Cover of Abolishing Freedom by Frank Ruda

From Catastrophic Messianism to Comic Fatalism: A Reply to my Critics

By Frank Ruda
Issue 1 September 24, 2020 Download PDF

This bad system has now issued in such a pompous display of power and such a terrible tyranny that […] the knowledge […] of liberty […] has utterly perished….

— M. Luther[1]

I am worst at what I do best.

— Nirvana, “Smells like Teen Spirit”

In capitalism I am enslaved precisely when I “feel free.”

— S. Žižek[2]

The present texts will address some of the intricate issues that were raised in response to Abolishing Freedom.[3] Unfortunately, the reader has to suffer through a rather longish introductory detour that will set the stage and provide the whole discussion with some additional gun powder. This gun powder production will be realized by recourse to a position that allows me to articulate the precise contours of the fatalist position that I defend in a more nuanced manner. I foresee this won’t end well and will introduce problems that will be far worse for me than the ones I tried to solve. But, well, what else could have been expected. Worstward, ho![4]


Part I. Introduction: Catastrophic Messianism and Beyond

Part II. Kantian Problems? On Alenka Zupančič’s “The End”

Part III. The Significance of the Grotesque: On Andrew Cutrofello’s “But Wait—It Gets Worse”

Part IV. Fatalism and the Anthropocene: On Mark Pingree’s “Geohistorical Materialism”

Part V. Excrementalism? From Hobbes to Maradona: On Andrew Pendakis’ “Dialectics of Determinism”

Part VI. Ending the Long March: On Aaron Schuster’s “I’m a Fatalist, But not by Choice”


[1] Martin Luther, “Concerning Christian Liberty”; (accessed April 2020).

[2] Slavoj Žižek, Like a Thief in Broad Daylight: Power in the Era of Post-Human Capitalism (London: Allen Lane, 2018), 239.

[3] These responses were published in: Provocations 1 (2016-2017). I am truly grateful to Andrew Cutrofello, Andrew Pendakis, Mark Pingree, Aaron Schuster, and Alenka Zupančič for their replies. I will try and limit the injustice I will do to their texts in my fully one-sided and partially ignorant reconstructions to a maximal minimum. I do also sincerely thank Nathan Gorelick, Marco Abel, and Roland Végső for their not endless but truly infinite patience with me.  

[4] The worst is a fundamentum inconcussum because it is the concussion of every fundament (potentially even of itself); it is a fundament in-concussion.

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