Shaviro on Communism, Hegel

I suppose today’s theme of the day is Marxism. Wear the appropriate red clothing. In any case, Shaviro has a nice post up on economism, critiquing Hardt and Negri’s reworking of Marx. Here’s where he ends up:

I think that the whole subjective/objective opposition, which Hardt/Negri retain as a legacy of Hegelianism, needs to be questioned in the light of speculative realism’s attack on correlationism. The point would not be to get rid of the strong sense that economic arrangements are matters of concern for human beings in particular, but to understand the workings of such arrangements in a different way. I do not think that Marxist capital logic needs to be confined to the Hegelian framework, even if this framework is where he started out from. …

Hegel, here wearing what should be the philosopher's uniform.

Hegel, here wearing what should be the philosopher's uniform.

I think that overall Shaviro is right in his critique of H&N, whose work can often be critiqued as he does here: “H&N then take a rhetorical slide…” (Which, fyi, is also a terrible dance move. Ba da bum…) But I would just say: can we give Hegel his due? The subject/object split is so Phenomenology of Spirit, when all the cool kids read the Science of Logic. By which I mean, we need to put an end to readings of Hegel that see him as offering oppositions that often are just moments in the dialectic he’s describing. Usually you get renditions (not in Shaviro) that Subject = Spirt, and that’s bad, though it’s not the subject of subject/object. You often saw this in the heyday of po-mo theory, with the usual upshot that Hegel was a totalitarian or something. But Hegel is always best thought as someone who has speculatively (yes, speculative, so respect has to be made for giving part of the name to Speculative Realism) thought out every move you can try, and then you need see what precipitate is left for rethinking him from there.

But this does remind me of Schopenhauer’s GIbbon-esque takedown of Hegel, which is what makes Schopenauer always a good read (thanks for some of my colleagues, including Michelle Grier, for turning me on to Schopenhauer after a long absence from his work…). This is from World as Will and Representation:

Hegel offers the “greatest effrontery in serving up sheer nonsense, in scrabbling together senseless and maddening webs of words, such as had previously been heard only in madhouses, finally appeared in Hegel. It became the instrument of the most ponderous and general mystification that has ever existed, with the result that will seem incredible to posterity, and be a lasting monument to German stupidity.