I am asking you to follow a slippery path of thought here. My claim that the Leftist is suspicious of the state's call to sacrifice does not imply that the Leftist herself does not engage in a discourse of or a desire for sacrifice. It means, however, that the Leftist suspects a calculated move in the state's call to sacrifice.
Chapter 5. 1946–1949: Emphýlios
War, Roger Caillois reminds us (1959), is the ransom of civilization, the bloodright paid for humanity's exit from the state of nature to inhabit the state of culture. With its sacrifice, bloodright, and the disruption of the everyday by enormity, the horrific, and the transgressive, war, “this terrible ransom paid for the various advantages of civilization causes them to pale and proclaims their fragility” (Callois 1959: 178). There is no advantage of civilization, Callois tells us, on the heels of the Frankfurt School, without its dialectical disadvantages. The dog knows that the hand that caresses its back will soon strike it, Adorno warned. If, however, war circumscribes what civilization is, if civilization cannot emerge without the inaugural moment of war, if polis (“the city”) and pólemos (“war”) are as closely bound as their etymology suggests, then war also exposes what humanity is. Thus, the question of what the human is such that it requires war as an organizing principle, places war at the core of its polis, invites the anthropological project to encounter a political problem, a problem of the polis.
The political subject, the dissident, the Marxist, as simultaneously object and subject of the humanist state is the location where this circumscription of humanity happens as an event. Located in the space of the profane, deeply suspicious of the state's call to sacrifice, the Marxist calls to order the contradictions inherent in the humanist tradition that has produced her, as she stands resolutely antithetical to any sacralization of experience that does not include her (or, rather, explicitly excludes her).
In response to this gesture, the state, always animating sacrifice as the constitutive history of itself (i.e., the state is always founded by the self-sacrifice of its founders, or so the narrative goes), re-produces the category of the Leftist as resolutely nonhuman, since the sacrifice of the Leftist can never be included in or accepted by the liberal state as constitutive. Christianity, through the instantiation of Christ as human (in addition to divine), dislodged the sacrificiality of the selfsame from the realm of totemism, where sacrifice always involves the same animal even if this sameness is purely performative, and reterritorialized it within the realm of political theology. Through that gesture, sacrifice of the self becomes circularly redemptive (Christ sacrificed his human self, which is the only reason why his body could die, in order to save humanity), so that sacrifice of the other becomes impossible because it becomes ineffectual. The other now can only be annihilated, not sacrificed. Therefore, the relegation of the Leftist to the realm of the nonhuman both presupposes and actualizes her untouchability and her unsacrificiability.
“We live in a sacrificial society” is a philosophical announcement whose weight cannot be lifted even by the critical positionalities of those who announce it, such as Irigaray, Derrida, Girard, or Lacan. Are the “desert islands,” then, this sacrificial space par excellence? Are they where the delineation and delimitation of the “human” takes place, so that the act of sacrifice produces the circle of interiority needed by the state? Do the islands engage the Leftist in a sacrificial act that would bring them into the inner circle of the state? On the “islands” the categories of sacrifice collapsed completely, exposing the fissure between the linguistic and semantic appropriation of the concept of sacrifice by the state and the foundational premises of sacrifice as a religious ritual of inclusion. Even if there is any way in which the Leftist can be the subject of a sacrifice, it would be a sacrifice that has no relevance for the state. The state gains nothing by the bodily violence to which the Leftist is subjected for “his own good,” for the attainment of his own purification, for the purge of his own plague, no matter where this Leftist exists, no matter where sovereign power can be located.
I use the term selfsame to denote the fiction of the self as the same, which is the fiction implicated in the process of totemism as examined in anthropology.
This political theology is by no means confined to any single religion, as we have been witnessing recently in fundamentalist Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism.