Wendy Brown - Nihilistic Times

Author: Brown, Wendy
Title: Nihilistic Times: Thinking with Max Weber
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Year: 2023
Link: https://worldcat.org/en/title/1340974248

pages 14-15:

In sum, for Weber, in modernity, on the one hand, all meaning is revealed as made, not discovered, and values are undecidable. On the other hand, established meanings are relentlessly unmade by forces of disenchantment and rationalization, respectively the usurpation of myth and mystery by science and the cannibalization of ends by means in an instrumentally rational world.

pages 18-19:

Thus, while Weber understood politics in his time to be saturated with nihilistic effects, he also saw its unique potential as a domain for articulating, mobilizing, and struggling over the questions of how we should live together after answers rooted in tradition or moral-religious foundations have been undone by the related yet distinct forces of disenchantment and rationalization. At the same time, since the currency of politics is power, its ultimate instrument is violence, and its essence is partisanship, there can be no political neutrality, objectivity, or peace ever. The value struggles unfolding in its domain are eternal -- cold comfort for those still invested in narratives of progress, not to mention harmony or epistemic universality.
This is the capsule version of my interpretation of Weber, and of why I think Weber's wrestle with nihilism in politics and knowledge is useful to our predicaments in both realms today ....

page 50:

Nihilism, generated in part by the expanded force and venue of freedom's mechanical form (the throwing off of religious and traditional authority, the rise of instrumental rationality), threatens to extinguish freedom's soulful form. This is the story Weber tells of capitalism, industrialization, and bureaucracy, of disenchantment and ubiquitous rationalization, which together culminates in the "iron cage" that houses us all in modernity.

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