève bien d’un enracinement — couplé à un renforcement centrifuge de l’économie et du marché. Ces deux mouvements doivent être conçus ensembles, en interdépendance. Ce grand écart entre stabilité et mouvement, pour ainsi dire sur le plan horizontal, doit en outre être complété par un grand écart vertical dans la durée, qui permet de mettre face à face la déchirure du présent — résultant de l’opposition entre ces forces centripètes et centrifuges — et la promesse de leur réunification future à travers la mythologie du progrès. C’était du moins le cas dans la phase classique de la modernité (pour schématiser, du XVIe au XIXe siècle). (...)

    #changement #histoire #Hobbes #cataclysme #crise #Covid-19 #société #État #marché #modernité #économie #accélération #déséquilibre #révolution #Internationale_situationniste #capitalisme #Polanyi

  • Coronavirus has not suspended politics – it has revealed the nature of power

    In a lockdown, we can see the essence of politics is still what #Hobbes described: some people get to tell others what to do.
    We keep hearing that this is a war. Is it really? What helps to give the current crisis its wartime feel is the apparent absence of normal political argument. The prime minister goes on TV to issue a sombre statement to the nation about the curtailment of our liberties and the leader of the opposition offers nothing but support. Parliament, insofar as it is able to operate at all, appears to be merely going through the motions. People are stuck at home, and their fights are limited to the domestic sphere. There is talk of a government of national unity. Politics-as-usual has gone missing.

    But this is not the suspension of politics. It is the stripping away of one layer of political life to reveal something more raw underneath. In a democracy we tend to think of politics as a contest between different parties for our support. We focus on the who and the what of political life: who is after our votes, what they are offering us, who stands to benefit. We see elections as the way to settle these arguments. But the bigger questions in any democracy are always about the how: how will governments exercise the extraordinary powers we give them? And how will we respond when they do?

    These are the questions that have always preoccupied political theorists. But now they are not so theoretical. As the current crisis shows, the primary fact that underpins political existence is that some people get to tell others what to do. At the heart of all modern politics is a trade-off between personal liberty and collective choice. This is the Faustian bargain identified by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes in the middle of the 17th century, when the country was being torn apart by a real civil war.

    As Hobbes knew, to exercise political rule is to have the power of life and death over citizens. The only reason we would possibly give anyone that power is because we believe it is the price we pay for our collective safety. But it also means that we are entrusting life-and-death decisions to people we cannot ultimately control.
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    The primary risk is that those on the receiving end refuse to do what they are told. At that point, there are only two choices. Either people are forced to obey, using the coercive powers the state has at its disposal. Or politics breaks down altogether, which Hobbes argued was the outcome we should fear most of all.

    In a democracy, we have the luxury of waiting for the next election to punish political leaders for their mistakes. But that is scant consolation when matters of basic survival are at stake. Anyway, it’s not much of a punishment, relatively speaking. They might lose their jobs, though few politicians wind up destitute. We might lose our lives.

    The rawness of these choices is usually obscured by the democratic imperative to seek consensus. That has not gone away. The government is doing all it can to dress up its decisions in the language of commonsense advice. It says it is still trusting individuals to show sound judgment. But as the experience of other European countries shows, as the crisis deepens the stark realities become clearer. Just watch the footage of Italian mayors screaming at their constituents to stay at home. “Vote for me or the other lot get in” is routine democratic politics. “Do this or else” is raw democratic politics. At that point it doesn’t look so different from politics of any other kind.

    This crisis has revealed some other hard truths. National governments really matter, and it really matters which one you happen to find yourself under. Though the pandemic is a global phenomenon, and is being experienced similarly in many different places, the impact of the disease is greatly shaped by decisions taken by individual governments. Different views about when to act and how far to go still mean that no two nations are having the same experience. At the end of it all we may get to see who was right and what was wrong. But for now, we are at the mercy of our national leaders. That is something else Hobbes warned about: there is no avoiding the element of arbitrariness at the heart of all politics. It is the arbitrariness of individual political judgment.

    Under a lockdown, democracies reveal what they have in common with other political regimes: here too politics is ultimately about power and order. But we are also getting to see some of the fundamental differences. It is not that democracies are nicer, kinder, gentler places. They may try to be, but in the end that doesn’t last. Democracies do, though, find it harder to make the really tough choices. Pre-emption – the ability to tackle a problem before it becomes acute – has never been a democratic strength. We wait until we have no choice and then we adapt. That means democracies are always going to start off behind the curve of a disease like this one, though some are better at playing catch-up than others.

