[...] they instead focus on emotionally manipulative treatments of novel horrors, sometimes joined to a pacifist or quasi-pacifist refusal to acknowledge a morally arguable other side – even though that other side probably includes the vast majority of their fellow [...]

mmmyeah... but it looked like you were protecting something that you don't usually extend yourself to bother to protect. I won't say any more because I don't want to re-open the annoyance between you and bob. If I really wanted to cause trouble, I'd try to dissect aspects of your "one white guy" story critically, but I think I'll watch the game right about now instead.

Gangsterism is by it's nature, illegirimate, it is force without consent, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you're using in the Marxist sense, that only a charnel house like the Soviets could manage without irony, We strive not to attack noncombatants, they see it as a mark of honor to do so, It's odd for a democratic regime to fighting on multiole fronts of the same war, for the better part of a dozen years, I suppose the Indian wars, are the closest parallel.

I think you put things well, as to the logical and moral implications of the gangster thesis, but I still regard it as unproven, and perhaps overly simplistic. On the other hand, we're too far from the Cold War and from WW2 to make the obviousness of the superiority of the "least bad" system over its main alternatives easy to maintain.

I certainly understand why people would recoil from the suggestion that they're living amidst and depending on defective and mutually contradictory values. At some point such doubt can become dangerous to a society or social system. Often (sooner or later?) doubt-spreading itself is recognized as a danger. This problem was much more before the minds of thinkers from previous eras or in different political settings - the problem of a fundamental conflict between the truth or love of the truth and the needs of the state.

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.

CK--it is interesting linguistically. This is all also very germane in connection to the Kahn way of seeing things. It may not be about love and justice, but there's sacrifice involved. In a way, I'm being asked to sacrifice any possible gain I was getting from using the word. Because I have no interest in using it to exert some kind of intellectual or political power over anyone, it's easy for me to drop its use here on the blog. No problem. But can a word be hurtful outside of context? Yes and no. "Retard" would fall into the "never to be used" category. And yet, even on the yes side everything depends on context. The n word is a word I'm never comfortable using. But how about "black"? When I used to be the only white guy at this one gym, after playing ball, at around 2 in the morning, we would all sit around and have a beer and shoot the shit for a bit. There was usually one or two new guys, so it was up to me each time to communicate well and effectively. To make the process go smoothly and quickly, if it became part of the conversation, I would use "African American" a few times. Then, once my awareness of racial sensitivity had been established and it was obvious where I was "coming from," I would for the sake of "expediency, humor, or a bit of both" slide into the use of "black"--as in "I know black guys look at me and think I can't play." Using a cumbersome term is restrictive when it comes to humor. People should have a feel for where someone is coming from. I never met an African American man who couldn't roll with things contextually. A bigot using the word black is going to feel a certain way to an African American. So there are what we could call dangerous words. Unlike the "never to be used" words, they depend on context. As you have pointed out, retarded is not in itself particularly offensive, but it is dangerous and a feeling of danger is part of comedy. Being on either side of humor in a good way required a willingness to be at least slightly out of control. Control oriented people are rarely funny and rarely enjoy humor. You can't be truly funny and be afraid of dangerous words and ideas. Won't happen. And while people afraid to be funny can make other people feel bad for enjoying a good joke or story, it's their loss.

Colin, you're right. time to stop.

I kinda wish you guys would give up on sorting your rightness/wrongness in relationship to each other, but I don't consider it within my persuasive powers to get you to stop.

It's just that as long as you two are getting right/wrong with each other, I'm not finding out why the word in either form is considered offensive enough to be devastating in "account after account" and to "hurt badly."

I'll avoid getting overly theoretical about it on the sticks-and-stones question. I would honestly like to know what I'm not getting, and would very much appreciate having my apparently defective sympathy and understanding repaired to whatever extent possible.

