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AFF CRITIQUE TOOLBOX
***CEDE the political***............................................................................................10 cede the political........................................................................................................10 cede the political........................................................................................................12 cede the political........................................................................................................13 cede the political........................................................................................................14 cede the political: at the left is dead..........................................................................15 at performance: cede the political.............................................................................16 pragmatism................................................................................................................18 ***Futurism Good*** .................................................................................................19 futurism key to movements.......................................................................................19 futurism ket to movements........................................................................................21 futurism key to crisis prevention................................................................................23 futurism key to human survival..................................................................................24 at: any flaw with futurism..........................................................................................25 at: futurism/crises cause paralysis.............................................................................26 at: predictions wrong.................................................................................................27 at: media distortions..................................................................................................28 at: futurism = no value to life....................................................................................29 at: fear mongering by the state.................................................................................30 at: futurism is statist..................................................................................................31 at: chaos inevitable....................................................................................................32 ***State***.................................................................................................................33 A2: State Bad.............................................................................................................33 A2: State Bad.............................................................................................................34 A2: State Bad.............................................................................................................35 A2: State Bad (Gender)..............................................................................................36 A2: State Bad (Environment)......................................................................................37 state good..................................................................................................................39 state good: checks capitalism....................................................................................40 Realism Good ...........................................................................................................41 Realism Good ...........................................................................................................42 Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................43 Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................44 Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................45 Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................46 Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................47 Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................48 Reformism Good – Rorty – Impact..............................................................................49 Political Vacuum Turn................................................................................................50 Political Vacuum Turn................................................................................................51 Micro-Politics Fail........................................................................................................52 Micro-Politics Permutation..........................................................................................53 Identity Politics Fail....................................................................................................54 Realism Good.............................................................................................................55 Realism Good.............................................................................................................56 Realism Good.............................................................................................................57 *** Postmodernism ***...............................................................................................58

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PoMo Bad General .....................................................................................................58 PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................59 PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................60 PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................61 PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................62 PoMo Bad – Public Sphere..........................................................................................63 PoMo Bad – Public Sphere..........................................................................................64 Ext – PoMo Jacks Public Engagement.........................................................................65 PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner.........................................................................................66 PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner.........................................................................................67 A2: Deconstruction.....................................................................................................68 at: deleuze and guattari ............................................................................................69 A2: Baudrillard...........................................................................................................70 A2: Baudrillard...........................................................................................................71 A2: Baudrillard...........................................................................................................72 at baudrillard: cede the political................................................................................73 at baudrillard: Simulation..........................................................................................74 at baudrillard: Simulation..........................................................................................75 A2: Foucault...............................................................................................................76 A2: Foucault...............................................................................................................77 A2: Foucault...............................................................................................................78 at foucault: no impact................................................................................................79 at foucault: no impact................................................................................................81 at foucault: no impact................................................................................................82 at foucault: no impact (massacres)............................................................................83 at foucault: nazis unique............................................................................................85 at foucault: aff good use of biopower.........................................................................86 at foucault: biopower good........................................................................................87 at foucault: resistance solves impact.........................................................................88 at foucault: resistance solves impact.........................................................................90 at foucault: aff pre-req to alt .....................................................................................91 at foucault: cede the political.....................................................................................92 at foucault: geneaology.............................................................................................94 A2: Agamben.............................................................................................................95 A2: Agamben.............................................................................................................96 A2: Agamben.............................................................................................................97 A2: Aganben..............................................................................................................99 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................100 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................101 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................102 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................103 A2: Agamben ..........................................................................................................104 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................105 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................106 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................107 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................108 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................109 A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................110 at agamben: alternative fails...................................................................................111 at agamben: link over simplified..............................................................................112 at agamben: nazis unique........................................................................................113 at agamben: bare life ..............................................................................................115

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at agamben: the camp.............................................................................................116 at agamben: muselmann.........................................................................................117 ***A2: Colonialism***...............................................................................................118 at colonialism: US not an empire.............................................................................118 at colonialism: us not an empire..............................................................................119 at colonialism: US not an empire.............................................................................121 at colonialism: empire good.....................................................................................122 at empire: terrorism must be confronted.................................................................123 *** Ontology *** ......................................................................................................124 A2: Ontology ..........................................................................................................124 A2: Ontology............................................................................................................125 A2: Ontology............................................................................................................126 A2: Ontology............................................................................................................127 A2: Ontology ...........................................................................................................128 A2: Ontology............................................................................................................129 A2: Ontology............................................................................................................130 A2: Spanos .............................................................................................................131 A2: Spanos .............................................................................................................132 at spanos: cede the political....................................................................................134 at spanos: no alternative.........................................................................................135 at spanos: no truth disempowering..........................................................................136 at spanos: humanism good......................................................................................137 at spanos: vietnam good..........................................................................................138 at spanos: vietnam good..........................................................................................139 A2: Heidegger ........................................................................................................140 A2: Heidegger ........................................................................................................141 A2: Heidegger ........................................................................................................142 A2: Heidegger..........................................................................................................143 A2: Hedegger...........................................................................................................144 at heidegger: nazi....................................................................................................145 at heidegger: nazi....................................................................................................146 at heidegger: nazi....................................................................................................148 at heidegger: humanism key to stop nazism............................................................149 at heidegger: ethics too vague................................................................................150 at heidegger: unconcealment bad...........................................................................151 at heidegger: paralysis.............................................................................................152 at heidegger: authoritarian......................................................................................153 at heidegger: no value to life...................................................................................154 at heidegger: no truth = nazism..............................................................................155 at heidegger: paralysis.............................................................................................156 at heidegger: calculations good...............................................................................157 at heidegger: dread of death bad.............................................................................158 at heidegger: permutation.......................................................................................159 at heidegger: being meaningless.............................................................................160 A2: heidegger: link over simplified...........................................................................161 A2: Dillon: calculations good...................................................................................162 Humanism Good .....................................................................................................163 Humanism Good .....................................................................................................164 Consequentialism good............................................................................................166 Consequentialism good............................................................................................167 Calculability good.....................................................................................................168 Calculability good.....................................................................................................169

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Util Good..................................................................................................................170 Util Good..................................................................................................................171 ***A2: rights K***.....................................................................................................172 rights good...............................................................................................................172 rights good...............................................................................................................173 rights good...............................................................................................................174 rights good...............................................................................................................176 rights good: not monolithic......................................................................................178 rights good: not western..........................................................................................180 rights good: check on statism..................................................................................181 ***Capitalism***.......................................................................................................182 A2: Capitalism .........................................................................................................182 A2: Capitalism ........................................................................................................183 A2: Capitalism ........................................................................................................184 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................185 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................186 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................187 A2: Zizek ................................................................................................................188 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................189 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................190 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................191 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................192 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................193 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................194 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................195 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................196 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................197 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................198 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................199 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................200 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................201 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................202 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................203 A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................204 at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................205 at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................207 at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................209 at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................210 at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................212 at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................214 at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................215 at lacan/zizek “the act” fails....................................................................................216 at lacan/zizek: revolution fails..................................................................................217 at lacan/zizek: revolution fails..................................................................................218 at lacan/zizek: does not apply to aff.........................................................................220 at lacan/zizek: non-falsifiable...................................................................................222 at lacan/zizek: non-falsifiable...................................................................................223 at lacan/zizek: conservative politics.........................................................................224 at lacan/zizek: conservative politics.........................................................................226 at lacan/zizek: conservative politics.........................................................................227 at lacan/zizek: essentialism turn..............................................................................228 at lacan/zizek: essentialism turn..............................................................................229

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at lacan/zizek: 9/11 arguments bad.........................................................................230 at lacan/zizek: no connection alt and ballot.............................................................232 A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................233 A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................234 A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................235 A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................236 at hardt/negri: alternative  terrorism....................................................................237 at hardt/negri: alternative  terrorism....................................................................238 at hardt/negri: alternative justifies holocaust...........................................................240 at hardt/negri: globalization good............................................................................241 at hardt/negri: capitalism good ...............................................................................243 at hardt/negri: at historical argument......................................................................244 at hardt/negri: no qualified data..............................................................................245 at hardt/negri: multitude fails..................................................................................246 at hardt/negri: nation-state strong...........................................................................247 at hardt/negri: nation-state strong...........................................................................248 at hardt/negri: at biopower Impact...........................................................................249 at hardt/negri: alt fails..............................................................................................250 at hardt/negri: no multitude.....................................................................................251 at hardt/negri: no empire.........................................................................................253 at hardt/negri: hurts movements.............................................................................254 ***A2: Language***..................................................................................................255 at langauge ks: cede the politcal.............................................................................255 at language k: generic.............................................................................................256 at language k: generic.............................................................................................258 at language ks: censorship hurst the left.................................................................259 *** Representations *** ..........................................................................................260 A2: Representations ...............................................................................................260 A2: Representations ...............................................................................................261 A2: Fear of Death ...................................................................................................262 A2: Fear of Death.....................................................................................................263 A2: Fear of Death ...................................................................................................264 at fear of death: mobilizes people/compassion........................................................265 at fear of death: Fear Key to Value to Life................................................................266 at fear of death: key to survival ..............................................................................267 at fear of death: deterence good.............................................................................268 at fear of nukes: fear Key to Peace and Survival......................................................269 at fear of nukes: Peace and Survival........................................................................270 at nucelar numbing: plan solves impact...................................................................271 at non-violence: could not solve the holocaust........................................................272 at non-violence: Violence Key to Peace....................................................................273 at cuomo: Negative Peace Key to Positive Peace.....................................................274 ................................................................................................................................274 threat construction: peace.......................................................................................275 threat construction: prevents escalation..................................................................277 threat construction: threats real..............................................................................278 threat construction: reps irrelevant..........................................................................279 A2: Love Alternative ...............................................................................................280 A2: Localism (Nayar) ..............................................................................................281 A2: Localism (Nayar) ..............................................................................................282 at global/local: perm................................................................................................283 at global/local: global resistance key.......................................................................284

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A2: Disease K .........................................................................................................285 A2: Orientalism (Said) ............................................................................................286 ***Gender***............................................................................................................287 at gender ir: no alt...................................................................................................287 at gender ir: no link..................................................................................................288 at gender ir: perm....................................................................................................289 at gender ir: 3rd world feminism..............................................................................290 *** Ethics ***............................................................................................................292 A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) ..........................................................................292 A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) ..........................................................................293 A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) ..........................................................................294 A2: Badiou ..............................................................................................................295 A2: Badiou ..............................................................................................................296 A2: Badiou ..............................................................................................................297 A2: Badiou................................................................................................................298 at badiou: ethics......................................................................................................299 at badiou: politics fail...............................................................................................300 at badiou: politics fail...............................................................................................301 at badiou: politics fail...............................................................................................302 at badiou: permutation............................................................................................303 at badiou: alternative unworkable and communist..................................................304 A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................305 A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................306 A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................308 A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................309 A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................310 A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................311 A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................313 A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................314 A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................315 A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................316 A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................317 A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................318 A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................319 *** Security ***........................................................................................................320 A2: Security K .........................................................................................................320 A2: Security K .........................................................................................................321 A2: Security K .........................................................................................................322 A2: Security K .........................................................................................................323 ***A2: Borders***.....................................................................................................324 at borders: inevitable...............................................................................................324 at borders: solves war..............................................................................................325 at borders: africa......................................................................................................326 ***RANDOM CARDS***.............................................................................................327 at critiques of science..............................................................................................327 at said: no alternative..............................................................................................328 at butler: perm.........................................................................................................329 identity politics: cede the political............................................................................330 specific solvency outweighs the k link......................................................................331 ***08/09 TOPIC SPECIFIC***.....................................................................................332 ***Land K***............................................................................................................333 SCIENCE GOOD........................................................................................................334

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PERM.......................................................................................................................335 PERM.......................................................................................................................336 PERM.......................................................................................................................337 ***Famine K***.........................................................................................................338 PERM........................................................................................................................339 Edkins Indict ............................................................................................................340 Repoliticization bad..................................................................................................341 Tech (s) Imperialism ................................................................................................342 ***Deep Eco K***.....................................................................................................343 AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................344 PERM – COTTON AFF................................................................................................345 AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................346 AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................347 AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................348 AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................349 AFF A2: ECONOMY LINK............................................................................................350 AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................351 AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................352 *** Heidegger K***...................................................................................................353 AFF ANSWERS: Perm................................................................................................354 Perm EXT.................................................................................................................356 Aff – Management Good ..........................................................................................357 Aff – Technology Good ............................................................................................358 Aff – Technology Good.............................................................................................359 Aff – Technology Good/AT: Tech Links......................................................................360 Aff – Resource Mindset Good/AT: Resources Links...................................................361 Aff – Permutation Solves – Alternative Energy Key...................................................362 Aff – Permutation Solves – General .........................................................................363 Aff – Permutation Solves – General .........................................................................364 Aff – Permutation Solves – Technology ....................................................................365 Aff – Permutation Solves – Technology ....................................................................366 Aff – Permutation Solves/Ontology Not First ............................................................367 Aff – Technology/Calculation Permutation Solves ....................................................368 Aff – Environmental Pragmatism Good ....................................................................369 Aff – Rejecting Management Bad/Impossible ...........................................................370 Aff – Rejecting Technology Bad ...............................................................................371 Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve ................................................................................373 Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve ................................................................................374 Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve.................................................................................375 Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve.................................................................................376 Aff – Ontology Doesn’t Come First – Pragmatism.....................................................377 Aff – Ontology Doesn’t Come First – Violence ..........................................................378 Aff – Ethics Before Ontology ....................................................................................379 Aff – Kritik Ethics Bad ..............................................................................................380 Aff – Kritik Ethics Bad...............................................................................................381 Aff – Kritik Ethics Bad ..............................................................................................382 Aff – Kritik Efhics Bad...............................................................................................383 Aff – Impact Inevitable ............................................................................................384 Aff – Impact Inevitable.............................................................................................385 ***Eco Fem K***.......................................................................................................386 Connection of Nature and women is Bad.................................................................387 Connection of Nature and women is Bad.................................................................388

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Connection of nature and women is Bad..................................................................389 Karen Warren Flawed...............................................................................................390 Perm Political action.................................................................................................391 Ecofeminism excludes Women of Color....................................................................392 Ecofeminism excludes Women of Color....................................................................393 Ecofeminism excludes Women of Color....................................................................394 *** Bataille K***.......................................................................................................395 Bataille is too utopian.............................................................................................396 Bataille’s approach has no social importance.........................................................397 Bataille’s Methodology of Sacrifice is Flawed..........................................................398 Discourse is Inaccessible and unpragmatic.............................................................399 Racial Realism Supersedes the K.............................................................................401 Black Feminism Supersedes Postmodern Kritik........................................................402 Transgression is Socially Irresponsible; Compassion is Better Alt............................403 Compassion Alternative -- AT: Sentimental and sickly............................................404 Compassion Alternative – Transgression is Insufficient Experience..........................405 Transgression cannot recognize difference in mind-body experiences....................406 Gender K of Transgression vs. Compassion Alternatives..........................................407 AT: Do Both Transgression and Compassion...........................................................408 ** Cap K***...............................................................................................................409 Link Turn: Subsidies continue inequality..................................................................410 AT: Link – Subsidies facilitate Neoliberalism.............................................................411 Alternative fails........................................................................................................412 Alternative Fails- Holloway.......................................................................................413 Alternative Fails- Total Rejection..............................................................................414 Aff – Reform Possible/Key.........................................................................................415 A2: Captialism Imperialism/War............................................................................416 A2: Capitalism Inequality/Economic Stratification.................................................417 A2: Capitalism Corporate Abuse/Poverty...............................................................418 A2: Capitalism Starvation/Poverty.........................................................................419 A2: Capitalism Oppresses Working Class/Child Labor...............................................420 A2: Capitalism caused the great depression/trade wars..........................................421 at capitalism K: cede the political............................................................................422 at capitalism K: cede the political............................................................................424 at capitalism K: peace..............................................................................................425 at capitalism K: can be liberatory.............................................................................426 at capitalism K: no specifc alt = failure....................................................................427 Depictions of Capitalism as Bad...............................................................................428 Perm Solves/Reform Key (1/2).................................................................................429 Perm Solves/Reform Key (2/2).................................................................................430 Perm Solves- A2: State Bad......................................................................................431 Reform Good (1/3)...................................................................................................432 Reform Good (2/3)...................................................................................................433 Reform Good (3/3)...................................................................................................434 Working W/n the System Key (1/2)..........................................................................435 Working W/n the System Key (2/2)..........................................................................436 Total Rejection of Capitalism Bad (1/2)....................................................................437 Total Rejection of Capitalism Bad (2/2)....................................................................438 Capitalism Inevitable................................................................................................440 Capitalism Inevitable................................................................................................441 Capitalism Inevitable- Markets.................................................................................442 Collapse Inevitable- Credit Crisis..............................................................................443

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Capitalism Inevitable/Good......................................................................................444 Capitalism Not Root Cause.......................................................................................445 Capitalism Not Root Cause- No Free Markets...........................................................446 Capitalism Not Root Cause/Reformable....................................................................447 Capitalism is Reformable.........................................................................................448 Capitalism is Reformable.........................................................................................449 Capitalism is Human Nature.....................................................................................450 Cap Good – Financial Independence.........................................................................451 ***Environmental Security K*** ..............................................................................452 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................453 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................454 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................455 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................456 Affirmative Answers ................................................................................................457 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................458 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................459 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................460 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................461 Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................462

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the slaughter of Native Americans.Heideggerian cultural pessimism which Adams cultivated seemed. and the Vietnam War. disgust with American hypocrisy and self-deception was pointless unless accompanied by an effort to give America reason to be proud of itself in the future. The latter were written in the belief that the tone of the Gettysburg Address was absolutely right. can still bring deadly force to bear whenever and wherever it chooses. the chances were that he or she was about to propose a new political initiative. “ACHIEVING OUR COUNTRY: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America”. quasicommunitarian rhetoric was at the heart of the Progressive Movement and the New Deal. 7-9) Such people find pride in American citizenship impossible. when an intellectual stepped back from his or her country's history and looked at it through skeptical eyes. The kind of proto. and vigorous participation in electoral politics pointless. Transformation would be needed because the rise of industrial capitalism had made the individualist rhetoric of America's first century obsolete. James's pragmatist theory of truth was in part a reaction against the sort of detached spectators hip which Adams affected. of course. The contrast between national hope and national self-mockery and self-disgust becomes vivid when one compares novels like Snow Crash and Almanac of the Dead with socialist novels of the first half of the century-books like The Jungle. The authors of these novels thought that this rhetoric should be replaced by one in which America is destined to become the first cooperative commonwealth. and in which the government ensures equality of opportunity as well as individual liberty.***CEDE the political*** cede the political This failure to engage the political process turns the affirmative into spectators who are powerless to produce real change. the first classless society. but that our country would have to transform itself in order to fulfill Lincoln's hopes. An American Tragedy. The difference between early twentieth-century leftist intellectuals and the majority of their contemporary counterparts is the difference between agents and spectators. But this insight does not move them to formulate a legislative program. Henry Adams was. For James. This America would be one in which income and wealth are equitably distributed. Walt Whitman and John Dewey. They associate American patriotism with an endorsement of atrocities: the importation of African slaves. Rorty 98 – professor emeritus of comparative literature and philosophy." James wrote. or to share in a national hope. "is a kind of religion. and we are bound not to admit its . They begin to think of themselves as a saving remnant-as the happy few who have the insight to see through nationalist rhetoric to the ghastly reality of contemporary America. Foucault. In the early decades of this century. Stephenson. This new. to join a political movement. But William James thought that Adams' diagnosis of the First Gilded Age as a symptom of irreversible moral and political decline was merely perverse. did a great deal to shape this rhetoric. by courtesy. inhuman. 1998. decadent and cowardly. and The Grapes of Wrath. or Silko. Pg. It set the tone for the American Left during the first six decades of the twentieth century. Many of them think of national pride as appropriate only for chauvinists: for the sort of American who rejoices that America can still orchestrate something like the Gulf War. to James. "Democracy. When young intellectuals watch John Wayne war movies after reading Heidegger. the rape of ancient forests. corrupt country. they often become convinced that they live in a violent. at Stanford University (Richard. the great exception-the great abstainer from ·politics. as we shall see.

failure. and no one with a spark of reason in him will sit down fatalistically before the croaker's picture. "2 . Faiths and utopias are the noblest exercise of human reason.

It is no longer believing too strongly that is dangerous. separated from any ability to act. The frontier's articulation by the logic of scandal marks a real break with older conservatisms built on some notion of tradition. is a purely affective morality (ie. but actually thinking that one is supposed to make one's dreams come true. but ultimately into a series of temporary and mobile investments which locate them within a popular conservatism.cede the political The affirmative’s strategy is not political. on the other side of politics. page 278-279) Finally. even demonstrating it. not a political rebellion but a rebellion against politics. the frontier itself is transformed. The enemy is not within people but in specific activities that construct the frontier over in the image of the new conservatism. but a machine which organizes the population and its practices. anyone who celebrates the mood in which the problem is at once terrifying and boring is a realist. But now its popular/resonance is rearticulated to "activities" that have to be affectively and morally judged and policed. located on the other side of the frontier. 92 (Lawrence. political positions only exist as entirely affective investments. The frontier becomes a seductive machine. In this sense." has become a question of attitude and investment. Instead it is a strategy against politics. It is rather that ecology. seducing people not only into the need to invest. like any "politics. Anyone who actually talks about serious problems and their solutions is a dreamer. What is on the "right" (in both senses) side of the frontier. It makes politics into an other.. Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Grossberg. The failure of Earth Day cannot be explained by merely pointing to its status as a feel-good media event. . The new conservatism embodies. “We Gotta Get Out of this Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture”. the frontier is in everyone—and with it. Here politics is not a solution to problems. as if investing in the "correct" ideological beliefs. one which leaves no space within which specific actions can be judged as anything other than scandalous). nor by pointing out the increasingly hypocritical appropriation of "green politics" by corporate polluters. was an adequate construction of the political. Within the new conservative articulation of the frontier. the possibility of evil. This undermines the possibility of liberation. It is still partly defined by an attitude in which we are all implicated.

The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that members of labor unions. The second is that the Left should try to I mobilize what remains of our pride in being Americans. It is not the sort of Left which can be asked to deal with the consequences of globalization. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans. The more sweeping and novel your conceptual apparatus. this or that special institution or social arrangement. no longer have a Left. In 1932. one which supplies "the apparatus for intellec tual justifications of the established order. once he is elected. this or that concrete human being. at the end of the twenti eth century. “ACHIEVING OUR COUNTRY: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America”. and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. They are all committed to the logic of general notions under which specific situations are to be brought. and by homosexuals. But such a renewal of sadism will not alter the effects of selfishness. the more radical your criti que. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. was the American Left? Why was it only rightists like Buchanan who spoke to the workers about the consequences of globalization? Why could not the Left channel the mounting rage of the newly dispossessed? It is often said that we Americans. have two suggestions about how to effect this transition. When one of today's academic leftists says that some topic has been "inadequately theorized. will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. even at the cost of talking less about stigma." Dewey thought that all discussions which took this dichotomy seriously suffer from a common defect. He will invoke the glorious memory of the Gulf War to provoke military adventures which will generate short-term prosperity. has suggested that fascism may be the American future. they will ask. Edward Luttwak. Since nobody denies the existence of what I have called the cultural Left. The words "nigger" and "kike" will once again be heard in the workplace. for example. they will realize that suburban white-collar workers-them. It should try to kick its philosophy habit. and in particular with the labor unions. and unorganized unskilled workers. It should ask the public to consider how the country of Lincoln and Whitman might be achieved. let me cite a passage from Dewey's Reconstruction in Philosophy in which he expresses his exasperation with the sort of sterile debate now going on under the rubric of "individualism versus communitarianism. To get the country to deal with those consequences. He was wrong when he went on to say that ascending to this level is typically a right ist maneuver. one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. leading to discrimination and war worldwide Rorty 98 – professor emeritus of comparative literature and philosophy. pg. At that point. by courtesy. the smug bureaucrats. Where. nobody can predict what will happen.selves desperately afraid of being downsizedare not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. Around the same time. this amounts to an admission that that Left is unable to engage in national politics. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. He will be a disaster for the country and the world. something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for-someone willing to assure them that. 1998. tricky lawyers. will be wiped out. The contemporary academic Left seems to think that the higher your level of abstraction. just as Hitler made his with the German industrialists. What we want is light upon this or that group of individuals. the more subversive of the estab lished order you can be.cede the political Failure to engage in the political process will result in the takeover by the extreme right. at Stanford University (Richard. People will wonder why there was so little resistance to his evitable rise. It would have to talk much more about money. 89-94) *WE DO NOT ENDORSE GENDERED LANGUAGE* Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period. most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic. the present cultural Left would have to transform itself by opening relations with the residue of the old reformist Left. he will quickly make his peace with the international superrich. For once such a strongman takes office. overpaid bond salesmen. "9 For such ascents are now more common on the Left than on the Right. The first is that the Left should put a moratorium on theory. For after my imagined strongman takes charge. In support of my first suggestion. Dewey was right to be exasperated by sociopolitical theory conducted at this level of abstraction. For such a logic of inquiry. the traditionally accepted logic substitutes discussion of the meaning of concepts and their dialectical relationships with one another." you can be pretty certain that he or she .

“We Gotta Get Out of this Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture”. or political initiatives into pursuits of Lacan's impossible object of desire. Minkowitz has described a crisis in Act Up over the need for efficiency and organization. Theorists of the Left think that dissolving political agents into plays of differential subjectivity. whatever its limitations. the fact that there may be no other tools available. the most frightening of which is called "power. or a political strategy. It sometimes seems as if every progressive organization is condemned to recapitulate the same arguments and crisis. as membership. The authors of these purportedly "subversive" books honestly believe that they are serving human liberty. The desire for pure politics undermines a litany of meaningful possibilities at overcoming domination."10 cede the political Institutional approaches are the only way to avoid the collapse of all movements and effectively challenge the flawed state policies. “We Gotta Get Out of this Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture”." This is the name of what Edmund son calls Foucault's "haunting agency. The cultural Left is haunted by ubiquitous specters. This is particularly unfortunate since Act Up. This is yet another reason why structures of alliance are inadequate. Such subversion. But it is almost impossible to clamber back down from their books to a level of abstraction on which one might discuss the merits of a law. a treaty. Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. a media celebrity. which is everywhere and nowhere. or Lacanian psychoanalysis. even more importantly. The Left needs to recognize the necessity of institutionalization and of systems of hierarchy." Recent attempts to subvert social institutions by problematizing concepts have produced a few very good books. Disengagement from practice produces theoretical hallucinations. helps to subvert the established order.is going to drag in either philosophy of language. even if they are impure and compromised. as evanescent and insistent as a resourceful spook. 92 (Lawrence. is accomplished by "problematizing familiar concepts. or some neo-Marxist version of economic determinism. since they often assume that an effective movement can be organized and sustained without such structuring. 54 For example. 92 (Lawrence. a recent These futile attempts to philosophize one's way into political relevance are a symptom of what happens when a Left retreats from activism and adopts a spectatorial approach to the problems of its country. The problems are obviously magnified with success. as Mark Edmundson says in his book Nightmare on Main Street. necessity. These scandal-they offer the most abstract and barren explanations imaginable. The question-can the master's tools be used to tear down the master's house?-ignores both the contingency of the relation between such tools and the master's power and. has proven itself an effective and imaginative political strategist. professionalization and even hierarchy. page 396) Above all. page 388-389) The demand for moral and ideological purity often results in the rejection of any hierarchy or organization. finances and activities grow. without falling back into its own authoritarianism. they say. Grossberg. It needs to find reasonably democratic structures of institutionalization. Even though what these authors "theorize" is often something very concrete and near at hand-a current TV show. a candidate. Institutionalization is seen as a repressive impurity within the body politic rather than as a strategic and tactical. even empowering. Gothic. This refusal of efficient operation and the moment of organization is intimately connected with the Left's appropriation and privileging of the local (as the site of democracy and resistance). Grossberg. result in an intellectual environment which is. rethinking the possibility of a Left politics will require a new model of . They have also produced many thousands of books which represent scholastic philosophizing at its worst. often leading to their collapse.55 as if these inherently contradicted its commitment to democracy. Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

perhaps just a little at first. racial equality is an ideal widely accepted. Conservatives. without the myth of a perfect reflexivity which can guarantee its authority (for authority is not an intellectual prize). Rather than a monolithic left focused on class or labor or postmodernism or whatever the pet ideological project of the day is. Wilson. Today. Even though the American people have been moving to the left on a number of important issues. Americans advocate gender equality on a level unthinkable at the time I was born. Today. environmental awareness and the enormous number of people who recycle would have been unimaginable to the small group of activists who gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day. But a politics nonetheless. Today. Today. rooted in the organization of distance and densities through which all of us move together and apart. A politics for people who are never innocent and whose hopes are always partly defined by the very powers and inequalities they oppose. A politics that attempts to move people. sometimes hesitatingly. equality for gays and lesbians is a politically viable possibility. That is. Progressives already have the hearts and minds of the American people. as limited and frail as the lives of those who speak it. even if the reality falls short. “How the Left can Win Arguments and Influence People” p. Rather than moderation. must always be wary of dealing too openly with Americans.intellectual and political authority which does not begin by confidently judging every investment. desires.6) The trend toward progressive attitudes among Americans has only accelerated. despite their assertions of public support. A politics for and by people who live in the contemporary world of popular tastes. A modest politics that struggles to effect real change. The left's revival requires both the recognition of the disadvantages it faces and a willingness to fight against those barriers while making use of the advantages that progressives have over the right. The biggest advantage that the left holds is that it doesn't have to be afraid of speaking the truth to the public. and not by some idealized utopia nor by its own theoretical criteria. every idea on the right must be carefully vetted to ensure the proper spin control. an era when airline stewardess were fired when they turned thirty. I urge a new kind of tactical radicalism. one which speaks with a certain authority. It will have to measure both intellectual and political progress by movement within the fragile and contradictory realities of people's lives. This book argues that progressives need to reshape their arguments and their policy proposals to increase their influence over American politics. every practice. It will have to be a politics articulated by and for people who are inevitably implicated in the contemporary crisis of authority and whose lives have been shaped by it. got married. . the two major political parties have shifted to the right. I advocate a big-tent left capable of mobilizing all its people. every articulation and every individual. that enters into the often boring challenges of strategy and compromise. It also contends that the left need not sell its soul or jettison its diverse constituents in order to succeed. It will offer a moral and progressive politics which refuses to "police" everyday life and to define a structure of "proper" and appropriate behaviors and attitudes. What the left needs is a rhetorical framework and political plan of action to turn the progressive potential in America into a political force. or gained fifteen pounds. A contaminated politics. An impure politics—certainly. and who are caught in the disciplined mobilization of everyday life. at other times recklessly. 5. in a different direction. never innocent. Wilson. 2000 – Editor and Publisher of Illinois Academe – 2000 (John K. Even "radical" ideas such as Steve Forbes's flat tax must conceal the extent of tax cuts for the rich under the disguise of a universal tax reduction. An impure politics fighting for high stakes. cede the political: at the left is dead Progressive momentum can be built upon with big tent. What the left lacks is a political movement to translate that popularity into political action. fears and commitments. practical politics—operating at only the level of ideology dooms the movement. a remarkable leap for an issue that was virtually invisible at the time of the Stonewall riot.

gay rights. Movements for civil rights. progressives need to give their potential supporters a reason to be politically active and intellectually interested in the ideas of the left.l Because Judith Butler bears the primary responsibility for investing performativity with its present critical cachet. College Literature. Wilson. her work furnishes a convenient site for exposing the flawed theoretical formulations and the hollow political claims advanced under the banner of performativity." these progressive views lose out to the more economically powerful ideas held by the conservative status quo. 1997. Americans believe deeply in progressive ideas. women's equality. libertarianism. Why. Feb. In reality. Marxism. sometimes annoying attempt to help the left overcome its own flaws and seek out ways to reach and convince a larger audience about progressive ideas. Iss. and environmental protection. and much more. Like any political movement. imprisonment. smaller government. particularly in gender and postcolonial studies. This is a self-help book for leftists looking for ways to convince the world that what they believe is correct. This book originates from a puzzling paradox at performance: cede the political Faith in performance is naïve and fails to reshape politics Rothberg & Valente 97 Molly Anne Rothenberg. Progressives cannot sit back and await the rising masses to thrust the left into power. Ill. although they appear to be a little more forlorn than most. This book is. the mass execution of criminals. “Performative chic. Assoc. It is reasonable to expect any practical political . women's rights.” p pq The recent vogue for performativity. then. Unfortunately. then it's surely an established fact: progressivism as a mass movement is dead in America of "one dollar. this must mean that the majority of Americans share the values of the right. are now fully embraced by the mainstream. showing how the left can turn the public debate to issues they can win. Even trying to define what a leftist is seems to be a difficult task. open opposition to them is considered political suicide in most of the country. instead. Christianity. These progressive ideas end up being ignored by mega-media corporations controlled by the same wealthy forces. Progressives look like everyone else. not only squandering resources but even endangering those naive enough to act on performativity's (false) political promise. the White House. Wilson. a guide for political rhetoric and strategic action. poverty. From environmentalism to feminism to racial equality. even though the power of the progressive movement itself in mainstream politics has largely disintegrated. a sometimes helpful. with the possible exception of corporate boardrooms. once promoted by a radical fringe. now. 1. Progressivism as an ideology is a powerful force in the American psyche. “How the Left can Win Arguments and Influence People” p. We see Republicans in charge of Congress.Progressive ideals are alive and well in the US. the elimination of welfare. America must be conservative. If the "liberal" media . 2000 – Editor and Publisher of Illinois Academe – 2000 (John K. We hear about polls declaring that the American people demand lower taxes. We have undertaken this critique not solely in the interests of clarifying performativity's theoretical stakes: in our view. Leftists are concerned about civil rights. especially since most of the people who believe in leftist ideas may be unwilling to accept the label. empowerment. If you relied on just the mass media in America or on election results. you would have to conclude that this is a conservative nation. Prof English @ U. the left has many different philosophies driving its members. successfully pursuing their goals of putting a prison on every corner and lowering taxes on the wealthy in order to allow economic prosperity to trickle down to everyone else. It seems logical. however. and daily pledges of allegiance to the free market. v. does a progressive political movement seem so unthinkable? In a political system controlled by the principle agree with this assessment. 25.4) The thesis of this book is that a majority of Americans now believe (or could easily be persuaded to believe) in many progressive ideas. and a wide range of other ideologies. American political attitudes have become dramatically more progressive. Rather. education. This book is also a road map : over the past several decades. Prof English @ Tulane and Joseph Valente. This book is not an attempt to establish a philosophy of the left. the appropriation of performativity for purposes to which it is completely unsuited has misdirected crucial activist energies. doesn't it? If the Republicans hold political power and the "liberal" Democrats are following their lead. the progressive views of the American majority do not translate into political power. Leftists believe in liberalism. progressives are nearly everywhere. 2. Assis. Trying to find a common intellectual ground for everything is impossible. since not every leftist can possibly share the same belief in every issue and in what the top priorities should be. and Bob Jones University. homelessness. one vote. suggests that the desire for political potency has displaced the demand for critical rigor. All these ideologies were minority movements just a generation ago.

Butler proceeds accordingly: "The task is not whether to repeat. at the conclusion to Gender Trouble. "The Politics of Parody. and through a radical proliferation of gender. but how to repeat or." the way to displace gender norms is through the deliberate performance of drag as gender parody. she makes good her promise that subjects can intervene meaningfully. indeed to repeat. in the signification system which iteratively constitutes them. Only by means of such an assessment can any political program persuade us to undertake some tasks and forgo others. . to displace the very gender norms that enable repetition itself' (Gender Trouble 148). politically.discourse to essay an analysis which links its proposed actions with their supposed effects. appraising the fruits of specific political labors before their seeds are sown. According to her final chapter. Here. The political "task" we face requires that we choose "how to repeat" gender norms in such a way as to displace them.

it barely seems to be worth the effort. It’s tempting to offer the standard advice that progressives should present their ideas in the most palatable form. The words we use shape how people respond to our ideas. A pragmatic progressivism does not sacrifice its ideals but simply communicates them better to the larger public. specific issues. incremental progress is worthless---that is. Progressives need to use the antitax ideology to demand tax cuts for the poor. Wilson.123) Progressives need to be pragmatic in order to be powerful. But palatable to whom? The media managers and pedestrian pundits who are the intellectual gatekeepers won't accept these ideas. . But the political soul underlying these progressive ideas can be preserved and brought to the public's attention. liberal reforms are a threat to the movement. even though it may be conservative in its goals. Progressives need to use the antigovernment and antiwelfare ideology to demand the end of corporate welfare. According to some left wingers. Progressives need to translate every important issue into the language that is permissible in the mainstream. What the left needs is not a "better" ideology but a tactical adaptation to the obstacles it faces in the contemporary political scene. it will be due to a succession of popular. since they reduce the desire for more extreme changes. the left has the virtue of integrity. pragmatism shouldn't be confused with Clintonian centrism and the abandonment of all substance. The current failure of progressivism in America is due to the structure of American politics and media. If anything approaching a political revolution actually happens in America. “How the Left can Win Arguments and Influence People” p. However. The left does not need to abandon its progressive views in order to be popular. but the ideas must remain radical. and turn it in a progressive direction. Leftists need to seize the dominant political rhetoric. opportunities for political change will not be forthcoming.pragmatism A critical mass of small reforms is the only way that a radical left agenda is possible. Progressives have also been hampered by a revolutionary instinct among some leftist groups. effective. nothing short of a radical change in government will mean anything to them. for most radical left wingers. Until progressives become less selfsatisfied with the knowledge that they're right and more determined to convince everyone else of this fact. 2000 – Editor and Publisher of Illinois Academe – 2000 (John K. The language of progressive needs to become more mainstream. In an age of soulless politicians and spineless ideologies. progressive reforms. Indeed. Something will inevitably be lost in the translation. By the time progressives transform their ideas into the political baby food necessary for inclusion in current debates. 121. too. The left only needs to abandon some of its failed strategies and become as savvy as the conservatives are at manipulating the press and the politicians. A popular uprising in the ballot box is possible only if the left can change its political assumptions about smaller. Wilson. Pragmatists have principles. What the revolutionaries fail to realize is that progressive achievements can build on one another. not because of a wrong turn that the movement took somewhere along the way. The difference between a pragmatic progressive and a foolish one is the willingness to pick the right fights and fight in the right way to accomplish these same goals.

the determination to prevent the actualization of potential cataclysms has become a new imperative in world affairs. Rwanda. individuals and groups from farflung parts of the planet are being brought together into “risk communities” that transcend geographical borders. AIDS and SARS epidemics. lobbying states and multilateral organizations from the ‘inside’ and pressuring them from the ‘outside. human cloning) that are emanating from different parts of the world. given past experiences and awareness of what might occur in the future. My contention is that civic associations are engaging in dialogical. Hence.***Futurism Good*** futurism key to movements Debates by non-government action about future crises are critical to social movements— distopian visions are mobilizing transnational movements that are effectively pressuring governments into preventing everything from nuclear annihilation to slowing the spread of AIDS. preventive foresight is an intersubjective or dialogical process of address.”3 a dynamic that carries major.. recognition. No 4. In the twenty-first century. I am claiming that it can enable a novel form of transnational socio-political action. normative and political implications. More generally. York University of Toronto. and transnational forms of ethico-political action that contribute to the creation of a . In the first instance. less to what ought to be than what could but must not be. Kurasawa. humanitarian NGOs. 2003 marked the first time that a mass movement was able to mobilize substantial numbers of people dedicated to averting war before it had actually broken out. in the process.5 Moreover. terrorism. publicity signifies that “weak publics” with distinct yet occasionally overlapping constituencies are coalescing around struggles to avoid specific global catastrophes. and the audiences being warned. Secondly . and response between two parties in global civil society: the ‘warners.’ as well as fostering public participation in debates about the future. the environmental and peace movements. the Holocaust. 2004). the suffering of future generations is callously tolerated and our survival is being irresponsibly jeopardized. and other similar globally-oriented civic associations are becoming significant actors involved in public opinion formation. the work of farsightedness derives its effectiveness and legitimacy from public debate and deliberation. nuclear or ecological apocalypse. what I want to underscore is the work of farsightedness. since transnational “strong publics” with decisional power in the formalinstitutional realm are currently embryonic at best. This is not to say that a fully fledged global public sphere is already in existence. which is most explicit in the now commonplace observation that we live in an interdependent world because of the globalization of the perils that humankind faces (nuclear annihilation. etc. Rather than bemoaning the contemporary preeminence of a dystopian imaginary. albeit still poorly understood. We should not reduce the latter to a formal principle regulating international relations or an ensemble of policy prescriptions for official players on the world stage. since it is. The debates that preceded the war in Iraq provide a vivid illustration of this tendency.) and ‘not ever’ (e. Fuyuki. Bhopal. Constellations Volume 11. the lines of political cleavage are being drawn along those of competing dystopian visions. Groups like these are active in disseminating information and alerting citizens about looming catastrophes. we need to pay attention to what a widely circulated report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty identifies as a burgeoning “culture of prevention. a manifestation of globalization from below that can be termed preventive foresight. Indeed. Although the labor of preventive foresight takes place in varying political and socio-cultural settings – and with different degrees of institutional support and access to symbolic and material resources – it is underpinned by three distinctive features: dialogism. the social processes through which civic associations are simultaneously constituting and putting into practice a sense of responsibility for the future by attempting to prevent global catastrophes. And as many analysts have noted. as both camps rhetorically invoked incommensurable catastrophic scenarios to make their respective cases. from non-governmental organizations to transnational social movements. the avoidance of crises is seemingly on everyone’s lips – and everyone’s conscience. for they are devoted as much to the prevention of disaster as to the realization of the good. and so on). a mode of ethico-political practice enacted by participants in the emerging realm of global civil society. one of the notable features of recent public discourse and socio-political struggle is their negationist hue. the multinational antiwar protests culminating on February 15. From the United Nations and regional multilateral organizations to states. genocide. publicity. and transnationalism. 04 (Professor of Sociology. This brings us to the transnational character of preventive foresight. given the cries of ‘never again’ (the Second World War. knowledge of impeding catastrophes can instantaneously reach the four corners of the earth – sometimes well before individuals in one place experience the actual consequences of a crisis originating in another. in this context. Rather. due to dense media and information flows. Allowing past disasters to reoccur and unprecedented calamities to unfold is now widely seen as unbearable when.4 Hence. public. those who heed their interlocutors’ messages by demanding that governments and/or international organizations take measures to steer away from disaster. just as significantly.g. In other words. despite having little direct decision-making capacity. global warming.’ who anticipate and send out word of possible perils.

minded civil society actors. and forming and mobilizing weak publics that debate and struggle against possible catastrophes. genetic engineering. and information across borders. ecological pollution. . promoting an ethos of farsighted cosmopolitanism. Over the past few decades. images. The work of preventive foresight consists of forging ties between citizens. and mass human rights violations).fledgling global civil society existing ‘below’ the official and institutionalized architecture of international relations. species extinction. who have been instrumental in placing on the public agenda a host of pivotal issues (such as nuclear war. states and international organizations have frequently been content to follow the lead of globally. participating in the circulation of flows of claims.

The international community thereby devised a number of institutional responses. the prospect of ecological ruin caused by a rampant industrialism that mercilessly depleted the earth’s resources and polluted it at an unsustainably destructive pace. farsightedness has become a priority in world affairs due to the appearance of new global threats and the resurgence of ‘older’ ones. Societies emerging from the horrors and devastation of two world wars came to recognize that certain dangers (principally wars of aggression. and. genocide. for they may well have a latent deterrence effect despite the fact that they are designed to prosecute crimes against humanity ex post facto. which were spurred on by the terrifying realization that human beings had devised the means for their own annihilation and that the two geopolitical blocs were pursuing an exterminist logic. The dissolution of the bipolar stalemate between East and West opened the door to greater inter-state coordination and collaboration. the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court) are also signal achievements of the post-Cold War world order. crimes against humanity. However.. racism. other dangers are filling the vacuum: climate change. UNsponsored summits that have yielded agreements or declarations incorporating strong preventive language: the Rio Summit on the environment. The Rome Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court is itself part of an expanding infrastructure of multinational conferences and agreements that has come into being over the past decade or so.’ and global terrorism. the onset and escalation of the Cold War rendered the institutional sphere largely ineffective. citizens had to organize themselves to tackle the problem head-on. 04 (Professor of Sociology. the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. genocide. given that human survival could no longer be entrusted to governments or multilateral institutions. AIDS . Kurasawa. Decades of social activism have been motivated by futurism—this history overwhelms their nonempirical theory. Yet it is since the end of the Cold War that the idea of prevention has truly come into its own in both the formally and informally organized domains of global governance. such as the Charter giving birth to the United Nations.9 The creation of supranational judicial institutions (e. And if nuclear mutually assured destruction has come to pass. by paralyzing the United Nations system and fuelling a nuclear arms race. Virulent forms of ethno-racial nationalism and religious fundamentalism that had mostly been kept in check or bottled up during the Cold War have reasserted themselves in ways that are now all-too-familiar – civil warfare. and the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. perhaps most significantly at the United Nations Security Council. the International Treaty to Ban Landmines. the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. In the 1970s and 1980s. multilateral institutions and transnational corporations take preventive action or cease to engage in activities and support policies that imperil humankind.futurism ket to movements Debates from non-governmental actors about futurism and crises aversion have been critical to forming movements addressing pollution.g. AIDS. 2004). the unfolding of a process of globalization from below has meant that certain civil society organizations are increasingly vocal in demanding that governments. and nuclear armageddon) needed to be averted at all costs. York University of Toronto. In addition. genocide. the Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future Generations. ‘ethnic cleansing. of most relevance for our purposes. In response to this paralysis came the nuclear disarmament and peace movements. Constellations Volume 11. No 4. and war. widely circulated reports from the Club of Rome and the Brundtland Commission combined with environmental activism brought another global threat to public attention. governments and NGOs have participated in large-scale.10 Furthermore. Fuyuki.

SARS. . Collective remembrance of past atrocities and disasters has galvanized some sectors of public opinion and made the international community’s unwillingness to adequately intervene before and during the genocides in the ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda.). appear particularly glaring. as well as previously unheralded genomic perils (genetically modified organisms. etc. human cloning). or to take remedial steps in the case of the spiraling African and Asian AIDS pandemics.and other diseases (BSE.

Humanitarian. and it erodes their effectiveness. Constellations Volume 11. and no part of the world. “[g]lobal justice between temporal communities. procrastination makes little sense for three principal reasons: it exponentially raises the costs of eventual future action. In fact. Moreover. 2004). and commodities. whereby the decision to work through perils today greatly enhances both the subsequent room for maneuver and the chances of success. parrying the eventual blowback or spillover effect is improbable. gross North-South socioeconomic inequalities. though it might be possible to minimize or contain the risks and harms of actions to faraway places over the short-term. and genocides. that of merely reacting to large-scale emergencies as they arise. Independently of this contractualist justification. our descendants will increasingly be subjected to the impact of environmental degradation. refugee flows. Similarly. and techno-scientific activists have convincingly shown that we cannot afford not to engage in preventive labor. What may have previously appeared to be temporally and spatially remote risks are ‘coming home to roost’ in ever faster cycles. actually seems to be increasing. Kurasawa. In a word. Fuyuki. York University of Toronto. images. Preventive foresight is grounded in the opposite logic. Regardless of where they live.”36 Global civil society may well be helping a new generational self-conception take root. Out of our sense of responsibility for the well-being of those who will follow us. With the foreclosing of longrange alternatives. . later generations may be left with a single course of action. They make the case that no generation. civil wars. I would contend that farsighted cosmopolitanism is not as remote or idealistic a prospect as it appears to some. for as Falk writes. let alone reverse it. we come to be more concerned about the here and now. We need only think of how it gradually becomes more difficult to control climate change. the spread of epidemics. our children and grandchildren will likely not be so fortunate unless steps are taken today. then. is immune from catastrophe. No 4. according to which we view ourselves as the provisional caretakers of our planetary commons. Complacency and parochialism are deeply flawed in that even if we earn a temporary reprieve. namely. as I argued in the previous section. all but the smallest and most isolated of crises are rapidly becoming globalized due to the existence of transnational circuits of ideas. people. environmental.futurism key to crisis prevention Scenario planning is critical in a world where annihilation is a possibility—addressing problems now greatly enhances our ability to avert global catastrophe. global civil society actors are putting forth a number of arguments countering temporal myopia on rational grounds. or to halt mass atrocities once they are underway. however. 04 (Professor of Sociology. as evidenced by various expressions of greater sensitivity to past injustices and future dangers. it reduces preventive options.

04 (Professor of Sociology. York University of Toronto. indicating the extent to which we have moved toward a culture of prevention. No 4. In recent years. multilateral institutions. diasporic groups. Fuyuki. Social movements. they are. and transnational corporations will probably never completely modify the presentist assumptions underlying their modes of operation. A new imperative has come into being. What may seem like a modest development at first glance would have been unimaginable even a few decades ago. Debates amongst citizens are the only way to reign in the excesses of statism. Constellations Volume 11. . As a result. finding themselves compelled to account for egregious instances of short-sightedness and rhetorically commit themselves to taking corrective steps. Rwanda. and East Timor to climate change and the spiraling AIDS pandemics in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia). Though governments. 2004). yet demands for farsightedness are increasingly reining them in. NGOs. and thus beginning to shift the discursive and moral terrain in world affairs. The Realpolitik of national self-interest and the neoliberal logic of the market will undoubtedly continue to assert themselves. at the very least. that of preventive foresight. the rise of a dystopian imaginary has accompanied damning assessments and widespread recognition of the international community’s repeated failures to adequately intervene in a number of largely preventable disasters (from the genocides in the ex-Yugoslavia. the callousness implicit in disregarding the future has been exposed as a threat to the survival of humanity and its natural surroundings.futurism key to human survival Futurism is key to human survival. Kurasawa. and concerned citizens are not mincing words in their criticisms of the United Nations system and its member-states.

prevention is a public practice. then. None of this is to disavow the international community’s rather patchy record of avoiding foreseeable calamities over the last decades. We would thereby effectively abandon the future to the vagaries of history (‘let it unfold as it may’). and compel political leaders and national and transnational governance structures to implement certain policies. 04 (Professor of Sociology. It must be made. is neither natural nor necessary. Constellations Volume 11. I would argue. through the involvement of groups and individuals active in domestic and supranational public spaces. Kurasawa. these sorts of initiatives can and must remain consistent with a vision of a just world order. While seeking to prevent cataclysms from worsening or. this is all the more reason to pay attention to the work of preventive foresight in global civil society. Futurism may have flaws but scenario planning by citizens is the best hope that we have. or to gambles about the time-lags of risks (‘let our progeny deal with their realization’). informed public participation in deliberative processes makes a socially self-instituting future possible. from occurring in the first place. the labor of farsightedness supports an autonomous view of the future. to leave the path clear for a series of alternatives that heteronomously compromise the well-being of those who will come after us. Either others will decide for us or we will be overwhelmed by crises. starting with us. Furthermore. remains our best hope. for we will not inherit a better future. as I have tried to show here. however. or to minimize the difficulties of implementing the kinds of global institutional reforms described above and the perils of historical contingency. the technocratic or instrumental will of official institutions (‘let others decide for us’). But. Accordingly. or alarmism and resignation. To my mind. cultivate and mobilize public opinion in distant parts of the world. The current sociopolitical order. 2004). A farsighted cosmopolitanism that aims to avert crises while working toward the realization of precaution and global justice represents a compelling ethico-political project. presentist indifference toward the future. Engaging in autonomous preventive struggles. in the here and now. To believe otherwise is. Fuyuki.at: any flaw with futurism Any problem that they identify about futurism will only be worse in a world where we give up. through which civic associations can build up the latter’s coordination mechanisms and institutional leverage. according to which we are the creators of the field of possibilities within which our successors will dwell. No 4. and a public responsibility. . York University of Toronto. with all its short-term biases. this will not and cannot be accepted. better yet.

Constellations Volume 11. Returning to the point I made at the beginning of this paper. paralysis.11 Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s Nineteen EightyFour. the most effective social movements have used distopian imagery to compel action. No 4.). From another angle. spurring citizens’ involvement in the work of preventive foresight.12 And yet dystopianism need not imply despondency. or fear. 04 (Professor of Sociology. since the pervasiveness of a dystopian imaginary can help notions of historical contingency and fallibilism gain traction against their determinist and absolutist counterparts. Such scenarios can act as catalysts for public debate and socio-political action. Fuyuki. Kurasawa. . dystopianism lies at the core of politics in a global civil society where groups mobilize their own nightmare scenarios (‘Frankenfoods’ and a lifeless planet for environmentalists. while recent paradigmatic cultural artifacts – films like The Matrix and novels like Atwood’s Oryx and Crake – reflect and give shape to this catastrophic sensibility. Once we recognize that the future is uncertain and that any course of action produces both unintended and unexpected consequences. etc. York University of Toronto. the responsibility to face up to potential disasters and intervene before they strike becomes compelling. two groundbreaking dystopian novels of the first half of the twentieth century. McWorld and a global neoliberal oligarchy for the alternative globalization movement. Quite the opposite. in fact. remain as influential as ever in framing public discourse and understanding current techno-scientific dangers. 2004).at: futurism/crises cause paralysis Crisis scenarios do not cause paralysis—historically. the significance of foresight is a direct outcome of the transition toward a dystopian imaginary (or what Sontag has called “the imagination of disaster”). totalitarian patriarchy of the sort depicted in Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale for Western feminism.

an outcome of chance. 04 (Professor of Sociology. 2004). trying to anticipate and prepare for possible and avoidable sources of harm to our successors. scenario planning is key to making responsible choices. perhaps even harmful. A radically postmodern line of thinking. let us be content to formulate ad hoc responses to emergencies as they arise. Indeed. While this argument has the merit of underscoring the fallibilistic nature of all predictive schemes. technoscientific.17 These organizations are often the first to detect signs of trouble. The future appears to be unknowable. and if. Fuyuki. 04 (Professor of Sociology. to dispatch investigative or fact-finding missions. If. the acceptance of historical contingency and of the self-limiting character of farsightedness places the duty of preventing catastrophe squarely on the shoulders of present generations. of course. Therefore. Constellations Volume 11. No 4. Debates amongst citizens about future crises have created a global early warning next work that has both been proven relatively accurate and able to influence government action. we should adopt a pragmatism that abandons itself to the twists and turns of history. then. It becomes. the incorporation of the principle of fallibility into the work of prevention means that we must be ever more vigilant for warning signs of disaster and for responses that provoke unintended or unexpected consequences (a point to which I will return in the final section of this paper). Despite the fact that not all humanitarian. York University of Toronto. Scenario planning is no longer the product of sterile government number crunching. Kurasawa. the multiplication of independent sources of knowledge and detection mechanisms enables us to foresee many of them before it is too late. Acknowledging the fact that the future cannot be known with absolute certainty does not imply abandoning the task of trying to understand what is brewing on the horizon and to prepare for crises already coming into their own. or endpoint to be discovered through human reason. In fact. to wit. Kurasawa. in recent years. 2004). The future no longer appears to be a metaphysical creature of destiny or of the cunning of reason. contra teleological models. the idea of early warning is making its way into preventive action on the global stage. frequently months or even years before Western governments or multilateral institutions followed suit. for instance. No 4. We are obligated to take care of the planet if we have a significant role to play. prospective trends cannot be predicted without error. direction. and environmental disasters can be predicted in advance. In addition.at: predictions wrong Just because we cannot predict the future with total certainty does not mean that we cannot make educated guesses. the lead role of environmental groups in sounding the alarm about global warming and species depletion or of humanitarian agencies regarding the . Constellations Volume 11. global civil society’s capacity for early warning has dramatically increased. Fuyuki. would lead us to believe that it is pointless. nor can it be sloughed off to pure randomness. a result of human action shaped by decisions in the present – including. and to warn the international community about impending dangers. And. Combining a sense of analytical contingency toward the future and ethical responsibility for it. This AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. then the abyss of chronological inscrutability supposedly opens up at our feet. history has no intrinsic meaning. rather than embarking upon grandiose speculation about what may occur. small part due to the impressive number of NGOs that include catastrophe prevention at the heart of their mandates. it conflates the necessary recognition of the contingency of history with unwarranted assertions about the latter’s total opacity and indeterminacy. to strive for farsightedness in light of the aforementioned crisis of conventional paradigms of historical analysis. is a loose-knit network of watchdog groups that is acquiring finely tuned antennae to pinpoint indicators of forthcoming or already unfolding crises. instead. in no What has come into being. contra scientistic futurism. York University of Toronto. from a normative point of view.

04 (Professor of Sociology. Global civil society players have devised a host of ‘naming and shaming’ strategies and high-profile information campaigns to this effect. the reckless pursuit of profit. questioning and even contesting official expertise in risk assessment more than ever before.g. genetic engineering. denounce bureaucratic inertia. Chechnya. there is a healthy skepticism of the media that mobilizes citizens to question further. Fuyuki. several recent attempts to hide evidence of acts of mass violence (Tiananmen Square. etc. The possibility that the threat of media exposure may dissuade individuals and groups from enacting genocidal plans or reckless gambles with our future is one of the lynchpins of prevention in our information-saturated age.21 Hence. the broadcast of shocking images and testimonies can nevertheless shame governments and international organizations into taking immediate steps..’ to which we should now add the ‘Al-Jazeera effect. York University of Toronto. and genocide from a supposedly isolated aberration to an affront to our common humanity. The ‘CNN or BBC effect. mass marches. The growing public significance of preventive message in global affairs is part and parcel of what Ignatieff has termed an “advocacy revolution. the cellular telephone. None of this would be possible without the existence of global media. And. and so on). culturally meaningful chains of events whose implications become discernable for decision-makers and ordinary citizens (‘this is why you should care’). establishing audiences of constituents and ordinary citizens conversant with some of the great challenges facing humanity as well as putting pressure on official institutions to be proactive in their long-term planning and shorter-term responses. it remains a key device through which concerned citizens and activists can share and spread information.network of ‘early warners’ are working to publicize potential and actual emergencies by locating indicators of danger into larger catastrophic patterns of interpretation.) and crises (e. epidemics. After Bhopal and Chernobyl. the proliferation of different types of media makes government cover-ups very difficult and can dramatically shape public opinion. and boycotts.”19 since threatened populations and allied organizations are acting as early warning beacons that educate citizens about certain perils and appeal for action on the part of states and multilateral institutions. 2004). ecological devastation. Kurasawa. including press conferences. East Timor. Constellations Volume 11. petitions.’ is a surprisingly powerful force in impacting world public opinion. and spectacular stunts that 0 The advocacy revolution is having both ‘trickle-down’ and ‘trickle-up’ effects. Despite the highly selective character of what is deemed newsworthy and state and commercial influence on what is broadcast.18 Civic associations can thus invest perilous situations with urgency and importance. . as the now notorious Abu Ghraib prison photographs remind us. whose speed and range make it possible for reports of an unfolding or upcoming disaster to reach viewers or readers in most parts of the world almost instantaneously. pleading ignorance or helplessness to anticipate what may come in the future becomes less and less plausible. few things now entirely escape from the satellite camera. after ‘mad cow disease’ and the war in Iraq. While media coverage almost always follows a crisis rather than preceding it. And although the internet may never become the populist panacea technological determinists have been heralding for years. No 4. during the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Soviet Union or the SARS outbreak in China) have failed. or the preponderance of national interests in world affairs. yet global civil society is having some success in cultivating audiences and advocates coalescing around specific perils (mass human rights violations. in a world where early warnings of cataclysms are often available. transforming climate change from an apparently mild and distant possibility to an irreversible and grave threat to human survival. Are forewarnings of disasters being heard? The mobilization of official intervention and popular interest has certainly been mixed. or the notebook computer.2 at: media distortions They are right that the media is not perfect. But. citizens are scrutinizing.

York University of Toronto. and the subsequent relentless pursuit of it. Hans Jonas’s “imperative of responsibility” is valuable precisely because it prescribes an ethico-political relationship to the future consonant with the work of farsightedness.30 From a consequentialist perspective. the Kantian categorical imperative.27 Fully appreciating Jonas’s position requires that we grasp the rupture it establishes with the presentist assumptions imbedded in the intentionalist tradition of Western ethics. and of whether they correspond to the initial intention. instant gratification versus future wellbeing. contrary . intrinsically exclude broader questions of long-term prospects or negative side-effects. innovation versus safety.29 By contrast. a chrono-cosmopolitics that takes seriously a sense of “intergenerational solidarity” toward human beings who will live in our wake as much as those living amidst us today. according to which the moral worth of a deed depends upon whether the a priori “principle of the will” or “volition” of the person performing it – that is.” which stipulates that we must carefully ponder the potential impacts of our actions and assume responsibility for them – even for the incidence of unexpected and unintended results. so pervasive in modern societies because institutionally entrenched in the state and the market. his or her intention – should become a universal law. A variant of this logic is found in Weber’s discussion of the “ethic of absolute ends. consequentialism reconnects what intentionalism prefers to keep distinct: the moral worth of ends partly depends upon the means selected to attain them (and vice versa). Neither the contingency of outcomes nor the retrospective nature of certain moral judgments exempts an act from normative evaluation.”31 What we find here. What can be done in the face of short-sightedness? Cosmopolitanism provides some of the clues to an answer. 2004). At another level. On the . intergenerational solidarity would consist of striving to prevent our endeavors from causing large-scale human suffering and damage to the natural world over time.28 Ex post facto evaluation of an act’s outcomes.” the “passionate devotion to a cause” elevating the realization of a vision of the world above all other considerations. No 4. instrumental-strategic forms of thought and action. Growing risks and perils are transferred to future generations through a series of trade-offs: economic growth versus environmental protection. are rarely compatible with the demands of farsightedness. I want to expand the notion of cosmopolitan universalism in a temporal direction. and as rapidly as possible. 04 (Professor of Sociology. Jonas goes further than Weber in breaking with presentism by advocating an “ethic of long-range responsibility” that refuses to accept the future’s indeterminacy.at: futurism = no value to life Short-sightedness is what makes life disposable—the techno-strategic logic that they indict is at its worst when we refuse to consider long-term consequences. Jonas reformulates the categorical imperative along these lines: “Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life. while the correspondence between intentions and results is crucial. we need to begin thinking about a farsighted cosmopolitanism. Fuyuki. Kurasawa. the latter must adopt a thicker regulative principle of care for the future than the one currently in vogue (which amounts to little more than an afterthought of the nondescript ‘don’t forget later generations’ ilk). But for a farsighted cosmopolitanism to take root in global civil society. What matters is the maximization of profits or national self-interest with the least effort. so that it can become applicable to future generations and thereby nourish a vibrant culture of prevention. gesturing instead toward a practice of farsighted preparation for crises that could occur. The calculation of the most technically efficient means to attain a particular bureaucratic or corporate objective.” or “Act so that the effects of your action are not destructive of the future possibility of such life. In brief. Future orientation is the only way to make better decisions. At the same time. Consequently. is a substantive and future-oriented ethos on the basis of which civic associations can enact the work of preventive foresight. thanks to its formulation of a universal duty of care for humankind that transcends all geographical and socio-cultural borders. then. I would hold. Jonas’s strong consequentialism takes a cue from Weber’s “ethic of responsibility. conviction without the restraint of caution and prudence is intensely presentist. Constellations Volume 11. is peripheral to moral judgment. intentionalism can be explained by reference to its best-known formulation.

the future will look after itself for better or worse. so that participants in global civil society subject all claims about potential catastrophes to examination. Instances of this kind of manipulation of the dystopian imaginary are plentiful: the invasion of Iraq in the name of fighting terrorism and an imminent threat of use of ‘weapons of mass destruction’. can we support a democratic process of prevention from below? The answer. If fear-mongering is a misappropriation of preventive foresight. thus effectively producing a heteronomous social order. regardless of what we do or wish. Alarmism constructs and codes the future in particular ways. the severe curtailing of American civil liberties amidst fears of a collapse of ‘homeland security’. resignation about the future represents a problematic outgrowth of the popular acknowledgment of global perils. One version of this argument consists in a complacent optimism perceiving the future as fated to be better than either the past or the present. however. or a cyclical one of the endless repetition of the mistakes of the past. How. or a naively Panglossian pragmatism (‘things will work themselves out in spite of everything. lies in cultivating the public capacity for critical judgment and deliberation. No 4. a process that appears to be dangerous. Some believe that the world to come is so uncertain and dangerous that we should not attempt to modify the course of history. then. the market. State and market institutions may seek to produce a culture of fear by deliberately stretching interpretations of reality beyond the limits of the plausible so as to exaggerate the prospects of impending catastrophes. and so forth. belief structures. and rhetorical conventions. or yet again. York University of Toronto. a fatalistic pessimism reconciled to the idea that the future will be necessarily worse than what preceded it. alarmism and resignation would. 2004). undermine a viable practice of farsightedness. the neoliberal dismantling of the welfare state as the only remedy for an ideologically constructed fiscal crisis. Accordingly. and contestation. Frequently accompanying it is a self-deluding denial of what is plausible (‘the world will not be so bad after all’). And. techno-science) in charge of sorting out the future for the rest of us. by intentionally promoting certain prognoses over others for instrumental purposes. As much as alarmist ideas beget a culture of fear. both of them encourage public disengagement from deliberation about scenarios for the future. . producing or reinforcing certain crisis narratives. Indeed. because humankind always finds ways to survive’). On top of their dubious assessments of what is to come. is the opposite reaction. pointless. This is sustained by a tragic chronological framework according to which humanity is doomed to decay. if widely accepted. 04 (Professor of Sociology. Fuyuki. I think. Kurasawa.at: fear mongering by the state Debate is the antidote to state fear mongering—scenario planning by informed groups can counter-act official misinformation.37 Much more common. regressive dystopias can operate as Trojan horses advancing political agendas or commercial interests that would otherwise be susceptible to public scrutiny and opposition. the reverse is no less true. or unnecessary. Constellations Volume 11. the alternative is that the governments will continue to scare us but we will be too apolitical and ill informed to counter act lies. evaluation. the conservative expansion of policing and incarceration due to supposedly spiraling crime waves. The resulting ‘depublicization’ of debate leaves dominant groups and institutions (the state.

public discourse can thereby clarify the future’s seeming opaqueness. and the unintended and unexpected consequences flowing from present-day trends. . Likewise. Such tropes are intended to be controversial. Amplifying and extrapolating what could be the long-term consequences of current tendencies. Aside from the moral imagination. the dystopian imaginary crystallizes many of the great issues of the day.granted shortsightedness of our institutionalized ways of thinking and acting becomes problematic. Constellations Volume 11.34 If we imagine ourselves in the place of our descendants. the means of addressing them. but can be – and indeed ought to be – changed. for the disquiet it provokes about the prospects of later generations is designed to make us radically question the ‘self-evidentness’ of the existing social order. the takenfor. York University of Toronto. In helping us to imagine the strengths and weaknesses of different positions towards the future. Kurasawa.at: futurism is statist Debates amongst citizens about government policy are proof that futurism is not statist—it is able to mobilize citizens to demand change and imagine alternative political futures. then. NGOs and social movements active in global civil society have drawn upon the moral imagination in similar ways. fostering a dystopian moral imagination has a specifically critical function. and given that the idea of gambling with humanity’s future or failing to minimize its possible sources of suffering is logically unsustainable. Indifference toward the future is neither necessary nor inevitable. No 4. introducing dystopian scenarios less as prophecies than as rhetorical devices that act as ‘wake-up calls. their contested character fostering public deliberation about the potential cataclysms facing humankind. the appeal to reason represents another main trigger of intergenerational solidarity. Fuyuki. 2004).’ Dystopias are thrust into public spaces to jolt citizens out of their complacency and awaken their concern for those who will follow them. 04 (Professor of Sociology.

Once competing dystopian visions are filtered out on the basis of their analytical credibility. ensuring that the paths we decide upon do not contract the range of options available for our posterity. we can think of genealogies of the future that could perform a farsighted mapping out of the possible ways of organizing social life. An a priori pessimism is also unsustainable given the fact that long-term preventive action has had (and will continue to have) appreciable beneficial effects. the practice of genealogically inspired farsightedness nurtures the project of an autonomous future. interventions into the present intended to facilitate global civil society’s participation in shaping the field of possibilities of what is to come. an examination of fatalism makes it readily apparent that the idea that humankind is doomed from the outset puts off any attempt to minimize risks for our successors. groups and individuals can assess the remaining legitimate catastrophic scenarios through the lens of genealogical mappings of the future. one that is socially self-instituting. destiny.42 Just as importantly. ethical commitments.g. Fuyuki. Constellations Volume 11. nuclear waste. coordination. 04 (Professor of Sociology. aside from not jeopardizing human and environmental survival. The evaluative framework proposed above should not be restricted to the critique of misappropriations of farsightedness. the historical track-record of last-minute. and political underpinnings and consequences. They are. Debates amongst citizens are key to assessing probability and effectively planning. keeping in mind the sobering lessons of the past century cannot but make us wary about humankind’s supposedly unlimited ability for problemsolving or discovering solutions in time to avert calamities. York University of Toronto. global terrorism. and execution. What’s more.. the welfare state. that is. democratic discussion and debate about a future that human beings would freely self-determine. since it can equally support public deliberation with a reconstructive intent. the examples of medical research. most of the serious perils that we face today (e. Kurasawa.). In so doing. as well as strict environmental regulations in some countries stand out among many others. No 4.at: chaos inevitable Chaos is not inevitable—careful future planning has been enormously effective. On the other hand. our first duty consists in addressing the present-day causes of eventual perils. nature. . sustained. Participants in global civil society can then take – and in many instances have already taken – a further step by committing themselves to socio-political struggles forging a world order that. in other words. Hence. and begin to reflect upon and deliberate about the kind of legacy we want to leave for those who will follow us. humanitarian law. Moreover. etc. 2004). Medical research. long-term strategies of planning. Inverting Foucault’s Nietzschean metaphor. technical ‘quick-fixes’ is hardly reassuring. genocide and civil war) demand complex. essentially condemning them to face cataclysms unprepared. and environmental regulations are just a few areas where futurism has prevented enormous suffering. climate change. we can acknowledge that the future is a human creation instead of the product of metaphysical and extra-social forces (god. international humanitarian law. In fact. is designed to rectify the sources of transnational injustice that will continue to inflict needless suffering upon future generations if left unchallenged.

A clear understanding of how institutions and individuals interact or how different institutions interact with each other can provide clear and useful insights that practitioners can successfully use. political science already has the raw material to make this contribution. . and new worldview. Societal transformation will not be successful without change at the personal level. I believe that it is possible to justify a more positive answer' (Bany. becoming a 'slave social science' (see Donovan. As Brian Barry notes. Change outside the state is temporary --. Pirages. Politics. 1) We do not suggest that political science should merely fall into line with the government instrumentalism that we have identified. 19). we maintain that political scientists should be able to engage with practical politics on their own terms and should be able to provide research output that is of value to practitioners. No. p. but that resolve is likely to weaken as they perform day-today within a system reinforcing different beliefs and values. 2004. and more successfully. but it chooses not to utilise it in this way: no doubt. new values. If societal transformation must be speedy. Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Sociology – SUNY Buffalo. 289) In some respects personal change cannot be separated from societal change. because academics are motivated to present their findings to other academics and not the practitioners within the institutions they study. in part. and most of us believe it must. conceptualisation and classification that political science has the potential to contribute more to practical politics. 22). But.or perhaps remaking .. 'Granting (for the sake of argument) that [students of politics] have some methods that enable us to improve on the deliverances of untutored common sense or political journalism.only engaging institutions produces lasting remedies Milbrath ’96 (Lester W. But lasting personal change is unlikely without simultaneous transformation of the socioeconomic/political system in which people function. 26. what good do they do? The answer to that question is: not much.a political science that 'directs research efforts to good questions and enables incremental improvements to be made' (ibid. explanation. But if we change the question and ask what good they could do. such change is a necessary but not sufficient step on the route to sustainability. new lifestyles. p. It is because of its focus on understanding.***Sta te*** A2: State Bad Debating about the state does not mean capitulating to it --. In this sense. Building Sustainable Societies. making . 2005). Persons may solemnly resolve to change. pleading with individuals to change is not likely to be effective. Australian National University. Reluctance to challenge mainstream society is the major reason most efforts emphasizing education to bring about change are ineffective.. Vol. People hoping to live sustainably must adopt new beliefs. Ed.discussing government policy creates critical understanding that facilitates resistance against its worst abuses Donovan and Larkin ’06 (Clair and Phil. Change agents typically are met with denial and great resistance.

however much we may deplore the current system and prefer a more peaceful and harmonious world. that the state system condemns each state to be continually concerned with its power relative to that of other states. as observers. which.. .A2: State Bad State power is flexible and open to reorientation Krause and Williams ‘97 (Keith. state action is flexible and capable of reorientation. p. PhD – Yale and Teacher – U Florida. it clarifies what most basically concerns and drives states and what kinds of behavior can be expected. dynamics. We may prefer a system other that one in which states are so committed to advancing their own national interests and protecting their sovereignty. It is quite another thing to approve morally of power politics. Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases. From a critical perspective. It is one thing to say. in an anarchical system. it loses the possibility of influencing what remains the most structurally capable actor in contemporary world politics. To exclude a focus on state action from a critical perspective on the grounds that it plays inevitably within the rules of existing conceptions simply reverses the error of essentializing the state. In the realm of organized violence. Nevertheless. Moreover. states also remain the preeminent actors. and analyzing state policy need not therefore be tantamount to embracing the statist assumptions of orthodox conceptions. Professor of Political Science – U Southern Main. The task of a critical approach is not to deny the centrality of the state in this realm but. xvi) Many of the chapters in this volume thus retain a concern with the centrality of the state as a locus not only of obligation but of effective political action. it regards as potential aggressors. It does not pretend to account for all factors. p. rather. Only debating state policies can avert nuclear conflict --. and possibilities for reorientation. As a necessarily simplified version of reality. 115) Whether the observer personally approves of the "logic of behavior" that a particular framework seems to suggest is not the point. as done here. and Michael. to understand more fully its structures. we must first understand the contemporary one if we are to learn how to "manage" it and avoid the catastrophe of a nuclear war. The utility of the statesystem framework is simply that is points to the "essence" of state behavior. that motivate states. We. may deplore that behavior and the anarchical system that produces it and we may wish that international politics were not as conflictual and violent as the twentieth century has already amply demonstrated. Games Nations Play. Professor of Political Science – York U.this doesn’t mean accepting the system Spanier ’90 (John. such as moral norms.

but it also needs greater access to the entire range of apparatuses of decision making power. It is not individuals who have produced starvation and the other social disgraces of our world. commonality and social agency which do not deny differences Without such commonality. p. We can imagine ourselves involved in a politics where acting for another is always acting for oneself as well. against and with in bureaucratic systems of governance. at the precise point of their insertion into the field of immanence. We Gotta Get Out of This Place. a shared “responsible yearning: a yearning out towards something more and something better than this and this place now. the 1990 Black boycott of Korean stores in New York). a politics in which everyone struggles with the resources they have to make their lives (and the world) better. The struggle against the disciplined mobilization of everyday life can only be built on affective commonalities. since the two are so intimately tied together! For example.” The Left. The Left too often thinks that it can end racism and sexism and classism by changing people’s attitude and everyday practices (e. perhaps even the illusion. while such struggles may be extremely visible. It will not take much to change the position of any individual in the United States. Such a politics will not begin by distinguishing between the local and the global (and certainly not by valorizing Resistance is always a local struggle. act locally.only opposition to specific institutions can meaningfully challenge domination Grossberg ’92 (Lawrence. In stark contrast. equality and democracy (although these might conflict) in economic. The Left needs institutions which can operate within the system of governance. In recent years (marked by the recent rock tour). its only alternative is to seek a public voice in the media through tactical protests. Unfortunately. The construction of an affective commonality attempts to mobilize people in a common struggle. and it depended upon a highly sophisticated organizational structure. the one over the other) for the ways in which the former are incorporated into the latter preclude the luxury of such choices. Since the meaning of these terms has to be understood in the context of any Fight locally because that is the scene of action. that such things are possible.g.g. . Otherwise the Left has nothing but its own self-righteousness. distributors) which have put the economic relations of bleack an immigrant populations in place and which condition people’s everyday practices. it has apparently redirected its energy and resources. and within the systems of organizations which in fact have the capacity (as well as responsibility) to fight them. since it has so little access to the apparatuses of agency. membership becomes little more than a statement of ideological support for a position that few are likely to oppose) and public visibility. points at which the global becomes local.” This requires the imagination and construction of forms of unity. after all. It strives to organize minorities into a new majority. The Left assumed for some time now that. although it is individuals who must take responsibility for eliminating them. bringing it to an end. understanding that such institutions are the mediating structures by which power is actively realized.. they must act with organizations.e. as the experience of many of the homeless. it would be a fragmentary thought of the open totality—for what we can grasp are fragments unveiled on the horizon of the totality. politics is too easily reduced to a question of individual rights (i. despite the fact that they have no common identity or character. an immensely effective organization when its major strategy was (similar to that of the Right) exerting pressure directly on the bureaucracies of specific governments. “Local struggles directly target national and particular struggle. difference ends up “trumping” politics. We need to think with what Axelos has described as a “planetary thought” which “would be a coherent thought—but not a rationalizing and ‘rationalist’ inflection. 390-1) But this would mean that the Left could not remain outside of the systems of governance. Professor of Communication – U Illinois. but aim for the global because that is the scene of agency. It was accomplished by mobilizing popular pressure on the institutions and bureaucracies of economic and governmental institutions. the most effective struggle of the Left in recent times has been the dramatic (and. in the terms of classical utility theory). Opposition is predicated precisely on locating the points of articulation between them. seeking new members (who may not be committed to actually doing anything.A2: State Bad Ignoring the state is politically disastrous --. the elderly and the “fallen” middle class demonstrates. one hopes continuing) dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. But to do so. act appropriately! international axioms. because of the possibilities it opens. the only models of political commitment are self-interest and charity. taxing structures. . It is based on the hope. they are often less effective than attempts to move the institutions (e. one is always acting both globally and locally: Think globally. Without such organizations. banks. even when (as in parts of the ecology movement) it is imagined to connect into its global structures of articulation: Think globally. and the local opens up onto the global. It is often by directing opposition against specific institutions that power can be challenged. we need to think of affirmation action as in everyone’s best interests. recognizing that they are the only force capable of providing a new historical and oppositional agency. is defined by its common commitment to principles of justice. The Left does in fact need more visibility. But we are all precariously caught in the circuits of global capitalism. Nor are there any guarantees about the future of any single nation. Charity suggests that we act on behalf of others who cannot act on their own behalf. Consider the case of Amnesty International. and everyone’s position is increasingly precarious and uncertain. It has sometimes to work with. political and cultural life.

patriarchal theories underscore an insight that generally informs feminist theorizing. A framework that can characterize all state interventions as directly or indirectly patriarchal offers little practical guidance in challenging the conditions it condemns. It is difficult to dismiss all the anti-discrimination initiatives of the last quarter century as purely counterrevolutionary strategies. welfare workers. rights-based claims have played a crucial role in advancing group as well as individual interests. And it is precisely these initiatives. many feminists challenge the claim that they are the same. that [have created] [*1186] leverage for the representation of women's interests. for example. And if women are not a homogenous group with unitary concerns. L. April. if the state is best understood as a network of institutions with complex. policies liberalizing abortion serve male objectives by enhancing access to female sexuality. and Pentagon officials as agents of a unitary patriarchal structure does more to obscure than to advance analysis." n26 To advance that struggle. evaluation of their strategic value demands historically-situated contextual analysis. to what ends. or as compromising short-term concerns in the service of broader. the problem stems from undue faith in formal rights. by no means unique. Rev. but also for participation in the struggles that shape women's collective existence. of course. The central difficulty is the limited scope and inadequate enforcement of currently recognized entitlements. Moreover. If. The priority that state institutions place on rights is not in itself problematic. such as "normalizing" the system and stabilizing power relations. From some feminist perspectives.. liberalism has failed to respond adequately to those questions because of deeper difficulties. The questions are always what forms of involvement.reformism is a more effective way to challenge patriarchy Rhode ’94 (Deborah L. long-term goals. . patriarchal frameworks verge on tautology. n25 While the "tyrannies" of public and private dependence are plainly related. What seems necessary is a contextual approach that can account for greater complexities in women's relationships with governing institutions. which is scarcely the relationship that patriarchal frameworks imply. policies curtailing abortion presumably also serve male objectives by reducing female autonomy. 107 Harv. 1181. The priority granted to individual entitlements undermines the public's sense of collective responsibility. feminists need more concrete and contextual accounts of state institutions than patriarchal frameworks have supplied. [Continues] These tensions within the women's movement are. including critical race theorists. Yet despite their limitations. and who makes these decisions. n32 Such claims can express desires not only for autonomy. what constitutes those interests is not self-evident. with their appeal to "male" norms of "objectivity and the impersonality of procedure. These constituencies cannot be "for" or "against" state involvement in any categorical sense. n23 In effect. governmental institutions are implicated in the most fundamental structures of sex-based inequality and in the strategies necessary to address it. For any subordinate group. Professor of Law – Stanford. In part. as MacKinnon's own illustrations suggest. surely the same is true of men." n24 Cross- cultural research also suggests that the status of women is positively correlated with a strong state. This critique has attracted its own share of criticism from within as well as from outside the feminist community. Since rights-oriented campaigns can advance as well as restrict political struggle. As many left feminists. sometimes competing agendas. Almost any gender-related policy can be seen as either directly serving men's immediate interests. the state is a primary source of both repression and assistance in the struggle for equality.A2: State Bad (Gender) The state is not inherently patriarchal –. women do not "live with the state and are better able to make collective struggle against institutions than individuals. As Part II reflects. Lexis) Neither can the state be understood solely as an instrument of men's interests. As a threshold matter. then the patriarchal model of single-minded instrumentalism seems highly implausible. have noted. Lumping together police. As Carole Pateman notes.

The ultimate challenge for critical political ecologists should not be simply to bring liberal democratic practice into alignment with liberal democratic ideals (although this would be a good start) but to outline a distinctively green set of regulative ideals. more deep-seated democratic oversight. It is a power that is no longer properly accountable to citizens according to the ideals of liberal democracy. As Gianfranco Poggi has observed. community environmental monitoring and reporting.20 Moreover.anti-statist critiques fail and reproduce violence Eckersley ‘04 (Robyn. injustice.g. it is merely to argue that such powers are not unlimited and beyond democratic control and redress. and public environmental inquiries. then the democratic state is failing its citizens. insecurity.2l Such an approach is consistent with critical theory’s concern to work creatively with current historical practices and associated understandings rather than fashion utopias that have no purchase on such practices aid understandings. by the police or national intelligence agencies). . Each of these initiatives may be understood as attempts to confront both public and private power with its consequences. THE GREEN STATE: RETHINKING DEMOCRACY AND SOVEREIGNTY. consensus conferences.. With its roots in the peace and antinuclear movements. Rather. violence. This is precisely where an ongoing green critical focus on the state can remain productive. insecurity. the green critique of the administrative state should be understood not as a critique of the state per se but rather a critique of illegitimate power. rules. As Hedley Bull warns. bureaucratic domination. or less burdened by. the green movement has long been critical of the coercive modality of state power—including the state-military-industrial complex—and might therefore be understandably skeptical toward the very possibility of reforming or transforming states into more democratic and ecologically responsive structures of government. environmental and technology impact assessment. The problem seems to be that while states have been associated with violence. at the same time as the political power of the state has become more extensive in terms of its subject matter and reach. and political power that create and/or are responsible for ecological risks are made answerable to all those who may suffer the consequences. p. statutory policy advisory committees. In short. 90-93) It might be tempting to conclude from this general critique that states are part of the problem rather than the solution to ecological degradation. Seen in this light. citizens’ juries.g. and a green democratic constitutional state that is less exclusionary and more public spirited than the liberal democratic state. such problems. so too have claims for public participation in the exercise of this power widened. to widen the range of voices and perspectives in state administration. The notion that the state might come to represent an ecological savior and trustee appears both fanciful and dangerous rather than empowering. with the gradual enlargement. and ecological degradation. police.. it can be argued that environmental seriousness and urgency benefits are public goods that ought best be managed by democratically organized public power and not by private power. such as community right-to-know legislation. In liberal democratic states. Insofar as any agency of the state (military. and practices of state governance in ways that make state power more democratically and ecologically accountable than designing a new architecture of global governance de novo (a daunting and despairing proposition). ‘9 Now it could be plausibly argued that these problems might be lessened under a more democratic and possibly decentralized global political architecture (as bioregionalists and other green decentralists have argued). social. global warming). The concern should not be the mere fact that states exercise power but rather how this power can be made more accountable and hence more legitimate. regardless of what new political structures may arise. and how it might be strengthened. However. Skeptics should take heart from the fact that the organized coercive power of democratic states is not a totally untamed power. there is no reason to assume that any alternatives we might imagine or develop will necessarily be free of. building on the state governance structures that already exist seems to be a more fruitful path to take than any attempt to move beyond or around states in the quest for environmental sustainability. there is more mileage to be gained by enlisting and creatively developing the existing norms. injustice. there is no basis upon which to assume that they will be lessened any more than under a more deeply democratized state system. or environmental protection agencies) is no longer properly accountable to citizens (whether directly and/or via the executive or the parliament). third-party litigation rights. as a matter of principle.A2: State Bad (Environment) The immediacy of environmental degradation makes state action essential --. insofar as such power must be exercised according to the rule of law and principles of democratic oversight. to expose or prevent problem displacement. specialization. The focus of critical ecological attention should therefore be on how effective this control and redress has been. and ecological degradation pre-date the state system. and we cannot rule out the possibility that they are likely to survive the demise of the state system. Department of Political Science. and depersonalization of state administrative power have also come legal norms and procedures that limit such power according to the principle of democratic accountability. Indeed. Given the of many ecological problems (e. The same argument may be extended to the bureaucratic arm of the state. and/or to ensure that the sites of economic. University of Melbourne.22 This is also to acknowledge the considerable scope for further. it is possible to point to a raft of new ecological discursive designs that have already emerged as partial antidotes to the technocratic dimensions of the administrative state. Yet such an anti-statist posture cannot withstand critical scrutiny from a critical ecological perspective. This is not to deny that state power can sometimes be seriously abused (e.