    Autocratic regimes such as China also find it hard to face up to crises until they have to – and, unlike democracies, they can suppress the bad news for longer if it suits them. But when action becomes unavoidable, they can go further. The Chinese lockdown succeeded in containing the disease through ruthless pre-emption. Democracies are capable of being equally ruthless – as they showed when prosecuting the total wars of the 20th century.

    But in a war, the enemy is right in front of you. During this pandemic the disease reveals where it has got to only in the daily litany of infections and deaths. Democratic politics becomes a kind of shadow boxing: the state doesn’t know which bodies are the really dangerous ones.
    It’s right that parliament shuts – but democracy can’t be suspended
    Polly Toynbee
    Polly Toynbee
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    Some democracies have managed to adapt faster: in South Korea the disease is being tamed by extensive tracing and widespread surveillance of possible carriers. But in that case, the regime had recent experience to draw on in its handling of the Mers outbreak of 2015, which also shaped the collective memory of its citizens. Israel may also be doing a better job than many European countries – but it is a society already on a permanent warlike footing. It is easier to adapt when you have adapted already. It is much harder when you are making it up as you go along.

    In recent years, it has sometimes appeared that global politics is simply a choice between rival forms of technocracy. In China, it is a government of engineers backed up by a one-party state. In the west, it is the rule of economists and central bankers, operating within the constraints of a democratic system. This creates the impression that the real choices are technical judgments about how to run vast, complex economic and social systems.

    But in the last few weeks another reality has pushed through. The ultimate judgments are about how to use coercive power. These aren’t simply technical questions. Some arbitrariness is unavoidable. And the contest in the exercise of that power between democratic adaptability and autocratic ruthlessness will shape all of our futures. We are a long way from the frightening and violent world that Hobbes sought to escape nearly 400 years ago. But our political world is still one Hobbes would recognise.

    #pouvoir #politique #coronavirus #covid-19 #confinement

  • https://lundi.am/Le-coronavirus-et-l-etat-d-exception-en-chacun

    Rappel pour les élèves du premier rang : le contrat social qui a inspiré et inspire le plus le réseau de pouvoir n’est pas celui de Jean-Jacques Rousseau mais bien celui de Thomas Hobbes - « Le Léviathan » - ayant engendré entre autres le courant utilitariste dont le panoptique de Jeremy Bentham. Ce brillant ouvrage d’urbanisme (Le Panoptique !) à l’usage de nos gouvernants a enfanté l’architecture de la plupart de nos prisons mais aussi de nos écoles. Peu intéressés par la science-politique et l’urbanisme carcéral, vous vous demandez quel est le rapport entre ce contrat social et le caractère terrorisant de cette grippe ?

    #coercition #terreur_d'état #gestionnaires_du_cheptel_humain

  • #Concurrence ou entraide ?

    Si l’on invoque souvent à tort #Hobbes ou #Darwin pour faire de la loi du plus fort une prétendue loi naturelle, l’ingénieur agronome #Pablo_Servigne, spécialiste de la transition écologique, souligne que la coopération et l’entraide sont elles aussi au cœur de l’évolution. Face à lui, l’économiste #Christian_Cordes souligne l’importance de la #compétitivité et de ses règles dans un monde globalisé.

    #vidéo #ressources_pédagogiques #entraide #darwinisme #sélection_naturelle #altruisme #égoïsme #coopération #individualisme #groupes #compétition #Thomas_Hobbes

    Pablo Servigne :

    « La culture de l’individualisme on l’a développée depuis des décennies, celle qui nous fait dire ’si il n’y a plus rien dans les magasins, je vais vite aller stocker de la nourriture pour survivre’. C’est la culture de l’égoïsme qui nous fait faire cela. A court terme, ça marche, mais à très court terme, après il faut coopérer, il faut apprendre à s’entraider avec ses voisins si on veut survivre, sinon on est mort quand les stockent finissent. La clé c’est de comprendre que ce ne sont pas les #pénuries le plus dangereux. L’être humain sait gérer les pénuries depuis des centaines de milliers d’années. Ce qui est dangereux c’est d’arriver dans les pénuries avec une culture de l’égoïsme. C’est pour cela qu’on a besoin de mettre les lunettes de la coopération et de l’entraide pour désamorcer cette bombe sociale, pour arriver dans les pénuries ou dans les catastrophes mieux armés humainement ».

    • L’Entraide. L’autre loi de la jungle

      Dans cette arène impitoyable qu’est la vie, nous sommes tous soumis à la « loi du plus fort », la loi de la jungle. Cette mythologie a fait émerger une société devenue toxique pour notre génération et pour notre planète.

