Monday, April 21, 2003

The Algebra of Negedism

It is high time that we gave a name to the anti-war/anti-American movement that can describe its philosophy with something resembling appropriate accuracy. We could call them communists, but there are enough isolationist right-wingers, anarchists, and various variants of Marxism among them to allow their more intelligent members to wriggle away from the appellation through various abuses of the English language. We could call them anarchists, but there are simply too many of them--indeed, nearly all of them--dedicated to the doctrine of the supreme state--so long as they are in charge of course--to make this particularly effective. We could call them isolationists, but they are too in love with the UN for that. Anti-imperialist might do, but they have ardently defended Left-wing imperialism from the very beginning, and the theocratic imperialism of radical Islam doesn’t seem to bother them at all.
The truth is that, as Norman Mailer pointed out thirty years ago in his nearly unreadable memoir Armies of the Night, this movement’s ideology is not to have an ideology. The revolution will come first, and the revolution will teach its revolutionaries what the new order will be through the process of annihilating the old one. This ideology of pure upheaval, without any thought towards what will follow the day after, obviously entails immense freedom of action. The movement, such as it is, can be--quite literally--for anything at any time. Any number of groups, possibly all of them with contradictory ideologies, can be brought into an alliance, so long as they are all dedicated to the single principle of violent upheaval.
I propose we henceforth refer to this movement by a single, umbrella term: negedism. The word, ironically enough, considering the movement's anti-semitic predilictions, is a Hebrew one: neged. It means against, or anti. It is the root of such words as mitnagdim, opposition. It connotes an absolute and unflinching stance against something, a perfect description of this movement, which is purely opposed--in fact, considers opposition the only means by which it can formulate its ideas--its opposition, its neged, is the core, the essence of the movement itself.
Also, note the sound of the word itself, slightly hollow, like something thunking into a plank of wood. One might even say it sounds like something vaguely unintelligent and retarded. A perfect description, I would say, for a movement which traffics in intellectual bankruptcy.
Of course, coining a word based in a foreign language few people know is risky, but half the words you read in your average magazine article are usually lifted from Greek or Latin, and Hebrew is the basis for a fair number of English words, including my own name. I think its worth a shot.


Post a Comment

<< Home