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particularly if it does so in an ineffective manner.org/friends/news/omri/1998/10/981012I.mozilla. these countries are often likely to find themselves without the effective state institutions that modern societies and economies require if they are to be well regulated.unix. That means that neither the state nor the opposition can mobilize them to take action for or against anything. October 12.. As a result. As a result. http://www. they are likely to become increasingly upset when the state attempts to intervene in their lives even for the most benign purposes. countries with depoliticized populations are especially at risk when they face a crisis.html(opt.” Radio Free Europe. accessed July 07) First. While those views help promote the dismantling of the old state.english.state good Turning away from the state prevents mobilization for good causes. the opposition cannot easily get large numbers of people to demonstrate even if the opposition is taking positions that polls suggest most people agree with. nonetheless pose a particular danger to countries making the transition from communism to democracy. precisely because people are focusing on their private lives and taking responsibility for them. Second. Goble 98 (Paul. “THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEPOLITICIZATION. . 1998. That means that the size of demonstrations for or against anything or anyone are an increasingly poor indicator of what the people want or do not want the state to do.new). as people turn away from the state as the source of support. Publisher of RFE/RL. Such attitudes. they inevitably care less about what the state does and are less willing to take action to assert their views.friendspartners. The governments cannot count on support because people no longer expect the governments to be able to deliver. widespread in many countries and important in limiting the power of state institutions. And third. they also virtually preclude the emergence of a new and efficient one. And the government cannot draw on popular support even when it may be doing things that the people have said they want.

The Brainwave Project. Libertarians are fond of saying the regulatory welfare state is somehow a continuation of despotic power -. and referee. 1997. Executive Editor.salon. Kamiya 97 (Gary. The libertarian insistence on seeing government as a malevolent or at best obstructionist external force fails to acknowledge its organic. set policy and attempt to dictate the course of events. Far from being a reified Other. http://www. verging on paranoia. how-many-angels-candance-on-the-head-of-a-pin quality to many of its arguments. When property rights clash with environmental rights. Government does. Government will not resolve those problems to the liking of all interested parties -.but neither would any other process. through law: No libertarian solution would produce a different framework.state good: checks capitalism The state is necessary to check the free market.” Salon. January 20. but when a significant percentage of people begin to think of government as "them. conflicts in society. government exists precisely to grapple -. we are the government.com/jan97/state2970120. We have big government in large part because we live in an enormously complex society -. but much of what it does is respond to. for example. There is a discomforting family resemblance between libertarianism and the militia movement.html) Perhaps the most depressing thing about libertarianism is its almost unconscious aversion to the notion that in a representative democracy. Of course. is not only ahistorical. . who adjudicates? Government does.because we have big problems. of course. it ignores the role modern governments play in moderating corporate power.with issues that individuals cannot resolve by themselves. The libertarian failure to recognize the flexibility of law gives a scholastic." democracy itself is in trouble. “Smashing the State. our democracy is plagued with big-money corruption and a thousand other problems.as if there were a historical thread running between the Sun King and Sweden's social democracy.com. changing nature.through the instrument of law -. This tendentious view.

Realism Good Realism cannot be simply rejected – it is a permanent part of the thinking of foreign policy elites Guzzini ‘98 (Stefano. although not always necessarily in the spirit. NGOs. however dramatic. For this reason. Prof Political Theory. to foster a degree of mutual understanding in international relations.e.H. If these strategies perhaps lack the visionary appeal of reflectivist proposals. in constructivism. it is a world-view which suggests thoughts about it. emphasising simply the necessity of a restrained. p. forgetting realism is also questionable. Realism's gradualist reformism. Realism in International Relations and International Political Economy. not only in government. we cannot but deal with it. . to develop a sense of community which might underlie a more comprehensive international society. it is a prerequisite for opposing the more irresponsible claims made in the name. Realism is alive in the collective memory and self-understanding of our (i. various realist assumptions are well alive in the minds of many practitioners and observers of international affairs. such strategies are divorced from an awareness of the immediate problems which obstruct such efforts. reservoir of lessons of the past. Reconstructing Realism: Between Power Politics and Cosmopolitian Ethics. and reproduced as guides to a common understanding of international affairs. Western) foreign policy elite and public. More particularly. at times imposed. Realism has been a rich. they at least seek to take advantage of the possibilities of reform in the current international system without jeopardising the possibilities of order. 194) Given that. p. of metaphors and historical analogies. have been proposed. albeit very contestable. Prof – Central European U. or being critical. This is a non-option. and other institutions. of realism. Hence. and which permeates our daily language for making sense of it. ultimately suggests the basis for a more sustainable strategy for reform than reflectivist perspectives. To the contrary this understanding as increasingly varied as it may be. can offer. and. which. they are divorced from the current realities of international politics altogether. Of course. and. this chapter also claims that it is impossible just to heap realism onto the dustbin of history and start anew. realism's emphasis on first addressing the immediate obstacles to development ensures that it at least generates strategies which offer us a tangible path to follow. ultimately. 22) Therefore. moderate diplomacy in order to ameliorate conflicts between states. in a third step. in critical theoretical perspectives. Although realism as a strictly causal theory has been a disappointment. This short-term conflict makes transition to their alternative impossible --– only realism can provide a pragmatic bridge Murray ‘97 (Alastair J. U Edinburgh. realism would seem to offer a more effective strategy of transition than reflectivism itself. whether educated or not. in the absence of a resolution of such difficulties. does not mean that they should lose the capacity to understand the language of those who make significant decisions. longer-term objectives are liable to be unachievable. in the hands of its most gifted representatives. Whereas. but also in firms. academic observers should not bow to the whims of daily politics But staying at distance. is a prerequisite for their very profession. the careful tending of what it regards as an essentially organic process. Although it does not correspond to a theory which helps us to understand a real world with objective laws.

all that will happen is that non-realist will be removed from office Kavka ‘87 (Gregory S.. it may be suggested. at most. But. p. actively impose substantially lesser risks or harms on other innocent people to protect oneself. For any government that failed to undertake the requisite defensive actions (e. Moral Paradoxes of Nuclear Deterrence. can only be obligated to act in ways they are capable of acting. even if these impose horrible risks or harms on outside innocents.Realism Good Abandoning security fails -–.g. 86-87) The lesson of the kidney case seems to be that one can. Prof – UC Irvine. nations are literally incapable of refraining from taking steps believed to be necessary for national defense. any government that abandoned nuclear deterrence) would be quickly ousted and replaced by a government willing to under take them. . including nations. Can this lesson be applied to national as well as individual self-defense? One might contend that it cannot be.. appealing for support to the hallowed ought-implies-can principle. According to that principle agents.

But Foucauldian theoretical sophistication is even more useless to leftist politics than was Engels' dialectical materialism. Dewey urged. "humanism. got their Hegelianism from Marx rather than Dewey. These are urges which Dewey hoped Americans might cease to feel. . as they say. Engels at least had an eschatology. the less anxious you should be to find a frame within which to see the American adventure within a fixed frame of reference. and to mock the very idea that democratic institutions might once again be made to serve social justice. He thought one had to view these events as the protocols of social experiments whose outcomes are unpredictable. is the sort of failure of nerve which leads people to abandon secularism for a belief in sin. are also the most eager to theorize. Because they regard liberal reformist initiatives as symptoms of a discredited liberal "humanism. It exaggerates the importance of philosophy for politics. meaning it can never solve. Rorty 98[Richard. to become spectators rather than agents. and in It leads them to look for a frame of reference outside the process of experimentation and decision that is an individual or a national life. I see this preference as a turn away from secularism and pragmatism-as an attempt to do precisely what Dewey and Whitman thought should not be done: namely. with its retreat from practice to theory. and rationalizations of hopelessness like Foucault's and Lacan'sDelbanco's "fixed standard by which deviance from the truth can be measured and denounced. and that events such as the Holocaust or the massacre of the original Americans are Hopelessness has become fashionable on the Left-principled. Dewey wanted Americans to share a civic religion that substituted utopian striving for claims to theological knowledge. We are told over and over again that Lacan has shown human desire to be inherently unsatisfiable. fit an ongoing historical process. The Whitrnanesque hope which lifted the hearts of the American Left before the 1960s is now thought to have been a symptom of a naive unrepresentable. Foucauldians do not even have that This distrust of humanism. The further you get from Greek metaphysics. Marx thought we should be scientific rather than merely utopian-that we should interpret the historical events of our day within a larger theory. inverted eschatologies like Heidegger's. PhD in Philosophy from Yale." satisfy the urges that theology used to satisfy. a frame supplied by theory. This retreat from secularism and pragmatism to theory has accompanied a revival of ineffability. Paradoxically. Grand theorieseschatologies like Hegel's or Marx's. and wastes its energy on sophisticated theoretical analyses of the significance of current events. "theorize" it.Reformism Good – Rorty The alternative values theory over practice. It leads them to do what Henry Adams did: to give cultural politics preference over real politics. Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 36] This leads them to step back from their country and. that Derrida has shown meaning to be undecidable. philosophical hopelessness." and who insist that everything be seen as the play of discursive differences rather than in the old metaphysics-of-presence way. theorized.37 But that is helping yourself with one hand to what you push away with the other. to the leftists who are most concerned not to "totalize. . This Left still wants to put historical events in a theoretical context. that Lyotard has shown commensuration between oppressed and oppressors to be impossible. earlier in the century. It leads them to prefer knowledge to hope." they have little interest in designing new social experiments. The Foucauldian Left represents an unfortunate regression to the Marxist obsession with scientific rigor." I see this preference for knowledge over hope as repeating the move made by leftist intellectuals who. Dewey did not.

or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. and about the reversion of welfare programs to state and local governments. and people who work for foundations. social workers. New Left of the Sixties have created. After reading Geoghegan. Many members of this Left specialize in what they call the "politics of difference" or "of identity" or "of recognition. the rectification of names. After reading Jameson. partly as a result of resentment over the union members' failure to back George McGovern over Richard Nixon in 1972.Reformism Good – Rorty The alternative provides no method of implementation and overlooks political solutions Rorty 98 [Richard. you have views on some of the things which need to be done. But it retains a conviction which solidified in the late Sixties. congressional staffers. The new cultural Left which has resulted from these changes has few ties to what remains of the pre-Sixties reformist Left. cultural Left approves-in a rather distant and lofty way--of the activities of these surviving reformists. about budgetary constraints on This residual reformist Left thinks more about laws that need to be passed than about a culture that needs to be changed. the first task of the Left must be. These are the people who worry about the way in which the practices of the National Labor Relations Board changed under the Reagan administration. before the Sixties. . The study of philosophy-mostly apocalyptic French and German philosophyreplaced that of political economy as an essential preparation for participation in leftist initiatives. Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 76] With this partial substitution of Freud for Marx as a source of social theory. lowlevel bureaucrats hoping to rescue the welfare state from the Republicans." This cultural Left thinks more about stigma than about money. the academic Left operates on a level of abstraction too high to encourage any particular political initiative. The heirs of the . more about deep and hidden psychosexual motivations than about shallow and evident greed. must be changed. Head Start and daycare programs. and not just the laws. in the social science departments of the colleges and the universities moved into the literature departments. Simultaneously. the leftist ferment which had been centered. Reformism is not good enough. The difference between this residual Left and is the difference between the people who read books like Thomas Geoghegan's Which Side Are You On?-a brilliant explanation of how unions get busted-and people who read Fredric Jameson's Postmodemism. a cultural Left This shift of attention came at the same time that intellectuals began to lose interest in the labor unions. That saving remnant consists largely of labor lawyers and labor organizers. about the details of alternative proposals for universal health care. The latter is an equally brilliant book. you have views on practically everything except what needs to be done. Because the very vocabulary of liberal politics is infected with dubious presuppositions which need to be exposed. PhD in Philosophy from Yale. journalists. It thinks that the system. The concern to do what the Sixties called "naming the system" takes precedence overreforming the laws. sadism rather than selfishness has become the principal target of the Left. within the academy. just as Confucius said. but it The academic.

"9 For such ascents are now more common on The contemporary academic Left seems to think that the higher your level of abstraction. Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 91] the cultural Left. and in particular with the labor unions. this amounts to an admission that that Left is unable to engage in national politics. The first is that the Left should put a moratorium on theory. When one of today' s academic leftists says that some topic has been "inadequately theorized. this or that special institution or social arrangement. The more sweeping and novel your conceptual apparatus. Recent attempts to subvert social institutions by problematizing concepts have produced a few very good books. a candidate." philosophy of language." . a treaty. But it is almost impossible to clamber back down from their books to a level of abstraction on which one might discuss the merits of a law. which is everywhere and nowhere. the most frightening of which is called "power. PhD in Philosophy from Yale. It is not the sort of Left which can be asked to deal with the consequences of globalization. These result in an intellectual environment which is. Disengagement from practice produces theoretical hallucinations. the Left than on the Right. even at the cost of talking less about stigma. the present cultural Left would have to transform itself by opening relations with the residue of the old reformist Left. no longer have a Left. is accomplished by "problematizing familiar concepts. It would have to talk much more about money. let me cite a passage from Dewey's Reconstruction in Philosophy in which he expresses his exasperation with logic of general notions under which specific situations are to be brought. It should try to kick its philosophy habit. The second is that the Left should try to mobilize what remains of our pride in being Americans. Gothic. or Lacanian psychoanalysis. helps to subvert the established order." This is the name of what Edmundson calls Foucault's "haunting agency. Since nobody denies the existence of what I have called consequences. a recent scandal-they offer the most abstract and barren explanations imaginable. the more radical your critique. For such a logic of inquiry. He was wrong when he went on to say that ascending to this level is typically a rightist maneuver. they say. I have two suggestions about how to effect this transition. To get the country to deal with those It is often said that we Americans. They have also produced many thousands of books which represent scholastic philosophizing at its worst. or political initiatives into pursuits of Lacan's impossible object of desire. as evanescent and insistent as a resourceful spook. the traditionally accepted logic substitutes discussion of the meaning of concepts and their dialectical relationships with one another. the more subversive of the established order you can be. Such subversion. a media celebrity. The cultural Left is haunted by ubiquitous specters.Reformism Good – Rorty The alternative is too abstract – it creates a spectatorial approach rather than an activist one Rorty 98[Richard. or a Even though what these authors "theorize" is often something very concrete and near at hand-a current TV show. one which supplies "the apparatus for intellectual justifications of the established order." you can be pretty certain that he or she is going to drag in either Theorists of the Left think that dissolving political agents into plays of differential subjectivity. They are all committed to the In support of my first suggestion. the sort of sterile debate now going on under the rubric of "individualism versus communitarianism. It should ask the public to consider how the country of 'Lincoln and Whitman might be achieved. Dewey was right to be exasperated by sociopolitical theory conducted at this level of abstraction. at the end of the twentieth century." Dewey thought that all discussions which took this dichotomy seriously suffer from a common defect. as Mark Edmundson says in his book Nightmare on Main Street. These futile attempts to philosophize one's way into political relevance are a symptom of what happens when a Left retreats from activism and adopts a spectatorial approach to the problems of its country. or some neo-Marxist version of economic determinism. What we want is light upon this or that group of individuals. this or that concrete human being. political strategy. The authors of these purportedly "subversive" books honestly believe that they are serving human liberty.

We can be this kind of liberal even after we turn our backs on Descartes. But I have also urged that insofar as these antimetaphysical. we give up the correspondence theory of truth and start treating moral and scientific beliefs as tools for achieving greater human happiness. Thinking of our responsibilities in these terms is as much of a stumbling-block to effective political organization as is the sense of sin. and all the spiritual uplift. we should not allow Emerson. and unrepresentabflity-e-may be useful to some of us in our individual quests for private perfection. to be displaced by Poe. I have argued. the impossibility of justice. Whitman and Dewey. gave us all the romance. however." formulated by Emmanuel Levinas and sometimes deployed by Derrida-as well as Derrida's own frequent discoveries of impossibility. who was a precursor of Lacan. Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 96] I have argued in various books that the philosophers most often cited by cultural leftists-Nietzsche. who was a precursor of both Whitman and Dewey. We can just get on with trying to solve what Dewey called "the problems of men. As Edmundson remarks. linguistify subjectivity. unreachability. Foucault. we do not need to worry about the correspondence theory of truth. or the infinite distance which separates us from the other. like Dewey. we need to keep the alternative private. " . as Derrida sometimes does. we Americans need to go about our public business. Emphasizing the impossibility of meaning. rather than as representations of the intrinsic nature of reality. or of justice. the grounds of normativity. because unable to cope with preternatural forces. and Derrida-are largely right in their criticisms of Enlightenment rationalism. Heidegger. while still taking public political action Rorty 98[Richard. For purposes of thinking about how to achieve our country.Reformism Good – Rorty Even if their criticism is right. We can still be old-fashioned reformist liberals even if. the infinite and the unrepresentable are merely nuisances. When we take up our public responsibilities. is a temptation to Gothicize--to view democratic politics as ineffectual. and see everything around us and within us as one more replaceable social construction. PhD in Philosophy from Yale. they should be relegated to private life and not taken as guides to political deliberation. The notion of "infinite responsibility. I have argued further that traditional liberalism and traditional humanism are entirely compatible with such criticisms. For those purposes. we can give both religion and philosophy a pass. anti-Cartesian philosophers offer a quasi-religious form of spiritual pathos.

a People's Charter. which it carried over from the rage of the late Sixties.the plan is a key step to building alliances Rorty 98[Richard. and thus about social justice. The pre-Sixties reformist Left. did so by proclaiming that all of us-black. Both are equally irrelevant to the question of how to prevent the reemergence of hereditary castes. 13 Nothing would do more to resurrect the American Left than agreement on a concrete political platform. It is no comfort to those in danger of being immiserated by globalization to be told that. and that there is therefore no point in attempting to revive national politics. 14 --1 The problems which can be cured by governmental action. much of which can be cured by governmental action. The existence of such a listendlessly reprinted and debated. Americans still want to feel patriotic. The trouble with this claim is that the government of our nation-state will be. white. PhD in Philosophy from Yale. the contemporary cultural Left urges that America should not be a melting-pot. are mostly those that stem from selfishness rather than sadism. which showed Americans of various ethnic backgrounds fighting and dying side by side. Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 98] The cultural Left often seems convinced that the nation-state is obsolete. equally familiar to professors and production workers. imprinted on the memory both of professional people and of those who clean the professionals' toilets-might revitalize leftist politics. and which such a list would canvass. or of how to prevent right-wing populists from taking advantage of resentment at that reemergence. and they are likely to prevail. To form them will require the cultural Left to forget about Baudrillard' s account of America as Disneyland-as a country of simulacra-and to start proposing changes in the laws of a real country. we begin to realize that one of the essential transformations which the cultural Left will have to undergo is the shedding of its semiconscious antiAmericanism. we must think up a replacement for such governments. for which it has become a substitute. Bill Readings was right to say that "the nation-state [has ceased] to be the elemental unit of capitalism. for the foreseeable future. and brown-are Americans. it will never have any effect on the laws of the United States. specifically.12 The current leftist habit of taking the long view and looking beyond nationhood to a global polity is as useless as was faith in Marx's philosophy of history.Reformism Good – Rorty Only political action can revive the Left –. This strategy gave rise to the "platoon" movies. By contrast. But to bring about such cures it would help if the Left would change the tone in which it now discusses sadism." but it remains the entity which makes decisions about social benefits. since national governments are now irrelevant. insofar as it concerned itself with oppressed minorities. inhabited by real people who are enduring unnecessary suffering. They still want to feel part of a nation which can take control of its destiny and make itself a better place. the only agent capable of making any real difference in the amount of selfishness and sadism inflicted on Americans. This Left will have to stop thinking up ever more abstract and abusive names for "the system" and start trying to construct inspiring images of the country. a list of specific reforms. with the labor unions. Only by doing so can it begin to form alliances with people outside the academyand. because we need to respect one another in our differences. . and that we should respect one another as such. If the Left forms no such alliances. When we think about these latter questions. The cosmopolitan super-rich do not think any replacements are needed. This Left wants to preserve otherness rather than ignore it. Outside the academy.

sensibly wants to be told the details. If I shared this expectation. only when decisions are made by all those who may be affected by their results. and a totally different way of thinking about human life and human affairs. the public which must be won over if the Left is to emerge from the academy into the public square.Reformism Good – Rorty Current reformism will solve the criticism – we should stick with concrete solutions like the plan Rorty 98[Richard. rather than figuring out what. The Sixties did not ask how the various groups of stakeholders were to reach a consensus about when to remodel a factory rather than build a new one. When they do. that economic decisions will be made by stakeholders rather than by shareholders. replace step-by-step reform of the system we presently have. what prices to pay for raw materials. told how deliberative assemblies will acquire the same know-how which only the technocrats presently possess. and something new will have taken its place. capitalism as we know it will have ended. has no interest in getting rid of capitalism until it is offered details about the alternatives. In such a new world. "the people" would know how to handle competition from steel mills or textile factories in the developing world. the Sixties Left . The cultural Left has contributed to the formation of this politically useless unconscious not only by adopting "power" as the name of an invisible. The cultural Left still skips over such questions. and that entrepreneurship and markets will cease to play their present role. It wants to know how things are going to work after markets are put behind us. Since I see no reason to share it. IS The cultural Left has a vision of an America in which the white patriarchs have stopped voting and have left all the voting to be done by members of previously victimized groups. people who have somehow come into possession of more foresight and imagination than the selfish suburbanites. pride in being from Nebraska or Kazakhstan or Sicily. Such reforms might someday produce a presently American Left was in during the first two-thirds of the century. It wants to The cultural Left offers no answers to such demands for further information. Sixties leftists skipped lightly over all the questions which had been raised by the experience of nonmarket economies in the so-called socialist countries. The public. magical transformations. Among these ideals are participatory democracy and the end of capitalism. . I think that the Left should get back into the business of piecemeal reform within the framework of a market economy. nobody knows. sensibly. bring about an international federation. and malevolent presence. Stephen King and Tony Kushner have helped form a national collective unconscious which is "Gothic" in Edmundson's sense. American national pride would become as quaint as we should not let the abstractly described best be the enemy of the better. It produces dreams not of political reforms but of inexplicable.believed. The voting public. in the absence of markets. We should not let speculation about a totally changed system. will set prices and regulate distribution. perhaps. and the like. Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 102] Edmundson. for example. Its insouciant use of terms like "late capitalism" suggests that we can just wait for capitalism to collapse. ubiquitous. whose admiration for John Dewey is almost unlimited. The rhetoric of this Left remains revolutionary rather than reformist and pragmatic. and so on. Delbanco. They might also. but until it confronts them it will not be able to be a political Left. This was the business the Someday. This means. These formerly oppressed and newly powerful people are expected to be as angelic as the straight white males were diabolical. Even someone like myself. Power will pass to the people. Nor should it be interested in participatory democracy-the liberation of the people from the power of the technocrats-until it is know how participatory democracy is supposed to function. cannot take seriously his defense of participatory democracy against Walter Lippmann's insistence on the need for expertise. but by adopting ideals which nobody is yet able to imagine being actualized. and other cultural commentators have remarked that the contemporary United States is filled with visions of demons and angels. given similar reforms in other countries. They seemed to be suggesting that once we were rid of both bureaucrats and entrepreneurs. I too would want to live under this new dispensation. a world government. and much more widely distributed powers of decisionmaking. PhD in Philosophy from Yale. But they never told us how "the people" would learn how to do this. cumulative piecemeal reforms will be found to have brought about revolutionary change. But what this new thing will be. price hikes on imported oil. Doing so is a consequence of its preference for talking about "the system" rather than about specific social practices and specific changes in those practices. But in the meantime. unimaginable nonmarket economy.

whereas the second suggests that they should close them. The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that members of labor unions. Around the same time. 8 The first response comes naturally to academic leftists. we shall end up in an Orwellian world. including the occasional brief and bloody war. will be wiped out. They will make all the important decisions. a better standard of living for workers in developing countries. Union members in the United States have watched factory after factory close. tricky lawyers. People will wonder why there was so little resistance to his evitable rise. In such a world. He will invoke the glorious memory of the Gulf War to provoke military adventures which will generate shortterm prosperity. only to reopen in Slovenia. they will encourage politicians. PhD in Philosophy from Yale. Thailand. The analogue of Orwell's Outer Party will be educated. overpaid bond salesmen. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for--someone willing to assure them that. one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. or any official creed analogous to Ingsoc. For once such a strongman takes office. To make things we often seem more interested in the workers of the developing world than in the fate of our fellow citizens. from the effects of globalization. In 1932. the super-rich will have little to fear. He will be a disaster for the country and the world. they will ask. The second response comes naturally to members of trade unions. was the American Left? Why was it only rightists like Buchanan who spoke to the workers about the consequences of globalization? Why could not the Left channel the mounting rage of the newly dispossessed? . All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet. the international.Reformism Good – Rorty – Impact A collapse of the Reformist Left means a return to discrimination and inevitable war Rorty 98[Richard. cosmopolitan professionals-Lind's "overclass. One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans. the first response suggests that the old democracies should open their borders. The first is to insist that the inequalities between nations need to be mitigated-and. at least in the short run. Contemplation of this possible world invites two responses from the Left. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. for example. But there will be an analogue of the Inner Party-namely. For the sake of keeping the proles quiet. most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic. Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 87] If the formation of hereditary castes continues unimpeded. and a very much worse standard of living for American workers. The words "nigger" and "kike" will once again be heard in the workplace. These two responses obviously conflict with each other. they will realize that suburban white-collar workers-them-selves desperately afraid of being downsized-are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. and if the pressures of globalization create such castes not only in the United States but in all the old democracies. there may be no supernational analogue of Big Brother. will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. to specialize in cultural issues. If the proles can be distracted from their own despair by media-created pseudo-events. and unorganized unskilled workers. At that point. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis' novel It Can't Happen Here may then be played out. Edward Luttwak. who have always been internationally minded. and with debates about sexual mores. It will be in the interest of the international superrich to keep our class relatively prosperous and happy." the people like you and me. the super-rich will have to keep up the pretense that national politics might someday make a difference. It would be no wonder if they saw the American leftist intelligentsia as on the side of the managers and stockholders-as sharing the same class interests." The aim will be to keep the minds of the proles elsewhere--to keep the bottom 75 percent of Americans and the bottom 95 percent of the world's population busy with ethnic and religious hostilities. Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period. comfortably off. In particular. something will crack. For after my imagined strongman takes charge. of both the Left and the Right. the smug bureaucrats. he will quickly make his peace with the international superrich. are ourselves quite well insulated. once he is elected. in particular. It is no wonder that they see the result of international free trade as prosperity for managers and stockholders. and by homosexuals. For we intellectuals. The second is to insist that the primary responsibility of each democratic nation-state is to its own least advantaged citizens. The job of people like us will be to make sure that the decisions made by the Inner Party are carried out smoothly and efficiently. just as Hitler made his with the German industrialists. nobody can predict what will happen. who are mostly academics. has suggested that fascism may be the American future. Since economic decisions are their prerogative. worse. But such a renewal of sadism will not alter the effects of selfishness. For they need people who can pretend to be the political class of each of the individual nation-states. and to the marginally employed people who can most easily be recruited into right-wing populist movements. Where. or Mexico. and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. that the Northern Hemisphere must share its wealth with the Southern. cosmopolitan super-rich. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back.

power hardly seems a matter of illegitimate theoretical privileging.nettime. because such action requires a degree of closure that deconstruction. political action is impossible.L. they acquiese to rule by neo-liberal parties. They are excluded from society as a result of deliberate policies of deregulation. wealth and power. However. By opposing such intervention because they are carried out by the state. [*762] To those dying from AIDS. The struggle over meaning might continue ad infinitum. in part. prestige. those who influence us through their eloquence. 26 New Eng. the approach is debilitating because deconstruction without material rootedness. New England LR. the void will be filled by the rich.political engagement is necessary to check statist abuses Barbrook ’97 (Dr. even worse. this doesn't mean that I support political abstentionism or. can only be solved by state action. social theory and political struggle do not accompany critique. In Europe. Georgetown Law. I deeply admire direct action movements. dehumanized by sexism and racism. Associate Professor. 751) The effect of deconstructing the power of the author to impose a fixed meaning on the text or offer a continuous narrative is both debilitating and liberating. That is. This does not make me a statist. privatisation and welfare cutbacks carried out by neo-liberal governments. However. Richard. Then we learnt the hard way that voting did change things and lots of people suffered if state power was withdrawn from certain areas of our life.html) http://ww. stifled by poverty. political and economic violence that characterizes our narcissistic culture. Moreover. It is debilitating in that any attempt to say what should be done within even our insular Foucaultian preoccupations may be oppositionalized and deconstructed as an illegitimate privileging of one term. value. as a theoretical matter. such as welfare and employment. . I was a radio pirate and we provide server space for anti-roads and environmental movements. crippled by drugs and brutalized by the many forms of physical. we have real social problems of deprivation and poverty which. the mystical nonsense produced by Hakim Bey. Rev. without goals and vision. but most of the people who are economically and socially marginalised were never given any choice. Even worse. the powerful and the charismatic. During the '70s. When vision. “More Provocations”. Nettime. if a deconstructionist is theoretically consistent and sees deconstruction not as a political tool but as a philosophical orientation. does not permit. I was a pro-situ punk rocker until Thatcher got elected. refusing even to vote for the left. but rather an anti-anti-statist. creates a political and spiritual void into which the socially real power we theoretically deconstruct steps and steps on the disempowered and dispossessed. School of Westminster. It is great for artists and others to adopt a marginality as a life style choice. Spring. 6-5. Their alternative grants tacit support to neo-liberal violence --.Political Vacuum Turn Abdicating political engagement creates a vacuum that will be filled by violent elites Cook ’92 (Anthony. perspective or narrative over another. human suffering is not.org/Lists- I thought that this position is clear from my remarks about the ultra-left posturing of the 'zero-work' demand. Anarchism can be a fun artistic pose. Archives/nettime-l-9706/msg00034. anarchists are tacitly lining up with the neo-liberals.

the same sovereign outcome as (neo)realism: that is. (neo)realism's sovereignty by relegating the Other to a familiar. as a mute. discourse divorced from practice. Professor. disconnected. . postmodernists ended up marginalizing. analysis from policy. and critical theory from problem-solving. the postmodern critic brushed off too conveniently the immediate cries of those who know they are burning in the hells of exploitation. New York. Dissident international relations could not accommodate an interactive.Political Vacuum Turn Only concrete action can prevent mass suffering Ling ‘01(LHM. despite their avowals to the contrary. bell hooks asked. not really real. passive reflection of the West or utopian projection of the West's dissatisfaction with itself. civil war. 1990: 28) Without this recognition. racism. Worse yet. particulars from universals. instead. silencing. women. postmodernists recycled. and exiling precisely those who are `the greatest victims of the West's essentialist conceits (the excolonials and neocolonials. deconstruction from reconstruction. In maintaining `a critical distance' or `position offshore' from which to `see the possibility of change' (Shapiro. What hope do they have of overthrowing the shackles of sovereignty without a program of action? After all. starvation. added Roger Spegele. articulating. postmodernism's `dissident voices' have remained bracketed. and the like but who have few means or strategies to deal with them. Blacks. 1994: 31). 1993: 405). sexism.especially for those who must bear the brunt of its repercussions. subordinate identity: that is. The New School. In not answering these questions. and so forth)' (Krishna. `What is political without partisanship?' (Neufeld. Critique became romanticized into a totalizing affair . dissidence as offshore observation has `freed us from the recognition that we have a moral obligation to do anything about it' (Spegele. appropriately: `[s]hould we not be suspicious of postmodern critiques of the "subject" when they surface at a historical moment when many subjugated people feel themselves coming to voice for the first time?' (hooks. Post-Colonial International Relations: Conquest and Desire Between Asia and the West) Without concrete action for change. self-generative Other. asked Mark Neufeld. Its exclusive focus on the Western Self ensured. 1992: 49). 1992: 174).

so these cultural and existential issues find their ultimate meaning in the demand for a new society and mode of production . one should not lose sight that key sources of political power and oppression are precisely the big targets aimed at by modern theory. and patriarchy. while today we need the expansion of localized cultural practices. “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future” http://www. often requiring a politics of alliance and solidarity that cuts across group identifications to mobilize sufficient power to struggle against. this ensures groups continual existence on the margins of power and eventual cooptation by dominant power structures Best and Kellner 02 prof phil @ UT el paso prof phil @ UCLA (Steven. cultural politics which redefine the political. say. While an emphasis on micropolitics and local struggles can be a healthy substitute for excessively utopian and ambitious political projects. cultural and identity politics remain confined to the margins of society and are in danger of degenerating into narcissism. In such cases. aestheticism. hedonism.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28.Micro-Politics Fail Micropolitics fail – they prevent coalition building that is essential to achieving real goals. Thus. Doug. the evils of capitalism or the state. including capital. imperialism. the state.gseis. and attempts to develop political forms relevant to the problems and developments of the contemporary age is extremely valuable. but there are also certain limitations to the dominant forms of postmodern politics. and the original intentions of the 1960s goal to broaden the political field are inverted and perverted.htm) The emphasis on local struggles and micropower. Taking on such major targets involves coalitions and multi-front struggle.ucla. Without this systemic emphasis. where they pose no danger and are immediately coopted by the culture industries. Just as economic and political demands have their referent in subjectivity in everyday life. or personal therapy. they attain their real significance only within the struggle for the transformation of society as a whole. the political is merely the personal.

Similarly. but the social problems facing people on earth in the present. key forms of postmodern literature have a more dialectical vision. magical realism incorporate various aesthetic forms and conventions in an eclectic mixture that fuses postmodernism with social critique and models of resistance. unlike Habermas we believe that postmodern theory has important contributions to make to this project) . For a dialectical politics. in order to awaken readers to a critical reflection on technology and social control. social solidarity. Against one-sided positions. and spiritual and political transcendence. Yet cyberpunk novels foreground this nightmare world in order to warn us that it is an immanent possibility for the near future. Yet the Enlightenment has its blindspots and dark sides (such as its relentless pursuit of the domination of nature. But it is also a mistake. and naive belief in "progress. but also maintains a positive outlook. radical environmental ruination.[15] Likewise. and to offer hope for alternative uses of technology and modes of social life." so we believe that aspects of the postmodern critique of Enlightenment are valid and force us to rethink and reconstruct Enlightenment philosophy for the present age. however.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28.[17] Cyberpunk writers such as Bruce Sterling and William Gibson offer an unflinching look at a grim social reality characterized by transnational capitalist domination. and the implosion of the body and technology. we would argue that we need to combine the most affirmative and negative perspectives. such that humans become more and more machine like and machines increasingly become like human beings.Micro-Politics Permutation The permutation solves – a combination of macro and micropolitics is best Best and Kellner 02 prof phil @ UT el paso prof phil @ UCLA (Steven.ucla. we believe. we advocate a version of reconstructive postmodernism that we call a politics of alliance and solidarity that builds on both modern and postmodern traditions.[16] There are certainly many things to be depressed about is in the negative and cynical postmodernism of a Baudrillard. focusing not on the intergalactic battles in the distant future. “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future” http://www. Indeed. Cyberpunk. a subgenre within science fiction.gseis. to ground one's politics in either modern or postmodern theory alone. embodying Marcuse's declaration that critical social theory should be both more negative and utopian in reference to the status quo. magical realism examines the wreckage of centuries of European colonialism. Social Darwinist cultural settings. Doug. but rather both dimensions are important for the struggles of the present and future. and who tend to reject the Enlightenment per se. we believe that the Enlightenment continues to provide resources for political struggle today and are skeptical whether postmodern theory alone can provide sufficient assets for an emancipatory new politics. as if it were an either/or proposition. brings science fiction down to earth. And while we agree with Habermas that a reconstruction of the Enlightenment and modernity are in order. Unlike Laclau and Mouffe who believe that postmodern theory basically provides a basis for a new politics. positive vision of what could be is articulated in conjunction with critical analysis of what is in a multioptic perspective that focuses on the forces of domination as well as possibilities of emancipation While postmodern politics and theory tend to polarize into either the extremely negative or excessively affirmative. Like cyberpunk novels.htm) Yet we would insist that it is not a question of micro vs macropolitics. yet without a positive political vision merely citing the negative might lead to apathy and depression that only benefits the existing order. some of the more interesting forms of postmodern critique today are found in fictional genres such as cyberpunk and magical realism. one that embraces the strength and creativity of the human spirit.

while the mainstream environmental movement is notorious for resisting alliances with people of color and grass roots movements. Similarly.concerns such as the degradation of the environment and common forms of oppression that stem from capitalist exploitation and alienated labor . Identity politics are often structured around simplistic binary oppositions such as Us vs."[18] Elements in the black nationalist liberation movement in the 1960s and the early politics of Malcolm X were exclusionist and racist. These struggles. Bad that pit people against one another. and common forms of oppression that different groups share which should be articulated -. even splintering further into distinct subgroups such as divide the feminist community. literally demonizing white people as an evil and inferior race.[19] Even though each group needs to assert their identity as aggressively as possible.and macro-levels. Not all universalistic appeals are ideological in the sense criticized by Marx. focusing solely on the experiences and political issues of a given group. for example.Identity Politics Fail Identity politics fail – it forces a splinter into sub-groups.htm) Various forms of postmodern politics have been liberatory in breaking away from the abstract and ideological universalism of the Enlightenment and the reductionist class politics of Marxism. preventing any possible positive change Best and Kellner 02 prof phil @ UT el paso prof phil @ UCLA (Steven. Them and Good vs. consensus. and attack power formations on both the micro. should be articulated within counterhegemonic alliances. though independent of one another. This has been the case. but they tend to be insular and fragmenting.gseis. and compromise difficult or impossible. making alliances. postmodern identity politics should avoid falling into seriality and sheer fragmentation. with tendencies within radical feminism and ecofeminism which reproduce essentialism by stigmatizing men and "male rationality" while exalting women as the bearers of peaceful and loving value and as being "closer to nature. “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future” http://www.ucla. there are common grounds of experience. the sexual politics of some gay and lesbian groups tend to exclusively focus on their own interests. Doug. common concerns.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28.

. 3. they make arguments that directly contradict their own theory. Vol. Yet when critical theorists attempt to explain why realism may be losing its hegemonic position. (159) There is another problem with the application of critical theory to international relations." (160) Thus. they usually end up arguing that changes in the material world drive changes in discourse. In fact. in a sense. the communitarian discourse championed by critical theorists is wishful thinking. when Ashley makes surmises about the future of realism. For example. International Security." coupled with "the presence of vastly destructive and highly automated nuclear arsenals [has] deprived statesmen of the latitude for competent performance of realist rituals of power?" (157) Similarly. but it cannot serve as the basis for predicting which discourse will replace realism. however. Nothing in the theory guarantees." (158) It would be understandable if realists made such arguments." like the "fiscal crisis of the state.Realism Good Abandoning realism risks a transition to fascism Mearsheimer ‘95John J. critical theory per se emphasizes that it is impossible to know the future. turns out not to be determinative. Indeed. Cox argues that fundamental change occurs when there is a "disjuncture" between "the stock of ideas people have about the nature of the world and the practical problems that challenge them. he asks whether "developments in late capitalist society. however. it seems that when critical theorists who study international politics offer glimpses of their thinking about the causes of change in the real world. but which appear to be compatible with the theory they are challenging. Discourse. so it appears. but mainly a reflection of developments in the objective world.. Anarchy. In such cases. Critical theorists. “The False Promise of International Institutions.. not an outcome linked to the theory itself. he claims that "a crucial issue is whether or not changing historical conditions have disabled longstanding realist rituals of power. they too point to objective factors as the ultimate cause of change." Specifically. professor of political science at the University of Chicago.. and not shaped in fundamental ways by objective factors. emphasize that the world is socially constructed. for example. In short. can be used to undermine realism and produce change. is what we make of it." and the "internationalization of capital. since they believe there is an objective reality that largely determines which discourse will be dominant. 19. Cox argues that although "utopian expectations may be an element in stimulating people to act. Winter 94/95. that a fascist discourse far more violent than realism will not emerge as the new hegemonic discourse.such expectations are almost never realized in practice. Although critical theorists hope to replace realism with a discourse that emphasizes harmony and peace. critical theory cannot guarantee that the new discourse will not be more malignant than the discourse it replaces. "So me of us think the erstwhile dominant mental construct of neorealism is inadequate to confront the challenges of global politics today. No. after all. critical theorists occasionally point to particular factors that might lead to changes in international relations discourse.." He then writes. Critical theory according to its own logic.” Nevertheless. because the theory says little about the direction change takes.

" (167) Realism. and resolved their conflicts by the use and threat of force. they "strove for exclusive territorial control. Seven centuries of security competition and war represents an impressive span of time. although critical theorists do not explain its attraction. especially given that the "old" order of realist discourse has been in place for at least twelve centuries. Three points are in order regarding the critical theorists' interpretation of history. and lawfulness. they in essence behaved like modern states.. No. prescribing unity. the Cold War order that it spawned is taking much longer to collapse. a close look at the international politics of the feudal era reveals scant support for the claims of critical theorists: Markus Fischer has done a detailed study of that period." (166) More importantly. First. functional cooperation. and the United States still maintains a substantial military presence in Germany. Realism is obviously a human software package with deep-seated appeal. seriously impinging on German sovereignty. Russian troops remained in Germany until mid-1994. one cannot help but be struck by the sheer continuity of realist behavior in the critical theorists' own account of the past. Five years is much too short a period to determine whether international relations has been fundamentally transformed by the end of the Cold War.Realism Good Only realism has empirical support – other theories are simply not supported in practice Mearsheimer ’95 John J. For example. 19. sharing. although the Cold War ended in 1989. professor of political science at the University of Chicago. replace it.. It is true that the great powers have been rather tame in their behavior towards each other over the past five years. Third. . balanced against power. especially when you consider the tremendous political and economic changes that have taken place across the world during that lengthy period." Specifically. But that is usually the case after great-power wars.” International Security. which makes it difficult to determine what kind of order or disorder will. Winter 94/95. there are good reasons to doubt that the demise of the Cold War means that the millennium is here. Moreover. “The False Promise of International Institutions. Vol. and he finds "that feudal discourse was indeed distinct. not critical theory. however. subjugated each other. formed alliances and spheres of influence. 3. protected themselves by military means. he also finds "that while feudal actors observed these norms for the most part on the level of form. appears best to explain international politics in the five centuries of the feudal era. Second.

they should have a powerful sense of responsibility to the broader international community. Winter 94/95. the key to achieving a "postmodern international system" is to alter state identity radically. should be made to care about concepts like "rectitude. 19. to transform how states think-about themselves and their relationship with other states.Realism Good Trying to infuse states with ethical norms is hopeless – the anarchic international system will prevent them from going along Mearsheimer ‘95 John J.” International Security. and instead develop a powerful communitarian ethos. (142) States. sovereign--actors.. (139) In the jargon of the theory. "intersubjective understandings and expectations" matter greatly. but by community. No." In short.. and instead see themselves as mutually conditioned parts of a larger whole. professor of political science at the University of Chicago. or more specifically. States must stop thinking of themselves as separate and exclusive--i. “The False Promise of International Institutions. . 3." "rights. this means that states must stop thinking of themselves as solitary egoists. or more precisely.. For critical theorists. Vol.e. (140) In practice. their inhabitants and leaders. (141) Critical theorists aim to create an international system characterized not by anarchy." and "obligations.

*** Postmodernism ***

PoMo Bad General
Postmodernism collapses into meaninglessness when we attempt to apply pomo to real world problems. Their relativism has value has value only in an intellectual vacuum. Christopher Butler, Sept. 5, 2K5
[“The Postmodern Vacuum,” http://christopherbutler.wordpress.com/2005/09/05/the-postmodern-vacuum/, The Invisible Things, Articles in Apologetics, accessed 3-10-2007, JT]

According to postmodern theorist Jean-François Lyotard, postmodernism

is characterized by its ‘incredulity

toward metanarratives.’ The late literary theorist and philosopher Jacques Derrida concurred, and argued that knowledge could not maintain integrity without invoking an ‘original utterance,’ the logos. The idea that man would be given or have
access to the ‘original utterance’ is thus called logocentrism. Critics of postmodern thought would rightly agree and point out that

without being grounded in an objective standard, postmodernism can masquerade as philosophy without having to account for the logical disparities that so clearly exist when such a system attempts to be practically applied. The Christian, regardless of his philosophical or logical capabilities in argument,
should be expectedly and unabashedly logocentric. The Word of God, as preserved in the Bible is the first and last word- the source of the metanarrative from which we presume objective morality, elitism of ideas, and the convictions of the individual. This is fundamental to Christian theology and has clear and logical implications upon forming a Christian worldview. As observed by a Wikipedia author, ‘Many of these critiques attack, specifically, the perceived "abandonment of objective truth" as being the crucial unacceptable feature of the post-modern condition.’ This is absolutely the case, for there can be no compatibility between a philosophy reliant upon the reality of objective truth and a philosophy that elevates agnosticism to its objective truth (essentially, to state that truth does not exist and defend such a statement as being true).

We have all encountered postmodernism in its popular form of relativism, an attitude reflected in a phrase at this point cliché: ‘Truth is relative.’ Yet it is such a pronouncement which pulls the carpet from
underneath itself! If it is so, then that must include the statement itself, thereby invalidating it. If it is not so, then such a statement is meaningless in its inability to adequately reflect reality. One who claims that truth is relative speaks into an

intellectual vacuum; he can neither generate worthwhile response, nor express anything truly meaningful. This is the bankruptcy of postmodern thought, and yet Alan Bloom, in his book, The Closing of
the American Mind, affirms the state of things as he writes, ‘Every professor on a university campus today can be absolutely sure of one thing: that almost every student coming in for an education is confident that truth is not absolute but relative.’

Postmodernism is a coping mechanism for global capitalism Steve Mizrach, 2K7
[“Talking pomo: An analysis of the postmodern movement,” http://www.fiu.edu/~mizrachs/pomo.html, accessed 3-10-2007, JT] Critics of postmodernism come mainly from the Marxist camp. They feel that postmodernism

is a diversionary tactic, the last ditch of a late capitalism in the process of dying. They dislike fervently the way that postmodern aesthetics rejects socialist realism - and, for that matter, epistemological realism. They often point out how semiotics and the postmodern idea that everything is image and nothing is substance are used cynically by advertising agencies - which, unable to sell us real goods of real production, can now only sell us images of satisfaction and packaged happiness.

PoMo Bad General
The critique locks us in an endless cycle of debate and prevents any action
Jarvis in ’02 Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002

Debate is generally considered to be at the heart of intellectual life. It is the dynamic that allows scholars to
locate themselves intellectually within their field of study, to express opinions within a communal environment, and, in the best of all possible worlds, to function as a catalyst for the generation of new insights and ideas. Without debate, intellectual life would wither away. The study of international politics is no different in this regard. It flourishes when debate flourishes and is all the better for a plurality of ideas that are freely expressed and critically explored. Often, however, debates are cast in such a way that there appear to be only two options: a right or wrong answer dependent on the side of the fence where one is sitting. The science/relativism issue is a good example. Neorealists cast relativists in a negative light, painting them as an evil nemesis only too willing to destroy the fabric of academic life. In contrast, relativists flaunt their antipathy toward science and adopt relativism as a way of gaining maximal leverage against their opponents. Importantly, however, despite their antagonism, the relativists entrap themselves in a hermeneutic logic, failing to transcend the cyclic

structure of tile debate. Criticism toward neorealism becomes simply opposition to neorealism. In this case, debate becomes bogged down in a cycle of affirmation and repudiation as scholars line up according to the side that best captures their loyalties and beliefs. The lesson to be learned from this is that extreme viewpoints generate, and tend to perpetuate, equally extreme discourses. The absolute faith that both sides have in the "truth" of their own views makes it impossible for them to see any merit in the views of others, fostering the sort of radical repudiationism we see in the work of Justine Rosenberg and Jim George, among others. What these theorists fail to understand is that the way they frame their criticisms also determines how others respond to them and suggests that transcending the cyclic logic so indicative of contemporary theoretical debates in International Relations requires considerably more precision, elegance, and ingenuity than
displayed by George. Unfortunately, this oppositional logic

informs much of the debate about realism, creating a kind of epistemological dualism that entraps theorists in a(n) seemingly inescapable cycle of affirmation and repudiation. The strengths and weaknesses of each approach become mostly superfluous to the process, and tribal loyalty to one creed over another becomes the nexus around which debate and discourse are conducted. Ideological battle replaces theoretical discourse with each side painting its opponent in the worst possible light while reinforcing the legitimacy of its own position by discrediting that of the opponent(s). There are, then, limits to what can be accomplished with criticism,
highlighting that ideologies and political positions are not held solely as a result of their logic or elegance.

PoMo Bad General
The alt fails, must engage in political structures to solve practical problems Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002 But whatever one says about radical human agency and of its prospects for liberation, in practice emancipation

will involve some degree of social engineering: inequalities have to be corrected, wrongs made right, and injustices corrected. The agents of global change, whoever they might be, will have to force some individuals and groups to do their bidding. In the end, legislative reform and the forced direction of groups and individuals are unavoidable realities. Moreover, in situations where entrenched cultural and historical values collide, and this is a likely possibility from a theory that seeks to "help others speak for themselves," we might reasonably expect some degree of violence and have to tolerate it. George, however, refuses to explore these probabilities. Do the advocates of postmodern values, for example, take up arms against those who are unwilling to let "others" speak for themselves? If they do not, then their case has no real teeth. But if they do, they must, at some stage, sanction the use of force. This is a conundrum endemic to the theoretical architecture of postmodernism, and one George fails to tackle, indeed is reticent even to acknowledge. Clearly, however, George wants to defend the proposition that his "new world order" will be less dangerous than the
new/old one of George Bush senior, the Clinton administration, or of George Bush junior and the realists. But, again, he fails to demonstrate how his version of postmodernism can prevent the intrusion and corruption of its schema by violence or else justify the use of violence in pursuit of those ends he otherwise champions. He does neither.

PoMo Bad General
The critique fails; it ignores the reality and permanence of political institutions. At best, their alt is wishful thinking. Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002 Moreover, why should we assume that states and individuals want to listen and will listen to what the marginalized and the oppressed have to say? There is precious little evidence to suggest that "listening" is something the advanced capitalist countries do very well at all. Indeed, one of the allegations so forcefully alleged by Muslim fundamentalists as justification for the terrorist attacks of September 11 is precisely that the West, and America in particular, are deaf to the disenfranchised and impoverished in the world. Certainly, there are agencies and individuals who are sensitive to the needs of the "marginalized" and who champion institutional forums where indigenous voices can be heard. But on even the most optimistic reckoning, such forums and institutions represent the exception, not the rule, and remain in the minority if not dwarfed by those institutions that represent Western, first world interests. To be sure, this is realist power-political image of the current configuration of the global polity, but one apparently, and
ironically, endorsed by George if only because it speaks to the realities of the marginalized, the imposed silences, and the multitude of oppressions on which George founds his call for a postmodern ethic. Recognizing such realities, however, does not explain George's penchant for ignoring them entirely, especially in terms of the structural rigidities they pose for meaningful reform. Indeed, George's desire to move to a new "space beyond International Relations" smacks of

wishful idealism, ignoring the current configuration of global political relations and power distribution; of the incessant ideological power of hyperindividualism, consumerism, advertising, Hollywood images, and fashion icons; and of the innate power bestowed on the (institutional) barons of global finance, trade, and transnational production. George seems to have little appreciation of the structural impediments such institutions pose for radical change of the type he so fiercely advocates. Revolutionary change of the kind desired by George ignores that fact that many individuals are not disposed to concerns beyond their family, friends, and daily work lives. And institutional, structural transformation requires organized effort, mass popular support, and dogged single mindedness if societal norms are to be challenged, institutional reform enacted, consumer tastes altered, and political sensibilities reformed. Convincing Nike that there is something intrinsically wrong with paying Indonesian workers a few dollars a week to manufacture shoes for the global market requires considerably more effort than postmodern platitudes and/or moral indignation. The cycle of wealth creation and distribution that sees Michael Jordan receive multimillion dollar contracts to inspire consumer demand for Nike products, while the foot soldiers in the factory eke out a meager existence producing these same products is not easily, or realistically challenged by pronouncements of moving beyond International Relations to a new, nicer, gentler nirvana.

The critique prevents action Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002 In any period of political or intellectual upheaval it is commonplace to hear pronouncements of the death of the old and the birth of the new, of the clear superiority of the latest ideology, moral code, revolutionary government, philosophical system, or theory. Western intellectual history is littered with such examples. The need for a "new beginning" is a constant refrain in intellectual life, and the logic behind such calls is often seductive and compelling. The past is a repository of flawed ideas, dangerous moral and social codes, superstitions and illusions, and a millstone around the neck of the present. To continue to privilege and idealize the past not only distorts present thinking and retards practice, but hampers our ability to deal effectively with current and future political problems. By casting off the chains of the past, we will come to see the present in a new light and look forward to a better, brighter future. At the heart of views of this sort is an overwhelming desire for liberation and freedom. But reality is rarely so clear-cut.

PoMo Bad General
Critique is contradictory and replicates same problems it attempts to solve. Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002

First, why should one accept the central tenet of postmodernism that all cognitive and ethical claims are merely made in relation to incommensurable metanarratives? The mere fact of disagreement among narratives or worldviews shows only that different people have held different beliefs; it does not show that all such beliefs are equally valid or that none has any better foundation than another. Reason and evidence, in fact, better support the claims of modem science than of premodern folk wisdom. The standard postmodernist reply is that the "reason and evidence" appealed to here are only those of the modern, scientific metanarrative and that there are no universal standards of reason and truth to which one can appeal beyond that particular point of view. But the sort of truth

claims and privileging moves that postmodernists condemn in their opponents are claims and moves they make themselves. Indeed, it is hard to see how they or anyone else can avoid presupposing such notions of truth and its implications. Thus, so far as postmodernism implies the advent of a postmodern historical epoch characterized by a certain attitude to what has gone before. it relies inescapably on a metanarrative of its own. In its contempt for, and reduction of, all claims of truth and justice to claims of interest and power, that metanarrative is more thoroughly totalizing than most Enlightenment views--with the possible exception of Marxism, its intellectual precursor in this regard. The very notion of the "unmasking" of power presupposes a conception of truth, namely, that there truly is something to be unmasked. In short, postmodernism displays a deeply self-contradictory character that it shares with other forms of relativism: it relativizes all claims except its own.

PoMo Bad – Public Sphere
Their alternative crushes social engagement in the public sphere Boggs ‘97(Carl, Professor of Political Science – National University, Theory & Society 26, December, p. 766-68)
Postmodernism and its offshoots (poststructuralism, semiotics, difference feminism, etc.) have indeed reshaped much of academia,
including such disciplines as sociology, history, literature, film, and communications. More than that, the theory (if that is the correct label for some- thing so diffuse) amounts to a kind of anti-paradigm paradigm, which often refocuses debates around defining motifs of the post-Fordist order: commodification of culture, the media spectacle, proliferation of images and symbols, fragmentation of identities, the dispersion of local movements, and loss of faith in conventional political ideologies and organizations. So far as all this is concerned, post-modernism can be viewed as marking a rather healthy break with the past.50 The problem is that the main thrust of postmodernism so devalues the common realm of power, governance, and economy that the dynamics of social and

institutional life vanish from sight. Where the reality of corporate, state, and military power wind up vanishing within a postmodern amorphousness, the very effort to analyze social forces and locate agencies or strategies of change becomes impossible. In its reaction against the comprehensive historical scope of Marxism, the micro approach dismisses in toto macropolitics and with it any conceivable modern project of radical transformation. An extreme ``micro'' focus is most visible in such theorists as Baudrillard who, as Steven Best and Douglas Kellner put it, in effect ``announce the end of the political project in the end of history and society''51 – a stance that replicates the logic of a profoundly depoliticized culture. Postmodern theory has been interpreted as a current fully in sync with the mood of political defeat that has overcome the left in most industrialized countries since the early 1980s.52 It is hardly coincidental that postmodernism grew into an academic fashion in the wake of failed hopes after the sixties and the later decline of popular movements in the face of a rising conservative hegemony. The crisis of Marxism and the
disintegration of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe further intensifed feelings of resignation on the left. The new middle strata that was the backbone of the new left and new social movements turned in larger numbers toward careers and more affluent lifestyles. Radicalism, where it persisted to any extent, took on the veneer of an ``aesthetic pose.'' Thus, at a time of mounting pessimism and retreat, the rhetorical question posed by Alex Callinicos scarcely demands an answer: ``What political subject does the idea of a postmodern epoch help constitute?''53 By the 1990s even the discussion of political subjectivity or agency among leftist academics seemed rather passe¨ .54 In politics as in the cultural and intellectual realm, a postmodern fascination with indeterminacy, ambiguity, and chaos easily

supports a drift toward cynicism and passivity; the subject becomes powerless to change either itself or society. Further, the pretentious, jargon-filled, and often indecipherable discourse of postmodernism reinforces the most faddish tendencies in academia. Endless (and often pointless) attempts to deconstruct texts and narratives readily become a facade behind which professional scholars justify their own retreat from political commitment. In Russell Jacoby's words: ``At the end of the radical theorizing
project is a surprise: a celebration of academic hierarchy, professions, and success. Never has so much criticism yielded so much affirmation. From Foucault the professor learned that power and institutions saturate everything. Power is universal; complicity with power is universal, and this means university practices and malpractices are no better or worse than anything else.''55 While multiple sites of power and resistance need to be more clearly theorized than in the past, and while Marxian fixation on class struggle, the primacy of capital-labor relations, and social totality has lost its rationale, the extreme postmodern assault on macro

institutions severs the connection between critique and action. Moreover, to the extent that postmodernism embraces a notion of subjectivity that is decentered and fragmented, the very idea of citizenship gets obscured. As Philip Wexler argues, the social, legal, and political requirements of citizenship were historically founded upon universal norms of democracy, freedom, and equality, but postmodernism, which blurs everything and dissolves politics into the sphere of culture and everyday life, destroys this foundation. Once the subject melts into a murky cultural diffuseness, into a world of images and spectacles, the elements of citizenship simply evaporate.56 Various democratic ideals may be kept alive within the official ideology, mainly to legitimate the electoral ritual, but they fail to resonate with the times. As Wexler concludes: ``For now, citizen- ship will remain the appropriate sign of post-modernism and semiotic society – a restored sign artifact that may be recycled and used so long as it does not disturb contemporary society's profound need for superficiality.''57 In the splintered, discontinuous world inhabited by Baurdrillard, Foucault, and kindred theorists, social bonds are weakened and the link between personal life and the public sphere is fractured. Where truth, language, and ideology are perpetually contested, nothing is settled or taken for granted. While this ethos corresponds well to an era in which emphasis is placed on local knowledge and identity movements, it is a depoliticizing ethos insofar as it blurs or dismisses macro forms of economic and political power. Where the state is either ignored or broken down into a mosaic of localized and partial entities, politics too winds up obliterated. Symbols and images become far more important than concrete struggles involving rival claims to power, economic interests, and visions of a better society.58 In a social order where symbols and images dominate mass consciousness, the splintering of local identities coincides with the decline of political opposition. Corporate colonization is left only feebly challenged by the proliferation of local groups, by the celebration of diversity and multiculturalism that has entered into American public discourse since the 1980s. Dispersed identities, however constructed, are easily assimilated into the sphere of the all-powerful commodity, which coincides with the spread of anti-political sentiment. As communities assume what Zygmunt Bauman calls an ``imaginary'' character,59 identities become detached from the public sphere, and politics is allowed to descend into a spectacle. Hence the eclipse of the collective subject and the atrophy of political language that defines so much postmodern theorizing is now linked more and more to the stubborn reality of corporate domination.

PoMo Bad – Public Sphere
Extinction results ---- only robust engagement can check elite influences that intensify all violence
Boggs ‘97(Carl, Professor of Political Science – National University, Theory & Society 26, December, p. 773-4)

The decline of the public sphere in late twentieth-century America poses a series of great dilemmas and challenges. Many ideological currents scrutinized here ^ localism, metaphysics, spontaneism, post- modernism, Deep
Ecology – intersect with and reinforce each other. While these currents have deep origins in popular movements of the 1960s and 1970s, they remain very much alive in the 1990s. Despite their different outlooks and trajectories, they all share one thing

in common: a depoliticized expression of struggles to combat and overcome alienation. The false sense of empowerment that comes with such mesmerizing impulses is accompanied by a loss of public engagement, an erosion of citizenship and a depleted capacity of individuals in large groups to work for social change. As this ideological quagmire worsens, urgent problems that are destroying the fabric of American society will go unsolved – perhaps even unrecognized – only to fester more ominously into the future. And such problems (ecological crisis, poverty, urban decay, spread of infectious diseases, technological displacement of workers) cannot be understood outside the larger social and global context of internationalized markets, finance, and communications. Paradoxically, the widespread retreat from politics, often inspired by localist sentiment, comes at a time when agendas that ignore or side- step these global realities will, more than ever, be reduced to impotence. In his commentary on the state of citizenship today, Wolin refers to
the increasing sublimation and dilution of politics, as larger numbers of people turn away from public concerns toward private ones. By diluting the life of common involvements, we negate the very idea of politics as a source

of public ideals and visions.74 In the meantime, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The unyielding truth is that, even as the ethos of anti-politics becomes more compelling and even fashionable in the United States, it is the vagaries of political power that will continue to decide the fate of human societies. This last point demands further elaboration. The shrinkage of politics hardly means that corporate colonization will be less of a reality, that social hierarchies will somehow disappear, or that gigantic state and military structures will lose their hold over people's lives. Far from it: the space abdicated by a broad citizenry, well-informed and ready to participate at many levels, can in fact be filled by authoritarian and reactionary elites – an already familiar dynamic in many lesser- developed countries. The fragmentation and chaos of a Hobbesian world, not
very far removed from the rampant individualism, social Darwinism, and civic violence that have been so much a part of the American landscape, could be the prelude to a powerful Leviathan designed to impose order in the

face of disunity and atomized retreat. In this way the eclipse of politics might set the stage for a
reassertion of politics in more virulent guise – or it might help further rationalize the existing power structure. In either case, the state would likely become what Hobbes anticipated: the embodiment of those universal, collective interests that had vanished from civil society.75

Ext – PoMo Jacks Public Engagement
Postmodernism cements depoliticization and cements corporate colonization
Boggs, 2000 (Carl, “The End of Politics, Corporate Power and the Deline of the Public Sphere” pg 220-221)
In the splintered, discontinuous universe theorized by Foucault, Baudrillard, Richard Rorty, and kindred writers, social coherence is weakened and the linkage between personal and public, micro and macro, and local and global is fractured-a devastating turn for politics, especially radical politics, in an age of globalization. Further, where truth, language, and social referents are so tenaciously contested as to dissolve into limitless interpretations of what constitutes basic social trends in the world, where nothing is ever settled, no strategy for change is even thinkable. While this perspective may correspond well to a milieu in which greater attention is devoted (perhaps rightly) to local knowledge and concerns, it is nonetheless depoliticizing insofar as it tends to obscure what in fact needs to be retheorized-that is, macro levels of economic and political power. Where the state system, for example, is devalued or broken down into a mosaic of dispersed and partial entities, politics too ends up obliterated. Oddly enough for a discourse that embodies such radical pretensions, the whole realm of symbols and images-central to what Norman Denzin describes as the "cinematic age"30-becomes far more important than concrete struggles around rival claims to power, economic interests, and visions of a better society. Despite its critical and oppositional language, therefore, postmodernism is actually systemreproducing in its celebration of fragmented, localized, and (occasionally) privatized discourses; it fits the imperatives of corporate colonization, partly because it reflects an ethos of public disintegration and partly because, in its extreme formulations, it gives rise to a disempowering nihilism.

PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner
Exclusive emphasis on postmodern micro-politics misses the key sources of power --- only multi-faceted coalitional politics prevent degeneration into narcissism and defeat Best and Kellner ‘01(Steven, Prof Philosophy, UT El Paso and Douglass, Philosophy Chair, Postmodern Politics and the Battle
for the Future, Democracy and Nature: The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol. 7, No. 1)

The emphasis on local struggles and micropower, cultural politics which redefine the political, and attempts to develop political forms relevant to the problems and developments of the contemporary age is extremely valuable, but there are also certain limitations to the dominant forms of postmodern politics. While an emphasis on micropolitics and local struggles can be a healthy substitute for excessively utopian and ambitious political projects, one should not lose sight that key sources of political power and oppression are precisely the big targets aimed at by modern theory, including capital, the state, imperialism, and patriarchy. Taking on such major targets involves coalitions and multi-front struggle, often requiring a politics of alliance and solidarity that cuts across group identifications to mobilize sufficient power to struggle against, say, the evils of capitalism or the state. Thus,
while today we need the expansion of localized cultural practices, they attain their real significance only within the struggle for the transformation of society as a whole. Without this systemic emphasis, cultural and identity politics remain confined to the margins of society and are in danger

of

degenerating into narcissism, hedonism, aestheticism, or personal therapy, where they pose no danger and are immediately coopted by the culture industries. In such cases, the political is merely the personal, and the original intentions of the 1960s goal to broaden the political
field are inverted and perverted. Just as economic and political demands have their referent in subjectivity in everyday life, so these cultural and existential issues find their ultimate meaning in the demand for a new society and mode of production. Yet we would insist that it is not a question of micro vs macropolitics, as if it were an either/or proposition, but rather both dimensions are important for the struggles of the present and future.[15] Likewise, we would argue that we need to combine the most affirmative and negative perspectives, embodying Marcuse's declaration that critical social theory should be both more negative and utopian in reference to the status quo.[16] There are certainly many things to be depressed about is in the negative and cynical postmodernism of a Baudrillard,

yet without a positive political vision merely citing the negative might lead to apathy and depression that only benefits the existing order. For a dialectical politics, however, positive vision of what could be is articulated in conjunction with critical analysis of what is in a multioptic perspective that focuses on the forces of domination as well as possibilities of emancipation. While postmodern politics and
theory tend to polarize into either the extremely negative or excessively affirmative, key forms of postmodern literature have a more dialectical vision. Indeed, some of the more interesting forms of postmodern critique today are found in fictional genres such as cyberpunk and magical realism. Cyberpunk, a subgenre within science fiction, brings science fiction down to earth, focusing not on the intergalactic battles in the distant future, but the social problems facing people on earth in the present. [17] Cyberpunk writers such as Bruce Sterling and William Gibson offer an unflinching look at a grim social reality characterized by transnational capitalist domination, Social Darwinist cultural settings, radical environmental ruination, and the implosion of the body and technology, such that humans become more and more machine like and machines increasingly become like human beings. Yet cyberpunk novels foreground this nightmare world in order to warn us that it is an immanent possibility for the near future, in order to awaken readers to a critical reflection on technology and social control, and to offer hope for alternative uses of technology and modes of social life. Similarly, magical realism examines the wreckage of centuries of European colonialism, but also maintains a positive outlook, one that embraces the strength and creativity of the human spirit, social solidarity, and spiritual and political transcendence. Like cyberpunk novels, magical realism incorporate various aesthetic forms and conventions in an eclectic mixture that fuses postmodernism with social critique and models of resistance. But it is also a

mistake, we believe, to ground one's politics in either modern or postmodern theory alone. Against one-sided positions, we advocate a version of reconstructive postmodernism that we call a politics of alliance and solidarity that builds on both modern and postmodern traditions. Unlike Laclau and Mouffe who believe that postmodern theory basically provides a basis for a new politics, and who tend to reject the Enlightenment per se, we believe that the Enlightenment continues to provide resources for political struggle today and are skeptical whether postmodern theory alone can provide sufficient assets for an emancipatory new politics. Yet the Enlightenment
has its blindspots and dark sides (such as its relentless pursuit of the domination of nature, and naive belief in "progress," so we believe that aspects of the postmodern critique of Enlightenment are valid and force us to rethink and reconstruct Enlightenment philosophy for the present age. And while we agree with Habermas that a reconstruction of the Enlightenment and modernity are in order, unlike Habermas we believe that postmodern theory has important contributions to make to this project. Various forms of postmodern politics have been liberatory in breaking
away from the abstract and ideological universalism of the Enlightenment and the reductionist class politics of Marxism,

but they tend to be insular and fragmenting, focusing solely on the experiences and political issues of a given group, even splintering further into distinct subgroups such as divide the feminist community. Identity politics are often structured around simplistic binary oppositions such as Us vs. Them and Good vs. Bad that pit people against one another, making alliances, consensus, and compromise difficult or impossible. This has been the case, for example, with tendencies within radical feminism and ecofeminism which reproduce
essentialism by stigmatizing men and "male rationality" while exalting women as the bearers of peaceful and loving value and as being "closer to nature."[18] Elements in the black nationalist liberation movement in the 1960s and the early politics of Malcolm X were exclusionist and racist, literally demonizing white people as an evil and inferior race. Similarly, the sexual politics of some gay and lesbian groups tend to exclusively focus on their own interests, while the mainstream environmental movement is notorious for resisting alliances with people of color and grass roots movements.[19] Even though each group needs to assert their identity as aggressively as possible, postmodern identity politics should avoid falling into seriality and sheer fragmentation. These struggles,

though independent of one another, should be articulated within counterhegemonic alliances, and attack power formations on both the micro- and macro-levels. Not all universalistic appeals are ideological in the sense criticized by Marx; there are common grounds of experience, common concerns, and common forms of oppression that different groups share which should be articulated -concerns such as the degradation of the environment and common forms of oppression that stem from capitalist exploitation and alienated labor.

“Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and Critical Theory” http://www. -. rational. etc. For example. so as to attempt to justify the privileges of the ruling classes or strata. Americans and the rest of the world. and that the drawing of boundaries (between allegedly inferior and superior systems. and their proper domain is thus deemed to be the private sphere. submissive. such as the glaring inequities of power and wealth within a supposedly egalitarian society. the home. capitalists and workers. and suffering produced by patriarchal capitalism. this legitimates the formation of hierarchies of power. it is relevant to note that one of the generally overlooked functions of ideology is to draw false boundaries within such domains as sex. and mystification. etc." "masking. allowing for class privilege Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas. etc. so as to construct ideological divisions between men and women.. inequities. philosophical critique defined as the critique of ideology became an integral part of its social theory. etc. capitalism and communism.) serves the interests of social domination. domination. policies. race. as well as the functions of legitimation and mystification of social reality. In these ideological operations we see abstraction at work: ideologies which legitimate the superiority of men over women. the "better classes" and "the lower classes. and domineering men. race.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2. and class over others by virtue of its alleged superiority. etc.[1] Boundary maintainence (between men and women. or of capitalism over other social systems.such patriarchal capitalist ideologies abstract from the injustices. and class. women are said to be by nature passive. Ideology constructs divisions between proper and improper behavior.) also plays a fundamental role in this process. whites and non-whites." and other occluding functions usually associated with ideology are related to a certain sort of abstraction and to a specific type of ideological boundaries. . In this context. domestic. while constructing a hierarchy within each of these domains which justifies the domination of one sex. Thus I am proposing that the "distortion.PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner Postmodernism draws distinctions between different social identities. groups." "mystification.uta. or the natural order of things.htm) Since contemporary capitalism was producing in effect a new metaphysics and new ideology. values." whites and peoples of color. while the public sphere was reserved for. Thus I believe that abstraction is fundamentally related to the key features of ideology such as legitimation. more active. allegedly.

stifled by poverty. Associate Professor. 26 New Eng. The struggle over meaning might continue ad infinitum. Spring. It is debilitating in that any attempt to say what should be done within even our insular Foucaultian preoccupations may be oppositionalized and deconstructed as an illegitimate privileging of one term. power hardly seems a matter of illegitimate theoretical privileging. 751) The effect of deconstructing the power of the author to impose a fixed meaning on the text or offer a continuous narrative is both debilitating and liberating. dehumanized by sexism and racism. those who influence us through their eloquence. social theory and political struggle do not accompany critique. When vision. [*762] To those dying from AIDS. creates a political and spiritual void into which the socially real power we theoretically deconstruct steps and steps on the disempowered and dispossessed. value. Moreover. Rev. Georgetown Law. locking in oppression Cook ’92 (Anthony. the powerful and the charismatic. as a theoretical matter.L. New England LR. if a deconstructionist is theoretically consistent and sees deconstruction not as a political tool but as a philosophical orientation. . political and economic violence that characterizes our narcissistic culture. without goals and vision. That is. does not permit. wealth and power. perspective or narrative over another. crippled by drugs and brutalized by the many forms of physical. because such action requires a degree of closure that deconstruction. the approach is debilitating because deconstruction without material rootedness.A2: Deconstruction Deconstruction creates a political void that will be filled by elites. prestige. political action is impossible. the void will be filled by the rich.

BwOs. but no vigilance would have sufficed in any case. . "cyberspace"). and thus perhaps an instance of the all-too-proper blurring of the distinction between criticism and fantasy. The problem is in part that rhizomes. etc. are at one and the same time theoretical-political devices of the highest critical order and merely fantasmatic. that abandons one to this economy.g. Claudel's recuperation of him as a proper Catholic).” PostModern Culture 5:3. n . entirely reterritorialized in advance. however. Paul. without the slightest reflection on what might be involved in rendering the conceptual in spatial terms) as a liquid. 95 (Professor of English at Pomona. are the virtual landscape of the stupid underground. The nomad is already succumbing to the rousseauism and orientalism that were always invested in his figure. Nomadology and rhizomatics conceive such a "space" (if one only had the proverbial nickel for every time that word is used as a critical metaphor. he is reduced to being a romantic outlaw. By now. In the strictest sense. strewn about like tattoos on the stupid body without organs. but as an intensive. becoming-commodity. in advance. indeed retroactive ruins. smooth spaces. Mann. colloidal suspension. in real time. The work of Deleuze and Guattari is evidence that. Becoming-fashion. this very narcissistic wish to see oneself projected past the frontier into new spaces. war-machines. In Deleuze-speak. of multiple simultaneous accesses and exits. Such instant. stupid philosophy. delirious. Project MUSE) Intellectual economics guarantees that even the most powerful and challenging work cannot protect itself from the order of fashion. planes of consistency. the stupid-critical underground is the curved space in which this opposition turns back on itself. is not only the topological verisimilitude of the model but the fantastic possibility of nonlinear passage. virtual models and maps close off the very exits they indicate. in the sort of dialectical operation Deleuze most despised. whatever Deleuze and Guattari intended for him. To pursue nomadology or rhizomatics as such is already to have lost the game. the experience of virtual exhilaration in modalities already mapped and dominated by nomad. that seals these spaces within an order of critical fantasy that has long since been overdeveloped. It is perhaps true that Deleuze and Guattari did not adequately protect their thought from this dialectical reconfiguration (one is reminded of Breton's indictment against Rimbaud for not having prevented. any given work from the stupid underground's critical apparatus is liable to be tricked out with smooth spaces. “Stupid Undergrounds.at: deleuze and guattari The negative’s conception of the alternative and its need to function alone ensures its failure—Deleuze and Guattari opposed total opposition of the state and the nomad—treating the nomad as a complete outsider is narcissistic and impossible. lines of flight. And the rhizome is becoming just another stupid subterranean figure.. Nomad thought is prosthetic. rhizomatic capital (the political philosophy of the stupid underground: capital is more radical than any of its critiques.. It is this very fantasy. The exits and lines of flight pursued by Deleuze and Guattari are being shut down and rerouted by the very people who would take them most seriously. of infinite fractal lines occupying finite social space. but one can always pretend otherwise). the stupid underground would be mapped not as a margin surrounding a fixed point. plateaus and deterritorializations. What is at stake. n-dimensional intersection of rhizomatic plateaus. narcissistic models for writing. becomingruin. not as a fixed site determined strictly by its relation or opposition to some more or less hegemonic formation. to a position opposite the State.1s. often retrievable by one or another techno-metaphorical zoning (e. Nothing is more crucial to philosophy than escaping the dialectic and no project is more hopeless.

The previous emphasis on transforming the public sphere and institutions of domination gave way to new emphases on culture. difficult to sustain and were either rejected in favor of cynicism. and everyday life. in this context. The development of a new postmodern politics is strongly informed by the vicissitudes of social movements in France. Thus. nihilism. solidarity. despairing rejection of the belief in emancipatory social transformation." right. . personal identity. the United States. when numerous new political groups and struggles emerged. as the "movement" of the 1960s splintered into various competing struggles for rights and liberties. as the masses collapse into inertia and indifference. novel and conflicting conceptions of postmodern politics emerged. a turn to the The modern emphasis on collective struggle. only engaging in macro-politics solves Best prof phil @ UT el paso and Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 2k2 (Steven. from Baudrillard's perspective. or were dramatically recast and scaled down to more "modest" proportions.htm) A postmodern politics begins to take shape during the 1960s. Doug. and alliance politics gave way to extreme fragmentation. we are stranded at the end of history. “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future” http://www.ucla. On the extreme and apolitical position of a Baudrillard. as macropolitics were replaced by the micropolitics of local transformation and subjectivity. who exhibit a cynical.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28. and simulacra and technology triumph over agency.gseis. paralyzed and frozen. all we can do is "accommodate ourselves to the time left to us. and. in some cases. and elsewhere. Postmodern politics thus take a variety of forms and would include the anti-politics of Baudrillard and his followers. as well as by emerging postmodern theories. as well as a variety of efforts to create a new or reconstructed politics. The utopian visions of modern politics proved. In the aftermath of the 1960s.A2: Baudrillard Baudrillard leaves the masses to collapse.

we should undertake to criticize ideological-metaphysical abstractions yet should also draw distinctions which make connections and which conceptualize important differences. the category of totality. and distinctions in the vertiginous flux of the hyperreal. others only to a few" (Marx 1976. their claims for an absolute break between modernity and postmodernity are not always convincing. in different modes of production). As Marx put it in his introduction to the Grundrisse: "It might seem. philosophy.I would argue for the need to draw boundaries. and others who reject macro-theory.a continuity constituted precisely by the continuing primacy of capitalist relations of production in the current organization of society. more than ever. The "concrete" in this analysis is itself a product of many determinations. 101).e. This is what. it seems at this point in time that in many ways.though I shall not address this issue here Yet against a radical implosive postmodernism such as one finds in Baudrillard -. moving beyond the current age of conservative hegemony. which is indeed our particular theme. many relations. or declare beforehand that we are dealing with a specific historical epoch such as e. Some determinations belong to all epochs. that in order to talk about production at all we must either pursue the process of historic development through its different phases. Consequently. Furthermore. p.and Arthur Kroker's and David Cook's The Postmodern Scene (1986) is an even more extreme case -. I would propose that we are currently in a new configuration of capitalism where postmodernism can be read as the cultural logic of capital but where the hegemony of capital is still the fundamental principle of social organization and where capital attempts to control ever more domains of life. while New French Theory has attempted to cross the borderline and to chart out the terrain of the new. of socialism or even radical social transformation or emancipation. or transitional space. modern bourgeois production. common characteristics. and to make what Marx calls "rational abstractions" rather than leaping into the delirious postmodern implosion of all boundaries. Now. this general category. I would.I would argue that we need to characterize both the continuities and the discontinuities in the historical process and that this involves both pointing to ruptures and breaks in recent history as well as continuities. etc.g. in the light of the new social conditions and challenges -. education. Thus. only totalizing solutions are capable of breaking down capitalist structures that are the root cause Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas. Production in general is an abstraction. problems. I believe that it is a mistake to sever the mode of information from the mode of production. or meta-narratives. Thus I would propose that the new social conditions. and "rational abstraction" thus designates specific determinations in a multiple and multidimensional relational chain. p. However. Yet Marx goes on to insist that: "Still. he warns. the media. and new political challenges should be conceptualized in terms of a theory of techno-capitalism rather than postmodernism. we need macro-theories that will attempt to cognitively map the context of the new forms of social develoment and the relationships between spheres like the economy.A2: Baudrillard Baudrillard’s radical theory is incapable solving the problem it critiques. between the modern and the postmodern. we need to do in the postmodernism debate: we should grasp the differences between the old and the new stages of society (or art.htm) Against Foucault. New French Theory is itself flawed and not of much use in helping us to understand and resolve many of the crucial theoretical and political problems that we currently face (i.). information. and difference. "Bad abstraction" is thus overcome by situating abstractions back into a specific set of differential relations.and rupture. however. I maintain. I would argue that precisely now we need such totalizing theories to attempt to capture the new totalizations being undertaken by capitalism in the realm of consumption. is itself segmented many times over and splits into different determinations. new technological developments. and the continuities between the previous and new stage of society -. etc. unlike Mark Poster (forthcoming) and others. 106)." and so for all epochs. -. and believe that there continues to be "determination in the last instance" by the economic in the current stage of capitalism. and New French theory to solve the theoretical and political problems which confront us today. “Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and Critical Theory” http://www. therefore. and understanding and dealing with a wide range of social problems from technological unemployment to AIDS). etc.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2. abstractions. . for Marx "rational abstraction" fixes a "common element" that plays a constitutive role in various situations and contexts.uta.e. Consequently. With Fredric Jameson (1984). agree with those who claim that we need to rethink the problematics of radical politics. contextualizing one's concepts and analyses within a set of historically specific and complex social relations. against postmodernists who celebrate the radically "new" -. Critical Theory. obscure "their essential differences" (Marx 1976. discontinuity. and may be entering a terrain where old modes of thought and language are not always useful. As Wittgenstein and Derrida attacked metaphysical abstractions which dissolved differences in unifying schemes. but a rational abstraction insofar as it really brings out and fixes a common element" (i. all epochs of production have certain common traits. politics. while there are general "determinations valid for production as such. and developments of the contemporary era I believe that we need new concatenations of Marxism. we must not. learning to use and live with new technologies in ways that will enhance human life. Although we may be living within a borderline. this common element sifted out by comparison. Lyotard. Thus while we clearly need new theories and politics to understand the conflicts.[4] Thus. or conceptual distinctions. culture.

and his own work advanced by the postmodernists and New French Theory (Habermas 1987). I would argue that Marxian categories are of central importance precisely in analyzing the phenomena focused on by Baudrillard and New French Theory: the consumer society. almost every discussion of Baudrillard in English seems to presuppose that he is right.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2.e. however. or have they been superseded and imploded by contemporary social developments? What is the status of representation. information. math. in my forthcoming book on Baudrillard. Deleuze and Guattari.htm) It is here. information. Such a vision rests. etc. information. domination and emancipation. partly on wishful thinking and partly on a desire to differentiate oneself from old-fashioned traditionalists. and others). are Marxism and Critical Theory still viable enterprises. however. Lyotard and Foucault have made a serious theoretical and political mistake in severing their work from the Marxian critique of capitalism precisely at a point when the logic of capital has been playing an increasingly important role in structuring the new stage of society which I conceptualize as a new stage of capitalism -. Indeed.capitalism as techno-capital (Kellner 1989a). emancipation. in confronting the differences between Baudrillard and the now classical Critical Theory. Habermas has tended to interpret postmodern thinkers under the sign of irrationalism. The classical Critical Theory of the consumer society tends to downplay the importance of sign-value and the semiological dimension. I shall that his postmodern social theory rests on some shaky theoretical premises. rationalism. This in turn requires rethinking such enterprises challenge to previous traditions of social theory. accessible only to those who can pay for it and who have access to it. social critique. computers. For it is capitalism that is determining what sort of media. Left and Right. computerization. representations and reality. “Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and Critical Theory” http://www. while more and more domains of knowledge and information are commodified and transmitted through computers (I'm thinking both of computer learning programs which force consumers to buy programs to learn typing. that have appeared since the classical texts of Critical Theory were produced which Critical Theory today must deal with if it is not to become irrelevant to the current problems of the present age. and representation and social reproduction in the contemporary world (Kellner 1989b). computerization. New French Theory has focused on such new phenomena as cybernetics. consumer and information societies. the following issues arise: is Baudrillard correct that we have entered a postmodern society. while its media theories and ideology critique of popular culture often underemphasized the importance of form.which has consistently championed certain versions of neo-Marxism and Critical Theory in the U.his theory rests on untenable premises and ignores the important role that capitalism plays in the creation of the media Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas.) still intact and effective. This means that as Marxism and Critical Theory in terms of the new issues posed and the new challenges advanced by the current configurations of the media. foreign languages. Their mode of reception is primarily an Adornesque absolute negation rather than a Benjaminian redemptive hermeneutic which would attempt to appropriate or redeem what is valuable and useful in New French Theory. finally. of the nature and structure of media themselves --precisely the focus of the best of the New French Theory (Kellner 1989a and 1989b).A2: Baudrillard Baudrillard is wrong --. that a critical interrogation of his thought and politics should begin. over the past two decades -. that we have left modernity behind and are in a qualitatively new society where the old categories and old distinctions no longer hold. as well as modem-programs and firms like Compu-Serve which make access an abundance of information. Indeed. . etc. dismissive. that we are in something like a postmodern condition. via computer for those who can afford to pay its per minute information prices). are being produced and distributed precisely according to their logic and interests. etc. I suggest. and not particularly illuminating (Berman 1984 and Wolin 1984). That is. Education itself is becoming more and more commodified as computers become more essential to the process of education. by the restructuring of labor and production. as Herbert Schiller and others have shown. and by the new modes of the colonization of everyday life. cybernetics and design. and has himself continued to defend modernity and rationalism without always successfully addressing the critiques of modernity. Living on the Borderline Consequently. or are we still stuck in a more stream-lined and advanced version of the old capitalist society? Are the fundamental boundaries within social theory (between classes. have been highly defensive and not particularly productive. while positioning oneself as avant-garde. of codes. The attempts of New French Theory." and often anti-Marxian discourse and framework. by cybernetics and design. etc. And. the media. It is my view that New French Theorists like Baudrillard. history. in attempting to theorize new social conditions and phenomena like the consumer society. Stronger. networking. by the new configurations of class. to conceptualize these new phenomena in terms of a "post. and socialism in the allegedly postmodern world? In short. I believe. forces and relations of production.S.are primarily hostile. etc. are highly problematical as is their frequent denunciation of macro-social theory in favor of micro theory and politics (this is particularly true of Lyotard. the information society. etc. Most recent articles on postmodernism and New French Theory in Telos -. etc. information. especially concerning the role of the media. I would maintain that Critical Theory has so far rejected New French Theory precisely at those points where its own classical theories are most in need of revision and development: i.uta. and must demonstrate that their categories and theories continue to be applicable and illuminating in theorizing the new social conditions. media. they must address the issues advanced by the postmodern critical social theory today must attempt to theorize the new social conditions and phenomena analyzed by the postmodernists. in techno-capitalist societies. on Baudrillard's borderline between the modern and the postmodern. or have their assumptions and positions been vitiated by contemporary social developments? My own position is that if Marxism and Critical Theory want to continue to be relevant to the theoretical and political concerns of the present age. On this point. computers. however. entertainment. The responses of those identified with Critical Theory to New French Theory and the postmodernism debate so far. is being more and more commodified.

But in doing this Baudrillard is not acting as the harbinger of a new postmodern state of affairs. http://www2. Professor of Sociology and Culture at Nottingham Trent University. His message of ‘no future’ does not transcend the political dilemma of modernism. are all recurring tropes of at least one type of modernism. Baudrillard it might be said.vt. 98 Department of Philosophy at University of Texas-El Paso. it exemplifies it. They either aim to give shape to people's lives or they seek to replace the easing set of politico-economic conditions with a state of affairs that is judged to be superior on rational or moral grounds. and simulacra and technology triumph over agency. To be sure. Theory. traces the dispersal of these projects He relishes being the imp of the perverse. paralyzed and frozen. On the extreme and apolitical position of a Baudrillard. Rather he is treading the well worn paths of one type of modernist sceptism and excess – a path which has no other destiny than repletion. Rojek 93 (Chris. and (c) the feminist transformation of the male order of things. Baudrillard’s alternative fails to confront real world politics. “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future”] In the aftermath of the 1960s. who exhibit a cynical." [3] . his devotion to experience for experience s sake. Best & Kellner. Thus. (b) the socialist critiques of capitalism and the plan for the reconstruction of society. pgs 109) His lacerating nihilism. the ruthless exponent of the disorder of things His work exposes the posturing and circularities of constructive arguments. Postmodern politics thus take a variety of forms and would include the anti-politics of Baudrillard and his followers. from Baudrillard's perspective. novel and conflicting conceptions of postmodern politics emerged. Deputy Director.htm. In the political realm the keynote projects designed to reflect the order of things have been (a) providing a theory of liberal democracy which legitimates the operation of he market. as the masses collapse into inertia and indifference. Rather than speak of the project of modernism it is perhaps more accurate to speak o projects of modernism. These are all constructive projects. all we can do is "accommodate ourselves to the time left to us. Culture & Society Centre . 1998 [Steven & Douglas. as well as a variety of efforts to create a new or reconstructed politics. modernism is a multi-faceted concept.cddc. we are stranded at the end of history. Forget Buadrillard? Edited by Chris Rojek. These projects work around a central dichotomy: reflecting the order of things and exposing the fundamental disorder of things.at baudrillard: cede the political Baudrillard is just a fashionable source of cynicism—not a political strategy. despairing rejection of the belief in emancipatory social transformation. his readiness to prick any cause.edu/illuminations/kell28.

Human and social reality. we can ask the question about the normative adequacy of such a critique. 95 James Marsh. Again. full. We can discuss Disneyland as reprehensible because we know the difference between Disneyland and the larger. is as one-sided or perhaps even more one-sided than that of naive modernism. legal requirements taking such forms as public service programs. impoverished workers in these corporations. television. for example. human. economic. that everything is illusory or imaginary. however. In the 1980s. in the absence of normative conceptions of rationality and freedom. and political reality occasionally manifested itself in the media in such a way that the electorate responded critically to corporate and political policies. Why. Coverage of the Vietnam war.7 . and on media such as movies. and Liberation.5 We can note also that postmodernism misses the reality of the accumulation-legitimation tension in late capitalism in general and in communicative media in particular.” Even here. and provision for alternative media.at baudrillard: Simulation We do. know the difference between simulation and reality—the media plays a healthy role in the public sphere. democratic. by contrast. March. in fact. Even now the public sphere remains normatively binding and really operative through institutionalizing the ideals of free. pp. for example. 95.6 To the extent that postmodernists are critical of the role media play. Such a public sphere has been present in western democracies since the nineteenth century but has suffered erosion in the twentieth century as capitalism has more and more taken over the media and commercialized them. This tension takes different forms in different times. transcended them and remained resistant to them. judgment. while being influenced by and represented by the media. to say that everything is imploded into media images is akin logically to the Cartesian claim that everything is or might be a dream.4 It is also paradoxical or contradictory to say it really is true that nothing is really true. nonmanipulable communicative action are institutionalized. Poster and Baudrillard do want to say that we really are in a new age that is informational and postindustrial. in demonstrations and forms of resistance. the majority remained opposed to Reagan’s policies while voting for Reagan. Postmodemism makes judgments that implicitly deny the reduction of reality to image. Postmodernism does not adequately distinguish here between a reduction of reality to image and a mediation of reality by image. their role in achieving and legitimating profit. should media dominance be taken as bad rather than good? Also. In such a postmodernist account is a reduction of everything to image or symbol that misses the relationship of these to realities such as corporations seeking profit. and their function of manufacturing consent. Fordham University. What happens is that dream or image is absolutized or generalized to the point that its original meaning lying in its contrast to natural. In the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. enveloping reality of Southern California and the United States. and radio. social. or peasants in Third-World countries trying to conduct elections. however. 292-293 Such an account. public expression and discussion. A media idealism exists rooted in the influence of structuralism and poststructuralism and doing insufficient justice to concrete human experience. did help turn people against the war. the emphasis shifted more toward accumulation in the decade dominated by the “great communicator. and social movements acting and discoursing in and outside of universities in print. Critique.” in which the imperatives of free. Action. ideal. Professor of Philosophy. and social reality is lost. For example. and free interaction in the world. We note a residual idealism that does not take into account socioeconomic realities already pointed out such as the corporate nature of media. normatively structured alternative to the media is that of the “public sphere. the most relevant contrasting. public broadcasting.

pain and the horror of death from the body and social life and replaces it with the play of signs — Baudrillard’s alternative. Consequently Baudrillard’s theory spirals into a fascination with signs which leads him to embrace certain privileged forms of sign culture and to reject others (that is. Kellner.’ as a mode of display of signification. power and so on) and to pay less and less attention to materiality (that is.4).negating values in favor of affirmation of life. . In a popular French reading of Nietzsche. In Baudrillard. life does not exist as an autonomous source of value. Politics too is reduced to a play of signs. crushing politics. desire. truth. Douglas Yet does the sort of symbolic exchange which Baudrillard advocates really provide a solution to the question of death? Baudrillard’s notion of symbolic exchange between life and death and his ultimate embrace of nihilism (see 4. 107-8. to needs. the social. This ‘philosophy of value’ valorized life over death and derived its values from phenomena which enhanced. by contrast. refined and nurtured human life. his ‘transvaluation of values’ demanded negation of all repressive and life. disease.4) is probably his most un-Nietzschean moment. p. and the ways in which different politics alleviate or intensify human suffering disappears from the Baudrillardian universe. 89 Phil. Chair @ UCLA. and the body exists only as ‘the caarnality of signs. joy and happiness.at baudrillard: Simulation Relegating human suffering to the realm of simulation is just nihilism. Jean Baudrillard. the theoretical signs of modernity such as meaning. His sign fetishism erases all materialjty from the body and social life. the instant in which his thought radically devalues life and focuses with a fascinated gaze on that which is most terrible — death. 1989. and makes possible a fascinated aestheticized fetishism of signs as the primary ontological reality. This way of seeing erases suffering. suffering and so on) a trajectory will ultimately lead him to embrace nihilism (see 4.

”112 However. It is the very “right to kill” that has been called into question.115 This is because bio‐power is not bloody power over bare life for its own sake but pure power over all life for the sake of the living. but.” but. however. Thus I would propose that the new social conditions.114) Therefore. as Foucault stresses. the most “shameful thing of all”. death is not only “something to be hidden away. I believe that it is a mistake to sever the mode of information from the mode of production. (In bio‐political societies. it is not called into question because of enlightened moral sentiments. rather. culture. or meta-narratives. instead of homo sacer. there neither has been nor can be a society that is entirely bio‐political. the fact that he eventually dies. etc.com/no2/ojakangas1. Actually.uta.pdf) refrains from killing but which nevertheless is capable of directing people’s lives. given that the “right to kill” is precisely a sovereign right. http://www. the present‐day welfare society and. I would. it prevents the formation of new totalizing theories that are essential to breaking down the capitalist structures that are the root cause of the problem Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas. “Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and Critical Theory” http://www. In bio‐political societies.A2: Foucault Foucault’s rejection of meta-solutions dooms the alternative. even though these demands would derive from the demand of justice. Furthermore. also. Nevertheless. in the middle‐class Swedish social‐democrat. new technological developments. For all these reasons. not the power to kill Ojakangus Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. and believe that there continues to be "determination in the last instance" by the economic in the current stage of capitalism. However. education. the history of modern Western societies would be quite incomprehensible without taking into account that there exists a form o power which The effectiveness of bio‐power can be seen lying precisely in that it refrains and withdraws before every demand of killing. 2k5 (Mika. with all its material and spiritual capacities. agree with those who claim that we need to rethink the problematics of radical politics. information. the bio‐political machinery does not want to threaten him. but rather because of the deployment of bio‐political thinking and practice. seems to be his greatest “crime” against the machinery. politics. but rather to an unconditional retreat of all dying. capital punishment could not be maintained except by invoking less the enormity of the crime itself than the monstrosity of the criminal: “One had the right to kill those who represented a kind of biological danger to others. in biological terms. the category of totality. Perhaps. I would argue that precisely now we need such totalizing theories to attempt to capture the new totalizations being undertaken by capitalism in the realm of consumption. it does not mean that he is permitted to kill without committing homicide.foucault-studies. for example. the paradigmatic figure of the bio‐political society can be seen. to live long and to live happily – even when. “Impossible Dialogue on Bio-power” In fact. I would propose that we are currently in a new configuration of capitalism where postmodernism can be read as the cultural logic of capital but where the hegemony of capital is still the fundamental principle of social organization and where capital attempts to control ever more domains of life.though I shall not address this issue here Biopower in contemporary society is an expression of the enhancement of life. . In them. Now. the condition of all life – individual as well as collective that is the measure of the success of bio‐power. he is not exposed to an unconditional threat of death. and others who reject macro-theory. in the light of the new social conditions and challenges -. it can be argued that the bio‐political societies analyzed by Foucault were not entirely bio‐political.113 The bio‐political paradigm of the West is not the concentration camp. of socialism or even radical social transformation or emancipation. the fact is that present‐day European societies have abolished capital punishment. according to Foucault. In fact. Although this figure is an object – and a product – of the huge bio‐political machinery. With Fredric Jameson (1984). there are no longer exceptions. more than ever. he “should have been dead long ago”. Agamben’s thesis. unlike Mark Poster (forthcoming) and others. It is not power but the living. according to which the concentration camp is the fundamental bio‐political paradigm of the West.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2. and new political challenges should be conceptualized in terms of a theory of techno-capitalism rather than postmodernism. but to encourage him. to live healthily. the media. has to be corrected. etc.htm) Against Foucault. Lyotard. we need macro-theories that will attempt to cognitively map the context of the new forms of social develoment and the relationships between spheres like the economy.

The 'right' tolife. by which he means the way in which a rationalization was attempted.' regulates itself. understood as the basic needs. 199 1). . life as a political object was in a sense taken at face value and turned back against the system that was bent on controlling it. Liberalism criticizes an earlier functioning government from which one tries to escape. Far from conceiving it as a political theory or a representation of society. Foucault understands liberalism as an 'art of government'. one I believe. that is. While Foucault never specifically addressed the question of human rights. the great struggles that have challenged the general system of power were not guided by the belief in a return to former rights.and this is the reason both for its polymorphous character and for its recurrences . its simultaneous totalizing and individual-izing tendencies. breaks from reason of state (la raison d'e'tat) which since the sixteenth century had sought to 'justify the growing exercise of government' (Foucault 198 1 :354). inherent in liberalism. far from being organized around the principle of a strong state.) [Wlhat was demanded and what served as an objective was life. activity and rationality used to administer. It must be linked to a different political rationality. . . he explores the relation between bio-power -the mechanisms taking charge of life -and the emergence of bio-politics.' . . Vol. Foucault explains that against this [bio-]power that was still new in the nineteenth century. his lectures on 'bio-politics' (at the College de France between 1978 and 1979) suggest that struggles for life and for self-determination are to be understood in the context of liberalism. or by the age-old dream of a cycle of time or a Golden Age. The idea of reflexivity here is significant because it refers to a mechanism of self-critique. towards the beginning of the eighteenth century. races . rather it is a rationality. what we have seen has been a very real process of struggle. dating from the eighteenth century. understood here as 'man's concrete essence'. to the satisfaction of needs. liberalism upholds the principle of maximal economy with minimal government (Foucault 1981: 354). living conditions. Since the last century. and direct the conduct of people (1981 : 358). “Reforming Foucault: A Critique of the Social Control Thesis” The British Journal of Sociology. man's concrete essence. it promotes a form of rationality that limits state power Lacombe Criminology Simon Fraser U 1996 (Danny. As a rationality of government . Bio-power was a mechanism that took charge of life by 'investing the body.A2: Foucault Engaging liberalism is essential to breaking down biopower.it also contains the seed for a counter-power or a counter-politics because that mechanism individualizes the subject of a population. both as a schema for the regulation of governmental practice and as a theme for sometimes radical opposition to such practice. Foucault claims that Liberalism (. in which human rights are at the centre. to one's body.a 'governmentality' -liberalism. emphasis added).an instrument for the criticism of reality. The notion of bio-power is useful for our understanding of the phenomenon of resistance because while it represents a totalizing or universal mechanism -one that interpellates the subject as a member of a population . hygiene. and beyond all the oppressions or 'alienations. is affirmed through rights claims. It was life more than the law that became the issue of political struggles. What distinguishes liberalism from reason of state as an art of government is that for liberalism 'there is always too much government' (Foucault 1981: 354-5). birthrate. is not the principle of sovereignty or the idea of a natural right external to the state.) was the political response to all these new procedures of power which did not derive. to health. that of 'too much governing. like Foucault we can no longer conceive law as necessarily linked to the sovereign. for the problems posed to governmental practice by the phenomena specific to an ensemble of living beings: health. this 'right' (.(198 1 :353) Foucault's statement is significant because it suggests that we cannot dissociate the problems posed by the question of population (bio-power) from the political rationality within which they emerged. the forces that resisted relied for support on the very thing it invested. 'by means of a continuing reflection' (1 98 1: 354). they make claims for or against the state. according to Foucault. modes of subsistence and habitation. longevity. . the whole space of existence' (Foucault 1980b: 14344. it criticizes a practice of government to which one is opposed and whose abuses one wishes to curb. health. on life and man as a living being. liberalism. (Foucault 198 1 : 356) What allows liberalism to oppose state power. No. a plentitude of the possible.) constitutes . As a result of this. then. shape. either. In his lectures. It is this aspect of bio-power. and self-limitation. . The question of liberalism. as a particular practice. 47. Whether or not it was Utopia that was wanted is of little importance. because they have been submitted to government. In this work. to happiness. one can discover liberalism under different but simultaneous forms. People resist the conditions under which they live. . . 1988. that is. then. from the traditional right of sovereignty. (Foucault 1980b: 144-5) If life. that is of importance in understanding the strategies by which individual subjects can claim the right to self-determination.' the 'right' to rediscover what one is and all that one can be. the realization of his potential. (. 2 Jstor The nature of the relation between the individual and the political order concerned Foucault in his studies of 'biopower' and 'bio-politics'. it examines an actual practice of government that one attempts to reform and to rationalize by a fundamental analysis. Foucault introduced the notion of 'bio-power' in his work on sexuality to designate the proliferation of a technology of power-knowledge primarily concerned with life. In fact. In other words. even if the latter were formulated through affirmations concerningrights. the political technologies that seek to render us governable as a population (bio-power and bio-politics) simultaneously make possible the critique of these same technologies. he implicitly negates his earlier claims that rights in the West were unequivocally linked to the sovereign (1980b. a governmentality of life that takes on 'the character of a challenge' (Foucault 1981 :353).

78 Roy Bhaskar's conclusion concerning the epistemic fallacy can be applied to Peterson's and Lupton's study as well. each aspect of which has no more or less veracity than the other enters a moral wasteland into which few have feared to tread. in other words. This results in the systematic dissolution of the idea of a world independent of but investigated by science. has to play an important part in this moral endeavour. that ontological questions can always be transposed into epistemological terms. Doyal and Gough commented implicitly on Foucault's perspective by stating the consistent relativist one who regards the whole of social life as a "construction". based on a theory of which we have attempted to outline some principles. . “Continuing the debate on the philosophy of modern public health: social quality as a point of reference” http://jech.com/cgi/content/full/54/2/134?ck=nck) ETHICS AND SOCIAL QUALITY Foucault's conceptual scheme is highly stimulating for analysing propositions and points of view on ethical questions. 1999 (Laurent J G van der. the multi-layered mechanisms that can change these human actions and strategies need to be analysed. we are in fact meeting our values and norms. The social quality theory tries to respond to this challenge. In our opinion. For a valid comprehension of society as a subject of public heath. the ethical questions of public health. The challenge of our modern enterprise of public health is to improve social conditions related to health. Claims for an objective reality are judged as arrogant. Harry G J. society is to be conceived both as the totality of conditions of human actions and as the result of human actions. In doing so. The position taken by Petersen and Lupton however also implies a form of relativism. it forces the alternative into a morally bankrupt mode of thinking – the only ethical action is to take action to increase access to public health Maesena.79 From our perspective.A2: Foucault Foucault’s relativism dooms his project. Netherlands Institute for the Social Sciences and Nijhuis Municipal Department of Public Health. The world is appreciated as totally contingent and dependent on the structure of human minds. modern public health. Statements about being can be reduced to or analysed in terms of statements about knowledge that is.bmj.

Ethics Subjectivity and Truth. guaranteed formally by the constitution and substantively by the welfare system.. In the welfarist vision of Weimar progressives. let us take sexual or amorous relationships: to wield power over the other in a sort of open-ended strategic game where the situation may be reversed is not evil. Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984. the right to health could easily be redefined as primarily a duty to be healthy. tells those others what to do. In that sense.at foucault: no impact Foucault says that power is not inherently evil—it is only a problem when it turns into domination. p. then. practices of the self and of freedom. This was a strategy of social management. Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. I believe that this problem must be framed in terms of rules of law. Power is games of strategy. economy. Almost no one in this period advocated expanding social provision out of the goodness of their hearts. Berkeley . We all know that power is not evil! For example. as another example. prosperity. professor and chairman of the History of Systems of Thought @ the College de France. The rights-based strategy was actually not very compatible with exclusionary and coercive policies. 298299) Power is not evil.D.” Central European History. I see nothing wrong in the practice of a person who. rational techniques of government and ethos. Paul Rabinow. and profit. But the difference between a strategy of social management built on the rights of the citizen and a system of racial policy built on the total power of the state is not merely a semantic one. The Nazis aimed. 1997. in the workplace. the democratic welfare state was— and is — democratic not despite of its pursuit of biopower. knowing more than others in a specific game of truth. such differences had very profound political implications. were the central element of the dominant program for the management of social problems. Ed. 1–48) In the Weimar model. but because of it. teaches them. and established quite different constraints. Foucault. it relied too heavily on the cooperation of its targets and of armies of volunteers. the task of the state was to create an institutional framework that would give individuals the wherewithal to integrate themselves successfully into the national society. or a student put under the thumb of a professor who abuses [their] authority. vol.2004 (Edward Ross. philosopher. 1. 1. the Nazis fundamentally sought to abolish just that system by eradicating — by finding a “final solution” to — social problems. in the family. no. And let us take.C. many advocates of a rights-based welfare structure were open to the idea targets for sterilization. of passion and sexual pleasure. of social engineering. U.Associate Professor. All health policies are not the same—biopower within a democratic context are radically different than their fascism examples. and in leisure activities. something that has often been rightly criticized—the pedagogical institution. Fascism. And where Weimar welfare advocates understood themselves to be constructing a system of knowledge and institutions that would manage social problems. The mainstream of social reform in Germany believed that guaranteeing basic social rights— the substantive or positive freedom of all citizens — was the best way to turn people into power. it was too that “stubborn” cases might be legitimate . Dickinson 04 . Vol. for example. to give the state the wherewithal to do with every citizen what it willed. National Socialism aimed to construct a system of social and population policy founded on the concept of individual duties. as Peukert pointed out. 37. instead. the rights of the individual. “Biopolitics. quoted in an interview published in 97 (Michel. it’s a part of love. on the ubiquitous and total power of the state. and transmits knowledge and techniques to them. Again. The contrast with the Nazi state is clear. and on the systematic absorption of every citizen by organizations that could implant that power at every level of their lives — in political and associational life. History Ph. The problem in such practices where power— which is not in itself a bad thing— must inevitably come into play in knowing how to avoid the kind of domination effects where a kid is subjected to the arbitrary and unnecessary authority of a teacher. and polity.

it lacked powerful legal and institutional instruments of coercion.embedded in a democratic institutional structure and civil society. and its rhetorical structure was too heavily slanted toward inclusion and tolerance. .

Both are instances of the “disciplinary society” and of biopolitical. and to have generated a “logic” or imperative of increasing liberalization. enable. but also fascist Italy. In those cases in which the regime of rights does not successfully produce “health.D. no. totalitarianism cannot be the sole orientation point for our understanding of biopolitics. Democratic biopolitical regimes require. Dickinson 04 . to have imposed increasingly narrow limits on coercive policies. there are political and policy potentials and constraints in such a structuring of biopolitics that are very different from those of National Socialist Germany. or manipulation.at foucault: no impact Even if they are right that our policy is biopolitical. the psychotic logic that leads from economistic population management to mass murder. 1–48) In short. and they share that genealogy with more authoritarian states. including the National Socialist state. Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. oppression.” just as much as they are productive of constraint.” such a system can —and historically does— create compulsory programs to enforce it. historically. Fascism.90 Of course it is not yet clear whether this is an irreversible dynamic of such systems. “Biopolitics.” Central European History. Berkeley . such regimes are characterized by sufficient degrees of autonomy (and of the potential for its expansion) for sufficient numbers of people that I think it becomes useful to conceive of them as productive of a strategic configuration of power relations that might fruitfully be analyzed as a condition of “liberty. And this pursuit of biopolitical ends through a regime of democratic citizenship does appear. regulatory. social-engineering modernity. Despite limitations imposed by political context and the slow pace of discursive change.Associate Professor. . I think this is the unmistakable message of the really very impressive waves of legislative and welfare reforms in the 1920s or the 1970s in Germany. Above all. But that analysis can easily become superficial and misleading. Clearly the democratic welfare state is not only formally but also substantively quite different from totalitarianism. Nevertheless. radicalizing dynamic that characterized National Socialism (or for that matter Stalinism). it has nowhere developed the fateful. 37. the continuities between early twentieth-century biopolitical discourse and the practices of the welfare state in our own time are unmistakable. the fact that it is carried out by a democratic state makes it profoundly different.2004 (Edward Ross. 1. and incite a degree of self-direction and participation that is functionally incompatible with authoritarian or totalitarian structures. But again. vol. there is always the potential for such a discursive regime to generate coercive policies. U. At the very least. And it is certainly fruitful to view them from this very broad perspective. Again. the only end point of the logic of social engineering.C. again.. History Ph. for example. because it obfuscates the profoundly different strategic and local dynamics of power in the two kinds of regimes.

U.” Central European History. professionalization has run ever more rampant in Western societies.D. But if so. What is more. even eugenics. History Ph. the production of scientistic and technocratic expert knowledge has proceeded at an ever more frenetic pace. the further conjecture that this “micropolitical” dynamic creates authoritarian. or homicidal potentials at the level of the state does not seem very tenable.2004 (Edward Ross. Historically speaking. it appears that the greatest advocates of political democracy —in Germany left liberals and Social Democrats —have been also the greatest advocates of every kind of biopolitical social engineering. 1–48) At its simplest.. no. Historically.102 The state they built has intervened in social relations to an (until recently) ever-growing degree. however. the interventionist state has steadily expanded both the rights and the resources of virtually every citizen — including those who were stigmatized and persecuted as biologically defective under National Socialism. 1. from public health and welfare programs through social insurance to city planning and. And yet. yes. Dickinson 04 . Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. the opposite seems in fact to be at least equally true. this view of the politics of expertise and professionalization is certainly plausible.Associate Professor. totalitarian. it seems clear that there is no necessary correlation between rationalization and authoritarian politics. Fascism. Biopower doesn’t lead to tyranny . Berkeley . 37. vol. “Biopolitics. Perhaps these processes have created an ever more restrictive “iron cage” of rationality in European societies.at foucault: no impact Biopower does not expand authority over the body when it is deployed by a government that also respects rights. from the perspective of the first years of the millennium. the second half of the twentieth century appears to be the great age of democracy in precisely those societies where these processes have been most in evidence.C.

because violence is hidden in the foundation of biopolitics. In its most monstrous form. alongside its biopolitical apparatus. Racism is. to a considerable number of people (such as the SA. that makes killing acceptable in modern biopolitical societies. according to Foucault.” May 2005.at foucault: no impact (massacres) Biopower does not make massacres vital—a specific form of violent sovereignty is also required.pdf) It is the logic of racism. practicing merely biopolitics.93 To be sure. the SS.pdf) Admittedly. it erected a massive machinery of death. Ojakangas. Although massacres can be carried out in the name of care. http://wlt-studies. it should be understood. They follow from the logic of sovereign power. a discourse – “quite compatible”91 with biopolitics – through which biopower can be most smoothly transformed into the form of sovereign power. however. Ultimately.but so did many other What distinguishes the Third Reich from those other nations is the fact that. of patria potestas (father’s unconditional power of life and death over his son) and cura maternal (mother’s unconditional duty to take care of her children). which ran through the entire social body of Nazi society. This is not to say. as an outcome of the “demonic combination” of the sovereign power and biopower. changes everything. Although the twentieth century thanatopolitics is the “reverse of biopolitics”.com/no2/ojakangas1. as he suggests. was first manifested when nations in the 1930s.foucault-studies. only racism.com/no2/ojakangas1.” This is not the case.”90 Racism is.PhD in Social Science and Academy research fellow @ the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies @ University of Helsinki – 2005 (Mika. For this reason. in other words. A biopolitical society that wishes to “exercise the old sovereign right to kill”. the only way the sovereign power. or the logical consequence” of biopolitical rationality. therefore. however. they do not follow from the logic of biopower for which death is the “object of taboo”. No. ceases to be a mere biopolitical society.PhD in Social Science and Academy research fellow @ the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies @ University of Helsinki – 2005 (Mika. Foucault Studies. if only because of the practice of informing. can “justify the murderous function of the State”. it should not be understood. even “massacres have become vital. “The Impossible Dialogue on Biopower: Foucault and Agamben. the old sovereign right to take life” throughout the “entire social body”. or in other words. according to Foucault. as Foucault writes.89 However. Ojakangas. Biopower does not cause racism or massacres—it is only when it is in the context of a violent or racist government that it is dangerous. biopolitics that was absolutized in the Third Reich – as a matter of fact. Foucault Studies. in other words. the Third Reich used biopolitical means – it was a state in which “insurance and reassurance were universal”94 – and aimed for biopolitical ends in order to improve the living conditions of the German people -. “The Impossible Dialogue on Biopower: Foucault and Agamben. because it is a determination immanent to life. http://www. No. relatively modest in scale compared to some present day welfare states – but rather the sovereign power: “This power to kill.” May 2005. Rather. as Foucault puts it. 2. 05 . the right to kill. can be maintained in biopolitical societies: “Racism is bound up with workings of a State that is obliged to use race. everyone in the Nazi State had the power of life and death over his or her neighbours. however. 05 . that biopolitical societies are necessarily more racist than other societies. the power of life and death. according to which biopolitics is absolutized in the Third Reich. it becomes the Third Reich. It becomes a “demonic combination” of sovereign power and biopower. or . although harsh. as “the effect. I cannot subscribe to Agamben’s thesis. Such transformation. which effectively meant doing away with the people next door. even in the name of race. biopolitical measures in the Nazi Germany were. exercising sovereign means for biopolitical ends. It is to say that in the era of biopolitics. was granted not only to the State but to a whole series of individuals. to exercise its sovereign power. be it God.95 It is not. or life. of “the citycitizen game and the shepherd-flock game” or as I would like to put it. It became a society that “unleashed murderous power. the power to take life. racism can only justify killing – killing that does not follow from the logic of biopower but from the logic of the sovereign power. Nature. the result. as Agamben believes. and so on). in the era of biopolitics. which legitimates killing by whatever arguments it chooses. the elimination of races and the purification of the race. 2.

96” in – at one the .”97 having them done away with. the nakedness of bare life least if sovereignty is defined in the Agambenian manner: “The sovereign is the with respect to whom all men are potentially homines sacri.The only thing that the Third Reich actually absolutizes is. other words. the sovereignty of power and therefore. and homo sacer is one with respect to whom all men act as sovereigns.

does seem at least highly likely. Yet the failure of pedagogical normalization was preprogrammed into the collision between middle-class “utopias of order” and the “life-worlds” of the working class. Peukert argues that.D. In periods of fiscal crisis the frustration of these “fantasies of omnipotence” generates a concern with “identifying.” and one possible only in the context of the concatenation of economic. only the two “strategies of pedagogical normalization or eugenic exclusion” were open to middle-class social reformers.” which consists in their assignment of greater or lesser value to human characteristics.C. when the one failed only the other remained. “Biopolitics. The fact that Nazism was “one of the pathological developmental forms of modernity does not imply that barbarism is the inevitable logical outcome of modernization. vol. social.” Central European History. U.” And yet. Peukert was very aware that he was writing the history of only one kind of modernity. and political disasters through which Germany passed in the two decades before 1933. . Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. in Peukert’s model it seems to me that it is really only a matter of time and circumstance before the fundamentally and necessarily murderous potential of modernity is unleashed. The “fatal racist dynamic in the human and social sciences.68 In the most detailed exposition of his analysis.” which also created “opportunities for human emancipation. which were rendered disorderly by the logic of industrial capitalism. 1–48) Again. segregating. no.69 Again. Berkeley . does “inevitably become fixated on the utopian dream of the gradual elimination of death. Dickinson 04 . 1.2004 (Edward Ross. given the “totalitarian claim to validity” of bourgeois norms..” which is “unfailingly” frustrated by lived reality. as he remarked.Associate Professor. again. the history that Peukert actually wrote was the history of disaster— a disaster that. Fascism. History Ph. 37. and that the most destructive potentials of modern social engineering discourse were only to be realized in a very specific historical context. frequently.at foucault: nazis unique Nazi biopolitics were unique. Grenzen der Sozialdisziplinierung. and disposing of ” those judged less valuable. “one among other possible outcomes of the crisis of modern civilization. The “Final Solution” was.

” Discursive elements (like the various elements of biopolitics) can be combined in different ways to form parts of quite different strategies (like totalitarianism or the democratic welfare state). 1. U. 37.” modern societies with quite radically differing potentials. But they are two very different ways of organizing it. History Ph. manipulation.” Central European History. Fascism. but rather circulate. “Biopolitics. these systems are not “opposites. Dickinson 04 . “tactically polyvalent. The varying possible constellations of power in modern societies create “multiple modernities. and entrapment. as Foucault argued. no. in which all political and social orders are grey. in which individuals and groups have varying degrees of autonomy and effective subjectivity. they cannot be assigned to one place in a structure.2004 (Edward Ross.Associate Professor. vol. nor bad.” in the sense that they are two alternative ways of organizing the same thing.91 . Democratic welfare states are regimes of power/knowledge no less than early twentiethcentury totalitarian states. 1–48) This notion is not at all at odds with the core of Foucauldian (and Peukertian) theory.C. Berkeley .” Power is a set of social relations. And discourse is. Our specific context is more important than their sweeping generalization.at foucault: aff good use of biopower Biopower is a description of our era—it is neither inherently good. are essentially or effectively “the same. Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. The concept “power” should not be read as a universal stifling night of oppression.D..

medicalizing. In that sense. and by 1929 (when average real purchasing power was not significantly higher than in 1913) it was only 9. it was 15 percent. Berkeley . it is not really accurate to call it a “Wahn” (delusion. 1. Fascism. at the most simple-minded level. bureaucratic. By 1913. There was a reason for the “Machbarkeitswahn” of the early twentieth century: many marvelous things were in fact becoming machbar.93 The expansion of infant health programs— an enormously ambitious. 37.C. Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. social engineering project— had a great deal to do with that change. and sometimes intrusive.at foucault: biopower good Biopower is also positive—such as the dramatic decrease in infant mortality. To give just one example. craziness) at all. . infant mortality in Germany in 1900 was just over 20 percent. or. one in five children died before reaching the age of one year. “Biopolitics. Dickinson 04 .2004 (Edward Ross. History Ph. in other words. It would be bizarre to write a history of biopolitical modernity that ruled out an appreciation for how absolutely wonderful and astonishing this achievement— and any number of others like it — really was. no. vol. many social engineers could and did look with great satisfaction on the changes they genuinely had the power to accomplish.7 percent.D.. it seems to me that an assessment of the potentials of modernity that ignores the ways in which biopolitics has made life tangibly better is somehow deeply flawed. 1–48) Of course.” Central European History.Associate Professor. nor is it accurate to focus only on the “inevitable” frustration of “delusions” of power. Even in the late 1920s. U.

Fascism.Associate Professor. Berkeley . Dickinson 04 . Our understanding of modern biopolitics will be more realistic and more fruitful if we reconceptualize its development as a complex process in which the implications of those new choices were negotiated out in the social and discursive context. no. no. History Ph. “Biopolitics. U. Biopower has created new freedoms as well as new oppressions—context is key. Fascism. Dickinson 04 . to shape their own lives. what emerged quite quickly from this effort was in fact a system of public contraceptive advice — or family planning. Here public health and eugenics experts— technocrats— tried to impart their sense of eugenic crisis and their optimism about the possibility of creating a better “race” to the public. 1–48) Uncoupling “technocracy” from “discourse” is not yet enough.C.C. it is almost never something they do. As Foucault put it. This is of course a point that Foucault makes with particular clarity.D.” Central European History.”105 Biomedical knowledge was not the property only of technocrats. It is not so easy to impose technocratic ambitions on the public. The example of the attempt to create a eugenic counseling system in Prussia should be instructive in this respect. 1. Again. This is not how societies work. particularly in a democratic state. their impact will still be prevented by localized resistance. which control it and impose it from above. For most social liberals and Social Democrats. History Ph. often effective.” at the level of interactions with actual persons and social groups. More important. as much as what their outcomes are. power— including the power to manage life —“comes from everywhere. institutions. and “on the ground. vol.2004 (Edward Ross. however.” Central European History. Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. State policy reflected . Manipulative elites always face resistance. 37. and knowledge generated new choices — a limited range of them. U. constrained by all kinds of discursive and social frameworks. We should also be alive to the ways in which new social practices. 1–48) In the current literature.2004 (Edward Ross. And yet.D. in the early twentieth century many more conservative biopolitical “experts” devoted much of their energy precisely to trying— without any discernable success— to control those new degrees of freedom. in a real sense.. public policy often takes on a life of its own. 37.106 Modern biopolitics is a multifaceted world of discourse and practice elaborated and put into practice at multiple levels throughout modern societies. to define what they are about. As Foucault argues. power is fluid. it seems that biopolitics is almost always acting on (or attempting to act on) people. the power of discourse lies precisely in its ability to set the terms for such struggles. The power of discourse is not the power of manipulative elites. Modern biopolitics did create.. 1. “Biopolitics. not only new constraints but also new degrees of freedom— new levers that increased people’s power to move their own worlds. at least partially independent of the fantasies of technocrats.Associate Professor. Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity. resistance. vol. those new choices were a potential source of greater social efficiency and social dynamism.at foucault: resistance solves impact Even if they win that our health policy turns to the dark side of biopolitics. but nonetheless historically new and significant. This kind of model is not very realistic. Berkeley . however. and they successfully mobilized the resources of the state in support of their vision. and it could be used to achieve ends that had little to do with their social-engineering schemes.

Nor should we stop at a reexamination of knowledge and technology. to reexamine the process of institution-building. manipulation. It might make sense. too. the elaboration of the practices and institutions of biopolitics. No doubt the creation of public and private social welfare institutions created instruments for the study. or control of individuals and groups. But it also generated opportunities for self-organization and participation by social groups of all kinds.the constant negotiation and tension between these perspectives. .

it establishes as political the very terms through which identity is articulated. it is empirically warranted. These resistances are evidence that the break with the discursive/nondiscursive dichotomy central to the logic of interpretation undergirding this analysis is (to put it in conventional terms) not only theoretically licensed. rather. constituencies associated with women’s. 204205) The political possibilities enabled by this permanent provocation of power and freedom can be specified in more detail by thinking in terms of the predominance of the “bio-power” discussed above. especially the making of war. because the governmental practices of biopolitics in Western nations have been increasingly directed toward modes of being and forms of life — such that sexual conduct has become an object of concern. human rights activists have proclaimed the right of gays to enter into formal marriages. the emergence of the state as the major articulation of “the political” has involved an unceasing agonism between those in office and those they rule. there are manifest political implications that flow from theorizing identity. State intervention in everyday life has long incited popular collective action. “the core of what we now call ‘citizenship’ consists of multiple bargains hammered out by rulers and ruled in the course of their struggles over the means of state action. 98 .” In more recent times.” . expanding the interpretive imagination so as to enlarge the categories through which we understand the constitution of “the political” has been a necessary precondition for making sense of Foreign Policy’s concern for the ethical borders of identity in America. Indeed. individual health has been figured as a domain of discipline. For example. “Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity.”’39 Indeed.” pg. and receive the same health and insurance benefits granted to their straight counterparts. adopt children. In particular. and the family has been transformed into an instrument of government — the ongoing agonism between those practices and the freedom they seek to contain means that individuals have articulated a series of counterdemands drawn from those new fields of concern. and stand as testament to the “strategic reversibility” of power relations: if the terms of governmental practices can be made into focal points for resistances. youth. As Judith Butler concluded: “The deconstruction of identity is not the deconstruction of politics.professor of international politics at the University of Newcastle . In this sense.at foucault: resistance solves impact Their K oversimplifies—biopower is not a one-way street—it produces equivalent resistances that check the impact. the result of which has been both resistance to the state and new claims upon the state. as the state continues to prosecute people according to sexual orientation. then the “history of government as the ‘conduct of conduct’ is interwoven with the history of dissenting ‘counterconducts. ecological. and peace movements (among others) have also issued claims on society. Accordingly.1998 (David. Campbell. These claims are a consequence of the permanent provocation of power and freedom in biopolitics.

as aiming at domination or as a physical constraint that denies the ability of the other to act: “where the determining factors saturate the whole there is no relationship of power. Provided we are willing to grant that the capacity for agency has ethical value—and this seems reasonable enough—we will denounce violent social relations and champion instead a society based on a more benign power. therefore. that power or pastoral-power recognizes the value of the subject as an agent. or societies act as influences on the agency of the subject without attempting to determine the particular actions the subject performs. groups. “Foucault and Critique: Deploying Agency against Autonomy. in contrast. one has to recognise that they can do other than one wishes—they can resist. Power manifests itself whenever individuals. JSTOR) Perhaps we might say. perhaps even a capacity to act freely: “power is exercised over free subjects.”27 Similarly. 1. and so only where they can resist that power. Foucault’s final work on the nature of governmentality suggests. of course. never describes things in quite these terms. as able to come into play only where people have a capacity to act. unlike violence. several reactions and diverse comportments may be realized. therefore. or societies in which one denies the agency of the others by seeking to define for them actions they must perform. Power. In particular. in contrast to power. whereas violence or discipline attempts to extinguish the capacity of the subject for agency. Page 65 February 1999. he defines power. whereas violence always attempts to extinguish the capacity of the subject for agency. that society need not consist solely of the forms of discipline he had analysed earlier. therefore. groups. we should define as violent any relationship—whether overtly violent or not—in which an individual has his action determined for him. and only insofar as they are free. Society might include an arena in which free individuals attempt only to influence one another. Here a rejection of autonomy implies that power is ineliminable.”28 If we thus accept that power always treats the subject as an agent. Bevir. I hope my discussion of Foucault’s theory of governmentality has pointed to the way in which a distinction between violence and power might provide us with normative resources for social criticism absent from his earlier work. To treat someone as an agent.” rather “it is a question of a physical relationship of constraint. he does come remarkably close to doing so.” by which “we mean individual or collective subjects who are faced with a field of possibilities in which several ways of behaving. Violence manifests itself in any relationship between individuals. necessarily entails a capacity for resistance. Perhaps. Although Foucault. he defines violence. in contrast to violence. appears in any relationship—although no overtly violent relationship could meet the following requirement—in which an individual does not have his action determined for him. Political Theory. while a defence of agency implies that power need not degenerate into violence. Power can exist only where people have a capacity to act freely. 99 – Department of Political Science @ University of Newcastle – 1999 (Mark. . Volume 27 No. we can see why Foucault’s later work on power emphasises that power.at foucault: aff pre-req to alt Foucault’s concept of resistance is only possible in a world without violence—the aff is a prerequisite for the alternative.

one that Foucault thinks we must make every day.. our objective should be to explain what we describe in light of a vision embracing values that we make explicit in struggle. the only “ethico-political choice” we have. we must not. And if Nietzsche is correct in claiming that the only prevailing human ideal to date has been the ascetic ideal. In other words. ironically. in the ethicopolitical sphere. his holding at bay all conventional answers that press themselves upon us. Critical theory must pay attention to the ways in which oppressed people not only are victimized by ideologies of oppression but the ways they craft from these ideologies and discourses counter-hegemonic weapons of liberation.L. the is from the ought and law from morality and politics. 26 New Eng. “A Diversity of Influence: Reflections on Postmodernism.Associate Professor at Georgetown Law School (Anthony E. while tempered by postmodern insights. Rev.. within this particular church or that particular factory. Second. Spring. p. because individuals are not simply constituted by systems of knowledge but also constitute hegemonic and counter-hegemonic systems of knowledge as well. or so it would seem. This reliance on detailed description and its concomitant deemphasis of explanation begins. 92. the role of human agency. Cook. forsake the possibility of more universal narratives that. as Foucault seems all too willing to do. Lexis) Several things trouble me about Foucault's approach. then even Foucauldian resistance will continue to work in service of this ideal. Ed. thick. Unless we are to be trapped in this Foucaultian moment of postmodern insularity. 751. to the idealization of asceticism. First.. Agency is of tremendous importance in any theory of oppression. 72 “Unending action is required to combat ubiquitous peril. that particular law firm. is simply to determine which of the many insidious forms of power is “the main danger” and then to engage in an activity of resistance in the “nexus” of opposing forces. 03. he nurtures in many ways an unhealthy insularity that fails to connect localized struggle to other localized struggles and to modes of oppression like classism. at least under one of its guises. and his keeping in play the “twists” and “recoils” that question our usual concepts and habitual patterns of behavior. all seem a close approximation. formulating any defensible alternative position or successor ideals.” 73 But this ceaseless Foucauldian “recoil” from the ubiquitous power perils of “normalization” precludes. and homophobia that transcend their localized articulation within this particular law school.Professor and chair of philosophy at Queens College of the CUNY (Steven V. Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg. attempt to say and do something about the oppressive world in which we live. “Nietzsche. Certainly Foucault's distancing of himself from all ideological commitments. Heidegger. These values should act as magnets that link our particularized struggles to other struggles and more global critiques of power. Critiques of power are so localized that they prevent coalition from forming that could genuinely fight oppression.at foucault: cede the political Endless investigation of power makes real struggles against oppression impossible. Instead. and Foucault: Nihilism and Beyond. we must resist the temptation to sever description from explanation. ethnographic type descriptions of power relations playing themselves out in these localized laboratories of social conflict. the nihilism of negativity.” Foucault and Heidegger: Critical Encounters. sexism. . Questia) Hence. racism. I note among some followers of Foucault an unhealthy propensity to rely on rich. Foucault's emphasis on the techniques and discourses of knowledge that constitute the human subject often diminishes. 109. his recoiling from all traditional values by which we know and judge. if not abrogates. Hicks. to look like a regressive positivism which purports to sever the descriptive from the normative. viz.

.

From this perspective. Foucault is aware of this. precisely in their discourse-constituting achievement. the difference that can establish its preeminence above all the other human sciences is to be demonstrated in the history of its own emergence. If. Genealogical historiography is supposed to make the practices of power. But if the truth claims that Foucault himself raises for his genealogy of knowledge were in fact illusory and amounted to no more than the effects that this theory is capable of releasing within the circle of its adherents. the meaning of validity claims consists in the power effects they have. then the entire undertaking of a critical unmasking of the human sciences would lose its point. That is to say. To this end. . Foucault's theory would exhaust itself in the politics of theory. it must destroy the foundations of the research inspired by it as well. 87. Consequently. this basic assumption of the theory of power is selfreferential. if it is correct. On the other hand. its superiority cannot be expressed in the fact that something more convincing enters in place of the convicted pseudo-sciences.Permanent Visiting Professor at Northwestern (Jürgen. accessible to an empirical analysis. Habermas. 279) Foucault's historiography can evade relativism as little as it can this acute presentism. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. p. Foucault pursues genealogical historiography with the serious intent of getting a science underway that is superior to the mismanaged human sciences. His investigations are caught exactly in the self-referentiality that was supposed to be excluded by a naturalistic treatment of the problematic of validity.at foucault: geneaology Foucaultian genealogy is trapped in a double bind: its extreme relativism either undercuts its political usefulness or a new master discourse is produced. if its superiority were only to be expressed in the effect of its suppressing the hitherto dominant scientific discourse in fact. then. not only are truth claims confined to the discourses within which they arise. he would like to single out his genealogy from all the rest of the human sciences in a manner that is reconcilable with the fundamental assumptions of his own theory. they exhaust their entire significance in the functional contribution they make to the self-maintenance of a given totality of discourse. he turns genealogical historiography upon itself. and indeed in setting theoretical-political goals that would overburden the capacities of even so heroic a one-man enterprise.

is that the biopolitical can be transformed into a word that hides. Agamben says. What we look at. Then. in all cases. the way we look at it and what we expect to see must be altered.htm) Agamben is a thinker of great value but also. a mere call to change this structure of the system does little except activate reactionary impulses and intellectual retrenchment. Questioning the very precepts of sovereignty. instruments of work and not propaganda words. multitude. http://www. when Agamben speaks of the biopolitical he has the tendency to transform it into an ontological category with value already since the archaic Roman right. biopolitics!". We cannot wait until we have a neat self-contained and accurate theory of transnational relations before we launch into studies of Third-World issues and problem-solving. using it as an excuse for action or instrument for confronting it blocking critical thought Virno. on the other hand. does not in and of itself address the problems and issues so critical to transnational relations. As soon as this potential is transformed into a commodity. This is the call for international scholars and actors.” in Archipelago number 54. June. but Foucault spoke in few pages of the biopolitical . in this. exodus. I don't negate that there can be a serious content in the term. in my opinion.critique can be simultaneous Lombardi ’96 (Mark Owen. Toni (Negri) and Michael (Hardt). The assumptions of the paradigm will dictate the solution and approaches considered. One does not and should not precede the other. a word that carries the risk of blocking critical thought instead of helping it. And. p. Perspectives on Third-World Sovereignty. The problem is. like the cry of a child.org/~joey/generation-online/p/fpvirno2. 161) Sovereignty is in our collective minds. however I see that the use of the term biopolitics sometimes is a consolatory use.that Foucault is not a sufficient base for founding a discourse over the biopolitical and my apprehension. the child that says "mama. he is very wrong-headed.. my fear is of fetish words in politics because it seems like the cries of a child that is afraid of the dark. on the other hand. a thinker with no political vocation. I believe. That is why theoretical changes and paradigm shifts must be coterminous with applicative studies.A2: Agamben Sovereignty must be used strategically –-. an "open doors" word. (“General intellect. Yet. mama!". but rather is simply the potential to produce. 2002 Paolo. a word with an exclamation point. then. Agamben’s criticism fetishizes biopolitics. Associate Prof Political Science – Tampa. because it is not a real commodity like a book or a bottle of water. that contains this potential. use biopolitics in a historically determined sense. . it is necessary to govern the living body that maintains this potential. my fear. "biopolitics. Then.neuralyte. covers problems instead of being an instrument for confronting them. that labor-power is only one of the aspects of the biopolitical. as has been done in many instances. when what serves us are.. If we wait we will never address the latter and arguably most important issue-area: the welfare and quality of life for the human race.in relation to the birth of liberalism . in my opinion.. When there is a commodity that is called labor-power it is already implicitly government over life. basing it on Foucault. A fetish word. I say the contrary: over all because labor power is a paradoxical commodity. that the biopolitical is only an effect derived from the concept of labor-power.

V5. in the eyes of fellow deportees. Using this figure. . Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions. The term ‘muselmann’ was used in Auschwitz to refer to deportees who suffered from clinical exhaustion and multiple. first of all. Thus. radicalising Levi’s words. the Muslim. Agamben develops the following paradox: since any testimony is. its only resemblance to man being its cadaveric appearance. who is conversely linked to modern Israel and Zionism. who is linked to political Islam and Palestine. contextual point of view ( Remnants of Auschwitz was published in 1998). and the extermination centres on the other. While Agamben can on no account whatsoever be linked to or accused of negationist views. Agamben turns the ‘muselmann’ into the ‘integral witness’. To decipher the meaning of Agamben’s ‘muselmann’. the word ‘muselmann’ is utterly foreign to the Polish language and to the numerous other languages that were spoken in Auschwitz. impossible. The ‘muselmann’ was the incarnation of their own fate. Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe. Agamben postulates that the notion of testimony can be understood only from the viewpoint of the ‘dead witnesses’ perfectly epitomised by the ‘muselmann’. could become. can be seen as the antagonist of the Jew. only the impossible figure of the ‘muselmann’ can point to the ethical reality of Auschwitz. therefore. Issue 1. and since. the reality of the death camps is inaccessible. Such a contention is naturally reminiscent of the thought discussed earlier: the ‘muselmann’ becomes the ‘epiphanic’ incarnation of what testifies to the existence of the human dimension in man as revealed in Auschwitz. in essence. 26 Moreover. a trend which has become fairly general. subjected to extreme brutality and deprivation and on the verge of death. the figure of the ‘muselmann’ is a faithful epitome of the ‘screen victim’ syndrome frequently found in mediadriven humanitarian operations: the figure tends to hide the real victims and blur our understanding of what actually happened. chronic illnesses and came to embody. what man. Thus.A2: Agamben Agamben’s representation of the muselmann belittles the experiences of the actual experiences of the victims in concentration and extermination camps. and the crucial differences between the functioning of camps on the one hand. 139-157) In his exploration of Auschwitz and his interpretation of Levi’s writings. From a current affairs. it is necessary to look into the polysemic dimension of this word. “The Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Evaluation” pp. Agamben’s theory neglects the complexity of the concentration camp reality. From a purely lexical point of view. he must be criticised for his abusive use of the victims’ representations. 25 From an imaginary point of view. which evidently transcends the concentration camp universe. the ‘muselmann’ is reminiscent of the numerous texts and pictorial representation of the suffering body of Christ.

and are not about a fixed. 2004. AS PRACTICES ON THE PART O HUMAN BEINGS INTERACTING WITHIN THE SOCIAL FORMS. but we are also left without a basis for the critique of the intention of right. And yet right is not necessarily or merely a part of the State. Daly. Simply because we would want to challenge a distorted. But such arguments often proceed on the basis of misplaced assumptions. But within rights. there are certainly difficulties at issue with an understanding of what is eternal within such values. desiring being. or indeed indicating what. Research fellow in the Philosophy Department at the Australian National University. not surprisingly. although not without determinations. Agamben's argument is ultimately more concerned with the problem of contradictions within the theory and practice of rights and with attendant illusions that arise from these contradictions than with a critique of content or with an examination of a new potentiality that might emerge out of what he takes to be our present vacuousness. homogeneous substrate would mean for the idea of a social contract or rights. These demands are concerned with an understanding of human freedom in relation to values of solidarity. although as far as ↓Card Continues ↓ . a construction of an eternalized. shifting and alive. Borderlands E-Journal). Firstly. they are historical and contingent. RATHER. What it is to be human is open and changeable. calculation and control as its outcome. there is the problem of what particular values we find inscribed. (Frances. And. it is such values themselves that are at fault. “The non-citizen and the concept of human rights”. generic essence of the person. does not mean that we are unable to say anything about what it is to be a creative. Agamben elides all difference by assuming that right has only judgment. rather it is better understood as practices on the part of human beings interacting within social forms (of which the State may or may not be a part). despite whatever it is that constitutes their content. Such contradictions and illusions certainly do exist in relation to right. Somewhat strangely. the basis of rights in property and assumptions that people are in fundamental accord on matters of right. or some ahistorical or superhistorical immutable totality. It is unable to imagine a realm of freedom against the State. The problem would appear to be that not only are we no clearer as to the actual problems involved in such values.A2: Agamben RIGHTS ARE NOT NECESSARILY OR MERELY A PART OF THE STATE. and by what process these values have been arrived at. justice and the overcoming of alienation. suffering. commonalities and shared properties that can emerge at various times. Legal positivism assumes or sets out the basis for rights within a normative framework of the State that merely takes for granted judicial postulates of the inalienability of rights. it is presumed that. we can detect unsatisfied demands that have nothing to do with essentialist assumptions about 'man' or 'citizen'. I would argue. limited or perhaps unappealing view of what it is to be human. we are also without any basis for considering the productive content of these values. secondly. The argument as to whether there is a problem with the idea of eternal metajuridical values able to be inscribed within rights is interesting for a number of reasons. A significant part of Agamben's rejection of rights is based on the belief that rights necessarily involve processes by which values are made eternal. static. and that the basis of right is its place within the structure of the State. Instead of indicating the actual nature of the problem with particular metajuridical values. for example.

Instead. Thus. anything but the idea of communal principles that would provide some natural standard. For example. what is frequently taken to be the eternal nature of right is. whose standard had been derived from various sources . the idea of natural rights of the individual.↑Card continued ↑ attitudes to the law are concerned I believe that a Slöterdijkean 'cynical reason' probably more accurately describes the matter. is a positivity of existing conditions (such as the right to possess. other forms in which principles of justice have been derived and enacted. For it is the State that institutes types of validity for its laws on the basis of procedure rather than any sense of morality or principles of justice. But there are other pathways to rights. for justice. But this sense was not completely extinguished. but even in more considered forms it often fails to come to terms with what it is attempting to criticize. God. what merely congeals under certain circumstances and is able to be reformulated for these changing circumstances) is a view of what it means to be human in terms of an ability to possess. if there is a problem with making right the depository of eternal values. I want to argue. unfortunately. This. that some of the basic contradictions that Agamben highlights are likely to emerge. eternalizing essentialism has become one of the banalities of much contemporary theorizing. And if this is the case. It is this reification of law rather than the eternalization of values that is of significance to a critique of rights. this is hardly because we have arrived at some content that would forevermore allow us to express a sense of justice in common. Rather. It is certainly on the basis of a realm of legal positivism and its doctrines of positive law. what becomes solidified. a view of reason or human nature .was undoubtedly distorted by a sense of individualism defined in terms of possession and property rights. a realm which assumes that no element of law or right pre-exists an act of the State. and equality of the individual – of 'inalienable' rights and normative ideals – was quite clearly conceived in terms of the citoyen.in nature. The assumption that any understanding of human values is a reductionist. however derived. What persisted of a sense of natural justice for all. more importantly. With the rise of individualism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. why must we then necessarily conclude from a critique of legal positivism that there can be no ethical basis to rights? . fraternity. and. reified. it is because what becomes 'eternalized' (or. of liberty. more correctly. exclude and alienate) through which doctrines of the rights of the individual are determined. is at the basis of the juridical objectification separating ethics or justice from law.

as Agamben wishes to do. a separation of law and ethics in rights is just as much the separation of ethics from law. or 'form-of-life' . 2001: passim) to be of use in critical theorizing. prevail. Nor would it be in any way likely. ultimately eternalizing such concepts. partly. “The non-citizen and the concept of human rights”. and. it is more urgent that we kritik the absence of sense of justice. not the possible illusions which might arise from the existence of rights. Undoubtedly. and that is grounded in a basic responsibility for the other (Daly. More importantly. I want to argue. rather than the overturning of this very problematic. but not exclusively. He also nervously empties any sense of being human of anything that is not simply potentiality. justly. But much of the power of any such critique must depend upon the manner in which the context of this life – the possible experience of acting in the world. Agamben sees the necessity of this separation but he attributes it to a lack of ambiguity inherent within law. the outcome of an Enlightenment abstract rationalism that insists upon a narrow calculation for its judgments. as if right and ethics have nothing to do with human possibility. at the same time. then we need to understand why a separation between human and citizen rights emerged. for example. involves understanding an inheritance that brings with it illusions and aporias. .A2: Aganben Rather than kritiking the possible illusions that may arise from the existence of rights. the latter an entirely necessary basis for an autonomous. and what relation the distinction between these rights has to the propositions of an ethical or just life.but it needs what I refer to as "an ethos of the imagination" that is able to imagine an emancipatory ethics. If we are to understand the real function of rights in the modern State. An ahistorical disdain for legal action is merely the obverse of the process of fetishizing legality. ethical life beyond the juridical relations of the world of goods. ideological relations that are not a part of a viable ethics. It is this absence of a sense of real justice that most needs to be subjected to critique today. existing law is a form of decision-making as the ideological playing out of a conflict of wills upon the assumption that the State is all of us and that the will of the State must ultimately. Borderlands E-Journal). Much theory that merely substitutes the idea of the static essence of the person to explain the consequence of good and evil in the world with an equally static. and more specifically of the possibility of traces of the intention towards human dignity. What we have instead is the separation of society from the ideals of the ethicality of a subject. some sort of move beyond categories underscoring divisions within the ways people are entitled to live their lives is necessary. invariant view of authority and the State is.is itself understood. For ethics to be completely subsumed by the law would hardly be a desirable thing. a "whatever singularity". This. In the absence of any such context. as rights of the citizen serving the interests of the nation-State. Only in this case. I would argue. given that what we are dealing with in relation to current. the form is wholly discarded. a rich heritage of critique is sidelined. (Frances. Research fellow in the Philosophy Department at the Australian National University. Moreover. because the content is seen to fall short of the abstraction of. The concept of potentiality has much that is worthwhile – there is a radical uncompletedness within our being human . 2004. what tends to emerge is a return to the problem of rights reduced to a division of form and content. by revisiting this problem via a dismissal of the context of rights. This is not the basis of a radical equality or solidarity. the law carries with it exploitative. Daly. a theoretical heritage that has engaged with certain ideals and intentions that reveal an anticipation of what is right and just.

49 These theorists correctly seek to disrupt oppressive patterns.” unfortunately. and more a continuing development of a national security state apparatus that has been built through legislation like the National Security Act of 1947. the state’s institutions are among the few with the capacity to respond to the exigency of human needs identified by political theorists. I suggested. Agamben rightly criticizes the USA PATRIOT Act in State of Exception. We may conclude that claims to justice or democracy based on the wish to rid ourselves of the state once and for all are like George W. through the example of the apostle Paul and the remnant of those who faithfully adhere to messianic law. 147. then the concept of a state of emergency is poorly suited to understanding our political present. only his critique of the state but also his attempt to remove this inquiry from political philosophy to “first” philosophy.44 The Foucauldian understanding of government. First. many of which predate modernity. in the here and now. This argument. amends a variety of other laws and sits on a foundation created by these other laws. there are urgent claims that demand finite acts that by definition will be both divisive and less than what a situation demands. politics remains. such as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Since politics—hence political change—would not be possible under conditions of absolute determination. Pg25-26) Finally. These actions will necessarily be finite and less than wholly adequate. and sovereign. but responsibility may lie on the side of acknowledging these limitations and seeking to redress what is lacking in state action rather than calling for pure potentiality and an end to the state. This law. That is. like most laws that are passed in an ongoing legal system. Agamben indicates. and violence. while diminishing the power of courts and legislative oversight as a response to September 11.52 In the end. and through the creation of stakeholders (the military-industrial complex). current policies are less “exceptional.A2: Agamben Agamben’s kritik fails. Let us defend this state of due process and equal protection against its ruinous other. excess. any social formation is constituted by elements of both contingency and determination. occludes the forms of power needed to maintain this situation against other ontological possibilities much as his first theory of passage beyond the state of integrated spectacle did. then. the possibility of active political subjects adequate to the challenge of state sovereignty. 2001. and potentiality over determination.48 Third. Passavant.com/cgi/content/abstract/35/2/147. . the modern state is poorly understood as transcendent. Political Theory 2007. The “state” encompasses a variety of institutions. Agamben must address the very questions that his ontological approach to state sovereignty intended to avoid— questions of power and otherness. through discourse. however. In sum. There are four implications of this critique for political theory and the state. unitary. another state formation will always rise instead wehsould use the state in strategic instances for responsibility of human needs. “The Contradictory State of Giorgi Agamben. By emphasizing pure potentiality. or neglects how the active political subjects he does defend are embedded within finite commitments that necessarily persevere through the foreclosure of other possibilities. 35. contradicts his earlier positions embracing potentiality over the acts emblematic of sovereign decisions. emphasizing contingency or excess makes sense. and this emergence (and ruin) is hastened by those who seek to enhance surveillance and presidential powers. Not only are these contingencies unjust. The Antiterrorism Act created the possibility of attributing guilt by association since it criminalized the provision of material support for organizations that the administration deems “terrorist”—provisions that the USA PATRIOT Act builds upon. Agamben misses this and either cherishes the excessive quality of pure potentiality to the neglect of the exigent needs of the present. It also.45 Second. finitude.” http://ptx. This argument also begs the question of how this messianic community might relate to that which remains other to its situation. and acts. if we treat the state as an ensemble of institutions. Yet reflection upon the retraction of certain state services from places like the Bronx during the late 1970s permits us to see how neither justice nor democracy is served by excessive economic duress or violence. economic inequality.5 Fourth. 43 At the end of Agamben’s theory of the state. but also their incapacitating effects prevent democratic practices of government where the latter necessarily presupposes some collective capacity to direct and achieve collective purposes. Some contemporary political theorists concerned with injustice and the lack of democracy also emphasize contingency.46 From this perspective. Political theorists must temper celebrating contingency with a simultaneous consideration of the complicated relation that determination has to democratic purposes. and an experience of being by relying on a determinate situation to create the conditions of possibility for a successful speech act.51 Meanwhile. potentially contribute to the improved justice of outcomes and democracy. Bush claiming to be an environmentalist because he has proposed converting all of our cars so that they will run on hydrogen. another state formation is struggling to emerge through the ruin of liberal democracy in the United States. 2007 (Paul A. State actions that mitigate chaos.sagepub. The plural nature of this ensemble is precisely what gives extension to the modern state. the state remains. is the practice by which articulations between these institutions are forged—and non-state institutions are joined to this chain—and they are mobilized toward various purposes.47 In other words. Agamben remains haunted by the very problems that motivated not beyond any idea of law.

biopolitics!". that labor-power is only one of the aspects of the biopolitical. Then. his shallow analysis of biopolitics prevents the alternative for solving Virno. Agamben says. And. the child that says "mama. my fear is of fetish words in politics because it seems like the cries of a child that is afraid of the dark. a word that carries the risk of blocking critical thought instead of helping it. The problem is. 2002. but rather is simply the potential to produce. mama!". in this. on the other hand. I believe..A2: Agamben ALT – DN SOLVE Agamben is problematic because he offers little political vocation. an "open doors" word. linguistics professor. but Foucault spoke in few pages of the biopolitical . A fetish word. then.generationonline. org/p/fpvirno2. instruments of work and not propaganda words. on the other hand.. in my opinion. I don't negate that there can be a serious content in the term.htm>. . when what serves us are. is that the biopolitical can be transformed into a word that hides. that contains this potential. in my opinion. I say the contrary: over all because labor power is a paradoxical commodity. when Agamben speaks of the biopolitical he has the tendency to transform it into an ontological category with value already since the archaic Roman right. When there is a commodity that is called labor-power it is already implicitly government over life. that the biopolitical is only an effect derived from the concept of labor-power. “INTERVIEW WITH PAOLO VIRNO”. <http://www. use biopolitics in a historically determined sense.) Agamben is a problem. he is very wrong-headed. Then. it is necessary to govern the living body that maintains this potential. my fear. covers problems instead of being an instrument for confronting them. (Paolo. in all cases. because it is not a real commodity like a book or a bottle of water. a word with an exclamation point.that Foucault is not a sufficient base for founding a discourse over the biopolitical and my apprehension.in relation to the birth of liberalism . Agamben is a thinker of great value but also. however I see that the use of the term biopolitics sometimes is a consolatory use. Toni (Negri) and Michael (Hardt). like the cry of a child. a thinker with no political vocation. "biopolitics.. As soon as this potential is transformed into a commodity. basing it on Foucault.

whereas Agamben suggests in the above sentence that such an ontology is yet to come. to think potentiality at once without any relation and without any act whatsoever. the virtual and the actual form an immanent circuit. And yet. not unlike a mummy within the sarcophagus. (Cesare. of that beautiful chapter on the question of halos in Agamben’s The Coming Community. to conceive of potentiality no longer in relation to the act.178-180. thus. for example.) This claim regarding Agamben’s failure to think the constitution of the political has made me think of the sentence with which he ends his discussion of your arguments about constituent power. in the sense that each of the two is the obverse side of the other—and hence the actual always has virtual facets. leading member of the Autonomia Operaia.”13 On the one hand. for example. and vice versa. In Agamben. In Deleuze. Political Philosophy Professor at Padua University. as Agamben rightly points out. Casarino and Negri. Associate rofessor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. I do share his concerns regarding that dominant ontological tradition that is willing and able to conceive of potentiality only as mere means to that all-important end that is the act—thereby not only subordinating potentials to acts but also failing to understand and indeed to think potentiality tout court (even though. Aristotle’s Metaphysics—is far more complex and astute with respect to the question of potentiality than such a tradition has often dared to admit). having said all this. by realizing itself in the act. are two different ways of apprehending the very same thing. It is only by rethinking both at once in such a way that a “new and coherent ontology of potentiality” can at all come into being. And this is why. Importantly. If we understand Deleuze’s deployment of the dyad of “virtual” and “actual” as one of his ways of posing the question of the relation between potentiality and act.)16 . and does not theorize the virtual in isolation from the actual. 2001. the foundational text of this tradition—namely. a political theory exempt from the aporias of sovereignty remains unthinkable. clearly. Deleuze took important steps in this direction. this is also tantamount to producing a concept of means without end.15 The virtual and the actual. within a pyramid. and Heidegger) has replaced the ontology founded on the primacy of the act and its relation to potentiality. Schelling. always leads parallel virtual lives. p. would be relegated to playing the role of a haunting yet fossilized presence within the act. that it is one thing to dispense with this relation and quite another to imply that the whole question of actualization will also vanish into thin air or become irrelevant once such a relation has been Wnally dispensed with. I also think that there are elements in Agamben’s work that point in different directions. “It’s a Powerful Life: A Conversation on Contemporary Philosophy”. that is. in particular. which might be more reconcilable with Deleuze’s positions on this matter (I am thinking. and that. on the other hand.A2: Agamben ALT – DN SOLVE Although Agamben says that we need a new and coherent form ontology of potentiality. his calls for this new alternative are merely false.) Whereas I agree that it is necessary to banish this mediating relation from any thought of potentiality— a relation that in the end has always had the effect of enslaving potentiality to act—I also feel that by getting rid of the relation one does not somehow get rid of the act too. He writes: “Until a new and coherent ontology of potentiality (beyond the steps that have been made in this direction by Spinoza. I think that it already exists in some form. and. about which I have commented elsewhere. and. Project Muse. Let me read it to you. and Antonio.14 (And. On the contrary! Doing without this relation should lead to a radical and global reconceptualization of both potentiality and act as immanent to each other. I would like to take all this in different directions from the ones I think he pursues. we can see that Deleuze does not dispense with the actual just because it has only too often been used to suppress and indeed repress the virtual. Taught at the Université de Vincennes (Paris-VIII) and the Collège International de Philosophie. on the other hand. this also means that the actualization of the virtual never constitutes an impoverishment or mortiWcation of the virtual. I completely agree with what he is saying here. as distinct yet indiscernible from each other. or. indeed. founded Potere Operaio (Worker Power) Group. because such an actualization always produces in its turn still other virtual realities. Such concerns lead him in the end to attempt to produce a concept of potentiality without making recourse to the mediating passage or transformation from potentiality to act—that is. one often gets the feeling that potentiality always pulls back at the last moment from realizing itself in the act precisely because he understands such a realization to constitute nothing other than the depletion and death of potentiality: it’s as if potentiality. this already exists. Nietzsche. better yet.

there is an isomorphism between the exception and the example or paradigm. This approach has a number of advantages.A2: Agamben ALT – DN = ACTION Agamben’s acceptance of Schmitt’s central theme regarding political judgment make it impossible for him to make a real alternative which he can contest. All of these are sites where. authority. “The Exemplary Exception”.asp?channel_id=2188&editorial_id=13097>. He takes this approach because. . separates and opposes himself to his own bare life and.the metaphysical task par excellence . And far from bringing concepts such as rights. One way to evaluate Agamben's claims is to consider how well they help us to describe and understand such examples.7 Agamben's project hinges upon the paradigmatic status of the camp. Radical Philosophy.com/default. like Arendt. on Agamben's account. chief among which is that it does not demand that we simply choose whether to accept or reject Agamben's approach in a global way. But on his own account.6 Another is to ask whether Agamben's claims are intelligible on their own account . one can perceive the metaphysical negation that allows for the affirmation of distinctively human life: bare life. Instead such an approach allows us to be open to a radically different way of thinking about politics and political philosophy while at the same time maintaining some critical distance from it. In what follows I want to pursue this option by way of considering Agamben's appropriation of the early decisionist political theory of Carl Schmitt. Instead of asking us to consider the true or proper nature of political identity. Political Science Professor at Penn. public interest. I will argue that Agamben's acceptance of Schmitt's central claims regarding political judgment make it impossible for him to weave together his suggestive reading of examples from philosophy and political history into a mode of political thought that fulfils his own ambition of 'returning thought to its practical calling'. say. Instead of asking us to construct and evaluate different plans of action. maintains himself in relation to that bare life in an inclusive exclusion. death rows and military camps. Agamben asks us to consider a threshold state of the non-identical. Agamben asks us to evaluate the metaphysical structure and implications of the activity of politics as such. as they undermine so many of its guiding assumptions. whether they open themselves up to an immanent critique. <http://www. he believes that claims to justice can only be made if one understands the ground of the political upon which both justice and injustice stand. Given his acceptance of Schmitt's analysis of the former as the product of the sovereign decision. that of Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy .) Such claims are difficult for political philosophy to address. 2003. in language. He argues that. properly understood. at the same time. this makes Agamben's evaluation of the camp as 'the fundamental biopolitical paradigm of the West' into a sovereign decision beyond the regulation of rule or reason. the liminal. including refugee camps. In the 'politicization' of bare life . hospital wards.to see.radicalphilosophy. it is hard to imagine how the politics it might produce will serve as a real alternative to that which it contests. nuda vita.it brings these claims about metaphysics into dialogue with a specific set of quite concrete examples. liberty or equality more clearly into view. If Foucault's goal was 'to make the cultural unconscious apparent'. Norris.É There is politics because man is the living being who.4 Agamben's is that of bringing to expression the metaphysics that our history has thus far only shown. Agamben operates at a level of abstraction at which such concepts blur into their opposites. (Andrew.5 What is perhaps both most intriguing and most problematic about Agamben's work is that unlike. what that history shows us is that politics is the truly fundamental structure of Western metaphysics insofar as it occupies the threshold on which the relation between the living being and the logos is realized. that is. As this casts his readers as either subject or enemy.the humanity of living man is decided [si decide].

such temporalities simply cannot be reduced to the mere image of emaciated bodies recycled into a rhetorical figure. Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe. essence and paradigm. unexpected avalanches of violence. whose book L’Organisation de la terreur was a source of inspiration to Agamben. Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions. who compresses and distorts the complexity of the camp and. and the numerous instances of corruption and irregularity. . V5. for speaking of ‘the’ camp and ‘the’ SS. in which human beings were brutally dispossessed of both their own personalities and of all spirituality. precarious temporalities generated by the various forms of resistance (passive or active. However. The crushing monotony of this relationship between time and existence. from the kapos to the SS. Agamben advocated what appeared to be a relevant distinction between time. Even if Sofski could be criticised for nearly turning the notion of ‘absolute power’ into a myth. he identifies a planned temporality detached from the past and from the future and deprived of any intimate continuity. as soon as time is no longer conceived of in its transcendental dimension and is envisaged as a materialised. the time of the end and the end in itself. the dead witness. in the first instance. On the one hand. his rigorous research is seminal in that it acknowledges the heterogeneity of the camp system.A2: Agamben ALT .OVERSIMPLIFIES Agamben’s attempt to apply his theory to actual reality oversimplifies the situation. he urged his audience not to confuse eschatology with messianism. On the other hand. Wolfgang Sofski. his thought starts to oversimplify reality itself. Issue 1. whose quest leads him to ‘find what he is looking for’ in terms of truth. This temporality slowly led to the degradation of the self under the yolk of the camp’s organisation and hierarchy. and as soon as Agamben seeks to apply his theory not only to texts but also to historical reality and concentration camps. One could also add to this temporality the idea of temporary salvation as well as the fatal events which took place in special places. was nonetheless disrupted by sudden. The most blatant example of oversimplification is the figure of the ‘muselmann’. individual or collective). repeated time and again through the same cycle. immanent notion. 28 offers a seminal categorisation of the different temporalities generated by the camp. Sofski identifies rival. In other words. such as the Revier (infirmary). the complexity of the multiple temporalities which co-existed within the camp. “The Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Evaluation” pp. 139-157) At a seminar on Saint Paul held in Paris in 1999. The same cannot be said of Agamben. in concentration camps belittles the resistance that did occur. The conception of the muselmann.

perhaps deeply traumatised by the genocides which took place in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia. 139-157) Agamben’s denigration of the Sonderkommando on the rather simplistic basis that they were an integral part of the bipolar victim/ henchman scheme. He refuses to investigate rationality. into the political landscape of his own country. however. on the one hand. evenif its expression is to a certain extent secularised. raises a question which transcends Agamben himself. His blindness to the many ambiguities of human life. His irrepressible tendency to reduce the complexity of reality down to its essentialist nature. on the other. He started to cenceptualise twentieth-century violence. of the Movimento Sociale Italiano under its new guise as the ‘National Alliance’. he radicalises Heidegger’s ontology. Issue 1. V5. this question will remain formulated as follows: can philosophy investigate the concepts of violence and time without losing its way through an essential quest which distracts. reveals the biaises of this philosopher. In 1995. and erects a rhetorical edifice which is aimed at the sublime and. in filigrane. the long philosophical tradition to which Agamben is indebted. reflects his attraction for irrationality. modern and contemporary history. “The Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Evaluation” pp. by the numerous commemorations of the Judeocide and possibly also by the electoral breakthrough. Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe. Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions.OVERSIMPLIFIES Agamben’s simplistic theories eliminate the actual complexities of the historical facts of the situations he chooses to analyze. he is fascinated by a type of essentialist monocausalism. to revolve around it as he had done until Bartleby ou la creation. however. precludes any understanding of the ‘grey areas’. and. namely the question of the inadequate linkage between. Agamben decided to move toward political philosophy. pure witness. For as long as philosophy remains a prisoner of the onto-theology which permeates it. and sometimes totally isolates it from the sociopolitical issues of our time? . These are some of the features of a philosophy permeated by strong theological motives.A2: Agamben ALT . as found in his desire to seek in the ‘muselmann’ an impossible. Agamben could have decided to restrict his research to the margins of the dual problematic of the National Socialist camp system and Judeocide.

even ‘Auschwitz’ cannot account for the vast apparatus. in fact. In an echo to a remark made by Martin Broszat to Saul Friedländer. His “all or nothing” perspective when it comes to the forms of life reproduce the terror upon which the Third Reich was built. V5. which has become the sole articulation between the law and the norm. the ‘all is possible’ assertion was difficult to enact.A2: Agamben AFF AT: ALT – THEORY FLAWED Agamben fails to look at the concentration camps in terms of the Third Reich. which gave birth to the concentration and extermination systems. therefore. Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe. and turns them into an exclusive ‘outside’. jamais fondée sur une essence propre de la communauté et de la loi’. isolated from their surrounding society. creating or just surviving) was in itself an act of resistance? The ‘all is possible’ was the fate of the most prisoners.34 By striving to locate in ‘the camp’ what he calls the ‘very paradigm of political space’. “The Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Evaluation” pp. but no one even tried to pretend that these were the norm. The ‘all or nothing’ logic favoured by Agamben fails to grasp and envisage the entire range of potentialities. It could be argued that the camps were structures governed by extremely tight. established on a European level. he ignores the fact that the historical occurrences were not considered the norm. 139-157) This deliberate lack of an historical outlook is the source of other errata and misinterpretations by Agamben. who argues that politics ‘n’est jamais pure. unrivalled power and absolute relativity. strengthened by its administrative and legal institutions and cemented by an overwhelming propaganda machine. writing. also shared by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. Consequently. Agamben’s vision of the camp as an absolute space is also flawed: camps were in fact the sordid. built upon the SS apparatus. Let us make another observation here. he reproduces and makes his own the very logic upon which terror is built. This radical vision of politics. which presents a fundamental flaw in his theory. his interpretation of politics in terms of all or nothing stems from a specific period characterised by the unrivalled rule of a state of terror. Agamben fails to envisage the global system which surrounded the camps. were camps not places where potentialities were so restricted than the very act of creating a potentiality (by drawing. Agamben’s attempt to locate a paradigm in ‘the’ camp is seriously flawed. interwoven sets of rules. In constructing the camp as space outside of the law. For instance. Exceptional procedures were widespread throughout the Reich.35 . Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions. After all. Issue 1. The repressive Nazi regime. structures in which. In fact. a logic which from his early writings carries the idea of the dominated man crushed by the omnipotent ‘all’. steered German society through a radical period which was exacerbated by the war and the ‘total war’. It is a period in which the law is no more than its own ideological falsification (the rule of racial laws and criminalisation). because any paradigm must be conceived and constructed from the viewpoint of a whole society. and included numerous social and economic interfaces present on the entire territory of the Third Reich. random conjunction of selective. Agamben erects an insurmountable frontier around concentration camps which become. and the norm has assumed the caricatured appearance of the law. interdictions and laws (albeit arbitrary and useless ones). This logic is incarnated in the ‘muselmann’: it reveals a purist thought in which politics is envisaged under the exclusive sign of a paradigmatic absolute which discredits any territory which is not political in its essence. can be challenged through a citation by Jacques Rancière. but only in the sense that the ‘all’ could reduce them to nothing with the minimal of delay.

“Thresholds: Sovereignty and the Sacred”. habits and threats" and toward "the idea of a rule. The figure of the sovereign has been relegated to a repertoire of archaic images: the prerogative of kings and the ritualistic majesty of despots and absolutist [*499] monarchs. it may be possible to concede that the rules of governance (for instance. Although the question of sovereign power is not entirely absent from contemporary scholarship. In a significant passage in The Concept of Law.indeed. are not just descriptive of the sovereign and those who obey him but are fundamental and constitutive.L. in the case of procedures that members of a society must follow in order to function as an electorate in the first place ." without which. Department of history. just as importantly.rules "cannot themselves have the status of orders issued by the sovereign. which defines law as a "command of the sovereign. Berkeley. These rules. Such a circularity of logic and process effectively occludes the possibility of action outside the circle. (Nasser. This picture is generally well known and we need not dwell on its intricacies here. 2000. Rather. Hart argues that in the case in which the sovereign is identifiable with a single person. Hart attempts to show how the notion of sovereign orders virtually disappears in the rule-bound format of a modern electoral democracy. Hart contends. Law and Society Association. . University of California. It does not have to be an order for the sovereign. Hart insists. obedience. 74-75). "we cannot hope to elucidate even the most elementary forms of law" (Hart 1961: 78).) It is fairly safe to say that not only has the concept of sovereignty been undertheorized but that.A. Written in response to a positivist theory inherited from John Austin. since the end of ancient regime monarchies and the rise and consolidation of liberalconstitutional states. But in the more disseminated form of the electorate . Lexis Nexis. it can be an idea of a ‘rule’. Framing the explanation in the vocabulary of a historical Bildung." Hart's "fresh response" in The Concept of Law aims to move definitions of law away from notions of "orders. the requirement that orders must be declared and signed by the monarch) exist in a descriptive mode. A clear and well-known example of the latter is H. a developmental schema that unself-consciously subtends much of the text. University of Massachusetts.A2: Agamben AFF AT: LAW PART OF SOVEREIGN Agamben’s assumption of the notion of law is incorrect. for nothing can count as orders issued by the sovereign unless the rules already exist and have been followed" (pp. What is important for our purposes is the way in which sovereignty in Hart's schema is reduced entirely to a framework of rules. the need for such theorization has been considered doubtful. the latter which are found in more mature legal systems and confer powers and stipulate procedures. Hussain. increasingly this question belongs either to strictly historical issues of the "king's two bodies" and the like or to the legal theoretical problems of the distribution of sovereign power within a normative rulebound framework. Hart's "concept" of law is a complex combination of primary rules of obligation with secondary rules. Hart's The Concept of Law (1961).

.A2: Agamben AFF AT: AGAMBEN CREDIBLE Agamben contradicts himself in his works. None of the three possibilities of political action present in his later works provides passage beyond state sovereignty without violating his philosophical commitments. Earlier works. This part of Agamben's work attributes a determined character to the state and a determining power to the economic forces of capitalism that conditions particular forms of the state. This part of Agamben's work attributes a determining strength to the state under current conditions.) I argue that Giorgio Agamben employs two. Although his earlier work provides a more coherent narrative of how it is possible to move from contemporary society to ideal community. Passavant. Sage Journals Online. 2007. such as Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life and State of Exception. . suggest that the state today functions as an aspect of the society of the spectacle where spectacle is the logical extension of the commodity form under late capitalism. (Paul. it does not provide the theory of political action necessary to overcome the power of the state he describes when he theorizes the state in Homo Sacer and State of Exception. contradictory theories of the state in his works. Later work. A. “The Contradictory State of Giorgio Agamben”. such as The Coming Community and Means without End. are preoccupied with the logic of juridical sovereignty and the increased frequency of states of emergency.

resistance somehow outside of the political is largely inconceivable. which bodies matter is re-scripted through discourse and in each. . to be relevant. and through what spaces – such that the mechanisms of displacement and dissection could be undone (or at least that the adverse effects of which could be lessened). (Matthew. somewhat inconclusively. Wilson. The FDA and its epidemiological evidence must be (and will continue to be) pressured to recognize and resist the impulse to abjectify the gay male donor.) To be political. Further exploration of these thresholds of (post)modern life is necessary – how are they constituted. “Life at risk: interrogating the political status of queering bodies”. is called forth to figure: the negativity opposed to every form of social viability” (2004: 9). ‘Life at risk’ and unraveling bodies is queer by opposition to the social. I argue. Department of Geography. I return to the question I posed earlier: Is presuming a life beyond (or not at) risk simply too risky? In other words. in The Coming Community – simply too homogeneous a concept. University of Washington. the ‘whatever being’ is simply too homogeneous a concept. p. And so. however. caught up in a what Lee Edelman calls a “death drive”: a term for “what the queer. is equally as necessary. Butler’s argument in Precarious Life. and alive. risking the loss of exclusion that queer politics are somewhat founded upon? While to be political (and therefore biopoliticized) is to also already be bare life and precarious life. The queer body is exactly this unraveling body. visible. W. our bodies must also be vulnerable.. we must engage in political projects that claim political status as such. The contradiction that I pose (following Agamben) of critiquing and pressuring is to precisely engage in projects which (again) produce homo sacer – the new threshold of difference. subject. that these two projects have similar biopolitical mechanisms. the STD guide is a project that seems less discriminatory at the surface.A2: Agamben AFF AT: WHATEVER BEING In order to be political. 2006. While also complicit in abjectifing queer bodies as at-risk bodies needing greater responsibility. is returning to a universal notion of ‘being’ – what Agamben (1993 [1990]) calls “whatever” being. Being mindful of the contradictions of such projects. the unraveling body is the central figure of the narrative. And yet. 14-15. This statement. calls our attention to identification and disidentification – precisely the paradox Agamben is confronted with at the end of Homo Sacer. as this paper has attempted to present. closing off meaningful politics. in the order of the social. The STD guide represents a different perspective. one must be at risk. in each.

. Agamben argues. "a struggle between the State and the non-State (humanity). “The Fate of the Nation and the Withering of the State”. he recognizes that after the fall of Communism. Agamben does not ask what this perpetual warfare will do to government. Indeed. Its distance from earlier welfare state thinking could not be more dramatic. In Agamben's community. Even the new social movements seem far more down-to-earth and prone to defining themselves than Agamben's theorizing. and I say this with no relish." Yet Agamben is also aware that capitalism and the state will continue.A2: Agamben AFF AT: WHATEVER BEING Agamben’s ‘whatever being’ is not possible at more than a personal lever. Professor of Cultural History at Iowa. It is that I am skeptical that such "whatever singularities" are possible on more than the level of personal behavior. I doubt Agamben's new community is actually coming. Spring. Politics. for there is no defining essence in a "whatever singularity. 196. is it not plausible to surmise that hostility to the state will become permanent? With the fiction that the state embodies the nation's will dying. a far more plausible picture of our emerging politics than Walzer's happy pluralism. Just think of insurance companies. Still. Instead of the state embodying the will of the nation. It remains far from clear that communities without identities are emerging anywhere except in the febrile imaginations of a few philosophers. Cmiel. It is for me the most attractive dream there is. we have a picture of numerous communities at war with the state. American Literary History. all committed to struggling with the state. It is.American" makes no sense. will not be community building but the perpetual project of communities against the state. Politics is too clunky for such subtlety. Politics. in the future. if it is forever open to the potentially new. an insurmountable disjunction between whatever singularity and the State organization" (84). they are sweeping the globe. 1996. Yet if this warfare between humanity and the state is constant. he assumes that the state will trudge on as before. and gay and lesbian activists-all communities distrustful of the state. Agamben’s impact will never happen that perpetual warfare will collapse the government ending the state as an institution. (Kenneth. the image of the state fighting communities is one worth pondering. p. who will defend the state? Who will keep it from becoming the recipient of increasing rancor and from being permanently wobbly? Isn't that a good way of understanding recent politics in the US? And as for Agamben's own Italy the past decade has revealed a public far more disgusted with the state than even in America. Perotistas. demands more leaden language. alas. It is not that I dislike the dream. then the dream of a national community is simply impossible. Like Walzer. JSTOR) If community cannot be a closed thing. the idea of something being "un.

2. Gordon 04 (Andrew. The sad part—and here I agree with Okada entirely— is that these emotions so easily rest on feelings of exclusion or essentialist notions of identity. Vol. The sort of community here envisioned is devoid of the emotional attachments that reinforce strong communities in real life. 424-425) Okada draws on Giorgio Agamben to argue for “singularities to form a community without affirming an identity. the sadder part is that I don’t see how the community he seeks could generate loyalties sufficient to allow its survival. “Review Study: Rethinking Area Studies. pg. 2004.at agamben: alternative fails Agamben’s “coming community” is too weak to be sustainable. No.” Such a community would be premised on a belief “that humans co-belong without any representable condition of belonging” (p. 30. Once More. Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History at Harvard University. 200). . This is an ambitious but doomed quest.” Journal Of Japanese Studies.

