People who can make authoritative claims to knowledge are called experts. Experts are consulted to govern every aspect of our lives, so many people who are anti-GMO or vaccination have some gripe with the establishment or authoritative knowledge. So that’s Foucault and governmentality for you right there. Here’s a reading on the topic.
So here comes the Zizek. Okay, so things aren’t going well in society, wages haven’t kept up with inflation, something just smells foul to the average person. What will replace the faith that people had in institutions? Other things. New statues will come in to replace the old statues. Instead of scrutinizing over the nutrition facts side of the box of cereal, people will move to organic or gluten free stuff in the belief that such things are any better. This idol Zizek calls the Big Other, the total sum of what you tell yourself that will maintain order in your life.
And then finally something of my own observations. It’s getting really bizarre seeing everything getting contested in the public media in all the wrong ways, like a politicalization of everything. Suddenly climate scientists have agendas and can’t be trusted, food scientists and GMO food can’t be trusted, drug companies can’t be trusted (that one is probably true though). People are kind of cherry picking their facts and then putting a reassuring story over everything else they don’t understand. (Like I don’t understand how global warming actually works or how bad it will be but I accept it because it makes sense that after thousands of years of trashing the planet something would go wrong. So perhaps that’s to be expected, no one can know everything, but if nothing’s unbiased anymore common discourse has failed.) And this is happening on both sides of the aisle in America; conservatives are obfuscating economic outrage with moral outrage, and liberals aren’t talking about that a key part of Obamacare was an increase in taxes if you don’t have health insurance and are just dismissing it as Republican nonsense. It’s like, pick your worldview and we’ll hook you up with an appropriate fact sheet to convince you your way of life is the only way to live. The matrix of common ground is shrinking and independent cultural-political ways of life are growing.
You may be living in the last days of the republic, friend.