The reply line went off, so I'm writing here now. Bob, this is about you and me. We're the ones communicating. If you are hurt by the word, I'm sorry. There's no one else here to get hurt. I understand your point. When people assume that because a few people are okay with something that makes it okay they're wrong. If I was doing that, I would be wrong. But look at the context bob. I was telling a story about intolerance. A community of bigots got their karmic deserts. They didn't know the guys were gay. They found out in an hilarious way when it hit them in the face. It's a stronger tale told by someone who isn't all liberal perfect. The story was nuanced for Christ's sake! I established the lack of bigotry with preliminary correctness. You were just looking for a fight, and when you realized it was wrong, you insisted on something that isn't true. First you made a mistake. You thought I used the word retard. If I had, you would have been right. Then, instead of recognizing your mistake you made another one. There is a huge diff between retard and retarded. You said there wasn't. You were wrong. Can the world retarded still be offensive? Yes. Of course! Without the context and without the fact that I was in obvious support of the guys it would be. I'm obviously not saying that just because they don't find the word offensive, it's not. It is. Relatively so. They became Buddhists because Buddhists are more tolerant. The story is about intolerance but we don't have to be so concerned all the time that we can't nuance things as well as I did and have people get it. You would have got it if you didn't hear "retard." You heard retard because you were looking for trouble. Again, there is no trouble here.
Look at how difficult you're being. First you get sensitive because I'm talking like you're not here. Then you don't want me to make it about you and me. You might want to make up your mind on that one.

No, exactly. That's why we have to distinguish between retarded and retard. There is no comparison, which is why this whole thing is so troubling. If bob had just admitted that he made a mistake criticizing me for using the word retard then none of this happens. But I've never known him to apologize. I'm sorry, that's where the hardheadedness comes in. I apologies all the time. I have to be good at it because my ADD causes lots of mistakes. Making a mistake is human. Holding on to the mistake is hardheaded.

In the disabled blogs, the past few months there have been account after accont about people devasted by the word and its cognates. It doesn't matte if you're gardeners are OK with it. This is a different place, different people, maybe people none of us know.

These words hurt, hurt badly.

No amount of deflection, or analyzing me or whether or not I get you changes that.

Don't make this about you or me.

That's it - straight down the middle.

Glad you're here, bob. You're here and you're smart. My whole point is that I'm cool with you being you. If you were cool with me being me, trust me, the situational humor would have struck you as funny. I've relayed that scenario with lots of folks, including the guys, and everyone has a great laugh. You missed out and you can get defensive and make a silly comment about not being smart enough, but come on. You can do better than this. I know you can.

I dind't miss the content of the story, asserting it is projection on your part. I never addresssed that aspect. To fill in the point now, the story doesn't redeem the offensiveness. The humor does not redeem the offensiveness.

Or alternately, I did miss the story. I did miss the humor. I guess I'm just not smart enough.

Personally, I'm just fine with who I am. It's OK you're not.

Just wondering, why talk about me like I'm not here?

"developmentally delayed" ~= five more syllables to say "retarded," I think. But maybe I'm just being developmentally delayed about it.

Down-the-middle or interestingly-to-the-side, I think you can accept bob's criticism without taking offense, even if bob offered it somewhat judgmentally. I really don't know which of you is wronger on this one, because I really don't fully understand why "retarded" is taken as a slur. Is it simply because a group subjected to prejudice is granted the compensatory privilege to decide on its own behalf or through its legitimate representatives how it's to be named?

So it's because I honestly lack confidence in my own understanding that I asked for professional input from Laura. Because I'm aware of the contention, of the offense taken on behalf of a community, I simply avoid the word rather than take on needless distractions or hurt anyone's feelings through my own ignorance.

I think what happened to you in your comment is that you wanted to appropriate the pejorative sense for your derogatory view on America, but that wouldn't be possible if you didn't already know that the term is derogatory. It infects your discourse, and leads to your second, as-if-normalized use.

I think bob is right at a minimum on the level that you should probably avoid the terms, for your own good. I'd still like to hear why he (or anyone) thinks they're not just "taken to be offensive" but deserve to be taken as offensive, not that I would end up using them even if persuaded they had gotten a bad rap.

ADDed out and forgot to answer your question about what terms Laura uses as a shrink. She uses "developmentally disabled" or "developmentally delayed." There was a film character with the name Delay. Can't remember what movie it was.