Virno 02 (Paolo. PhD and Italian philosopher. on the other hand. instruments of work and not propaganda words. exodus.generation-online. "biopolitics. “General intellect. when Agamben speaks of the biopolitical he has the tendency to transform it into an ontological category with value already since the archaic Roman right. And.” Archipelago No. a word with an exclamation point. he is very wrong-headed. When there is a commodity that is called labor-power it is already implicitly government over life. in this. June 2002. http://www.that Foucault is not a sufficient base for founding a discourse over the biopolitical and my apprehension. Then. I say the contrary: over all because labor power is a paradoxical commodity. Agamben says. but Foucault spoke in few pages of the biopolitical . in all cases. Then. mama!". The problem is. on the other hand.. a thinker with no political vocation. As soon as this potential is transformed into a commodity. in my opinion. like the cry of a child. that contains this potential. when what serves us are. I don't negate that there can be a serious content in the term.at agamben: link over simplified Agamben’s biopower is over-simplified and prevents us from confronting specific political circumstances. an "open doors" word. however I see that the use of the term biopolitics sometimes is a consolatory use. biopolitics!". . 54.org/p/fpvirno2. it is necessary to govern the living body that maintains this potential. my fear is of fetish words in politics because it seems like the cries of a child that is afraid of the dark.htm) Agamben is a thinker of great value but also.. that labor-power is only one of the aspects of the biopolitical. in my opinion. the child that says "mama.in relation to the birth of liberalism . multitude. a word that carries the risk of blocking critical thought instead of helping it. I believe.. Toni (Negri) and Michael (Hardt). but rather is simply the potential to produce. is that the biopolitical can be transformed into a word that hides. my fear. A fetish word. that the biopolitical is only an effect derived from the concept of laborpower. basing it on Foucault. because it is not a real commodity like a book or a bottle of water. use biopolitics in a historically determined sense. then. covers problems instead of being an instrument for confronting them.

The power to command under threat of death is exercised by States and their surrogates in multiple instances. 8-9) The interpretation of contemporary biopolitics as the politics of a state modeled on the figure of the sovereign suits the twentieth century absolutisms of the Nazis and Stalin. is the figure of the sovereign ruler. and indeed the very excesses of the exercise of this power seek to compensate for its sporadic nature.pdf. North Korea. http://www. Unlike Agamben. but not principle. Professor of Sociology @ the London School of Economics. we do not think that : the jurist the doctor. pg. this is a mode of power whose activation can only be sporadic and non-continuous.ac. colonial statecraft was largely to take a different form.pdf. http://www. a moral economy whose complexity and scope far exceeds the extravagance displays of the sovereign.uk/collections/sociology/ pdf/RabinowandRose-BiopowerToday03. Surely the essence of critical thought must be its capacity to make distinctions that can . However. Sovereign power is at one and the same time an element in this moral economy and an attempt to master it. Its characteristic is indeed ultimately a mode of power which relies on the right to take life. Since these authors take their concept and point of reference from Foucault. “Thoughts On The Concept of Biopower Today.lse. with the exception of certain ‘paroxysmal’ moments. the scientist. Professor of Sociology @ the London School of Economics. but in the face of its economic and governmental costs. Nikolas. accessed July 07. it is to trivialize Auschwitz to apply Schmitt’s concept of the state of exception and Foucault’s analysis of biopower to every instance where living beings enter the scope of regulation. the priest depend for their power over life upon an alliance with the State (1998: 122). Rabinow & Rose 03 (Paul. the expert. pg. Nikolas. 2003. Certainly some forms of colonial power sought to operationalize it.” December 10. as have some others in their wake: Albania under Hoxha. Nor is it useful to use this single diagram to analyze every contemporary instance of thanato-politics from Rwanda to the epidemic of AIDS deaths across Africa. But this is not to say that this form of power commands backed up by the ultimate threat of death is the guarantee or underpinning principle of all forms of biopower in contemporary liberal societies. in a word. it is worth contrasting their postulate of a origin and beneficiary of biopower to Foucaultís remarks on sovereignty as a form of power whose diagram. and the like. Rabinow & Rose 03 (Paul. But no historian of pre-modern forms of control could fail to notice the dependence of sovereign rule in its non-paroxysmal form on a fine web of customary conventions.uk/collections/sociology/ pdf/RabinowandRose-BiopowerToday03. reciprocal obligations.ac. The totalization of sovereign power as a mode of ordering daily life would be too costly. “Thoughts On The Concept of Biopower Today. But we need a more nuanced account of sovereign power to analyze contemporary rationalities or technologies of politics. is precisely a diagram of a form of power not a description of its implementation. in micro forms and in geopolitical relations.at agamben: nazis unique Not all politics turn to Nazism—modern power structures are incredibly diverse. Sovereignty.lse. 2003. control and government. Not all biopolitics bring about genocide—it trivializes Nazism to say that all enactments of the state of exception are equivalent. in this sense. Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. The two megalomaniac State forms of the twentieth century also sought to actualize it.” December 10. 8-9) Agamben takes seriously Adorno’s challenge “how is it possible to think after Auschwitz?” But for that very reason.

.facilitate judgment and action.

from the standpoint of those still struggling to overcome such a limit. unfeasible one. And yet. especially when it has been actually enacted and enforced in such a way so many times. From a logical standpoint. “It’s a Powerful Life: A Conversation on Contemporary Philosophy. it remains. and in which life becomes increasingly fuller. But this is absolutely not true! On the contrary: the historical process takes place and is produced thanks to a continuous constitution and construction. power reduces each and every human being to such a state of powerlessness. rather than constituting a full-fledged attempt to reconstruct naked life as a potentiality for exodus. one and the same standpoint? Isn't this the story about power that power itself would like us to believe in and reiterate? Isn't it far more politically useful to conceive of this limit from the standpoint of those who are not yet or not completely crushed by power. Antonio. I believe that . for example. associate professor of cultural studies. pg. Agamben. 57. this book is extremely learned and elegant. of course. Cesarino & Negri 04 (Cesare. but I think this attempt largely failed: as usual. somewhat trapped within Pauline exegesis. isn't such a conception of the limit precisely what the limit looks like from the standpoint of constituted power as well as from the standpoint of those who have already been totally annihilated by such a power—which is. which undoubtedly confronts the limit over and over again—but this is an extraordinarily rich limit. Vol.” Cultural Critique. But this is also the point at which this concept turns into ideology: to conceive of the relation between power and life in such a way actually ends up bolstering and reinforcing ideology. I believe it is possible to push the image of power to the point at which a defenseless human being [un povero Cristo] is crushed. to rethink naked life the concept of naked life is not an impossible. however. He already attempted something of the sort in his recent book on Saint Paul. is saying that such is the nature of power: in the final instance. Spring 2004. can lead one precisely in this direction. 172-173) I believe Giorgio is writing a sequel to Homo Sacer. and I feel that this new work will be resolutive for his thought—in the sense that he will be forced in it to resolve and find a way out of the ambiguity that has qualified his understanding of naked life so far. from the standpoint of power [potenza]? fundamentally in terms of exodus. from the standpoint of the process of constitution. in which desires expand.at agamben: bare life The concept of bare life over-determines the power of the state—theories that emphasize resistance are more powerful. to conceive of that extreme point at which power tries to eliminate that ultimate resistance that is the sheer attempt to keep oneself alive. professor emeritus @ the Collège International de Philosophie. Of course it is possible to conceive of the limit as absolute pow-erlessness. in effect. it is possible to think all this: the naked bodies of the people in the camps.

by restructuring the "zone of the human" to conform to the condition of the Muselmann. 166). no matter whether or not it actually produces Muselmänner and corpses. the conditions of the camp." The Muselmann is meant to bear a certain truth about the nature of ethics "after Auschwitz. as well as the obsessive hatred of the Jews that Saul Friedländer has recently dubbed "redemptive antisemitism. pg. not where and how he became possible. including the kinds of features that Zygmunt Bauman focuses on in Modernity and the Holocaust . for the Muselmann. legal.such as a massive. Homo Sacer argues that the camp is the space where the state of exception becomes normal and where "whether or not atrocities are committed depends not on law but on the civility and ethical sense of the police who temporarily act as sovereign" (1998. What links the positions of his two works is a level of abstraction that deliberately brackets features of each paradigm ordinarily understood as essential: for the camp. "[t]he soccer stadium in Bari into which the Italian police in 1991 provisionally herded all illegal Albanian immigrants. in an otherwise apparently empty abstract space that Agamben calls "humanity. 174). shouldn't an ethics focused upon this figure also take account of them? Interestingly enough. . It can be seen also in the examples of modern camps Agamben offers. gated communities in the USA (1998." but is it not important when trying to articulate such an ethics to reflect on what Auschwitz was?4 Surely such an account should attend to the historical." The Muselmann becomes an isolated figure floating." the zones d'attentes in French international airports where foreigners requesting refugee status are held. Agamben could be preparing a critique of what is omitted from Remnants of Auschwitz. Professor of English @ Drew University. in Homo Sacer Agamben himself argues that "the camp" is the "nomos" (definitive political element) of the modern. Levi & Rothberg 03 (Neil. Michael. including."5 If the Muselmann would not have existed without these factors. In remarking that "[w]hat happened in the camps so exceeds the juridical concept of crime that the specific juridicopolitical structure in which those events took place is often simply omitted from consideration" (1998. Agamben removes the figure of the Muselmann from the context-the camps-in which he or she is "produced. and even. “Auschwitz and the Remnants of Theory: Towards an Ethics of the Borderlands.” (11: 1/2). a suggestion that ends up eliding the specific challenges posed both by the Muselmann and the camp system. and political conditions that led to the development of the camp system. in the wake of whose existence all previously existing moral concepts must be revised. 2003. he suggests in an earlier version of the essay. figures such as the Muselmann. First. 174). We have already seen this in relation to the Muselmann.30-31) At the same time. like a Giacometti sculpture. while for the Agamben of Remnants of Auschwitz the important fact about the Muselmann is simply that such a figure happened.6 At such moments Agamben seems to be suggesting that Auschwitz is potentially everywhere. Both moves permit Agamben to dismantle the boundary between the Nazi camps and the modern world.at agamben: the camp Suggesting that the camp is everywhere is silly—government power may be expansive but it does not always produce corpses—Nazism was unique. morally indifferent bureaucratic apparatus that dehumanized its "objects" and distanced its agents from a sense of responsibility for their actions. Professor of English @ the University of Sydney. This line of argument produces an antinomy in the Agamben oeuvre: for the Agamben of Homo Sacer a camp is a camp if anything is possible within it. Agamben's formulations strike us as problematic and inadequate in several respects.

g. The Nazis utilized this assumption to facilitate the killing process. “Auschwitz and the Remnants of Theory: Towards an Ethics of the Borderlands." a zone of ethical uncertainty in which figures such as the Sonderkommando are paradigmatic. but that does not justify transforming him into a fetish. in understanding the Nazi genocide. indeed. If Levi's own testimony is on his own account unrepresentative.” (11: 1/2). In fact. Professor of English @ the University of Sydney. in making clear the need for theoretical innovation in order to do so . Professor of English @ Drew University. testimony from the gray zone may prove as illuminating about the ethical challenges of the Nazi genocide as that derived from an understanding of Levi's paradox. and. such testimonies have been shown to be of great value . 2003. Only at this limit point. The councils negotiated on the assumption that the Nazis were rational specifically.the Jewish councils who ran the ghettos and were charged to make decisions about who would be allowed to work and who would be sent to the camps (130-137). say. to operate the crematoria) is no reason to disqualify such testimony out of hand. Despite his attempt to develop a complex theory of testimony premised on the relationship between the Muselmann and the surviving witness. with which the councils found themselves unsuspectingly cooperating. that surely does not mean that it has no truth content. when read alongside each other the arguments of Agamben and Diner strongly suggest the importance of multiplying the epistemological standpoints from which we approach the Nazi genocide. historian and social theorist Dan Diner proposes that Nazi action can be most effectively illuminated from the perspective of the gray zone. that they would not want to exterminate a productive labor source while at war. those texts also include the hypothesis of "the gray zone.. pg. Despite the serious reservations expressed by Levi about the testimonies of figures who were forced into the most terrible complicity with the Nazis. can we begin to "think the Nazis" via what he calls negative historical cognition. former members of the Sonderkommando (the camp inmates who were forced. Ethics after Auschwitz must take account of the Muselmann.at agamben: muselmann Agamben’s claim that the Muselmann is the ‘complete witness’ undermines the historical importance of other positions within Auschwitz. Levi & Rothberg 03 (Neil. and particularly that of the Judenräte . This is the equivalent of denying that other survivors had authentic experiences and must be rejected. Michael.7 In what remains one of the most profound attempts to "think" the Nazi genocide. The fact that Levi himself distrusts the testimony of.31-32) We would also identify a second problem with Agamben's approach: the grounds for Agamben's selection of the Muselmann as the "complete witness" are not clear. Levi 60). While there is warrant for such a reading in Levi's texts (e. Levi's notion of "the drowned and the saved"). Agamben ultimately homogenizes the site of witness by polarizing those positions. under threat of death. It is the Jewish councils' experience of participating in their own destruction while acting according to the logic of selfpreservation that Diner terms the counterrational. according to Diner. And it is in reflecting on the Jewish experience of Nazi counterrationality that Diner says we encounter the limits of historical understanding. The power of Claude Lanzmann's astonishing film Shoah derives in no small part from the testimony of a former "crematorium raven" (P. the sole site of the truth of the camps. While we wouldn't want to generalize the standpoint of the Judenräte as the essence of the Holocaust any more than we would that of the Muselmann.

and they often reinforce fragile and corrupt governments in order to project U. Japan. But so too does the unique way in which the United States has gone about the business of building an international order.S. Moreover. But ultimately. John Ikenberry. and an array of intergovernmental institutions and ad hoc working relationships. 04. countries do have other options: they can. John Ikenberry. The variety and complexity of U. . power. power.S.To be sure. and South Korea may be next. Their economies are deeply interwoven. Hegemony doesn’t equate to empire—other nations can choose to disengage from US security guarantees.***A2: Colonialism*** at colonialism: US not an empire The is mischaracterized as an empire—reciprocal economic partnerships and democratic agreements are the norm. 04. This is not empire. and an aggressive effort to spread freedom and democracy.-Japan alliance also allows Tokyo to forgo a costly buildup of military capacity that would destabilize East Asia. G. March/April 2004. And . “Illusions of Empire: Defining the New American Order” Foreign Affairs.-led democratic political order that has no name or historical antecedent. there are limits on American imperial pretensions even in a unipolar era. Thus. G. the notion of empire is misleading -. The United States' success stems from the creation and extension of international institutions that have limited and legitimated U. The United States has pursued imperial policies. Ferguson's liberal empire is a more persuasive portrait than is Johnson's military empire.S. but the U.S.S. diffuse reciprocity. power. of course. and often do. it is a U. gradual disentanglement from the constraints of multilateralism.and misses the distinctive aspects of the global political order that has developed around U. democracy. But countries can also use security ties with the United States to their own advantage. security ties with other states makes Johnson's simplistic view of military hegemony misleading.S. Professor of Geopolitics. they form a political order built on bargains. and Russia cannot be described as imperial. influence. the neoconservatives in Washington have trumpeted their own imperial vision: an era of global rule organized around the bold unilateral exercise of military power. But this vision is founded on illusions of U.S. global power. The advanced democracies operate within a "security community" in which the use or threat of force is unthinkable. the neoconservatives are silent on the full range of global challenges and opportunities that face the United States. the American public has no desire to run colonies or manage a global empire. Military pacts and security partnerships are clearly part of the structure of U. Japan may be a subordinate security partner. domination simply by asking the United States to leave. Capitalism.S.S. Ikenberry. Professor of Geopolitics. relations with Europe. Ikenberry. But U. the empire debate as Ferguson notes misses the most important international development of recent years: the long peace among great powers. which some scholars argue marks the end of great-power war. Domination and exploitation are. Together. escape U. and nuclear weapons all help explain this peace. Ultimately. March/April 2004. It fails to appreciate the role of cooperation and rules in the exercise and preservation of such power.S. The Philippines did so. China. Its pursuit would strip the United States of its legitimacy as the preeminent global power and severely compromise the authority that flows from such legitimacy. Ultimately. not always self-evident. Is the United States an empire? If so. even when "neo" or "liberal" modifies the term. “Illusions of Empire: Defining the New American Order” Foreign Affairs. Johnson also offers little beyond passing mention about the societies presumed to be under Washington's thumb. especially toward weak countries in the periphery.

S. Even the US intervention in Iraq this year. The US focuses on spreading democracy. Professor of History and Public Affairs. 2003. Vol. 18-10 Lexis). But these imperial metaphors. American missions are usually blessed with international approval. The proliferation of loose empire metaphors thus distorts into banal nonsense the only precise meaning of the term imperialism that we have. Zelikow. Boot. we instinctively tend. the French role in Algeria in . or simply an ad hoc coalition. with their long tradition of colonialism. Real imperial power is sovereign power. and more. 102. In the modern. widely held to be "unilateral. and a ruler is not just the most powerful among diverse interest groups." We must speak of American power and of responsible ways to wield it. say. Current History. is far more modest than. the United States does not have anything like such direct authority over other countries. 03 “Transformation of National Security” Philip Zelikow. The kind of imperial missions that the United States is likely to undertake today are very different. to the limit of the ruler's desires and capacities. as David Brooks has put it. Americans will fight to bring them democracy and the rule of law. for there is and there will be no such thing. 03 (“Neither new nor nefarious: the liberal empire strikes back” Max Boot. the influence the British could exert over Argentina a hundred years ago. Pro Quest) If the Europeans. nor does it seek it. European expeditions were unilateral. But this does not negate the proliferating pluralism of global society. The United States is central in world politics today. to "enter every conflict with the might of a muscleman and the mentality of a wimp. National Interest. whether from the United Nations. Sovereignty means a direct monopoly control over the organization and use of armed might. They use a metaphor of how to rule others when the problem is how to persuade and lead them. NATO. The Europeans fought to subjugate "natives". Rather than exhibiting a confident will to power. nor does it suggest a will to imperial power in Washington. Iss. they impoverish it. Federal government organized in such a fashion that would allow it to wield durable imperial power around the world-it has trouble enough fashioning coherent policies within the fifty United States. The purveyors of imperial metaphors suffer from a lack of imagination.at colonialism: us not an empire Global pluralism makes empire impossible—the US has influence but not the control described by the negative.) European rule was justified by racial prejudices. 667. Nor is the U. It is easier in many respects to communicate images in a cybernetic world. It means direct control over the administration of justice and the definition thereof. Summer 2003.their claims of empire are outdated. say. It means control over what is bought and sold. pluralistic world of the 21st century. pg. what chance is there that Americans. do not enrich our understanding. University of Virginia. of whatever provenance. have found the price of empire too high. American interventions are justified by self-defense and human rights doctrines accepted (at least in principle) by all signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. the terms of trade and the permission to trade. fellow of the Council of foreign relations. 361 Nov. so that a very powerful United States does exert a range of influences that is quite striking. Even its informal influence in the political economy of neighboring Mexico. Sovereigns rule. let us stop talking of American empire. pg. not omnipotent. (No one wants to put Iraq or Afghanistan permanently under the Stars and Stripes." enjoys far more international support (and hence legitimacy) than. whose country was born in a revolt against empire. for instance. will replace the colonial administrators of old? Not much. from a lack of appreciation for the new conditions under which we now live.

.the 1950s.

Ongoing military operations in Afghanistan involve several countries.at colonialism: US not an empire Multilateralism an inevitable check on the possibility of empire. air transportation. Sometimes they overplay the part. The caricature of the administration's unilateralism usually rests on the recitation of a by now standard list of diplomatic actions that some other governments did not like (Kyoto. . Zelikow. Russia. the caricature of the administration's unilateralism is willingly fed by some U. University of Virginia. shipping. pg. financial controls and more.S. military action. Everything that America does in the world is done multilaterally. often hidden. The global war against terrorism is being conducted through an elaborate. and were multilateral even at the height of American military activity. Some of these disagreements were handled in a style and manner that seemed insensitive or simply maladroit. A large number of players are interacting on intelligence. sensing the license they get from working for a plain-spoken president. law enforcement. three Central Asian governments and a variety of Afghan factions. network of multilateral cooperation among scores of governments. too. as the United States relied heavily on relationships with Pakistan. National Interest. and even those that are the most "military" in character. the International Criminal Court and so on). Professor of History and Public Affairs. 18-10 Lexis). officials and unofficial advisers who relish the chance to play the role of the truth teller lancing foreign obfuscations. That emphatically includes the policies the Bush Administration considers most important. Summer 2003. 03 “Transformation of National Security” Philip Zelikow. Unfortunately.

attacberlin.de/fileadmin/Sommerakademie/Boot_Im perialim_fine. Senior fellow of the Council of foreign relations. there's no need for the U. Boot. property rights. government to embrace the term. we shouldn't hesitate to impose our democratic views. nothing could be more destructive of our goal of building a stable government in Baghdad. The history of American imperialism is hardly one of unadorned good doing. U. This will require selecting a new ruler who is committed to pluralism and then backing him or her to the hilt. 2003. Mind you. It means imposing the rule of law.at colonialism: empire good Imperialism is good: the defeat of Nazism and the promotion of democracy are a force for good.1.102. But. Iran and other neighboring states won't hesitate to impose their despotic views on Iraq. at gunpoint if need be. 03 “American Imperialism? No need to run away from Label” Max Boot. while generally successful as imperialists.web sites) and Panama. Along the way.104/scholar? hl=en&lr=&q=cache:sP5soPyDtzAJ:www. there have been plenty of shameful episodes. Yet. That doesn't mean looting Iraq of its natural resources. That's OK. USA Today. Americans have been loath to confirm that's what they were doing. http://66. such as the mistreatment of the Indians. Given the historical baggage that ''imperialism'' carries. it has helped spread liberal institutions to countries as diverse as South Korea (news .S. . on the whole.pdf+author:max+author:boot). imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. May 6. free speech and other guarantees. But it should definitely embrace the practice.S. It has defeated the monstrous evils of communism and Nazism and lesser evils such as the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing. this is not meant as a condemnation.

nongovernmental organizations. to think that the questions answered themselves. Foreign policy wasn’t “their problem.” Their mode was critical and back-glancing. or anyone else? What was required of governments. piercing its rationalizations. and private initiatives? Given that the Iraq War had been ill advised. identifying its betrayal of patriotic traditions. They would not take pride in their marginality. democrats abroad. 06 . Gitlin. It was useful to raise questions about the purposes of U. The Intellectuals And The Flag. not constructive and prospective.S. 151) During the Bush years intellectuals have had their work cut out for them exposing the arrogance of empire. but not especially useful. for example. what should be done next about Iraq and Iraqis? About such questions many intellectuals of the left were understandably perplexed—and sometimes evasive. Liberal patriots would refuse to be satisfied with knee-jerk answers but would join the hard questions as members of a society do—members who criticize in behalf of a community of mutual aid.Professor of Journalism and Sociology at Columbia University . They would retain curiosity and resist that hardening of the categories that is a form of self-protection against the unprecedented. foundations. So the intellectuals’ evasion damaged what might have been their contribution to the larger debate that the country needed—and still needs—on its place in the world and how it protects itself. not marginal scoffers who have painted themselves into a corner. They would take it as their obligation to illuminate a transformed world in which al Qaeda and its allies are not misinterpreted as the current rein-carnations of the eternal spirit of anti-imperialism. They would consider what they could do for our natural allies.2006(Todd. But all that said.at empire: terrorism must be confronted Pointing out flaws with imperialism is not enough—there are real threats posed by terrorism that the alternative must be able to solve. . It was satisfying. the United Nations. p. bases abroad. NATO. serious questions remained about what intellectuals of the left wanted: What was to be done about fighting the jihadists and improving democracy’s chances? What roles made sense for the United States. Liberal patriots would not be satisfied to reply to consensus truculence with rejectionist truculence.

with the recovery of the finite human self through the acknowledgement of others: “As long as God exists. This requires understanding the The suppression of the other. p. Cavell also aligns himself with this path of thought.” I think one understands the source of her intuition. Horror is always directed toward the human. and it is here that questioning must stop. “Les evenements ne sont que l’ecume des choses’ (‘Events are but the foam of things’). does not produce foam.. I believe. Critical Inquiry.470]. the human. The mass extermination of human beings.” . in a clear reference to Heidegger’s idolatry of the village life of peasants. in Heidegger’s thought accounts. In his discussion of skepticism and the problem of others. Winter. one that leads through or toward other human beings: “The dimension of the divine opens forth from the human face… Hence metaphysics is enacted where the social relation is enacted. he associated himself with Socrates.*** Ontology *** A2: Ontology Preventing widespread death precedes ontological questioning Davidson ‘89 (Arnold L.” Where was Heidegger’s horror? How could he have failed to know what he had consented to? Hannah Arendt associates Heidegger with Paul Valery’s aphorism. who preferred the city where he encountered men to the country with its trees. for the absence.” And Cavell can characterize Nazis as “those who have lost the capacity for being horrified by what they do. in which he is disincarnate. but dust and ashes.in our relations with men… The Other is not the incarnation of God. every object of horror bears the imprint of the human will. So Levinas can see in Heidegger’s silence about the gas chambers and death camps “a kind of consent to the horror. but precisely by his face. of the experience of horror. p. in his writing after the war. I am not alone. is the manifestation of the height in which God is revealed. shows me that I am not alone in the universe.” of God?… I wish to understand how the other now bears the weight of God. philosophical problem of the other as the trace or scar of the departure of God [CR. Associate Prof Philosophy – U Chicago. 426) another path to the recovery of the human. It is our relations with men… that give to theological concepts the sole I understand Levinas’ work to suggest Levinas places ethics before ontology by beginning with our experience of the human face: and. And couldn’t the other suffer the fate signification they admit of. however.

?“ does not partake of onto-theo-logy if one acknowledges (1) that the answer can never be fixed absolutely. Is our new suspicion.?“ question? It seems to beg the question. Dialectical refinement here replaces vicious circularity. then. against the vicious circle of the petitio principi. for additional “What is . on avoiding reading into rather than harkening to things. to recognize the obvious circularity of asking what is the “What is . namely. they open a path for thought. hermeneutic questioning (2) insists on avoiding subjective impositions. . 6-7) Are we not in need of still more precautions? Must we not step back from this question to raise another. and Philippe. Ethics and Infinity. and so on and so forth. the doggedness of the “What is . But do the refinement and care of the hermeneutic question — which succeed in avoiding ontotheo-logy succeed in avoiding all viciousness? Certainly they convert a simple fallacy into a productive inquiry. endlessly.ontological questioning results in an infinite regress and total political paralysis Levinas and Nemo ‘85 (Emmanuel. productive circularity: hermeneutic questioning. . in a careful attunement to what is. ad infinitum? What is disturbing in this is not so much the infinity of interpretive depth. ultimately to being. . then. in its inability to escape itself. That is. an alternative. to ask what something is leads to asking what something else is.?“ question. p. Further. the problem lies in the influence the endlessly open horizon of such thinking exerts on the way of such thought. but calls essentially. to escape being and essence.A2: Ontology It’s impossible to determine an answer to being –-. the coming to be and passing away of being. . that Heidegger begs the question of metaphysics when he asks “What is poetry?” or “What is thinking?”? Yet his thought is insistently anti-metaphysical. Rather. . does he retain the metaphysical question par excellence? Aware of just such an objection. to the phenomena. beyond the openmindedness called for by dialectical refinement. he proposes. To ask “What is. One must harken to the things themselves.?“ questions. which has the virtue of escaping onto-theo-logy and remaining true to the way things are. Professor of New Philosophy. the problem lies in what seems to be the very virtue of hermeneutic thought. But is it not the case that however much refinement and care one brings to bear. . Professor of Philosophy. . Why. .

so essentially spatial that they dwell from the beginning with whatever is accessible to perception. clear realm of perception. Yet. as a world-openness. "They are in fact at any given time identical." (92) In my experience. doctoral student in clinical psychology @ Duquesne University. Yet. spatiality is meaningful and consists of the context of significance which is the world." (90) That is. It is as bodies that we exist in existential space." (103) ." (92) In this sense. Things. For Boss.html Medicine." writes Boss." writes Boss. As Being-there (Dasein). "actually at the place where the thing is present. and thus the body cannot be understood as a thing. the body is not a thing. as such. The human body does not end at the skin. make possible and yet are equiprimordial with human bodyhood. But this space is not the res extensa of Descartes. while things are self-contained and have no experience what-so-ever. "Human beings. while natural science views the human body as some self-contained material thing. I am at the thing. “Medard Boss. the human being is precisely not a thing. but the existential center by which things can presence to us in our world-openness. Thus. by doing so it "disregards everything that is specifically human about human bodyhood. spatiality is part of the ontological structure of the human being.html Space and time. deriving its foundations from Descartes. as an open. unlike a thing. however." (100) The human body. not to some mere subjective representation of it inside us. for human beings.” http://mythosandlogos. human embodiment is an opening onto things "there" in the world. is not limited like the material borders of inanimate objects. it is not mere geometrical space. in my experience. gather a world of meaning. "are. "The borders of my bodyhood coincide with those of my openness to the world. the human being is always with the things of the world. Evaluate our disads on the same level as ontology – survival coincides with the opening of ontological space Robbins ‘99Brent Dean Robbins. without which our being-in-theworld would not be possible. to how things matter to us. the thing is not a representation in my head: "When we visualize something. mechanistic processes like inanimate objects in nature. though they are always changing with the fluid expansion and contraction of my relationships to the world.com/Boss. As such. the body is primarily an existential-body. but existentially opens onto a world of possibilities which are significant. we establish a relationship to the thing itself. This is a spatiality which is an openness to significance. and in a way suited to the meaning they perceive. it is my body which is the openness to the "there" which is the meaningful world of perception. begins with an understanding of a split between subject and object and between mind and body. I am not simply here at my body.A2: Ontology Survival is a prerequisite to evaluating ontology – you can’t relate to the world without being in the world Robbins ’99 Brent Dean Robbins. too. medicine approaches the human body as a thing subject to causal. rather. Rather. doctoral student in clinical psychology @ Duquesne University. “Medard Boss.” http://mythosandlogos. Rather. I am in-the-world as a embodied being. the means by which we are a being-in-the-world and "body-forth" our possibilities.com/Boss. As such. They gather together the contextual signficance of the world as mattering to me as a human being. unlike my body.

fear. which death destroys Robbins ‘99Brent Dean Robbins. and deference in the face of something greater and more powerful. Primarily. this responsible awareness of death as the ultimate possibility for human existence frees the human being to be with others in a genuine way. But in our confrontation with death and our morality. Boss does not mean a freedom to have all the possibilites. we discover the "relationship" which "is the basis for all feelings of reverance. The therapist. This is not simply a inward withdrawal from the world--far from it. From this foundation--based on the existentials described above--Boss is able to articulate an understanding of medicine and psychology which gives priority to the freedom of the human being to be itself. Psychotherapy comes into play in cases in which people suffer from "pathological deficiencies of freedom. . sorrow. human beings flee from death and the awareness of our mortality. Rather. still retain a degree of freedom. in this regard. we are free to be who we are and to take responsibility for who we are in the world with others and alongside things that matter." who. while constricted.com/Boss.html *THIS CARD IS GENDER-MODIFIED "Death is an unsurpassable limit of human existence. “Medard Boss. its submission and surrender of itself to the things and relationships of everyday living and to return to itself." (121) Such a recognition brings the human being back to his responsibility for his existence. wonder. provides the client with a space to free up this constricted existence in order to discover previously foreclosed possibilities of being in the world. By freedom. awe. however." writes Boss (119)." (120).” http://mythosandlogos.A2: Ontology our ethical obligation to save lives precedes ontology – the value of life comes from human agency. but a freedom which includes a suffering from constrictedness. doctoral student in clinical psychology @ Duquesne University. Yet within these finite possibilities. As Boss writes: "Only such a being-unto-death can guarantee the precondition that the Dasein be able to free itself from its absorption in. for we are finite and limited by our factical history and death. Boss even suggests that "the most dignified human relationship to death" involves keeping it--as a possibility rather than an actuality--constantly in awareness without fleeing from it.

A2: Ontology Our ethical obligation to save lives precedes ontology Taminiaux 2003 Jacques. It is significant that Heidegger also used to quote repeatedly the same formula but to deprive the motto of an essentially ethical connotation by reading it as meaning Being is beyond beings. elevates itself to an insight into what is exclusively its own. Levinas says. It is desired as invisible. so to speak. Heidegger claims that metaphysics accomplishes itself in ontology. In other words what is at stake in Plato's formula for Heidegger is merely my elevation towards my ownmost possibility. that is in the vision attainable by the human Dasein of what it means to be. professor of philosophy @ Boston College. the possibility of its own death. to egoism. The word designates an elevation. Hence the meaning of the word transcendence in Levinas use of it. So does Heidegger's ontology by finding the key to the meaning of Being in my own temporality. Metaphysics has precedence over ontology. Metaphysics. Heidegger again and again insists in Being and Time on the precedence of the bios theoretikos. the movement of such desire is transcendence. Dasein becomes authentic by confronting its own mortality. by overcoming what is not properly its own. . The Greek word for vision is theoria. is désir de l'invisible. Levinas used to quote repeatedly Plato's famous formula: to agathon epekeina tès ousias and to translate it into: the Good is beyond Being. Ontology is an Egology. transascendance is a «breach of totality»(35). In Levinas' analysis the trouble with theoria is that it does not fit with metaphysical desire because it does not respect the alterity of the other. its ownmost possibility. Upon close inspection it appears that a confrontation with Heidegger is involved in that characterization of metaphysics and of transcendence. It is a «transascendance»(35). The other is not at all offered to a vision of the Self. It is a totalization. By contrast. not at all my elevation to the height of the Other. he says. by acknowledging the primacy of the Other over the Self. To be sure it claims to let what it contemplates manifest itself for its own sake but since its contemplation is a matter of understanding it always renounces the marvel of exteriority by absorbing the other into the Self thanks to a third term that the knowing subject finds in itself. Transcendence in Being and Time is not a movement of elevation towards the other but a movement through which the individual Dasein. “The presence of Being and Time in Totality and Infinity” Levinas fully agrees with the notion of a metaphysical desire as a desire for the other but he fully disagrees with the supposed accomplishment and satisfaction of that desire in a final visibility. To say that Metaphysics precedes ontology amounts to claim that Ethics precedes ontology. The confrontation is. contemplation as the highest way of life. In other words. Transcendence in Heidegger's sense is essentially a return to the Selfhood of the Self. Metaphysical desire as understood by Heidegger is a desire to be properly myself to the detriment of the Other. According to Levinas there is only one way for transcendence to avoid that totalization. to be a breach of totality: it is by being ethical. This is what confirms Heidegger's notion of transcendence. whereas in Heidegger ontology precedes ethics. Transascendance is a relation between myself and the absolute exteriority of the other which is such that the Self and the Other cannot be part of a visible totality in which their relation would be symmetrical and reversible. Since the metaphysical desire aims to the otherness of the other without possible satisfaction or fulfillment in an ultimate vision. The primacy of the question of Being in Heidegger's thought leads to a self-sufficiency. condensed in Levinas' strong formula: «Metaphysics precedes ontology».

approached ethics in terms of the situations in which it is perhaps most frequently and most desperately required. and with whom we are in encounters and relations which involve difference and inequalities in power.” we are already in a relation to others. addressed in some chapters of PAK. in relation to those who are exposed to us in need. and thus has been concerned with a subject it presumes to be autonomous and free. though there are papers in both volumes that are of great interest. and is grounded in relations to others. ethics..A2: Ontology Focus on ontology misses the boat – it ignores broader question of practice. grounding human existence. Thus beliefs about the economic world (economic ontology) acquire significance from the context in which the economists who hold them are acting. that ontology is not fundamental. a relation to and for an other. between them. There are chapters in EWV that deal with economists' practices but to focus on ontology rather than practices is to marginalise what should be central. and freedoms. my response was that. Before we “are. doctoral candidate in philosophy @ University of Toronto.doc Levinas argues against the Western philosophic tradition. these two volumes must provide a reasonably thorough coverage of the broad range of thinking on economic methodology from scientific realism to the idea that our view of the world is socially constructed.sspp. the Ethics precedes ontology – the fundamental fact of being is vulnerability and responsibility to the other Merleau ’04 Chloë Taylor Merleau.” www. and first and foremost is the duty to not interfere in their rights and freedoms. with abstract questions about its own rights. has inherited the notion of the self assumed by traditional metaphysics. Philosophy has thus not conceived of ethics as it occurs in our most fundamental experiences. Canada. requiring our interference and response.blackwell-synergy. as a responsiveness to others who are vulnerable to us and to whom we are vulnerable. for Levinas. because the self never is independent of or prior to these ethical terms. therefore.1 1 . It is therefore a mistake to begin by theorizing what the being of the self is. Mainstream ethical philosophy. However.1111/14680297. whatever the order of the verb in this sentence. of whether postmodernism amounts to nihilism. “Levinasian Ethics and Feminist Ethics of Care. however. Philosophy has not. independent of others and faced Even the duties towards others that such ethical theories imagine have typically been duties towards other abstractly-conceived autonomous agents who are the same as ourselves. Examination of practice is also relevant to the question. The main reason for this is that the most fruitful work in methodology over the last decade or so has arguably centred on analysing what economists do. and against Heidegger in particular. which are key to avoid nihilism Backhouse 2002 Roger E. independent of its relations of vulnerability and responsiveness to others. is prior to being. “The Economic Worldview: Studies in the Ontology of Economics. Meaning is socially constructed but to understand scientific knowlege it is important to take into account the constraints that are imposed by our ability to do some things and our inability to do other things.t01-11-00083/full/ It might be thought that.us/Protected-Essays/2004-SPEP-Merleau.” http://www.com/links/doi/10. duties. projects of ontology and postmodernism in themselves leave me fairly cold. Rather. Ethics is the fundamental human experience.

replaces transcendence with proximity and intimacy (1991. nor different in relation to the masculine. such as Time and the Other and Existence and Existents. and yet “the feminine” continues to play a crucial role.A2: Ontology Our ethical obligation to the other disrupts ontology Merleau ’04 Chloë Taylor Merleau. or for being responsible for others. the very possibility of ethics. as “feminine.” alienating and ontological: “it neither clothes those who are naked nor feeds those who are hungry […] Spirit in its masculine existence […] lives outdoors. and as being “the other par excellence” (1978.” (1976. the prioritization of responsibility over freedom.” www. As Catherine Chalier writes. 2 3 . while his development of maternity as trope for the ethical relation is explored in the major work of his mature philosophy. 33) In contrast.” Levinas describes the masculine “outdoor” world as “hard and cold. and yet femininity remains the principle that interupts masculinity and makes ethics possible. Levinas develops an ethics of alterity against the Western tradition of the Same while describing “the feminine” as having alterity as its essence (1983. disrupts military values with her welcome.2 The theorization of ethics as “feminine” occurs in Levinas’s earlier writings. then. Canada. the feminine is indoors or domestic. 123). In his earlier works.” As Levinas notes. “the feminine” is the otherness of the Other whom one encounters in the ethical relation. the feminine other seems no longer the Other of the ethical relation. Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence.sspp. The Other who welcomes in intimacy is not the you [vous] of the face that reveals itself in a dimension of height. 85).” “stops this blind strength. the Other of the ethical encounter has become generic. but precisely the thou [tu] of familiarity. “Levinasian Ethics and Feminist Ethics of Care. In “Judaism and the Feminine Element. The feminine is not different in terms of qualities. however. the feminine in Totality and Infinity “stops the project of being. called “dwelling.” and both have conceived of maternity as a paradigm (amongst others) for caring.” and thus interupts masculine ontology with ethics. 155) At this stage. as well as being the principle of that relation. 85).us/Protected-Essays/2004-SPEP-Merleau.doc Both feminist care theorists and Levinas have understood the receptivity towards others of ethics. simply human. In Totality and Infinity. but is difference itself.3 At this stage. doctoral candidate in philosophy @ University of Toronto. this “habitation is not yet the transcendence of language.” (1979. however.

This is something Spanos has in common with some followers of Derrida who turn deconstruction into a Culture PMC 3. in the field of composition studies. for instance. even while it attacks the metaphysical principle "that identity is the condition for the possibility of difference and not the other way around" (4.A2: Spanos Spanos' rejection of Humanism destroys any political project and/ or allies and allows the right to take over Perkin 1993 [J. characterized by "the metaphysics of the centered circle. and the Victorians.html] Another problem is that dogma. is more diverse. more complex. it also. emphasis in original). in the context of making absolute claims about Western education (or thought. criticizes "those rnassively totalizing remarks about the field of critical legal studies. Thus. through the Romans. theories that marginalize practical political action as a jejune indulgence" (192). repressive. which Spanos has taken. yet in reading composition and pedagogy journals over the last few years. Of course.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/v003/3. and errant thinking" (105). he repeats." which is repeatedly attacked by reference to the same overcited passage from Derrida's the Renaissance. Building on air seems -. as Derrida recognizes more explicitly. Spanos seems to me to ensure his self-marginalization. for he is not attentive to difference at particular moments or within particular texts. you build on air" (I 87). "Structure. Professor of English at Saint Mary's University. Sign. Humanism is always and everywhere. in short. for Spanos. but it is one that is counterproductive. Gates argues that the "hard" left's opposition to liberalism is as mistaken as its opposition to conservatism. http://muse. however. Russell." "despite the historically specific permutations. has "always reaffirmed a nostalgic and Spanos is a poor reader of Derrida. misunderstood in a reifying and imperialistic appropriation. Spanos is not up to date. beginning with the Alexandrian Greek. significantly. By seeking to seperate out only the pure (posthumanist) believers. Professor of English at Saint Mary's University. and it is precisely that difference that neoconservatives want to erase. and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences"--not coincidentally one of the places where Derrida allows himself to make large claims unqualified by their derivation from reading a particular text. This not only implies a somewhat simplistic reception-history of ancient Greek culture. by his attempt to put all humanists into the same category and to break totally with the tradition of humanism .3." (12-15) Western thought. Spanos uses the following constructions: "whatever its historically specific permutations.3. there is a polemical purpose to this. or theory). which every subsequent age. recuperative circuitous educational journey back to the origin" (15)." "Despite the historically specific ruptures. differential." "Apparent historical dissimilarities. more genuinely full of difference than Spanos allows. He seems to believe that one can leap bodily out of the metaphysical tradition simply by compiling enough citations from Heidegger. and refers to Cornel West's "If you don't build on liberalism.jhu.3r_perkin. especially when. This over-insistence suggests to me that . and endorses a coalition of liberalism and the left. that one cannot escape logocentrism simply by wishing to. whereas his rather anticlimactic final chapter shows. Spanos asserts that the classical Greeks were characterized by "originative. Roger Kimball and Dinesh D'Souza.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/v003/3. He seems ill-informed about what goes on in the everyday work of the academy. rather than realizing that it is a strategy of reading that must take account of the particular logic of the texts being read. For the last decade the The academy. and the possibility of redemption. I have noticed few thinkers who have been so consistently cited. There are further problems with the narrative built into The End of Education. http://muse.to me precisely what Spanos is recommending. Spanos misrepresents history and fails to correctly build off others’ philosophies Perkin 1993 [J. several field of composition studies has been the most vigorous site of the kind of oppositional practices The End of Education recommends. Postmodern the book makes huge historical assertions that have the effect of lessening difference. Spanos laments the "unwarranted neglect" (202) of the work of Paulo Freire. times he includes pluralists like Wayne Booth and even Gerald Graff in lists of "humanists" that include William Bennett. His practical recommendations for the practical role of an adversarial intellectual seem similar to those of the liberal pluralists he attacks. Theorizing the Culture Wars. Theorizing the Culture Wars." Henry Louis Gates's final chapter contains some cogent criticism of the kind of position. isolates himself in a posture of ultra leftist purity that cuts him off from many potential political allies. the Enlightenment. Spanos refers several times to the fact that the discourse of the documents comprising The Pentagon Papers was linked to the kind of discourse that first-year composition courses produce (this was Richard Ohmann's argument): here again. Postmodern Culture PMC 3. For example. as I will note in conclusion. Gates. and right up to the present. Spanos must show that all apparent difference is in fact contained by the same old metaphysical discourse. within the space of four pages. perpetuates a myth--the favourite American myth that Spanos in other contexts attacks in the book--of an original period of innocence. Russell. on the other hand.3r_perkin. panoptic.html] My final criticism is that Spanos.jhu. I would even question the validity of calling shoddy and often inaccurate journalists like Kimball and D'Souza with the title "humanist intellectuals. In order to make this assertion. a fall. In fact.

and I. Babbitt. that never penetrates to the way Melville's words work to bring readers into his ontological dilemma. were just about the first places in the world where the vision and practices of liberalism have been given. His repeated reference to the "Salem Witch Burnings"-they were hangedwould be a dismissable gaffe if it did not suggest that the author is not sufficiently engaged in historical reality to deal with it except as a set of abstractions. rather than an analysis. at least compared. Richards) “a recurrent call for the recuperation of a logocentric pedagogy in the face of historical ruptures that betrayed the complicity of humanistic discourse with an essentially reactionary bourgeois ideology and its discreetly repressive capitalist state apparatuses. its credibility is undermined by the book's wooden historicism and authoritarian style.com/faking_tenure. say. Generally speaking. when you think of it? The Western industrial societies. Spanos's historicism is similarly lacking. “Review: Democracy. 6. “Faking Your Way to Tenure” http://denisdutton. Being. or pieces of legislation fully endorsed by the populace.” is not normally what I’d consider violent. But Spanos finds in its advocacy (by Arnold. not end. especially in North America. debate on who we Spanos is most effective in discussing the more immediate aspects of Vietnam. 59. which have dominated the vision and practices of liberal Western industrial societies. Card continues . Spanos’s theory has no historical backing and his writing style only recreates what he rejects Bryant 97[John. however imperfectly.A2: Spanos Spanos ignores real violence and politics in the world Dutton 93[Dennis. Spanos is a man stuck in the 1960s: he doesn’t notice Tiananmen Square because he’s still obsessed with Kent State. (Oct.. No. and the Art of Becoming America” College English.htm] The End of Education has a chapter entitled “The Violence of Disinterestedness. Spanos's use of Heidegger is necessarily are and why. to a couple of skinheads with baseball bats. and despite his attempts to rectify the New Americanist approach with a finer grounding in philosophy. The result is a pronouncement.” Isn’t it crazy. rather than vice versa. Professor of Philosophy at Cantuerbury. He speaks of Lewis's American Adam and Bercovitch's American Jeremiad as if they were facts. Does it ever occur to Spanos what the military police in Burma do to people they don’t like? In Iran? El Salvador? Those cosy Marxist dictatorships in Africa? Give me the “discreet” repression of the Western liberal societies any day. a chance to dominate repressive state apparatuses. Spanos's "thematizing" of Ahab and Ishmael amounts to reductions supported Now disinterestedness more by assertion and endless reiteration than by textual demonstration. Professor of English at Hofstra. 1997). especially in North America. 705-711] As bracing as Spanos's subversive thesis is. rather than cultural theses proposed by modern critics to extend. but he never makes more distant eras come equally to life. He reduces the development of American culture to a sequence of tableaux vivants with helpful intervening placards: The Puritans Hand Over the Mantle of American Identity to Andrew Jackson. pp. Vol.A.

In purely metaphysical terms the philosopher's Nietzschean notion of the "will to power" is an intelligible means of comprehending Being's temporal differentiations: very transcendental. Carolyn Porter. In fact. took his Jewish mentor Husserl's job. But Spanos uses language as a weapon to polarize readers. what This needless drawing of "boundaries" is precisely the opposite of Spanos (editor of bounhq 2. sometimes two-page block quotes would be offensive if not for the fact that they provide an occasional Tahiti of literary excellence amidst the ocean of his prose.. enjoy healthy licks of jargon. .Card Contunued problematic.) One might think this mimicry of Heidegger's famously dense style is a postmodern strategy to induce in readers an apt ontological crisis commensurate with Ishmael's condition. or a Heidegger. we naturally expect a full disclosure of an ontology's political potential. In Spanos's view. the liberal reaction to Stalin "blinded" Americanists to the true ontological value of Moby-Dick and led us into political disaster. Nina Bayrn. in a study such as this. it simply erects a wall of language that circumscribes an academic domain alien to his ontological project. Spanos's style is a curious self-negation of his principal ideas. in which politics is said to derail ontological interpretation. John Samson. Surely. and myself). Interestingly enough. but paradoxically conducted an affair with Hannah Arendt. each larded with oxymorons and paradoxes. However. He consigns past critics to tidy. but that these consmctions are nested within larger equivalent abstractionsclause within clause--each interrupted by dashes into the contrapositive. . Lawrence Buell. with Ishmael as errant hero. This fact alone suggests the need for a deeper ontological inquiry into the determinants in Melville's fiction (personality? sex? philosophy?) that cause individuals to mistake Heideggerian fluidity and become an Ahab. I. (Spanos's excessive use of mammoth. Let's hope Spanos finds a more effective voice." But his other words bring no relief. To be fair. but his obscure and parenthetical allusions to the issue in this book fail to take this matter to its fullest ontological extent. Heidegger somehow missed his own point and became the authoritarian his philosophy would deny. he joined the Nazi party.. I love a patois: they encourage a certain critical economy. sent a few colleagues racing to the border. This book is the second in a projected trilogy. benighted "post-humanist" camps and virtually ignores more recent explorers of Melville's complex marginalizing rhetoric (including Barbara Johnson. for one. the optician who crafted the lenses by which we might read Moby-Dick ontologically. Spanos has written on Heidegger's nazism elsewhere. Michael Rogin. Heidegger was no Emerson. But then. Spanos uses language to claim hegemony over readers even as he tries to disclose Melville's counterhegemonic strategies. It would be too easy to dismiss Spanos for his Heideggerian jargon and Derridean patois. And when such a sentence achieves a period. Heidegger's nazism does not invalidate the notion of errancy that so effectively explains Ishmael. was himself blind to that errancy. His sentences wage war against comprehension: it is not simply that abstract subjects perform abstract acts upon abstract objects in his sentences. Spanos begins again with "In other words. which seeks to break-and break again-critical boundaries) takes to be "errant" Ishmael's supreme achievement.

there is a polemical purpose to this. Spanos’s theory has no real-world implications Lewandowski. solve problems in and criticize the world. however. By seeking to separate out only the pure (posthumanist) believers. Philosophy and Social Criticism. My final criticism is that Spanos. to mediate between the extra-ordinary world of 'textuality' and the everyday world of 'texts'. literary theory may become the kind of emancipatory oriented critical theory it can and should be. The academy. Russell Perkin. Postmodern Culture 3.” Project Muse). in short. yet in reading composition and pedagogy journals over the last few years. as I will note in conclusion.is to couple world disclosure with problem-solving. isolates himself in a posture of ultraleftist purity that cuts him off from many potential political allies. David M. and refers to Cornel West's remarks about the field of critical legal studies. Roger Kimball and Dinesh D'Souza. I would even question the validity of calling shoddy and often inaccurate journalists like Kimball and D'Souza with the title "humanist intellectuals. For example. he holds on to a destructive hermeneutics as disclosure. 93 – Associate Professor of English at Saint Mary's University – 1993 (J.Associate Professor and Philosophy Program Coordinator at The University of Central Missouri – 1994 (Joseph D. one that articulates both the emphatic linguistic capacity to spontaneously disclose worlds . In this alternative route. “Heidegger. Lewandowsi. I have noticed few thinkers who have been so consistently cited. He seems ill-informed about what goes on in the everyday work of the academy. Spanos refers several times to the fact that the discourse of the documents comprising The Pentagon Papers was linked to the kind of discourse that first-year composition courses produce (this was Richard Ohmann's argument). here again.at spanos: cede the political Spanos’s rejection of humanism marginalizes his theory and makes leftist coalition impossible. Spanos laments the "unwarranted neglect" (202) of the work of Paulo Freire. disclosure alone cannot support a critical theory oriented toward emancipation. by his attempt to put all humanists into the same category and to break totally with the tradition of humanism. 119) Spanos rightly rejects the 'textuality' route in Heidegger and Criticism precisely because of its totalizing and hypostatizing tendencies. Of course. and it is precisely that difference that neoconservatives want to erase. “Theorizing the Culture Wars. "If you don't build on liberalism. literary theory and social criticism. I think a critical theory needs a less totalizing account of language. Spanos seems to me to ensure his self-marginalization. more genuinely full of difference than Spanos allows. For the last decade the field of composition studies has been the most vigorous site of the kind of oppositional practices The End of Education recommends. Nevertheless. The essential task of the social critic . Spanos is not up to date.and its less emphatic. . especially when. P. is more diverse. in the field of composition studies. Building on air seems to me precisely what Spanos is recommending. for instance. Perkin. Rasmussen.” ed. but it is one that is counterproductive. But as I have already intimated. but no less important. 94 .3. Gates argues that the "hard" left's opposition to liberalism is as mistaken as its opposition to conservatism. you build on air" (187). several times he includes pluralists like Wayne Booth and even Gerald Graff in lists of "humanists" that include William Bennett.and any literary theory that wants to be critical ." Henry Louis Gates's final chapter contains some cogent criticism of the kind of position which Spanos has taken. his practical recommendations for the practical role of an adversarial intellectual seem similar to those of the liberal pluralists he attacks.its innovative 'worlding' possibilities . In fact. capacity to communicate. more complex.

Foucault's analysis of power. Spanos. since there is no subject (but rather a 'docile' body) to do the resisting (or. however.Associate Professor and Philosophy Program Coordinator at The University of Central Missouri – 1994 (Joseph D. 22l). the same shortcomings of Heidegger's fundamental ontology. Heidegger's aporias are not simply the result of his politics but father stem from the internal limits of his questioning of the 'being that lets beings be'. nor an object to be resisted. for that matter) any more emancipatory or oppositional. yet Spanos seems to accept them as valid diagnoses. Genealogy is not critical in any real way. emphasis added). Spanos fails to see. David M. “Heidegger. despite its originality. when he was still inspired by the idea of a materialist analytic of Dasein' (p. In other words. Thus it dramatizes. Where Heidegger ontologizes Being. emphasis added). Indeed. The 'affiliative relationship' (p. thinks Foucault can provide an alternative materialist grounding for an emancipatory critical theory that would obviate the objections of someone such as Marcuse. and destruction of the metaphysical tradition. Foucault ontologizes power. . Heidegger succumbs quite readily to an immanent critique. a 'concrete diagnosis' (p. 96. In short. I don't think the Heideggerian 'dialogue' with Foucault sufficiently tames or complements Heidegger. 'Heidegger. or how emancipation could be realized collectively by actual agents in the world. literary theory and social criticism. The 'undefined work of freedom' the later Foucault speaks of in 'What Is Enlightenment?' remained precisely that in his work. Foucault's reified theory of power seems to undermine the very notion of 'Opposition'. on a different level.at spanos: no alternative Spanos does not sufficiently connect his genealogy to specific policy recommendations—the alternative fails to influence the real world. in his later work. Nor can it tame or augment what Spanos calls Heidegger's 'overdetermination of the ontological site'. 138) of power mechanism.” ed. and the "Repressive Hypothesis": The American Appropriation of the Question') is misdirected. that power is neither a spider's web without the spider. 115-116) The point to be made here is that Heidegger's politics are not the only (or necessarily the largest) obstacle to coupling him with critical theory. 138) that Spanos tries to develop between Heidegger and Foucault in order to avoid the problem Marcuse faced simply cannot work. the Text. as Spanos thinks. P. Lewandowsi. whereas the former sees Being as that neutered term and nothing that calls us. Philosophy and Social Criticism. The latter sees power as a strategic and intentional but subjectless mechanism that 'endows itself' and punches out 'docile bodies'. 'the basic issues separating critical theory from Heideggerean ontology were not raised post hoc in reaction to Heidegger's political misdeeds but were there from the start. As Said rightly points out in The World. 'Foucault more or less eliminates the central dialectic of opposed forces that still underlies modern society' (p. Foucault (like Spanos) never works out how genealogy is emancipatory. 94 . and the Critic. a privatized self to be self-made within a regime of truth).4 The genealogy of power is as much a hypostatization as is fundamental ontology: such hypostatizations tend to institute the impossibility of practical resistance or freedom. is an ontology of power and not. For as McCarthy rightly points out. Nazism. But the turn to Foucault is no less problematic than the original turn to Heidegger. to paraphrase Said's criticisms of Foucault's theory of power. truth as disclosure. Foucault's theory of power is shot through with false empirical analyses. Marcuse formulated them in all clarity during his time in Freiburg. all of which divorce reflection from social practice and thus lack critical perspective. nor a smoothly functioning diagram (p. nor does it make his discourse (or Foucault's. Hence much of Spanos's energetic defense of Heidegger against his 'humanist detractors' (particularly in his defiant concluding chapter. Rasmussen. Lewandowski. 221.

Philosophy and Social Criticism. P. . Disclosure is not a process of inquiry.Associate Professor and Philosophy Program Coordinator at The University of Central Missouri – 1994 (Joseph D. But a genuinely critical theory needs to be able to say what worlds are better or worse for actual agents in actual worlds . the Greek temple does for Heidegger. that Spanos is constantly aware of and typifies in his denunciation of American imperialism in Vietnam (and elsewhere) in Heidegger and Criticism. “Heidegger. Lewandowsi. a truly critical theory interested in emancipation simply cannot: some types of 'emancipation' are false and need to be rejected. Lewandowski.at spanos: no truth disempowering Spanos’s rejection of objective truth removes any way to measure the theory’s emancipatory effects. Spanos fails to see the inevitable and internal limits to truth as disclosure. In his eagerness to draw out the enabling features and 'post'-humanist dimension of Heidegger's disclosure.” ed. I might add. Spanos's trading of any possibility of 'determinate truth' for Heideggerian disclosure as eventing of truth/untruth robs his critical theory of the necessary yardstick needed to measure 'emancipation'. but rather a revealing/concealing that befalls or overtakes us. when he holds on to a Heideggerian disclosure that too often undermines the power of critical reflection. literary theory and social criticism. Rasmussen. say. 117-118) But radicalized or not.a need. Gadamer encounters similar problems. Heidegger's disclosure is a cryptonormative truth. Texts may very well 'disclose' worlds in the same way that. David M. it is an event before which any critical judgment necessarily fails. despite his keen insights. And the postmodern Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo encounters a related problem when he attempts to take leave of modernity and proclaim a liberating postmodernity via Heidegger's disclosure. 94 . But while a purely aesthetic theory interested in 'textuality' can quite justifiably be grounded in truth as disclosure (as American deconstruction or Vattimo's il pensiero debole is).

than the total rejection of "latecapitalist society" that is common among academic pseudoradicals. This attitude of partial acceptance and partial critique is much more realistic and effective. offers a more cogent critique of capitalist society because it generally accepts capitalism as an economic system that is more productive and efficient than the alternatives. art. or in preserving artistic standards.as having a limited autonomy from the imperatives of the market. you must be liable in dark moments to suspect that you are actually working for the system. Resistance to the system is part of the system. 7) Liberal humanism. a doctrine of "necessary complicity" is often evoked.at spanos: humanism good Humanist reforms are more effective than totalizing critique. in protesting the commercialization of the university. in my view. Yet liberal humanism seeks to limit capitalism's social and cultural effects by preserving certain spheres politics. but when it is confronted. Total rejection flips into total acceptance and opens the way for a personal exploitation of the academic system. 01 . Total opposition is more readily coopted by the system because it forms a mirror image. If the system is all-powerful. Humanism betrayed. P. Political correctness covers up careerist realpolitik. Good. If you disbelieve in your own autonomy as an individual. education . how can Theorists explain the possibility or acceptability of their own opposition to it? This problem is usually evaded. . for example.Professor of English at the University of British Columbia – 2001 (Graham Good.

poverty and the rest. will characterize the meaning of democracy in the minds of still more Asians. Kennedy concluded that if Vietnam were to fall "victim to any of the perils that threaten its existence- Communism. Podhoretz. and it had already been applied successfully in Western Europe in the forties and Korea in the fifties. Japan. Vietnam was crucial for American hegemony and democracy promotion.." The third reason was that Vietnam. we have helped to shape its future"). 19-20) Thus. with a Communist regime under Ho Chi Minh established in the North and a non-Communist government under Ngo Dinh Diem set up in the South. what he had actually brought with him was the-certainty of a world war to come-a war that Winston Churchill. Obviously." Finally (and most prophetically).the lesson of Munich had been that an expansionist totalitarian power could not be stopped by giving in to its demands and that limited resistance at an early stage was the only way to avoid full-scale war later on. . ." Dean Rusk. 1956. then weakness. Vietnam not only replaced it but canceled it out. if some one million refugees have fled the totalitarianism of the North only to find neither freedom nor security in the South. two years after delivering Schlesinger's favorite speech. would be threatened if the red tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam." According to Churchill ." we would be held responsible and our prestige in Asia would "sink to a new low. returning to England from the conference in Munich at which Nazi Germany's claims over Czechoslovakia had been satisfied. we gave assistance to its life. not strength. an experiment we could not "afford to permit to fail." By this time the French had been defeated.the phenomenon -of aggression. India. Why We Were in Vietnam. in Vietnam now as in central Europe then. Kennedy spoke before the American Friends of Vietnam on "America's Stake in Vietnam. in addition to representing. If this democratic experience fails. But there was one great similarity that overrode these differences in the minds of many whose understanding of such matters had been shaped by the memory of Munich." In-other words. Vietnam differed in many significant ways from Central Europe in the late 1930s." the keystone to the arch. also represented "a test of American responsibility and determination" there. the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia . who was Secretary of State first under Kennedy and then under Johnson. if a line had been drawn against Hitler from the beginning. " This was the first of the four reasons Kennedy g ve for "America's stake in Vietnam. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Surely it was applicable to Vietnam. Vietnam represented "the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia. This was the lesson of Munich. States as the "godparents" of "little Vietnam" and Vietnam as "our offspring" ("We presided at its birth. once exploded.Nazism then. 11) Indeed. a totalitarian political force . 82 – adviser to the US Information Agency and laureate of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – 1982 (Norman Podhoretz. 82 – adviser to the US Information Agency and laureate of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – 1982 (Norman Podhoretz. would later call "unnecessary. Communism now-was attempting to expand the area under its control. and Vietnam had been partitioned under a set of agreements negotiated in Geneva. Podhoretz. Why We Were in Vietnam. A relatively limited degree of resistance then would have precluded the need for massive resistance afterward. on June 1. and the sequence of events that led inexorably to the outbreak of war would have been interrupted.at spanos: vietnam good Communism was spreading in Vietnam – it had to be stopped. the finger in the dike. Thailand. the leading critic of the policy of appeasement consummated at Munich. for many people whose original support of American intervention in Vietnam had been based on memories of Munich. P." The second was that Vietnam represented "a proving ground for democracy in Asia…the alternative to Communist dictatorship." But as almost everyone would later agree. Vietnam was to be unified under a government to be elected in 1956. but Kennedy declared that "neither the United States nor Free Vietnam [was] ever going to be a party to an election obviously stacked and subverted in advance" by the Communists of the North and their agents To Kennedy. "I'm not the village idiot. Kennedy said. America's stake in Vietnam was "a very selfish one" in the sense that "American lives and American dollars" would inevitably . political anarchy. a test of democracy in Asia. According to the Geneva agreements. he would have been forced to back away. P. triumphantly declared that he was bringing with him "peace in our time. "I know Hitler was an Austrian and Mao is a Chinese…But that is common between the two situations is . Burma." It was. To such people . Characterizing the United and allies in the South.

as defined in Moscow. President Truman declared that "the attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that 4 Communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war. 22-23) The answer was unclear. the famous article by the then Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff." This the Soviet Union. P. then. It seems unlikely that Acheson. X"). Why We Were in Vietnam. under the pseudonym "Mr. and the North Koreans evidently all took as a signal that the forcible extension of Communist rule to the South would not be met by the application of American counterforce. Kennan's boss. it was going even further in practice. "The main element. patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points. Only two days after the outbreak of the war. at spanos: vietnam good Containment was necessary to prevent nuclear war with Russia Podhoretz. could only be read to imply that in principle at least containment was global in scope. . the most authoritative and highly articulated public statement of the assumptions behind containment. who as much as any one individual was the father of containment-"present. the Chinese.have to be expended if "the apparent security which has increasingly characterized that area I under the leadership of President Diem" were to be jeopardized. corresponding to the shifts and maneuvers of Soviet policy. Dean Acheson. But whether there was a misunderstanding here or a lastminute change of mind. he wrote. seemed to suggest that the United States did not regard the independence of South Korea as a vital interest. On the one hand." l4 Not only was the United States now extending the principles of containment from Europe to Asia. Truman's Secretary of State. "is the support and promotion of Soviet power. "of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term." said Kennan. the invasion of South Korea on June 25. three years later. George F. 'bt the creationwreally intended to send such a signal." l 2 Yet on the other hand.” Nor did Kennan leave any doubt as to the relation between local Communist parties and the Soviet Union: the duty of "all good Communists" everywhere in the world." as he put it in the title of his memoirs. triggered an immediate American response. 82 – adviser to the US Information Agency and laureate of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – 1982 (Norman Podhoretz. 1950. Kennan (published in 1947 in Foreign Affairs.

Yet the story that Heidegger himself tells about human life. . but that his philosophical narrative facilitates its cultivation. In other words. “The Ethics and Politics of Narrative” Foucault and Heidegger: Critical Encounters] Heidegger was a Nazi and a rather unrepentant one at that. before thinking out all its inherent possibilities. pg 21] The standard story about Heidegger is that he accomplished his Kehre (turn) after becoming aware of how the original project of Being and Time leads hack to transcendental subjectivism: owing to the unreflected remainder of subjectivism (decisionism. except perhaps as an example of a lesson left unlearned. about human being in history. Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. . Heidegger let himself be seduced into his Nazi engagement. Nazism was not a political expression of the ‘nihilist. Heidegger’s Nazi engagement was a desperate attempt to avoid it. Some suggest Heidegger’s Nazism cannot be separated from his philosophy. . then. etc. . reduced to an empty gesture. I assert this despite insightful critiques of Heidegger that accuse him of ignoring and eliding phronesis as human potentiality. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. Heidegger’s ultimate failure is not that he remained stuck in the horizon of transcendental subjectivity. . the story of Heidegger’s life does not well illustrate an education in sound moral and political judgment. Heidegger’s Nazism can’t be separated from his philosophy Thiele 03[Leslie. who serves as its shepherd . is that Heidegger’s political biography pretty well tells the whole story. in short. however. the impossible intersection between the ‘decisionism’ of Heidegger I and his late ‘fatalism’ (the event of Being ‘takes place’ in man. . is not that Heidegger’s work explicitly celebrates prudence.). The argument. that indeed the former follows from the latter. . its exact opposite: a desperate attempt to avoid this potential. he became aware of how he had burnt his fingers’ with it.A2: Heidegger Heidegger’s alternative results in Nazism to avoid the problems of the world it presents Zizek 99[Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana. can do much to cultivate moral and political judgment. when. he cleared up the remainders of subjectivism and developed the idea of the historical-epochal character of Being itself. what Heidegger later dismissed as the remainder of the subjectivist transcendental approach in Being and Time is what he should have stuck to. One is tempted to invert this standard story: there is a kind of ~vanishing mediator’ between Heidegger I and Heidegger II. Far from being the ‘practical consequence’ of this radicalized subjectivity. My argument. each time creating something of an academic row. To be sure. a position of radicalized subjectivity coinciding with its opposite that is. This position has been rearticulated periodically since the end of the Second World War. rather.). . but that he abandoned this horizon all too quickly. demoniac potential of modern subjectivity’ but.

but to doubt that one might better sustain inquiry. Luddites at best. a precarious balance may be lost. is grounded in the imperative of endless inquiry.. But they are known in ways that have considerable social and Heidegger and Foucault maintain[s] that there is no legitimate basis for the radical skeptic's conviction that knowledge is impossible or unworthy of pursuit. Foucault is upfront about his rejection of ethical and political theories and ideals. terrorists at worst. are the dangerous consequences of losing one's balance. The temptation for Heidegger to identify himself as this intellectual messiah and to attach himself to an authoritarian social and political movement capable of sustaining cultural renewal proved irresistible. Foucault is said to undercut the impetus to struggle."" Both states of mind and their corresponding patterns of behavior relieve the vertigo of political philosophical inquiry. Cynicism or nihilism become the only alternatives for those who spurn all ethical and political foundations."!" One might worry whether action is meant to take the place of thought. Hopelessness accompanies lost innocence. Yet it proceeds with a suspicious eye.A2: Heidegger Heidegger’s alternative can never yield positive change – it tips the balances toward dogmatic authoritarianism Thiele 03[Leslie. and apoliticism. on the one side. at times leaving his readers hopeless and cynical. genealogies embody a sense of the historical limits that define our capacities for knowing and believing. in contrast. The point for Heidegger and Foucault is to inquire not in order to sustain doubt. Falling to one side leaves one mired in apathy. This results when skeptical inquiry degenerates into a radical skepticism. “The Ethics and Politics of Narrative” Foucault and Heidegger: Critical Encounters] The pursuit of knowledge continues unabated for the skeptic. consists merely in an "addiction to doubt. which invariably demand commitment (based on tentatively embraced knowledge). This sort of skepticism. Heidegger's historicization of metaphysics led him to believe that a new philosophic epoch was about to be inaugurated. at times egging them on to an irresponsible monkeywrenching. If Foucault Heidegger obviously stumbled off it." Foucault stipulates. Falling to the other side of the tightrope leaves one mired in dogmatic belief or blind activism. but at a prohibitive cost. If vertigo is experienced. Charles Scott describes Foucault's efforts in this regard: "Far from the skepticism that argues that nothing is really knowable . an addictive doubt that denies the value of (the search for) knowledge and undermines the engagements of collective life. and political authority. Authoritarian ideologies come to serve as stable foundations. It implicitly called for a philosophical Fuehrer who could put an end to two millennia of ontological forgetting. the Foucauldian flight from the ubiquitous powers of normalization undermines any defensible normative position. Apathy. This need for theory is still part of the system we reject. . It has been argued that Foucault did not so much walk the tightrope of political philosophy as straddle it. Yet the danger remains that Foucault's "hyperactive" tool-kit users will be unprincipled activists. Heidegger states. Foucault provides no overarching theoretical vision. In either case. For some. on the other. In the 1930S. There are inherent limitations toand a price to pay for-the pursuit of knowledge. "I think that to imagine another system is to extend our participation in the present system. Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. At the same time. Heidegger enclosed himself within an authoritarian system of thought grounded in ontological reifications of a "folk" and its history."? The skeptical nature of political philosophical thought. Some argue that Heidegger's prerogative for political philosophizing was wholly undermined by his infatuation with folk destiny.. salvational gods. Things are known. "Reject theory and all forms of general discourse. cynicism. Doing political philosophy of this sort might be likened to walking on a tightrope. By refusing to paint a picture of a better future. Indeed. Others focus on Foucault's development of a "tool kit" whose contents are to be employed to deconstruct the apparatuses of modern power. These cultural costs. cynicism. or a reactive iconoclasm leads to irresponsible defiance. and apoliticism. 12 occasionally straddles the tightrope of political philosophy. inquiry is tempered with a sensibility of the ethico-political costs of any "knowledge" that is gained. Whether Heidegger ever fully recovered his balance has been the topic of much discussion. and dogmatic authoritarianism or reactive iconoclasm.

compassion. Heidegger and Foucault are often castigated as ethico-political dead-ends. is frequently identified as proof positive that he has little. Heidegger's and Foucault's critics suggest that both thinkers undermine the foundations of the practical wisdom needed to ethically and politically navigate late modernity. Heidegger's embrace of Nazism. as displayed in his discussions of popular justice with Maoists. if anything. Foucault stripped from us all reason for resistance to unjust power and all hope of legitimating alternative ethico-political institutions.' My intent in this chapter is neither to focus on the complementarity of these visions. and political practicalities. Heidegger remained blind to human sufferings. “The Ethics and Politics of Narrative” Foucault and Heidegger: Critical Encounters] The complementarity of Heidegger's and Foucault's accounts of modern demons and saving graces should not be too surprising. The standard charge is that his highly abstract form of philosophizing. and selves. moral and political hole. From his philosophical heights.? As such. critics charge. Critics argue that Heidegger's statements and actions endorsing and defending Nazi authoritarianism and Foucault's radical anarchism. . though ideologically relocated. The sticky. Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. court similar dangers. it is suggested. In a Foucauldian world of panoptic power that shapes wants. They are criticized for their unwillingness or inability to supply the grounds for sound moral and political judgment. I attempt to make a claim for what at first blush might appear a lost cause. nor to outline the striking philosophical and political differences that remain in Heidegger's and Foucault's work. one would have no justification for fighting and nothing worth fighting for. Those who embrace his philosophy. He immunized himself against the moral sensitivity. ethical imperatives. arguably the greatest philosopher and the greatest social and political theorist of the twentieth century remain ungrounded ethically and divorced from political responsibility. Despite their originality and intellectual brilliance. Despite the brilliance and originality of their thought.A2: Heidegger The alternative will destroy ethics and only cause suffering Thiele 03[Leslie. needs. Genealogical studies left Foucault convinced of the ubiquity of the disciplinary matrix. Rather. it is held that Foucault dug himself into an equally deep. and depreciation of "das Man" undermines moral principle and political responsibility. and prudence that might have dissuaded him from endorsing and identifying with a brutal regime. In like fashion.' In sum. demonstrate that neither thinker is capable of supplying us with the resources for sound moral and political judgment. in particular. critics warn. critics worry. There would be no final liberation. to contribute to the ethico-political domain. Foucault's indebtedness to and fascination with Heidegger is well documented. empyrean ontological vantage point. normalizing webs of power were inescapable and a "hermeneutics of suspicion" quashed any hope of gaining the ethical and political high ground.

No. However. The unpotability of many inland waters and collapse of native fish populations because of eutrophication and salinity dramatically signals the unsustainability of past and present agriculture practices in southern Australia (State of Environment Advisory Council. 5. Rather than attempting to quash these stories. I suggest that the most basic goal of land management should be to minimize the rate of species extinction.. 2001 Journal of Biogeography. practitioners of environmental history must accept that their studies are politically charged and that their findings are bounded by great uncertainty.M. It is inevitable that conflicting interpretations of essentially the same data will arise because authors have different value systems. in degraded landscapes.J.generalize in order to make psychologically saris’ing stories. p. the widespread decline of granivorous bird species (Franklin.) CONCLUSION The description and explanation of environmental change is of critical importance for land management and the conservation of biodiversiry. In this regard a historical perspective provides . Future Eating and Country Keeping:what role has environmental history in the management of biodiversity?JSTOR) Land managers can use the enormous complexity of landscape change and the absence of clear goals as an excuse not to act.T. Sin. (Bowman & Panton. in the long term they will be replaced by new stories to accommodate changing knowledge and value systems. For example. Regardless of the ideological struggles amongst different value systems. Isn’t that Darwin’s law? . such as potable water.A2: Heidegger In the context of the environment it is impossible to do nothing – the environment is dynamic and sustainable strategies for dealing with its changes must be developed Bowman ‘01 (D. I suggest it is more productive for ecologists to harness them to justify subsequent enquiry and to bolster land management interventions.S. Australia. In any case. But this strategy ignores a basic lesson from environmental history that it is impossible to ‘do nothing’ in dynamic systems. Baker & HG. Dovers (2000. 1999) and the population crash of the endemic conifer (lslli:ris sn:rarroprca R. Many of these tensions will he most apparent in popular works that have a tendency to gloss-over uncertainties and over. Some stories can be so powerhil that they assume a life of their own. Although in the short term dogmatically interpreted stories can stifle public land management debates and frustrate the incorporation of new research findings. Vol 28. 1993) is clear evidence that northern Australian tropical savamsas are undergoing rapid evolutionary adjustment in response to ecological changes initiated by European colonization. 1996. just as traditional ecological knowledge enables indigenous people to adapt to particular environments I am confidetit that appropriate stories will he continually rehned to bolster ecologically sustainable management of modern landscapes. particularly in largely intact landscapes and to maintain or restore ecosystem services.in important context to detect marked declines in species populations and ecosystem function. on a practical level the rigid application of any single view across the diversity of landscapes is doomed to failure. X) sensibly advises scientists and historians that they should enter debates about environmental history with their ‘eyes wide open and other parts of their anatomy well covered’. Northern Territory University. eventually natural selection will see the triumph and ecological ‘fit’ stories over ecological flawed ones.

physis somehow means both the manifesting (Being) of beings within the clearing. Tulane. to hold one’s breath while waiting for widespread acceptance of postmodern cosmologies and environmentalisms.34 Critics charge that by virtually equating them. Heidegger never adequately reconciles these two aspects of physis. ecosystems. It would be unwise . Eco-Phenomenology: Back to the Earth Itself) Philosophers have not yet agreed whether one can successfully identify and defend any property— ontical or ontological—which would require us to accord "inherent worth" even to humans. In my view. not to mention the ecosystems. Heidegger ends up in a kind of "ontological aestheticism. and the process whereby an organism unfolds its own structure in the life-process. a great deal can be accomplished on environmental fronts with the relatively anthropocentric and modernist (free market and regulatory) approaches that appeal to the large majority of Americans and Europeans. 2K4 (Michael E. calls into question such crucial environmental concepts as wilderness.A2: Hedegger Even philosophers cant agree with your alt – they cant decide on whether the ontological requires us to believe in inherent values ZIMMERMAN 2K2 (Michael E. The same critical buzz saw that undermines modernity’s anthropocentric institutions. much less to animals and plants.. will integrate the hermeneutics of suspicion. and rivers regarded as so worthy by many environmentalists. according to which nature is merely a social construct arising through human language. But for him. As Nietzsche pointed out. the shortcomings of which are conveniently-ignored. however. the noble achievements of modernity. the kind that skillfullypromote the well-being of all human and non-human life. . contend that postmodern theory affirms a subtle kind of anthropocentrism." which celebrates the beauty of the self-manifesting of beings at the expense of their merely "ontical" characteristics. and practices. however. North American history during the past few centuries shows that people are often more focused on improving their economic status than they are on caring for the natural environment.35 Don’t hole your breath for their Alt – in the meantime do the plan Zimmerman 2004. however. culture. Heidegger's brief accounts of the "dignity" of living beings usually focus on their Being as physis. Pf Philosophy. This fact. Hence. mountains. and even nature. and institutions. they will prove attractive primarily to some members of educated elites in developed societies. A constructive postmodern theory. contemporary cosmology. Nature Revisited: New Essays in Environmental Philosophy. the critique of foundationalism.. environmentalists often Yet. practices. should not be a source of discouragement. which invites naïve celebration of supposedly eco-friendly premodern societies. In the meantime. At first. It may be more difficult to environmentalism to those in premodern societies or in societies that are in the process of adopting their own versions of modern concepts. edited by Bruce Foltz) environmentalists often adopt uncritically postmodern theory’s totalizing critique of modernity. and empirically-grounded spiritual insights in a way that contribute to more sophisticated environmentalisms. moreover. the work of philosophers is often untimely. as well as the habitats that sustain them.

in his capacity as rector Heidegger faithfully executed these laws." observes Husserl." But ultimately "these people [the Nazis] were far too limited in their thinking. native teachers and educators. to whom he owed so much. a retrospectively contrived psychological prophylaxis against his own enthusiastic support for the regime.'" As the rector of Freiburg University." he claimed. Heidegger had already complained that Germany was faced with a stark alternative: "the choice between sustaining our German intellectual life through a renewed infusion of genuine. Heidegger's own narrative was simply delusory. or . from the concept of "historicity" (which stressed the importance of authentic historical commitment) in Being and Time. Heidegger’s Children." In Heidegger's estimation. it derived. which had affected the septuagenarian phenomenologist so adversely." which effectively banned Jews from all walks of government service. Fortunately. Wolin. Pathetically." for which the Germans bore no special responsibility. the German dictatorship (which he never renounced per se)-was merely a monumental instance of the "forgetting of Being. Heidegger sent a telltale telegram to Hitler expressing solidarity with recent Gleichschaltung legislation. Moreover. Heidegger was left to replay in his own mind the way things might have been had Hitler (instead of party hacks) heeded the call of Being as relayed by Heidegger himself. he confided to Lowith that his 'partisanship for National Socialism lay in the essence of his philosophy". Husserl complained bitterly in a letter to a former student about Heidegger's growing anti-Semitism: "In recent years [he] has allowed his anti-Semitism to come increasingly to the fore. P." he continued (referring to Heidegger's joining the Nazi Party as well as the recent university ban on Jews). He continued to open his classes with the so-called "German greeting" of "Heil Hitler!" In 1936. "The events of the last few weeks. Heidegger remained a dues-paying member of the Nazi Party until the regime's bitter end. "have struck at the deepest roots of my existence. from the philosophy faculty library. In Heidegger's view."'" In 1929. including university life. Heidegger claimed that Nazism was at the heart of his philosophy and he was personally. it had come close to mastering the vexatious "relationship between planetary technology and modern man. for one shining moment. this action. There were instances of political denunciation and personal betrayal. the world was spared the outcome of this particular thought experiment. P. In the eyes of Hannah Arendt. 10-11) In May 1933. even though it meant banning Husserl."" At the time. Heidegger’s Children.at heidegger: nazi Heidegger’s philosophy is Nazism—the rejection of technology and re-connection with Being offered by National Socialism fit with his arguments. 32) To say that Arendt's explanation was the more successful. 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin. Nazism might thereby have realized its genuine historical potential. In many respects. the extermination camps. he went so far as to insist that German fascism was unique among Western political movements in that. he claimed. is hardly controversial. Heidegger was charged with enforcing the anti-Semitic clauses of the so-called "Law for the Preservation of a Permanent Civil Service. 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin. Wolin. made Heidegger a "potential murderer. deeply anti-Semitic. therein lay the "inner truth and greatness of National Socialism. everything that came to pass-the war. After the war. Despite his later disclaimers. even in his dealings with his groups of devoted Jewish students. despite its flaws.

" "thrownness. nonsensical to speak of an "authentic Dasein" that was unrealized. this strategy will not wash for several reasons.. This conclusion follows of necessity from the nature of the category of authenticity itself: it would be Authenticity requires that ontic or practical choices and involvements-concrete decisions."' at heidegger: nazi Heidegger’s Nazism is inexcusable – his own philosophy stressed that thought can’t be divorced from action. that is. a fact that is evident above all in the "pragmatic" point of departure of the analytic of Dasein: "Being-in." and a "community. To begin with." coupled with the prejudicial nature of Heidegger's conservative revolutionary degradation of the modern life-world. and political commitmentsbecome an essential feature of an authentic existence. The category of authenticity demands that the ontological structures of Being and Time receive practical or ontic fulfillment. 90 . proves inimical to acts of heroic bravado-decisionism shows itself to be distinctly nihilistic vis-a-vis the totality of inherited ethical paradigms. neither is it entirely separable therefrom.the-world" rather than the Cartesian "thinking substance. the realization of these categorial determinations in actual. what is perhaps the central category of Heidegger's existential ontology-the category of "authenticity''.abandoning it once and for all to growing Jewish influence [Verjudung]-in both the wider and narrow sense. In its rejection of "moral convention-which qua convention. 65) The consequences of this decisionistic "ethical vacuum. The Politics of Being. The summons toward an "authentic historical destiny" enunciated in Being and Time was thus provided with an ominously appropriate response by Germany's National Revolution. engagements." More importantly. much of Being and Time is concerned with overcoming the conventional philosophical division between theoretical and practical reason. the implicit political theory of Being and Time-and in this respect. suggests an undeniable theoretical cogency behind Heidegger's ignominious life-choice of 1933. 90 . P. thereby suggesting that Heidegger's Nazism was an unessential aberration in the hope of exempting the philosophy from political taint. 33-34) Although an understanding of Heidegger's political thought should in no way be reduced to the concrete political choices made by the philosopher in the 1930s. Being and Time aims at delineating the essential.g. existential determinants of human Being-in-the-world. Wolin. Heidegger’s Nazism was a logical consequence of his refusal of ethics. "care.118F or this reason.1990 (Richard Wolin." a "destiny." ." "Being-toward-death") as Existenzialien. The Politics of Being. traditional philosophical separation between thought and action. And while the strategy of his apologists has been to dissociate the philosophy from the empirical person. though. As a work of fundamental ontology.automatically precludes such a facile separation between philosophical outlook and concrete life-choices. In truth. it proves a classical instance of the German conservative-authoritarian mentality of the period-remains devoid of fundamental "liberal convictions" that might have served as an ethicopolitical bulwark against the enticement of fascism. Freed of such bourgeois qualms. Wolin. The latter. concrete life contexts is essential to the coherence of the Heideggerian project. was viewed by Heidegger as 'the ontic fulfillment of the categorical demands of "historicity": it was Heidegger's own choice of a "hero. P. Heidegger refers to these structures (e. the National Socialist movement presented itself as a plausible material "filling" for the empty vessel of authentic decision and its categorical demand for existentiell-historical content.1990 (Richard Wolin." "fallenness. Heidegger's philosophy itself would seem to rule out the artificial.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . existing in a state of mere potentiality.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . in effect.

