Bare Biology

We can now appreciate why Del Noce claimed that a technocratic society grounded in scientism is totalitarian, though not obviously authoritarian in the sense of openly violent forms of repression. In a strongly worded passage of an essay titled, “The Roots of the Crisis,” he predicted fifty years ago:

The remaining believers in a transcendent authority of values will be marginalized and reduced to second-class citizens. They will be imprisoned, ultimately, in “moral” concentration camps. But nobody can seriously think that moral punishments will be less severe than physical punishments. At the end of the process lies the spiritual version of genocide.

In a technocratic society, one ends up in a moral concentration camp if one is not on board with the pseudo-science du jour, the ideological trend of the moment. Whatever questions, concerns, or objections one might raise—whether philosophical, religious, ethical, or simply a different interpretation of scientific evidence—need not be considered. The dissident’s questions or opinions do not count; they are ruled-out by appeal to “The Science”—trademarked by the regime and printed with a capital T and capital S.

In another striking passage, written even earlier in 1968, Del Noce warned:

The de-humanization process that characterized the totalitarian regimes did not stop [after World War II]; it has actually become stronger. “We cannot see its endpoint” . . . Given that every society reflects the people who form it, we are threatened by oligarchies and persecutory systems that would make Nazism and Stalinism look like pale images, although, of course, [these new oligarchies and persecutory systems] will not present themselves as a new Nazism or a new Stalinism.

Given the developments of the last few decades, which manifested with greater clarity during the Covid pandemic, we see clearly that the new oligarchies and persecutory systems will present themselves under the banner of biomedical security measures essential for maintaining population health. The oligarchs will preface their agenda with phrases like, “Out of an abundance of caution . . .” and “We are all in this together. . . ”. The new social-distancing societal paradigm facilitates the oligarch’s dominance by separating citizens from one another.

Scientism is a totalitarianism of disintegration before it is a totalitarianism of domination. Recall that lockdowns and social distancing, with their inevitable social isolation, necessarily preceded vaccine mandates and passports, when the repressive regime really tipped its hand. Each of these measures relied on exceptionally sloppy data presented publicly as the only authoritative interpretation of science. In most instances, the pretense of scientific rigor was not even required.

In a scientistic-technocratic regime, the naked individual—reduced to “bare biological life,” cut off from other people and from anything transcendent—becomes completely dependent on society. The human person, reduced to a free-floating, untethered, and uprooted social atom, is more readily manipulated. Del Noce made the startling claim that scientism is even more opposed to tradition than Communism, because in Marxist ideology we still find messianic and biblical archetypes dimly represented in the promise of a future utopia. By contrast, “scientistic anti-traditionalism can express itself only by dissolving the ‘fatherlands’ where it was born.” This process leaves the entire field of human life wide open to domination by global corporations and their suborned political agents:

Because of the very nature of science, which provides means but does not determine any ends, scientism lends itself to be used as a tool by some group. Which group? The answer is completely obvious: once the fatherlands are gone, all that is left are the great economic organisms, which look more and more like fiefdoms. States become their executive instruments.

States as instruments of world-spanning corporations, which operate like fiefdoms, is an apt definition of corporatism—the melding of state and corporate power—which coincides perfectly with Mussolini’s original definition of fascism. In this global non-society, individuals are radically uprooted and instrumentalized. The ultimate result, in the last analysis, is pure nihilism: “After the negation of every possible authority of values, all that is left is pure total negativism, and the will for something so indeterminate that it is close to ‘nothing’,” in Del Noce’s bleak description. This is clearly a society suited neither to a meaningful human life nor to social harmony.

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