Good clarification there, CK. Exactly what my understanding was. Obviously, I was addressing things situationally. If I wasn't aware of the fact that there was some issue with the word I wouldn't have used a different term first. Still, bob thinks he's going to teach me something. That's just hardheadedness. I often find his perceptions hardheaded but I don't say anything about it because it's just him. He could do the same with me. Sadly, it doesn't even help when I hand him the "New Age Meanie" handle. He still doesn't get it and I bet the same would have been true 20 years ago. Bob likes straight down the middle. He missed the content of the story, which is too bad because it's funny. So there's not much I can do. if someone can't pay attention to content, much less context, then everything has to be presented straight down the middle. I don't bother with straight down the middle. It's okay. But straight down the middle doesn't have to be written about. It's just there. It's okay but I don't see the point in writing from that perspective. To me, playing everything straight down the middle is a rationalization for not paying attention.

I know that "retarded" is considered offensive, and "retard" even more so, because used as a playground insult, but I confess I'm not sure why references to "retardation" are treated as offensive rather than as merely inappropriate.

"Retardation" seems to connote belief in a better or correct pace of mental growth, though it may also suggest "slowness" in responding to mental "challenges." Apparently, the term is still in use in professional and clinical settings, at least according to the Wikipedia entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_retardation - which makes early mention of the "euphemism treadmill," noting that "mental retardation" was originally a perceived value-neutral replacement for a previous set of terms that had come to be seen as too disparaging. I think that MR may have replaced the conventional spectrum on "low IQ," which had "moron" standing for near-average IQ, "imbecile" standing for very low IQ (extending to non-existent language and social skills), and "idiot" standing for dysfunctional except for basic autonomic/organic processes. Could be that this taxonomy or approach to taxonomy was somehow implicated in the Nazi "euthanasia" of "life unworthy of life," whose first applications were against the "mentally defective." "Defective" implies brokenness, permanent inability to perform at some minimum required level. "Retarded" may have been seen as an improvement, since it implies "like the others, just a little behind." It's not hard to imagine all of the current terms someday being deemed inadequate or insulting - or even as an adequate basis for Nazi-like "biopolitical" measures.

I wonder what terms Laura (Scott's shrink wife) uses or recommends.

nice rationalization. I think you call it splitting. However small the readership is here, it's a public place. "Retarded" is just as offensive.

It was just a joke - humorous. Seriously?

Then it's my problem. Classic.

for the record - I wasn't looking for trouble. I paused some time before making my comment. I don't know why you can't grant me sincerity here.

It is also interesting that you missed the context. Obviously, I was mitigating the potential self congratulation of being a good deed doer. Since I was telling a story about how my continued good deed doer attempts led to a particular quote, the use of the offensive word was there for balance. When a reader looks for trouble and can't sense the energy behind a writer and lets their negative mind set keep them from sensing what something's really about, there's not much a writer can do but shake their head at how some folks just don't get you.

Didn't use the word "retard." Used the word retarded, which is quite a bit less offensive than "retard." When someone calls someone a retard, it's name calling. When someone uses the word retarded it dates them as someone unwilling or unable to keep up with the times in a politically correct way. Since I first used the term "mentally challenged" it's clear that I'm willing and able to keep up with the times, so the use of the word later is clearly either connected to some kind of expediency or humor, or a bit of both. You're looking for trouble where there is none, bob.

Scott, your use of the word "retard" was offensive.

Right. I have no issues with the spirit of his efforts.
I bet the guys holding hands story comes back into your awareness like the meat-eaters thinking they don't get karma story comes back from time to time. It's in your consciousness now.

Well there's a certain logic, we fought the Kaiser, we ended up with the Nazis. we beat them we got the Russians, we bet them we got the Taliban and AQ,

One thing that might help you take Kahn's description on the level he offers it is that he doesn't claim it's "ready for use" or any direct application. He certainly doesn't promote it as the basis for a new religion or augmentation of an existing religion or spiritual practice, or philosophy of life. He doesn't assert that it should turn people away from their political commitments or change them - to the contrary. There is a question here - whether you can really close off your philosophy from application - but it's his explicitly and repeatedly stated position that he's not trying to dish out new norms or new points for someone's political platform (or, by extension, self-improvement group). He sees himself as trying to illuminate specific processes or failed processes, seeming disconnects in the realm of politics and law, that cause frustration.

