Freud, Violence and the Law

Freud:…the attempt to replace actual force by the force of ideas seems at present to be doomed to failure. We shall be making a false calculation if we disregard the fact that law was originally brute violence, and that even to-day it cannot do without the support of violence” (“Why War?” SE, XXII:208-9). These phrases lead me to think of the assault on the US Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021: a moment in which the rule of law came close to collapsing while violence erupted in the very building designed to create the law. A rare case in which violence was directed against the institution of the law.  

Rubén Gallo is the Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor in Latin American Literature at Princeton University, where he has taught since 2002. He is the author of many books on Twentieth Century culture, including Mexican Modernity: The Avant-Garde and the Cultural Revolution (2006, MIT Press, winner of the MLA’s Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize), Freud’s Mexico: Into the Wilds of Psychoanalysis (2010, MIT, winner of the Gradiva Prize), Proust’s Latin Americans (2014, Hopkins). He is also a novelist and was published two books on Cuba: Teoría y práctica de la Habana (2017) and Muerte en La Habana (2021). His work has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Chinese. In 2020 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.