      Aujourd’hui, les lignes bougent. Un nombre croissant de nouveaux mouvements, auteurs ou modes d’organisation battent en brèche cette vision biaisée du monde et font revivre des mots jugés désuets comme « altruisme », « coopération », « solidarité » ou « bonté ». Notre époque redécouvre avec émerveillement que dans cette fameuse jungle il flotte aussi un entêtant parfum d’entraide…

      Un examen attentif de l’éventail du vivant révèle que, de tout temps, les humains, les animaux, les plantes, les champignons et les micro-organismes – et même les économistes ! – ont pratiqué l’entraide. Qui plus est, ceux qui survivent le mieux aux conditions difficiles ne sont pas forcément les plus forts, mais ceux qui s’entraident le plus.

      Pourquoi avons-nous du mal à y croire ? Qu’en est-il de notre ten­dance spontanée à l’entraide ? Comment cela se passe-t-il chez les autres espèces ? Par quels mécanismes les personnes d’un groupe peuvent-elles se mettre à collaborer ? Est-il possible de coopérer à l’échelle internatio­nale pour ralentir le réchauffement climatique ?

      À travers un état des lieux transdisciplinaire, de l’éthologie à l’anthro­pologie en passant par l’économie, la psychologie et les neurosciences, Pablo Servigne et Gauthier Chapelle nous proposent d’explorer un im­mense continent oublié, à la découverte des mécanismes de cette « autre loi de la jungle ».


    • Lire ou relire « L’entraide facteur d’évolution » de Pierre Kropotkine. Un grand siècle de distance mais peu de rides. Lire ou relire aussi « l’évolution, la révolution et l’idéal anarchique » de Reclus. Peut-être qu’un jour on arrêtera de tourner en rond !

  • L’inquiétant Monsieur #Hobbes

    De Hobbes, on a l’habitude de brosser un tableau sans nuance : son œuvre justifierait l’absolutisme le plus terrible, sa théorie politique serait le comble de l’immoralité. Cette lecture, explique L. Foisneau, est injuste.

    Livres & études

    / Hobbes, #anthropologie, #justice, #individu, souveraineté

    #Livres_&_études #souveraineté

  • Promesse oblige

    Le fait de promettre implique-t-il nécessairement que l’on soit obligé de tenir sa promesse ? Et si tel est le cas, comment peut-on le prouver ? La réponse d’Alain Boyer est que toute promesse oblige et que la meilleure manière de le prouver est de relire #Hobbes à partir de la théorie des jeux.

    Livres & études

    / #morale, Hobbes, #engagement


  • Zephyr Teachout’s ‘#Corruption in America’

    You have probably heard pundits say we are living in an age of “legalized bribery”; “Corruption in America” is the book that makes their case in careful detail.


    #Corporations now possess the rights that the founders reserved for citizens, and as Teachout explains, what used to be called “corruption becomes democratic responsiveness.”


    Teachout gives us a long and savory chapter on the legal history of lobbying. Once upon a time, #lobbying was regarded as obviously perfidious (...)

    #démocratie #Etats-Unis #leadership #corruption_légale

    • #Lobbying Used to Be Illegal: A Review of Zephyr Teachout’s New Book on the Secret History of #Corruption in America

      (Novembre 2014)

      Teachout points out something fairly obvious, but not recognized today — the theoretical underpinning of the American revolution was that a corrupt government had no legitimacy to govern. This is something the founders well recognized. The debates they had — Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington, Hamilton, and people in the culture at large — reflected a divide between political philosophers Thomas #Hobbes versus Baron de #Montesquieu. Hobbes’s vision, echoed today among the Chicago school’s law and economics scholars, was that corruption as a concept made no sense. Life was a brutal competition among selfish actors. In such a paradigm, a revolution would simply be a question of raw power, rather than any set of principles.

      The founders roundly repudiated this view, adopting Montesquieu’s arguments that there is such a thing as a public interest and that people could orient themselves around it given sufficient personal virtue and adequate structural incentives to do so. Montesquieu is best-known for his promotion of the concept of different branches of government, but that concept came from his moral view of human nature. Teachout shows that questions of bribery were fairly insignificant in the dialogue over the structure of the new republic, whereas anti-corruption as a Montesquieu-influenced deliberative design principle was the key animator of the shaping of the country.


  • L’ombre du Léviathan - La Vie des idées

    Dans une présentation accessible de la philosophie de Hobbes, Jean Terrel propose des interprétations franches d’une pensée complexe, qui n’en finit pas de faire débat. S’y dessine un théoricien libéral pour lequel la politique s’ordonne à la vraie religion.

    #Philosophie #Hobbes #religion #philosophie_politique #libéralisme #liberté