Multiculturalism, or, the Cultural Logic of Multinational Capitalism

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It is as if we are witnessing today the ultimate confirmation of Freud's thesis, from Civilization and its Discontents, on how, after every assertion of Eros, Thanatos reasserts itself with a vengeance. At the very moment when, according to the predominant liberal ideology, we are finally leaving behind the "immature" political passions (the regime of the "political": class struggle and other "out-dated" divisive antagonisms) for the post-ideological "mature" pragmatic universe of rational administration and negotiated consensus, for the universe, free of utopian impulses, in which the dispassionate administration of social affairs goes hand in hand with the aestheticized hedonism (the pluralism of "ways of life"), — at this very moment, the foreclosed political is celebrating a triumphant comeback in its most archaic form of pure, undistilled racist hatred of the Other which renders the rational tolerant attitude utterly impotent. In this precise sense, the contemporary "postmodern" racism is the symptom of the multiculturalist late capitalism, bringing to the light the inherent contradiction of the liberal-democratic ideological project. Liberal "tolerance" condones the folklorist Other deprived of its substance (like the multitude of "ethnic cuisines" in a contemporary megalopolis) — any "real" Other is instantly denounced for its "fundamentalism", since the kernel of Otherness resides in the regulation of its jouissance, i.e. the "real Other" is by definition "patriarchal", "violent", never the Other of ethereal wisdom and charming customs. One is tempted to reactualize here the old Marcusean notion of "repressive tolerance", reconceiving it as the tolerance of the Other in its aseptized, benign form, which forecloses the dimension of the Real of the Other's jouissance.