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01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin. and the rule of law and was in the process of consolidating one of the most brutal dictatorships of all time. because he was a radical petty bourgeois himself. and who. that is. 184-185) What is troubling about Heidegger's standpoint is not that he judges but the basis on which he distinguishes." "peasant wars. P. That the "Volk" that. one could reverse the terms and claim that Germany of the 1930s suffered from an excess of historicity. the more one sees that one of its guiding leitmotifs is a refashioning of Western metaphysics in keeping with the demands of the Germanic Dasein. Heidegger "failed to notice the destructive radicalism of the whole [Nazi] movement and the petty bourgeois character of all its 'strength-through-joy' institutions. despite his manifest brilliance. Wolin. A longtime critic of the senescence and disorientation of German university life. Wolin. Heidegger's difficulties derive from his decision to base ethical and political judgments on factical rather than normative terms. 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin.*6A s Lijwith remarked. the value of labor camps as a vehicle of ideological reeducation for politically reticent scholars could hardly be overestimated. Conversely. found much he could agree with in Nazism's dismantling of the old estates and commitment to upward social mobility.at heidegger: nazi Heidegger’s Dasein was easily translated into a German Dasein and an excuse for nationalism. history's gray zones fade from view. possessed "historicity" in the greatest abundance-the Germans-had as of 1934 abolished political pluralism. cannot help but raise additional doubts about the "existential" grounds of Heidegger's discernment. . whose simplicity and lack of sophistication he revered. was denied a university chair until the age of thirty-nine. Heidegger’s Children. the historical events and peoples that Heidegger slights could readily be incorporated into progressive historical narratives. Here." That he fails to perceive these prospects is attributable to his renunciation of "cosmopolitan history" and his concomitant embrace of a philosophically embellished version of German particularism or socalled Sondenveg. who hailed from the provincial lower classes. The example of the airplane that brings the Fuhrer to the Jemeinigkeit or concrete particularity of German Existenz Mussolini" is merely a paradigmatic instance of a more general trend. from . From an epistemological standpoint. Heidegger’s Children." In his view. Heidegger thought that labor camps could be used to attack modernity. P. he was of the opinion that the labor camps would serve to reintegrate knowledge with the life of the German Volk. in Heidegger's view. "Capitalism." He consistently rejects the "universals" that in the Western tradition occupied a position of preeminence in favor of ethnocentric notions derived from the annals of Germanic Being-in-the-world."*' Heidegger. His lock-step identification with the "German ideology" risks settling in advance all questions of relative historical merit. 191) Heidegger's concern with the importance of labor in the new Reich was a matter of philosophical as well as political conviction. The more one reconsiders Heidegger's philosophy of the 1930s." "Negroes"-once the world has been neatly divided into "historical" and "unhistorical" peoples and events. civil liberties.

when he thus returns to the antihumanist idea of a traditional code (if only that of the history of Being). When. 90 – Professor of Political Science at the Sorbonne and Professor of Philosophy at Nantes – 1990 (Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut. and his fall makes possible the return of the nationalistic myth and the fanatical hatred of modernity. it was in the name of this transcendence and thus because he was still a humanist that Heidegger could criticize the biologizing reifications of Nazi anti-Semitism. it is very much in the name of humanism thus understood. that a criticism of the racist imaenation (in the Lacanian sense) is possible. nor because of his deliberations about authenticity and the distinguishing property of man. Ferry and Renaut. Franklin Philip. P. one thing is still certain. Heidegger makes the destiny of Being the destiny of man. Heidegger is not close to Nazism because he remained a prisoner of humanism. in the name of that strictly human capacity to wrench oneself free of natural determinations. and on the contrary. which. Heidegger and Modernity. it will be readily agreed. More generally. he founders in inauthenticity. 107-108) Whatever is true of this debate. For Heidegger. here remains open. the distinguishing property of man is always transcendence. however. trans.at heidegger: humanism key to stop nazism Their K has it backwards—ethical humanism is key to criticizing Nazism. .

In part.1990 (Richard Wolin.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . The Politics of Being. When the question is posed as to whence the call emanates. Heidegger seems to treat the nebulousness of the call as a virtue. which should in principle bear no responsibility for supplying "existentiell" particulars. It is "we" who must decide. the discussion of the "call of conscience" is disappointingly vague. it is not up to fundamental ontology to make our choices for us.at heidegger: ethics too vague Heidegger’s “call of conscience” is hopelessly vague. P. For were specific "ontic" directives provided. Indeed. or how it might be recognized.Being. the specific content of the call." Nevertheless. 40) In the thought of Heidegger. this evasiveness is an honest reflection of the requirements of existential analysis. Yet. in accordance with what Heidegger is fond of calling our "ownmost potentiality-for. . it is the category of the "call of conscience" (Ruf des Gewissens) that paves the way for authentic decision or Entschlossenheit. thereby elevating Dasein above the fallenness of the They. the whole question of the "decision" at issue-the Wozu of resolve-would become superfluous. 90 . In a very real sense. these caveats should by no means exonerate existential analysis from the charge of vacuity or insufficient concreteness. we are provided with only the most roundabout and tenuous hints. Wolin.

a world. . Wolin. In point of fact. the nature of truth is conceptualized in terms of the dialectic of concealment and unconcealment that occurs within the phenomenological horizon that has been opened up by a work.at heidegger: unconcealment bad The alternative of treating truth as unconcealment makes it impossible to judge true from false—this is the sort of error that allowed Hitler to join the Nazis. Heidegger seems at first to be claiming that unconcealment is merely an ontological precondition of truth-which is. etc. to distinguish a true from an untrue act of unconcealment. error (Irrnis) is paradoxically deemed a mode of unconcealment that is valid in its own right and thus "equiprimordial" with truth. but in a supramundane or superior mode of givenness?* As a result of his obsession with providing a "topography" of truth-with defining the clearing or openness as a sufficient condition for the appearance of truth as "untruth"-to the wholesale exclusion of all traditional predicative considerations. or. Instead. In the end. On the one hand." In this respect. as far as it goes. but "disclosed" or "unveiled. could have been predicated on this exemplary mode of disclosure. worse still. For in both cases. in turn. which is radicalized in the "Turn. Instead. his thoroughgoing antisubjectivism." But no such distinction between genuine and non-genuine unveiling is forthcoming in his work." "beings in their immediacy. P. however minimal. But no such claim is made.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . positivistic affirmation of "givenness." Yet. truth resides not in the "givenness" of beings as such. Or again. however. once the lines between truth and error become blurred. A true unconcealment would thus unveil a being "essentially" or as it is "in itself. 90 . the distinction between authentic and inauthentic unveiling essentially evaporates: both are victimized by error in an unspecifiable way. Heidegger might have claimed that unconcealment presents a type of privileged or exemplary disclosure of beings. certainly a plausible and valuable insight. and judgments of truth. all we are left with is an unexalted. to "values"). 121-122) Ultimately Heidegger's theory of truth succumbs to the same problem of criterionlessness that was at issue in the decisionistic approach to human action in Being and Time. Heidegger could conceivably redeem his theory of truth by an attempt.1990 (Richard Wolin. Heidegger lays himself open to extreme judgmental incapacities." "disclosure as such." results in a type of ineffectual positivism: objects (beings) are no longer to be "judged" (for this would be to subject them to subjective criteria. And it was this philosophically induced lack of discernment that would lead to his fatal misapprehension of the intellectual as well as the political essence of National Socialism. Heidegger's theory of Seinsgeschichte regresses behind both the Husserlian and the ancient Greek conceptions of truth. The Politics of Being.

in the later Heidegger. it is the "destiny of Being." whose "presencing" proves to be the determinative." For his post-Kehre reformulation of the relation between Being and Dasein rebels so fervently against the voluntarist dimension of his own earlier thinking that the very concept of "meaningful human action" is seemingly rendered null and void. For the very possibility of a meaningful correlation between human practice and its desired ends has been disqualified in advance: it is not we who are ultimately responsible for the outcome of our actions (for "the advent of beings"). Wolin.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . Thus. Like a deus absconditus. Heidegger is emphatically clear: "The history of Being-and not the decisions of man himself-"underlies and determines every situation et condition humaine.' " . Jaspers' verdict concerning Heidegger's inability to grasp the nature of human freedom-"Heidegger doesn't know what freedom is"-becomes readily intelligible. Being "essences" or "comes to presence" in ways that are inscrutable to the human understanding. metaontological determination. ultimate instance for events in the lowly world of human affairs. 147) As we suggested earlier. 153) Consequently. the major problem with Heidegger's later philosophy is that the doctrine of Being. The Politics of Being. Being assumes the character of an omnipotent primal force.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center ." all the worldly events we experience undergo a prior. a "first unmoved mover. rather. in that it is sometimes present and sometimes absent. P.1990 (Richard Wolin. it can only be 'evoked. On this point. can never be explained like a being in existence. 90 . 90 . the thought of the later Heidegger appears at times to be a summary justification of human passivity and inaction (Gelassenheit)-so prejudicially is the balance between Sein and Mensch struck in favor of the former term. in its oppressive omnipotence. If the early Heidegger attempted to rally Dasein to "decisiveness" (Entschlossenheit). For according to the theory of the "destining of Being. P." But if this description of the human condition is correct. Wolin. the campaign against practical reason develops along a two-fold front: not only is the concept of Being grossly inflated. and the notion of persons as potentially autonomous actors becomes equally incoherent. then human action is essentially unfree.at heidegger: paralysis Heidegger’s over determined Being so strongly that free will is impossible. the essential thinking of the later Heidegger promotes an "eclipse of practical reason. Emphasis on releasement results in paralyzing passivity. causes the conceptual space in which freedom can be meaningfully thought to all but disappear. other-wordly. instead. The Politics of Being. In light of this fact. In its other-worldly supremacy. this force both withdraws from the tribunal of human reason and defies the meager capacities of human description: "A Being that not only surpasses all beings-and thus all men-but which like an unknown God rests and 'essences' in its own truth. In the later writings.1990 (Richard Wolin. but the powers of human reason and will are correspondingly devalued.

The Greeks could solve this potential danger via the institution of direct democracy: by virtue of this medium. And as we will soon see. the concept of a Fiihrerstaat is unproblematical provided there be "rulers alone. 90 . Wolin. 115-116) There are many dangers lurking in the statist conception of politics advanced by Heidegger in the preceding citation. The Politics of Being.” Wolin." That is. religious) disappears: they are gleichgeschaltet or immediately subsumed within the political sphere. The specifically political danger of this theory of the polis/state is that it is latently totalitarian: when the state-and the "destiny of a historical Volk" that is its raison d'ttre-are accorded unchallenged ontological primacy as "the work for the works. it becomes a Fiihrerstaat. however. but then really rulers. we in effect do them a service by ruling them from above. Instead. Heidegger's political thought moves precariously in the direction of the "Fuhrerprinzip" or "leadership principle. . a strategem drawn from Platonic political philosophy: since the majority of men and women are incapable of ruling themselves insofar as they are driven by the base part of their souls to seek after inferior satisfactions and amusements. 90 . Heidegger develops a theory of world-historical "leader-creators" in order to ground his partisanship for the Fiihrerprinzip philosophically. Indeed.1990 (Richard Wolin. P.77T o date. their only hope for "redemption" lies in the imposition of a "higher spiritual mission" from above. P. the opposite is true: since his twentieth century polis/ state is integrally tied to the Fiihrerprinzip. for Heidegger. in keeping with a characteristic antimodern bias. the modern conception of popular sovereignty becomes a sheer non sequitur: for those who dwell in the public sphere of everydayness are viewed as essentially incapable of self-rule. On the basis of the philosophical anthropology outlined by Heidegger.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . In this way. cultural. this was the explicit political conclusion drawn by Heidegger in 1933. the rulers must be "authentic" and not imposters. he reiterates.1990 (Richard Wolin.6 As the remarks just cited suggest. in which political space shrivels up into the person of the Fuhrer and his sycophantic entourage. a new form of political tyranny. The Politics of Being. the only viable political philosophy that follows from this standpoint would be brazenly elitist: since the majority of citizens remain incapable of leading meaningful lives when left to their own devices. But in Heidegger's contemporary pan-Germanic "repetition" of the ancient polis. 46) The political philosophical implications of this theory are as unequivocal as they are distasteful to a democratic sensibility." the autonomy and integrity of the other spheres of life (social. political space was opened up to its maximum extent. there has never been a satisfactory answer to the question Marx poses concerning such theories of educational dictatorship: "Who shall educate the educator?” The desire for “authentic” leaders justifies totalitarianism.at heidegger: authoritarian Heidegger’s philosophy rejects democracy and justifies domination of those deemed “inauthentic." In essence.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center .

For how can the authenticity of a Dasein that is essentially "non -relational" ever attain realization in the sphere of ontic life? . transcendental ego: it suffers from an impoverishment of world-relations-a fact clearly evinced in Heidegger's self-defeating celebration of the "non-relational" character of authentic Dasein cited above.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . At this point. For on the basis of his phenomenological descriptions.1990 (Richard Wolin. Wolin. one might raise against Heidegger's social ontology the same charge he levels against Husserl's theory of the pure. Here. P. The Politics of Being. we see that Heidegger's pessimistic philosophical anthropology and his "joyless" social ontology ultimately join forces. 49-50) Heidegger's characterization of everydayness is so disproportionately negative that we are seemingly left with no immanent prospects for realizing our authentic natures in the domain of ontic life as such. it would seem that the ontic sphere in general"worldliness" in its entirety-has been "colonized" by the They. 90 . The result is a radical devaluation of the life-world.at heidegger: no value to life Heidegger’s theory reduces the value to life—he forces joyless disconnection from the real world. that delicate substratum of everyday human sociation which existential phenomenology claims to redeem.

" "the remembrance of Being.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . 90 . is the most stiff-necked adversary of thought" we cannot help but conclude that in his later work. out of the ravages of postwar Europe. Wolin. This verdict gives cause for dismay.57 . heaven and earth) becomes the mystified categorial scheme around which his later thinking revolved.1990 (Richard Wolin. The notion that analogous counterenlightenment attitudes and doctrines might have played a key role in the spiritual preparation for the German catastrophe is a thought that has obviously never crossed his mind. 152) And thus. Heidegger himself has become an even greater "stiff-necked" advocate of counterenlightenment. glorified for centuries." and "the mirror-play of the four-fold" (gods and mortals. P. The Politics of Being. Heidegger has only sunk more deeply into the bog of Logosvergessenheit. for it suggests that the philosopher has drawn precisely the wrong conclusions from the political events of 1933-1945: instead of participating in the attempt to forge. His thought seeks refuge in the recrudescence of myth: "openness for the mystery. if upon turning to the text of a 1953 lecture we find the observation: "Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason. a new conception of reason and truth.at heidegger: no truth = nazism Critique of the enlightenment justified Nazism.

1990 (Richard Wolin. And thus despite Heidegger's real insight into limitations of Dilthey's historicism. P. The conventional tension between existentia and essentia stands behind the difference between everyday (factical) and 'authentic historical existence. In truth. The Politics of Being. For there the sphere of ontic life seemed degraded a priori as a result of its monopolization by the "They" and its concomitant inauthentic modalities. the "ontology of Being and Time is still bound to the metaphysics that it rejects.' . As a result.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center . 164) Heidegger's inability to conceptualize the sociohistorical determinants and character of modern technology raises the oft-discussed question of the "pseudo-concreteness of his philosophy". 90 . Nowhere was this problem better illustrated than in the case of the category of historicity. the inflexible elevation of ontology above the ontic plane virtually closes off the conceptual space wherein real history might be thought.at heidegger: paralysis Heidegger is unable to translate ontological insights into the real world. both the desirability and possibility of effecting the transition from the metalevel of ontology to the "factical" realm of ontic concretion seemed problematical from the outset. its apparent incapacity to fulfill its original phenomenological promise as a philosophy of "existential concretion." The problem was already evident in the tension between the ontological and ontic levels of analysis that dominated the existential analytic of Being and Time. Wolin. it can only appear as an afterthought: as the material demonstration of conclusions already reached by the categories of existential ontology. Consequently. that is.

167) Heidegger's theory of technology ultimately collapses under the weight of its own self-imposed conceptual limitations. what is needed is an expansion of reason's boundaries. the parameters of rationality have been prematurely restricted: formal or instrumental reason has attained de facto hegemony. For in modern life. the intrinsic shortcomings of his theoretical framework prevent him from entertaining the prospect that the problem of technological domination owes more to the dearth of reason in the modern world rather than an excess.only serve to confuse the problem at issue?7 That the forces of technology and industry follow an independent logic. The Politics of Being. practical reason-reflection on ends-has been effectively marginalized. not rejecting it. 90 . . Similarly. such that the autonomous logic of instrumental rationality is subordinated to a rational reflection on ends. Heidegger's incessant lamentations concerning the "will to will-the theoretical prism through which he views the modern project of human self-assertion in its entirety. Instead of the "overcoming" of reason recommended by Heidegger. And thus.at heidegger: calculations good Old flaws in calculative thought require expanding the reasoning process. P. Wolin.Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center .1990 (Richard Wolin.

An awareness of death's inevitability sharpens Dasein's worldly involvements and lcommitments. P. in Ernst Jiinger's provocative battle chronicles.at heidegger: dread of death bad Glorification of dreading death became an excuse for violence on the battlefield. the confrontation with death in war was elevated to ! the status of a supreme existential rite of passage. Dasein's commitment to temporality and worldliness must be radical and total. 163-164) One of the concepts from Being and Time that Marcuse viewed with suspicion was Beingtoward-death. Wolin. Although its importance has often been underplayed in the vast secondary literature on Being and Time. which emphasized the imperatives of "sacrifice" and the importance of Nietzsche's maxim. Yet. 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin. Heidegger's own political speeches on behalf of the regime are suffused with the rhetorical bombast characteristic of this idiom. authentic Dasein distinguishes itself by a willingness to confront the phenomenon of death unflinchingly. For example. this ethos. Being-toward-death proves a crucial way station on the road to authenticity. as Marcuse notes. Whereas everyday Dasein (the "they") systematically shuns and avoids confronting the predicament of human finitude. In the Storm of Steel and War as Inner Experience. . It is difficult to dissociate Heidegger's exaltation of Being-toward-death from this postwar cultural context. Since Existenz is inherently finite (there is no salvation or eternal life). "Have the courage to live dangerously. Ultimately. Heidegger's ontological characterization of death betrays a specific ontic context: the glorification of the "front experience" in Germany following World War I." found a home in the martial ethos of National Socialism. Heidegger’s Children.

P. Those who shield themselves from the political consequences might one day be confronted by the fact that no decision is still a decision that can have consequences.31) Once in a while the conceptual interplay of theory and praxis is put against this attempt. philosophical dimension is rejected.. whereas from the ecological point of view the so-called theoretical. LaDelle McWhorter. Heidegger and the Earth. Padrutt. 92 – Psychiatrist and President of the Daseinsanalyse Gesellschaft – 1992 (Hanspeter Padrutt.at heidegger: permutation Action and reflection on consequences of that action are compatible. a cybernetic worldview – that also has consequences. And those who believe that they need not bother about thinking fail to recognize that no philosophy is also a philosophy – e. .g.” ed. From the philosophical point of view the so-called practical or political dimension of the attempt is rejected. But deeper reflection and decisive action do not need to contradict each other. “Heidegger and Ecology.

but the source of things. and the significance of speech is in the deepest and final sense relative to silence. P. in the sense attributed to it by those who follow Heidegger’s distinction between the ontological and ontic. Rosen. is not. Therefore no reason can be given which would justify our falling into such desperate straits. or attempting t o dis-cover it. Being is not a construction. whereas Being. Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay. although there is equally no reason to keep silent. because abstractions are derived or constructed from concrete particulars. and so about nothing. It is to make things the source of Being. Being is not an abstraction.) Discourse on being is so abstract that it renders us silent—it is nihilistic paralysis. rather than call it "anything at all. P. ontological speech is also the speech of nothing: it is nothingness speaking about itself. . as such. To speak of this source as the sum of all properties common to things is to reduce the source of things to an abstraction derivative from things. things (and so ontic). since human speech is necessarily of. and in terms of. Ontologists of this type wish to talk about Being as distinct from beings. then there is no reason for what we say or for whether we speak at all. receiving. but the source of all possible constructions. Rosen. 45-46) I have been arguing that ontological speech. Ontology is speech about no thing.Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy at Boston University – 1969 (Stanley Rosen. diverts our attention away from Being: seduction by ontic speech thus makes fundamental ontology impossible. Being is not a thing. other than the mere fact. If this is a defect of speech. The result is absurdism or nihilism. 69 .at heidegger: being meaningless Discussions of Being are meaningless—the concept is too abstract to be useful." we would be better advised to say that Being is nothing. an abstraction is still itself a particular thing. hence not abstract but most concrete. Finally. But even further. or a gift from nothingness to man. 35) Being is not a thing (the ontologists say).Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy at Boston University – 1969 (Stanley Rosen. Every fundamental ontological speech of the type in question is not just self-refuting but self-canceling. an absurd reversal of the truth! Speech about things is ontic speech and. 69 . is in fact silence. as the origin or ground of particulars. whose own ontic speech obscures the gift even in the act of acknowledging. Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay. and speech will simply not permit this.

Heidegger and Modernity. just as. P. in the name of a higher authority. as we have noted. the barbarism of the Soviet gulags with the depravities of a Western society whose extraordinary political. Now this is no mere matter of taste: anyone has the right to loathe rock concerts. Franklin Philip. . no one may-Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss. continues in some odd way to misfire because of its one-dimensionality. It is also clear. trans. of humanism. who lived in the United States.identify. did not make this mistake . even fixed up this way. like it or not. 87-88) From this viewpoint. that this criticism of technology as the global concretization of an idea of man as consciousness and will implies. it is first of all clear. on the strictly philosophical level. Nonetheless. and California. a deconstruction of democratic reamain son and hence. that Heidegger's thinking. it leads to the brutal inclusion of American liberalism in the same category with Stalinist totalitarianism. Disney World.A2: heidegger: link over simplified Heidegger makes it imposisbel to distinguish between democracy and totalitarianism. and cultural complexity allows areas of freedom that it would wholly unwarranted to judge a priori as mere fringes or remnants of a world in decline. Ferry and Renaut. in some sense. Just as. it leads to lumping the various facets of modem subjectivity together in a shapeless mass and to judging that the progression from Descartes to Kant to Nietzsche is linear and in fact inevitable. social. 90 – Professor of Political Science at the Sorbonne and Professor of Philosophy at Nantes – 1990 (Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut. on the political level. however.

Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. projected the opposite of progress. from the first. Their masterpiece was actually “intended to prepare the way for a positive notion of enlightenment. and this rationality with an increasingly seamless bureaucratic order. no room existed any longer for a concrete or effective political form of opposition: Horkheimer would thus ultimately embrace a quasi-religious “yearning for the totally other” while Adorno became interested in a form of aesthetic resistance grounded in “negative dialectics. however. This gave the book its power: Horkheimer and Adorno offered not simply the critique of some prior historical moment in time.” Nevertheless. however. or the fanatic. Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement. Horkheimer and Adorno even talked about writing a sequel that would have carried a title like “Rescuing the Enlightenment” (Rettung der Aufklarung). Thomas Jefferson. If the Gospel had cost 1. This made it possible to identify enlightenment not with progress. Enlightenment now received two connotations: its historical epoch was grounded in an anthropological understanding of civilization that. not only did they render critique independent of its philosophical foundations. historical epochs can generate an ethos. Their esoteric and academic style is a far cry from that of Enlightenment intellectuals who debated first principles in public.. Auschwitz. the philosophe always evidenced a “greater interest in the things of this world. Viewing instrumental rationality as equivalent with the rationality of domination. Even art and aesthetic tastes would become defined by a “culture industry”—intent only upon maximizing pro fits by seeking the lowest common denominator for its products. however. and who were preoccupied with reaching a general audience of educated readers: Lessing put the matter in the most radical form in what became a popular saying—”Write just as you speak and it will be beautiful”—while. The Enlightenment evidenced such an ethos and a peculiar stance toward reality with respect toward its transformation. 04 Stephen Eric Bronner. the blinkered empiricist. and the historical epoch known as the Enlightenment in particular. James Madison. Voltaire noted that “Twenty folio volumes will never make a revolution: it’s the small. Horkheimer and Adorno. Debates in highly specialized fields. Neither of them ever genuinely appreciated the democratic speculating about why it wasn’t. but its metaphysical subjectivism surrendered any systematic concern with social movements and political institutions. of both the means and the will to resist manipulation by totalitarian movements.5 This reclamation project was never completed. They feared being integrated by the culture industry. in fact. The subject . who employed satire and wit to demolish puffery and dogma. portable books at thirty sous that are dangerous. rather than any system of laws. and Rousseau—to argue clearly and with a political purpose.1’ Thus. Bronner. as the philistine bourgeois might like to believe. and what rhetoricians term “plain speech. from the standpoint of enlightenment itself: thus the title of the work. that manifested the commitment to justice. Everything thereby became subject to the calculation of costs and benefits. infamous. and turned freedom into the metaphysical-aesthetic preserve of the connoisseur. but of all human development.200 sesterces. in a letter written to D’Alembert in April of 1766. an existential stance toward reality. p. Horkheimer and Adorno believed that resistance against the incursions of the culture industry justified the extremely difficult. But it should not be forgotten that its authors were concerned with criticizing enlightenment generally. This does not imply some endorsement of anti-intellectualism. Making sense of this. under discussion should define the language in which it is discussed and the terms employed are valid insofar as they illuminate what cannot be said in a simpler way . and much time has been spent the logic of their argument ultimately left them with little positive to say. the growing appetite of curiosity and the growing restlessness of the unsatisfied mind—all these things form less a doctrine than a spirit. writing style for which they would become famous— or.A2: Dillon: calculations good Viewing calculative thought as equivalent to domination ensures total political paralysis. avoided political engagement. I believe. which will release it from entanglement in blind domination. They became increasingly incapable of appreciating the egalitarian impulses generated by the Enlightenment and the ability of its advocates—Ben Franklin. The reason. whether or not their “critical” enterprise was “dialectically” in keeping with the impulses of the past. is that inheritance of the Enlightenment and thus. the spirit of Enlightenment projected the radical quality of that commitment and a critique of the historical limitations with which even its best thinkers are always tainted. who introduced freelance writing. and what is still often called “the totally administered society. especially those of the natural sciences. Horkheimer and Adorno never really grasped that. or what might even be termed a “project” uniting the diverse participants in a broader intellectual trend or movement. 2004.” Their great work initiated a radical change in critical theory.” For their parts.”4 Later. obviously demand expertise and insisting that intellectuals must “reach the masses” has always been a questionable strategy. a greater confidence in man and his works and his reason. in contrast to the system builder. Thomas Paine. 3-5 “Instrumental reason” was seen as merging with what Marx termed the “commodity form” underpinning capitalist social relations. saw the matter differently. better. Empiricists may deny the existence of a “spirit of the times. its assumptions prevented them from articulating anything positive for the present or the future. Instrumental rationality was thus seen as stripping the supposedly “autonomous” individual. is impossible without recognizing what became a general stylistic commitment to clarity.”9 Appropriating the Enlightenment for modernity calls for reconnecting with the vernacular. but rather—unwittingly—with barbarism.”7 Just as Montesquieu believed it was the spirit of the laws.6 but also of any practical interest it might serve. communicability.” Such is the picture painted by Dialectic of Enlightenment. if not often opaque. the Christian religion would never have been established. envisioned by the philosophes.

the antihumanist humanism of Heidegger and the humanist antihumanism of Foucault and are not reducible to one. Bonaparte. The liberators of colonial America. The several humanisms – the civic. we exhibit a certain confidence in the processes of democratic change and a certain conservatism in our approach to power and the state. Vol 5. the revolutionary humanism that shook the world and the liberal humanism that sought to tame it. Separation of church and state and religious freedom will stand high among our priorities as will "pro-choice" and public schooling. its particular discursive poetics. We will be found defending peace and arguing for disarmament and opposing nuclear proliferation. With rare exceptions as in the "freedom marches" during the 1960's in the Humanists will be more likely to petition than to demonstrate. those whose complexions are not pink. Their embrace suffocates those whom it does not ignore. at least. to proclaim rather than to analyze. The first humanists scripted the tyranny of Borgias. The freedom to speak and write. to impose its own answer to the question of ‘which is to be master’. a sex. the Protestant humanism of sixteenth century northern Europe. and the prospect of a world in which they will be secured. will still exhibit confidence in schooling 3 and will reject the barricade as the way to get political reconstruction Humanism is inescapable – and giving up on it dooms the planet to extinction Davis 97 [Tony Proffessor of English at Bimignham. Not that the actual humanisms described here necessarily provide a model. the circuit of the human has excluded women. the problem of humanism remains. At the same time. it would be unwise simply to abandon the ground occupied by the historical humanisms. for whom they have been alien and oppressive. When pushed. children. http://www. like the Greek and Roman thinkers they emulated. and the romantic and positivistic humanisms through which the European bourgeoisies established their hegemony over it. if not by mobilizing collective resources of human understanding and responsibility of ‘enlightened self-interest’ even. Humanists will tend to be actively engaged in these and other causes. Our agenda will include population control and environmental protection. Meanwhile. has enlarged the bounds of human empire to the point of endangering the survival of the violated planet on which we live. least of all for those very numerous people. Jews. All humanisms. Bismarck. harnessed to an overweening rationality and an unbridled technological will to power. or even a useful history. its own problematic scansion of the human. the rationalistic humanism that attended at the revolutions of enlightened modernity. although our engagement will take characteristic form. Some. To our credit. But how. Medicis and Tudors. an inescapable horizon within which all attempts to think about the ways in which human being have. to lobby than to march. “Doing Good: Humanism and the Liberal Temptation”. have been imperial. fair housing and civil rights.humanismtoday. offer a grim warning. and Secrett Motions of Things’. though it is clear that the master narrative of transcendental Man has outlasted its usefulness. Dean of Humanist Institute and Director of Ethical Culture Schools. until now. can only be articulated in humanist terms. Humanism Today. nor indeed could that be. . some variety of humanism remains. or even to a single line or pattern. Later humanisms dreamed of freedom and celebrated Frederick II. At various times. We will attack censorship and fight for civil liberties. For one thing. can that danger be turned aside? It is almost impossible to think of a crime that has not been committed in the name of humanity. The several humanisms – the civic humanism of the quattrocento Italian city-states. do. Each seeks. the humanism of the Nazis and the humanism of their victims and opponents.org/vol5/radest.Humanism Good Humanism is critical to fighting wars and oppression – empirically proven Radest 89 [Howard. not excluding the present. Althusser – for the present.2 In that. those who do not speak Greek or Latin or English. the only available alternative to bigotry and persecution. any definitions. a ‘race’. reflecting our 18th century rationalist origins. owned slaves. to organize and campaign in defence of individual or collective interests. to protest and disobey: all these. They speak of the human in the accents and the interests of a class.pdf] Humanists support all the "right" causes. and peoples. Humanism 130] So there will not after all be. It is true that the Baconian ‘Knowledge of Causes. Certainly it should no longer be possible to formulate phrases like ‘the destiny of man’ or ‘the triumph of human reason’ without an instant consciousness of the folly and brutality they drag behind them. on many occasions. South Humanists. Each has its distinctive historical curve. might live together in and on the world are contained. as all discourses must. Stalin.

1996] In the Germany of the 1930s. the word went forth. and not only because of Holocaust history and its tragic aftermath. too. It is said that the Holocaust never happened. and men. Remembering for the future has become doubly dispiriting by our having to remember for the present. It is selective." 6 to frame a credo to live by or criteria to judge by. The Holocaust: Remembering for the Future: ‘Havel to the Castle!’ The Power of the Word. the grim proposal we have bought into that there is no truth. November. our having to register and confront what is wrong here and now. or denying. Words collide and crack under these new skeptical strains. We are intimidated by the "high modernist rage against mimesis and content. Their offshore signals. however. . women. dissolving into banalities the colossal enormity of what must be expressed lest we forget. unreliable. we are vulnerable even to the discredited Paul de Man's indecent hint that "wars and revolutions are not empirical events . By denying humanism." 3 we seem to have lost our nerve. of genuine peace for mankind at large. that "oldest flame of the [*47] humanist soul.Humanism Good Humanism is key to preventing atrocities such as the Holocaust. values are pronounced to be mere fictions of ruling elites to retain power. We are embarrassed by virtue. a demonic idea was born in a demented brain. but 'texts' masquerading as facts. It stops up its ears to shut out what it does not dare to face." though death may be the end of it--only this unwavering firmness offers any genuine defense of peace for the individual. forgetting. something in words must be set against it. which. paraded as politics and fattening on linguistic manipulation and deliberately reimplanted memory of past real or imagined grievance. and children were herded into death camps. Shrieking victims perished in the cold blankness of inhumane silence. the criminality of governments." 4 monstrous progeny of the union between Nietzsche and philosophical formalism. writers and thinkers strained language to the breaking point to keep alive the memory of the unimaginable. no objectivity. intellectuals seem more devoted to abstract assaults on values than to thoughtful probing of the moral dimensions of human experience. partial. Especially denying. has spread calamity across the planet. cries for help. . "The cancer that has eaten at the entrails of Yugoslavia since Tito's death [has] Card Continues . We could no longer hear what the words meant or did not credit them or not enough of us joined the chorus. to keep the human conscience from forgetting. 8 Lodged in our brains. even when they are documented by evidence. We had become inured to the reality of human suffering.” The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. and amoral. In the current context. 2 In past human crises. "Heirs of the ancient possessions of higher knowledge and literacy skills. associate professor of English at Temple University. The reality to be fixed in memory shifts as we seek words for it. orders were given. Revisionist history with a vengeance is purveyed in words. We were deaf to the apocalyptic urgency in Solzhenitsyn's declaration from the Gulag that we must check the disastrous course of history. memories reconstructed in words. repeated. they legitimize abuses of human rights Ketels 96[Violet. have not often changed the world or fended off the powerful seductions to silence. Besides. has become an obscene industry competing in the open market of ideas for control of our sense of the past. tempt us to concede the final irrelevance of words and memory. in the case of the Holocaust. widely broadcast. 5 Less certain about the power of language." 7 Truth and reality seem more elusive than they ever were in the past. We feel insecure before the empirical absolutes of hard science. did not summon us to rescue. deceptive. the memory we set down is flawed by our subjectivities. certified by science and statistics. It plays tricks and can be invented. We have to get on with our lives. such axioms. We were heedless of the lesson of his experience that only the unbending strength of the human spirit. and no disinterested knowledge. Yet what? How do we nerve to the task when we are increasingly disposed to cast both words and memory in a condition of cryogenic dubiety? Not only before but also since 1945. fully taking its stand on the shifting frontier of encroaching violence and declaring "not one step further.

"It is as if the Serbian people waged only one battle--by widening the Kosovo charnel-house. The country's rogue adventurers use the word "Kosovo" to reinvoke as sacred the land where Serbs were defeated by Turks in 1389! 9 Memory of bloody massacres in 1389. to the martyrs of Kosovo. . Nothing less than the transformation of human consciousness is likely to rescue us. ideology and apparat.Card Continued Kosovo for its locus. by counting new martyrs. Kosovo is the Serbianized [*48] history of the Flood--the Serbian New Testament." 10 A cover of Suddeutsche Zeitung in 1994 was printed with blood donated by refugee women from Bosnia in an eerily We stand benumbed before multiplying horrors. of our common sense and natural speech and thereby. ." pathological suspicions about human motives and meanings." but not merely as a piece of land. the swiftness by which disastrous events follow one upon another "have deprived us of our conscience." The depersonalization of power in "system." 12 perverse afterbirth of violence revisited. . the loosening of individual responsibility. 11 warned more than a decade ago. . of our actual humanity. the bard of Serb nationalism. demands the bloody revenge of new massacres and returns civilization not to its past glory but to its gory tribal wars. writes. As Vaclav Havel regimes that generate them "are the avant garde of a global crisis in civilization. by adding wailing upon wailing. As Matija Beckovic. sloganized and distorted in 1989.

(In speaking of "the magistrate and the threatening mob."16 Absolutism is irrational – it commits us to producing less good than we can Haber 2002 Joram Graf Haber.14 In passages like these. 6. then. to do right even if the heavens will in fact fall. Bernard Williams suggests though does not exactly endorse a similar view when he intimates that in extreme situations (when the consequences of not cping would be disastrous).” p. that refusing to kill the fat man is at least as problematic as not killing him. As Fried says later on. indeterminate. see Anscombe's "Who Is Wronged?'—Selection XII. I do not know . for one. After defending what he calls absolutism (Selection VI). for instance." Thus. and that this implies there is a possible world in which killing is permissible. and the concepts themselves often become blurred. whether I would be willing to kill an innocent person to save the whole of humanity from excruciating suffering and death. . Furthermore. we have the intuition that it is always wrong to kill but the intuition generates problematic counterexamples. Often. 8. and Geach absolutists (in the weak sense of the term). the controversy centers around hypothetical cases (such as the ones discussed by Philippa Foot in Selection XI) where an agent is faced with performing an absolutely forbidden action or allowing a disastrous state of affairs to obtain.” p." In cases like "the fat man in the cave. not only are Anscombe. Nielsen makes two other points that are characteristic of consequentialist critics. Donagan. the consequentialist argues (against the absolutist) that it is simply irrational not to kill him if the alternative is to allow the others to perish. The first is that consequentialists typically share the same intuitions as absolutists while insisting that they can account for them in a way that absolutists cannot."21 for instance. (For a different view on a related theme. but that doesn't count since in that situation the concepts of right and wrong no longer apply. "it cannot matter any more what happens.) The second point is that there is nothing sacred about our moral intuitions. subject to judgments of prudence at those boundaries. Nielsen is skeptical that consequentialism requires that the magistrate execute the innocent derelict. Fried is committed to the view that "In no situation could it be right to <|)" except when a catastrophe occurs. Speaking of the "fat man in the cave. And so the catastrophic may cause the absoluteness of right and wrong to yield " And again: The concept of the catastrophic is a distinct concept just because it identifies the extreme situations in which the usual categories of judgments (including the category of right and wrong) no longer apply. then that is a reason to give up our intuition. Conservativism for conservatism's sake is an irrational dogma.) Having argued. but so are Charles Fried and Bernard Williams.) Kai Nielsen (Selection XIII). Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Bergen Community College. If."20'for example. In such cases it seems fanatical to maintain the absolute ness of the judgment. takes issue with the absolutist's intuition that it is never permissible to kill an innocent person. Fried shows himself an advocate of "weak absolutism" by saying that catastrophic cases produce conceptual anarchy. With respect to its critics. Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Bergen Community College. . consequentialists typically argue that absolutism is irrational—it commits us to the view that we should produce less good than we are in a position to produce and prevent less evil than we are in a position to prevent. (He also makes the point that if this is so." Nielsen contends that it is no less counter-intuitive to kill the fat man than it is not to. Fried observes: We can imagine extreme cases where killing an innocent person may save a whole nation. then thinking of killing the fat man is hardly indicative of a corrupt mind. ” Absolutism and Its Consequentialist Critics. ” Absolutism and Its Consequentialist Critics. There are boundaries to each of these concepts themselves. .Consequentialism good Even moral absolutists concede that catastrophic impacts come first Haber 2002Joram Graf Haber.

in Absolutism and its Consequentialist Critics. that I also refer to the norms of right and wrong not as absolute but as categorical. these are categorical prohibitions in the sense that (within limits) no amount of good can justify them. “Right and Wrong as Absolute. In such cases it seems fanatical to maintain the absoluteness of the judgment. the propagation of false beliefs—as a consequence. They are absolute in the sense that they point out certain acts we must not perform. They are not absolute in the consequentialist's sense. It is because of these complexities and because the term absolute is really only suggestive of a more complex structure. but without violating the absolute norms of right and wrong).Consequentialism good Even deontology puts survival first Fried 2002 Charles Fried. the de minimis where the absolute categories do not yet apply. edited by Jorem Graf Haber.*) When we say that one must not grievously harm an innocent person. 1 believe. 76-77.” P. on the contrary. So here we see a complex relation between deontological judgments on what we do and evaluative (axiological) judgments on states of the world— with which we are also concerned. professor of law @ Harvard. but even then it would be a non sequitur to argue (as consequentialists are fond of doing) that this proves that judgments of right and wrong are always a matter of degree. . But they are not absolute in the sense that we may never be justified in doing acts which have these very results—the death of an innocent person. We must indeed be concerned with producing good in the world. to do right even if the heavens will in fact fall. And the trivial also does not prove that right and wrong are really only a matter of degree. they do not state that a certain state of the world is of such supreme importance that the value of everything else must be judged by its tendency to produce that state. Even within such boundaries we can imagine extreme cases where killing an innocent person may save a whole nation. that one must not lie. that the concept of the catastrophic is a distinct concept just because it identifies the extreme situations in which the usual categories of judgment (including the category of right and wrong) no longer apply. there is the concept of the trivial. depending on the relative goods to be attained and harms to be avoided. At the other end of the spectrum. And so the catastrophic may cause the absoluteness of right and wrong to yield.

How would we characterize this? Would it not be slightly absurd to say. From the standpoint of an ethics of subjection there is even something unnecessary or superfluous about the void of suffering in the subject bearers of evil. Say we observe someone whose hands have been chopped off with a machete. the look of the bodies. that we ethically encounter others by responding to their needs and helping them as best we can. “Radical Evil. not that of a person who might be the object of its solicitude. as For ethics. . it plunges into being. not the radically other with whom I cannot identify. Indeed. she did not suffer". Therefore. As Chalier puts it. as though the point of meeting the suffering human being was to come to an awareness of the good within oneself and not to heal and repair. about detail. and poisons. the numbers incarcerated. indeed in the midst of the most elemental facts about ourselves and other people. I agree with Chalier's observation that Levinas's "analyses adopt the point of view of the moral subject. the blood counts. into mathematical multiples and starts counting the cells. Suppose the child to exhibit the symptoms of an illness. it is in being. For Levinas."29 Ethics has limits.Calculability good Calculability is a prerequisite to care for the other – without it.. 2003. but thank God. of course. dismemberment. the chronology of torture. It is precisely by identifying being and not pretending that we know any thing about suffering. knives."28 But if there really is something inaccessible about suffering itself. the graveyards. there are situations like the Holocaust where to speak of a moral responsibility to But an ethics that would be oriented to the vulnerabilities of the subjected (which are others. Greece May 18-22. the only suffering that matters are the visible effects of the onslaught of the world. then to a certain extent it is irrelevant to ethics. Our primary moral responsibility is to treat the symptoms that show up in being." totalizing and violating the space of absolute alterity." as though the cruel amputation were not horror enough. They are questions about being. which are like mine. "He had his limbs severed and he suffered. All other suffering is excessive and inaccessible. almost banal facticity of suffering to be swallowed in the infinite depths of transcendence. Let me take the parentchild relation again as an example. and damaged. Are not the proper "ethical" questions for the parent to ask questions of measure and mathematical multiples: How high is the fever? How long has it lasted? How far is the hospital? Can she get out of bed? Has this happened before? These are the questions of the doctor. and bullet wounds. machetes. he risks allowing the sheer. Siena College. the return to being from the ethical encounter with the face and its infinite depths is fraught with the danger the subject will reduce the other to a "like-me. causes and effects. the rescue squads and the police. Rational practical deliberation is always about the facts that encircle the void inaccessible to deliberation and practical reason. other than it is a hollow in the midst of being. Levinas is that by going beyond being to what he regards as the ethics of absolute alterity.30 heal and repair seems pathetic. "Levinas conceives of the moral subject's awakening. and Alain Badiou’s Ethic of the Truth” Event World Congress of The International Society for Universal Dialogue. about the 'other' side of what is manifestly finite. Evil really is all that. What worries me about though the devastating annihilation of the human by a tumor were not evil itself. but also myself) needs to address the mutilation. as a response to that pre-originary subjection which is not a happenstance of being. the other’s suffering is inaccessible Santilli 2003 Paul C. it seems to me that Levinas too often over emphasizes the importance of the emergence of the subject and the inner good in the ethical encounter. Subjection. the narratives. then. that we can act responsibly. Ethically our response to the needs of must be reduced to a positivity simply because we have access to nothing but the symptoms. Pyrgos. When the mind does its work. or the emergence of the human in being. the mines. as irrelevant as the judgment of moral progress in the subject-agent. Think of the idiocy in the common platitude: "She died of cancer. subjected.

professor of international politics at the University of Newcastle. even to the worst. That undecidability resides within the decision. a duty that inhabits the instant of madness and compels the decision to avoid "the bad. the perverse." even "the worst. Most importantly. Derrida's argument addresses more directly—more directly. In so doing. although Derrida's argument concerning the decision has." This is the duty that also dwells with deconstruction and makes it the starting point." the "perverse calculation. that the unpresentable exceeds the determinable cannot and should not serve as alibi for staying out of juridico-political battles. I would argue."93 .” published in Moral Spaces: Rethinking Ethics and World Politics."'2 The necessity of calculating the incalculable thus responds to a duty. "that justice exceeds law and calculation. and Ethics after the End of Philosophy. anti-Semitism. Derrida. edited by David Campbell and Michael J. religious or nationalist fanaticism."" Indeed. and the fact that "left to itself. to this point. “The Deterritorialization of Responsibility: Levinas.Calculability good Calculability is key to resistance against the worst forms of violence Campbell ’99 David. within an institution or a state. it is with respect to the necessity of the decision that Derrida begins to formulate an account of the decision that bears upon the content of the decision. or between institutions or states and others. Shapiro. for it can always be reappropriated by the most perverse calculation. these imperatives? It is both the character of infinite justice as a heteronomic relationship to the other. Derrida argues. the infinite character of justice. a relationship that because of its undecidabilily multiplies responsibility." From where does this insistence come? What is behind." for the organization of resistance to totalitarianism in all its forms. and the worst as those violences "we recognize all too well without yet having thought them through. And it is a duty that responds to practical political concerns when we recognize that Derrida names the bad. "incalculable justice requires us to calculate. racism. been concerned with an account of the procedure by which a decision is possible. the incalculable and giving {donatrice) idea of justice is always very close to the bad. the crimes of xenophobia. The finite nature of the decision may be a "madness" in the way it renders possible the impossible. than is acknowledged by Critchley— the concern that for politics (at least for a progressive politics) one must provide an account of the decision to combat domination. what is animating. but Derrida argues for the necessity of this madness. the "at least necessary condition.

and we conclude that there does not yet exist a cogent nonconsequentialist answer to the question of numbers. In fact. what moral signif. If numbers have the moral importance that consequentialists sup. then it should be at least presumptively right to sacrifice a person to save others. for killing an innocent person.ple.icance should attach to the fact that one choice involves saving more people than another? Consequentialists typically have an easy time with such questions because they believe that the morally best choice pro.duces the best consequences and that. these approaches do not succeed.1 In making choices about saving people from death. One might respond in many ways to the apparent harshness of the consequentialist approach to choices among lives. the gain that comes from saving a larger group of people somehow more than compensates for the loss that occurs by not saving some other. the prospect of saving the lives of those people seems to provide no reason.Util Good THE ONLY MORAL ACTION IS TO SAVE THE MOST LIVES Wasserman and Strudler 2003 Philosophy and Public Affairs 31. We begin with an important early attempt by Gregory Kavka because an analysis of its weaknesses suggests the moral complexity of choices among lives and the distinctive character of more recent efforts to understand these choices.plex and ingeniou~.~ Still. We cannot canvass pluralistic theo. . The nonconsequentialist approaches we consider treat the failure to save the group with the greater number as a failure to respect the value or equality of the individual lives in that group. The conse. it is unclear why one may not simply kill an innocent person and harvest his organs if doing so is the only available way of saving the lives of people who will die without those organs. we suspect that they are doomed attempts to breed species that are in essence incompatible.quentialist position involves what might be called the compensation as.ries in this article. We argue that despite their initial appeal. or an exceedingly weak one. even if there is no other way to acquire needed organs. other things being equal. one might seek to qualify or constrain consequentialist reasoning by adopt. however. for example. more lives saved is a better consequence than fewer lives saved.sumption: the proposition that other things equal. If one shares our doubts about the prospects for modifying or constraining consequentialism.ing a pluralist moral theory that mixes or integrates consequentialist and nonconsequentialist elements. Most obviously.pose. but we must acknowledge that some of them are com. smaller group of peo. it makes sense to look to nonconsequentialist approaches to choices among lives-approaches that do not rely directly or indirectly on the claim that more people saved is a better consequence.

quentialist position involves what might be called the compensation as. we suspect that they are doomed attempts to breed species that are in essence incompatible. If one shares our doubts about the prospects for modifying or constraining consequentialism. it is unclear why one may not simply kill an innocent person and harvest his organs if doing so is the only available way of saving the lives of people who will die without those organs. In fact. other things being equal. for example. it makes sense to look to nonconsequentialist approaches to choices among lives-approaches that do not rely directly or indirectly on the claim that more people saved is a better consequence.ries in this article.plex and ingeniou~. however. the prospect of saving the lives of those people seems to provide no reason. but we must acknowledge that some of them are com.ple. . One might respond in many ways to the apparent harshness of the consequentialist approach to choices among lives. what moral significance should attach to the fact that one choice involves saving more people than another? Consequentialists typically have an easy time with such questions because they believe that the morally best choice pro. We begin with an important early attempt by Gregory Kavka because an analysis of its weaknesses suggests the moral complexity of choices among lives and the distinctive character of more recent efforts to understand these choices. these approaches do not succeed. more lives saved is a better consequence than fewer lives saved. and we conclude that there does not yet exist a cogent nonconsequentialist answer to the question of numbers. Most obviously.Util Good Nonconsequentialist theories disregard value and equality of life. then it should be at least presumptively right to sacrifice a person to save others. The nonconsequentialist approaches we consider treat the failure to save the group with the greater number as a failure to respect the value or equality of the individual lives in that group.ing a pluralist moral theory that mixes or integrates consequentialist and nonconsequentialist elements.sumption: the proposition that other things equal. even if there is no other way to acquire needed organs. for killing an innocent person. We argue that despite their initial appeal. or an exceedingly weak one.1 In making choices about saving people from death. one might seek to qualify or constrain consequentialist reasoning by adopt.~ Still. the gain that comes from saving a larger group of people somehow more than compensates for the loss that occurs by not saving some other.pose. Consequentialism is best because it preserves the most lives. We cannot canvass pluralistic theo.duces the best consequences and that. The conse. Wasserman and Strudler 2003 Philosophy and Public Affairs 31. smaller group of peo. If numbers have the moral importance that consequentialists sup.

We can see this in all struggles for human dignity in which unsatisfied demands exist for overcoming the lack of freedom of exploitation and constraint. The use and abuse of right is not the same thing as a complete absence of right. at times.***A2: Capitalism *** ***A2: rights K*** rights good Rights are not perfect but do contain a radical element in their promotion of universal human dignity. . namely. Research Fellow in Philosophy. or are. the absence of community in egoism and disunity. Australian National University. the inequality of degradation and humiliation. and understanding this is vital to being able to comprehend where and in what ways democratic.au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen. which needs to be renewed. on occasion. and it is this tradition. Citizen rights have at their basis quite different values. act as to reintroduce a radical pathos within right. And so too can we view this via the necessary reference point that a critique of right provides: by acknowledging the hypocrisy of law or the distance between intention and realization we have an important basis for distinguishing between the problem of right and its complete negation.adelaide. The term needs to be used advisedly because of the problematic connotations it has – but there is a tradition of natural right containing anticipatory elements of human dignity in which forms of justice as ethically-based community survive.borderlandsejournal. I would argue. fascistic. borderlands. or the right of the human being. occupies a space of interruption in the divide between law and ethicality that can. and within the realm of natural rights or rights of the human being. fascistic rule.edu.htm) At its most fundamental. Natural right. a range of political and property rights to be realized within and not against the State.but natural or human right is also able to offer something quite different. 04 (Frances. right is the right to something. itself an external form of oppression . http://www. it has been principally concerned with rights against oppression and inequality in order to realize a potential for freedom. constitutional States become. Daly. This is not to say that law associated with human rights is not. such as we would see under despotic. They can be effectively used to leverage the state. “The Non-citizen and the Concept of Human Rights”.

au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen. Frances Daly.au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen. static. fraternity. of liberty. 04 (http://www. What it is to be human is open and changeable.edu. It is unable to imagine a realm of freedom against the State. The non-citizen and the concept of 'human rights'. not abstract theory. a view of reason or human nature . we can detect unsatisfied demands that have nothing to do with essentialist assumptions about 'man' or 'citizen'. Undoubtedly. What persisted of a sense of natural justice for all.edu.htm. that some of the basic contradictions that Agamben highlights are likely to emerge. But within rights. Frances Daly. I would argue.htm. But much of the power of any such . justice and the overcoming of alienation. rights contain a radical element of universal dignity that can be used to leverage real change. generic essence of the person. For it is the State that institutes types of validity for its laws on the basis of procedure rather than any sense of morality or principles of justice. why must we then necessarily conclude from a critique of legal positivism that there can be no ethical basis to rights? Rights must be judged by their specific deployment. When we appeal to rights in terms of universal justice they are deeply radical and able to create open communities. the idea of natural rights of the individual. a realm which assumes that no element of law or right pre-exists an act of the State.Australian National University 2004). and are not about a fixed. and equality of the individual – of 'inalienable' rights and normative ideals – was quite clearly conceived in terms of the citizen. God.in nature. invariant view of authority and the State is.adelaide. other forms in which principles of justice have been derived and enacted. But there are other pathways to rights. shifting and alive.adelaide. Daly. I would argue. ultimately eternalizing such concepts. the basis of rights in property and assumptions that people are in fundamental accord on matters of right.borderlandsejournal. Much theory that merely substitutes the idea of the static essence of the person to explain the consequence of good and evil in the world with an equally static. With the rise of individualism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. whose standard had been derived from various sources . 04 (http://www.Australian National University 2004).borderlandsejournal. or some ahistorical or superhistorical immutable totality. they are historical and contingent. But this sense was not completely extinguished. commonalities and shared properties that can emerge at various times. These demands are concerned with an understanding of human freedom in relation to values of solidarity. although not without determinations. Legal positivism assumes or sets out the basis for rights within a normative framework of the State that merely takes for granted judicial postulates of the inalienability of rights.rights good Rights do not create a fixed identity. An ahistorical disdain for legal action is merely the obverse of the process of fetishizing legality. And if this is the case. Daly. The non-citizen and the concept of 'human rights'.was undoubtedly distorted by a sense of individualism defined in terms of possession and property rights. some sort of move beyond categories underscoring divisions within the ways people are entitled to live their lives is necessary. It is certainly on the basis of a realm of legal positivism and its doctrines of positive law. Even if there are flaws between norms and application.

and understanding this is vital to being able to comprehend where and in what ways democratic. we can see a clear example of the possibility that can be realized through right. the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights restates these rights and extends an understanding of right to economic. The non-citizen and the concept of 'human rights'. rather than the overturning of this very problematic. the presumption of innocence. fascistic. Continues. Likewise. it is important to clearly assess the place of rights within our present conditions of unfreedom. a "whatever singularity". as is well known. If we consider the contemporary struggles of the 'Sans Papiers' in France. is naturally problematic but cannot of itself be attributed to the fact of rights themselves. by revisiting this problem via a dismissal of the context of rights. for example. social and cultural rights and. security. the form is wholly discarded. We have already mentioned the institutionalization of these rights in citizen rights. and that this sense of right was a creation of the nation-State. In the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen there is a perceived need to set out what are described as "the natural. for instance) and the attempt to exercise limits upon the power of tyrants to curtail that freedom. equality. and inalienable rights of man". In the absence of any such context. human rights currently act so as to allow a questioning of the assumed authority of the State. These rights.Australian National University 2004). More importantly. it would be a clear distortion of the struggles involved in the emergence of codified natural rights to not also mention that an essential part of a sense of the absolute inalienability of the person was a view of individual freedom within community (the sort of idea we find Rousseau. Past failures of rights are not reasons to abandon the concept. Often as a result of their denial.borderlandsejournal.. on occasion. what tends to emerge is a return to the problem of rights reduced to a division of form and content. as all rights have been acquired. concern freedom. That there has been a highly variable degree of protection of these rights.is itself understood. occupies a space of interruption in the divide between law and ethicality that can. and more specifically of the possibility of traces of the intention towards human dignity. or 'form-of-life' . Indeed. We detect as well the formalism of general juridical equality with the much more normative content of the constitutional state of fundamental social division – those whose access to education. or are. work and freedom .. because the content is seen to fall short of the abstraction of. Only in this case. the several hundred thousand people whose refusal of the label 'illegal' and fight for documentation is premised on the basis that the undermining of rights is merely a way of attacking the value of dignity for all. rights good Rights for refugees tap into the radical core of rights—the idea that there is a universal human dignity.htm. and those whose lack of this assumption is outlined in their right to seek its guarantee. constitutional States become. perhaps most importantly from the perspective of this paper. The context of rights is one that is frequently unstable. property. security and resistance to oppression. The use and abuse of right is not the same thing as a complete absence of right. or in certain cases no protection of them at all. 04 (http://www. the right to opinion and religious expression and free communication. act as to reintroduce a radical pathos within right. sacred. without a sense of rights it would be difficult for us to understand the current absence of real freedom. and. Natural right. and the basic difficulty that arises with a sense of innate rights. a rich heritage of critique is sidelined. And along with this is the problematic nature of the inclusion of the right of property as an inalienable right. the right to liberty.edu. or the right of the human being. Let us look then at the more specific example of the right of the refugee or right of asylum.adelaide. Frances Daly. as such.critique must depend upon the manner in which the context of this life – the possible experience of acting in the world. Daly. the right to a freedom of movement and residence and the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. The Sans Papiers are from detention can be assumed. which first arose as the consequence of the division of labour and has little to do with anything inherently human.au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen. However . they are reasons why rights must be more aggressively extended to all.

The problem with this strategy for doing away with any distinction and placing the refugee in a position of pure potentiality is that. an 'empty legal space'. that is essential to the legal order (Carl Schmitt. In contrast. Indeed. much law does .well-known for their questioning of the assumptions of immigration policies. it is not possible to understand this emancipatory struggle outside a conception of rights. What is then eliminated here is any sense of how the appeal to rights brings into question institutionalized unfreedom and why this underlying insufficiency between the idea of right and real need is opposed by those attempting to expand the realm of human rights. it creates an eternal present that is unable to connect the very real reality of difference with a critique of the society that victimizes the refugee in the manner with which we are currently so familiar. I argue. and they argue cogently for an end to frontiers themselves. 2001: 1) – and it is certainly the case that – but within rights. Agamben contends that legal right and the law always operate in a double apparatus of pure violence and forms of life guaranteed by a Schmittian 'state of emergency' (Agamben. Law only "wants to prevent and regulate" (Agamben. instead of liberating or revolutionizing the place of the refugee. Madjiguène Cissé argues that the initiatives of those claiming their rights are basic to the survival of communities (Cissé. 1997: 3). And although he recognizes the dire consequences of a state of emergency with the eradication of the legal status of individuals. detention camps and deportations. as a mystical or fictional element. he views this as the force of law without law. This is done on the basis of an appeal to rights of justice and egalitarianism. such as the existence of quotas. 2000: 43). we can also detect a potential for justice. 1985: 6). a space devoid of law. 25. or 'state of exception' as Carl Schmitt refers to it. Agamben views all such setting out of rights as essentially reintegrating those marginalized from citizenship into the fiction of a guaranteed community.

welfare. Rights are the best path to liberation—if you take their alternative seriously. culture. the state) threatens us with annihilation and urges upon us forms of fusion that are quite plainly bad rather than good. We would be wise to keep in mind Tocqueville’s lesson about the failures of law in cultural set tings where it has tried to operate in opposition to pervasive and deep-seated social norms. prejudice. cognition and feeling that are. Kennedy states: Even when we seem to ourselves to be most alone. the universe of others (family. University of Pennsylvania) 36 Stan. the fashioning of an unalienated collective existence.. But it would be equally wrong to dismiss the protections offered by the law as superfluous or useless. If one accepts that collective norms weigh so heavily in favor of the status quo that purely "voluntary" movement is inconceivable. then the only alternative is the assumption of responsibility for the totalitarian domination of other people's minds -. they argue that the very interdependence of these concepts leads to the fundamental and seemingly unresolvable contradiction they embody.for "forcing them to be free. 90 (Andrew." birth into a particular social class or on the accident of genetic endowment . appears to imply such a massive increase of collective control over our lives that it would defeat its purpose. we are not always alone.. page 8) There are undoubtedly elements of the liberal tradition which exaggerate the extent to which the law alone gives contemporary liberal societies the degree of humanity and decency they have. others are with us. Rev. Only collective force seems capable of destroying the attitudes and institutions that collective force has itself imposed. rights still protect us from oppression. demonstrating the contradiction between that tradition and our social institutions. large and small abandonments of self to others. and access to enlightenment that are illegitimate. collective aspects of our individuality. rather. simply as a matter of biology. Sparer. incorporated in us through processes of language. One must step outside the liberal paradigm into a realm where truth may be experiential. but successful social movement comes from the struggle for the realization of our basic rights. In an oft-quoted passage. We would do well to follow the radical approach of building upon our core human rights tradition. and oppression. And the price is a high one. (Law Professor. where power and ideas do not exist separately. Altman. Such work requires a concern for theory which feeds social movement. where knowledge resides in world views that are themselves situated in history. Through our existence as members of collectives. we impose on others and have imposed on us hierarchical structures of power. Moreover. January). Kennedy and other Critical legal theorists of the dominant school recognize the latter thought. there is a wide expanse of territory. bureaucracy. It is within the borders of that territory that law can and does make a difference. Between the area in which law is useless because it receives insufficient support from the rest of the culture and the area in which law is superfluous because the rest of the culture provides all of the protections we can reasonably ask for. But at the same time that it forms and protects us. Central to the argument I have made thus far is the notion that individual autonomy and community are not contradictions at all. It is within the borders of that territory that legal rights can and do work to protect people from the evils of intolerance. A friend can reduce me to misery with a single look. in groups of two or even two million. they shape and give meaning and richness to each other. and it is a good rather than a bad experience. Continues. 509. are the price of what freedom we experience in society. and developing ways to fuse human rights into new cooperative institutions of our own making. 84 (Ed. We sometimes experience fusion with others. whether based on . At the same time. not from their disparagement. There are undoubtedly elements of the liberal tradition which exaggerate the power of law to work its will against the entrenched customs and traditions of a culture. it would require massive coercion to create a collective voice capable of challenging the law. This is the heart of the liberal tradition in legal philosophy.rights good Even if the law is not perfect and culture values matter. friendship. Georgia State University) Critical Legal Studies: A Liberal Critique. It is a tradition worthy of allegiance. Coercion of the individual by the group appears to be inextricably bound up with the liberation of that same individual. The kicker is that the abolition of these illegitimate structures. Numberless conformities. L. (Professor of Philosophy.

.

In fact they could--and were--changed in response to different internal and external pressures. Culture is thus inherently responsive to conflict between individuals and social groups. in turn. Human rights concepts are universal but their implementation varies widely. Substantial second order variation. individually and in groups that give meaning and value to their lives. “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”. the design of electoral systems to implement the right "to take part in the government of his country. and sometimes even particular forms of implementation. and in which some groups have more power to present their versions as the true culture. by country.2. The significance of this is that we proceed from the assumption that certain cultural traditions inherently appearing in conflict with national and universal human rights standards may in fact have the potential of being influenced through a process of change and adaptation to meet new human rights standards. those who choose to adopt new ideas. even if their range of choice is circumscribed by the prevalent social structure or culture. Traditional cultural beliefs are also neither monolithic nor unchanging. though influenced by their own interest. Project Muse). It seems an elementary but necessary point to make that so-called traditional societies--whether in Asia. region. 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies. 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies. to pursue their own visions of the good life. University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly. Individuals are actors who can influence their own fate. Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306. Any particular conception. Such choices—so long as . initiate a process of change which may influence dominant cultural traditions. 00 – Lecturer in African History and International Development Studies at the Edo State University in Nigeria – 2000 (Bonny Ibhawoh. or in Europe--were not culturally static but were eclectic. Human rights are (relatively) universal at the level of the concept. Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306. Most of the Universal Declaration lies at this level as well. Ibhawoh. 7 It is a network of perspectives in which different groups hold different values and world views. Rights enable cultural expression.51 Functional and overlapping consensus universality lie primarily at the level of concepts. dynamic. At this level—for example. Although international human rights treaties often embody particular conceptions. is completely consistent with international legal and overlapping consensus universality. Cultural change can result from individuals being exposed to and adopting new ideas."50 Particular rights concepts. Project Muse). Donnelly. social. “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”. broad formulations such as the claims in Articles 3 and 22 of the Universal Declaration that "everyone has the right to life. have multiple defensible conceptions. culture. and subject to significant alteration over time. “Between Culture and Constitution: Evaluation the Cultural Legitimacy of Human Rights in the Africa State”. Human rights seek to allow human beings. human rights quarterly 2. Donnelly. and economic forces. liberty and security of person" and "the right to social security. University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly. will have many defensible implementations. This assumption tends to ignore the fact that societies are constantly in the process of change wrought by a variety of cultural. Africa. or other grouping.52 they too permit a wide range of particular practices. however. directly or through freely chosen representatives"—relativity is not merely defensible but desirable.rights good: not monolithic Human rights are not a monolith—they can be adapted by local cultures. Project Muse). In doing so.

In fact. understanding human rights as a political conception of justice supported by an overlapping consensus requires us to allow human beings. and overlapping consensus universality. . individually and collectively. international legal.they are consistent with comparable rights for others and reflect a plausible vision of human flourishing to which we can imagine a free people freely assenting—deserve our respect. considerable space to shape (relatively) universal rights to their particular purposes—so long as they operate largely within the constraints at the level of concepts established by functional.

But they also can be and have been interpreted to support human rights.15 Human rights ideas and practices arose not from any deep Western cultural roots but from the social.rights good: not western Human rights are not inherently Western. Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306. Human rights not exclusive to Western countries—it si essentialist to imply that other cultures inherently oppose rights. serfdom. and have been. and South Korea. cultural. 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies. And political developments in a growing number of Asian countries suggest that ordinary people and even governments are increasingly viewing human rights as a contemporary political expression of their deepest ethical. and political values and aspirations. The social-structural "modernity" of these ideas and practices. African values. not their cultural "Westernness. Donnelly. . understood as incompatible with human rights. Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306." deserves emphasis. however. University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly. and hereditary aristocracy could become today's world of liberal and social democratic welfare states. Taiwan. University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly. Asian values—like Western values.24. it is hard to think of a place where a similar transformation is inconceivable. “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”. as they regularly are today in Japan. and political transformations of modernity.25 No culture or comprehensive doctrine is "by nature. “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”. however." or in any given or fixed way. most adherents of most Western comprehensive doctrines endorse human rights. 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies. And if the medieval Christian world of crusades. Consider claims that "Asian values" are incompatible with internationally recognized human rights. Project Muse). and most other sets of values—can be. economic. They thus have relevance wherever those transformations have occurred. Project Muse). irrespective of the pre-existing culture of the place. Donnelly. It is important to remember that virtually all Western religious and philosophical doctrines through most of their history have either rejected or ignored human rights Today. either compatible or incompatible with human rights.

Donnelly. Although historically contingent and relative. Project Muse). Today. Human rights today do precisely that for a growing number of people of all cultures in all regions. 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies. when not advanced by repressive elites and their supporters. legal. today. Human rights today remain the only proven effective means to assure human dignity in societies dominated by markets and states. society. Human rights represent the most effective response yet devised to a wide range of standard threats to human dignity that market economies and bureaucratic states have made nearly universal across the globe. we all need equal and inalienable universal human rights to protect us from those threats. The spread of modern markets and states has globalized the same threats to human dignity initially experienced in Europe. or culture has developed plausible and effective alternative mechanisms for protecting or realizing human dignity in the contemporary world deserve serious attention. The functional universality of human rights depends on human rights providing attractive remedies for some of the most pressing systemic threats to human dignity. however. “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”. Whatever our other religious. Whatever our other problems. this functional universality fully merits the label universal—for us. Arguments that another state. usually refer to an allegedly possible world that no one yet has had the good fortune to experience. moral. . such claims. Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306. and political resources. we all must deal with market economies and bureaucratic states. University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly.rights good: check on statism Rights are the best model for protecting people against modern states and markets—no viable alternative has worked as well.

when it is allowed to define entire societies. Yet as “that which is known. yet we do not seem to have an alternative conception of class transformation to take its place. We hear – and find it easy to believe – that the left is in disarray. 38) No institution is or ever has been a seamless monolith. there’s no room for anything else. Although the inherent mechanism of American capitalism is as you describe it. p. obscure monster. To achieve this I must smash Capitalism and see it in a thousand pieces.. I must make its unity a fantasy. we could being to see a huge state sector (incorporating a variety of forms of appropriation of surplus labor). it becomes something that can only be defeated and replaced by a mass collective movement (or by a process of systemic dissolution that such a movement might assist). In return for our labors of creation. If capitalism takes up the available social space. The old political economic “systems” and “structures” that call forth a vision of revolution as systemic replacement still seem to be dominant in the Marxist political imagination. the monster has robbed us of all force. oriented solely to profit without regard to social consequences. Feminist Economists – The End of Capitalism) One of our goals as Marxists has been to produce a knowledge of capitalism. 41. Vol. The revolutionary task of replacing capitalism now seems outmoded and unrealistic. 10. there’s no possibility of anything else. In this vision the economy appears as the last stronghold of unity and singularity in a world of diversity and plurality.only using capitalism to (March. None of these things is easy to see. Perm solves –. quite various in terms of forms of exploitation. fight capitalism can be effective Monthly Review ‘90 . a very large sector of self-employed and family-based producers (most noncapitalist).***Capitalism*** A2: Capitalism Total rejection of capitalism fragments resistance --– the perm solves best Gibson-Graham ‘96 (J. The New World Order is often represented as political fragmentation founded upon economic unification. a huge household sector (again. But why can’t the economy be fragmented too? If we theorized it as fragmented in the United States. When capitalism is represented as a unified system coextensive with the nation or even the world. visible as a denial of diversity and change. If capitalism functions as a unity. No. with some households moving towards communal or collective appropriation and others operating in a traditional mode in which one adult appropriates surplus labor from another).K. when it is portrayed as crowding out all other economic forms. My intent is to help create the discursive conception under which socialist or other noncapitalist construction becomes “realistic” present activity rather than a ludicrous or utopian goal. perhaps even to the extent of furnishing the margin of success for that very effort. If capitalism cannot coexist. Part of what produces the disarray of the left is the vision of what the left is arrayed against.” Capitalism has become the intimate enemy. this does not preclude significant portions of that very system from joining forces with the worldwide effort for the salvation of civilization. We have uncloaked the ideologically-clothed. but we have installed a naked and visible monster in its place. it cannot be partially or locally replaced.

leading to what Columbia University's Erik Gartzke calls a "capitalist peace. Capitalism. is better than any other system at creating wealth. The capitalist peace theory isn't new: Montesquieu and Adam Smith believed in it." In particular. America has experienced the longest period of growth that the world has ever seen and produced an explosion of technology that promises to reshape social structures." It's a reason for even the left to support free markets. Contends Gartzke. noting that he relied on the same data as most democratic peace theorists. An even greater conflict followed a generation later. it acknowledges. . just usually not each other. The old Left-wing critiques are fading. and technology are really such good things after all.objectivistcenter." The point is not that democracy is valueless. Thus. such as Richard Cobden. Positive economic trends are not enough to prevent war. in and of themselves. If it is true that democratic states don't go to war. democracies typically have freer economies than do authoritarian states. “The morality of capitalism” http://www. The new critique is aimed instead at the morality of capitalism.A2: Capitalism Cap solves war Bandow 2005 fellow @ cato 2k5 (Doug. Territorial aggrandizement no longer provides the best path to riches.S. President George W. Moreover.states. Many of Britain's classical liberals. one naturally asks: What causes peace? Many people. It long has been obvious that democracies are willing to fight.J. eradicating poverty. "liberal political systems. candidate 2k (Patrick. including U. This contention animated some support outside as well as inside the United States for the invasion of Iraq. and security fears from trumping the power of markets. But despite the prosperity that capitalism has brought to America and the West. but then.aspx) The beginning of the twenty-first century is a great time for capitalism. World War II left war essentially unthinkable among leading industrialized . increase freedom. Marxist arguments are rare and social experiments in rent-control. "representative governments are unlikely to contribute directly to international peace. Rummel. His conclusion hasn't gone unchallenged. “Spreading Capitalism Is Good for Peace” http://www." That is. it still suffers from an image problem. and developing technology. nuclear deterrence. is not so new--does not challenge the effectiveness of capitalism. including alliance memberships.cato. Free political systems naturally entail free elections and are more likely to protect other forms of liberty . created by the Fraser Institute. Today's corollary is that creating democracies out of dictatorships will reduce conflict.D. Capitalism stops poverty Stephens Ph. while nations with very low levels of economic freedom are 14 times more prone to conflict than those with very high levels.and democratic . This new critique--which. that republics are less warlike than other systems.php? pub_id=5193) In a world that seems constantly aflame. and extend the human life-span. a different critique of capitalism is catching hold. Support grew for the argument. But new research suggests that expanding free markets is a far more important factor. provides a coercive step short of war to achieve foreign policy ends. while "democracy is desirable for many reasons. going back to Immanual Kant.civil and economic. as it turns out. neither is democracy. pushed free markets while opposing imperialism. it asks if wealth." he notes in a chapter in the latest volume of Economic Freedom in the World.org/cth--225-The_Morality_Capitalism. Socialism has been discredited.org/pub_display. for instance. To believe is does is dangerous: There's no panacea for creating a conflict-free world. Countries around the world are opening their markets and removing barriers to trade." Gartzke considers other variables. an avid proponent of the democratic peace theory. But World War I demonstrated that increased trade was not enough. and the public ownership of capital are being abandoned. The shift from statist mercantilism to high-tech capitalism has transformed the economics behind war. He explains: "Democracy does not have a measurable impact." Capitalism is by far the more important factor. welfare benefits. Free-flowing capital markets and other aspects of globalization simultaneously draw nations together and raise the economic price of military conflict. Author R. mass affluence. The prospect of economic ruin did not prevent rampant nationalism. challenges Gartzke's methodology and worries that it "may well lead intelligent and policy-wise analysts and commentators to draw the wrong conclusions about the importance of democratization. sanctions. the relationship between economic liberty and peace remains. then it also is true that "states with advanced free market economies never go to war with each other. ethnic hatred. either. cure disease. and regional differences. Bush. democracy alone doesn't yield peace. hope that spreading democracy will discourage war. have no impact on whether states fight. which interfere with economic prosperity. But Gartzke argues that "the 'democratic peace' is a mirage created by the overlap between economic and political freedom. However. Thankfully. Although the causes of conflict vary." Gartzke responds in detail. But in their place. It truly is a wonderful time to be alive. poorer democracies perform like nondemocracies. Markets generate economic opportunities that make war less desirable.

After the Iron Curtain crumbled and uncensored reporting became possible. . none more so than the promise to protect the environment.L Following the worldwide collapse of communism. and natural resources could be squandered without care." noting. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The same article also reported that each of the two-cycle cars commonly operated in the East emitted one hundred times as much carbon monoxide as a western auto equipped with a catalytic converter. And they were. Reflecting on these and other environmental contrasts in the summer of i99o. A Polish economist observed that "in Marxist ideology.2 The West German magazine Der Spiegel indignantly branded communist East Germany as an "ecological outlaw of the first rank. energy. not to constrain.. almost all these claims proved to be false."4 Such an implication-that capitalist economic principles can cure the environmental crises caused by communism-dovetails perfectly with the current zeitgeist. including environmental pollution. materials. the New York Times reported that "one issue taking on urgency is how the orderly and clean half of the country can help clean up the disheveled and polluted half. Quick action is needed because four decades of unbridled industrial spewing and spilling in East Germany have created an acute crisis for man and nature.com/p/articles/mi_qa3854/is_199807/ai_n8795240/pg_1 At no time since its inception two hundred years ago has the ideology of free market capitalism stood more dominant than it does today. and environmental protection: Lessons from the German experience” http://findarticles. humans. writing that the "socialist labor theory of value inevitably led to serious. but it is highly questionable from an historical point of view.." A West German analyst seconded this view.. communists confidently challenged the advocates of laissez-faire. . claiming that their system could produce more wealth than capitalism and distribute it more equitably."3 Some commentators used the appalling evidence from the region east of the Iron Curtain to argue that the fundamental economic principles of communism predictably and inevitably produce environmental disaster. Elaborating on the air pollution problem.A2: Capitalism Non-capitalist societies destroy the environment Dominick 98 Emeritus Professor humanities @ OSU 1998 (Raymond. academics and the popular press rushed to document the massive environmental devastation in the Soviet zone. almost universal environmental and health dangers. . communism. the burden of that particular pollutant exceeded the corresponding figure for capitalist West Germany by a factor of twelve. for example. they boasted that communism could cure a broad range of social problems." An American observer interpreted these environmental failings as the result of the absence of capitalism: "Absent a profit motive. an article in Current History pointed out that East German sulphur dioxide emissions per capita were the highest in the world. natural resources are free and have no intrinsic value . “Capitalism. as East and West Germany moved toward unification. Their sole purpose is to serve. that the Buna chemical works in the East dumped ten times more mercury into its neighboring river in a day than a comparable West German plant did in a year. In the process.

tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.148 As Gramsci puts it. ‘spoiled the performance’ with a ‘pantomime of excess effort’. it does so as an extension of.. when discontent among the subaltern strata generates ‘moments of madness’. therefore.145 Filipino peasant uprisings often acted out an ideology developed through a subverted version of passion plays. of police racism and repression against demonstrators. He denounces anti-statism as idealist and hypocritical. ‘whoever you fight for. a substantial social transformation.146 and European carnivals often passed over into insurrection. N80.com/simon. they are a product of the development of subterranean resistances and counter hegemonies among subaltern groups.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical. N80. conformist bystanders.” THESIS ELEVEN.147 Social change does not come from nothing.149 .pdf pg 23-24) Zizek is right to advocate a transformative stance. will find no alternative in Zizek . The plan creates the spring board for resistance which is a prerequisite to solving without it the alternative would fail ROBINSON & TORMEY 2K5 (Andrew and Simon. silences and lapses available. but wrong to posit this as a radical break constituted ex nihilo.144 Such petty resistance can pass over into more general insurrections. http://homepage. [and] setting a course for the very perimeter of what the authorities are obliged to permit or unable to prevent’.ntlworld. As Scott’s evidence shows. before coming into existence a new society must be ‘ideally active’ in the minds of those struggling for change. it requires the pre-existence of a counter-culture involving nonconformist ideas and practices. FEBRUARY. Only the permutation solves. producing a ‘flurry of activity’. ambiguities. expected to deliberately lose a race against their guards. Opponents of the war in Afghanistan and the arms trade. and an instrument through which to impose the good terror.only a new militarism. “Zizek is not a radical. rather than the problem of. As Jim Scott argues. In practice. resistance ‘requires an experimental spirit and a capacity to test and exploit all the loopholes. the space for thinking the not-real which is opened by imaginaries and petty resistances is a prerequisite to building a more active resistance and ultimately.130 Zizek does not offer an alternative to statist violence.. “Zizek is not a radical.129 and attacks the anticapitalist movement for lacking political centralisation. the state always wins’. a ‘small political victory had real political consequences’. is to abandon the notion of the state as a source of violence and to see it as part of the solution to. dissenting imaginaries and petty resistances.ntlworld. Zizek sees the state as a useful ally. FEBRUARY. http://homepage. a ‘good terror’ and yet another Cheka. Even when they are incomprehensible from the standpoint of ‘normal’. ‘You have to know how the world isn’t in order to change it’.pdf pg 20) What Zizek is telling left radicals.” THESIS ELEVEN. in Zizek’s world (to misquote an anarchist slogan). reordering social life. existing ‘hidden transcripts’.com/simon. When prisoners at a Stalinist camp. and in continuity with. insurrections and revolutions. political revolutions emerge through the radicalisation of existing demands and resistances – not as pure Acts occurring out of nothing.A2: Zizek Zizek justifies violence of the state through terror as a means to impose good terror ROBINSON & TORMEY 2K5 (Andrew and Simon. Far from being the disavowed supplement of capitalism.

He also implies that the success or failure of a revolution has nothing to do with whether the modes of thought and action. violence is part of the end itself.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.151 The transition from this ‘wasteland of the suicide and the solitary killer’ to revolutionary politics requires the repetition of negation in a different register. University of Nottingham. veiling his true intentions to seize power for himself or a small elite: Lenin was the ‘ultimate political strategist’.pdf. Rejecting the claim that politics could be otherwise. February pg 18-20) Secondly. allows for violence and doesn’t propose methods of solving in modes of isolation ROBINSON & TORMEY 2K5 (Andrew and Simon. but condemned to exile for as long as other people remain exiled from their existence.122 The only difference for Zizek between leftist ethics and the standpoint of Oliver North. the anti-Dreyfusards and even the Nazis is that such ‘rightists’ legitimate their acts in reference to some higher good. who call themselves ‘Proletarian’. embrace and even revel in the grubbiness and violence of modern politics. Mary Kay Letourneau (let us recall) did not transform society.pdf pg 26) The history of resistance gives little reason to support Zizek’s politics of the Act.by getting massacred. Zizek therefore endorses the conservative claim that Lenin’s utopian moments were Machiavellian manoeuvres or at best confused delusions. http://homepage. He has not escaped from the magnetic field of isolation. and that all revolutions are structurally doomed to fall short of whatever ideals and principles motivate them. her ‘Act’ was repressed and she was jailed. only because the Soviet terror was allegedly more total.ntlworld.126 .123 The Soviet Terror is a good terror whereas the Nazi one is not. he is suspended in a zone of zero gravity’.. “Zizek is not a radical. whereas leftists also suspend the higher good in a truly authentic gesture of suspension. then picks up a bottle and smashes it against the wall. the carnival spirit and the ability to dream.” http://homepage. rather. Nobody gets excited. The closest parallel is the nihilism of Nechaev’s Catechism of a Revolution which proclaims that ‘everything is moral that contributes to the triumph of the revolution. Nobody responded to the sign which he thought was explicit. Zizek implies that Lenin must in some sense have ‘understood’ that the revolution would necessarily betray itself. the utopian excess of the Act. social relations and institutions which follow are at all related to the original revolutionary ideals and principles.121 That Zizek endorses the ‘Lenin’ figure despite endorsing nearly every accusation against Lenin serves to underline the degree to which Zizek’s politics are wedded to conservative assumptions that repression. let alone transform society. 2004 (Andrew and Simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical. not only outgroups.” THESIS ELEVEN. “Zizek is not radical. the Catechism is ‘one of the most repulsive documents in the history of terrorism’. University of Nottingham. a group of Siberian miners is said to accomplish an Act .150 Since Acts are not socially effective. for Zizek. a drunken young man breaks his glass. The moment of utopia in Russia was for Zizek realised when the Red Guards succumbed to a destructive hedonism in moments of Bataillean excess. like the hooligan who burns down a church or kills a policeman. Thesis Eleven. activist and doctoral student in the School of Politics. they cannot help the worst-off. the Taleban. Zizek wishes to grasp. Zizek’s assumption of the effectiveness of Acts rests on a confusion between individual and social levels of analysis. N80.153 Zizek’s advocacy of violence justified actions like Nazism and Soviet terror Robinson and Tormey. Vaneigem eerily foresees Zizek’s ‘Act’ when he argues against ‘active nihilism’. What matters is that power is held by those who ‘identify with the symptom’. ‘In a gloomy bar where everyone is bored to death.125 As Peter Marshall comments in his digest of anarchist writings and movements. teaches in the schools of Politics and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham.A2: Zizek The Act’s form of active nihilism ultimately fails and isn’t sociall effective as it gets repressed. at one with himself.152 connected to a positive project to change the world and relying on the imaginaries Zizek denounces. In another case discussed by Zizek.ntlworld. One can only speculate what he would have made of ‘Repeating Lenin’.com/simon. He remained alone. brutality and terror are ‘always with us’. The ability to Act in the manner described by Zizek is largely absent from the subaltern strata. everything that hinders it is immoral and criminal’. with everyone being potentially at risk. FEBRUARY. the disappointed young man lets himself be thrown out..124 Zizek goes well beyond advocating violence as a means to an end.com/simon.

the identification of the Real with illegal immigrants). the deep structure of the social system as set out in Lacanian theory is not (and cannot be) changed in the slightest..57 naturalisation. . teaches in the schools of Politics and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. “Zizek is not radical.56 violence.58 reification and myths. pg 9) The choice of the term ‘suspension’ is revealing.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.com/simon. University of Nottingham. Further. activist and doctoral student in the School of Politics. but it leaves intact many of its most objectionable features. including social exclusion.g. since the Act involves submission to a Cause and a Leader. subordination to [the leader] is the highest act of freedom’. one does need a leader in order to be able to “do the impossible”.pdf.60 So. So an Act shatters capitalism.A2: Zizek The alternative leaves social exclusion. ever-present and necessary in any society. 2004 (Andrew and Simon.. violence and fails at subversing capitalism Robinson and Tormey. University of Nottingham. it necessarily produces a system which is equally oppressive.” http://homepage.59 all of which are for Zizek primordial. while an Act may destroy the specific articulations of oppression within the present system (e. Thesis Eleven.ntlworld. for although in Zizek’s account the surface structure of the social system is changed during such a ‘suspension’. it cannot destroy the authoritarian structure of capitalism: ‘often.

is a valid one. “Contingency. Questions such as the following may be asked: How is it possible to maintain a market economy which is compatible with a high degree of social control of the productive progress? What restructuralition of the liberal democratic institutions is necessary so that democratic control becomes effective. 2000. however. Should we understand that he wants to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat? Or does he want to socialize the means of production and abolish market mechanisms? And what is his political strategy to achieve these rather peculiar aims? What is the alternative model of society that he is postulating? Without at least the beginning of an answer to these questions.A2: Zizek Zizek's lack of an alternative and general ambiguity renders his anti-capitalist rhetoric meaningless Ernesto Laclau. to the self-destruction of the system(let us remember the debate in the Second International. historical change is conceivable as a displacement in the relations between elements. 95). while in Zizek's suggestion of a direct struggle for overthrowing capitalism and abolishing liberal democracy. I also understand what Lenin or Trotsky meant for the same reason. his anti-capitalism is merely empty talk.some internal and some external to what the system had been.unless he has a secret strategic plan of which he is very careful not to inform anybody. Thus he distinguishes between struggles to change the system and struggles within the system. and does not degenerate into regulation by an allpowerful bureaucracy? How should democratization be conceived so that it makes possible global political effects which are. I do not think that this distinction. posed in those terms.as in the case of the retroactive reversal of contingency into necessity. Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex. “Contingency. Hegemony. Zizek’s alternative is a prescription for political sterility Ernesto Laclau.the acceptance of capitalism as “the only game in town”. I understand what Marx meant by overcoming the capitalist regime. . The difficulty with assertions like this is that they mean absolutely nothing. systematicity is seen as a hegemonic construction. through their operation. the renunciation of any real attempt to overcome the existing capitalist liberal regime' (SZ. on the contrary. Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex. compatible with the social and cultural pluralism existing in a given society? These questions are thinkable within the Gramscian strategy of a war on position. I can see only a prescription for political quietism and sterility.the only alternatives are either that those laws lead. because he made it quite explicit several times. p. Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left” The imagery around the base/superstructure metaphor decisively shapes Zizek's vision of political alternatives. Hegemony. The crucial question is: how systematic is the system? If we conceive this systematical as the result of endogenous laws of development. on the mechanic collapse of the system) or to the system's destruction from outside. Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left” Zizek takes a patently anti-capitalist stance. leave out of sight the resignation at its heart. But in the work of Zizek that expression means nothing. 2000. and asserts that the proponents of postmodernism 'as a rule. If.

Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex. given the globalization of capitalism. and so on.would spontaneously and tendentially be more 'universal' in their effects because they take place at the 'root' of the capitalist system. easier to integrate into the present system of domination.those of the workers. Hegemony. “Contingency. as a result. 2000. Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left” Zizek thinks that the degree of globality or universality of a struggle depends on its location in the social structure: some struggles. while others.A2: Zizek Universality is a joke Ernesto Laclau. So while for Zizek the distinction between 'class struggle' and what he calls 'postmodernism' is fundamental. shorter working hours. more 'cultural' in their aims. conceived as 'class struggle'. better conditions in the workplace.such as multiculturalist oneswould be more prone to particularism and.can. given the appropriate circumstances. especially. be as easily integrated into the system as those of any other group. Conversely. There is no struggle which has inscribed in itself the guarantee of being the privileged locus of universalistic political effects. For me this is a spurious distinction. dislocations could take place which are the basis of anti-systemic movements led by groups who are not directly part of the capitalist relations of production. I tend to blur it. . Workers' demandshigher wages.

just want freedom from the capitalists. It takes these things as a given. 2000: 155. To succeed. 2000: 126). epistemological and political standards is thus not merely a necessary consequence of a Zizekian Act – it is a defining feature. and merely changes they ways in which violence is expressed.A2: Zizek Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 1/4 Zizek’s alternative necessarily reproduces violence and oppression. The new subject Zizek envisages is an authoritarian leader. Butler et al. respect for which would prevent us from ‘resignifying’ terror. their alternative requires an authoritarian leader capable of engaging in horrible violence in order to bring about change. 1999: 385–7.. 1999: 96). Such a suspension is necessary so a new system can be built from nothing. . while an Act may destroy the specific articulations of oppression within the present system (e. 2001b: 98–9). pg. his discussion of the Act remains resolutely individualist – as befits its clinical origins. ‘I don’t thousands of ordinary men and women. ever-present and necessary in any society. a soldier in Full Metal Jacket killing his drill sergeant and himself. and the acts of Stalinist bureaucrats who rewrote history knowing they would later be purged ( Zizek.” Thesis Eleven. subordination to [the leader] is the highest act of freedom’ ( Zizek. to ‘an injunction which cannot be grounded in ontology’ ( Zizek. So. 1991: 24). since the Act involves submission to a Cause and a Leader. (Butler et al.” Thesis Eleven. it necessarily produces a system which is equally oppressive. 1997a: 213–14). someone capable of the ‘inherently terroristic’ action of ‘redefining the rules of the game’ ( Zizek. violence. despite Zizek’s emphasis on politics. professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. altered or reformed. such as Mary Kay Letourneau’s defiance of juridical pressure to end a relationship with a youth. if not reactionary. So an Act shatters capitalism.18 Further. one does need a leader in order to be able to “do the impossible”. We would argue that this is a conservative. operating instead to ground a new political universality by opting for the impossible. The suspension of ethical. 1999: 377). naturalization. The choice of the term ‘suspension’ is revealing. the deep structure of the social system as set out in Lacanian theory is not (and cannot be) changed. all of which are for Zizek primordial. including social exclusion. 2000: 326) An Act is symbolic death. Zizek. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. 1997a: 223). and even more so as a recommendation for the future. but it leaves intact many of its most objectionable features. 1997a: 21. position. creatio ex nihilo. 2000: 155. i. Even the Russian Revolution becomes for Zizek a set of individual choices by Lenin. I also want freedom from people fit to take over’ (Rooum. respectively. the identification of the Real with illegal immigrants). all-encompassing Terror which bypasses particularities and violently stops the ‘mad dance’ of shifting identities. as opposed to the culmination of mass actions involving This is problematic as a basis for understanding previous social transformations. and anything short of a full Act remains on enemy terrain (see also. Zizek’s examples of Acts are nearly all isolated actions by individuals. professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. no a priori norms .17 It is the outcome of ‘an ethics grounded in reference to the traumatic Real which resists symbolisation’. and self-grounded. for although in Zizek’s account the surface structure of the social system is changed during such a ‘suspension’. an excessive gesture irreducible to human considerations and necessarily arbitrary (as in Zizek. 2) The Act resolves all problems in a single. pg. a ‘selfreferential abyss’ ( Zizek. with no taboos.. . Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. 8 November 2005. it cannot destroy the authoritarian structure of capitalism: ‘often. . 8 November 2005. Stalin and the aforementioned bureaucrats. 2) Furthermore. . 2001b: 246–7). . reification and myths. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. Donald Rooum’s cartoon character Wildcat surely grasps the essence of left radical ambition rather better when he states.g.e.

the lack of a Master ( Zizek. 2) Yet it is still the case that Zizek mercilessly rejects the present state of the world.” Thesis Eleven. professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. Indeed. 8 November 2005. 1997a: 151–3. 1999: 380). 1999: 285. and result in authoritarianism and human rights abuses Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. Zizek’s position thus sacrifices everything to a core orientation. 1999: 369. he is very aware of problems of great significance for the left: the privatization of everything from telecommunications to genes. on the other hand. 1997a: 148. Though it is far from clear that the changes he demands are unproblematically progressive. he clearly wants a comprehensive transformation.A2: Zizek Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 2/4 Zizek’s politics subordinate everything to rejecting the status quo. the invisible exploitation of workers in sweatshops. and campaigns against sexual violence ( Zizek. seem ‘normal’. He also rails against ‘permissiveness’ and ‘decadence’ and calls for a conformist ‘normal mature subject’ prepared to submit to authority on trust and to identify authentically with social roles ( Zizek. moderation and toleration as mere ‘humanist hysterical shirking of the act’ and announces that he doesn’t care if ‘bleeding-heart liberals’ accuse him of ‘linksfaschismus’ (Butler et al. he launches conservative-sounding attacks on liberalism and reflexivity ( Zizek. he dismisses others’ concerns for human rights. 2000: 110–11. 2000: 9). pg. 2000: 326. 2001b: 246–7).12 And yet. 164. 399. Zizek. 1999: 358. 133– 5). On the one hand. 1999: 358. Yet the question remains.. and the crisis they generate. and the weight of the forces lined up to make these attacks. the growing ecological crisis. Zizek. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. 193. 2000: 72. how can he reconcile such a stance with the impossibility of imagining a radical alternative? . 111).

and anyway one that he thinks is impossible to discuss. Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor of Politics at Nottingham University.25 .ntlworld. and it need not be identified with empirical accuracy: lies and distortions can have a truth-effect. A progressive endorsement of ‘class struggle’ means positing the lack of a common horizon and assuming or asserting the insolubility of political conflict. but a synonym for the Lacanian Real. Truth has nothing to do with truth-claims and the field of ‘knowledge’.pdf) As becomes evident ‘class struggle’ is not for Zizek an empirical referent and even less a category of Marxisant sociological analysis. That de Gaulle and the Church are political rightists is of no importance to Zizek.19 The content of this Truth is a secondary issue.21 A ‘truth-effect’ occurs whenever a work produces a strong emotional reaction. despite the incompatibility of their doctrines. Such individuals (and it is always individuals) violently carve the field and produce a truth-effect. (Andrew and Simon.com/simon. 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical. and factual truth can cover the disavowal of desire and the Real. Truth is an event which ‘just happens’. He also writes off the human suffering caused by carving the field as justified or even beneficial: it has a ‘transcendental genesis’ in the subject.22 In this sense. since he redefines ‘right’ and ‘left’ to avoid such problems.23 The structural occurrence of a truth-event is what matters to him . ‘radical’ figures.16 It therefore involves a glorification of conflict. St Paul and Lacan are all carriers of the truth and therefore are progressive. in which ‘the thing itself’ is ‘disclosed to us as what it is’. awaiting a content. since the logic of liberal capitalism is so total that it makes alternatives unthinkable. Lenin and de Gaulle.” http://homepage. as a good in itself. antagonism. terror and a militaristic logic of carving the field into good and bad sides. Robinson and Tormey 03.not what kind of world results from it.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical. This is a secondary issue . and its victims endure it because they obtain jouissance from it. but it should remain empty. therefore. For Zizek.17 Zizek celebrates war because it ‘undermines the complacency of our daily routine’ by introducing ‘meaningless sacrifice and destruction’.24 One should keep the utopian possibility of alternatives open.18 He fears being trapped by a suffocating social peace or Good and so calls on people to take a ‘militant.20 Truth is therefore the exaggeration which distorts any balanced system.A2: Zizek Zizek’s theory encourages violence as part of antagonism constitutive of humanity – it should be rejected on the notion that it would allow for unspeakable atrocities. divisive position’ of ‘assertion of the Truth that enthuses them’.

therefore. He endorses actions such as Stalinist purges. retreating to the horizon of the social to haunt history as spectre or phantasy ( Zizek.. there is no escape from the symbolic order or the Law of the Master. This is all because. one must commit suicide – as Zizek claims the Bolshevik Party did. a fundamental social transformation is impossible. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. 1988: 109–10). can only be glimpsed. Every Great Man must be betrayed so he can assume his fame and thereby become compatible with the status quo ( Zizek. complete with its dislocation. ‘must erase himself [sic] from the picture’ ( Zizek. renouncing the myth that jouissance is amassed somewhere else’ ( Zizek. lack. and no transcendence can overcome the deep structure of this world. 8 November 2005. give added support to it – as. transforms the ‘constellation which generates social symptoms’ (Butler et al. So an Act neither solves concrete problems nor achieves drastic improvements. via the Stalinist purges (1997c). it merely removes blockages to existing modes of thought and action. for Lacan. 1999: 90–1. 1999: 383–4). 2000: 159–60). 1996: 32). in his view. Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. 2001b: 50). pg. 1999: 154. shifting exclusion from one group to another.” Thesis Eleven. Zizek is opposed to any idea of realizing utopian ‘fullness’ and thus in escaping the vicissitudes of the Any change in the basic structure of existence. once one glimpses the sublime Universal. 2000: 124). he also rejects practical solutions to problems as a mere displacement ( Zizek. professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. It political qua antagonism. The leader. 368). We are trapped in the existing world. It is on this ground that Zizek is relaxed about supporting measures that. As a Lacanian. It ‘means that we accept the vicious circle of revolving around the object [the Real] and find jouissance in it. alienation and antagonism. or ‘mediator’. is out of the question. however. and concedes that political change is impossible. This absolute. 316). the subject undergoes identification with a Cause. therefore. The leader. 1999: 331). a system similar to the present one is restored. far from challenging or undermining the status quo. that moment when the absolute appears in all its fragility’. After the break initiated by an Act. which may be the same ones as today. . It also offers those who take part in it a ‘dimension of Otherness.A2: Zizek Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 3/4 Zizek’s politics require authoritarian control and violence. The most we can hope for is to go from incapable neurosis to mere alienated subjectivity. 2) So the Act is a rebirth – but a rebirth as what? The parallel with Lacan’s concept of ‘traversing the fantasy’ is crucial because. However. leading to a new ‘proper symbolic Prohibition’ revitalized by the process of rebirth ( Zizek. it is possible to start a ‘new life’. but it does not achieve either drastic or moderate concrete changes. 2000: 64). enabling one ‘effectively to realize the necessary pragmatic measures’ ( Zizek. but only by replacing one symbolic fiction with another ( Zizek. a ‘brief apparition of a future utopian Otherness to which every authentic revolutionary stance should cling’ ( Zizek. for example. Act and Cause must be betrayed so the social order can be refounded. In Zizek’s politics. in his refusal to denounce structural adjustment policies ( Zizek. whereby one may overcome dislocation and disorientation. which is fixed at the level of subject-formation. 1997b: 72–3).

With shades of Orwell. 1997a: 10). but prostration before the call of the truth-event. Traversing the fantasy involves ‘accepting’ that there is no way one can be satisfied. It involves being reduced to a zero-point or ‘ultimate level’ similar to that seen in the most broken concentration-camp inmates ( Zizek. Zizek claims that the Act involves ‘the highest freedom and also the utmost passivity with a reduction to a lifeless automaton who blindly performs its gestures’. 1997a: 62–3). . professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. replicating the abuses of concentration camps Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. . inducing not an improvement but a transition ‘from Bad to Worse’. 1999: 377). and a transition from being the ‘nothing’ we are today to being ‘a Nothing humbly aware of itself. and therefore a ‘full acceptance of the pain . so the role of analysis is ‘to throw out the baby’ in order to confront the patient with his [their] ‘dirty bathwater’ ( Zizek. 1997a: 30–1). 86). ‘something violently imposed on me from the Outside through a traumatic encounter that shatters the very foundation of my being’ ( Zizek. as well as a rejection of every conception of radical difference ( Zizek. .” Thesis Eleven.A2: Zizek The result of the plan is to completely subordinate the individual. 2) The Act thus reproduces in the socio-political field the Lacanian concept of traversing the fantasy. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. as inherent to the excess of pleasure which is jouissance’. 8 November 2005. pg. a Nothing paradoxically made rich through the very awareness of its lack’ ( Zizek. It means ‘an acceptance of the fact that there is no secret treasure in me’ ( Zizek. 1999: 377). 1999: 377). 2000: 146–7). which is ‘inherently “terroristic” ’ ( Zizek. in the Act freedom equals slavery ( Zizek. In other words. 2001b: 76–7. It is also not freedom in the usual sense.

(The supposed necessity of the state is derived from the supposed need for a master-signifier or nodal point to stabilize identity and avoid psychosis. however.. which maintains awareness of its contingency. It is. this kind of stance leads to an acceptance of social exclusion which negates compassion for its victims. however. everything stays much the same. producing a historical event. It therefore eliminates the element of unconditional attachment to an unattainable Thing or Real. either for individuals or for societies). For all its radical pretensions. It delivers what Zizek fears most: a 'pallid and anaemic. Zizek's politics can be summed up in his attitude to neo-liberalism: 'If it works. 'By traversing the fantasy the subject accepts the void of his nonexistence'26. 'repetitive' and 'perverse' because it lacks the 'properly political' attitude of 'Us against Them'20. It is also present.. There must always be social exclusion. tolerant peaceful daily life'. overall. can exist without some form of exclusion' experienced by its victims as coercion and violence29. this is both a duty and an acceptance of necessity. “The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique”) Zizek's anti-capitalism has won him friends in leftist circles.. As with Mouffe. and 'enemies of the people'24. where 'today's "mad dance". question whether Zizek is attacking capitalism (as opposed to liberalism) at all. "After the revolution". The resultant inhumanity finds its most extreme expression in Zizek's work.. One could. Hence. and. I think it's a useful antidote to all the aseptic. an element which is the core of humanity21. self-satisfied. however. but one which ultimately changes very little. Professor of Politics at Nottingham University. His "capitalism" is a stultifying world of suffocating Good which is unbearable precisely because it lacks the dimension of violence and antagonism. he says. 2005. why not try a dose of it?'31. The phenomena which are denounced in Lacanian theory are invariably readmitted in its "small print". this means that one must endorse exclusion and violence. frustrating. The Zizekian version is committed to a more violent and passionate affirmation of negativity. On a political level. it reinforces conformity by insisting on an institutional mediation which overcodes all the "articulations". To rectify this situation. and this leads to a theory which renounces both effectiveness and political radicalism. 'Horrible as it may sound. the dynamic proliferation of multiple shifting identities. 'No state or political order. in the toned-down exclusionism of authors such as Mouffe. What is at stake in the division between these two trends in Lacanian political theory is akin to the distinction Vaneigem draws between "active" and "passive" nihilism30. indeed.A2: Zizek Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 4/4 Zizek’s Theory promotes violence and exclusion of the Other Robinson 05 (Andrew. but the capitalism to which he objects is not the capitalism of classical Marxist critique. there is a need for suffocating Good to be destroyed by diabolical Evil22. politically correct pacifism'23. democracy depends on 'the possibility of drawing a frontier between "us" and "them"'. 'Why not violence?' he rhetorically asks. The resulting politics involves an 'ethical duty' to accomplish an Act which shatters the social edifice by undermining the fantasies which sustain it25. The Laclauian trend involves an implied ironic distance from any specific project. The function of the Zizekian "Act" is to dissolve the self. since Mouffe assumes a state to be necessary. awaits its resolution in a new form of Terror'27. 'boring'. . and 'always entails relations of inclusion-exclusion'28.

2000: 64). pg. 2000: 159–60). retreating to the horizon of the social to haunt history as spectre or phantasy (Zizek. Act and Cause must be betrayed so the social order can be refounded. that moment when the absolute appears in all its fragility’. a soldier in Full Metal Jacket killing his drill sergeant and himself. The leader.’ . such as Mary Kay Letourneau’s defiance of juridical pressure to end a relationship with a youth. It also offers those who take part in it a ‘dimension of Otherness. The new subject Zizek envisages is an authoritarian leader. and even more so as a recommendation for the future. ‘must erase himself [sic] from the picture’ (Zizek. ‘I don’t just want freedom from the capitalists. the alternative can never materialize Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. We would argue that this is a conservative. 1999: 385– 7. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. Stalin and the aforementioned bureaucrats. I also want freedom from people fit to take over. shifting exclusion from one group to another. it merely removes blockages to existing modes of thought and action. Furthermore. This absolute. It transforms the ‘constellation which generates social symptoms’ (Butler et al. This is problematic as a basis for understanding previous social transformations. 2000: 124). 8) So an Act neither solves concrete problems nor achieves drastic improvements. 1999: 377). his discussion of the Act remains resolutely individualist – as befits its clinical origins.A2: Zizek Alternative Fails-Any type of resistance to capitalism is rejected by Zizek. via the Stalinist purges (1997c). 2001b: 50). position. Even the Russian Revolution becomes for Zizek a set of individual choices by Lenin. or ‘mediator’. a ‘brief apparition of a future utopian Otherness to which every authentic revolutionary stance should cling’ (Zizek. Every Great Man must be betrayed so he can assume his fame and thereby become compatible with the status quo (Zizek. but it does not achieve either drastic or moderate concrete changes. 1999: 90–1. 2001b: 98–9). renouncing the myth that jouissance is amassed somewhere else’ (Zizek. therefore. 8 November 2005.. can only be glimpsed. as opposed to the culmination of mass actions involving thousands of ordinary men and women. however. 1988: 109–10). Zizek’s examples of Acts are nearly all isolated actions by individuals.” Thesis Eleven. if not reactionary. It ‘means that we accept the vicious circle of revolving around the object [the Real] and find jouissance in it. and the acts of Stalinist bureaucrats who rewrote history knowing they would later be purged (Zizek. 316). once one glimpses the sublime Universal. Donald Rooum’s cartoon character Wildcat surely grasps the essence of left radical ambition rather better when he states. professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. despite Zizek’s emphasis on politics. someone capable of the ‘inherently terroristic’ action of ‘redefining the rules of the game’ (Zizek. one must commit suicide – as Zizek claims the Bolshevik Party did. The leader. 1997a: 21.

.e. even anti-. of what he identifies as an authentic Act. he sees a confrontation with the impossible as a sign of the purity and authenticity of a particular action. . The commitment an Act generates must be ‘dogmatic’. impossibility of historicisation’ (Zizek. he believes that everyone is equally trapped by the dominant symbolic system. i. an Act (or Decision) is circular and tautological.A2: Zizek The Revolution is nihilism and anti-ethical-the alternative is circular and will never solve Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. ethical (at least as regards any conception of the good). radical Act necessarily comes from the repressed Real. Rather. thereby revealing a repressed Truth and bringing the Real to the surface. The Act. cultural or psycho-logical difference. and incomprehensible except from the inside. but the actor. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. Zizek does not see mere ‘impossibility’ as a barrier to action at all. is a structural or formal category. an Act is nihilistic and extra-. so any break with it must come from beyond meaning and positive ethics. it ‘cannot be refuted by any argumentation’ and is indifferent to the truth-status of the Event it refers to. . 2000: 124). surprises not only conformist observers. therefore. defined (in principle) internally and radically separated from anything which does not meet its criteria. Since Zizek denies the existence of radical social.” Thesis Eleven. An Act has its own inherent normativity. and systems of meaning and knowledge. which for Zizek is the sole criterion of whether one’s politics are radical. Second. of erasing the traces of one’s past . . politics. even those which share Zizek’s hostility to liberal capitalism. 1997a: 225–6). and involves the return of this repressed impossibility. 9) True to form. professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. someone who Acts must identify with the symptom. they must ‘suspend’ the existing symbolic system. refusing all external standards. For Zizek. 8 November 2005. including its ethics. an authentic. . they are hysterical ‘false acts’. and beginning again from a zero-point’ (Zizek. All alternatives that fall short of the criteria of full Acts are for Zizek necessarily complicit in capitalism. it ‘surprises/transforms the agent itself’ (Butler et al. and including some which fit particular formal requirements of an Act. It necessarily. The Act therefore opens a redemptive dimension via a ‘gesture of sublimation. First. pseudo-resistance which actually sustains capitalism by contributing to its ‘phantasmic supplement’. 2000: 127). Acts have several formal criteria which Zizek formulates differently on different occasions. pg. based on a ‘shibboleth’. At best. Such an Act is for Zizek a transcendental necessity for subjective action. ‘a quasi-transcendental unhistorical condition of possibility and . providing a ‘pseudoradical’.

his politics offers little in the way of inspiration for the progressive left. On the contrary. his commitment to Lacanian categories reasserts the primordial character of alienation. this is not. we contend that despite the undeniable radicality of Zizek’s theoretical approach. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. .A2: Zizek Alternative Fails-radical resistance fails and only continues the cycle of oppressive alienation. In our view. Alternative Fails-Zizek’s alternative is not progressive and reinforces current political structures through active nihilism Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. 8 November 2005. This negativity ‘breaks’ with the present but undermines rather than generates a meaningful politics of resistance to the system. of linking and radicalizing ‘petty’ resistances. of encouraging critical and utopian forms of thought and activity. serves to reaffirm rather than contest the given. despite appearances to the contrary. hierarchies and domination Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey. However. multiculturalism and ‘radical democracy’ have established him as a leading figure amongst those looking to renew the link between socialist discourse and a transformative politics. therefore. 8 November 2005. 1) The work of Slavoj Zizek has become an essential reference point for debates concerning the future of left radical thought and practice. but only the negativity of what Raoul Vaneigem terms ‘active nihilism’ (1967: 178). professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. We suggest that a genuinely transformative politics should (contra Zizek) stress the necessity for the prefiguration of alternatives. “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism. his position should be opposed by those genuinely concerned with advancing left radical goals and a meaningful resistance to the neoliberal status quo. hierarchy and domination. pg. What Zizek delivers falls short of its promise. professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham. and his proposed schema for confronting the status quo. His attacks on identity politics.” Thesis Eleven.” Thesis Eleven. pg. Zizek does not offer an alternative that is genuinely progressive or transformative. a radicalism that left politics can draw sustenance or hope from. the model of the Act. 2) In this article we want to suggest that whilst Zizek’s recent work is intellectually ‘radical’.

because.80 It is possible to start a new life by replacing one symbolic fiction with another. e. Any change in the basic structure of existence. there is no escape from the symbolic order or the Law of the Master. complete with its dislocation.but a rebirth as what? The parallel with Lacan’s concept of ‘traversing the fantasy’ is crucial. We are trapped in the existing world. or ‘mediator’.” http://homepage. is out of the question. Act and Cause must be betrayed so the social order can be refounded. the subject undergoes identification with a Cause.ntlworld. via the Stalinist purges (‘When the Party Commits Suicide’). It ‘means that we accept the vicious circle of revolving around the object [the Real] and find jouissance in it.82 So an Act neither solves concrete problems nor achieves drastic improvements.81 As a Lacanian. Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor of Politics at Nottingham University.86 retreating to the horizon of the social to haunt history as spectre or phantasy.as Zizek claims the Bolshevik Party did. a system similar to the present one is restored. can only be glimpsed. therefore. but it does not achieve either drastic or moderate concrete changes. However.pdf) So the Act is a rebirth .g. (Andrew and Simon.com/simon. lack.84 It also offers those who take part in it a ‘dimension of Otherness.A2: Zizek Zizek’s alternative cannot escape the current social system – he merely shifts oppression from one group to another. whereby one may overcome dislocation and disorientation. which is fixed at the level of subjectformation. . 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical. a fundamental social transformation is impossible.79 which may be the same ones as today. Zizek is opposed to any idea of realising utopian fullness. ‘must erase himself [sic] from the picture’. The leader. he also rejects practical solutions to problems as a mere displacement.77 leading to a new ‘proper symbolic Prohibition’ revitalised by the process of rebirth.87 Every Great Man must be betrayed so he can assume his fame and thereby become compatible with the status quo. alienation and antagonism. however. a ‘brief apparition of a future utopian Otherness to which every authentic revolutionary stance should cling’. After the break initiated by an Act. for Lacan. therefore. structural adjustment policies. that moment when the absolute appears in all its fragility’. the most we can hope for is to go from incapable neurosis to mere alienated subjectivity.85 This absolute.83 shifting exclusion from one group to another. it merely removes blockages to existing modes of thought and action. The leader.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.78 enabling one ‘effectively to realize the necessary pragmatic measures’. and no transcendence can overcome the deep structure of this world. renouncing the myth that jouissance is amassed somewhere else’. Robinson and Tormey 03. In Zizek’s politics. It transforms the ‘constellation which generates social symptoms’.88 once one glimpses the sublime Universal. one must commit suicide .

but in an active way. It can be a strength. In contrast with Zizek’s stress on subordination. Similarly. and that the contingency of social institutions and practices makes possible the overthrow of existing institutions and the construction or creation of different practices. 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical. acts. protecting radical politics from self-appointed elites. which are sometimes spectacular and carnivalesque. carnivalesque and non-violent actions as well as more overtly confrontational ones .ntlworld. is ‘a prescription for political quietism and sterility’. They serve only to discredit the left and further alienate those it seeks to mobilise. sometimes subterranean.154 Zizek is right that we should aim to overcome the ‘impossibilities’ of capitalism. acceptance of pain and alienation. Nor need this decentring be seen as a weakness as Zizek insists. the emphasis on direct action . Zizek’s model of the pledged group. and in the prefiguration of alternative economic. inclusive and multiform types of activity offer a better chance of effectively overcoming the homogenising logic of capitalism and of winning support among wider circles of those dissatisfied with it. we have the ability to bring the ‘no-where’ into the ‘now-here’ . in the spaces we create for resistance.generates the possibility of empowerment through involvement in and support for the myriad causes which make up the anti-capitalist resistance. initiatives. exclusivity. Robinson and Tormey 03. which. Instead. in the forms of organisation.com/simon. a transformative politics should be a process of transformation. but potentially despotic. Radicals should go further. the tendency of anticapitalists and others to adopt anti-authoritarian. multiform plurality of resistances. This resistance stands in stark contrast to the desert of ‘heroic’ isolation advocated by Zizek. and the threat of a repeat of the Stalinist betrayal.A2: Zizek Zizek’s alternative is political paralysis – progressivism built around the desire for transformation is the only way to avoid the replication of oppression. sometimes directly revolutionary. but this overcoming should involve the active prefiguration and construction in actuality of alternative social forms. militarism and the restoration of order) tendentially conservative. social relations. hierarchy and violence. Utopian imaginaries express what is at stake in left radicalism: that what exists does not exist of necessity. defeat through the ‘neutralisation’ of leaders. political and social forms.which can include ludic. bound together by the One who Acts. Through enacting utopia. transformism. heterogeneous. Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor of Politics at Nottingham University. and activity we adopt. It is important that radicals invoke ‘utopias’. and. is entirely irrelevant to the contemporary world and would be a step backwards from the decentred character of current leftradical politics. sometimes rooted in institutional change and reform.” http://homepage.pdf) Zizek’s politics are not merely impossible. rhizomatic. and conceptions of the world. and bring this imagined ‘other place’ into actual existence. (Andrew and Simon. sometimes prefigurative. ‘disorganisation’. indeed. infiltration. an alinear. and also (between support for a Master.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical. as Laclau puts it. The most Zizek allows to radicals is the ability to ‘glimpse’ utopia while enacting the reconstruction of oppression. not a simple (and actually impossible) break with everything which exists of the kind imagined by Zizek.

he sees it as a sign of the purity and authenticity of a particular action.49 creatio ex nihilo and self-grounded. is a structural or formal category. defined (in principle) All alternatives . because of the inexorable ethical injunction’. The commitment an Act generates must be ‘dogmatic’. Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor of Politics at Nottingham University. Rather.e.47 The Act resolves all problems in a single.51 a ‘selfreferential abyss’. At best. of erasing the traces of one’s past … and beginning again from a zeropoint’.” one which merely serves to continue capitalism. conception of the good). ethical (at least as regards any internally and radically separated from anything which does not meet its criteria. Zizek calls this a “false act. the spirit of sacrifice’.42 An Act has its own inherent normativity. Since Zizek denies the existence of radical social. cultural or psychological difference.. For Zizek. they must ‘suspend’ the existing symbolic system. even anti-.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical. 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical.. which for Zizek is the sole criterion of whether one’s politics are radical. to ‘an injunction which cannot be grounded in ontology’.55 . no a priori norms.which fall short of the criteria of full Acts are for Zizek necessarily complicit in capitalism. all-encompassing Terror which bypasses particularities and violently stops the ‘mad dance’ of shifting identities. and including some which fit particular formal requirements of an Act .41 an Act is nihilistic and extra-. he believes that everyone is equally trapped by the dominant symbolic system.44 based on a shibboleth. therefore.it is a defining feature. It is necessary so a new system can be built from nothing. i. Robinson and Tormey 03. 38 Such an Act is for Zizek a transcendental necessity for subjective action. it ‘surprises/transforms the agent itself’.pdf) Caught in the Act The answer is that Zizek does not see impossibility as a barrier to action. i.52 an excessive gesture irreducible to human considerations and necessarily arbitrary.A2: Zizek Their alternative as presented in this debate round is not the radical act – it fails to meet Zizek’s own standards of what constitutes the Act. and systems of meaning and knowledge. operating instead ‘to ground a new political universality by opting for the impossible.46 It is a response to an ethical injunction beyond ordinary ethical norms.48 An Act is symbolic death.40 Acts have several formal criteria which Zizek formulates differently on different occasions. an authentic. radical Act necessarily comes from the repressed Real. epistemological and political standards is not a necessary consequence of a Zizekian Act .e.54 and anything short of a full Act remains on enemy terrain.even those which share Zizek’s hostility to liberal capitalism. but the actor. Firstly. and involves the return of this repressed impossibility.37 The Act therefore opens a redemptive dimension via a ‘gesture of sublimation. The Act.45 and incomprehensible except from the inside. politics. they are hysterical ‘false acts’. respect for which would prevent us from ‘resignifying’ terror. with no taboos. the ruthless exercise of power.com/simon. surprises not only conformist observers.ntlworld. It necessarily. refusing all external standards. so any break with it must come from beyond meaning and positive ethics. someone who Acts must identify with the symptom. none the less I simply have to do it. thereby revealing a repressed Truth and bringing the Real to the surface. it ‘cannot be refuted by any argumentation’ and is indifferent to the truth-status of the Event it refers to. Secondly. so that ‘although what I am about to do will have catastrophic consequences for my well-being and for the well-being of my nearest and dearest. providing a pseudo-radical pseudo-resistance which actually sustains capitalism by contributing to its phantasmic supplement.53 The suspension of ethical. of what he identifies as an authentic Act. including its ethics.50 It is the outcome of ‘an ethics grounded in reference to the traumatic Real which resists symbolisation’. ‘a quasi-transcendental unhistorical condition of possibility and … impossibility of historicisation’.” http://homepage. (Andrew and Simon.43 an Act (or Decision) is circular and tautological.

A2: Zizek
Zizek’s alternative is genocide – it requires acceptance of human nature as violent and extermination of those who get in the way of the revolution. Robinson and Tormey 03, (Andrew and Simon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor
of Politics at Nottingham University, 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical,” http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf) Secondly, Zizek implies that Lenin must in some sense have ‘understood’ that the revolution would necessarily betray itself, and that all revolutions are structurally doomed to fall short of whatever ideals and principles motivate them. He also implies that the success or failure of a revolution has nothing to do with whether the modes of thought and action, social relations and institutions which follow are at all related to the original revolutionary ideals and principles. What matters is that power is held by those who ‘identify with the symptom’, who call themselves ‘Proletarian’. Zizek therefore endorses the conservative claim that Lenin’s utopian moments were

Machiavellian manoeuvres or at best confused delusions, veiling his true intentions to seize power for himself or a small elite: Lenin was the ‘ultimate political strategist’.121 That Zizek endorses the
‘Lenin’ figure despite endorsing nearly every accusation against Lenin serves to underline the degree to which

Zizek’s politics are wedded to conservative assumptions that repression, brutality and terror are ‘always with us’. Rejecting the claim that politics could be otherwise, Zizek wishes to grasp, embrace and even revel in the grubbiness and violence of modern politics. The moment of utopia in Russia was for Zizek realised when the Red Guards succumbed to a destructive hedonism in
moments of Bataillean excess.122 The only difference for Zizek between leftist ethics and the standpoint of Oliver North, the Taleban, the anti-Dreyfusards and even the Nazis is that such ‘rightists’ legitimate their acts in reference to some higher good, whereas leftists also suspend the higher good in a truly authentic gesture of suspension.123

The Soviet Terror is a good terror whereas the Nazi one is not, only because the Soviet terror was allegedly more total, with everyone being potentially at risk, not only out-groups.124 Zizek goes well beyond advocating violence as a means to an end; for Zizek, violence is part of the end itself, the utopian excess of the Act. The closest parallel is the nihilism of Nechaev’s Catechism of a Revolution which proclaims that ‘everything is moral that contributes to the triumph of the revolution; everything that hinders it is immoral and criminal’.125 As Peter Marshall comments in his digest of anarchist writings and movements, the Catechism is ‘one of the most repulsive documents in the history of terrorism’. One can only speculate what he would have made of ‘Repeating Lenin’.126

A2: Zizek
Perm Solves-Challenging leftist theories is the only way to create true political progressivism Robinson 05 (Andrew, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University, 2005, “The Political Theory of
Constitutive Lack: A Critique”)

Amongst a plethora of radical theoretical perspectives, a new paradigm is slowly becoming hegemonic. Inspired by the work of Jacques Lacan, theorists are increasingly turning to the concept of "constitutive lack" to find a way out of the impasses of classical Marxist, speculative and analytical approaches to political theory. Beneath the debates between rivals such as Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Zizek, there is a unity of purpose about the parameters of political theory. Across the work of authors such as Zizek, Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Yannis Stavrakakis, David Howarth, Renata Salecl, Jason Glynos, Aletta Norval and Saul Newman, there is a central set of motifs and claims which mark out a distinct tradition within contemporary political thought. The idea of "constitutive lack", constructed as an ontological claim, operates also in these theories as a normative concept, and it is used to found normative claims. The title of Alenka Zupančič's most famous book Ethics of the Real summarises the outlook of all these authors1. The challenge posed by this influential perspective is too important to ignore. Its paradigmatic structure - the shared, often unconscious and unreflexive, assumptions which unite its various proponents in a single way of thinking and arguing - is becoming the dominant trend in (ostensibly) radical theory. It is accounting for a growing number of submitted and published articles and is gaining a growing support among researchers and graduates. It has almost invisibly gained a foothold in theoretical literature significant enough to raise its influence to a level second only, perhaps, to the analytical/Rawlsian tradition. This is at least partly due to its radical pretensions. It is, however, crucial to challenge it, because its political effects are to paralyse "radical" theory. It provides a very weak basis for any kind of politics, and certainly no basis for a radical or transformative agenda. It is, in short, a surrogate radicalism, a theoretical placebo which does not live up to the promises it makes. This article examines this paradigm through a critique of its founding concept. In contrast to the claims of authors such as Laclau to have escaped the "essentialism" of classical political theory, I shall demonstrate that the idea of "constitutive lack" involves the reintroduction of myth and essentialism into political theory. I shall demonstrate that Lacanian political theory cannot meet its claims to be "radical" and "anti-essentialist", and its central arguments are analytically flawed. First of all, however, I shall outline the parameters of this new theoretical paradigm2.

A2: Zizek
Alt Fails and Impact Turn-Zizek does not provide any social transformation theory and endorses an endless cycle of war and violence Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8 November 2005, pg. 2-3)

Against this alleged pseudo-radicalism, Zizek revives traditional leftist concepts such as ‘class struggle’. He ignores, however, the ‘orthodox’ left meaning of such terms, rearticulating them in a sophisticated Hegelian and Lacanian vocabulary. Yet problems remain: Zizek’s version of ‘class struggle’ does not map on to traditional conceptions of an empirical working class, and Zizek’s ‘proletariat’ is avowedly ‘mythical’. He also rejects newer forms of struggle such as the anti-capitalist movement and the 1968 uprisings, thereby reproducing a problem common in radical theory: his theory has no link to radical politics in an immediate sense. Nevertheless, he has a theory of how such a politics should look, which he uses to judge existing political radicalisms. So how does Zizek see radical politics emerging? Zizek does not offer much by way of a positive social agenda. He does not have anything approximating to a ‘programme’, nor a model of the kind of society he seeks, nor a theory of the construction of alternatives in the present. Indeed, the more one looks at the matter, the more difficult it becomes to pin Zizek down to any ‘line’ or ‘position’. He seems at first sight to regard social transformation not as something ‘possible’ to be theorized and advanced, but as a fundamental ‘impossibility’ because the influence of the dominant symbolic system is so great that it makes alternatives unthinkable. A fundamental transformation, however, is clearly the only answer to the otherwise compelling vision of contemporary crisis Zizek offers. Can he escape this contradiction? His attempt to do so revolves around a reclassification of ‘impossibility’ as an active element in generating action. Asserting or pursuing the impossible becomes in Zizek’s account not only possible but desirable. So how then can the left advance its ‘impossible’ politics? How is a now ‘impossible’ model of class struggle to be transformed into a politics relevant to the present period? As becomes evident, ‘class struggle’ is not for Zizek an empirical referent and even less a category of Marxisant sociological analysis, but a synonym for the Lacanian Real. A progressive endorsement of ‘class struggle’ means positing the lack of a common horizon and assuming or asserting the insolubility of political conflict. It therefore involves a glorification of conflict, antagonism, terror and a militaristic logic of carving the field into good and bad sides, as a good in itself (see, for example, the discussion in Zizek, 2000: 57, 126). Zizek celebrates war because it ‘undermines the complacency of our daily routine’ by introducing ‘meaningless sacrifice and destruction’ (Zizek, 1999: 105). He fears being trapped by a suffocating social peace or Good and so calls on people to take a ‘militant, divisive position’ of ‘assertion of the Truth that enthuses them’ (Zizek, 2001b: 237–8).

at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails
Zizek’s Act fails to accomplish fundamental change—it is merely therapeutic for individuals. Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog, http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.html) Why does Zizek support the Act? Although he connects the Act to 'radicalism', he does not state anywhere that the Act accomplishes any fundamental change in the deep structure of existence; at best, it can temporarily suspend (for instance) exclusion. This is not an attempt to achieve a better world (still less a perfect one!) but a purely structural attempt to restore something which Zizek thinks is missing. In this sense, even in its 'radicalism', the Act is conservative. Zizek is concerned that the matrix of sublimation - the possibility of producing 'sublime' objects which seem to encapsulate the absolute - is under threat (FA 26; elsewhere, Zizek attacks postmodernists and other 'new sophists' for this). The Act in whatever form reproduces the possibility of sublimity; in this sense, it reproduces old certainties in new forms, undermining all the gains made by theories of historicity and contingency. The purpose of the Act, which Zizek has transplanted from psychoanalytic practice (directed at individual psyches) to socio-political practice (directed at entire social systems) without considering whether this is possible or appropriate, is primarily therapeutic. The role of the Act is to solve the antinomy of the present by asserting a Real against the combined Imaginary and Real of simulacra, thereby reintroducing the impossibility that shatters the Imaginary, enabling us to traverse the fantasy (TS 374; the fantasy is the extimate kernel of libidinal investment which Zizek sees lurking almost everywhere). Zizek seems to be restoring to psychoanalysis a naive conception of psychological health: via the ex nihilo act, one can escape the logic of the symptom (DSST 178). Zizek’s Act is radically nihilistic and accomplishes nothing political. Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog, http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.html) It is important to realise that the Act is not revolutionary in the sense of creating something new on the basis of an ideal, or an imaginary, or the restoration of an authentic prealienated state, or any other process which would allow one to create something on the basis of a project and praxis. The Act is radically nihilistic (see below). For Zizek, the subject can change nothing - all it can do is add itself to reality by an act of claiming responsibility for the given (SOI 221). Zizek is a little inconsistent on the relationship between the Act and the existing system, but on the whole, he seems to

see Acts as occurring for the system, against imaginaries and especially the extimate kernel of fantasy. Christianity did not so much suspend the law, says Zizek, as suspend its obscene supplement (FA 130) (i.e. extimate kernel). Zizek thinks fantasy is fundamentally inconsistent, so it is an "ethical duty" to put this on display, in order to disrupt fantasy (PF 74; see CONSERVATISM on Zizek's tendency to conflate 'displaying' with 'doing', so that the boundary between being a sexist or a fascist and displaying sexism or fascism to disrupt it is unclear). Zizek is inconsistent, however, since there are also occasions when he seems to want to encourage fantasies (TS 51). Crucially, the Act is also a form of decisiveness. Zizek wants to pin down vacillating signifiers without using a Master-Signifier or quilting-point, he says on one occasion (FA 139-40). Elsewhere (eg. on Chavez and Lenin), he seems to rather like the Master or "One" whose Act 'quilts' the field. Either way, the Act seems to give a certain focus to discourse, acting as a centre. As his discussions of the vanishing mediator show, he sees the Act establishing a new set of symbolic and imaginary discourses which restore the role of the master-signifier, by directly adopting the position of the extimate kernel. Zizek also sees the Act as a resolution of a dilemma. According to Zizek, Good assumes (and therefore produces) Evil, and the Act escapes the resulting dilemma by breaking with Good (TS 382; this is also what distinguishes the Act as diabolical

). What seems completely missing here is any case for the Act that in any way justifies ethically the terrible nature of the Act, both for its perpetrator and for others; one can only really accept Zizek's Act if one places at the core of one's belief-system the importance of resolving dilemmas in
Evil from everyday evil - crime, the Holocaust and so on). For Zizek, denial of the possibility of the Act is the root of evil (TS 376

some supposed deep structure of existence, so what matters is not human or social consequences or any specific beliefs, but merely the adoption of a structural position which solves contradictions in and thereby overcomes the problems of a structure. Despite Zizek's repeated use of the term "ethics", therefore, this is in many ways not an ethical system at all, but a kind of model of structural problem-solving - a "therapy" for society, passed off as ethics.

at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails
Zizek’s alternative “act” conceptualizes culture as having so much power over individuals that liberation is impossible. Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog, http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.html) The Act is a fundamentally negative occurrence in which one strips oneself of all human dignity and 'recognises' that one is nothing but excrement, that there is no 'little treasure' inside and that the subject is nothing but a void. (It is therefore utterly incompatible with approaches which involve action - eg. praxis - as a humanising phenomenon). "By traversing the fantasy, the subject accepts the void of his nonexistence" (TS 281). Traversing the fantasy leads to subjective destitution: abandoning the notion of something 'in me more than myself' and recognising that the big Other is nothing but a semblance. This involves a change in one's worldview: the "analyst's desire" makes possible a community minus its phantasmic support, without any need for a
'subject supposed to...' (know, enjoy or believe) (TS 296). (In this passage Zizek portrays the Act as leading to a fundamental shift in character-structure, although this is not a claim he repeats consistently). An Act is defined by the characteristic that it "surprises/transforms the agent itself" (CHU 124; a choice in the usual sense cannot therefore be an Act). , a (supposedly) liberating moment, "the antiideological gesture par excellence by means of which I renounce the treasure within myself and fully admit my dependence on the externality of symbolic apparatuses - that is to say, fully assume the fact that my very self-experience of a subject who was already there prior to the external process of interpellation is a retrospective misrecognition brought about by the process of interpellation" (CHU 134; NB how this means endorsing control by the

It involves subjective destitution

). The Act therefore involves an utter prostration before symbolic apparatuses: NOT the liberation of the human from the system, but the total victory of the system over humans (cf. Zizek's support for Big Brother-type surveillance; see MARX).
system, not opposing it; cf. MATERIALISM

The Act is indeterminate nonsense—there is no way to know if a political intervention meets the criteria. Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog, http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.html) Not surprisingly given that he sees the Act as shattering meaning, Zizek wants a commitment which is "dogmatic", "cannot be refuted by any 'argumentation' " and "does not ask for good reasons", and which is "indifferent" to the truth-status of the Event it refers to (TS ****; find reference). A Decision (Act) is circular, a shibboleth, and a creative act which nevertheless reveals a constitutive void which is invisible (TS 138; NB the slippage between epistemology and ontology here: how do we know the Act is revealing rather than creating the void?). Law is legitimated by transference: it is only convincing to those who already believe (SOI 38). The Act subverts a given field as such and achieves the apparently 'impossible' by retroactively creating the conditions of its possibility by changing its conditions (CHU 121). It has its own inherent normativity, lacking any simple external standards (TS 388) As well as being problematic in itself, this kind of open advocation of irrationalism and dogmatism would seem to rule out the possibility of empirically or rationally assessing the validity of a particular Act: by definition an Act is not open to such assessment, so one cannot judge between a false (eg. Nazi) and a true Act, since this would involve precisely such a rational and empirical process of assessment ("good reasons" and truth-status). This raises problems for Zizek's attempts to distance himself from Nazism (see below, on false acts). Also, Zizek is being inconsistent in trying to defend such an attack on communication by communicative means (can one make a rational case against rationality?).

at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails
The Zizekian “Act” requires an abandonment of ethics and accepting an obliteration of the self. Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog, http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.html) Zizek's theory of the Act presupposes a belief that we are all basically worthless. "The ultimate level of the ethical experience" is found in the utterly broken victim of the Nazi or Stalinist camps (DSST 86), which means one "will be surprised to learn how even the darkest Stalinism harbours a redemptive dimension" (DSST 88). Humanity per se is reducible to the most broken concentration

camp inmates (i.e. the ones who have gone beyond trying o reconstruct meaning through petty resistances; referred to in the camps as "Muslims" or "Musselmen" because of their resemblance to famine victims); these people were not dehumanised by the Nazis, but rather, express an inhuman kernel of humanity (DSST 76-7). This kind of person is the " 'zero-level' of humanity" which makes human symbolic engagement possible by wiping the slate of animal instincts (DSST 77; NB the strong binary operative here, which is totally flawed: dogs show similar modes of action when exposed to similar situations, such as Seligman's dogs in the 'learned helplessness' experiments). Zizek thinks we all have had to go through this experience (DSST 77-8). This experience also negates the concept of authenticity (though not enough to stop Zizek using it elsewhere): one can't say such victims are involved in an authentic existential project, but it would be cynical to say they are living an inauthentic existence since it is others, not themselves, who degrade them (DSST 78-9; I don't actually see why an external basis for subordination would affect the concept of authenticity in the slightest; perhaps it would affect the strongest versions which assume pure freedom, but it would not undermine, for instance, the later Sartre, since in this case the authenticity of the project has been defeated by the practico-inert, leading to a state of existence he terms "exis": a degraded existence without project). I think a Deleuzian analysis would be more appropriate here: the dehumanisation of these victims results from the (temporary) total victory of the Oedipal/authoritarian cage: flows and breaks are cut off or utterly contained within an order of power/knowledge, with the political conclusion being that freedom exists in a struggle with domination and that the struggle for freedom is necessary to prevent us being reduced to this level. But this would be

; Zizek cannot in all seriousness criticise the inhumanity of the concentration camps if they simply reveal our essence, and it is hard to see how one could oppose the Nazis if they did not dehumanise their victims or treat them inhumanely. Indeed, such an excremental reduction is something Zizek elsewhere praises, and his attempts to distance himself from Nazism have nothing to do with the inhumanity of the camps; rather, they revolve around nit-picking over whether the Nazis really traversed the fantasy or stopped short at a false act (see below). The Act is a submission: revolutionaries should become "followers" of the truth-event and its call (TS 227; this reproduces with a reversed sign Vaneigem's concept of the Cause as a form of alienation. cf. Donald Rooum's cartoon Wildcat: "I don't just want freedom from the capitalists, I also want freedom from people fit to take over"). Love is "nothing but" an act of self-erasure which breaks the chain of justice (DSST 49-50). Zizek demands submission to radically exterior, meaningless injunctions, "experienced as a radically traumatic intrusion", which "a renewed Left should aim at fully endorsing"; "something violently imposed on me from the Outside through a traumatic encounter that shatters the very foundations of my being" (TS 212). It also involves the negation of dignity: Zizek refers to "heroically renouncing the last vestiges of narcissistic dignity and accomplishing the act for which one is grotesquely inadequate" (TS 352). The heroism of the act is to openly endorse a transition "from Bad to Worse", and for this reason, a true act, which redefines the 'rules of the game', is "inherently 'terroristic' " (TS 377). Thus, instead of the "liberal trap" of respecting some rights and rejecting obligatory Party lines, one should seek the "good terror", i.e. choosing what one has to do (TS 378). Any qualms are dismissed by Zizek as "humanist hysterical shirking the act" (TS 380; NB this misuse of clinical
partly a causal account, whereas Zizek seems to want a pure ethics. Where Zizek's account leads politically is far more sinister categories in socio-ideological analysis quickly leads Zizek into problems: the Lacanian categories obsessional/hysterical/psychotic/perverse are strictly incompatible, whereas it is quite clear that a theorist who 'hysterically' rejects terror may easily also 'psychotically' believe in literality and 'perversely'

The Act involves accepting utter self-obliteration, and rejecting all compassion (TS 378).
believe in decoded flows).

at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails
Zizek’s “act” erases all compassion for others. Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog, http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.html) Assuming an Act means rejecting all concern for others and making oneself, to all intents and purposes, a rock. In the Act, one "assumes... the full burden of freedom impervious to any call of the Other" (DSST 175). Whereas in Derrida and other postmodernists, argues Zizek, ethics is a response to the call of the Other, either abyssal or actual, in Zizek's Lacan the ethical act proper suspends both of these along with the rest of the 'big Other' (DSST 161). Zizek loathes 'soft-heartedness' because it "blurs the subject's pure ethical stance". In this passage, he is referring to Stalinist views; but his criticism of them is not of this loathing; rather, he thinks "that they were not 'pure' enough" because they got caught in an emotional sense of duty (DSST 111). This according to Zizek is the difference between Lenin and Stalin: Zizek's Lenin did not become emotionally attached to his Act (DSST 113). Zizek's ethical anti-humanism goes so far that he advocates hating the beloved out of love (FA 126), because what one should love is not their human person. Zizek also endorses Kant's attempt to purge ethics of historical contents, including compassion and concern for others (PF 2323). Zizek’s alternative fails to transform the existing order—it is a shot in the dark. Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog, http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.html) How one locates the Act in relation to revolution depends just how fundamentally the change involved in a revolution is conceived. The Act according to Zizek disrupts/overthrows the existing order of Imaginary and Symbolic alignments (though this does not of course make it revolutionary in practice); however, his account seems to involve the restoration of the basic structure of the social system subsequently, so there is no possibility of meaningful change in terms of overcoming social oppression and exclusion or the irrationalities of ideology. (This also leaves the question of why an Act would lead to anything better; indeed, Zizek denies that it would. So why opt for an Act?). In a sense, the Act is

conservative. Traversing the fantasy involves the act of 'accepting' there is no way one can ever be satisfied: a direct relation to the objet petit a (i.e. desired object) minus the screen of fantasy, involving "a full acceptance of the pain... as inherent to the excess of pleasure which is jouissance" (PF 30). This means accepting "radical ontological closure" - i.e. 'accepting' that there is no radical difference - and also that "we renounce every opening, every belief in the messianic Otherness", including, for instance, Derridean and Levinasian concepts of being 'out-of-joint' (PF 31), especially the idea of jouissance being amassed elsewhere. This leads one into the realm of drive; one becomes "eternal-'undead' " (PF 31). (Zizek is here replacing an irrational belief that jouissance is amassed elsewhere with an irrational belief that it isn't; the existence or non-existence of difference and Otherness is an empirical

). Crucially, the Act does not involve overcoming Law and the system. It involves suspending them, so they can be resurrected or resuscitated on a new basis. Although the Act is a 'shot in the dark' (preventing voluntary reconstruction/transformation of society), nevertheless it always involves a necessary betrayal (see TS) which reproduces the Oedipal/authoritarian structure of the world; the vanishing mediator always vanishes so as to restore the system. It is interesting to note Zizek's insistence on
question, and Zizek's refusal to accept that radical Otherness could exist renders his theory potentially extremely normalist and ethnocentric

using the word "suspension" (St Paul's suspension of the law, the leftist suspension of the ethics, and so on). The suspension of the Law, as shown in Zizek's quote from St Paul (TS 150-1), is clearly in fact something more: it is in a sense psychotic, breaking with both Law and desire. But it is a suspension because it resurrects Law in the more total form of the Cause. It is interesting that Zizek chooses the word "suspension". If Zizek has in mind a destruction or fundamental transformation of the Law or ethics, there are so many better terms he could have chosen: abolition, destruction, smashing, overcoming, transcending, sublating, surpassing and so on. That he (more-or-less consistently) uses the term "suspension" is therefore probably significant. This term implies a temporary absence of the phenomenon in question, as opposed to its permanent destruction, replacement, or even transformation. In other words

: what is suspended (Law, ethics, etc.) nevertheless returns in the same basic form as

before (which presumably means its structural nature is basically the same). .

I disagree with Laclau's reasons for claiming this. Letourneau has been anathematised and victimised by the state. a single act on the superficial level is unlikely to alter the social structure any more than a tiny amount. For instance: suppose Letourneau's Act worked. it has no transformative role and makes sense only in a closed analytical system. http://andyrobinsontheoryblog. the situation is better than it was. Stalinism. for instance. resulting from the mode (or modes) of thought and action it involved.blogspot.blogspot. to fill a supposed structural void. Robinson 04 (Andrew. Robinson 04 (Andrew. The extension of clinical categories into society requires the reduction of concepts which are usually diverse to singularity: one unconscious. Would this have any deep-rooted social effects? Surely not. with a "history of everyday life" and structural dynamics such as intrabureaucratic competition. Acts are impotent against deep prejudices.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.” Theory Blog. stopping the wholesale commodification of society. stopping environmental destruction. they cannot really help the worst-off group (social symptom). “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model. spread and used to create a collective will. This is in contradiction with psychoanalytic practice and also is implausible. fighting back against the wave of police repression. there is no reason to believe that these effects shatter or reformulate entire social structures. As Gramsci rightly puts it. this is an intentionalist delusion.” Theory Blog. and Zizek's sectarianism (see RESISTANCE) leaves him aloof from actual political struggles. PhD. for instance. the Act is impotent and politically irrelevant. each revolution involves an "intense critical labour" whereby a new conception of the world is formulated. political theory. etc. Since Acts do not have meaningful social effects. “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model.html) The category of the Act involves extreme methodological individualism. To be effective.at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails Zizek’s Act relies on extreme individualism—it results in no social change. Individual Acts do not have direct social effects. smashing capitalism. has not substantially changed popular perceptions of non-abusive relations between legal. If the "cathartic moment" of a break with the dominant ideology only occurs in a single individual. stopping Bush's racist war.and illegal-age people. political theory. CHU 293). Such changes have not. University of Nottingham. University of Nottingham. imagining that these structures rest on the same basis as a Lacanian account of the psyche. Zizek is missing the significance of revolutions such as in Russia when he sees them as pure Acts by leaders. Zizek ends up with a highly intentionalist. the social system would not be harmed. Zizek's account here rests on psychologising social structures. symptom. But there are many concrete issues which are many times more important: closing down the WTO. for instance. The collective will does not simply spring miraculously from a leader's whim. etc. On a social level. suppose the law was changed to make love a defence for consensual sex across the age-of-consent boundary. it certainly has not shattered the social structure. it was a social-structural phenomenon involving the actions of many individuals. 'Restoring the properly ethical dimension of the act' only matters to someone who is so trapped in his own theory that he thinks the whole . the main issue is reviving the category of the Act. For Zizek. Zizek seems to have no real sense of what is important in politics. fundamental fantasy. This problem is related to Zizek's inappropriate expansion of what are at root clinical/therapeutic concepts into socio-political analysis. The Mary Kay Letourneau case. Even when Acts of Zizek's type do have social effects. is deeply flawed. it would have to produce a new conception of the world which is expansive and convinces wide strata of the population. was not a result of an Act by Stalin and Lenin. http://andyrobinsontheoryblog. Actually. but the conclusion is valid: the Act has little practical political relevance. The assumption that an individual Act can alter society as a whole. but the social position of gay men has not been reshaped dramatically .html) Because of his extreme methodological individualism. taken us very far towards gay liberation. leader-fixated model of politics which is authoritarian and also exaggerates the role of leaders both in practice and potentially. Zizek's politics are "a prescription for political quietism and sterility" (Laclau. whatever its earth-shattering psychological consequences for a particular individual.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15. Rather. The “act” is so radically negative that it is unable to formulate new politics. PhD. for entire societies or even the whole of humanity.

(What did Wittgenstein say about philosophy and masturbation?).world revolves around it. essentialist pursuit of the "act proper" is a distraction from contingent political struggles . reproduce capitalism (the necessity of betrayal). Zizek's endorsement of "absolute negativity" is a barrier to his developing actual alternatives. Zizek lacks. or set up something worse (terror). and is presumably unable on principle to formulate. a positive conception of what should replace the present system. Zizek should let the fly out the jar! The abstract and . for instance). His suggestions are either vague and naive (socialising cyberspace.

. is the reference-point from which particular cases are viewed. Similarly.. as if 'already true. and claims that particular traumas express an 'ultimate impossibility'59. Stavrakakis uses the fact that existing belief-systems are based on exclusions as a basis to claim that all belief-systems are necessarily based on exclusions58. a suitable place for abstractions. A contingent example or a generic reference to "experience" is used. misleadingly. there is a basic structure (sometimes called a 'ground' or 'matrix') from which all social phenomena arise. confirm the alreadyformulated structural theory. including losses. "always". For instance.. Phenomena are often analysed as outgrowths of something exterior to the situation in question.. "fundamentalists". the Lacanian myth functions by a short-circuit between a particular instance and statements containing words such as "all". Conversely. and to the extent that it can. in sufficiently specific terms'. Lacanian analysis consists mainly of an exercise in projection. prior to its exemplification'. 'The fetishism of the absolute event involves.at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails The alternative fails: Lacan under-develops the connection between individual psyches and universal understandings. Dominick LaCapra objects to the idea of constitutive lack because specific 'losses cannot be adequately addressed when they are enveloped in an overly generalised discourse of absence.. perhaps even to etherealise. and then shifts register only for the pedagogical purpose of illustrating an already accomplished truth'. although it also raises different problems: the under-conceptualization of the relationship between individual psyches and collective phenomena in Lacanian theory. Serbian paramilitaries. and a related tendency for psychological concepts to acquire an ersatz agency similar to that of a Marxian fetish. necessary to its depoliticization'. They will not be able to explain how one person thinking about the mysterious Act will change society. She alleges that Lacanian psychoanalysis 'becomes a theological project' and also 'a way to avoid the rather messy psychic and social entanglement' involved in studying specific cases53. absence at a "foundational" level cannot simply be derived from particular historical losses'54.. The "real" is a supposedly self-identical principle which is used to reduce any and all qualitative differences between situations to a relation of formal equivalence. Lacanian "explanations" often look more propagandistic or pedagogical than explanatory. "necessity" and so on. Daniel Bensaïd draws out the political consequences of the projection of absolutes into politics. he accuses several theorists of eliding the difference between absence and loss. etc. to found a claim with supposed universal validity. It is therefore 'a theoretical fetish that disavows the conditions of its own emergence'52. The operation of the logic of projection is predictable. them in a generalised discourse of absence'56. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. According to Lacanians. myth offers the psychological benefits of empiricism without the epistemological costs. Similarly. with 'confusing and dubious results'.. The space from which politics is evacuated 'becomes. and a tendency to 'enshroud. Žižek's concept of the "social symptom" depends on a reduction of the acts of one particular series of people (the "socially excluded". As a result. Laclau and Mouffe use the fact that a particular antagonism can disrupt a particular fixed identity to claim that the social as such is penetrated and constituted by antagonism as such60. Andrew. A particular case is dealt with only in order to. "The Real" or "antagonism" occurs in phrases which have it doing or causing something. This shows how mythical characteristics can be projected from the outside. Judith Butler criticizes Žižek's method on the grounds that 'theory is applied to its examples'. 8:1. Instead of actual social forces. "never". The "fit" between theory and evidence is constructed monologically by the reduction of the latter to the former. there are 'shadows and spectres'. For instance. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). or by selectivity in inclusion and reading of examples. delusions and hypostases'. which remains unchanged in all eventualities.) to a psychological function in the psyche of a different group (westerners). At its simplest. As Barthes shows. Attacking 'the long story of conflating absence with loss that becomes constitutive instead of historical'55. and this structure. 'The theory is articulated on its self-sufficiency. including a 'tendency to avoid addressing historical problems. a suppression of historical intelligibility. Robinson (PhD Political Theory.

political theory. to "counteract man's natural unruliness" (TS 36)! (Zizek also conflates social control with the unrelated issue of "venturing wildly and rashly into danger" in this discussion of Kant).html) The Act also seems to be authoritarian in the sense that it involves an unfounded imposition of will which reshapes the symbolic edifice.at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails Zizek’s alternative is authoritarian—his concept of human nature requires political domination.. On the whole Zizek seems to be endorsing a conservative or even reactionary view of human nature. Robinson 04 (Andrew. He sees 'unruliness' and going to the end beyond every human measure as a primordial drive and part of human nature . Zizek thinks people are basically too chaotic to live without rulers.. though this is not entirely clear.” Theory Blog. Perhaps even worse is Zizek's conception of human nature.a drive ethics tries to contain .a drive involving "clinging to wild egotistical freedom unbound by any constraints" which "has to be broken and 'gentrified' by the pressure of education" (PF 236-7). Humanity is as such unnaturally prone to excess.blogspot. but equally conservative) claim that "a human being is. Once accustomed to freedom. in need of firm roots" and that this basic need is the root of the symbolic order (CHU 250). PhD. He also makes the (apparently contradictory with all the above. where he claims the role of schools is not for children to learn but to accustom them "to sitting still and doing exactly what they are told".clearly a substitutionist term).com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15. . There is a basic drive to dis-attach from the world which fantasy is a protection against (TS 289). http://andyrobinsontheoryblog. The role of paternal Law is to expose people to the harsh demands of social reality. University of Nottingham. Zizek calls this text of Kant's a "marvellous text" (TS 36). and has to be gentrified through institutions (PF 135). so this urge must be "smoothed down" (TS 36). demands which lead to entry into desire (FA 76. repeating the claims of the likes of Hobbes. So Zizek endorses Kant's work on education. “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model. He even seems to endorse Kant's view that people need a Master and (hierarchic) discipline to tame their 'unruly' insistence on their own will and force them to submit to being placed in subjection to "the laws of mankind and brought to feel their constraint" (TS 36 . one will do anything for it. Zizek is presumably some kind of expectationist).

in other words. but one which ultimately changes very little. democracy depends on 'the possibility of drawing a frontier between "us" and "them"'.at lacan/zizek “the act” fails Zizek’s political stance is violent and feeds into power. awaits its resolution in a new form of Terror'.S. nothing actually changes on the level of specific characteristics. The phenomena which are denounced in Lacanian theory are invariably readmitted in its "small print". 'No state or political order. either for individuals or for societies).. recognizing and thereby installing necessity32. What is at stake in the division between these two trends in Lacanian political theory is akin to the distinction Vaneigem draws between "active" and "passive" nihilism30. where 'today's "mad dance". to produce an "anything goes" attitude to state action: because everything else is contingent. The Žižekian version is committed to a more violent and passionate affirmation of negativity. however. not 'exhilarating retaliation'34. offers an uncompromizing critique of the construction of guilt and innocence in anti-"crime" rhetoric. however. More recent examples of Žižek's pragmatism include that his alternative to the U. this means that one must endorse exclusion and violence. a claim assumed – wrongly – to follow from the claim that social reality is constructed discursively). is the interpretation: as long as they are reconceived as expressions of constitutive lack. not mean that their offences should go unpunished'36 . war in Afghanistan is only that 'the punishment of those responsible' should be done in a spirit of 'sad duty'. since Mouffe assumes a state to be necessary. a process Žižek terms 'dotting the "i's"' in reality. therefore. The Laclauian trend involves an implied ironic distance from any specific project. which maintains awareness of its contingency.. the old politics are acceptable. this. (The supposed necessity of the state is derived from the supposed need for a master-signifier or nodal point to stabilize identity and avoid psychosis. this kind of stance leads to an acceptance of social exclusion which negates compassion for its victims. in the toned-down exclusionism of authors such as Mouffe. however. Jason Glynos.. for instance. 8:1. 'of course. it reinforces conformity by insisting on an institutional mediation which overcodes all the "articulations". The only change is in how one relates to the characteristics. The notion of the “Act” has so few limits that there is nothing to prevent elites from deploying it to violently maintain power. If this is the case for Žižek.. overall. its "alternative" is little different from what it condemns (the assumption apparently being that the "symbolic" change in the psychological coordinates of attachments in reality is directly effective. The resultant inhumanity finds its most extreme expression in Žižek's work. Andrew. the ultra-"radical" "Marxist-Leninist" Lacanian. The function of the Žižekian "Act" is to dissolve the self. For all its radical pretensions. and his "solution" to the Palestine-Israel crisis. does . Just like in the process of psychoanalytic cure. Thus. It is also present. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. demanding that demonization of deviants be abandoned. and this leads to a theory which renounces both effectiveness and political radicalism. only to insist as an afterthought that. Žižek's politics can be summed up in his attitude to neo-liberalism: 'If it works. denouncing everything that exists for its complicity in illusions and guilt for the present. it is so much the more so for his more moderate adversaries. nothing is to limit the practical consideration of tactics by dominant elites. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique).. and. which is NATO control of the occupied territories35. It is in this pragmatism that the ambiguity of Lacanian political theory resides. "After the revolution". On a political level. Žižek claims that de Gaulle's "Act" succeeded by allowing him 'effectively to realize the necessary pragmatic measures' which others pursued unsuccessfully33. everything stays much the same. Hence. and 'always entails relations of inclusion-exclusion'28. the dynamic proliferation of multiple shifting identities. can exist without some form of exclusion' experienced by its victims as coercion and violence29.. All that changes. producing a historical event. Lacanian theory tends. while on a theoretical level it is based on an almost sectarian "radicalism". why not try a dose of it?'31. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. for.

). .html) It is by no means clear that Zizek thinks alternatives to capitalism are possible. Laclau says (actually.” Theory Blog. on his definition of it (see CAPITALISM. Laclau is concerned it could mean Stalinism. permissiveness.at lacan/zizek: revolution fails Zizek offers no clear alternative—capitalism is inevitable. Robinson 04 (Andrew. Despite "r-r-revolutionary zeal". PhD. Laclau attacks Zizek on this subject. CONSERVATISM). Laclau suspects Zizek simply doesn't know what his alternative is (CHU 289). or that he wants them. http://andyrobinsontheoryblog. post-Stalin Stalinism with a human face. etc. It is less clear that he wants to destroy it by any other criterion: he endorses work ethics and authoritarianism. decadence. despite Zizek's earlier resistance against this (NB Zizek dislikes late. though he does tell us very little). How does Zizek respond to this? He uses it to pathologise Laclau. “Introduction: The Basic Zizekian Model. but distinguishes this from the earlier Stalinism . University of Nottingham.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-inprogress_15.blogspot. he only tells us that it isn't liberal democracy or capitalism. 'flabbiness'. and he has posited so much of the deep structure of society as unchangeable as to render the space for change highly limited. this is not strictly true. claiming he cannot imagine an alternative and so thinks there isn't one (which Laclau actually never states). Zizek lets us know nothing about his alternative. political theory. which sets up a rather conservative target (liberalism. He seems to want to destroy capitalism. Zizek is no more proposing a thoroughly different economic and political regime than Laclau.what he resisted was the former).

he is committed to a theory of the full revolutionary act that would operate in its own name. he is left without any concrete historical actor for his anti-capitalist struggle. which meant rejoining Western Germany's liberalcapitalist police/political order. Boynton. Marx's political economy. "It changes the very parameters of what is considered "possible' in the existing constellation. At the same time. anti-sexist. since his systemic totality. Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex and Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at SUNY-Buffalo. 98 (Director of NYU's Graduate Magazine Journalism Program. writes Zizek. with a revolutionary social attitude Zizek’s alternative is political nihilism – he supplies no method for over throwing capitalism. for a progressive distribution of income. Zizek quickly dismisses multicultural. is regulated exclusively by its own internal . Nor does he sanction the traditional aims of the Left. Since Zizek refuses to apply the hegemonic logic to strategico-political thought. He has to dismiss all “partial” struggles as internal to the “system” (whatever that means). http://www. marked "the closure of the momentary authentic political opening. p. Laclau 04 Ernesto Laclau.php? article_id=43) "Authentic politics is the art of the impossible. October. The conclusion from both premises is that there is no valid emancipatory struggle except one that is fully and directly anti-capitalist. although he feels certain that an alternative to capitalism will emerge and that the public debate must be opened up to include subjects like control over genetic engineering. but when Zizek turns to history. Paul's conviction that universal truth is the only force capable of recognizing the needs of the particular. 2004.at lacan/zizek: revolution fails Zizek’s alternative fails—he claims that capitalism must be over thrown but has no means of accomplishing this goal. The shift from definite to indefinite article. Zizek's argument is breathtaking. Umbr(a): War. He believes that the post-political deadlock can be broken only by a gesture that undermines "capitalist globalization from the standpoint of universal truth in the same way that Pauline Christianity did to the Roman global empire. On the other hand. and the “Thing” being unachievable. AS PHILOSOPHY. which is now enjoying many of the fruits of Western consumer capitalism. or as he once suggested.com/articleDisplay." and he admires St. however. the capitalist system. without being invested in any object outside itself.robertboynton. he is stranded in a blind alley. and anti-racist struggles as not being directly anti-capitalist. Robert. but as social prescription. for control of the labor process. he argues. Paul's muscular vision. he finds only fleeting examples of genuine politics in action: in ancient Athens. heady days of the East German Republic before the Wall came down and the crowds stopped chanting "Wir sind das Volk" ("We are the people!") and began chanting "Wir sind ein Volk" ("We are a/one people!"). Conclusion: Zizek cannot provide any theory of the emancipatory subject. is the reality with which the emancipatory act has to break. is this: he gives no indication of what an anti-capitalist struggle might be. in the Polish Solidarity movement. Does he imagine that the Luddites’ proposal to destroy all the machines would bring an end to capitalism? Not a single line in Zizek’s work gives an example of what he considers an anti-capitalist struggle. for industrial democracy. Like many who call for a return to the primacy of economics. is through a "direct socialization of the productive process"–an agenda that is unlikely to play well in Slovenia. In his words: “I believe in the central structuring role of the anti-capitalist struggle. "Enjoy Your Žižek!" Lingua Franca. One is left wondering whether he is anticipating an invasion of beings from another planet. pessimistic belief that life is basically horrible and contingent." he writes. 33-34 Here we reach the crux of the difficulties to be found in Zizek. the reappropriation of the democratic impetus by the thrust towards reunification of Germany. The only way to combat the dominance of global capitalism. . Zizek admits he doesn't know. and in the last. linked more directly to the economy: the demands for higher wages. Zizek attempts to synthesize three unlikely–perhaps incompatible–sources: Lacan's notion of the subject as a "pure void" that is "radically out of joint" with the world. as the dominating. "dream" may be an apt word. On the one hand." In articulating his political credo. Zizek is fond of calling himself a "Pauline materialist. and St.” The problem." He adds: "My dream is to combine an extremely dark. So where has the whole argument gone wrong? In its very premises. are not proposed as anti-capitalist either. being a ground. underlying mechanism. in the proclamations of the Third Estate during the French Revolution." This is a noble vision. some kind of ecological catastrophe that would not transform the world but cause it to fall apart. When pressed to specify what controlling the productive process might look like. Zizek has only the most tenuous grasp of the subject.

laws. the only option is to wait for these laws to produce the totality of its effects. Ergo: political nihilism. .

or due to threats of violence).. Žižek also refers to history 'as a series of ultimately failed attempts to deal with the same "unhistorical". Saying that something that cannot be defined will come back to haunt us is the ultimate hidden DA. and which therefore meets (for instance) Newman's criterion that it be less 'radically underdefined' than Derrida's concept of lack95. a "negativity"'94. Constitutive lack is a positivity .at lacan/zizek: does not apply to aff It does not make sense to have a fixed understanding of the political that gets applied to all situations. "Class struggle" is the Marxist name for this basic "operator of dislocation"'90. this individual action is implicitly connected to highly abstract concepts such as nationalism. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. '"class struggle" is that on account of which every direct reference to universality. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. Prefer our specific solvency evidence over their generic theory. It is this process of mythical construction which allows lack to be defined precisely. the failure of society by the fact of antagonism). evading the "middle level".. Andrew. It is not simply a relation of dislocation but a theoretical entity in its own right. In Barthes's classic case of an image of a black soldier saluting the French flag. One of the functions of myth is to cut out what Trevor Pateman terms the "middle level" of analytical concepts.in the Lacanian vocabulary. dislocated with regard to its literal meaning. is. One might compare this formula to the statement.. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). establishing a short-circuit between high-level generalizations and ultraspecific (pseudo-) concrete instances. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). Thus. We will defend against any specific case turn but cannot defend against a turn that they say is beyond our grasp. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. without the mediation of the particularities of his situation. They will have persuasive descriptions of Lacanian theory but nothing that applies it to our aff. can be best described as a direct jump from the singular to the universal. and sometimes within the same sentence. "a loss". This is precisely what happens in Lacanian analyses of specific political and cultural phenomena.. Perhaps he enlisted for financial reasons. while myths provide an analysis of sorts. (These particularities. and Newman writes of a 'creative and constitutive absence'. bypassing the mid-level of particularity'. Dallmayr similarly writes of Laclau and Mouffe's concept of antagonism that 'negativity designates not simply a lack but a "nihilating" potency'. For instance. could undermine the myth. 8:1. where the use of a noun turns a set of observed "facts" into a "law". The technical term operates in much the same way as in positivistic theories. One can only avoid an "I-don't-know" being . 'a nihilating ferment with real effects'92.. 8:1.an "operator of dislocation". if revealed. Butler notes that 'the "real" that is a "rock" or a "kernel" or sometimes a "substance" is also. without reference to particular contexts. Andrew. 'The correct dialectical procedure. He wants a 'direct jump from the singular to the universal'. and the relationship between this schema and the instances it organizes is hierarchically ordered to the exclusive advantage of the former. "biased". traumatic kernel’. a "nihilating" element . their basic operation is anti-analytical: the analytical schema is fixed in advance. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. and the various versions of nominalized lack are arranged in sentences involving the verb "to be". Lack (in the sense of the verb "to lack") is explained by means of a nominalized lack (for instance.. Žižek specifically advocates 'sweeping generalizations' and short-cuts between specific instances and high-level abstractions. "I don't know what causes dislocation".

.underdefined if one misrepresents it mythically.

termed the "death drive") to be a tautology. Žižek's classification of the Nation as a Thing rests on the claim that 'the only way we can determine it is by. . and that the accidental failure of language. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. This passage could almost have been written with the "Lacanian Real" in mind. Andrew. He even declares constitutive lack (in this case. and that it is a 'semantic void'63. You are asked to believe in it because it ‘resists symbolization’ or it is beyond our understanding. a 'harsh reality' hidden beneath a protective veil68 . Robinson (PhD Political Theory. or indeed a contingent failure in social praxis. but which can pose in macho terms as a "hard" acceptance of terrifying realities. empty tautology'. Yet. It authorizes truth-claims . it is credited with determining all social conflicts.in Laclau's language. Some Lacanian theorists also show indications of a commitment based on the particular kind of "euphoric" enjoyment Barthes associates with myths. Similarly. hinting that he is committed to euphoric investments generated through the repetition of the same. and also that tautology is the only way historical change can occur64. a 'reality' which is 'before our eyes67'. is identified with an ontological resistance to symbolization projected into Being itself.without the attendant risks. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique).. 8:1. is necessary. An "ethics of the Real" is a minor ethical salvation which says very little in positive terms. The characteristic of the Real is precisely that one can invoke it without defining it (since it is "beyond symbolization").. For instance. Lacanian references to "the Real" or "antagonism" as the cause of a contingent failure are reminiscent of Robert Teflon's definition of God: 'an explanation which means "I have no explanation"'. or in Newman's.at lacan/zizek: non-falsifiable Lacan’s explanation of the Real requires a leap of faith similar to religion. he claims that 'the tautological gesture of the Master-Signifier'. Laclau in particular emphasizes his belief in the 'exhilarating' significance of the present69. an empty performative which retroactively turns presuppositions into conclusions.

intensional: its meaning derives from a prior linguistic schema.. 'those who triggered the process of democratization in eastern Europe.. myths have a repressive social function. 'Myth does not deny things. Mouffe accuses liberalism of an 'incapacity. on the contrary. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. it is a clarity which is not that of an explanation but that of a statement of fact'. are not those who today enjoy its fruits. the irreducible character of antagonism'45. while Laclau suggests there is a formal structure of any chain of equivalences which necessitates the logic of hegemony43. critics are as likely to be accused of being "dangerous" as to be accused of being wrong. one is simply to "accept" it. I would maintain that "constitutive lack" is an instance of a Barthesian myth. simply. under the cover of this order.. after all. carrying in Barthes's words an 'order not to think'. involves a prior idea of a structural matrix which is not open to change in the light of the instances to which it is applied. to grasp. while Žižek claims that a 'dimension' is 'lost' in Butler's work because of her failure to conceive of "trouble" as constitutive of "gender"46. 8:1. its function is to talk about them. and the ideological message projected into this sign is constructed outside the context of the signified. not from interaction with the world in its complexity. . without apparently being able to alter it. Furthermore. Indeed. on an ontological level instantly accessible to those with the courage to accept it. like Barthesian myths. in Alfred Korzybski's sense. the mythical operation of the idea of "constitutive lack" is implicit. it purifies them. This is because their operation is connotative: they are "received" rather than "read" and open only to a "readerly" and not a "writerly" interpretation. More precisely. it gives them a natural and eternal justification.. for instance. Žižek's writes of a 'pre-ontological dimension which precedes and eludes the construction of reality'42.. It is. Specific analyses are referred back to this underlying structure as its necessary expressions. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. under pain of invalidation. This is precisely the status of "constitutive lack": a supposed fact which is supposed to operate above and beyond explanation.. Myths operate to construct euphoric enjoyment for those who use them. For instance. The other team may be able to explain Lacan’s ideas but not why they are true. A myth is a second-order signification attached to an already-constructed denotative sign. A myth is therefore. This language of "denial" which is invoked to silence critics is a clear example of Barthes's "order not to think": one is not to think about the idea of "constitutive lack". the function of myth to do exactly what this concept does: to assert the empty facticity of a particular ideological schema while rejecting any need to argue for its assumptions. Lacanian theory. Andrew. but their operation is in conflict with the social context with which they interact. it makes them innocent. The "triumph of literature" in the Dominici trial consists precisely in this projection of an externally-constructed mythical schema as a way of avoiding engagement with something one does not understand.” The problem is that there is nothing to support this idea of a missing reality.at lacan/zizek: non-falsifiable Their vision of politics is a non-falsifiable myth: The root of the Lacanian subject is structured around the “lack. but because of a deeper structural logic'44. s/he can simply be told that there is something crucial missing from her/his theory. They are necessarily projected onto or imposed on actual people and events. In most instances. not because of a simple usurpation.. If someone else disagrees.. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). revealed only by a rhetoric of denunciation.

their primary concern is security. Andrew. echoing the 'terrifying conservatism' Deleuze suggests is active in any reduction of history to negativity136. Andrew. it creates a danger of discursive slippage and hostility to "utopianism" which could have conservative consequences. one is left with a pragmatics of "containment" . or a "repressive reduction of thought to the present". Lacanians will denounce and criticize the social system. On an analytical level. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. claims that attempts to find causes and thereby to solve problems are always fantasmatic137. however. There is more than an accidental relationship between the mythical operation of the concept of "constitutive lack" and Lacanians' conservative and pragmatist politics. and a radical critique of neo-liberalism turns into a pragmatist endorsement of structural adjustment. how can one know they are not all of the latter type? And even if constitutive lack exists. 8:1. While this does not strictly entail the necessity of a conservative attitude to the possibility of any specific reform. Even if Lacanians believe in surplus/contingent as well as constitutive lack. It is as if there is a magical barrier between theory and politics which insulates the latter from the former. a Lacanian living in France in 1788 would probably conclude that democracy is a utopian fantasmatic ideal and would settle for a pragmatic reinterpretation of the ancién regime. Stavrakakis. This radicalism. but politically. the "order not to think" becomes operative. 8:1. The political function of Lacanian theory is to preclude critique by encoding the present as myth. Lacanian theory runs a risk of "misdiagnoses" which have a neophobe or even reactionary effect. To take an imagined example. Lacanians have a "radical" theory oriented towards happiness. The short-circuit between specific instances and highlevel abstractions is politically consequential. The addition of an "always" to contemporary evils amounts to a "pessimism of the will". There is a danger of a stultifying conservatism arising from within Lacanian political theory. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). but once it comes to practical problems. The deep negativity toward politics makes Lacanian analysis collapse into reactionary politics. Instead of radical transformation. never translates into political conclusions: as shown above. This "magic" barrier is the alibi function of myth. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. for instance. One should recall a remark once made by Wilhelm Reich: 'You plead for happiness in life. If one cannot tell which social blockages result from constitutive lack and which are contingent. there are no standards for distinguishing the two. The pervasive negativity and cynicism of Lacanian theory offers little basis for constructive activity. while Žižek states that an object which is perceived as blocking something does nothing but materialize the already-operative constitutive lack138. As long as they are engaged in politically ineffectual critique. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. but security means more to you'133. Myth is a way of reducing thought to the present: the isolated signs which are included in the mythical gesture are thereby attached to extra-historical abstractions. a radical rejection of anti-"crime" rhetoric turns into an endorsement of punishment. Lacanian theory can be very "radical". Laclau and Mouffe's hostility to workers' councils and Žižek's insistence on the need for a state and a Party139 exemplify this neophobe tendency.at lacan/zizek: conservative politics Turn: Lacanian criticism is analytically radical but breaks down into very conservative politics. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). unscrupulously exposing the underlying relations and assumptions concealed beneath officially-sanctioned discourse.

The inactivity it counsels would make its claims a self-fulfilling prophecy by acting as a barrier to transformative activity. .which involves a conservative de-problematization of the worst aspects of the status quo.

as a radical gesture which reveals the essence of the self and breaks the constraints of an oppressive reality. quasi-transcendental grieving that may be indistinguishable from interminable melancholy'. and 'the subject fully "exists" only through enjoyment'111.at lacan/zizek: conservative politics The alternative encourages oppressive social relations—the idea we are driven by joussiance is essentially a justification for sadomasochism—including the attacking oneself or accepting totalitarianism as an authentic political act. contingent attitude which finds satisfaction in the process of self-blockage109. Thus. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique).is suspended. since enjoyment is 'the only "substance" acknowledged by psychoanalysis'. Dominick LaCapra offers a similar but distinct critique to my own. The death instinct is typified by Žižek as a pathological (in the Kantian sense). in the guise of "shooting at" or "beating" oneself. In Reich's view. One could compare this remark to Butler's claim that Žižek 'defends the trauma of the real. Primordial masochism is therefore central to the Lacanian concept of the Real. although the masochistic gesture is present in all Lacanian theorists. 8:1. In other words. was denounced by orthodox Freudians as communist propaganda. this reactive desire is supposed to be ontologically prior to active desire. which depends on there being a universal moment at which active desire .sometimes given the slightly misleading name of the "pleasure principle" . which. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. over and against a different kind of threat'115 . It is also the core of the self. Reich has already provided a rebuttal of "primordial masochism". Furthermore.. enjoyment is located "beyond the pleasure principle"'110. Andrew. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. the thesis of primordial masochism provides a mystifying cover for the social forces which cause and benefit from the contingent emergence of masochistic attachments (i. recurs throughout Lacanian political theory. one confirms to the patient his [sic] alleged will to suffer'. Žižek in particular advocates masochism.e. masochism operates as a relief at a lesser pain which operates as armouring against anxiety about an underlying trauma113. Lacanian metaphysics conceal Lacanians' encouragement of a variety of neurosis complicit with oppressive social realities. 'Such hypotheses as are criticised here are often only a sign of therapeutic failure. paradoxically given Žižek's claims to radicalism. Regardless of what one thinks of Reich's specific account of the origins of masochism. For him. it designates the paradoxical satisfaction procured by a painful encounter with a Thing that perturbs the equilibrium of the pleasure principle. claiming that Lacanian and similar theories induce a post-traumatic compulsion repetition or an 'endless..e. Politically. not for a greater or delayed pleasure. a primary reactive desire). what is crucial is his critique of the idea of a death drive. For if one explains masochism by a death instinct. 'enjoyment (jouissance) is not to be equated with pleasure: enjoyment is precisely "pleasure in unpleasure". in the form of "aphanisis" or "subjective destitution". but out of a direct desire for unpleasure (i. The "death instinct" is connected to an idea of primordial masochism which. sadistic power apparatuses). It is identical with the Lacanian concept of jouissance or enjoyment.