So, let's say you're right about what you call "American gangsterism." I'm not sure what's particularly American about it, but, leaving that aside, why doesn't "America" do anything about it? Maybe America recognizes it's important, but doesn't think there's anything America can do about it. Maybe, even worse, America knows about it, but doesn't think it's the most important thing, and thinks that the most important thing might be endangered by strenuous efforts to defeat something that, even if it could be defeated at some tolerable cost, would be replaced soon enough by something just as bad or worse.

Anyway, that's a kind of a steppingstone on the way to the (Straussian) classical philosophical view, which is one recourse - or temptation - in the face of the failure of modern democratic politics and of modernity in general, but which ends up on the side of liberal democracy, conservatively, gangsters and all, because among forms of government suitable for very large populations it seems to be the one that produces and maintains a space for free philosophical and spiritual inquiry, keeps the gangsters from penetrating every process of life. To some extent it's a glass not totally dry view of the way things are, as compared to the "monastic temptation"/glass completely empty perspective. I don't see it as inherently more negative or desperate than the Curtis White A-perspective that you like to Tiago-Splitter away from into your positive and hopeful magical-spiritual B-perspective. Please don't take "magical" as derogatory: I'm not pre-judging it - it's just a word for "adepts whose powers and exploits go beyond common perceptions of the possible" - what Curtis White ends up advocating: "believe in magic because it's our only hope."

CK--thanks for posting "Sacrificial Nation." It raises many crucial points. But, as usual, the western mind fails to be inclusive enough and falls into the "splitting" habit. The correction would happen with a perception of 3 "qualities" namable in Sanskrit as Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. They can be simplistically understood as Light, Action, and Heaviness. Those qualities and the things that manifest from them are inclusive. Love and Justice are not inclusive. When they are seen as inclusive a kind of political insanity takes place. Kahn would do well, then, to study Rudolf Steiner who always saw things in terms of 3 forces that were inclusive, calling them Luciferic, Arithmetic, and something else. The something else was Rajasic--expressive of what Christians would refer to as Christ Consciousness and inclusive of both love and justice. So love and justice are part of only one third of the basic 3 qualities in the Universe and try as America might to limit itself to a play between love and justice, the attempt and the attempt to see America in relation to those things will inspire craziness.
Of course, the whole sacrifice thing is interesting. We could compare the American version to what is in the Bhagavad Gita--which is the classic spiritual text on sacrifice and yoga. But again, the Christian version is so troubling. Christ kept telling his followers that he would not kill in order to establish justice. So if Christ is our model, it's simple. Christians should refuse to kill. The Gandhian sacrifice makes much more sense. Even the disturbing vision brought to my attention here on this blog that quoted Gandhi on what Jews should do was less insane than the one Americans unconsciously promote. One of Arjuna's yogic choices was to do nothing and die. He didn't take it, but it was one of the logical choices. In context of their spirituality, Christians seeking to emulate Jesus' way of living cannot justify the choice to kill.
And I'll give a clear example of what Kahn misses as a result of his basic misapprehension:
Standing outside the American play of love and justice is American gangsterism. There are what we can call Luciferic American gangsters connected to both church and state that are above the crowd and connect with American exceptionalism, and Arithmetic gangsters connected to both church and state and also living completely outside of those institutions, doing their dirty work in a heavy way, literally counting the money as they rob the poor in every conceivable way. And in both varieties and in connection with all 3 manifestations of Gangster Nation, we are easy pickins' because gangsters who don't seek love or justice can so easily take advantage of the love and justice folks. Plus, the system established and maintained and exported by naive and misguided liberals and conservatives is not just preyed upon by the ruthless but run by them and that's why the U.S. is rightfully hated as a hypercritical state.
But Kahn does see certain truths very well. At one point when he was explaining about the American way of wanting everyone to recognize American justice as justice because it is ours, I was reminded of a moment when I was trying to help two gay mentally challenged lovers treat each other better. They were working for me at the time, supposedly doing the gardening. It didn't go well and they were always in conflict. Cutting to the point, I was continually pointing out how they were trying to manipulate each other and how they might stop that. It didn't go well. Finally, in desperation, I said to one of them, "What do you want?" And he said, "I wan him to think I am not trying to 'anipalate him."
So, yes, I see America as a retarded gardner who is nothing like Chauncey Gardner.
The best thing about hiring the two retarded gay gardner guys was that they told me about their fundamentalist church experience. They wanted to do some service for the church and before the church members knew anything about their gayness they were asked to hold a sign out on the corner advertising the church services. When they were out their they were holding hands! The church goers were horrified. I almost peed in my pants when they told me that story.
Then they became Buddhists. I swear to God.

