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Comments by b-psycho
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On “Society of the First-Person Shooter

Though I obviously disagree with the idea of gun control preventing these things, even in the case of sweeping bans, your bit about the socio-political context of them is spot on, IMO. We seem to love quick fixes to what's obviously more complicated than "let's pass another law!" -- meanwhile, the laws pile up like trash.

On “Précis: Mecca v Athens (cc @hhassan140)

Always hated the usual name+random numbers thing.

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In as much as their fears are imposition on themselves, yet their fight is over control of the state (that is, "right" to rule others), the struggle can't help but hold a whiff of futility.

On “Schmitt in Cairo (cc @ibishblog)

Anyone can claim their consolidation of power is necessary for the stability of their country. That doesn't make the claim true.

On “On “Capturing the God Vote”

True, as much as it'd be preferred from some (including myself) that the nonsensical self-congratulatory mess of "Americanism" (nice term for it) & its ironic, rather transparent parallel of Islamist "Allah is on our side" talk were stricken from political necessity, it's easier to wish for a top-down repudiation of it (and assume that'd be the end of it) rather than go out and convince enough people to stop requesting it.

I just hope that convincing process succeeds before we end up destroying humanity itself with our inherently doomed efforts to save it.

On “What they do not want to know about American democracy

What if disruption is coming anyway, and it's only a question of whether to react in a way understanding of the instability or to kick & scream like a toddler and make things even worse?

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Maybe we can’t have a society that would receive the death of a Bin Laden without joy.

It's not like I think we should cry about it, geez...

Rather, the accomplishment, to the degree that it was one, due to the waste inbetween the act being responded to and the response, doesn't justify the amount of jubilation behind it. How many future potential OBLs did we create on the way to finally whacking the real one? If that's so the pinnacle of U.S. potential that it's to be cheered that loudly, then if anyone is selling the U.S. short it's the ones cheering.

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I'd like to just say, contra the assumptions made, and the route Scott is going with his critique, that I'm not an idealist. I don't have the political bent I have because I think people are naturally wonderful, I actually think people tend to be bastards and simply wish to get the scenario of a few bastards with inordinate power over everyone else as close to declared Void as possible.

I'm not saying we're uniquely bad, or even that we're unique. We're not, and largely in denial of the fact that we are not. How this goes with regard to global policy, I propose one of two things:

1) actually try to be different. That is, be better than the idea of violence for self-interest beyond immediate defense. Or...
2) STFU with lecturing everyone else. We're just one of many, no great force for good, no shining city upon a hill, we're schmoes with nicer weapons, period.

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I can't say we're worse than anyone else, that's taking things a bit astray IMO. Rather, we're no different than any came before morally, while denying that and happening to have the most advanced means for carrying it all out. It's power and exceptionalism, not a new evil. Same as it ever was, with shiny new toilet.

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So basically irrational bloodlust and xenophobic militarism are what we get because violence is key to the DNA of the country & a calculation has been made by "our" rulers that enough people want -- in a way need -- the irrational that to not happily provide it would be to abandon their place...right? Do I follow?

On “Abuse and real use of the first drafts of history (liberalism vs the exception 3)

Honestly, I'm much more afraid of the consequences of trying to keep an order that requires so much falsehood to maintain. Rather its end be due to conscious effort to dismantle and move beyond it than it collapsing under the weight.

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Useful to who? And in what way?

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Since settling that war powers question within the current system implies a crisis that those within it would rather avoid, in a weird sort of way it *has* been settled -- as with dust in a neglected corner rather than as meaning "solved".

As for the article that started this, a few things stick out to me in Lewis' profile.
-The contrast between how the actions of the Obama administration are treated by his base (that is, with kid gloves) and how he practically demands in his personal time in something as frivolous as a basketball game to be treated like everyone else. Considering his position that just strikes me as backwards: so throwin' 'bows on the court at the guy in the drivers seat of the global hyperpower is cool but the slightest questioning of actions taken as such both abroad and at home or the wisdom (or lack thereof) of continuing in that capacity draws fire? I can't help but think that his insistence on no one letting up on him in basketball feeds a psychological need of some sort, maybe so he's not reminded every second the power he's claiming. Fat lot of good that does the rest of us though...
-The part about joining Libya's civil war. The idea that the countries leading the U.N. resolution "authorizing" intervention were so in the dark they assumed out of thin air the need for a no-fly zone for the purpose a no-fly-zone is actually for, when the slightest glance could disprove it, would be hilarious were it not so disturbing. I've long assumed that they just lied for leverage, as it makes more sense.
-I kinda wish the extended bit about the navigator that went down in Libya could be followed up on, by talking to that guy directly. Think "humanitarian war" was his thought when signing up? Way the article leaves his portrayal makes it out like he thought nothing beyond "Jets! Cool!".

