Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I Watch House of Cards - I'm so trendy!

Watching House of Cards.  Good show though too much of it can become nauseating.  I watched all of Bojack Horseman in less than four days (I believe) and though it all began to blur together I never was sickened by it.  What the show is about is clear.  Main character represents a Machiavellian Egoist who "serves the civic interest" essentially for his own vanity and power; seen clearly by him being a Democrat who makes an education bill they're working on more conservative.  Frank Underwood has in some sense no values, he's a Nihilist and Egoist who'll do anything to get what he wants (and why does he want what he wants?  Because he wants it), but in some sense he portrays a type of belief in the "right to rule" seen in Aristotle and Hobbes among others.  With Aristotle, some are superior to others and the superior ones should rule over the inferior.  For Hobbes it was simply a matter of social necessity that a ruler make decrees and we follow them.  In a way I think Underwood is more Hobbsian; I don't think he has any illusions that what he's doing is making people better or more virtuous, he simply rationalizes that someone has to rule and why not it be him?  Another comparison that seems clear is to Plato.  In the Republic one of the main differences illustrated is the appearance of justice or a just man and "real" justice and morality.  Not just its facade.  Clearly Underwood represents the man who agrees with and embodies Gylcon's (if spelling is wrong then oh well) argument of the appearance of something being more important (or all that is necessary) than the thing-itself.

Also this shows portrayal of Washington reminds me of Stirner's Association of Egoists.  Everyone helping each other not because it's the right thing to do, but out of either fear or doing favors for the other.  This also was explored somewhat in Boardwalk Empire. I prefer BE to HoC.  But that's partly because BE was a crime and historical drama when HoC is a political drama that's a tad long-winded for its own good in my opinion.  Written very well but personally I find it predictable.  It makes commentary that could be interpreted in an Anarchist direction however.  Saying essentially, "when people rule, they rule for their interests and their own vanity - not to serve the people."  Now obviously people get into public service largely because they do care about people and/or politics but I do think that any hierarchical organization like commerce or government has a tendency towards Egoism and away from supporting the "good" for its own sake.  Organizations first-and-foremost are typically concerned with maintaining their own power and that involves both social and psychological manifestations of power.  The very concept of political power is an Egoist concept I believe.  Meant to give a unearned sense of worth through fame that the Cynics would be very, well, cynical of.

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