Manning will probably go to prison – perhaps even Snowden. The irony is that the media will keep telling us that Chomsky is a dangerous thinker; he is very dangerous, and has been for a very long time. The same phrase or cliché is constantly used by them when they talk about Žižek; and they will talk about Chomsky and Žižek a lot and for a long time. According to these media, they are both very dangerous, but they will not go to prison. How can we, then, say that they are dangerous? What is the meaning of this supposed danger? Who is at risk? And what does it mean to be dangerous in the world of capitalism, how can someone be dangerous with thoughts, concepts and ideas?
There are even more radical questions we need to try to answer, because our lives are overdetermined by ideology of security. We all sometimes feel that everything around us is dangerous, including other people, water, food and air. Is thus also dangerous capitalism or neoliberalism? Who is endangered in this world of capitalism? The 1 %? Of course not. Who then?
Is thinking, especially theoretical or philosophical thinking, really dangerous? How can be thinking dangerous at all? Maybe it was dangerous hundreds of years ago, in the dark ages, but it cannot be dangerous now, because we all live in democratic societies with high standards of living, where everyone is free to think and say aloud anything she or he wants. How is it possible to be dangerous if you are not a terrorist, psychopath or a murderer?
There is even more. What can be dangerous inside constantly and rapidly changing creative capitalism? The answer is very clear: nothing at all. The danger is only external, embodied in Muslims, for instance, or in the person of Manning or Snowden. We also know that food, water, air and other things inside capitalism can be dangerous, but at the same time we are all protected from those things and we know very well how to protect ourselves. And ideas are not among dangerous things in this world. Why not? They are not dangerous, because we don’t consider them to be dangerous; we simply cynically refuse to believe that ideas can possibly be dangerous.
The simple truth is, that capitalism is a closed and very, very powerful system which is able to assimilate every thought, every kind of critical thinking, every theory and every philosophy before you say shit, because it can learn very fast and in very complex ways – with a little help of friendly intellectuals, of course. If they say that this or that thinker is dangerous, it’s only a part of the game. The word dangerous is just a useful and profitable label.
Capitalism is endlessly flexible, adaptable, and it can use any ideas, thoughts and other things for the purpose of its own survival. We are hence all forced to live in a very specific way: we must constantly adapt ourselves to capitalism, if we want to survive; we must adapt ideas, we must use them in pragmatic ways, no matter how dangerous they could become.
So must Chomsky and Žižek, because they don’t live outside capitalism; they don’t live nowhere, in empty space.
On the other hand, there are some really dangerous men and women in this world. Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, for instance, or Julian Assange. The situation is therefore rather obvious: it is information that is really important and dangerous, not critical, philosophical or theoretical thought. Information about what?
Information about hidden governmental activities. These activities are part of global control over free people. They need to control people; capital needs to control them. Why?
We live in a dead world where the freedom of capital is much more important than the freedom of people. There is no freedom of people, really. There is just an illusion of freedom. Information about this illusion is therefore important; the illusion is even more important, because it is for sale. Illusion must not be disclosed. It must remain. So must hidden activities.
The perspective is now clear: they need hidden information, we need hidden information. Theoretical thought is too hard to chew and swallow. Maybe it is about the freedom of people and about the truth of capitalism, but usually it is too complex, full of jargon and inapprehensible phrases. Žižek needs do adapt. And he does, every day. Chomsky is right: there are too many fancy words in this world.
Of course, because they are very useful and lucrative; or at least we believe that they are.
What is to be done? Do we need fancy words or the truth about capitalism? Do we need only information and then even more information? Do we need new phrases, new jargon, new complex ideas?
The answer to these questions is rather naïve, but it is good. Our everyday lives are literary immersed in ideologies; in ideology of safety, for instance, or in ideology of healthy lives. All today’s ideologies are only possible because there are many intellectuals constantly providing useful knowledge and information. The irony is that ideologies need – thoughts. They are useless without thinking people. Animals don’t know anything about ideological praxis. Here, Žižek is absolutely right, claiming that we need new theoretical insights if we want to survive as thinking beings, because radical thought beyond fancy words, which is always about the truth, is indigestible even for capitalism.
Radical thoughts are always dangerous, because they go to the roots. And at the roots of capitalism is control over people and exploitation of working people. Really dangerous ideas are not labels, because they are about exploitation, control, violence, cynicism and double moral standards.
The point is that today the information about hidden governmental activities can support radical theoretical thinking about this world. On the other hand, theoretical thinking without this kind of information is only a bunch of fancy words.
We don’t need new jargon or dangerous fancy words – we desperately need new radical Ideas and simple information about activities which are obviously far beyond our daily opinions about the truths of the world. And it doesn’t matter who will provide them – Žižek, Chomsky, Snowden, or the neighbor next door.