Actually for all the talk about it, the article isn't as bad as I expected. Yes, it has fluff, but that's a given with most media. I think it says something far different from what the author intended though.

Oh yeah, about this:

the internal processes of governance, the essential extra-legality and illiberalism of power, have been exposed to the light.

Good. Those processes should be laid bare as much as possible.

On “Progress beyond progress through the foundation of the Founding

From your comment:

I don’t believe that we can at this time assume or still assume that history “is or ought to be progress” and so on. There is much reason at least to suspect that the idea is at best incomplete, and that like other dreams of reason it tends to give birth to monsters.

I think that this remark comes from you and not any self-described "conservative" is about the 2nd best illumination of the incoherence that is American "conservatism" I've seen online ever. The 1st would be this.

On “radically for Obama

...Ok, now I get why negation is such a lightning rod. If I routinely saw people make arguments that beg of rejection and revolt only to suddenly go "and that's why I'm doing what everyone else who pays more attention to Hollywood gossip than the state of the world is doing!", I'd start barfing at each such appearance too.

David describes all those features of the US political system that he finds terrible, and how they're perpetuated...and then announces he'll give it allegiance anyway. Sounds like he wants to give up without sounding like he's giving up.

On “Two Political Web Sites (Jacobin and Young Americans)

Sometimes I forget Obama somehow counts as "left" here.

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...how exactly do they overlap?

On “the meaning of the meaningless campaign

I was referring to the voters that'd vote for them as you describe. To vote despite that view of politics is to still assign value to the concept, however shallow the agenda pursued within it. It's still to say a choice is there to be made, and making that choice for A over B, rather than questioning the point.

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Kinda strange for an election win by one candidate & party over another to broadcast a rejection of politics itself, isn't it?

I suspect the attempted idea by Romney's campaign is to let people fill in the blanks with what they really want. Whether it's mere "this isn't working" on one end or bare culture war & "get that ni-- outta there!" at the other end, they don't care. If it results in a vote for Romney, whatever. Yet actually trying to attract one end turns off the other, so you get the struggle to say as close to nothing as possible he's engaging in.

On “An und für nichts (liberalism on drone warfare 2)

If the gangsterism is necessary for the "liberal" "democratic" state to endure, then any consideration space is formed by ignoring the gangsters, and rather than not penetrating life they're the real reason it continues. Under that, paens to The People are pandering BS and the thugs are the source of importance.

Even if I recognize you have a point with regard to the contradiction of authority at the heart of liberalism, can you recognize why most people still recoil from this realization? It amounts to admitting that the social structure we live in is built on a humongous lie.

On “In truth, liberalism has nothing interesting to say about the drone program (1)

In case anyone gets the sense otherwise from your remarks: I did not vote for Obama, and will not vote for him or anybody else in 2012. I haven't voted for anyone for president since Harry Browne in 2000.

Anyway, you have a point with regard to liberal critics that nonetheless still accept the power structure that such decisions come from. The contradiction of recognizing a 3rd party claim to power over life & death while saying "...but not like THAT!", as if you still have ability to override them without denying the original power, or at least writing in a Void If Crossed policy & being willing to enforce it, is clear. Also, on war specifically...well, it's war, once the guns come out the talks have failed, applying legalism & humanitarianism to war is like putting bacon on a veggie"burger".

That said...

The “overall human worth” that b-psycho is questioning is in this sense overall human worth itself: If having Leviathans able to kill is wrong, then there is no political right, because concretely humanity as we know it is constituted by the wrong so understood.

Are you defining humanity itself by the state, or did I read that wrong?

On “Let them eat flat screens

Good point on how the relative comforts of the American poor basically come off the backs of even poorer unseen foreigners. Also, why so few comments on American income touch on the extent to which even what we consider "middle class" is rooted in debt remains a painful puzzle.

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