It is hard in contemporary political discourse not to come across the word “Fuck”. Whether online, in the streets or in day-to-day conversation, the positions of political adversaries are dismissed wholesale in an orgy of Fucks. I have been surprised for quite some time how widespread the politics of Fuck actually is. Though perhaps it is not so much its pervasiveness, but the lack of criticism of Fuck which I find hard to understand.

This absence is all the more notable since it should not require much effort to convince others to pull Fuck out of their political vocabulary. The politics of Fuck consists of two parts. There is the complete rejection of the political adversary’s position or even the adversary himself. Middle-of-the-road solutions and compromises are excluded. Though often unhelpful, this is not necessarily problematic. For some political issues principle ought to trump compromise and attempting to reach a consensus would not so much be a sign of pragmatism as evidence of a lack of conviction.

Where Fuck goes wrong is in the equally stubborn refusal to argue our own positions. The presumption is that since these positions are so correct as to be self-evident, it is not only unnecessary to substantiate them, but it would be ridiculous to do so. This rejection of argument intended to show strength and resilience is in fact a display of political impotence as it can only appeal to those already convinced. Fuck is unable to defend, penetrate or construct hegemonic discourses. It has no power to bear witness to atrocities or testify to moral fortitude. By resorting to Fuck we give up the means we have to engage in politics in favour of puerilism.

Being on the political Left, it seems to me that Fuck is more in use there than on the Right. This is all the more embarrassing given the prevalent and smug presumption that the Left is more intellectual and fact-oriented than the Right. It is a sign of the crisis which the political Left feels itself to be in. It is therefore all the more important to abstain from the politics of Fuck and tell others to do the same. For if the Left is to recover, it needs to become better again at convincing people and part of that means coming to terms with the poverty of Fuck.

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One thought on “Note 9: The poverty of Fuck

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