#terrorism

“What we would expect…” – terrorism and poverty

bank-robbing is unrelated to economic motivation, since most banks are located in nice buildings.

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OBL’s Argument (5): Shapes of Justice

The de-construction of rules for the resolution of serious political disagreements, politics of the end of politics, is the drawing near of danger: War is or occurs for us, and escalates, as that de-construction, in search of a foundation of

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, War Tagged with: , , , , , ,

OBL’s Argument (4): Retributions

Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the

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OBL’s Argument (3): Leviathan

Freedom from second thought is also provided by the morally supremely convenient notion (or version of the same notion) that government accountability works in one direction only, or, even better, that we can choose which actions of our government or

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OBL’s Argument (2): Gomorrah

On my Twitter feed recently, among commemorations of the Austro-Hungarian declarations of July 28, 1914, now recognized as the beginning of World War I, another anniversary was also briefly noted: Of Operation Gomorrah, on July 28, 1943, an aerial bombardment

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Osama Bin Laden’s Interesting Argument (1)

Only one thing, apparently, is more natural than to be appalled by violence against someone else’s child: to embrace one’s own child all the more tightly.

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The De-Civilization of Gaza

“Terrorism” is a term not just for a set of tactics that instil fear, but for defiance of “civil”-ized norms. The latter do not deny the moral calculus of an Osama Bin Laden: They seek to limit and move beyond its inexorable and inexorcisable normalcy or naturalness – in wartime at least second nature, if not human nature itself. That the logic of war is a collectivizing, anonymous logic explains why liberalism-individualism seeks to criminalize it, why liberalist-individualist polities have such difficulty orienting themselves morally within it, and why they are, finally, prone to overcompensating in response to it.

Posted in Internet, notes, War Tagged with: , , ,

Torture as Individualized War, War as Socialized Torture

In an “objective” if not necessarily “morally clear” accounting, the thousands killed and thousands more disfigured and terrified would receive many thousands of times greater concern. The child dismembered by a bomb blast, the soldier buried alive in a bunker, the prisoner merely sent off to some conventional Hell, and on and on, precisely as they become multiplied by thousands or millions and turned into numbers, all seem to command less outrage and concern than the captive in manacles.

Posted in Featured, Philosophy, Politics, The Exception, Torture, War Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

And many nations shall join themselves to the Eternal in that day

There is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.

Posted in Featured, History, International Relations, Neo-Imperialism, Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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