"The ‘healthy’ sign, for Barthes, is one which draws attention to its own arbitrariness—which does not try to palm itself off as ‘natural’ but which, in the very moment of conveying a meaning, communicates something of its own relative, artificial status as well. …Signs which pass themselves off as natural, which offer themselves as the only conceivable way of viewing the world, are by that token authoritarian and ideological. It is one of the functions of ideology to ‘naturalize’ social reality, to make it seem as innocent and unchangeable as Nature itself. Ideology seeks to convert culture into Nature, and the ‘natural’ sign is one of its weapons. Saluting a flag, or agreeing that Western democracy represents the true meaning of the word ‘freedom’, become the most obvious, spontaneous responses in the world. Ideology, in this sense, is a kind of contemporary mythology, a realm which has purged itself of ambiguity and alternative possibility."
- Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction [2nd Ed.] (1996; p. 117)
"After thus proving clearly that capitalist production would still continue to exist even if it did not exist, Mill now proceeds, quite consistently, to show that it would not exist even if it did exist."
Karl Marx, Chapter 16
Not only is Marx being wonderfully sassy here, but he managed to explain pretty much every libertarian ideologue ever up to this date. We’ve never had capitalism/everyone is a capitalist get fucked.
Since we are on the topic of libertarianism…
Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike ‘1+1=2’ or ‘there are no square circles,’ an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions.
You can’t really argue about the first kind of opinion. I’d be silly to insist that you’re wrong to think strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate. The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take opinions of the second and even the third sort to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. Perhaps that’s one reason (no doubt there are others) why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views ‘respected.’
- “No, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion.” (via towerofsleep)
"Ideology is essentially the belief that perspective is truth. That is to say, that the way in which things appear from the material and economically grounded standpoint of my own consciousness is not just the way they appear to me, but the way they actually are."
- Paul Fry (via hookedonsemiotics)
"For it must be cried out, at a time when some have the audacity to neo-evangelize in the name of the ideal of a liberal democracy that has finally realized itself as the ideal of human history: never have violence, inequality, exclusion, famine, and thus economic oppression affected as many human beings in the history of the earth and of humanity. Instead of singing the advent of the ideal of liberal democracy and of the capitalist market in the euphoria of the end of history, instead of celebrating the ‘end of ideologies’ and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let us never neglect this obvious macroscopic fact, made up of innumerable singular sites of suffering: no degree of progress allows one to ignore that never before, in absolute figures, have so many men, women and children been subjugated, starved or exterminated on the earth."
- Jacques Derrida, on Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man (via orioleorgans)