Kostunica and his "democratic" nationalism might represent "nothing but Milosevic in the 'normal' version. "Gewalt"]. Marxist critiques of "liberal. Zizek was not alone in warning that the new government in Yugoslavia might not bring an end to Serbian nationalist politics." taking upon him all the "sins" committed by his people. Zizek warned that these hopes might be premature: while Milosevic could find his new role as "a Serbian Jesus Christ. and describes Zizek's discourse as "schizophrenically split between a highly sophisticated Lacanian analysis and an insufficiently deconstructed traditional Marxism" [205]. both antifeminist and anti-Semitic—moment of Zizek's theory is to be located not only in the way he performs Marxism. On [End Page 73] the other hand. without the excess" [Zizek.1 (2001) 73-90. While. his failure to elaborate alternative visions of political change towards egalitarian and/or plural scenarios of society cannot be explained solely by his Marxist perspective. Breger. as I will argue. "The Leader's Two Bodies: Slavoj Zizek's Postmodern Political Theology. but also in the way he performs Lacanian psychoanalysis. however. The need for such a reevaluation is also suggested by Laclau toward the end of his recent exchange with Judith Butler and Zizek when he admits that "the more our discussions progressed. Zizek's skepticism vis-à-vis democracy is obviously informed by. war.at lacan/zizek: conservative politics Zizek’s alternative is pessimistic and authoritarian – his theory precludes a democratic politics. The pessimistic scenario Zizek evoked on this occasion. in other words. In a newspaper article evaluating the uprising. the more I realized that my sympathy for Zizek's politics was largely the result of a mirage" [Laclau. and genocide in former Yugoslavia—recent revolutionary events in Serbia once more allow one to hope for a thorough democratization of the region. Laclau now criticizes Zizek's radical Marxist rhetoric by suggesting that he "wants to do away with liberal democratic regimes" without specifying a political alternative [289]." project muse) More than ten years later—after a decade of authoritarian rule. however. My reading of Zizek's work thus argues for a reevaluation of his theory in terms of its implicit authoritarian politics. the fantasy of the necessary return of the leader is connected to his political theory—a theory that does not allow for more optimistic scenarios of democratization and the diminution of nationalism in society. 2001 (Claudia. Rather. . "Constructing Universality" 292]. 01 Assistant Professor of Germanic Studies at Indiana. was not simply the result of his evaluation of the current political constellation in Serbia. My argument primarily starts from this latter point: the antidemocratic—and. he also problematizes Zizek's "psychoanalytic discourse" as "not truly political" [289].." "representative" democracy. and inseparable from. Diacritics 31.

Lacanians assume that the idea of a founding negativity is not essentialist. undefinable.at lacan/zizek: essentialism turn The alternative links to the critique: the Lacanian notion of a “constitutive element” that is at the root of all political fantasy is just as essentialist as they claim the affirmative to be. whereas any idea of an autonomous positive or affirmative force. or tables and "tableness". it is an especially closed variety of fullness. One could also note again the frequency of words such as "all" and "always" in the Lacanian vocabulary. therefore. and of this theory as a claim to fullness with this reified "lack-ness" as one of the positive elements within the fullness."contingency" embraced in Lacanian theory is not an openness which exceeds specifiable positivities. To take an instance from Mouffe's work. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). even if constructed as active. The "acceptance of contingency" constructed around the idea of "constitutive lack" is a closing. is essentialist. changing and/or incomplete. to be treating disjunction as a basis for similarity. Lacanian theory seems. . In other words. but a positivity posing as negativity. Many Lacanian claims are not at all contingent. 8:1. Indeed. The relationship between contingency and "constitutive lack" is like the relationship between Germans and "Germanness". not an opening. Lacan repeats the error of trying to create what he critiques. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. as for instance when Stavrakakis demands acknowledgement of 'event-ness and negativity'78. Andrew. One could speak. thus simply "playing with words". The reason Lacanians can claim to be "antiessentialist" is that there is a radical rupture between the form and content of Lacanian theory. with core ideas posited as unquestionable dogmas and the entire structure virtually immune to falsification. gesture. of a "lack-ness" or a "contingency-ness" or an "antagonism-ness" in Lacanian political theory. and is itself "essentialist" and non-contingent. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. but are posited as ahistorical absolutes. in the work of Barthes. One sometimes finds direct instances of such mythical vocabulary. One could hardly find a clearer example anywhere of a claim about a fixed basic structure of Being. Ludwig Wittgenstein argues that 'if someone wished to say: "There is something common to all these constructions namely the disjunction of all their common properties" . indeed. 'power and antagonism' are supposed to have an 'ineradicable character' so that 'any social objectivity is constituted through acts of power' and will show traces of exclusions.I should reply: Now you are only playing with words'77.

It is through such a gesture that one establishes a logic of sameness. Is the choice of Lacanian theory itself an ungrounded Decision? If so.at lacan/zizek: essentialism turn Their alternative links to the critique. Their claim is that the aff is a quest for a new-master signifier that will fail because of the inevitable re-emergence of the Real. the commitment to master-signifiers and the state involves a continuation of an essentialist image of positivity.an illusion of order where there is none . and to embrace a "rhizomatic" politics which goes beyond this pursuit. The tautological gesture of in the demand for a "hegemonic" agent who contingently expresses the idea of social order "as such establishing a master-signifier by restrospectively positing conditions of an object as its components. If not. but as a particular positive element ). the "need" for metacommunication to operate in a repressive rather than an open way.e. 8:1. how does one know that the appearance that 'experience' shows lack to be constitutive reflects an underlying universality. However. a new master-signifier. even if the structure includes a reference to constitutive lack.e. shouldn't Lacanian theory also be haunted by its own fallibility and incompletion? There is a paradox in the idea of radical choice. and that the hegemonic gesture therefore requires an exclusion. thereby 'blocking any further inquiry into the social meaning' of what it quilts (i. A complete structural theory would seem to assume an extra-contingent standpoint. A consistent belief in contingency and "anti-essentialism" entails scepticism about the idea of constitutive lack. Lacanians assume that constitutive lack necessitates the construction of a positive space which a particular agent can fill (albeit contingently). the theory loses the universalist status it implicitly claims. that ontological statement about humanity is itself. a particular signifier which fills the position of universality. The idea of "constitutive lack" is supposed to entail a rejection of neutral and universal standpoints. The Political Theory of Constitutive Lack: A Critique). the "Act" which smashes the social order is to be followed by a necessary restoration of order118. The "need" for a master-signifier seems to be a "need" to restore an illusion of closure. The role of the analyst is not to challenge the place of the master. University of Nottingham) 05 (Theory and Event. the establishment of a hegemonic master-signifier is merely a useful illusion. . also termed the One. and such a logic seems to be desired by Lacanians. In Laclau and Mouffe's work. for it is unclear whether Lacanians believe this should be applied reflexively. the "need" for a social order. Thus. after all. 'in need of firm roots'119. this expresses itself ". i. especially in its rejection of the multiordinality of language. It is. and. demonstrates the centrality of a logic of place in Lacanian theory. After all. Butler remarks that Žižek's text is a 'project of mastery' and a discourse of the law in which 'the "contingency" of language is mastered in and by a textual practice which speaks as the law'. He demands a '"New Harmony". and it is this rejection which constructs it as an "anti-essentialist" position. One should recall that such an order is impossible. is a structural necessity120. however. Andrew. this multiordinality (the possibility of making a statement about any other statement) which renders language an open rather than a closed system. This insistence on a master-signifier is an anti-contingent gesture. In practice. Such a theory would seem to be a radical negation of the incompletion of "I don't know". even in Zizek's texts. The alternative to demanding a master-signifier . The gap between the two kinds of contingency is also suggested by the Lacanian insistence on the "need" for a master-signifier (or "nodal point"). Beneath the idea that "there is no neutral universality" lurks a claim to know precisely such a "neutral universality" and to claim a privileged position on this basis. says Žižek. In the work of Laclau and Mouffe. since antagonism is constitutive of social relations. and a state to embody it. is never questioned. which embodies the emptiness/negativity as such. a 'symbolic injunction which relies only on its own act of enunciation'116. The master-signifier. This necessity is derived ontologically: people are. This is because 'discourse itself is in its fundamental structure "authoritarian"'. repressive metacommunication). it would seem to be the kind of structural theory it attacks. This "need" arises because the mythical concept of "constitutive lack" is located in an entire mythical narrative in which it relates to other abstractions. sustained by a newly emerged Master-Signifier'. but to occupy it in such a way as to expose its underlying contingency121. as opposed to the contingent or even simulated effects of a particular discourse or episteme? Alongside its opponents. however. Robinson (PhD Political Theory. Therefore.would be to reject the pursuit of the ordering function itself. with "lack" operating structurally as the master-signifier of Lacanian theory itself (not as a subversion of positivity. Lacanians restore the idea of a universal framework through the backdoor.

why parts. But the demand that Zizek makes is neither unfamiliar nor inappropriate. to avert a catastrophe. are there educated Americans who have not heard this? Is the struggle to educate a democratic citizenship adequate to our time and the realities of globalization unique to the United States? That would be hard to believe. Every dead innocent fuels more anger. about a real. more capable of acknowledging the real suffering of real people. It is more than worth pursuing. Not the shattering of a virtual reality." an immaterial world of delusion? For whom does Osama Bin Laden appear as a character from a James Bond film? For whom did the events of September 11 arrive with the painful awareness that we were living in an artificial insulated reality? For whom do the people and events in this massacre of innocents appear solely in the shapes of film and television? Perhaps. that 5. neither in the U. real citizens who had achieved a great measure of peace and hope. which is after all something historical.000 innocent people who lived real lives in real.000 innocents being incinerated by murderers on a daily basis? If Zizek is saying that Americans should be more knowledgeable about the lives and sufferings of other peoples whose lives and sufferings are entangled with America's own history. Perhaps these are the Americans Zizek is listening to. 01 (Associate Professor of English at University of Oregon.at lacan/zizek: 9/11 arguments bad Zizek’s arguments about 9/11 fail to recognize that the shock of the attack was not in its simulated nature but in its impact on real people.” September 25. about a fantasy of real people. too: "the actual effect of these bombings is much more symbolic than real. what happened on September 11 is not real but symbolic. This is the disbelief. Perhaps Certainly we must struggle to sustain serious social criticism through threatening times.000 real people who helped to sustain a cosmopolitan city of millions and millions of other real people of different ethnic groups and religions and languages. but the erasing of what was real. about an ethical theory. At best. who cleaned toilets and coughed up phlegm and changed diapers and actually occupied with what was once their real bodies those towers which. either from the powerless or from the powerful. and the grieving and the sorrowful and the orphans would remain. It is not simply a "fantasmatic screen" that deeply attaches people in a unique way to the sufferings of their neighbors and their fellow citizens. What can we do to work to see that what the people of New York City suffered on September 11 does not happen anywhere. military and civilians. But where are 5. artificial reality are the characters in American television shows and in increasingly intertextual American films. This is why the people of New York wept in the streets. who bore real children.htm) But to say that what happened on September 11 is like the scene in the Matrix where Morpheus introduces the Keanu Reeves character to the "desert of the real" is to say something that belongs on a Fox Network talk show. and to keep this memory of what was real from evanescing into someone else's symbol. once more. as it seems to have been for the murderers. Were the real lives they led less real for any happiness or peace they achieved? Are the unfathomable sufferings of Rwanda and what happened in Sarajevo to be the measure of what is most real? And yet in Zizek's writing. or fantasy. the survivors will struggle to preserve a memory of what was real. in their grief. for Zizek. and that only body This is the shock. the tears and grief will continue. and prevent American anger and power from leading us into the catastrophic roles that seem to have been scripted for us.S. He seems to know more than most of us know. That is more than enough. we must achieve a kind of criticism that is reasonably concrete. 5. or tool. perhaps the Americans living in an insulated. But here is the true "shattering impact:" that 5. watching.000 incinerated and dismembered men and women and children who suffered from disease and injury like all people.S. then who would disagree? If Zizek is saying that American power and its direct involvement in international affairs create a special responsibility for our educational systems and our media to provide us with a knowledge of global matters that we have not yet achieved. So for whom has the fantastic "outside" broken in and smashed. 2001 Jim. about real people. Many of its citizens will never have a first hand experience of Europe or the Middle East or Africa or Asia or even South America. He knows that "the ultimate truth of the capitalist utilitarian de-spiritualized universe is the denever come are not trivial. stand for virtual capitalism. bled real blood. “A Response to Slavoj Zizek's "Welcome to the Desert of the Real!". nor anywhere else? The reactions of the American government now threaten regions all over the world and seriously threaten liberty and privacy and tolerance in the United States. Not the shattering of an illusion but the shattering of those real people and their real bodies.uoregon. none of their fellow citizens fantasized Bin Laden's ruling that it is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it.000 of these people would have their real bodies and lives erased in a matter of minutes. I can get to Mexico or Canada. Five thousand innocents are murdered in New York City." OK. perhaps we are insulated and ignorant. with "shattering impact. has an "ultimate truth." We are just "getting a taste of" what goes on around the world "on a daily basis. They can't be the ones whose delusions generated the fantasy of a diabolical outsider. We need to focus on the actual effects of violence and how to redress it. None of them. accepting its arrival into the Real world. ." Of course. it must be conceded by all that the U. We are in real bodies in real places with real limitations and with real work to do. faces one special difficulty and so a special but obligatory struggle here. then who would disagree? If he is saying that Americans should comprehend more deeply how people in other parts of the world comprehend us. none of their surviving children." it is difficult to understand what he is asking at the end: "Or will America finally risk stepping through the fantasmatic screen separating it from the Outside World. vulnerable human bodies. or into the center of Africa. the vapors of the incinerated. suffered real disease and injury and pain. But And materialization of the 'real life' itself. The problems of truly comprehending these others whose languages are rarely spoken anywhere near you and into whose actual presence you will Zizek seems to be saying something more than all of this." This is difficult to comprehend. The American past carries humanitarian successes and catastrophic failures and genocide. imagining. criticism that is not too proud to descend to the practicable. What do we seek now? First. or about movies or television or what? The problem may be that many of us cannot imagine that "capitalism" (is it one thing?). its reversal into a spectral show. For what Americans is it true that the events of September 11 broke into an "insulated artificial universe" that generated an image of a diabolical outsider? Let's not consider the 5. http://www. We must undo the terrorist networks fantastic critique has a role to play. but unless we are simply displaying critical virtuosity. And this is why. making the long-overdue move from 'A thing like this should not happen HERE!' to 'A thing like this should not happen ANYWHERE!'. I can drive or fly 3. Crosswhite. However. existing economic system. less pretending to ultimate truths of history. This would take someone living in France through all of Europe and into central Asia.edu/~jcross/response_to_zizek.000 miles and never leave my country. who would disagree? If he is saying that real understanding of geographically distant others is endangered and distorted by the fantasies of film and television. Is this the "ultimate truth" about a real nation. who had been slowly and successfully bringing down the New York City crime rate. to kill the Americans. to abandon the "here" for the "anywhere" would be foolish.

Undoing and weakening the terrorist networks. arresting the guilty— everyone who is not already a monster must be persuaded to join in this. withdrawing support from them. .Averting an escalation of global violence is the immediate and pressing task.

. Zizek admits as much in an endnote: "true acts of freedom are choices/decisions which we make while unaware of it—we never decide (in the present tense). 04 Communication Arts and Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. it is the internal repetition of a "primordial decision. we just take note of how we have already decided " (156n46). however. radically privatized. most rhetoricians may well be troubled by Zizek's claim that all "acts proper"— acts of actual freedom—occur outside the symbolic order. then. all of a sudden." or an "unconscious atemporal deed" (147). 2004 (David. For although this belief provides the necessary subjective conditions for public intervention. Moreover.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 37. “On Belief (Review). Project MUSE) Most scholars of rhetoric. Insofar as rhetoric can be considered symbolic action.1 (2004) 96-99. after all. It is precisely here that the rhetorician will not be satisfied: if Rorty marginalized the rhetorical purchase of [End Page 98] belief by banishing it to the private sphere. One must wonder about the public possibilities of such a private (and subconscious) experience. its action can never provide for innovative intervention into the public sphere. This belief is. Zizek does so by marginalizing rhetoric itself. will not be satisfied with Zizek's belief.at lacan/zizek: no connection alt and ballot There is no connection between the ballot and the alterative—Zizek argues that the alternative cannot be consciously brought about—it can only be recognized in hindsight. it is difficult to imagine it being publicly deployed. Tell.

their recurrent appeals to certain categories of thought cast their theoretical framework back into transcendental molds integral to millennialism. For example. as “we” need to figure out who “we” are and what our commitments mean in particular circumstances.A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) Hardt and Negri’s abstract theory of revolution destroys any possibility for political change Quinby ‘04 (Lee. Nevertheless. Where there is politics. but they cannot do this without sacrificing the political significance of the multitude. Millennial rhetoric stirs the imagination toward exhilarating poles of fear and hope. Chair Distinguished Teaching in Humanities – Hobart and William Smith Colleges. And where there is representation. dooming their revolution Passavant ‘04 (Paul. p. if not antimultitudinous. There will be exclusions and repressions involved in any one move toward justice. 115-6) What if there was a revolution? Inevitably. . In place of specific and concrete analysis—a hallmark of a genealogical approach— they stamp their theory with messianic categories that diminish rather than expand our understanding of productive and reproductive life. It is hard not to be drawn in. This contradiction is particularly noteworthy because Empire’s millennialism is what makes it compelling. the poor. and the multitude. p. Rather than complacency or a false universality. often drawing on Foucault to help make their case. Outcomes of these interpretive battles over what the rights of the multitude oblige in given circumstances would position those interpretations that do not carry the day as notmultitudinous. making numerous explicit claims for the immanence of their materialist approach. the new barbarian. the nomad. But sacrificing the chaos of anything goes leads to the possibility that something (good?) can happen. Empire’s New Clothes. much of what actually animates the book is its prophetic vision of the nature and role of the militant. Hardt and Negri reject political action and representation. which is both totalizing and abstractionist in its history and basic formulation. there would be disagreements over whether there should be rights in addition to or other than those Hardt and Negri claimed for the multitude. In their opening pages. there is difference and exclusion. promising a culminating and righteous telos to those who adhere to its tenets of belief. Professor of Political Science – Hobart and William Smith Colleges. disagreements would arise whenever rights claims were concretized in specific circumstances. there would be struggles in which the rights claims Hardt and Negri have put forward might be considered antagonistic to other rights that people believe are essential to justice. A second interrelated contradiction arises from the fact that Hardt and Negri specifically reject transcendence. there is representation. Hardt and Negri avoid the problematic of representation in order to save the inclusiveness of the multitude. But even in the unlikely event of total agreement on a total list of multitudinous rights. circumstances that will be different from those under which we committed ourselves previously. even though they explicitly claim a nonprophetic stance by stating that they can see “only shadows of the figures that will animate our future” (205). In practice. Empire’s New Clothes. as Hardt and Negri know and fear. they “rule out” the “idea that order is dictated by a single power and a single center of rationality transcendent to global forces” (3). we must make what remains after an (necessarily) incomplete move toward justice the fuel for subsequent moves toward justice. for example. since total justice will elude our time. it will become rent by difference and repression. For the multitude to take on political significance. in no small part because of Hardt’s and Negri’s tendency to say one thing and yet do another. 233) Demonstrating Empire’s millennial drift is a complicated undertaking.

html. in effect. Hardt and Negri seem squarely on the side of labor. In Seattle. The concept of the multitude.jhu. perhaps. rank-and-file unionists joined environmentalists marching with green sea turtle puppets. when unionists and environmentalists stand on opposite sides of the barricades? Is it productive. in their words. who end Multitude with an appeal to James Madison. “Can the Multitude Save the Left?” The concept of the multitude. Samuel Barkin.7 Enduring harmony between unionists and environmentalists in the Pacific Northwest would. as a tariff. rather. focused on the economic impact of importing cheap shrimp.S. Negri says the following about critics of or obstacles to the multitude: "Any attempt to stand in the way of this unification and the consequent recognition of common objectives is reactionary. Assistant Professor of Government at Hamilton College http://muse. This does not mean that unionists and environmentalists cannot collaborate on legislation or policy.may persist after the events of 1999 . is the dogmatism it fosters in those facing dissent — in this case. .2tampio. but a chorus that spoke in common against the global system. occurred when loggers burned spotted owls in effigy to protest environmental regulations protecting the animals' habitat.A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) Turn. DeSombre and J. Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. There are also ongoing debates over how to regulate the salmon and pollock industries. The most famous confrontation. law banning shrimp from countries such as Mexico acted. about humanity's relationship to the environment. signals an epochal shift in the relationship between these two groups. according to Elizabeth R. Though some unionists undoubtedly favor sustainable fishing and logging. not on the welfare of sea turtles. the concept assumes that every significant disagreement within the Left can.the Multitude would devastate the left. In Empire. but necessary work of building coalitions rather than wait for a secular Messiah. in short.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v008/8. in fact. expresses sectarian and inimical operations. had an economic incentive to dispute the WTO decision vetoing the United States' prohibition of shrimp imported from countries that do not use "turtle excluder devices" (TEDs) on their nets. seems more likely to harm the Left than to help it. be magical. for Hardt and Negri. The Left ought to engage in the challenging. It does suggest.over vision and strategy . First. Spokesmen for the fishing industry. however. that conflict between environmentalists and unionists ."11 What happens. haphazard collection. 2005 (Nicholas. to use the language of "sectarian and inimical operations"? It is odd that Hardt and Negri. In the dispute between labor and environmentalism. a cacophony of different voices. do not see the intimate connection between liberty and faction.9 But Hardt and Negri never discuss environmental politics at length in Empire or Multitude. these two groups have battled recurrently over the management of natural resources in Oregon and Washington. there may be another explanation for why unionists marched alongside environmentalists in Seattle. however. The American fishing industry. The magic of Seattle was to show that these many grievances were not just a random. This event.10 The second problem with the concept of the multitude. thus.8 The U. though. they favor laborer over environmentalist ignoring and creating and fostering dogmatic dissent Tampino. they criticize as "primordial" and "romantic" environmentalist claims about the sanctity of nature and biodiversity. Hardt and Negri do not seem to value deep disagreement (rather than deep diversity) within the Left. provisional. melt away. In an interview. indeed. lays out a questionable and dangerous project for the Left. or. then.

jhu. to the impasse in which they are trapped. It is threatened with losing its legitimacy to the advantage of religious or ethnic fundamentalisms (I do not consider the ethnocratic regimes of the former Yugoslavia as democratic progress!).3angus.Borders. Our moment is one of defeat for the powerful social and political movements that shaped the twentieth century (workers’.” They make reference to Foucault’s propositions concerning the transition from the disciplinary society to the society of control. This turning point gives rise to the formation of what they call the “multitude. The loss of perspective that any defeat involves leads to ephemeral unrest and the profusion of para-theoretical propositions that both legitimate that unrest and give rise to the belief that it constitutes an “effective” means for “transforming the world” (even without wanting to). The similarity to the theses formulated by Manuel Castells concerning the “networked society” and to the ideas popularized by Jeremy Rifkin. whether good or bad. certainly exist. 04 (Ian Empire. One can only gradually solidify new formulations that are both coherent and effective by distancing oneself from the past. http://muse. democracy—both necessary and possible—is in crisis. . for the first time in history. Reich.” defined in terms of the “totality of productive and creative subjectivities. in the good sense of the term moreover. which obviously satisfy the liberal powers (particularly Washington). A compendium of current fashions does not easily lead to conviction. even in their very formulation. one in the service of the Russian autocracy) to replace it with another one (financed by the CIA!) constitute progress for democracy or a manipulated farce? Is not the unfolding of the imperialist project for control of the planet at the origin of the frontal attacks that are reducing basic democratic rights in the United States? Is not the liberal consensus in Europe. Instead the individual has become such (or is in the process of becoming such). depending on one’s viewpoint. socialist.html) Hardt and Negri think that we have arrived at this historical turning point. and other American popularizers is such that one is entitled to pose the question: what is new and important in all this hodgepodge of ideas? I will propose then another hypothesis to account for the invention of the “multitude” in question. both debatable and diverse. This is a wonderfully naïve proposition. Everything that has been said over the past thirty years. rather than proposing a “remake” of it. They talk about the transition to “cognitive capitalism” or the emergence of “immaterial production.” the new “networked” society or “deterritorialization. Such contributions. in the process of delegitimizing electoral procedures? Hardt and Negri are silent on all these questions.Place: A Critique of Hardt and Negri’s Concept of Empire. around which the major political forces of right and left have united. Do elections that overturn the power of one criminal gang (for example. Are we moving in this direction? Beyond a few superficial appearances (some elections here or there). that classes (along with nations or peoples) are no longer the subjects of history. 2004. is supposedly on the verge of becoming a real possibility on the global scale.A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) Alt fails Angus.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v007/7. The first of these propositions concerns democracy that. and by effectively integrating new realities produced by social evolution in all its dimensions. I do not include Hardt and Negri’s discourse among them. Robert B. whether indisputable because platitudinous or strongly debatable. is thrown pell-mell into a great pot in preparation for the future.” Why and how would this turning point occur? Hardt and Negri’s texts are quite vague on these questions. Theory and Event. The propositions that Hardt and Negri draw from their discourse on the “multitude” bear witness. the multitude is defined as the “constitutive” force of democracy. and national liberation movements). Moreover.

" What this means is that under Empire there emerges a "paradox of power" in which all elements of social life are unified.S. there are opportunities for resistance. disrupts the linear and totalitarian figure of capitalist development. editor of Monthly Review and author of Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature and The Vulnerable Planet. 2001 (John Bellamy. Here. constitutional form into the global realm —has become possible.com/review/2001_10_04) But Hardt and Negri will have none of this talk of human nature. is how Hardt and Negri summarize what they have understood: "The analysis of real subsumption. writers such as Gilles Deleuze and FÈlix Guattari.org/1201jbf. who are the true intellectual heroes of Empire. Our bodies have instead turned against themselves. We therefore have to "recognize our posthuman bodies and minds" and see ourselves "for the simians and cyborgs we are" before we can begin to unleash whatever creative powers we may have left over. “The Snake”. a new milieu of maximum plurality and uncontainable singularization—a milieu of the event. “Imperialism and ‘Empire’” Monthly Review. Foster. But all is not lost for us simians and cyborgs. within “the ontological conditions that Empire presents” .powells. who also emphasized the authoritarian character of contemporary capitalism. the struggle of the multitude to become an autonomous political subject—yet this can only take place. if only those opportunities can be grasped and seen. but the very act of unification "reveals a new context.S.] The negative’s alternative is wrong – resistance can only succeed by working within the conditions of the Empire. Unlike the writers of the Frankfurt School. our bodies are no longer irreducibly ours. or use value. recognize that efforts at total control create contradictions of their own.htm) Empire. Wolfe.monthlyreview. 2001 (Alan. With bio-power in command.A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) The Empire’s pursuit of total control creates contradictions and a paradox of power – the unification within Empire is key to resistance. http://www." Even when Empire seems to rule everywhere and over everything. and when it is attentive to the modalities of disciplinarity and/or control. the name they give to this new world order. http://www. they argue. The New Republic Online. Local struggles against Empire are opposed by these authors. October 4th. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. in prose that insults language. when this is understood as investing not only the economic or only the cultural dimension of society but rather the social bios itself. they are the very instruments by which we are controlled by forces external to us. is a product of the struggle over sovereignty and constitutionalism at the global level in an age in which a new global Jeffersonianism—the expansion of the U. who believe that the struggle now is simply over the form globalization will take—and the extent to which Empire will live up to its promise of bringing to fruition “the global expansion of the internal U. Capital will exploit wherever and whatever it can. or labor power. constitutional project” Their argument supports the efforts of the “multitude against Empire”— that is.

Negri felt. or the Baader–Meinhoff Gang in West Germany—left– wing groups that during the 1970s sought to overthrow capitalism through campaigns of terrorist violence. that efforts to find legitimate reasons for intervening in world affairs are only a smokescreen for the exercise of hegemonic power. The New Republic Online. 2000 (Political Science Professor at University of Chicago and member of the editorial board of New Left Review . But their book gives no grounds on which such attacks can be condemned. with widely–translated books on Spinoza and Marx to his credit.at hardt/negri: alternative  terrorism Hardt and Negri’s alternative is an endorsement of terrorism – the multitude’s revolt against capitalism is empirically violent. the Italian government arrested Negri. Unable to build a strong enough case to try the philosopher for murder. whether Hardt and Negri.S. the Italian version of the Weathermen in the U. and accused him of being the secret brains behind the Red Brigades. “Hardt and Negri’s Empire”. in the light of the recent atrocities at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. would be far quicker to unleash the riotous confrontations with the state that he saw as necessary to destroying capitalism Hardt and Negri’s alternative justifies terrorist attacks. of course. For if being against the West is the sine qua non of good and effective protest. since in the postmodern world of this book no justifiable distinctions between good and evil acts can ever be made. http://newleftreview.org/A2275) In addition to having a career as an influential political philosopher. his distraught wife got a taunting phone call. Italian authorities convicted him on lesser charges of “armed insurrection against the state. September-October. Wolfe. In 1979. Gopal. Just before Aldo’s execution. the part–time worker. New Left Review. Negri is a convicted terrorist. And if it is true. largely co–opted as it was by capitalist wealth and bourgeois democratic freedoms. the leader of Italy’s Christian Democratic Party. These dispossessed souls. 01 (Alan. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. then the way is cleared for each and every illegitimate act of global intervention. The voice was allegedly Negri’s. Balakrishnan.powells. telling her that her husband was about to die.” Negri’s theoretical work was in keeping with his terrorist activities. October 4th.com/review/2001_10_04) We cannot know. http://www. He had become the leading voice of Italy’s ultra–Left by advancing an inventive reinterpretation of Marx’s Grundrisse that located the agent of social revolution not among the industrial proletariat. “The Snake”. well. will want to change their minds about the progressive potential of Islamic fundamentalism. no one could accuse the murderers in New York and Washington of not being against Western hegemony. but among those marginalized from economic and political life: the criminal. as Hardt and Negri blithely claim. the unemployed. . at the time a political science professor at the University of Padua. Italian authorities believed that Negri himself planned the infamous 1979 kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro.

October 4th. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. 01 (Alan. http://www. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. Hardt and Negri go out of their way to reassure readers of the genuinely subversive nature of the Islamic version of fundamentalism. http://www. Too many who should know better refuse to grow up. including religious fundamentalists. if they had to choose between the postmodernists in Western universities and the fundamentalists in Iran. Do Empire’s many fans really believe their own praise? Does Time really think it’s “smart” to call for the eradication of private property. nihilism: Empire is a poisonous brew of bad ideas. October 4th. they would prefer the latter: "The losers in the process of globalization might indeed be the ones who give us the strongest indication of the transformation in process. The far left’s pleasure is in the adolescent thrill of perpetual rebellion. and pour contempt on the genuine achievements of liberal democracies and capitalist economics? Would Frederic Jameson like to give up his big salary at Duke? To ask such questions is to answer them. Balakrishnan. they write. Hardt and Negri even leave the impression that.to understand the various fundamentalism [sic] not as the re-creation of a pre-modern world. “The Snake”. Empire anarchist rhetoric which praises terrorism and totalitarianism. and kindred political lunacies." Hardt and Negri support terrorists over democracy—it is political lunacy.. but this is Western propaganda. It belongs with Mein Kampf in the library of political madness. but rather as a powerful refusal of the contemporary historical passage in course. Gopal. September-October. whitewash totalitarianism. http://newleftreview." They are anti-Western. For all its infantilism. Wolfe.powells. since they engage in a refusal of Western hegemony. are often portrayed as anti-modernist. 2000 (Political Science Professor at University of Chicago and member of the editorial board of New Left Review. a terroristic approach to political argument. Fundamentalists. celebrate revolutionary violence.com/review/2001_10_04) .org/A2275) Apolitical abstraction and wild–eyed utopianism. New Left Review. they are postmodern rather than premodern. especially since it’s so common in the university and media.at hardt/negri: alternative  terrorism Hardt and Negri are so eager to oppose capitalism that their alternative embraces terrorism and misogyny Wolfe.com/review/2001_10_04) The authors of Empire see no reason to exclude explicit reactionaries. with the proviso that fundamentalism speaks to the losers in the globalization project and postmodernism to the winners. “Hardt and Negri’s Empire”. “The Snake”. "It is more accurate and more useful. These movements are motivated not by nostalgic attempts to reconstruct the past. 01 (Alan.." Neglecting to mention the Taliban's treatment of women. The New Republic Online. the increasingly violent anti–globalization movement. The New Republic Online. Properly understood. but by "original thought. from the catalogue of post-Fordist movements that they admire. the kind of hatred Hardt and Negri express for our flawed but decent democratic capitalist institutions—the best political and economic arrangements man has yet devised and the outcome of centuries of difficult trial and error—is dangerous.powells. It seems to support Islamist revolutionary hopes. which means that they are anti-capitalist. The ghost of Marx haunts us still. hatred for flesh and blood human beings.

simply an invention of cold war ideology. there are no terrorists in Hardt and Negri's book.The anarchist flavor of Empire is conveyed most strikingly by its romanticization of violence. Although by now everyone knows that there are terrorists in this world.." . There are only people who are called terrorists. "Totalitarianism" is another pure construct. which Hardt and Negri describe as "a society criss-crossed by extremely strong instances of creativity and freedom.. as if no serious revolutionary could believe that there were such things. that has been used to "denounce the destruction of the democratic sphere.." Terms such as "ethnic terrorists" and "drug mafias" appear within quotation marks." Certainly the term has little to do with actual life in the Soviet Union. "a crude conception and terminological reduction that is rooted in a police mentality.

as in Empire. The obedience of these citizens is called "exemplary" in this book. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College." Since Nazism is merely normal capitalism — this point of view was once associated with the Frankfurt School.at hardt/negri: alternative justifies holocaust Hardt and Negri argue that the state as always bad and resistance movements are always good – this ignores a critical distinction between democracy and totalitarianism that downplays the Holocaust. http://www. any action.. Hardt and Negri are worse than neutral in their discussion of the Nazi period: they actually heap praise on the ordinary Germans who supported the regime. Nazi Germany. has been a political philosopher. engage in a downplaying of the Holocaust? — Hardt and Negri twice acknowledge that they are completely fed up with the whole question of totalitarianism. Wolfe. From this warped perspective. October 4th. “The Snake”. . and others. I am not making this up. and it survives almost nowhere outside the pages of this book — there is no reason to single out the Nazis or their sympathizers for crimes against humanity. is justified. Gypsies. Hardt and Negri write." the latter." before moving on to identify the victims whom they valorously helped to send to Buchenwald as "communists.powells. In their view Nazism is capitalism. all states are equally bad and all movements of opposition are equally good. being the Jews (whom Hardt and Negri reserve for Auschwitz). Only the working of such a myopia can help the reader to understand why the authors of Empire are incapable of mustering any rigorous historical or moral consciousness of Nazism and its policy of Jewish extermination. and he is the author of numerous books. he invariably associates violence with states in the exercise of their power. is terrorism in disguise. In nearly all this work.. when not in prison.. never with opposition groups and their tactics. no matter how insurrectionary. any action. presumably. after all.com/review/2001_10_04) Negri. manifestos. The New Republic Online. and theses on subjects ranging from Spinoza's metaphysics to the nature of insurgency under contemporary capitalism. For the latter. 01 (Alan. Astonishingly. "is the ideal type of the transformation of modern sovereignty into national sovereignty and of its articulation into capitalist form. far from a unique excursion into human evil. no matter how peaceful. The authors also celebrate "their military and civil valor in the service of the nation. and that is the end of the story. homosexuals. For the former. Lest anyone consider these apologetics for Nazism a misreading of my own — how can good leftists.

global solidarity. Gills –02 [Barry K. Gills –02 [Barry K. Gopal. including global justice. must be transposed to the global level. New Left Review. approximately 800 million people escaped poverty. the world economy has expanded six–fold. Globalization allows the . and World Bank data show that during the past decade of accelerated economic globalization. Hardt and Negri. that is. Globalization is inevitable and key to spreading democracy and community empowerment.] Globalization allows for justice. In these processes of renewed democratic struggles. in the half century since the foundation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. and democracy. As the Economist’s John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge point out. Insofar as neoliberal economic globalization has succeeded. The truth about globalization is exactly the reverse of what Hardt and Negri assert. “Democratizing Globalization and Globalizing Democracy. that this historical dialectic leads strongly. Italy. in part because trade has increased 1. even inexorably. which is based on countries and their domestic political order. May. and global citizenship. this past summer. global democracy. the last of these perhaps being especially significant. If democracy is a process of building countervailing powers.org/A2275) Inseparable from the failure to think politically. Predictably. solidarity (fraternity). May. then the system gives rise to and in fact requires fundamental counterparts. then the democratic theory we have at present. http://newleftreview. I firmly believe. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. nations open to trade grow nearly twice as fast as those that aren’t. offer no evidence to support their basic charge that economic globalization is causing wide–scale planetary misery. toward the practices and theory of global democracy. to the globalization of democracy and the democratization of globalization.at hardt/negri: globalization good Globalization increases world prosperity and freedom – Hardt and Negri provide no evidence to the contrary. justice. solidarity. on both historical and moral grounds.600 percent. 2000 (Political Science Professor at University of Chicago and member of the editorial board of New Left Review. as the G–8 meeting got underway in Genoa. We need a credible political theory of global democracy based on the new concept of global citizenship rather than merely a pragmatic problem-solving approach. and liberty to the global level. a process that is unavoidable. May] Thus. Balakrishnan. we must also elevate or transpose the classic enlightenment democratic ideals of equality. May] If there is global capitalism. there is likewise a historical dialectic between globalization and democratization. like the rioters endlessly disrupting World Trade Organization meetings. the New York Times chose these two “joyful” Communists to write a lengthy op–ed extolling the virtues of anti– globalization rioters. Globalization is dramatically increasing world prosperity and freedom. Chair of the World Historical Systems theory group of the International Studies Association and a faculty affiliate of the Globalization Research Center of the University of Hawaii. Chair of the World Historical Systems theory group of the International Studies Association and a faculty affiliate of the Globalization Research Center of the University of Hawaii. “Hardt and Negri’s Empire”. it creates the conditions for further critical social responses that lead to renewed struggles for democratic freedoms and participation by the ordinary people affected by these changes. we may expect to see continued efforts at selfgovernment by many peoples and also expanded representation. “Democratizing Globalization and Globalizing Democracy. September-October. To do so.

. whether this be on a local. national.transcending of old established and fixed territorial units and borders of political representation. regional. and to do so globally. This process deepens democracy by extending it to the global arena but moreover by also devolving power to self-constituting communities seeking selfgovernment and representation in the political order. or global level. thus allowing a more territorially diffuse pattern of political community to emerge.

as neoconservative sociologist Peter L. September-October.” To which one can only respond: Have they never read a page of Solzhenitsyn? Moreover. it can—there’s no necessity at work—amplify and disseminate some of the less attractive aspects of today’s libertine culture.” they complain. just as strong as the rhythms of economic development and cultural modernization. Balakrishnan. How would such schemes actually work? Hardt and Negri never say. .” February 2000). 2000 (Political Science Professor at University of Chicago and member of the editorial board of New Left Review. their hazy alternative to it—absolute democracy. If Hardt and Negri’s depiction of global capitalism is mendacious. they are contemptuous toward the decencies and the humbleoften not so humble—freedoms of democratic capitalist societies. http://newleftreview. “Cold war ideology called that society totalitarian. as in the old Soviet Union? But then Hardt and Negri seem to look back fondly on Lenin and Stalin’s dark regime. would be liberating? Wouldn’t it lead to a totalitarian increase in political power. the empirical evidence proves it far preferable to any alternative economic order we know of. as filled with admiration as Hardt and Negri are toward the Soviet Union. economic globalization isn’t without its downside. “Hardt and Negri’s Empire”. New Left Review. equal compensation—is apolitical utopian nonsense. Gopal. “but in fact it was a society criss–crossed by extremely strong instances of creativity and freedom. As I’ve argued in these pages (see “Capitalism and the Suicide of Culture. But on balance. open borders. Do they truly think that “annulling” private property and eliminating nations.org/A2275) Needless to say. It has profoundly diminished human suffering. if it were somehow possible. Berger has suggested.at hardt/negri: capitalism good Capitalism is not perfect but is better than Hardt and Negri’s alternative—which would devolve into totalitarianism.

nation states (and boundaries) and the ascendancy of an ill-defined Empire. and supranational governing bodies.org/petras/english/negri010102.hardly the basis for orienting the "multitudes" which the writers describe to be the new agencies for democratizing the world. constitutionalism. The authors engage in what George Saboul once referred to as the "vacuum cleaner" approach to history: a little of ancient history. a celebration of U. a plus and minus evaluation of post-modernism. revolution can be traced to Spinoza and Machiavelli. . Extended and tendencious discussions of sovereignty are interspersed with reductionist assertions which collapse or omit numerous variations. unhistorical nature of the author's broad and vacuous generalizations. Rebellion: Petras Essays in English. Rousseau and Locke are given short shrift. apparently resembling the United Nations. I have quoted extensively in order to illustrate the confused.htm) The authors argue early on that the intellectual origins the U. What empirical or historical basis is there for claiming Nazi Germany is the "ideal type"? National sovereignty pre-existed the Nazis and continues after its demise in non-totalitarian settings. Stalinist Russia is the ideal type of the transmission of popular interest and the cruel logics that follow from it into a project of national modernization. the obsolescence of imperial states. These discursive forays provide an intellectual gloss for the core argument dealing with the contemporary world: the disappearance of imperialism. in their discussion of totalitarianism and the nation-state they argue "If Nazi Germany is ideal type of the transformation of modern sovereignty into national sovereignty and of the articulation in its capitalist form. http://www. despite their greater immediate relevance. Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University. a smattering of exegesis of elementary political theory. For example.rebelion.S. 01 (James. “Empire With Imperialism”.at hardt/negri: at historical argument Hardt and Negri’s historical examples are highly selective and poorly developed. a brief synopsis of colonialism and post-colonialism.S. Petras. mobilizing for its own purposes the productive forces that yearn for liberation from capitalism" (p. globalization. October 29.110). illogical. If Stalin's Russian embodied "popular interest" why should anyone seek to be liberated from it? "Cruel logic" of "popular interests" is stuff from the ancien regime .

in the attempt to name. and provides no indicators of any of the deplorable conditions that it discusses. rather than to describe. October 4th. . like the left Hegelians whom Marx once attacked. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. 01 (Alan. the book contains no data. Unlike the left Hegelians. moves entirely at the level of ideas. The New Republic Online. http://www. offers no effort to demonstrate who owns what or holds power over whom. “The Snake”. Empire. Wolfe.powells. As if once again to distinguish itself from Marx. Although it is presumably devoted to outlining the contours of a new mode of production. to analyze.at hardt/negri: no qualified data Hardt and Negri’s have no supporting data. the new order that its authors see emerging. Hardt and Negri handle ideas incompetently. or even to condemn. however.com/review/2001_10_04) Most of Empire is an exercise in nominalism.

they might. October 4th." Instead. if they had the chance. October 4th. are throwing over the most central proposition of Marxism: class consciousness.resides on the imperial surfaces where there is no God the Father and no transcendence. http://www. is a Christian conception of revolution.powells. who despite their oppression under empire — or Empire — remain pure in heart. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. as Hardt and Negri do not point out. "The only response that we can give to these questions is that the action of the multitude becomes political primarily when it begins to confront directly and with an adequate consciousness the central repressive operations of Empire. The New Republic Online. too.. one can see the emergence of the new city that will put us at one with the world. The New Republic Online.powells.com/review/2001_10_04) Never saying so explicitly. Hardt and Negri have nothing significant to say. often unable or unwilling to communicate with each other. their city cannot be the divine one. . the authors of this book. we must recognize that if only we have faith. Unlike Augustine's. or that they are also." This. prefer to kill one another. 01 (Alan.at hardt/negri: multitude fails The multitude will never be unified—“workers” stand for different objectives and never coordinate. director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. Indeed. Hardt and Negri admit they have no idea how the multitude will rise up and over throw Empire. http://www. for under contemporary conditions "it may no longer be useful to insist on the old distinction between strategy and tactics." They do not even need to be workers.com/review/2001_10_04) And redemption will come from the multitude. since "the multitude today. as Hardt and Negri point out. We cannot know how we will be saved. whatever and wherever power happens to be. Never mind that movements that do so can stand for wildly different objectives — an open society here. “The Snake”." About the practical question of how this can be done. Wolfe. Wolfe. They need not develop a revolutionary strategy. 01 (Alan. All that is required is that they set themselves up against power. in identifying their hopes with such disparate movements of protest whatever their targets or their political coloration. a closed society there. “The Snake”. they will create "the earthly city of the multitude. In them. a way will be found." which the authors esoterically define as "the absolute constitution of labor and cooperation. Workers no longer need to be aware of themselves as workers in order to bring down capitalism.. of course.

Japan which makes the most extensive use of computers and robots has witnessed a decade of stagnation and crises.S. Estimates run up to 60% of computer time is spent in activity unrelated to the enterprise. the 5 million uncounted workers inflate the With the decline of the information economy and its stock valuations it becomes clear that the "information revolution" is not the transcendent force defining the economies of the major imperial states. with the introduction of computers. All top IFI officials are appointed by their national/imperial governments. population census provides another explanation for the higher productivity figures . and the heads of the MNCs (p. The real significance of the IFIs is how they magnify. While it is true that the IFIs make many important decisions in a great many geographical locations affecting significant economic and social sectors. During the year 2000-01. economy and less than 5% of capital stock. The claims that information technologies have revolutionized economies and thus created a new global economy in which nation states and national economies have become superfluous is extremely dubious. October 29.S. The IMF and the WB have always been led by individuals from the U.5% about the same as the pre-computer period. The fact that most people have computers and browse. burst. Assumption 3: One of the common arguments of globalist theorists like Hardt and Negri is that an information revolution has taken place that has eliminated state borders.rebelion. .145) by providing a new impetus to the development of the productive forces productivity grew an average 2. over the past half century fails to support the globalist argument. This is an argument that is based on a superficial discussion of epiphenomena. Far from superseding the old states. 326). Moreover. the major source of growth of productivity claimed by the globalists was in the computerization of the area of computer manufacture. transformed capitalism and created a new epoch (p. productivity data. the U. Between 1953-72. that some firms have better control over their inventories does not mean that power has shifted beyond the nation-state. international power is based in the imperial states not on supra-national entities. Even in the so-called boom period of 1995-99. that defined the so-called information economy. productivity growth was 2. A comparison of productivity growth in the U. The publicists' claims about the "information revolution" ring hollow. . “Empire With Imperialism”. http://www. In this sense.at hardt/negri: nation-state strong The nation state is not dying away—their economic analysis is superficial. Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University. Since productivity is measured by the output per estimated worker. the IFIs have strengthened their positions. Computer manufacturers account for 1.S. productivity growth between 1973-95 was less than half.S. made up of the heads of the IFI. rather than a deeper analytical view of the structure of power. let alone defining a new world order.org/petras/english/negri010102. All their crucial policy guide lines that dictate their loans and conditions for lending are set by the finance. as the investors in the world stock markets move funds toward the real economy and away from the high tech firms which show no profits and increasing losses. treasury and economy ministers of the imperial states. the WTO.htm) Assumption 2: The old nation-state governments have been superseded by a new world government. If the 5 million are included the productivity figures would deflate. labor market in the 1990s.5%. hundreds of firms went bankrupt. Petras. Hardt and Negri's vision of IFI power is based on a discussion of derived power not its imperial states source. or E. The latter concept grossly overestimates the autonomy of the IFIs and underestimates their subordination to the imperial states.the 5 million illegal immigrants who have flooded the U.S. The vast majority of funds for the IFIs come from the imperial states. before the so-called information revolution in the U. extend and deepen the power of the imperial states and how they become terrain for competition between rival imperial states. Moreover. The speculative bubble. tens of thousands were fired. 01 (James. Rebelion: Petras Essays in English. stocks dropped in value some 80%. Representation on the executive board of the IFI is based on the proportion of funding by the imperial states. these decisions and the decision-makers are closely linked to the imperial states and the MNCs which influence them.S. the information sector went into a deep crises.2% of the U.U. Studies have shown that computer use in offices is directed more toward personal use than to exchanging ideas.

org/article. South Korea. the ability of these global political bodies to operate effectively requires. vast expanses of the globe (sub-Saharan Africa) remain at best sites of raw material extraction. The trans-national corporations (TNCs) have neither the desire nor ability to create a world state. in many ways. the development of the WTO. rather than representing a simple shift of political powers ’upward’ from the nation-state to the ’global juridico-economic bodies’. and containing challenges from below. Quite the opposite. Clearly. “Review: Empire and Revolution”. generally deregulating their capital. 307). etc) lack theoretical and even empirical plausibility. supersedes the effectiveness of national juridical structures (p 337). production and the like . or at worst huge labour reserves. WTO.would be impossible without these ’global juridico-economic bodies. these global political institutions require national capitalist states capable of denationalising industries. On the contrary. ’neo-liberalism’ . and the IMF. IMF.between this global ’north’ and the global ’south’ has only grown wider. such as GATT. the TNCs have attempted to negotiate forms of regulation through the GATT. marked by extreme poverty and capitalist-created famine and natural disasters. the new WTO. http://www. the US and Japan. EU. in the words of Hardt and Negri ’state functions and constitutional elements have effectively been displaced to other levels and domains’ (p. and the various regional and multilateral trade agreements. International Viewpoint Magazine. notably the World Bank and IMF. [9] To ensure the unhindered operations of the trans-nationals and protect private business property. Clearly. this ’supranational juridical scaffolding’ has been crucial in changing the political environment for capitalist accumulation over the past two decades. Some regions of the former ’third world’ have become centres of labour-intensive assembly and parts production (the ’Newly Industrialized Countries’ of Mexico. the growing importance of these trans-national organizations does not mean that. Through their ’home’ governments. South Africa. member of Solidarity’s National Committee. becoming extensions of capitalist accumulation cantered in the ’north. G7. Brazil. The globalisation of production and circulation. abolishing social welfare programs and labour regulations.’ However.php3?id_article=435) The result of the internationalisation of lean production over the past two decades has not been a ’smooth’ or ’decentred global network’ or ’empire’ that Hardt and Negri claim. and the like actually enhance the role of the nation-state. the World Bank. Global uneven and combined development . [Kim Moody presents a compelling alternative analysis. the centres of accumulation and social power remain in the centres of advanced capitalism in Western Europe.the dismantling of the rules that restrict corporations at home and abroad . Hardt and Negri’s claims that the nation-state and inter-imperialist rivalry have declined in importance with the rise of ’empire’ and various institutions of ’global governance’ (World Bank. Put simply. the World Trade Organization. . 02 (Charlie.the growing gap in incomes.internationalviewpoint. Post. They have opted instead for a system of multilateral agreements and institutions that they hope will provide coherence and order the world market. the strengthening of the national-capitalist state. They have also transformed some of the old Bretton Woods institutions.at hardt/negri: nation-state strong Hardt and Negri’s examples of globalization all ignore the crucial role of the nation-state in creating those trends—the nation is not dying away. NATO. labour and commodities markets. Taiwan). EU. The ’declining effectiveness’ of the nation-state can be traced clearly through the evolution of a whole series of global juridico-economic bodies. supported by this supranational juridical scaffolding.’ However.

be difficult for Hardt and Negri to turn their argument around in this way. Although they recognise the function of society in the production of individual subjectivities they barely acknowledge its role in the production of power. we still have all the power we need to change it. those suffering from HIV/AIDS would be squeezed out of Hardt and Negri’s society because they would be non-productive workers. of justice rather than power. Insofar as the problems of the powerless have been addressed in recent years it is often through a dynamic that works in the opposite direction to the one Hardt and Negri suggest. The alternative is to argue that a geographically boundless society must also be a totally inclusive society. autonomy leads to extinction. The latter is an extension of what used to be called the politics of recognition.at hardt/negri: at biopower Impact Powerless people depend upon biopolitics to keep them alive—for example.co. it speaks and expresses itself as authority. 23. the powerless would just die. Their response to globalisation is to maintain that since we have not contracted into global society. 01 (Malcolm. Using Foucault's model of biopower. but you cannot build a new society with one. as it organises. but there is above all World Possibility. not the other way round: 'Power.lrb. they cite Spinoza and ask: 'Don't we already possess them? Don't the necessary weapons reside precisely within the creative and prophetic power of the multitude?' No one is powerless. No. unless the powerful recognised some kinship with them.html) It would. You may be able to threaten the world with a Stanley knife. There is World Poverty. but there is an underlying continuity: the concern of anti-globalisation protesters with remote regions of the world. and with species of animals and plants that most have seen only on TV is predicated on an unparalleled imaginative identification with the Other. Vol. organises. as for other species. the sick and the unemployed are engaged in the 'immaterial labour' that produces 'total social capital'. Sounding a bit like Ali G. . Bull. In many cases. Capitalism has no need for the 'immaterial labour' of millions now living. “You Can’t Build a New Society with a Stanley Knife”. they argue that power constitutes society. http://www. and only the poor is capable of this.' It is difficult to see how this analysis comprehends the reality of powerlessness. it is a question of sympathy rather than sovereignty. This totalisation of the politics of recognition from the local to the global is what has given momentum to campaigns such as the one for African Aids victims. with the lives of people unlike themselves. For powerless human beings. as it produces. they conclude: 'The poor itself is power. 19. here. I think.uk/v23/n19/bull01_. Globalisation may have replaced multiculturalism as the focus of contemporary political debate. London Review of Books. even the old. head of art history and theory at Oxford University.' In reply to Machiavelli's observation that the project of constructing a new society needs arms and money.

to exploit and oppress it). popular. In this perspective. It is difficult to believe in the transformative power of an emerging global (and European) citizenship while the policies implemented fundamentally deprive citizenship of its effectiveness. But can one have the naiveté to believe that its adoption would abolish the capitalist relation.” Moreover. In fact. . 04 (“Empire. for example? Can one reduce the rights of the “poor” who people the planet to the right to “emigrate” to the opulent West? A socially guaranteed income may be a justifiable demand. Angus. particularly to emigrate. to the advantage of the worker who would from that point on be in a position to use capital freely and so be able to affirm the potential of his or her creativity? The reduction of the subject of history to the “individual” and the uniting of such individuals into a “multitude” dispose of the true questions concerning the reconstruction of subjects of history equal to the challenges of our era. Borders. In the undoubted care not to venture outside what is permitted by American liberalism. consequently. and the right to a socially guaranteed income. which allows capital to employ labor (and. nations.at hardt/negri: alt fails The alternative fails: there are far too many fragmented cultures to form an effective multitude and social organization is needed to combat oppression. and national hegemonic blocs capable of overcoming the powers exercised by both the hegemonic imperialist blocs and the hegemonic comprador blocs. to take up the challenge implies that one is moving forward in the formation of democratic. Project Muse. One could point to many other important contributions to oppose to the silence of Hardt and Negri on this subject. Place: A Critique of Hardt and Negri’s Concept of Empire. Hardt and Negri experience much difficulty in imagining the societies of the periphery (85 percent of the human population). Would the “democracy” promoted by the intervention of the United States permit going beyond an electoral farce like the one in the Ukraine. The construction of a real alternative to the contemporary system of globalized liberal capitalism involves other requirements. historic socialisms and communisms had a tendency to reduce the major subject of modern history to the “working class. In counterpoint. Undoubtedly. The formation of such blocs takes place in concrete conditions that are very different from one country to another so that no general model (whether in the style of the “multitude” or some other) makes sense.” Theory & Event 7:3 Ian Angus. the project deliberately ignores everything that could be qualified as the heritage of the workers’ and socialist movement. of effectively transforming the social relations of force to the advantage of the dominated classes and peoples. in particular the recognition of the gigantic variety of needs and aspirations of the popular classes throughout the world. just as the affirmation of the autonomy of peoples. The debates concerning the tactics and strategy of building a democratic and progressive alternative that would be effective in the concrete and specific conditions of the different countries and regions of the world never appear to have interested them. in successive phases of popular struggle. and states will make it possible to substitute a negotiated globalization for the unilateral globalization imposed by dominant capital (which Empire praises!) and thus gradually deconstruct the current imperialist system. At the present time. I have proposed an analysis of the subject of history as formed from particular social blocs capable. the combination of democratic advances and social progress will be part of the long transition to world socialism. 2004) The “aspirations” of the multitude established as the constitutive force of the future are reduced to very little: freedom. this is a reproach that could be leveled at the Negri of workerism. in particular the equality rejected by the political culture of the United States.

and threatening to conduct an ever-expanding global war against terrorism defined in ever more open-ended terms. with the news media playing the role of a supine.2 (2003) 323-345. international students and scholars. denying them public trials and lawyers. Michigan) 03 (George. Public Culture 15. then with the Total Information Awareness Program. The State of Emergency and the Revival of American Imperialism: Toward an Authoritarian Post-Fordism). The State of Emergency and the Revival of American Imperialism: Toward an Authoritarian Post-Fordism). as Carl Schmitt argued. Within Empire.g. supporting chorus. Steinmetz.) state. government is busy spying on and arresting its subjects. regional. transformations of the legal system (e. This massive campaign to recentralize power began. If the essence of politics is defining the enemy. John Ashcroft has insisted. which dramatically relaxed restrictions on search and seizure. and local organizations. Public Culture 15. which collects and analyzes vast amounts of data on private communications and commercial transactions. geopolitical strategy (unilateralism and preemptive military strikes). and most recently with the proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. and Muslims in the United States—all of this seems diametrically opposed to the deterritorializing tendencies of Empire. Public Culture 15. is constructed as a specifically political crisis. The current "state of emergency.2 (2003) 323-345. (Sociology Professor. "increasingly less will passports or legal documents be able to regulate our movements across borders" (397). Information and cross border flows of people have both become MORE difficult. the chilling effect of current policies on immigration.S. not less so. somewhat ironically. (Sociology Professor.at hardt/negri: no multitude The dramatic centralization of state power that has come after 9/11 disproves Hardt and Negri’s theory that the economic base is more important than the state Steinmetz. The government's secret drumhead trials are the opposite of the transparently open model envisioned by the authors of Empire. Even questioning the state's decisions has been qualified as treasonous Hardt and Negri mis-describe the era. a shaken sense of political sovereignty. The argument for the obsolescence of the strong state becomes less convincing when the U. The refocusing of political power on the level of the American national state has been most evident in the area of U. but much of the new regulatory activity has focused on the state apparatus itself and the "domestic" level of politics. The attorney general's seeming disdain for civil liberties (except the Second Amendment). and intensified domestic surveillance: first with the 2001 USA Patriot Act. by contrast. Michigan) 03 (George. The manifest regulatory changes over the past year have focused primarily on the structure and role of the (U. the state is still the central locus of power Steinmetz. The State of Emergency and the Revival of American Imperialism: Toward an Authoritarian Post-Fordism). according to Hardt and Negri. the state apparatuses of the United States seem to have dominated this field domestically since September 11. just at the moment when globalization theorists (including Hardt and Negri) were reaching a consensus that the state was being overshadowed by transnational. (Sociology Professor. Hardt and Negri are wrong. .. indefinite detentions).S. Michigan) 03 (George." the threat of terrorism.2 (2003) 323-345. secret trials and arrests. with the creation of a huge new government agency (the Department of Homeland Security).S. that America's national borders will never again be open and fluid.

." whose purpose was to distribute both true and false news items (see Dao and Schmitt 2002).Developments that seem to run directly counter to the notion of a "democratic network structure" of information (Hardt and Negri 2000: 299) include the provisions in the USA Patriot Act that allow the FBI to search records of books and Internet sites used. 19 Clearly we are moving into a new political space. the Total Information Awareness program. and the brief but significant career of the "Office of Strategic Influence.

the 1990s also differed in other ways from the current period. Steinmetz.at hardt/negri: no empire Hardt and Negri are wrong about recent history so their alternative is doomed to failure: the Empire that they describe has dissipated. and economic conditions for the decentered. (Sociology Professor." In addition to the political shock of September 11 and the ensuing war on terrorism. .2 (2003) 323-345. The State of Emergency and the Revival of American Imperialism: Toward an Authoritarian Post-Fordism). Public Culture 15. multivalent system of Empire described by Hardt and Negri thus seem to have disappeared in the past year and a half." Capitalist profit rates were so satisfying as to make this lack unproblematic. As Slavoj Zizek points out. I will argue here. this was a period in which there was no dominant "schematization" of the "figure of the Enemy" around a single "central image. Nor was there anything like September 11 during this decade: no direct and radical attack on the American node in the network of global capitalism. however. The authors' residual reductionism and their adherence to a Marxian end-of-history story line prevent them from grasping the transitory nature of the relatively decentered political formation that they call "Empire. political. The ideological. Michigan) 03 (George. that Empire should be understood as a historical reflection on the post-Fordist formation that crystallized in the 1990s and that is now coming to an end rather than a consideration of the present and the future. Hardt and Negri's arresting portrait of Empire is undercut by an explanatory framework that suffers from many of the epistemological shortcomings of traditional Marxism.

Each period of core hegemony has nurtured the illusion among enthusiasts of capitalism that it has reached its apotheosis and the parallel fantasy among leftists that capitalism is on its last legs. . and give rise to a new imperialism. Grotius's name is often heard in current discussions of U. foreign policy. writing during the golden age of Dutch hegemony. is now approaching. Michigan) 03 (George.at hardt/negri: hurts movements Empire theory is theoretically indefensible and disabling to resistance movements because they could misdirect their efforts. during the era of British hegemony. (Sociology Professor.) The events leading up to the 1848 revolutions in Europe. Nor do they consider the possibility that a more systemic economic crisis might give rise to a mode of regulation that is neither imperial nor imperialist. . Hugo Grotius ([1625] 1901).2 (2003) 323-345. Public Culture 15." Insisting that there is something ultimate about Empire is not only theoretically indefensible but could actually be disabling for movements of resistance. but protectionist and neocolonial. one need not fall back on its inverse. that with the coming of Empire the multitudes have reached a stage in which "pushing through to come out the other side" becomes a realistic possibility. we are faced with a dramatic consolidation of state power and capitalist hegemony. Without pushing for a cyclical view of history. The State of Emergency and the Revival of American Imperialism: Toward an Authoritarian Post-Fordism). believed that his own world was the ultimate one. there is little support for arguments that capitalist history has entered its final phase." To take a more recent example." The final sentence of Late Capitalism announced that "the final abolition of capitalism. Contra such theorists as Hardt and Negri.S. a teleological or truncated narrative. (Not surprisingly. Steinmetz. These authors link the rise of Fordism to the "great economic crisis of 1929" (Hardt and Negri 2000: 241) and acknowledge the role of the economic crisis of the 1970s in creating the conditions for the transition to post-Fordism. Yet they do not entertain the possibility that Empire itself could enter into a political crisis. like the one we are currently witnessing. for such arguments may desensitize readers to the possibility of further mutations of capitalism and modes of social regulation. which Hardt and Negri rightly reject. . Instead of a moment of transformation. published in 1972 at the beginning of the death throes of Fordism but written at the end of the first era of postwar American hegemony—had entered a terminal period of "overall social crisis. famously led Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto to predict "an immediately following proletarian revolution. Ernest Mandel (1975: 125) believed that late capitalism—the title of his book.

224). Clarke (1991) dubs it a "playfulness that produces emotional and/or political disinvestment: a refusal to be engaged" (p. Where Althusser was concerned with ideology as the imaginary relations of subjects to the real relations of their existence. pg. . Taft-Kaufman. p. According to Clarke (1991): Having established the material quality of ideology. This postmodern position evokes what Connor (1989) calls "an absolute weightlessness in which anything is imaginatively possible because nothing really matters" (p. Subject positions rather than subjects are the focus. There is nothing outside of ideology (or discourse). (pp. The emphasis on subject positions or construction of the discursive self engenders an accompanying critical sense of irony which recognizes that "all conceptualizations are limited" (Fischer. everything else we had hitherto thought of as material has disappeared. 227). 222) In its elevation of language to the primary analysis of social life and its relegation of the decentered subject to a set of language positions. While the notion of decentering does much to remedy the idea of an essential. because there is no out there for real objects to be). 26) To the postmodernist. unchanging self. “Other ways: Postmodernism and performance praxis.” The Southern Communication Journal.Professor. Department of Speech Communication And Dramatic Arts. (p. So. an extra-discursive for which there exists no epistemological warrant without lapsing back into the bad old ways of empiricism or metaphysics. 95 . 25-26) Clarke explains how the same disconnection between the discursive and the extra-discursive has been performed in semiological analysis: Where it used to contain a relation between the signifier (the representation) and the signified (the referent). real objects have vanished. 1986. Vol. 103). The luxury of being able to muse about what constitutes the self is a posture in keeping with a critical venue that divorces language from material objects and bodily subjects.***A2: Language*** at langauge ks: cede the politcal A focus on discourse substitutes philosophical musing for material politics. Real individuals become abstractions. postmodernism ignores the way real people make their way in the world. 159). Smith (1988) suggests that postmodernism has canonized doubt about the availability of the referent to the point that "the real often disappears from consideration" (p. too. 3. a real. then. antiempiricism has taken the formal arbitrariness of the connection between the signifier and signified and replaced it with the abolition of the signified (there can be no real objects out there.60. the connective quality of this view of ideology has been dissolved because it lays claim to an outside. have real people. Central Michigan University – 1995 (Jill. it also presents problems. Iss.

and interrogate terms like "queer. The danger DeCew sees is that once dangers lurking behind calls for state action. Ethics. specifically her argument that leaving alone the privacy of home and family means leaving men alone to abuse and dominate women. she argues. it can be overridden by other rights —thus the state can intervene in domestic abuse cases because of the physical harm being done. the repetition of an original subordination for another purpose. To think of words as having an "open" future is to recognize that their authority lies less in their historical than in their present uses. it is to acknowledge that people can revise the meaning of words even as we repeat them. To ignore words in this way. Butler's remedy for . For DeCew.02). Butler insists that if we are to reclaim the power that oppressive speech robs from us. 38).” ProQuest) However." for example —can be "resignified. allowing rulings that the erection of burning crosses by the Ku Klux Klan is protected speech but that artistic expressions of gay sexuality or statements of gay identity are actions rather than speech and so are not protected." or "gay. Because words can be revised. Members of National Council of Teachers of English Conference on College Composition and Communication. Given the postmodern view that the subject can never magisterially use a language with fixed meanings according to clear intentions. a major target is MacKinnon. repeated use of words opens a space for another.at language k: generic Suppressing language because it is offensive preserves its injurious meaning – using the words in new ways makes them more humane. Kurtz and Oscarson 03 (Anna and Christopher. the state can. painstakingly reviews the legal and philosophical history of privacy rights as well as current debates about its scope and status before she takes on the question of whether feminists have any interest in preserving a private sphere. State power will also curtail the freedom of speech of private individuals that is the very basis for effective antidotes to derogatory name calling. for instance. too. provide alternative remedies for the admitted harm that state action is intended to redress. it is to embrace the notion that the instability of words opens the possibility that we can use them to (re)construct a more humane future for ourselves and others. “Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. confront. Both DeCew and Butler. such as wife beating. the right to privacy is not absolute. Butler contends that it would be counterproductive simply to stop using terms that we would deem injurious or oppressive. consensual sex practices in private. like freedom. Butler insists. What is said as a derogatory slur—"nigger. Nye 99 (Andrea. For Butler the right to privacy is denied or narrowly defined. Butler thus suggests that we actually use these words in thoughtful conversation in which we work through the injuries they cause (p. that power will be coopted by conservative elements to defeat liberal causes and minority rights. DeCew. If as teachers. move into women's personal lives to interfere with sexual expression. on the grounds of immorality. even though in some cases. however. the danger is that the state becomes arbiter of what is and is not permissible speech. Wade.” Jstor) Once the state has the power to legislate what can be said and not said. “BookTalk: Revising the Discourse of Hate. we must use. 1." "spic. can be "the occasion for something we might still call agency. or with the right to choose an abortion established in Roe v. In Pursuit of Privacy: Law. we preserve their existing meanings as well as their power to injure. Butler also argues that the daily. and the Rise of Technology. For when we choose not to use offensive words under any circumstance. it is always possible to subvert the conventional meanings of words. there may be overriding considerations that justify state intervention. Indeed. and personal decisions about abortion are in the interest of women as well as men." harmful hate language is more deeply rooted in postmodern theories of the speaking subject . Butler insists. This alternative performance. more empowering kind of performance. whether homosexual or heterosexual. one whose future is partially open" (p. however. we were simply to forbid the use of speech that is hurtful to LGBT students we would be effectively denying the fact that such language still exists. Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Both authors argue persuasively for a more careful look at the . DeCew argues that decisions that protect the use of sexually explicit materials in the home." "chick. won't make them go away." Censorship will be co-opted by conservative elements to destroy minority rights – instead language should be used to subvert the conventional meanings of the words. For DeCew.

and expressions of homosexual identity in art depicting graphic sex. returned in such a manner that its conventional meaning in practices of discrimination and abuse is subverted.that is. reappropriation in street language or rap music." the satirical citation of racial or sexual slurs. These are expressions that any erosion in First Amendment rights might endanger. . Butler gives as examples the revalorization of terms like "black" or "gay.

Emphasizing the discursive self when a person is hungry and homeless represents both a cultural and humane failure. those who have limited access to good jobs. Unlike postmodern "textual radicals" who Rabinow (1986) acknowledges are "fuzzy about power and the realities of socioeconomic constraints" (p. their discourses on intertextuality and inter-referentiality isolate them from and ignore the conditions that have produced leftist politics--conflict. Clarke replies: I can think of few more striking indicators of the political and intellectual impoverishment of a view of society that can only recognize the discursive.. Yet. 255). food. homophobia. The political sympathies of the new cultural critics. 170). example. which are in the physical world. 299). Postmodern emphasis on the discursive without an accompanying analysis of how the discursive emerges from material circumstances hides the complex task of envisioning and working towards concrete social goals (Merod. To this assertion. white women. health care." "Otherness. argues that . because such an acknowledgment does not address sufficiently their collective historical and current struggles against racism. “Other Ways”. It may be the intellectual's conception of terror (what else do we do but speak?). or commitment to activism. but its projection onto the rest of the world would be calamitous. Merod (1987) decries this situation as one which leaves no vision. 60. as well as to the media that depict them. 571). Ideas have consequences. as Clarke (1991) asserts. Taft-Kaufman. West (1988) asserts that borrowing French poststructuralist discourses about "Otherness" blinds us to realities of American difference going on in front of us (p. People whose lives form the material for postmodern counter-hegemonic discourse do not share the optimism over the new recognition of their discursive subjectivities. 3. Journal. and injustice. not just textual" (p. housing. aligns them with the political left." and "difference. Provoked by the academic manifestations of this problem Di Leonardo (1990) echoes Merod and laments: Has there ever been a historical era characterized by as little radical analysis or activism and as much radical-chic writing as ours? Maundering on about Otherness: phallocentrism or Eurocentric tropes has become a lazy academic substitute for actual engagement with the detailed histories and contemporary realities of Western racial minorities. Spring. and. and transportation. shelter. In short. or any Third World population. rather than in a world of ideas or symbols. Although the material conditions that create the situation of marginality escape the purview of the postmodernist.. most writers from marginalized groups are clear about how discourse interweaves with the concrete circumstances that create lived experience. racism. postmodern emphasis on new subjects conceals the old subjects. v. They do not appreciate being told they are living in a world in which there are no more real subjects. 95 Jill Speech prof @ CMU. Iss. the situation and its consequences are not overlooked by scholars from marginalized groups. therefore. we are appallingly ignorant of terror in its elaborate contemporary forms. 1987). (p. Robinson (1990) for "the justice that working people deserve is economic.(pp. sexism. will. Southern Comm. poverty. creates a solipsistic quagmire." unsupported by substantial analysis of the concrete contexts of subjects. Lopez (1992) states that "the starting point for organizing the program content of education or political action must be the present existential. despite their adversarial posture and talk of opposition. Clarke examines Lyotard's (1984) The Postmodern Condition in which Lyotard maintains that virtually all social relations are linguistic. it is through the coercion that threatens speech that we enter the "realm of terror" and society falls apart. concrete situation" (p. 530) Clarke's assessment of the postmodern elevation of language to the "sine qua non" of critical discussion is an even stronger indictment against the trend. with their ostensible concern for the lack of power experienced by marginalized people.(4) Nutrition. 2-27) The realm of the discursive is derived from the requisites for human life. If the worst terror we can envisage is the threat not to be allowed to speak. p pq The postmodern passwords of "polyvocality. and protection are basic human needs that require collective activity for their fulfillment. and economic injustice.at language k: generic Placing representations and discourse first trades off with concrete political change and makes no difference to those engaged in political struggles.. He notes that academic lip service to the oppositional is underscored by the absence of focused collective or politically active intellectual communities.

But when someone on the left seems guilty of censorship. Progressives certainly need to better publicize incidents of censorship.at language ks: censorship hurst the left Free speech is critical—censorship will backfire on the left. and infringement of free speech on campuses by conservative forces was more prevalent than anything committed by the left. news about intolerance on the right isn’t usually publicized. Censorship is not only wrong. it’s also a losing strategy for the left. and all the left needs to do is get a fair and open hearing. Wilson. Progressive attract more attention if they’re the censors. The only winning strategy is to maintain a consistent commitment to freedom of speech. But repression is unnecessary: progressive ideas are more popular than conservatives ones. “How the Left can Win Arguments and Influence People” p. 163) The left must stand strongly on the side of free speech. Because there is so much censorship of progressive ideas. 2000 – Editor and Publisher of Illinois Academe – 2000 (John K. the rights publicity machine quickly starts up. it can be tempting for the left to turn the tables and to try to silence far right advocates. but the left must also realize that the right will always win the suppression battles. it becomes even more difficult for progressive to draw attention to the censorship of left-wing ideas. When some leftists are willing to make exceptions to the First Amendment to silence conservative hate mongers. Wilson. Because conservative censorship is largely taken for granted. . That’s why the right was able to push the myth of political correctness in the 1990s and invent the idea of a wave of left-wing oppression sweeping college at a time when there was more freedom of thought than ever before. It has all the resources and the media on its side.

Robinson (1990) for example. sexism. 2-27) The realm of the discursive is derived from the requisites for human life. poverty. People whose lives form the material for postmodern counter-hegemonic discourse do not share the optimism over the new recognition of their discursive subjectivities. agencies. Emphasizing the discursive self when a person is hungry and homeless represents both a cultural and humane failure." unsupported by substantial analysis of the concrete contexts of subjects. 170). Vol. therefore. The need to look beyond texts to the perception and attainment of concrete social goals keeps writers from marginalized groups ever-mindful of the specifics of how power works through political agendas. Issue 3. institutions. postmodern emphasis on new subjects conceals the old subjects. West (1988) asserts that borrowing French post-structuralist discourses about "Otherness" blinds us to realities of American difference going on in front of us (p. 530) Clarke's assessment of the postmodern elevation of language to the "sine qua non" of critical discussion is an even stronger indictment against the trend. and economic injustice." "Otherness. Merod (1987) decries this situation as one which leaves no vision. Provoked by the academic manifestations of this problem Di Leonardo (1990) echoes Merod and laments: Has there ever been a historical era characterized by as little radical analysis or activism and as much radical-chic writing as ours? Maundering on about Otherness: phallocentrism or Eurocentric tropes has become a lazy academic substitute for actual engagement with the detailed histories and contemporary realities of Western racial minorities. The political sympathies of the new cultural critics. as Clarke (1991) asserts.policy analysis is the best way to challenge power Taft-Kaufman ‘95 (Jill. racism. shelter. but its projection onto the rest of the world would be calamitous. health care. and. If the worst terror we can envisage is the threat not to be allowed to speak. it is through the coercion that threatens speech that we enter the "realm of terror" and society falls apart. (p. Ideas have consequences. or commitment to activism. or any Third World population. the situation and its consequences are not overlooked by scholars from marginalized groups. In short. white women.(pp. Although the material conditions that create the situation of marginality escape the purview of the postmodernist. because such an acknowledgment does not address sufficiently their collective historical and current struggles against racism. and injustice. will. housing. and transportation. 60. and protection are basic human needs that require collective activity for their fulfillment. He notes that academic lip service to the oppositional is underscored by the absence of focused collective or politically active intellectual communities. despite their adversarial posture and talk of opposition. with their ostensible concern for the lack of power experienced by marginalized people. 571). their discourses on intertextuality and inter-referentiality isolate them from and ignore the conditions that have produced leftist politics--conflict.(4) Nutrition. we are appallingly ignorant of terror in its elaborate contemporary forms. To this assertion. Clarke replies: I can think of few more striking indicators of the political and intellectual impoverishment of a view of society that can only recognize the discursive. It may be the intellectual's conception of terror (what else do we do but speak?). as well as to the media that depict them. aligns them with the political left. concrete situation" (p. creates a solipsistic quagmire.*** Representations *** A2: Representations Privileging representations locks in violence --. most writers from marginalized groups are clear about how discourse interweaves with the concrete circumstances that create lived experience. argues that "the justice that working people deserve is economic. . food. Southern Communication Journal." and "difference. They do not appreciate being told they are living in a world in which there are no more real subjects.. those who have limited access to good jobs. Postmodern emphasis emerges from material on the discursive without an accompanying analysis of how the discursive circumstances hides the complex task of envisioning and working towards concrete social goals (Merod. Professor of Speech – CMU. which are in the physical world. 1987).. Unlike postmodern "textual radicals" who Rabinow (1986) acknowledges are "fuzzy about power and the realities of socioeconomic constraints" (p. not just textual" (p. and the budgets that fuel them.. 255). Yet. homophobia. Spring) The postmodern passwords of "polyvocality. Clarke examines Lyotard's (1984) The Postmodern Condition in which Lyotard maintains that virtually all social relations are linguistic. 299). rather than in a world of ideas or symbols. Lopez (1992) states that "the starting point for organizing the program content of education or political action must be the present existential.

it's a matter of choice. I encourage people to live subjective reality. The attempt to convince people to create and move to such a society never works. it should be considered that reality is more rigid and does not abide by the artificial flexibility and latitude of the verbal world. doesn't it?). I also ask them to go off far away from me to try it. and it is simultaneously possible to make many uninhibited assertions or word equations in the verbal world. Author and Philosopher. or to change the arbitrary collection of words whose direction produced that pain and catastrophe? Which do you want to live with? What proven reason is there to assume that when doubtfulness that can be constructed in verbal equations conflicts with human physical experience. and they are smart enough not to leave the availability of people to victimize and steal from while they profess what they pretend to believe in. human physical experience should be considered doubtful? It becomes a matter of choice and pride in intellectual argument. that they don't force me to do it with them. saying something doesn't make it true. I emphatically encourage people to try it with the stipulation that they don't do it around me. or that they don't come to me complaining about the consequences and demanding to conscript me into paying for the cost of treating frostbite or other consequences. That is. reality exists would have the productive functionality of a field of diseased rutabagas and would never survive the first frost. For those who haven't guessed.htm) While it is not possible to establish many proofs in the verbal world. this encouragement is a clever attempt to bait them into going off to some distant place where they will kill themselves off through the process of social Darwinism — because. The world of words and the world of human experience are very imperfectly correlated. A verbal statement in the world of words doesn't mean it will occur as such in the world of consistent human experience I call reality.orlingrabbe. they stay here to work for left wing causes and promote left wing political candidates where there are people who live productive reality who can be fed upon while they continue their arguments. In the event verbal statements or assertions disagree with consistent human experience. however. and find out what happens.com/lfetimes/reality_sanity1. My personal advice is that when verbal contortions lead to chronic confusion and difficulty. better you should stop the verbal contortions rather than continuing to expect the difficulty to change. Does the outcome of the philosophical question of whether reality or proof exists decide whether we should plant crops or wear clothes in cold weather to protect us from freezing? Har! Are you crazy? How many committed deconstructionist philosophers walk about naked in subzero temperatures or don't eat? Try creating and living in an alternative subjective reality where food is not needed and where you can sit naked on icebergs. . if any. what proof is there that the concoctions created in the world of words should take precedence or be assumed a greater truth than the world of human physical experience that I define as reality? In the event following a verbal assertion in the verbal world produces pain or catastrophe in the world of human physical reality or experience. where I won't be bothered by them or the consequences. Consequently. http://freedom. They ain't going to practice what they profess. let's face it. because they are not as committed or sincere as they claim to be. a society of deconstructionists and counterculturalists filled with people debating what. (sounds like there is a parallel to irresponsibility and socialism somewhere in here.A2: Representations Representations don’t influence reality Kocher ‘2K (Robert L. Again. which of the two can and should be changed? Is it wiser to live with the pain and catastrophe.

Kierkegaard identified anxiety as "the dizziness of freedom. to be sure. “No Fear. at the onset of psychosis. this means that I regard the nature of humankind as mutable rather than fixed. "narrow. World War I to create the League of Nations. Futterman 94. the ultimate source of anxiety. the altogether critical benefits of "anxiety. This is true not only for individuals. but that I think most people welcome change in their personalities and cultures with all the enthusiasm that they welcome death — thus. Refusing to tremble before the growing prospect of collective disintegration . If you're a philosopher. but also for states. of course. "to choke. that anxiety. preparing us for a future we cannot now imagine. It changes the way we think individually and culturally. a distinctly ironic resonance to this argument. the fear of nuclear annihilation of ourselves and all our values may be what we require in order to become peaceful enough to survive our future technological breakthroughs.A2: Fear of Death Fear is necessary to check extinction – provides an active consciousness which sustains peace J. so will our weapons technologies. the experience of horror. but this is. a cultivated awareness of nonbeing is central to each state's pattern of potentialities as well as to its very existence. if we are to have a future at all.this state is now unable to take the necessary steps toward collective survival. Anxiety stems from the awareness that existence can actually be destroyed. after all." This brings us back to Israel. is our only hope." Thus I also continue engaging in nuclear weapons work to help fire that world-historical warning shot I mentioned above. Stevens states. PhD Princeton. When a state chooses to block off such an awareness.org/books/nuke. Regarding states. not a problem for states. as "pain in narrows" through the "choking" straits of birth. it has been commonly called Angst.dogchurch. Former US nuclear weapons scientist." adding: "Anxiety is the reality of freedom as a potentiality before this freedom has materialized.html But the inhibitory effect of reliable nuclear weapons goes deeper than Shirer's deterrence of adventurer-conquerors. it loses. is essential to human survival. the moment we become blasé about the possibility of holocaust we are lost. namely." It is something we (states and individuals) "are. For states. “Obscenity and Peace: Meditation on the Bomb. An ontological characteristic. Without such fear. unless genuine peace precludes it.htm Fear of death." which in turn comes from angere. forces people to take the wider view. with or without nuclear weapons — a fact we had better learn before worse things than nuclear weapons are invented." There is. 1996. As long as horror of nuclear exchange remains uppermost we can recognize that nothing is worth it.freeman. of the positive aspect of Angst. Both individuals and states may surrender freedom in the hope of ridding themselves of an unbearable anxiety. 1994.") Herein lies the relevant idea of birth trauma as the prototype of all anxiety. Or what about fear? Can the horror which we all experience when we contemplate the possibility of nuclear extinction mobilize in us sufficient libidinal energy to resist the archetypes of war? Certainly. a choice currently made by the State of Israel. such surrender can lead to a rampant and delirious collectivism which stamps out all political opposition. it seems.org/m_online/feb96/beresn.a forseeable prospect connected with both genocide and war . a word related to anguish (which comes from the Latin angustus. www. Perhaps horror. by definition.” Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua. World War II to create the United Nations Organization and the European Economic Community. possibly forever. is generally taken as a negative. For the Jewish State. just as for individuals. [15] "History would indicate that people cannot rise above their narrow sectarian concerns without some overwhelming paroxysm.H.A. Israel's blithe unawareness of its national mortality deprives its still living days of essential absoluteness and growth. states will exhibit an incapacity to confront nonbeing that can hasten their disappearance. . that as our beneficial technologies become more powerful. War becomes the impossible option. confronting death can give the most positive reality to life itself.” www. Death and the Meaning of Anxiety. Jungian psychiatrist Anthony J. a lack of pertinent anxiety. But anxiety is not something we "have. that one can actually become nothing. Only catastrophe. What is more. the consciousness of horror. So it is today with the State of Israel. Perhaps horror alone will enable us to overcome the otherwise invincible attraction of war. Israel suffers acutely from insufficient existential dread. It can also lead to a national self-delusion which augments enemy power and hastens catastrophic war. We must build a future more peaceful than our past. can lead individuals to experience literally the threat of self-dissolution. has already led its people to what is likely an irreversible rendezvous with extinction. It took the War of Independence and the Civil War to forge the United States.[16] Collective fear of death is key to check genocide and extinction Louis Rene Beres. as a liability that cripples rather than enhances life. In this respect." It is true. because death is the one fact of life which is not relative but absolute. Anxiety. No Trembling Israel.

as individuals.A2: Fear of Death Death imagery affirms life Michael Allen Fox.” ed. disarmament. 36 In this manner we can break its hold over us and free ourselves to begin new initiatives. It is necessary to realist that we cannot entrust security to ourselves. must entrust it to our adversary Just as the safety and security of each of us. Fox and Groarke. p. Lifton points out.35 Security is not the absence of fear and anxiety. . and peace. “confronting massive death helps us bring ourselves more in touch with what we care most about in life. As Robert J. strange as it seems and however difficult to accept. we must admit our nuclear fear and anxiety and identify the mechanisms that dull or mask our emotional and other responses. understood in this way. 127 There remains but one choice: we must seek a reduction of world tensions. Assoc. “Nuclear War: Philosophical Perspectives. @ Queens. any one of whom could harm us at any moment. We [will then] find ourselves in no way on a death trip. but. For security. mutual trust. whether or not we willingly accept this fact. to become a feature of our lives. so the security of nations finally depends upon the good will of other nations. but rather responding to a call for personal and professional actions and commitments on behalf of that wondrous and fragile entity we know as human life. depends upon the good will of every other. 1985. Prof Phil. but a degree of stress and uncertainty with which we can cope and remain mentally healthy. The disease for which we must find the cure also requires that we continually come face to face with the unthinkable in image and thought and recoil from it.