Kahn, has an interesting angle, although it's more accurate to call America, 'a propositional nation; In that regard one wonders if we had followed up on Miles Ignotus's 'Modest suggestion,' from 1975, and invaded Saudi Arabia,

...and Scott for one might find it more interesting if he skips to the end before reading it through.

Here's a summary by Kahn on the US as Sacrificial Nation, apparently prepared ahead of the publication of his booklength response to Schmitt's Political Theology:


I'll take that in the helpful and sympathetic spirit in which it's offered. There's no knowing when to be sharp and seek distinctions, and when to nudge. Really, though, when I entered that fearsome place in the shadow of death, I didn't expect that a bit of even sharp dissent would be treated with such hostility. I thought Kotsko himself had been around the block intellectually, around several blocks. Maybe I should have known from the top post that he wouldn't welcome the presentation of alternative and opposing points of view, but I never claimed to be infallible. I was honestly surprised by how lame his responses were. Yet maybe if I had known he'd, from my perspective, expose himself, I would have gone ahead anyway more or less as I had, since I'm not really unhappy with how things turned out, how his effort to make me an object lesson for others to consider ended up enabling me to make that effort an object lesson for others to consider. On the other hand, maybe if I had gone in anticipating and consciously seeking to provoke just such a lame reaction, I would have found myself getting a better version of Kotsko in response - and who knows what we'd be talking about now if that had happened?

I suppose that is more true than not, recall that Gadarfa and magrathi (sic) not even the most numerous of elements, reigned in Libya, the Saud, a subgroup of the Anizeh, The Tikriti clan, out of the Dulaimi region, what difference does that make,

What's that line from 'Man of La Mancha' To dream the impossible dream, rest assured the other hegemons are nowhere as foolish, you could ask Zandarbichev, exiled Chechen chieftain, from his sanctuary in Doha, actually you can't because the FSB blew him up, even aspiring powers like Iran's Sepah Pasdaran, do seem to have a fluid understanding of other's sovereignty.

What I wonder about is that the US version of its sovereignity is that it is the only truly soereign nation, that all other nations are to some extent tribal - not only dependent on the US for protection, but also to one extent or the other, lacking the capacity to function fully in the broader world as it is, much like the US govt related to tribal nations within its borders - seeming to recognize them legally, but having little pause in killing or moving entire populations.

So I wonder if there is a connection to the use of drones in say Pak and Yemen, countries still characterized by a significant tribal component. Again back to Lux. It Lux was harboring a terrorist, we probably would not use a drone to kill him.

I also wonder it would be accurate to characterize US policy/attitude toward Islam in general and Islamic countries in particular as more tribal than the norm, discounting whatever nation state status we recognize in them.

The view supported by Kahn and somewhat following from Gordon Wood, and also traceable in diverse writers all across the traditional ideological spectrum, is that American popular sovereignty, like all theories/realities of sovereignty - so, sovereignty put simply - is in some sense logically defective or incomplete, but that its logical defectiveness does not render it inoperative or ineffective, as you point out. Similarly, I don't need a complete theory/reality of writing this blog comment or writing in general in order to write this blog comment. I don't even have to know who or what I am to write sentence after sentence with the first person pronoun playing a lead role. Similarly, the Divine Right of Kings was able to function despite the fact that in today's world you'll find very few people who consider it intrinsically sound. On this note, I (who/whatever that is) have always found it interesting how these ideas about political community and power parallel ideas about the self-constitution of the individual.

Kahn, whose day job is "Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities, and Director of the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale," describes the European Union as an attempt to create a post-sovereignty political order that would embody a complete if territorially limited victory of the lawful, logical, peaceful, universal Kantian order, where everyone wills the universal, where borders fade, wars become unthinkable, and ethnicity and nationality no longer reign, on the way to a territorially unlimited victory. Its notions pervade concepts of international law and the so-called law of war. But we see now in the rolling economic crisis how issues of sovereignty, and eventually raw power, return as soon as perpetual peace stops beings so perpetual. (The Marxist thinks that the problem is that the real power all along has been the ruthlessly logical system of capital, now in a period of crisis which may be the final crisis at least of one of its major configurations, in principle of the system itself.)

