How can something as bleak as nihilism also be hospitable and genial? Is there an experience of nihilism that can develop jointly with this form of society and culture we are familiar with under the pleasant sounding name of liberal democracy? What is the particular identity of modern nihilism? In the end, does nihilism pose a challenge to democracy?
In a constant dialogue with the thought of Tocqueville and Nietzsche, the author pinpoints the nihilistic challenge in the fact that the universal momentum towards enlarging the good life deconstructs any care for a state which is worth living in and the ethical and political autonomy of subjects. Thus, it acknowledges that a mild and cheerful nihilism often appears in the tendency towards a life without the sadness and pain of political divisions, a life free of the “tyrannical veil” of values and metaphysical plans. This tendency was the gimmick with which capitalist liberalism managed to alter the political soul of democracy, transforming it into a zone of free exchange between selfish units and vested interests.
That which can impose limits on this game is the true power of objects: the political experience of their freedom. If nihilism flatters individuals by lavishly promising to satisfy every one of their appetites, political experience participates in the true dialectical desire, i.e. the desire that emerges from a serious conflict with the “society of egotists” and its guardians.