God is Greatest

The death of any system of power comes by the delegitimization of the double standard by which it operates. This is the core meaning expressed by people in Iran in the during the final days of the Shah’s regime, when they called out of their windows in the darkness “Allahu Akbar”: God is greatest. Meaning, there is ultimately a single standard that all systems of power are subject to, along with everybody else.

This ancient mythological idea became secularized during the European Enlightenment in the idea that government depended upon the ‘consent of the governed’, a concept that was later critiqued by Chomsky et al. with the understanding that such consent could be effectively manufactured.

Orwell’s 1984 described such manufacture in brutal terms, while Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD show its softer side. Both similarly presented the prospect of an elite that had gamed the system, permanently instituting the double standard on which it is based and by which it operates. Both expressed the fear of the underclass that justice could never come, and the nihilistic hubris of an elite that believed itself capable of perpetually ruling.

Which returns us again to the essential idea of ‘God’, of a justice beyond consent, which the Greeks articulated in the inevitable relationship between hubris and nemesis.

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