Whether the post-sovereign order is authentically post-sovereign and really has successfully re-defined the political is another question. I tend to suspect it's a really good story, but, then again, my "I" was constituted in America, born in war (sacrifice) and still proud of it (beholden to it), unlike modern Europe, born in reaction to near-total destruction by war.

I'm sure it is well known. But it is still a bit more frustrating when people voicing things other than the party line of either the liberals or conservatives are cast in stereotypical roles by folks needing to see things in black and white terms. Since you're good at seeing the facts on both sides, and see people on both sides the same way--as "rocks and boards"--I think you do best in respect to educating folks about certain realities when you acknowledge their reality and then shift it slightly. There's no reason for you not to use that strategy more often since you're not really defending any particular political stance anyway, right? And maybe you did start with that this time, I don't know. Even if you did, it's always possible to stick with it more consistency out of intellectual generosity, which works best coming from the most knowledgeable person taking part in any given discussion.

A hypothesis I've been mulling is that a significant node in this web is that the US has evolved into an untenable theory/reality of sovereignity. Part of this is the elevation of American Exceptionalism from Stalin's critique of the idea of America's supposed exception from the laws of Marxism, to theidea that America is exempt from historical and legal processes in general,

The problem isthat the US has ben able tomake signifcant actions under this theory. For instance Luxembourg could come to a similar view of Lux Exceptionalism, but would not likely meet with enough success for anyone else to take the idea seriously.

The US is inthe position of defending a unique form of sovereignity. To change this position would be a profound a far reaching project. I know that my brain is not up to the task of scetching out the possibilities.

Is Kotsko really saying that, that isn't really clear at all, he doesn't acknowledge and perhaps isn't aware of the Levick Group
and other enterprises, public relations strategy to stigmatize all aspects of counter terror policy,

As for problems being unsolvable on the level on which they occur, I think I agree with you.

As for Kotsko's insults, I believe it is well known that I am rubber, and he is glue...

Naturally, I would defend you (CK) regarding those quoted attacks. You aren't any of the things they called you. Obviously. I should have made that clear from the start. Sorry. My point, as usual, is that problems can't be solved on the level of consciousness on which they occur. And that is a political point. Einstein said it as a politician. It goes both ways. Liberals can't argue conservatives into being liberals and conservatives can't argue liberals into being conservatives. Peace occurs on the level of consciousness above the conflict both intellectual and physical.
The vegetarian story had to do with Tibetan Buddhist living at very very high altitudes where vegetables couldn't be grown. So meat-eating was necessary for survival. But then they would have other people do the killing and believe that that somehow separated them from the negative karma. Very silly. It was especially silly coming from folks with otherwise hardcore (what I see as victimizing the victim type...) ideas about the way karma works.

that "God, you’re an asshole." reply not only shows that Adam does have nothing.......but does see to only put you in pretty good company, invoking both divinity and Scott......which is, as they say, a pretty wide spread.

It would be treated as a surrender, and an acknowledgement about what UBL said about strong horses and weak ones, then what, the UAV is the successor to the Tomahawk, I suppose it makes one feel better, and that is what counts.

No, but the AUMF is the main legal authorization for treating the conflict with AQ and penumbra as a "war" - as an exceptional situation in which the executive, under general understandings, is given wide enough latitude to prosecute the drone program. So a serious effort to repeal the AUMF (and Patriot Act) would implicitly be a movement to end the "war." The Prez would still retain the right and responsibility under the Constitution, and tradition, to act as C-in-C and to decide on exceptional situations, but would be significantly constrained both legally and politically, instead of required by law and expected to DO STUFF.

The "real" as in underlying problem is of course much, much deeper. The real as in current problem is moving from here to anywhere clearly better in a way that doesn't make the next and the next current problem worse.

What he doesn't want to acknowledge is this conflict didn't begin in 2001, one can trace it back to 1996, with the first declaration of war, or 1992, with the first attempt on US forces in Yemen, so revoking the AUMF, and the Patriot Act,
really doesn't even come close to solving the problem.

The situation may be tragically mad - so you'd be shooting the messenger. As noted, I was not treated in Kotsko-land as "maddening non-committal." I was called bad names - I was "asshole imperialist warmonger" for pointing out that dropping bombs from B-52s is also a bad thing, and in many ways a worse thing, than Skynet Drones.

To pretend that it makes no difference how and why the drone policy is opposed and, potentially, revised or canceled, is the height of irresponsibility - like the meat-eating vegetarianists that Scott was telling us about months ago, happy as long as someone else, along with the animals, absorbed the sin and death for them. (Maybe Scott can explain that story again - I'm hazy on the details regarding time and place and doctrine.)

Scott Miller: No matter what Kotsko plays it’s better than what gets played on the level of violence.

Not exactly, if on the level of violence Kotsko and whatever Kotskoites aren't really playing at all. If activity that could be anti-violence is instead inactivity or counter-activity, then it cedes the ground to violence, or worse violence.

Finding an alternative to Kotskoism may mean writing in a way that you yourself are quite understandably reluctant to indulge, writing as though free of all pre-suppositions, including in regard to friend and enemy, but also in regard to violence and non-violence, war and peace, death and life - as if we might not even know whether there is or can be anything right or anything considered wrong, not because writing in this way is good, or that we know that it is better or could be better, but because we know that the alternative is a merely violent, if not immediately physical, conflict of mere opinion, leading more or less inevitably to the point that any divergence from the statements of the presumed inarguable, in the required format, are taken as equivalent to the presumed absolutely evil. What that leads to is that, because I question a certain element in Kotsko's presentation as logically defective, I am to be taken as a "warmongering barbarian imperialist typical conservative" etc. In other words, there's no discussion at all, just an opportunity to locate a scapegoat and do the only kind of violence to him that happens to be at hand, and the discussion must be canceled just at the point where it's in danger of actually becoming a discussion.

And why shouldn't I question that loathsome post? Kotsko is saying it would be better if our leaders did the dirty work for us in a way that lets us pretend our hands are clean. Kahn, by contrast, is facing some difficult truths. No con (at least on that level - there's more to what he says, of course, some that I find highly criticizeable).

That reminds me to point out the best comment on the thread, from ShaLaugh, responding to me (#33):

My thought is, if your “connection with morality” depends on having someone in authority lie straight to your face, those aren’t “morals” that you’re enshrining. It seems to me that trusting the lie to be a mirror for “morality” is in fact enshrining the master-servant power dynamic.

Now to be fair, CK you were maddeningly uncommittal, however it's not like committing to one side or another, would really have satisfied him

Touchy, that fellow Kotsko, is, so you repeal the AUMF and the Patriot Act, then what, you haven't solved the problem, which was stated by a character in the MI-5 series, Mohammeed Khordad, 'America out of the Middle East, a corrupt free Saudi Arabia, and justice for Palestine; regardless those are not achievable goals, that is what drives them.

First of all, no matter which way we choose to swing or find ourselves swinging, or are swung, we should enjoy the way you write. You critique like Benny Goodman. Nevertheless, sometimes we also find ourselves wishing you had a clarinet rather than a computer. Sometimes. It would be a great loss if you only had a clarinet, but sometimes it would be better for everyone, especially you, if someone like me were to have the influence to hand you a clarinet and say play this instead. As always, the swinging only happens on level that inspires no solution. Your clarinet solo came and went here without adding anything to Kotsko's playing. It was just a Kahn. Like a good Kahn man, whatever he writes is bad so it bounces off the percussion section and sticks to him. You don't want to have gum all over you. Rise up! No matter what Kotsko plays it's better than what gets played on the level of violence. You're never going to unreptilian the reptilian brain. Cortisol is cortisol. It's not a chord. Cortisol is what TV watching inspires on a chemical level and it inspires reptilian brain thinking. Watch TV news and cortisol levels increase whether you are for or against drone attacks. So you first have to get "your mind right." Be cool, Luke. Get your mind right and you will see feel how to play. No drone is ever going to groove on the clarinet. Can't happen.