" This contemplation of death is one of the classical meditation-subjects treated in the Visuddhi Magga which states that in order to obtain the fullest results. now in another. commended to his disciples the practice of mindfulness regarding death. It is this leveling aspect of death that made the poet say: "Scepter and crown Must tumble down And in the dust be equal made With the poor crooked scythe and spade. Finally. without an aim. . How great and useful is the contemplation of death can be seen from the following beneficial effects enumerated in the Visuddhi Magga: — "The disciple who devotes himself to this contemplation of death is always vigilant. bereft of life? Thoughts such as these are not to be repressed. It is not for nothing that the Buddha has. his perception of impermanence becomes established. In another sense. constitutes a convenient starting point for the long line of investigation and meditation that will ultimately lead to Reality. is no different from the disinclination of a man to subject himself to a medical check-up although he feels that something is wrong with him. that softens the hardest of hearts." Of these ten. Was it not the sight of an old man followed by the sight of a sick man and thereafter the sight of a dead man that made Prince Siddhattha. are of great fruit." Thus it will be seen that mindfulness of death not only purifies and refines the mind but also has the effect of robbing death of its fears and terrors. takes no delight in any form of existence. What is life worth. sometimes occasioned by fear. creed and race among the peoples of this earth all of whom are subject to the common destiny of death. It is something dismal and oppressive — a veritable kill-joy. he realizes the painful and soulless nature of existence and at the moment of death he is devoid of fear. The saying. If wise counsel does not prevail and urge the unthinking pleasure-seeking man to consider seriously that death can knock at his door also. made much of. For example. This is exactly what happened in the case of the Buddha. is free from craving as regards the requisites of life. ever seeking after the pleasurable." It is the contemplation of death that helps to destroy the infatuation of sense-pleasure. death. "O death. ever pursuing that which excites and gratifies the senses. bereft of movement. for death is part of the process of life in the larger sense. and destroys the barriers of caste. life and death are two ends of the same process and if you understand one end of the process. wife or child that will rouse him up from his delirious round of sense-gratification and rudely awaken him to the hard facts of life. We must learn to value the necessity to face facts. Contemplation on death and on other forms of sorrow such as old age. with mindfulness (sati). pride of power must give way to the all-consuming thought of inevitable death. Why is it inevitable? Why are there these painful partings which rob life of its joys? To most of us. revert to the thought maranam bhavissati — "death will take place. that will ultimately unfold the potentialities inherent in the human mind to receive the highest truths. The average man immersed as he is in the self. and helps one at that solemn moment when he is gasping for his last breath. gives up hankering after life. It is by understanding death that we understand life. suppose a young disciple fails to realize keenly that death can come upon him at any moment. pride of position.html) To the average man death is by no means a pleasant subject or talk for discussion. the spectacle of death must have given rise to the deepest of thoughts and profoundest of questions.org/lib/authors/gunaratna/wheel102. It is the contemplation of death that gives strength and steadiness and direction to the erratic human mind. It is the contemplation of death that destroys vanity. the distaste that arouses in him the desire to turn away from it whenever the subject is broached. for ending up in Nibbana. this robs all fear from death Gunaratna Buddhist 1982 (V. Hence. we discuss our impacts for the purpose of confronting death and engaging in the idea. one is death. far from being a subject to be shunned and avoided. it is only by discussing death that we can define its purpose and the true purpose and value of life. Safety always lies in truth. the intensive thought that it will some day come upon us. by understanding the purpose of death we also understand the purpose of life. at some moment or another. if able bodies that once performed great deeds now lie flat and cold. for we can then take the steps necessary for our betterment. now wandering in one direction. are all due to the weakness of the human mind. of great profit for plunging into Nibbana. To live with no thought of death is to live in a fool's paradise. It is such a man that can truly exclaim. with a sense of urgency (samvega) and with understanding (ñana). which if made to grow. to face that situation with fortitude and calm." One who wants to practice it must at stated times. and disease. According to the Buddhist way of thinking. The disinclination to understand death. pride of wealth. “Buddhist Reflections on Death” http://www. and also every now and then. This is known as "marananussati bhavana. He is never unnerved at the thought of death but is always prepared for it. It is the contemplation of death. there are ten ideas. a voyage that ended in the glory of Buddhahood and the bliss of Nibbana? The marked disinclination of the average man to advert to the problem of death. without a purpose. "Oh Monks. "where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise" has no application here. eyes that once beamed with love are now closed forever. that is. sometimes by tanha or selfishness. and remains mindful and self-possessed. if wisely pursued. and regards it as something that will occur in old age in the distant future. but at all times supported by ignorance (avijja). censures evil doing. senseless and lifeless? What is life worth. living in the lap of luxury. where is thy sting?" In the Anguttara Nikaya the Buddha has said. upon the dissolution of the body he is bound for a happy destiny. then only will he begin to ask himself why there is such a phenomenon as death. home and the prospect of a kingdom. his contemplation of death will be lacking strength and clarity. so much so that it will run on lines which are not conducive to success. refuses to pause and ponder seriously that these very objects of pleasure and gratification will some day reach their end. It is just these inquiring thoughts. if in this present life he fails to attain to Nibbana. It is the contemplation of death that gives balance and a healthy sense of proportion to our highly overwrought minds with their misguided sense of values. you also understand the other end.A2: Fear of Death We do not fear death.F. and to embark on a voyage of discovery of truth. in the very highest terms. it is only the shock of a bereavement under his own roof. Then only will his eyes open. Pride of birth. The sooner we know our condition the safer are we. if eyes that once sparkled with joy. a fit topic for a funeral house only. binds one to another with cords of love and compassion. the sudden and untimely death of a parent.accesstoinsight. to give up wife and child. Death is a great leveler. is the key that unlocks the seeming mystery of life. one should practice this meditation in the correct way.

It is in giving ourselves to this vision. And. And that we honor those we have brought into this world and who must inherit it. mobilizing people to protect each other and giving meaning to life. and Despair by Miriam Greenspan. Fear for the lives of others was the energy that mobilized them to do something meaningful with their last moments of life. out of love for this world that we inhabit together. Some of these people said good-bye to their husbands and wives and wished them happiness before they left this earth. throat. 03 (Miriam Greenspan – Pioneer in the Area of Women’s Psychology – 2003 (“An Excerpt from Healing through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief. stormed the plane and brought it down without hitting a civilian target. of things falling apart.spiritualityhealth.html) "Fear is a very powerful emotion. like they. And they found it through their last wish. blowing up. "If fear is only telling you to save your own skin. it is everyone's despair about life in the twentyfirst century. or abdomen. Grief is not just "my" grief. . It may feel like a constriction in your chest. you can begin to expand this energy we call 'fear' and use it for healing and transformation. Find new forms of international cooperation that will root out evil in ways that don't create more victims and more evil. it is the grief of every motherless child. which they heroically put into action: to help others live. When you feel fear in your body. . every witness to horror in the world. sickening and dying. there is a potentially revolutionary power of compassion and connection that can be mobilized en masse. Fear is not just 'my' fear. as every trauma survivor knows. that we stand a chance of transcending the human proclivity to damage life. it's helpful to relate to it as an energy that can be mobilized for life. which is intelligent. . One cannot even imagine being able to do this without fear. Our collective fear. Leap out of the confines of national egos. Learn the ways of peace.at fear of death: mobilizes people/compassion Fear spurs compassion. of truck bombs. They had found some peace in their last moments. Despair is not just "my" despair. peace in the midst of turbulence. Breathe through it without judgment and allow yourself to feel it as a very strong force. it is everyone's fear — of anthrax. this is the way to make meaning out of pain.com/newsh/excerpts/bookreview/excp_5513. Fear. Find a ceremony of safety so that not just you and I but all of us can live together without fear. But the fact is that in conscious fear. there's not much hope for us. "In this regard. Greenspan. This has always been the message of the dark emotions when they are experienced most deeply and widely.” www." . If you pray for help. This is the power of fear. of nuclear war. realizing that they were bound for death. The heroes of September 11 point us to the choice we each have: to help create a state of global peace and justice that we. "Perhaps there is nothing that can redeem the dead but our own actions for the good. This is a time to find out what we want to do for the world and do it. of airplane hijackings. we can take our model from the heroes of Flight 93 who. "Our only protection is in our interconnectedness. is telling us now: Find new ways to keep this global village safe. perhaps the most effective way: to draw something good out of evil. will not see before we die.

internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism (. for example by practicing moral discipline. http://www. we shall regard our spiritual development as far more important than the attainments of this world. We entered this world empty-handed and alone. we can do nothing about the fact of death. Similarly. purifying our negative karma. and we shall leave empty-handed and alone. or a few days. If we ignore death we shall waste our life working for things that we shall only have to leave behind. we shall be powerless to help them because we shall not know how. or good karma. otherwise we shall have no ability to protect ourself from the sufferings of death and what lies beyond.com/background/fear-of-death. as this is a fear we can do something about. We can do nothing about other traffic. we can even attain a deathless body. as possible. We came from our previous life. and having to travel on to our next life with nothing but a heavy burden of negative karma. We put on a seat belt out of a sense of danger of the unseen dangers of traffic on the road. when someone close to us is dying. we are encouraged to prepare for a peaceful and successful death and are also inspired to make the most of our very precious human life instead of wasting it. a danger we can avert. To avoid a sad and meaningless end to our life we need to remember continually that we too must die. Moreover. we shall move on to our next life. and wisdom. and we shall experience sadness and frustration at our inability to be of genuine help. This "sense of danger" inspires us to make preparations so that we are no longer in the danger we are in now. Eventually. but we can do something about whether or not we go through the windscreen if someone crashes into us. . In Living Meaningfully. Everything we have accumulated in this life. Dying Joyfully. creating many negative actions in the process. love. this sense of danger. Contemplating our own death will inspire us to use our life wisely by developing the inner refuge of spiritual realizations. Geshe Kelsang says: Dying with regrets is not at all unusual. thereby creating the cause for future happiness. and we shall view our time in this world principally as an opportunity to cultivate positive minds such as patience. We are travelers. Kelsang 99 (Geshe. passing through. including our very body. through Tantric spiritual practice. will be left behind. Preparing for death is one of the kindest and wisest things we can do both for ourself and others.at fear of death: Fear Key to Value to Life Fear of death is key to value to life – recognizing death is inevitable allows us to create a world of love. The fact of the matter is that this world is not our home. compassion. and accumulating as much merit.htm) A healthy fear of death would be the fear of dying unprepared. such as a parent or friend.tharpa. Motivated by these virtuous minds we shall perform many positive actions. if we base our life on a realistic awareness of our mortality. On the other hand. All that we can take with us from one life to the next are the imprints of the positive and negative actions we have created. If we have this realistic fear. and in a few years. but we can seize control over how we prepare for death and how we die. and that seat belt protects us from going through the windshield.

Israel's blithe unawareness of its national mortality deprives its still living days of essential absoluteness and growth.com/excerpts/chapterThreeEx. Greenspan 03 (Miriam. Fear. Grieving our losses allows us to heal and renew our spirits. confronting death can give the most positive reality to life itself. extending beyond our instinct for self-preservation to our concern for others. the ultimate source of anxiety. In this respect. but also for states. tolerate their intense energies.html) Grief. and despair are primary human emotions. a cultivated awareness of nonbeing is central to each state's pattern of potentialities as well as to its very existence. Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief. states will exhibit an incapacity to confront nonbeing that can hasten their disappearance. and let them be. and Despair. . because death is the one fact of life which is not relative but absolute. Fear alerts us to protect our survival. we would be less than human.org/m_online/ feb96/ beresn. and what connects us to others and to the world also breaks our hearts. the altogether critical benefits of "anxiety. Excerpt of Chapter Three . Pioneer in the Area of Women’s Psychology. Grief arises because we are not alone.htm). So it is today with the State of Israel. survival and transcending evil. http://www. it loses. possibly forever. and less likely to survive.this state is now unable to take the necessary steps toward collective survival. Without such fear.at fear of death: key to survival Fear of Death is key to human survival – confronting death is key to state and individual existence Beres 96 (Louis Rene. Fear of death. Despair asks us to find meaning in the midst of apparent chaos or meaninglessness.." Fear is key to value to life. Making meaning out of suffering is the basis of the human capacity to survive evil and transcend it. just as for individuals.miriamgreenspan.How Dark Emotions Become Toxic. http://www. The purposefulness of these dark emotions is evident when we can experience them mindfully.freeman. When a state chooses to block off such an awareness. Feb. What is more. For states. Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue University. fear. Refusing to tremble before the growing prospect of collective disintegration . a choice currently made by the State of Israel.a forseeable prospect connected with both genocide and war . is essential to human survival. Israel suffers acutely from insufficient existential dread. Without them. This is true not only for individuals.

htm[ There were a variety of different reasons behind each of these examples of abstinence from using nuclear weapons. . The Hindu.hinduonnet. no matter how much they may be contemplated in war games and strategies. even if not decisively. But one major common factor contributing to all of them has been an ingrained terror of nuclear devastation. the awesome photographs of giant mushroom clouds emerging from nuclear tests in the Pacific and the numerous movies based on nuclear Armageddon scenarios have all contributed to building up a deep rooted fear of nuclear weapons. 2002 [R. It colours the calculations. As a result a taboo has tacitly evolved over the decades preventing nations. at least so far. This is not limited just to the abhorrence felt by anti-nuclear activists. from actually pressing the nuclear button even in the face of serious military crises.” 4/22/2. There is not just a fear of being attacked oneself. “Ban battlefield nuclear weapons. The unacceptability of nuclear devastation is the backbone of all deterrence strategies.at fear of death: deterence good Fear of nuclear weapons has prevented their use – deterrence has checked conflict.. but also a strong mental barrier against actually initiating nuclear attacks on enemy populations. The well documented images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. of the most hardened of military strategists. It permeates to one extent or another the psyche of all but the most pathological of fanatics. http://www. Rajaraman 02 (Professor of Theoretical Physics at JNU.com/thehindu/2002/04/22/stories/2002042200431000.

the consciousness of horror. online. unless genuine peace precludes it. less powerful. and the Third Reich the last of the empires which set out on the path taken earlier by France. much riskier (in terms of the possibility of accidental detonation) but much more reliable than our own may eventually become without adequate "stockpile stewardship. Jungian psychiatrist Anthony J. the fear of nuclear annihilation of ourselves and all our values may be what we require in order to become peaceful enough to survive our future technological breakthroughs. this means that I regard the nature of humankind as mutable rather than fixed.dogchurch. (It's also a better reason to leave the weapons program than to stay. Futterman. It took the War of Independence and the Civil War to forge the United States. is our only hope. Or what about fear? Can the horror which we all experience when we contemplate the possibility of nuclear extinction mobilize in us sufficient libidinal energy to resist the archetypes of war? Certainly. Caesar. They reason that if the reliability of everyone's nuclear arsenals declines. the moment we become blasé about the possibility of holocaust we are lost. so will our weapons technologies. namely. but that I think most people welcome change in their personalities and cultures with all the enthusiasm that they welcome death — thus. Stevens states. http://www. . 1995. with or without nuclear weapons — a fact we had better learn before worse things than nuclear weapons are invented. World War II to create the United Nations Organization and the European Economic Community. and of rockets which can be aimed to hit the moon.) I continue to support the u business with my effort for many reasons. everyone will be less likely to try using them. World War I to create the League of Nations. Only catastrophe. It changes the way we think individually and culturally.org/scriptorium/nuke0 I could say that if I didn't do it. but that answer was rejected at Nuremberg. Mediation of the Bomb. [15] "History would indicate that people cannot rise above their narrow sectarian concerns without some overwhelming paroxysm. by the sudden invention of the hydrogen bomb. 1990). Shirer states in his preface to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Touchstone Books."[14] But the inhibitory effect of reliable nuclear weapons goes deeper than Shirer's deterrence of adventurer-conquerors. I do it because the fear of nuclear holocaust is the only authority my own country or any other has respected so far when it comes to nationalistic urges to make unlimited war. War becomes the impossible option. As William L.at fear of nukes: fear Key to Peace and Survival Fear of nuclear war is key to stopping WMD use and prevents military adventurism. The problem is that some "adventurer-conqueror" may arise and use everyone's doubt about their arsenals to risk massive conventional war instead. Perhaps horror alone will enable us to overcome the otherwise invincible attraction of war. if we are to have a future at all. forces people to take the wider view. the experience of horror. that as our beneficial technologies become more powerful. "Adolf Hitler is probably the last of the great adventurer-conquerors in the tradition of Alexander. Livermore lab researcher. But mostly. someone else would. As long as horror of nuclear exchange remains uppermost we can recognize that nothing is worth it. New York. cruder. preparing us for a future we cannot now imagine. 91 (JAH. We must build a future more peaceful than our past. The curtain was rung down on that phase of history. An expansionist dictatorship might even risk nuclear war with weapons that are simpler. and Napoleon. If you're a philosopher." Now this contrasts with the argument of those who would "reinvent government" by putting up bureaucratic roadblocks to maintaining the reliability of the US nuclear arsenal through research and testing. of the ballistic missile. which I discuss throughout this piece. at least." Thus I also continue engaging in nuclear weapons work to help fire that world-historical warning shot I mentioned above. Rome and Macedonia. it seems. Perhaps horror.

the difficulties in controlling nuclear weapons that exist under unstable conditions (especially in Russia and other areas of the former Soviet Union). or in the case of our ancestors. the nuclear quietism is perilous. or as though they don't exist. 25. Similarly. We know that the weapons are around-and we hear talk about nuclear dangers somewhere "out there" -but our minds no longer connect with the dangers or with the weapons themselves. Iss. Lifton 01 (Robert Jay. In that sense.2 and the eagerness and potential capacity of certain nations and "private" groups to acquire and possibly use the weapons. Vol. 2. Through fear. we can all too readily numb ourselves to everything nuclear. a tinge of fear-sometimes more than a tingecan enable each to feel the potential bloodshed and suffering that would result from failure. or at least for limiting the scope of violence. 1. our psychological circuits are impaired. to put the matter another way. Fear can be transmuted into constructive planning and policies: whether for minimizing vulnerability to attacks by wild animals. Illusions of the second nuclear age. In the absence of the sort of threatening nuclear rhetoric the United States and Russia indulged in during the 1980s. 1. . 18. pg. Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at John Jay College. We human animals have built-in fear reactions in response to threat. the blunting of our ethical standards as human beings.at fear of nukes: Peace and Survival Fear motivates people to pursue constructive means to sustain peace and prevent largescale catastrophe. But with nuclear weapons. While fear in itself is hardly to be recommended as a guiding human emotion. The trouble is that in other ways the dangers associated with nuclear weapons are greater than ever: the continuing weapons-. or for more complex contemporary threats. from the path of a wild animal. One of the many sins for which advocates of large nuclear stockpiles must answer is the prevalence of psychic numbing to enormous potential suffering. we no longer manifest an appropriate degree of fear in relation to actual nuclear danger. Or. World Policy Journal. and thereby live as though the weapons pose no danger. That blunting of feeling extends into other areas. These reactions help us to protect ourselves-to step back from the path of a speeding automobile. New York: Spring 2001.centered policies in the United States and elsewhere. 6 pgs) 3. in exchanges between world leaders on behalf of preventing large-scale conflict. its absence in the face of danger can lead to catastrophe. ordinary people can be motivated to pursue constructive means for sustaining peace.

“psychically numbed”. people do tend to come up with abstractions — and those with more concrete. ’We know all that. Professor of Human Ecology at Rutgers and Preeminent Risk Communications Expert published over 80 articles and books on various aspects of risk communication. Activists who can understand those who disagree about what should be done are bewildered and frustrated by those who do nothing. immediate images are likely to be antinuclear activists. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.com/articles/scarstif. In countless communities since then. and Caldicott’s own The Last Epidemic) raise the same worry — and not just for children. When the issue is something like saving whales or wheelchair access to public buildings.”(1) Perhaps the first broad awareness that shock therapy may not be the best therapy came. as Caldicott asked in a 1982 cover article in Family Weekly. and that there exist more effective keys to unlocking such paralysis. Sandman and Valenti 86 (Peter and JoAnn. we will argue that most people are neither apathetic about nuclear war nor actively terrified of it but rather.(4) . January 1986. ironically.psandman. while acknowledging a huge debt to Caldicott. in Robert Jay Lifton’s evocative phrase.”(3) There is obviously some truth to this view. 12–16. Nonetheless. pp. Psychiatrist Robert Winer argues that the same is true of the nuclear threat. “We knew it was past when someone interrupted the speech one evening. and said. similarly. PSR Executive Director Jane Wales. Scared stiff — or scared into action. but what can we do?’” In a 1985 newsletter. For Winer. fire and radiation” in courses on nuclear war and were therefore “feeling more impotent and depressed than before the class began. in 1983 in the weeks preceding the broadcast of the television film The Day After. when Educators for Social Responsibility and others worried that the program might do children more harm than good. Testament. Such inaction is objectively irrational. the problem is usually diagnosed as apathy. said in 1984 that the time for the “bombing runs” (as insiders call the speech) was past.htm) WHEN THE MOVEMENT against nuclear weapons celebrates its heroes. In the following analysis of the fear of nuclear Armageddon and its implications for antinuclear advocacy. When asked to describe their images of nuclear war. a place of honor is reserved for Helen Caldicott. but other films (Threads. Sanford Gottlieb of United Campuses to Prevent Nuclear War warned that many students were “being numbed by the emphasis on nuclear blast. “one of the genuinely tragic aspects of the nuclear situation is that immediacy may be given to us only once and then it will be too late to learn. and vague. . that it is ineffective to frighten audiences who have found a refuge from their fears in numbness. Thousands of activists trace their movement beginnings to a Helen Caldicott speech. “Why make sure kids clean their teeth and eat healthy food if they’re not going to survive?”(2) Advocates of all causes chafe at their neighbors’ lack of interest. the Australian pediatrician who revived Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) in 1978 and made it the vehicle for her impassioned antinuclear crusade. impersonal. which most of us experience as remote. The Day After turned out to be less frightening than expected.at nucelar numbing: plan solves impact Advocating a plan to address harms of nuclear war overcomes impact of numbing. http://www. Caldicott has briskly narrated the devastation that would result if a small nuclear warhead exploded right here and now. actually interrupted it. wondering if it wouldn't help reverse the arms race just to make everyone sit through that speech — and each week hundreds of activists do their best to give the speech themselves. THE CENTRAL ENIGMA of antinuclear activism is why everyone is not working to prevent nuclear war.

" leaving a world populated only by blue-eyed blondes. The other reason these acts succeeded was that overwhelming violence of the Allies had stretched the Nazi forces too thin to suppress massive action by a whole populace. who with their "Master Race" ideology admitted only so-called "Aryans" to the category of human. And while it slowly ground away at the evil in the Nazi soul. 91 (JAH. the results may have been much worse those of the war.at non-violence: could not solve the holocaust Examples of non-violent resistance to the Nazis too small scale to be considered as an effective historical example. Mediation of the Bomb. Livermore lab researcher. That many Danes followed their king's example helped camouflage many Jews until they could escape to Sweden in fishing boats. In other words. non-violent confrontation on the part of the Poles would probably have enabled the Nazis to carry out their agenda in Poland more easily. [6] . how many millions more would have died. non-violence resistance alone would have been very slow to work against the Nazis.html) The Nazis. but perhaps after a real "thousand-year Reich.org/scriptorium/nuke0. There were some successful acts of non-violent confrontation against the Nazis. like King Christian of Denmark's public declaration that he would wear the yellow star if it were introduced in his country.dogchurch. provide an example counter to that of the British. http://www." In other words. online. Futterman. if the world had used nonviolence alone against the Nazis. He did so in response to the Nazi practice of ordering Jews to wear yellow-starred armbands so that the Nazis could more easily isolate them from their surrounding society. the Nazis would have been perfectly happy to use the event as an excuse for liquidating more Poles. and how much extra time would have been given to Nazi scientists trying to invent atomic bombs to go on those V-2 rockets? The evil of Nazism may well have expended itself. once they had consolidated their power. Rather than awaken the Nazis' moral sense. [5] Now this resistance worked partly because the Nazis considered the Danes to be "Aryans" like themselves. 1995. Had the Poles tried the same thing. and eventually deprived the Nazis of the time they needed to find other ways to carry out their "final solution.

and elimination of leaders and "undesirables. For a third party to try to construct and enforce an abstract peace imposed on others is foolhardy. can protect or further vital interests and achieve a more satisfactory and harmonious just peace. For example. the only means through which one. civil disobedience movement for Indian independence from Britain begun by Mahatma Gandhi in 1922. http://www. peacemaking should ease the process. a state or government may try to avoid violence by submission. What the leaders of a group or nation honestly believe. Peace emerges from the balancing of individual mental fields.hawaii. peacemaking is not necessarily the best and most immediate response to conflict. In some situations refusal to use violence may avoid unnecessary escalation and ease peacekeeping. But some ideas are more important than peace: Dignity." The resulting genocide and mass murder may ultimately end in more deaths than would have occurred had people fought to defend themselves.HTM) Now. That is. Nonetheless only they can best utilize the information available to them to justly satisfy their interests. systematic execution. Doubtlessly. especially involving actual or potential tyrants. the coldblooded murders which probably would have occurred had Hitler consolidated his control of Europe and subjugated the Soviet Union. there are also conflicts. Rummel. 81 (R. Then a down payment on such a peace requires public display of one's capability and a resolve to meet violent aggression in kind.10 as in the successful Black civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s in America. as a house is planned and erected brick by brick or a road engineered and built. Pacifists believe that violence and war cannot occur if people laid down their arms and refused to fight.. or the successful nonviolent.J. as a partisan. The Just Peace. . despots. truly are willing to get. At most. There is another relevant qualification. Unfortunately. The best peace is an outcome of reciprocal adjustments among those involved.edu/powerkil1s/TJP.CHAP 10. actually want. the terror. but it prevented the greater misery. The term "peacemaking" is well established. and other such oppressors. We always can end a conflict when we want by surrender. I agree that in some situations nonviolence may be an effective strategy for waging conflict. forestall the necessary trial-and-error balancing of the parties themselves.9 and many believe that communities should be centrally planned and managed. The result may be enslavement. Under threat. However. and perhaps even create greater conflict later. some needlessly intense and long-lasting. are really capable of achieving are unknown to others--and perhaps only partially to themselves. and I used it accordingly. the executions. Freedom. A final qualification.at non-violence: Violence Key to Peace Non violence does not work against most enemies—genocide and mass murder will result. some conflicts are unnecessary. professor of political science at the University of Hawaii. This implication is especially seductive in this age when society is seen as manmade (rather than having evolved). war against Hitler’s Germany from 1939 to 1945 cost millions lives. peace with justice--a just peace. the verb "make" can imply that peace is designed and constructed. But some also are a real and unavoidable clash. Such a peace would be uncertain. in which nonviolence cannot buy freedom from violence by others or a just resolution of a dispute. Security. But this ignores unilateral violence. But peace is not constructed like a bridge.

Spring. Unless such a confrontation can be avoided there will be no world left in which to build positive peace.” Peace & Change. 78 Professor of Religious and Peace Studies at Bethany College. “Peace Educations – Peace Studies : Towards an Integrated Approach. education or action as a reactionary attempt to support and reinforce the status quo is doctrinaire. 78 [Jerry. Moreover. Folk. studies of the international system and of international organizations. education. volume V. and integration studies are in themselves neutral. Rather they offer a body of knowledge which can be used for either purpose or for some purpose in between. disarmament studies. . A balanced peace studies program should therefore offer the student exposure to the questions and concerns which occupy those who view the field essentially from the point of view of negative peace. 58] Those proponents of the positive peace approach who reject out of hand the work of researchers and educators coming to the field from the perspective of negative peace too easily forget that the prevention of a nuclear confrontation of global dimensions is the prerequisite for all other peace research. They do not intrinsically support either the status quo or revolutionary efforts to change or overthrow it. the blanket condemnation of all such negative peace oriented research. Conflict theory and resolution. number 1.at cuomo: Negative Peace Key to Positive Peace Preventing nuclear war is the absolute prerequisite to positive peace. and action. It is much more logical for those who understand peace as positive peace to integrate this knowledge into their own framework and to utilize it in achieving their own purposes. p.

ultimately leads to war. the value of independent national security scholars should be apparent. by discouraging future Soviet aggressive behavior. Every proposed response to the Soviet action – doing nothing. Why did the president believe that “to do nothing” about the missiles in Cuba would be an even greater danger than accepting the “difficult and dangerous” course of the blockade? He accepted some risk of war in the long run. The decision. Inaction might have led to an even more dangerous future. 1962: My fellow citizens. He did not push his success too far or ignore the real risks of war. academics are well placed to evaluate current programs. enforcing the blockade. to make the blockade a model for American action in the future: different circumstances may call for different policies. The American government managed the 1962 crisis with skill and restraint – offering a compromise to the Soviets and giving them sufficient time to call back their missile-laden ships. Indeed. Furthermore. Walt 91 – Professor of Political Science. was not a risk-free response. and states will continue to acquire military forces for a variety of purposes. academic experts in security studies can help in several ways. Harvard Nuclear Study Group 83 (Living with Nuclear Weapons. p. The long-term effects of academic involvement may be even more significant: academic research can help states learn from past mistakes and can provide the theoretical innovations the produce better policy choices in the future. This the president also explained that night in his address to the nation: [This] sudden. INTERNATIONAL STUDIES QUARTERLY. University of Chicago – 1991 (Stephen. let no one doubt this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. for example – and the missiles were withdrawn from Cuba. 229-30) A recurring theme of this essay has been the twin dangers of separating the study of security affairs from the academic world or of shifting the focus of academic scholarship too far from real-world issues. if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged. Kennedy was shown irrefutable evidence of the Soviet missile emplacement – U-2 photographs of the missile bases in Cube – he and his advisors discussed the matter for six days before deciding on an American response to the challenge. clandestine decision to station weapons for the first time outside Soviet soil – is a deliberate provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country if our courage and our commitments are ever to be trusted by either friend or foe. The point here is not. In the short term. Kennedy’s task – and we think his success – was to weigh accurately the risks entailed in . Risk in the international system is inevitable—the goal should be to weigh the impacts of action vs inaction in the face of a particular threat.16-7) When President John F.threat construction: peace Debates about threats in the academic world result in better policy-making—real threats can be confronted and risks can be weighed. Kennedy honestly admitted to the nation the night of October 22. This. Unless one believes that ignorance is preferable to expertise. their role in training the new generation of experts gives academics an additional avenue of influence. p. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take… But the great danger of all would be to do nothing. The danger of war will be with us for some time to come. or invading Cuba – entailed some risk of nuclear war. The 1930’s taught us a clear lesson: Aggressive conduct. As in other areas of public policy. Rather the point is to underline the persistence of risk in international affairs. because they face less pressure to support official policy. because misguided policies cannot be evaluated and stopped in time. history suggests that countries that suppress debate on national security matters are more likely to blunder into disaster. to place a naval blockade around the island. The president carefully supervised American military actions to ensure that his orders were not misunderstood.

each course and decide on policy accordingly. .

24. the effort to balance power quite often tended to start too late to protect the security of some of the individual states. First of all. As a result. A non-linear type of structural change that is massive. power cycle theory provides a significantly different explanation for stability and order within the international system. devastating to foreign policy expectation. . and as such it shares the realist assumption emphasizing the importance of power in explaining international relations. If the balancing process begins too late. “Introduction: Power Cycle Theory and the Practice of International Relations”. with abundant urgency. A statesperson here was not simply regarded as a prisoner of structure and therefore as an outsider to the process but as an agent capable of influencing the operation of equilibrium. when the “tides of history” shift against the state. vol. the resulting amount of force necessary to stop an aggressor is often much larger than if the process had been started much earlier. unpredicted. The question is often raised whether government decision-makers could possibly know or respond to such relative power shifts in the real world. International Political Science Review 2003. p. After analyzing five historical occasions since the origin of the modern state system. But its main focus is on the longitudinal dimension of power relations. In order to prevent this instability from developing into a war. According to Doran. and not on the static power distribution at a particular time. Thus power cycle theory could overcome the weakness of theoretical determinism associated with the traditional balance of power. (2) The Issue of Systemic Stability Power cycle theory is built on the conception of changing relative capabilities of a state. in the 1960s there was a debate on the stability of the international system between the defenders of bipolarity such as Waltz (1964) and the defenders of multi-polarity such as Rosecrance (1966). For example. in that state and among its competitors. power cycle theory argues that what matters most in explaining the stability of the international system or war and peace is not the type of particular international system (Rosecrance. and destructive of security is the trigger for major war. practitioners of international relations were to become aware of the dynamics of changing power and role.threat construction: prevents escalation Confronting threats early prevents escalation—WWII proves. For example. 1971). Doran concluded that what has been responsible for major war was not whether one type of system is more or less conducive to war but that instead systems transformation itself led to war (Doran. 1963) but the transformation from one system to another. Power cycle theory could also supplement the structureoriented nature of the traditional balance of power theory by incorporating an agentoriented explanation. and Deutsch and Singer (1964). Yoon 03 – Professor of International Relations at Seoul National University. It especially highlighted the fact that a discrepancy between the relative power of a state and its role in the system would result in a greater possibility for systemic instability. 78) In history. the fate of Czechoslovakia and Poland showed how non-intervention or waiting for the “automatic” working through of the process turned out to be problematic. adjusting role to power. not the nature of a particular type of international system. the rise and decline of relative state power and role. the push and shove of world politics reveals these matters to the policy-maker. This was possible through its focus on the relationship between power and the role of a state in the international system. former Foreign Minister of South Korea – 2003(Young-Kwan.

Even Germen generals opposed Hitler’s military adventurism until 1939. it is again difficult to escape the conclusion that the Soviet Union was indeed expansionist before Gorbachev and not solely motivated by security concerns. Riverside. few structural realists will make a sustained case the Hitler was genuinely motivated by a rational pursuit of security for Germany and the other German statesmen would have responded in the same way to Germany’s international situation.threat construction: threats real Some states are genuine threats. Autumn 1997 p. 154 As for the Second World War. . The increased emphasis within international relations scholarship on explaining the nature and origins of aggressive expansionists states reflects a growing consensus that aggressive states are at the root of conflict. In the case of the cold war. SECURITY STUDIES. not security concerns. Kydd 97 – Professor of Political Science of California. it is difficult to imagine a less forceful civilian leader overruling them and leading Germany in an oath of conquest.

although I explicitly raised the question in “False Promise” (p. p. but a critical theory perspective. However. communitarian discourse. . 95 – Professor of Political Science. Mearsheimer. Specifically.e. For example. 91-2) The most revealing aspect of Wendt’s discussion is that he did not respond to the two main charge leveled against critical theory in “False Promise.. he shed no light on why the time is ripe for unseating realism.” The first problem with critical theory is that although the theory is deeply concerned with radically changing state behavior. and even if they could. INTERNATIONAL SECURITY. even if we change discourses and move beyond realism. Moreover. nor on why realism is likely to be replaced by a more peaceful. he cannot know whether the discourse that ultimately replaces realism will be more benign than realism. Wendt does not explain why realism has been the dominant discourse in world politics for well over a thousand years. The theory does not tell us why particular discourses become dominant and other fall by the wayside. especially if we care about the well-being of future generation. a fundamental problem with Wendt’s argument remains: because his theory cannot predict the future. it says little about how change comes about. he obviously would like another Gorbachev to come to power in Russia.” The clear implication here is that realists like me are irresponsible and do not care much about the welfare of future generations. University of Chicago – 1995 (John. For example. Wendt’s failure to answer these questions has important ramifications for his own arguments. “then it is irresponsible to pursue policies that perpetuate destructive old orders [i. although I explicitly raised both questions.threat construction: reps irrelevant Representations of state action cannot change realism. he maintains that if it is possible to change international political discourse and alter state behavior. realism]. we have no way of knowing if they new system would be any better. defending realism might very well be the more responsible policy choice. He has no way of knowing whether a fascistic discourse more violent than realism will emerge as the hegemonic discourse. 42).

Patriarchy tears me up.A2: Love Alternative Love is impossible as long as domination exists. to really look and take the time to think about it.org/articles/crass15. I do believe that as we struggle against oppression. dignity and power grows. beauty. I’m filled with sadness and rage. writes that love is impossible where the will to dominate exists.html) This isn’t a confessional so that I will be forgiven. Fears about organizing to genuinely build and share power with others The scars of patriarchy are on every single person I interact with and when I push myself to see it. creativity.htm) Here is the thinking of the completely delirious American bell hooks -.what part of himself remains unembraced? How does the possibility of love or an ethic of care chart the path to this humanism that he poses as redemptive?"pp. our love. I have so many fears about whether or not I’m capable of being in healthy loving relationships. 106 Are these consequential and serious psychological insights? Is there anything at all to be gained from "thinking" about bell hook's words? No. Tenure protects complacent luminaries. we actualize and express our humanity. I believe that this is our lives’ work and that at its core it’s a fight for our lives. We can do this. not where Fanon left off. Need one really embrace questions of academic freedom of speech and tenure? These passages offer sufficient proof that activists who have anything contestory to say are not permitted anywhere near the university or art institutions. (This passage reminds me of the smell of an epoch when people used to smear on patchouli oil). Review of “The Fact of Blackness: Frantz Fanon and Visual Representation” http://www. I want to believe in a political practice for gendered privileged men forged in opposition to patriarchy. Fears about whether or not I can be genuinely honest and connected with myself so that I can then open up and share with others. Read's book is a quintessential dead end.is through the capacity to embrace the other in some way. There are moments.mahost. There is no human liberation here. .that you that Fanon uses -.com/samuel. as we practice our commitments. “Going To Places That Scare Me: Personal Reflections On Challenging Male Supremacy” http://colours. experiences and events when I see patriarchy challenged by all genders and it shows what we can do. No alt – hooks has zero political strategy Samuel author/reviewer of books 1996 (Julian. What does it mean if Fanon is unable to embrace the black female -.indiastar. in her book All About Love.another super-salaried anticolonialist: "In love. and in the wordy flatulence of "Theory" devoted to more "Theory" and to more "Theory". It begins where Fanon began. It is boring to see sloppy professors and artists toying with Fanon's bones in the old-fashioned world of sexual politics. And in this fight we realize that even in the face of these systems of oppression. I was thinking a lot about the place of empathy in any kind of ethic of care and the notion that part of how one embraces that larger you -. passion. Can I genuinely love? I want to believe. only the plan solves the root cause Crass anarchist/activist against racism 2k3 (Chris. bell hooks. This is an on-going struggle to be honest about how deeply shaped I am by patriarchy and these systems of oppression.

with its expanded role in the military. In many ways the dilemmas of local activism go back to the origins of the American political system. Collective action within the enclave has less to do with rejuvenating public discourse." after all. but in a depoliticized culture it . balances.breaking down ‘global orders’ fails and results in cataclysmic violence Balakrishnan ‘03 (Uma. International Studies Review. making policy. Thus. Instead of fulfilling this task of imagining future therefore I simply submit the following two "poems. remains a significant part of any transformative agenda.40 Like spiritual politics. Over time. December. along with constitutional and legal compelled progressive movements to stress local organizing. further reducing the scope of local decision-making and rendering much local empowerment illusory. they are uncertain even with regard to worlds closer to home. Theory & Society 26. governance. It is only from my view of the "world. assumed ever greater control over people's lives. p. Critical Theorist. “Taking Charge of the Future”. just as city-dwellers may look to gated communities as a way of protecting themselves against the Hobbesian features of civil society. 9 Transnat'l L. . along with a rejection of normal politics itself.A2: Localism (Nayar) Zero alternative --. the national government became stronger and more bureaucratized. Is it possible to create a global community without losing the focus on the individual within this group? How does one balance the interests of larger actors like transnational corporations with those of the community so that we do not exchange one set of absolute rules (embodied in static sovereignty) for another? Where do we locate the norms that will underlie the new order. it is difficult to envision the triumph of logic without the thrust provided by cataclysmic events like those that have characterized the past century. Given the current intransigence of the United States and the United Kingdom with respect to Iraq. which was set up to allow space for local participation apart from federal structures so that no amount of grass- an enclave outcome will be difficult to avoid even where oppositional groups were able to carve out a local presence. Probs. clearly there is no iron law favoring . 599. These visions do not go so far as to visualize any "world" in its totality. worlds requiring transformatory actions all the same. and a cumbersome winner-take-all electoral system that pushes the two main parties toward moderation. as Mark Kann observes." Retreating into localism siphons off and deflects crucial activist energies from centers of power --. At the same time. the nagging question of how this can be accomplished without upheaval remains. the federal state. of course. community radicalism could actually serve elite interests by siphoning off discontent and deflecting it away from the real centers of power. Department of Government and Politics – St. Such obstacles to securing a national foothold. foreign policy. legislative intricacies. overlapping forms of representation. often realities. Meanwhile. their influence on the national state was likely to be minimal owing to the complex maze of checks and roots mayhem would disturb the national political system. The end result of this type of populism is a widespread turning-away from the concerns of power. 760-1) Grassroots politics. enclave activism can be understood as a reaction against the chaos of urban life and the eclipse of public space. that I can project my visions. Professor of Political Science – National University. The globalizing pressures exerted on the economy and political system reinforce this trend. and gaining levers of institutional power than with erecting barriers against outside intrusions. 5) Re-Framing the International provides a perfect starting point for debates on the construction of the future.the result is depoliticization and uncontested rule by elites Boggs ‘97 (Carl. It raises a number of interesting questions that need to be explored. Even Nayar concedes Nayar ‘99 (Jayan. Although the arguments for a peaceful transition are logical. too. given the variety and seeming incoherence of demands from across the globe? In spite of the great sense of hope that underlies Re-Framing the International. Lexis) And so. what might I contribute to the present collective exercise toward a futuristic imaging of human possibilities? I am unsure. and citizen participation within the general community – one of the hallmarks of a depoliticized society. and global economy. the contributors are unable to show how power can be transcended. & Contemp. John’s University.

Mother india. and publicity surrounding. On the one hand. 109113) But recognizing the pitfalls of global eco-managernent does not solve the dilemma which will stay with us in the decades to come. creating some of the most fundamental pressures on the efficacy of the nation-state and state-centric politics. Re-Imagining Political Community.. and new institutions and conventions like those agreed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Brazil. global. ‘one world’ is not a design for more global planning. More dramatic examples arise from the siting and operation of nuclear power plants. calls for global consciousness abound. there has been an interlinked process of cultural and political globalization as illustrated by the emergence of new cultural. The clearest examples of the environmental commons are the atmosphere. p. and Croatian peasants as well as the citizens of Cracow were part of the Habsburg empire. An example of the profoundest importance under this category is desertification. of course. [Continues] People are seldom residents of only one mental space. In a similar vein. It cherishes a particular place. And among the most fundamental challenges here are global warming and ozone depletion. environmental problems. the one world may be thought of in terms of a meta-nation instead of a super-nation. p. the climate system and the oceans and seas. A second category of global environmental problems involves the interlinked challenges of demographic expansion and resource consumption. it is a sacrilege in our age of cultural evaporation to apprehend the globe as a united. 19-20) Contemporary environmental problems are perhaps the clearest and starkest examples of the global shift in human organization and activity. But there has been a striking shift in the physical and environmental circumstances .A2: Localism (Nayar) Global thinking promotes local action and checks violence Sachs ‘92 (Wolfgang. a vision of the globe as a multitude of different and only loosely connected worlds cannot dispense with the idea of ecumenism in the face of lurking violence and the devastation of nature. scientific and intellectual networks. but an ever present regulative idea for local action. Not all environmental problems are. in the extent and intensity of environmental problems . Green Movement Activist and Prof Science – Penn St. Other examples include questions of biodiversity and challenges to the very existence of certain species. Chernobyl. Cosmopolitan localism seeks to amplify the richness of a place while keeping in mind the rights of a multi-faceted world. In response to the progressive development of. It constitutes the horizon within which places live out their density and depth. these calls aim at bringing into congruence the range of our responsibility with the range of our effects. in fact. Archibugi. Not surprisingly. Development Dictionary. Given that local events can affect the conditions of life in remote places. . fundamental elements of our ecosystem. A third category of problems is transboundary pollution of various kinds. These processes have moved politics dramatically away from an activity which crystallizes simply around state and interstate concerns.that is. Both alternatives— to think in categories of one world as well as not to think in such categories—are equally self-destructive. new environmental movements with transnational organizations and transnational concerns..It is clearer than ever that the political fortunes of communities and peoples can no longer be understood in exclusively national or territorial terms. Such an implication would be quite false. people often hold multiple loyalties at one and the same time. there are shared problems involving the global commons. Global thinking key to check environmental collapse --- impact is extinction Held ‘98 (David. First. There are three types of problems at issue. “Democracy and Globalization”. for instance. In many instances they combine rootedness in a place with affiliation to a larger community. such as acid rain or river pollutants. An inhabitant of medieval Cologne knew how to be a member of the Christian Church. They have the ability to change their point of view and to look with the other’s eyes at themselves. a villager in Rajasthan was aware of Bharat.affecting human affairs in general. highly integrated world. that is. In this perspective. On the other hand. Ed. Professor of Politics and Sociology – Open U. yet at the same time knows about the relativity of all places.

bringing together new coalitions drawn from movements around the world. May. regional. Economically. it is also based on a real need to combine the peoples and social forces of North and South in new ways. who represent the voice of the governed. “Democratizing Globalization and Globalizing Democracy. Chair of the World Historical Systems theory group of the International Studies Association and a faculty affiliate of the Globalization Research Center of the University of Hawaii. and global levels (Gills 2000c. May] In this sense. The governments and the corporations of the world must now listen to and accommodate the demands of the peoples of the whole world. 2001). This new paradigm of world order must be based profoundly on multicivilizational dialogue and universal inclusion. Moreover. This new reality. and only democratic norms can accommodate such a form of governance. . Politically. which in my view is an objective one and not mere idealism. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.at global/local: perm Local resistance must be combined with larger struggles to effectively resist. we may conclude that we are living through the (gradual or sudden?) demise of the old world order and the (slow or sudden?) birth of a new one. we are moving toward the need for a political order based on one humanity. Gills – 02 [Barry K. therefore requires a new [*169] paradigm. Rather than a political order based on one nation. national. it is premised on the need to translate grassroots participatory political action into increasingly popular democratic forms of governance at local. however. this new order is based on an increased level of global economic integration and unison.

Chair – 2001 (Steven and Douglas. they attain their real significance only within the struggle for the transformation of society as a whole. While an emphasis on micropolitics and local struggles can be a healthy substitute for excessively utopian and ambitious political projects. Best and Kellner. Prof Phil. hedonism.edu/huma/illuminations/kell28. imperialism. or personal therapy. cultural and identity politics remain confined to the margins of society and are in danger of degenerating into narcissism. Thus. . the evils of capitalism or the state. and patriarchy. cultural politics which redefine the political. Taking on such major targets involves coalitions and multi-front struggle. including capital. U Texas and Phil. where they pose no danger and are immediately coopted by the culture industries. the state. while today we need the expansion of localized cultural practices. Without this systemic emphasis. 01 .htm) The emphasis on local struggles and micropower. often requiring a politics of alliance and solidarity that cuts across group identifications to mobilize sufficient power to struggle against.” Illuminations. and attempts to develop political forms relevant to the problems and developments of the contemporary age is extremely valuable. http://www. say.Assoc. “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future. large scale responses too.at global/local: global resistance key Local struggles are not enough—global impacts require coordinated.uta. but there are also certain limitations to the dominant forms of postmodern politics. aestheticism. Of Ed. and Human. one should not lose sight that key sources of political power and oppression are precisely the big targets aimed at by modern theory.

It is a disease that is still preventable. “AIDS and International Security”. vol.A2: Disease K Securitization of AIDS is a key factor in motivating those ignoring it into action Singer. 145-158) AIDS is a daunting threat.1. but enlightened self interest. Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. The present challenge is to support those programmes and leaders who are facing the hard issues of AIDS. Survival. p. Fighting AIDS is not just a matter of altruism.. Thinking about AIDS as a security threat helps clarify that this scourge reaches beyond individual lives and deaths into the realm of violence and war – and thus strengthens the case for serious action.44. no. 2002 (Peter W. while encouraging those now shirking their duties to respond. Spring. but not an unbeatable foe. .

with racism.. History and Theory. itself.l1 Escaping an impression of unfairness and reductionism in this kind of analysis is a matter of methodological rigor and stylistic tact. or the emperor. pp. at least in the kind of imperialist or oppressive writing produced about it. or flower arrangement or whatever. but is concerned merely with statements as related to other statements in a fie1d. whether they are Islamic or not. Racist or oppressive writing is found about all subject peoples. was far worse than that of the peoples of 'Islam'. 'They will never change' etc? If any people in the Middle East believe that in some way they have been singled out by the West--but in its historic or contemporary forms. unfair to authors. it emerges as the processes of writing. textualizing. the search for the true 'Japanese' position on women. discourse. hostility to the Orient. at times. and there is nothing to choose between then] The claim of a special European animosity to Arabs-let alone Palestinians-or to Muslims does not bear historical comparison. When he adopts the stance of a literary critic. whose conquest was also presented as a crusade. the category of the 'Orient' is rather vague. since in Orzentalzsm its usage implies that the Middle East is in some ways special. If he is advancing anthropological arguments. is a myth-albeit one. the Arabs. Foucault. For the psychohistorian Orientalist discourse becomes a representative series of personal/historical experiences. Such ideas of persecution rest on some implicit yardstick. “Review: [Untitled]”. at least. this is an unsustainable idea.] Discourse analysis is always. For the Marxist critic of ideology and culture it is the expression of definite political/economic power interests. and interpreting. Equally spurious is the implication that the hypostatization and reification of the Middle East are specific. . 1980). "Hybrid perspectives" like Said's have considerably more difficulty in escaping reductionism. One could continue the list. “Orientalism and its Critics. Here again external authority and internal nationalism collude to create a timeless. as already indicated.A2: Orientalism (Said) Said’s discourse and alternative links to his own criticism Cliford 80[James. escape the all-inclusive "Occidentalism" he specifically rejects as an alternative to Orientalism (328). with general definitions of the Primitive. conflated with Western positivism. University of California at Santa Cruz. The privileging of the Orient as the oppressed culture ignores other oppressed groups Halliday 93[Fred. 2. It is interested not in what they have to say or feel as subjects. with evolutionism. a comparative massacrology in which the wrongs done to one people are greater. Prof of IR at the London School of Economics. but it may be pointed out that the fate of the native people of the Americas. seldom appears unfair to authors because he never appeals to any individual intentionality or subjectivity. Orientalism is also. Said's methodological catholicity repeatedly blurs his analysis. the stress on the specificities of the Japanese mind.1 Indeed. As an intellectual historian Said portrays Orientalism as a specific series of influences and schools of thought. trans-liistorical. The thesis of some enduring. which many in the region and the West find it convenient to sustain. whether by those writing from outside. No. in a sense. 19. and particularist. Vol. the Islamic world. (Feb. the search for the unchanging national character. Orientalism appears as the cultural quest for order. About what people has it not been said 'They are like that. or from within: anyone familiar with the writing on Japan entitled Nzhonjiron and books such as Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword will be familiar with similar themes-the special place of language studies. Such an approach is best avoided. 204223. Said's discourse analysis does not.36 Russia too has had its share of such ahistorical analysis.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 20:2] Secondly.

com/links/doi/10. then they must necessarily use a purely female-centered analysis. Dept.00076). of Political Science. . March 2004. Volume 42 Issue 1 Page 193-197. Carver 2002) argue that feminist research must offer a critique of gender as a set of power relations. do exist and have very real implications for individuals. however. http://www. even though the utility of using a purely female centered analysis seems equally biased. Gender categories. Caprioli. Although one might speculate that having research done from the two opposing worldviews might more fully explain international relations. Beyond a female-centric analysis. Such research would merely be gendercentric based on women rather than men. and it would thereby provide an equally biased account of international relations as those that are male-centric. but it fails to provide new theories of international relations or to address the implications of gender for what happens in the world. If researchers cannot add gender to an analysis. and international affairs. International Studies Review.1111/0020-8833. University of Tennessee.blackwellsynergy. some scholars (for example. surely an integrated approach would offer a more comprehensive analysis of world affairs. social relations. Critiquing the social construction of gender is important. 04 (“Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis” Mary Caprioli.***Gender*** at gender ir: no alt Critiques of gender relations that do not pose concrete alternatives are destined to fail.

com/links/doi/10. Caprioli. http://www. and that as a consequence. dyadic tests of the democratic peace thesis rely ‘‘on an emerging theoretical framework that may prove capable of incorporating the strengths of the currently predominant realist or neorealist research program. of Political Science. 2001. among others. Dept.blackwellsynergy.com/links/doi/10. Dept.1111/0020-8833. including feminist inquiry. University of Tennessee. and moving beyond it’’ (Ray 2000:311). theorizing and research in the field of ethnonationalism has highlighted connections that domestic ethnic discrimination and violence have with state behavior at the international level (Gurr and Harff 1994. Steans 2003) appear to embrace this ‘‘Myth of Framework’’ by accentuating the differences between the perspectives of feminist and IR theorists based on their past experiences and languages and criticize IR theorists for their lack of communication with feminist IR scholars. International Studies Review. of Political Science. Tickner 1996. Volume 42 Issue 1 Page 193-197. International Studies Review. http://www. There is little utility in constructing a divide if none exists. Caprioli. Dixon 1994). Feminist IR theorists.1111/0020-8833. Ironically. It seems overly pessimistic to accept Karl Popper’s ‘‘Myth of Framework. our expectations. University of Tennessee. 2003b). In addition. common measures do exist across paradigms that provide a shared basis for theory. The ‘‘Myth of Framework’’ assumes no middle ground scholars are presumably entrenched in their own worldviews without hope of compromise or the ability to understand others’ worldviews. 04 (“Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis” Mary Caprioli. a significant shift to societal-level variables has occurred. Volume 42 Issue 1 Page 193-197. Arguing that any IR theory overwhelms the specifics of the situation is an over simplification re-creates the very hierarchies feminists are trying to overcome. Caprioli and Trumbore 2003a. recognizes the role of social relations in explaining state behavior.’’ which postulates that ‘‘we are prisoners caught in the framework of our theories. March 2004. that go beyond structural. Certainly the democratic peace literature. As a result. If this is the case. 04 “Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis” Mary Caprioli. the ‘‘Myth of Framework’’ shares a number of assumptions with Hobbes’s description of the state of nature that feminists routinely reject. critique the IR field for its state-centric approach and argue that ‘‘a world of states situated in an anarchical international system leaves little room for analyses of social relations. support for the rule of law. Furthermore. Peterson 2002. Conventional feminist IR scholars misrepresent the field of international relations in arguing that IR scholarship as popularly accepted excludes alternative explanations of state behavior. they appear to set up a straw man by refusing to recognize the variety within ‘‘conventional’’ IR research. our language. The normative explanation for the democratic peace thesis emphasizes the societal level values of human rights. we cannot communicate with or judge those working in terms of a different paradigm’’ (Neufeld 1995:44). Some feminists (for example. as Jack Levy (2000) has observed. partly in response to the decline in the systemic imperatives of the bipolar era.00076). including gender relations’’ (Tickner 2001:146). As Thomas Kuhn (1962) argues. Indeed. and peaceful conflict resolution in explaining the likelihood of interstate conflict. scholars are doomed to discussions with likeminded . Van Evera 1997. particularly its normative explanation (Maoz and Russett 1993.at gender ir: no link IR feminists vastly over simplify the diverse field of international relations literature—they need a specific link our aff. our past experiences. March 2004. among other lines of inquiry.00076). state-focused models.blackwellsynergy.

1111%2F0020-8833. the more critical and wide-ranging an author’s perspective. International Studies Quarterly 42. Duke University. with the dichotomous characterizations at the poles. but the opponent of the system of states has to imagine the counterfactual situation of a system without states. as in much policy analysis. Keohane. all coercion. none of the ends of these continua are the optimal places to rest one’s perspective. at gender ir: perm The perm solves best: IR criticism is only effective when it is combined with practical policy making. Without analysis. critical theory. 193-198. however.individuals rather than having a productive dialogue with those outside their own worldview.but how deeply the criticism should go. Each analyst of world politics has to locate herself or himself somewhere along the dimensions between critical and problem-solving theory. But the depth of their critique varies. often ignores the most important causal factors in a situation because they are not manipulable in the short run. How could one identify “problems” withough criticism at some level? The issue is not problem-solving vs.com/action/showPdf?submitPDF=Full+Text+PDF+ %2889+KB%29&doi=10. Narrowly problem-solving work. goes much deeper. nomothetic and narrative epistemology. by itself. becomes a jeremiad. often resting implicitly on a utopian view of human potential. Does the author reject certain acts of warfare. or the system of states itself? The deeper the criticism. and a social or structural conception of international relations. Scholars who accept the ‘‘Myth of Framework’’ have essentially created a Tower of Babel in which they choose not to understand each other’s language. For example. The dichotomies should be replaced by continua. On the other hand. Keohane. An opponent of some types of war can compare the causes of different wars.blackwell-synergy.00076 The problem with Tickner’s dichotomies. In my view. Criticism of the world. However. 98 (“Beyond Dichotomy: Conversations Between International Relations and Feminist Theory” Robert O. implicit or complacent acceptance of the world as it is would rob the study of international relations of much of its meaning. http://www. most students of war study it because they hope to expose its evils or to control it in some way: few do so to glorify war as such. furthermore. the more difficult it is to do comparative empirical analysis. the more wide-ranging the questions. all warfare. as a way to help to eliminate those that are regarded as pernicious.a convenient device for discarding work that one does not wish to accept. . it constitutes merely the opinion of one or a number of people. The acceptance of such a myth creates conflict and establishes a hierarchy within international relations scholarship even though conventional feminists theoretically seek to identify and eradicate conflict and hierarchy within society as a whole.

Charlesworth devotes a scant paragraph to the issue of third world feminism and even then. Human Rights Quarterly 17. Makerere University. Bourgeois/white. and spent the 1994-1995 academic year as a Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota. she urges theorists to look at gender identities as being "continually reconstituted through social processes. This is particularly necessary in light of the assault on southern institutions of advanced learning and intellectual culture by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank structural adjustment policies (SAPs).Sylvia Tamale holds law degrees from Makerere University (Uganda) and Harvard Law School. Projest Muse). rather than "added in and stirred" as an afterthought. Unfortunately." 27 According to Lâm. Joe Oloka-Onyango is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law.at gender ir: 3rd world feminism Feminism that prioritizes theory over material experience excludes the voices of third world feminists. In tandem with such an approach. with little connection to the ongoing lives of women who have experienced racial or colonial discrimination. Projest Muse). We must work to change the heartland of international law and its institutions. Makerere University. 54 Of course. 95 “The Personal is Political” or Why Womens Rights are Indeed Human Rights. J. Such imbalance imports a special duty among those who experience similar conditions of exclusion in academia to allow . Joe Oloka-Onyango is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law. J. In a succinct treatment of the issue elsewhere. Human Rights Quarterly 17. Feeling Foreign in Feminism. the agenda of Western feminism appears not only to be off target. 53 Third world discourse must be integrated directly into the critique of dominant structures of knowledge and power in academia. 691-731 . Oloka-Onyango and Slyvia Tamale. and spent the 1994-1995 academic year as a Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota. Oloka-Onyango and Tamale. . Oloka-Onyango and Slyvia Tamale. feminists in third world contexts must be wary of cooptation and exploitation--a trait of western societies that appears to not respect boundaries of sex--particularly because the dominant mode of international feminism reflects the dominant character and color of international relations." 28 Vasuki Nesiah is even more critical of the transposition of Western feminism onto the international scene because it ignores "global contradictions" 29 by emphasizing the commonality of women's experience. Western feminism is "too cleanly and detachedly representational. . Hilary Charlesworth points out that feminists "should aim not for respectability and acceptance through developing a specialized branch of women's international law because this would leave the international legal system unchanged. in her essay in Women's Rights. Uganda. She is currently a doctoral student in Sociology and Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota." Feminists that prioritize theory over reform continue the marginalization of third world women. the latter are in far greater abundance." However. . only in its relationship to first world feminism. 95 “The Personal is Political” or Why Womens Rights are Indeed Human Rights. 52 A more inclusive 51 examination would have incorporated the views of Southern feminists on the international legal and political regime. 691-731 .4. often predatory. internationalist works that include and are sensitive to the concerns of third world scholars are far better than those which presume to speak to and for them.4. and paternalistic. Instead. She is currently a doctoral student in Sociology and Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota. 26 As Maivân Lâm has recently pointed out in an article aptly entitled. Oloka-Onyango and Tamale. but also "filmic. Uganda.Sylvia Tamale holds law degrees from Makerere University (Uganda) and Harvard Law School.

as the debacle of WID--nominal participation and continuing marginalization--or just lip-service to multiculturalism and universal human rights. the "gates" must be opened even wider to ensure that international feminist theory is truly decolonized and thematically internationalized. we remain with the same problem 55 . Otherwise.for the expression of marginalized voices beyond the "particularities" of their geographical contexts. In short.

stories about hegemony and power are to many cultural leftists—the only thing they really want to hear. For the cultural Left has come to believe that we must place our country within a theoretical frame of reference. For purposes of thinking about how to achieve our country. What stories about blue-eyed devils are to the Black Muslims. rather than as representations of the intrinsic nature of reality. and Derrida—are largely right in their criticisms of Enlightenment rationalism. and all the spiritual uplift. As Edmundson remarks. at least in part. The ubiquity of Foucauldian power is reminiscent of the ubiquity of Satan. It is a world in which all the day lit cheerfulness of Whitmanesque hypersecularism has been lost. . Professor of Philosophy." It means deriving our moral identity.fashioned reformist liberals even if. from our citizenship in a democratic nationstate. These result in an intellectual environment which is. they should be relegated to private life and not taken as guides to political deliberation. Power is as much inside one as outside one. I also claimed that the American Left. Foucault. and thus of the ubiquity of original sin— that diabolical stain on every human soul. Emphasizing the impossibility of meaning. Heidegger. "the twilight of common dreams. however. I have argued in various books that the philosophers most often cited by cultural leftists—Nietzsche. I now wish to say that. It reinvented the old religious idea that some stains are ineradicable. as Derrida sometimes does. or the infinite distance which separates us from the other. 94-7) These futile attempts to philosophize one's way into political relevance are a symptom of what happens when a Left retreats from activism and adopts a spectatorial approach to the problems of its country. the most frightening of which is called "power. in committing itself to what it calls "theory. We can be this kind of liberal even after we turn our backs on Descartes. We can just get on with trying to solve what Dewey called "the problems of men. For those purposes.cape from the infinitely fine meshes of its invisible web. in the title of a recent book.*** Ethics *** A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) Infinite obligation to the other produces political deadlock and philosophical irrelevance Rorty ‘98 (Richard. unreachability. As Edmundson says: one cannot "confront power. Stories about the webs of power and the insidious influence of a hegemonic ideology do for this Left what stories about the Lamanites did for Joseph Smith and what stories about Yakkub did for Elijah Muhammad. I have argued further that traditional liberalism and traditional humanism are entirely compatible with such criticisms. we Americans need to go about our public business. . When we take up our public responsibilities. and unrepresentability—may be useful to some of us in our individual quests for private perfection. situate it within a vast quasi-cosmological perspective. It is nearer than hands and feet. is a temptation to Gothicize—to view democratic politics as ineffectual. To step into the intellectual world which some of these leftists inhabit is to move out of a world in which the citizens of a democracy can join forces to resist sadism and selfishness into a Gothic world in which democratic politics has become a farce. and from leftist attempts to fulfill the promise of that nation."10 In its Foucauldian usage. who was a pre. and in which "liberalism" and "humanism" are synonyms for naivete—for an inability to grasp the full horror of our situation. or of justice." To think about those problems means to refrain from thinking so much about otherness that we begin to acquiesce in what Todd Gitlin has called. . to be displaced by Poe. as evanescent and insistent as a resourceful spook. But I have also urged that insofar as these antimetaphysical."1' Only interminable individual and social self-analysis. One might spot a corporate bagman arriving at a congressman's office. I argued in my first lecture that the repudiation of the concept of sin was at the heart of Dewey and Whitman's civic religion. the impossibility of justice." formulated by Emmanuel Levinas and sometimes deployed by Derrida—as well as Derrida's own frequent discoveries of impossibility. linguistify subjectivity. we give up the correspondence theory of truth and start treating moral and scientific beliefs as tools for achieving greater human happiness. we can give both religion and philosophy a pass. But one cannot block off power in the Foucauldian sense. which is everywhere and nowhere. we do not need to worry about the correspondence theory of truth. I have argued. p." this Left has gotten something which is entirely too much like religion. [it] has capacities of motion and transformation that make it a preternatural force. because unable to cope with preternatural forces. Gothic. anti-Cartesian philosophers offer a quasi-religious form of spiritual pathos. gave us all the romance. and cannot be spotted coming or going. Disengagement from practice produces theoretical hallucinations. the grounds of normativity. The notion of "infinite responsibility. and perhaps not even that. who was a precursor of both Whitman and Dewey. We can still be old. It is always already there. rein-vented sin. the term "power" denotes an agency which has left an indelible stain on every word in our language and on every institution in our society. as Mark Edmundson says in his book Nightmare on Main Street. Achieving Our Country. Whitman and Dewey. can help uses. the infinite and the unrepresentable are merely nuisances. in its horror at the Vietnam War.cursor of Lacan. Thinking of our responsibilities in these terms is as much of a stumbling-block to effective political organization as is the sense of sin. The cultural Left is haunted by ubiquitous specters. one can only encounter its temporary and generally unwitting agents . we should not allow Emerson.son calls Foucault's "haunting agency. and see everything around us and within us as one more replaceable social construction. and perhaps block his entrance." This is the name of what Edmund. like Dewey.

"you" is a secondary addition. justice begins when I remember the faceless many left in shadow in this privileging of the One. However.” http://www. or. a positive living being occupying a determinate space in reality. rather.lacan. and the primordial ethical obligation is towards this Third who is NOT here in the face to face relationship. as nothing. with Germans and Scandinavians it is already problematic. a hole in the order of being? This brings us to the ultimate paradox on account of which Levinas's answer is not sufficient: I am a threat to the entire order of being not insofar as I positively exist as part of this order. the place from which the truth about the others' oppression is accessible.). thus introducing a radical imbalance into the whole.com/zizsmash. grammatically. Political engagement to mediate with the other creates the ethical obligation to politics displacing our true connection to the original second party allowing for desrtruction of it because it disturbs the natural violence Zizek. rooted in it. 2005 (Slavoj. the more problematic this assertion is: Asians are still OK. it has to disregard the privileged One whom I “really understand. and this is the original sin-choice of love. the one in shadow. impersonal Other and me . has to be blind.. 4 . nonetheless confers on them a central position: this very prohibition to assert their particular identity makes them into the neutral medium.it was already Schelling who defined the subject as the endless striving of the Nothing to become Everything. the closer one gets to the notorious white heterosexual males. although it presents itself as the admission of their guilt. Italians and Irish maybe. blacks. On the contrary.. because I have to make a CHOICE to SELECT who my neighbor is from the mass of the Thirds.lacan.as such. but active and neutral (along the axis of engaged-disengaged). The primordial couple is Neutral and Evil (the choice which disturbs the neutral balance). but precisely insofar as I am a hole in the order of being . 2005 (Slavoj. such a prohibition of asserting the particular identity of White Men (as the model of oppression of others).his antiSpinozean questioning of my right to exist is inverted arrogance: as if I am the center whose existence threatens all others. like the absent child of a love-couple.A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) Constant ethic for the other allows for the West to assert our identity upon the other without being seen as racist allowing for oppression. and love is a violent gesture of cutting into this multitude and privileging a One as the neighbor. Recall the similar paradox of that structures the Politically Correct landscape: people far from the Western world are allowed to fully assert their particular ethnic identity without being proclaimed essentialist racist identitarians (native Americans.” http://www. but a more radical claim: do I exist in the first place? Am I not. So the answer should not be an assertion of my right to exist in harmony with and tolerance of others.htm) Levinas therefore secretly imputes to Spinoza an egotistic "subjectivist" notion of (my) existence . “Smashing the neighbors face. “Smashing the neighbors face. to which the neutral form is then added. In contrast to love.htm) One should therefore assume the risk of countering Levinas's position with a more radical one: others are primordially an (ethically) indifferent multitude. This not simply the DerrideanKierkegaardian point that I always betray the Other because toute autre est un autre." What this means is that the Third is not secondary: it is always-already here. Zizek. The structure is similar to the one described by Emile Benveniste apropos verbs: the primordial couple is not active-passive... I "am" a striving to reach out and appropriate all (only a Nothing can desire to become Everything) . Justice and love are thus structurally incompatible: justice. not love.com/zizsmash. is by definition a moment of its circulation and reproduction.

. in our empirical lives. how they are guided in what may appear brutal military interventions by an inner vision of breath-taking goodness . to be open for its depth. Every preempting of the Other in the guise of his face relegates the Third to the faceless background. all that matters is this purely formal gesture of asserting that things are not what they seem (brutal occupation and terror). this inner truth and goodness consist.the neighbor. but to abstract from it and refocus onto the faceless Thirds in the background. In other words..htm) ethical step is the one BEYOND the face of the other. is he not still clinging to the ultimate root of the ethical commitment. This coldness IS justice at its most elementary. it cannot be grounded in the relationship to the Other's face. Zizek. we should maintain as a kind of regulative Idea the full grounding of ethics in the relationship to the Other's Face. When Levinas endeavors to ground ethics in the Other's face.with regard to . it is a priori impossible.lacan. “Smashing the neighbors face. liberating it from the contingent umbilical link that renders her »embedded« in a particular situation. for the THIRD. even the most hideous crime has an »inner truth and beauty« when observed from within: recall the refined spiritual meditations of the Japanese warriors. we remain caught in the »understanding«: one can »understand« everything.i. precisely. not simply its secondary supplement. And the elementary gesture of justice is not to show respect for the face in front of me. It is only such a shift of focus onto the Third that effectively uproots justice. the one of SUSPENDING the hold of the face: the choice AGAINST the face.” http://www.e. Such This brings us to the radical anti-Levinasian conclusion: the true a grounding is not only empirically impossible. it is only such a shift onto the Third that grounds justice in the dimension of universality proper. There is a weird scene in Hector Babenco's The Kiss of a Spider-Woman: in the Germanoccupied France. the Third is irreducible. the limitation of our ethical relation of responsibility towards the Other's face which necessitates the rise of the Third (the domain of regulations) is a positive condition of ethics. afraid to accept the abyss of the rootless Law as the only foundation of ethics? Justice as blind thus means that.com/zizsmash. 2005 (Slavoj. in the relationship to the neighbor: justice is emphatically NOT justice for . exactly.e. since the limitation of our capacity to relate to Other's faces is the mark of our very finitude. a high Gestapo officer explains to his French mistress the inner truth of the Nazis... If we deny this .we never learn in what.A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) Instead of a face to face contact with the other we should suspend the hold of the face in order to refocus it to uproot justice liberating it from this umbrella link that always renders them beneath us. that there is an inner ethical truth which redeems them. while. This structure is irreducible: it is not that. Recall the famous passage from Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory: . THIS is what the ethical Law prohibits: justice HAS to be blind. In other words. i. ignoring the inner truth. The affirmative’s engagement is impossible because of our limited capacity to relate to the other through the “third”. if we stick to the postulate of a final translatability of the Third into a relation to Other's face -.

But Antigone is a reactionary. in her awful ethical consistency. Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago. But can we be satisfied with an Ethics that remains in the "category of pious discourse"? . (What if. the abandonment of a social movement by its leader and the abandonment of a poem by its author cannot be made without some kind of qualitative supplement. ethical consistency is even described as "disinterested interest. The distinction between. its insistence on fidelity to any Event whatever—on "ethical consistency" itself as a value—Badiou's one's desire [ne pas céder sur son désir]. Further. causing him to ignore human rights Brown 04 [Nicholas.") While there is something undeniably attractive in ethical consistency (and something ugly in its lack). “{∅} ∈ {$} ? Or. Since Badiou himself uses the language of grace when speaking of the Event. 266]?) Or perhaps. is a captivating figure. this supplement can only be vulgar. Brecht's Galileo. in an echo of Kant's purposeless purpose. is a bit distasteful. it is really no different than Pauline faith. The value of ethical consistency is authorized by Lacan's well-known dictum not to give up on formalism. In its good is almost an aesthetic rather than an ethical category. Perhaps the supplement it requires is the language of human rights. whatever its faults. as we shall see. the international war-crimes tribunal were simply to refuse the de facto bifurcation of the subject of human rights which is currently written into its constitution: "arrest Kissinger or shut up!" [Revolution. a merely formal label. (At one point. perhaps it is even an aspect of evil. Since. But is it really Evil (Mal) itself? Badiou's evil. in his opportunism and wavering inconsistency. like his truth.A2: Badiou Badiou has no way to separate between different types of ethics. Sophocles' Antigone. is indifferent to content. he cannot regard it as very damning that his conception of the Event shares something with religious revelation. nonphilosophical. But we should not forget that this maxim derives from the reading of Antigone in Séminaire VII. and Galileo invents physics.3] This apparatus is a powerful lens. as Žižek suggests. Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. which. Yes. But an ethics would have to be able to tell them apart. Badiou has no way of sorting out different evils beyond his tripartite division. Waiting for Something to Happen” CR: The New Centennial Review 4. Ethics tells us what Nazism and scientific obscurantism [End Page 300] have in common. Badiou's philosophy is predicated precisely on the subtraction from consideration of all qualitative predicates. genuinely spurning such a supplement. and there can be no doubt that Badiou is describing something important. say. on the other hand. can tell the difference between a concentration camp and a creationist textbook. the most important thing for a modern ethics may be to push these sentimental considerations aside.

LDP. Regarding the central public issues of health and education. only one major forum for elections (a legislative chamber of deputies). The state assures from this point of view the public space and the general interest. 9.95: 5-6). a stance that rejects an intimate cooperation (in the interests of capital) as much as it refuses ‘any antagonistic conception of their operation. anti-‘re-presentative’. 11. to engage with this submission on its own terms. electoral contests or petition movements – that operates as a ‘prisoner of the parliamentary space’ (LDP. just as ‘in the factories. the ‘vis-à-vis demands the presence of the two terms and not the annihilation of one of the two’ (LDP. now. we keep our distance from trade unionism’ (LDP. And capital does not incarnate the general interest’ (LDP. . the OP remains suspicious of any political campaign – for instance.05. a guarantee ‘that there is always a dominant party’. 1999: 2). thanks to some kind of first-past-the-post electoral system. Coming from the author of Théorie de la contradiction. It remains ‘an absolute necessity [of politics] not to have the state as norm. at the height of the December ‘95 strikes. and thus anti-democratic (in the ordinary sense of the word). 10. it is now equally clear that ‘their separation need not lead to the banishment of the state from the field of political thought’ (LDP. 12.96: 2). 19-20.Badiou doesn’t criticize state action Hallward 02[Peter. 15. non-dialectical ‘vis-à-vis’ with the state. that the ‘positive tasks on behalf of all are incumbent upon the state’ (LDP. the reader has to wonder if the OP’s policy of strict nonparticipation in the state really stands up.24 The OP now conceives itself in a tense. The next question is whether the very possibility of such prescription according to the general interest does not itself presuppose that same liberal-parliamentary realm upon whose systematic vilification its own critical distance depends.04.uk/Cmach/Backissues/j004/Articles/hallward. The OP declares with some pride that ‘we never vote’.25 But when the OP ventures into the vexing domain of constitutional reform.’ On the other hand. His conception of politics remains resolutely anti-consensual. But he seems more willing.12. the OP maintains.12. and finally. La Distance politique again offers the most precise points de repère. What kind of state can respond ‘responsibly’ to political prescriptions.02. Just how far it has evolved remains a little unclear.95: 1). On the one hand.tees.27 That participation in the state should not replace a prescriptive externality to the state is obvious enough. were ‘more sensitive’ to workers’ strikes than are today’s parliamentary states – the great example being the Solidarity campaign in Poland (Letter to the author. as states. The separation of politics and state is foundational of politics. any conception that smacks of classism. the OP recognised that the only contemporary movement of ‘désétatisation’ with any real power was the corporate-driven movement of partial de-statification in the interests of commercial flexibility and financial mobility. like most mainstream socialists.A2: Badiou Perm solves --.94: 1). 6. The whole package is to be softened with calls for more open government and the rule of law (‘Proposition de réforme de la Constitution’.’ There is to no more choice to be made between the state or revolution. if not one closely responsible to electoral pressure? Badiou maintains that the old socialist states. Unsurprisingly.ac.02. ‘A philosophy today is above all something that enables people to have done with the "democratic" submission to the world as it is’ (‘Entretien avec Alain Badiou’.96: 11). The state is what can sometimes take account of people and their situations in other registers and by other modalities than those of profit. however.01. assurance that the head of government is always the head of the dominant party. Lecturer in French Department at King’s College “BADIOU'S POLITICS: EQUALITY AND JUSTICE” http://culturemachine.95: 3-4). The once Maoist Organisation Politique now recommends something almost exactly like the British Constitution! At this point.htm] We know that Badiou’s early and unequivocally hostile attitude to the state has considerably evolved. 12.93: 1).11. these are remarkable words.98). through general.26 The OP consistently maintains that its politics of prescription requires a politics of ‘non-vote’. but the stern either/or so often proclaimed in the pages of La Distance politique reads today like a displaced trace of the days when the choice of ‘state or revolution’ still figured as a genuine alternative. now. this either/or? Once the state has been acknowledged as a possible figure of the general interest. systematic and brutal privatisation. But why. then surely it matters who governs that figure. Indeed. a purely cosmetic head of state. it is to propose very explicitly parliamentary procedures: an end to a separately elected president (and so an end to the possibility of cohabitation). ‘we are against this withdrawal of the state to the profit of capital.

2000]. Badiou's absolute commitment to the ethical value of the Same—the fact that truths are addressed equally to all— demonstrates a provocative and radically democratic spirit." was the name given in certain Nazi camps to prisoners who had been so overcome by hunger. Whether this case is at all conducive to ethical or political elaboration must remain open here. In his laudable insistence that humanity "does not coincide with the identity of the victim" (11. Contingency.A2: Badiou Badiou wrongly universalizes. but what the counter-example of the Muselmann suggests is the limit of Badiou's will to universality. Such a case has been investigated by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben in Remnants of Auschwitz under the heading of the "Muselmann. or "Muslim. beatings. suggests that the antinomy of the universal and the particular is as much a symptom of the post-Cold War historical moment as a problem solvable in theory." Muselmann. trapped in an indeterminate zone between life and death.4 (2001) 478-484] Another sort of problem emerges when we consider Badiou's attempt to [End Page 482] surpass the discourse of victimization that he and many others see as defining the contemporary moment. In presenting truths as simultaneously multiple and universal. . is his notion that the universality of truths is premised on the simultaneous local nature of truth—its immanence to a particular situation with which it breaks—sufficient to ward off fears of homogenization. incapable of human communication or response. The problem with universality surely also returns in the insistence on ignoring questions of cultural difference. Urbana-Champaign. And yet. etc. and works well with respect to many situations. Badiou poses an imaginative answer to what may be the most intractable antinomy of contemporary left social theory: the difficulty of adjudicating claims for universality and particularlity. if not cultural imperialism? How can we differentiate between the Sameness of truth and the homogenization produced by capitalist commodification? Is there an alternative formulation that would respect the universal address of truths while still allowing for a valorization of or commitment to difference? The unease that Badiou's dismissal of cultural difference provokes. (For other attempts to think through this problem. Universality [London and New York: Verso. it risks overgeneralization. University of Illinois. emphasis in original). the Muselmann nevertheless constitutes the unthought of Badiou's own project: the potential of a victimization so radical that it really does exceed the possibility of any human project or truth-process. Ernesto Laclau.akek. destroy any chance for a successful alternative Rothberg 01[Michael. and Slavoj Z. that they became zombie-like. While surely the product of an extremity not conducive to generalization. see the contributions to the recent collective volume by Judith Butler. While this critique of victim-centered ethics is crucial. Hegemony.akiz. “Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil” Criticism 43. Badiou leaves out of his system the possibility that a human being could be reduced precisely to the status of victim. despite the freshness of his formulation.

we can be faithful to a previous event. it must be said. It is well known that the current rightist "small-government" movement is an assault on the class compromise represented by the Keynesian state. To be sure. it is rigorously untheorizable: as we saw above. But doesn't this recognition imply a philosophical problem as well—one which the dialectic. constitutively excluded from the state. This identification authorizes Badiou's antistatism. The dialectic. As with Ethics. Despite every protestation to the contrary. nothing can happen within the state of a situation. not merely evaded. Because the Event must descend like a grace. as Badiou says Lenin was to the Paris Commune. Since the event emerges from outside of the state of the situation. In Badiou's system. the Organisation Politique (whose members do not vote). but is already fully present in itself in the situation. But it can also suppress the possibilities exploited by an anarchic capitalism. Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek.3] Badiou's ontology cannot usefully displace the dialectic. innovation can only emerge from an evental site. Badiou is certainly describing something: the utopian moment of a total break with the state may be a part of any genuine political transformation.A2: Badiou Badiou has no alt – even waiting for the event ruins it Brown 04 [Nicholas. unless we are talking about the sad old interplay of transgression and limit—which posited the state as basically permanent. conceives the void as immanent contradiction. Meanwhile. But surely this solution mitigates the power of the Event as the irruption of the void into this situation. “Or. and law and order in the everyday sense. While both contradiction and void are immanent to the situation. Badiou's system cannot address the question "What is to be done?" because the only thing to do is to wait for the Event. Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago. the question of the dialectic leads us back to the twofold meaning of "state": both the law and order that govern knowledge. forcefully reflected in his own political commitment. with transgression as its permanent suspension—this anarchic moment says nothing about the new state of affairs that will ultimately be imposed on the generic set it constructs. which it explodes in the movement to for-itself. in Lukács's writings on party organization (on what amounts to the imposition of a state on the evental site itself) is called upon to answer? . L'Organisation Politique. Surely the configuration of that state will be paramount—in which case state power has to be fought for. it is theorized as untheorizable. on the other hand. Badiou's ontology can only describe situations and never History. Waiting for Something to Happen” CR: The New Centennial Review 4. But can a principled indifference to the state ground a politics? The state surely has the function of suppressing the anarchic possibilities inherent in the (national) situation. But. What happens when the precipitation of the Event is precisely what needs to be done? Yes. But it also protected workers against some of capitalism's more baleful effects. has come to recognize this. one should be suspicious of that compromise and what it excluded. as it were: the Event does not appear out of an immanent nowhere. which has made limited [End Page 306] but effective interventions into the status of immigrant workers. contradiction has the tremendous advantage of having movement built in.

The value of ethical consistency is authorized by Lacan's well-known dictum not to give up on one's desire [ne pas céder sur son désir]. which. is indifferent to content. In its formalism. Badiou has no way of sorting out different evils beyond his tripartite division. is a captivating figure. in an echo of Kant's purposeless purpose. on the other hand. and there can be no doubt that Badiou is describing something important. 04 (Nicholas. ethical consistency is even described as "disinterested interest. and Galileo invents physics. Brecht's Galileo. Or. But we should not forget that this maxim derives from the reading of Antigone in Séminaire VII. CR: The New Centennial Review 4. Ethics tells us what Nazism and scientific obscurantism have in common. perhaps it is even an aspect of evil. Waiting for Something to Happen. the abandonment of a social movement by its leader and the abandonment of a poem by its author cannot be made without some kind of qualitative supplement. Sophocles' Antigone. But an ethics would have to be able to tell them apart.3 (2004) 289-319). can tell the difference between a concentration camp and a creationist textbook.") While there is something undeniably attractive in ethical consistency (and something ugly in its lack). the most important thing for a modern ethics may be to push these sentimental considerations aside. Brown. This apparatus is a powerful lens. Further. whatever its faults. its insistence on fidelity to any Event whatever—on "ethical consistency" itself as a value— Badiou's good is almost an aesthetic rather than an ethical category. Yes. But Antigone is a reactionary. Perhaps the supplement it requires is the language of human rights.at badiou: ethics Badiou’s concept of ethics fails because it is impossible to make qualitative distinctions between different sorts of evil—leading to absurd results. a merely formal label. But is it really Evil (Mal) itself? Badiou's evil. as we shall see. like his truth. (At one point. non-philosophical. Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. say. in his opportunism and wavering inconsistency. this supplement can only be vulgar. in her awful ethical consistency. University of Illinois at Chicago. Badiou's philosophy is predicated precisely on the subtraction from consideration of all qualitative predicates. The distinction between. is a bit distasteful. Since. .

Despite every protestation to the contrary. one should be suspicious of that compromise and what it excluded. . Waiting for Something to Happen. As with Ethics. But can a principled indifference to the state ground a politics? The state surely has the function of suppressing the anarchic possibilities inherent in the (national) situation. forcefully reflected in his own political commitment. The dialectic. Or. not merely evaded. and law and order in the everyday sense. Badiou's system cannot address the question "What is to be done?" because the only thing to do is to wait for the Event. the Organisation Politique (whose members do not vote). conceives the void as immanent contradiction. Brown. In Badiou's system. CR: The New Centennial Review 4. as Badiou says Lenin was to the Paris Commune. To be sure. contradiction has the tremendous advantage of having movement built in.3 (2004) 289-319). Meanwhile. But. on the other hand. but is already fully present in itself in the situation. with transgression as its permanent suspension—this anarchic moment says nothing about the new state of affairs that will ultimately be imposed on the generic set it constructs. as it were: the Event does not appear out of an immanent nowhere. 04 (Nicholas. Since the event emerges from outside of the state of the situation. Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. This identification authorizes Badiou's antistatism. But it can also suppress the possibilities exploited by an anarchic capitalism. What happens when the precipitation of the Event is precisely what needs to be done? Yes. Surely the configuration of that state will be paramount—in which case state power has to be fought for. it is theorized as untheorizable. we can be faithful to a previous event. it is rigorously untheorizable: as we saw above. University of Illinois at Chicago. Because the Event must descend like a grace.at badiou: politics fail Badiou is not politically useful because his alternative is too vague—he says that the event side steps the state but any alternative politics must be able to reform the state to succeed. But surely this solution mitigates the power of the Event as the irruption of the void into this situation. It is well known that the current rightist "small-government" movement is an assault on the class compromise represented by the Keynesian state. which has made limited [End Page 306] but effective interventions into the status of immigrant workers. Badiou's ontology cannot usefully displace the dialectic. Badiou's ontology can only describe situations and never History. constitutively excluded from the state. the question of the dialectic leads us back to the twofold meaning of "state": both the law and order that govern knowledge. which it explodes in the movement to for-itself. nothing can happen within the state of a situation. Badiou is certainly describing something: the utopian moment of a total break with the state may be a part of any genuine political transformation. While both contradiction and void are immanent to the situation. innovation can only emerge from an evental site. unless we are talking about the sad old interplay of transgression and limit—which posited the state as basically permanent. But it also protected workers against some of capitalism's more baleful effects.

at badiou: politics fail
Badiou’s system fails—he has no way to overcome the enormous power he attributes to capitalism. Brown, 04 (Nicholas, University of Illinois at Chicago, Or, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek, Waiting for Something to Happen, CR: The New Centennial Review 4.3 (2004) 289-319). But what is strange is the vehemence with which Badiou maintains his distance from the economic—from what classical Marxism called the "base," the elements of a situation that pertain to its own reproduction. It is perfectly orthodox to say that there can be no purely economic intervention in the economy: even with the best intentions, the World Bank could not solve the problem of Third World poverty. However, in Badiou's system the economy is not merely reduced to one aspect among many, but actively dismissed from consideration. Material reproduction is reduced to the sneering Lacanian contempt for "le service des biens," the servicing of goods which pertains to the human animal beneath good and evil. Why should Badiou fully endorse Marx's analysis of the world economy ("there is no need for a revision of Marxism itself," [Ethics, 97]) while keeping Marx's entire problematic at arm's length? In fact, capitalism is the point of impasse in Badiou's own system, the problem which cannot be actively thought without grave danger to the system as a whole. Capital's great power, the tremendous ease with which it colonizes (geographic, cultural, psychic) territory, is precisely that it seizes situations at their evental site. In their paraphrase of a brilliant but much-maligned
passage in Marx's Grundrisse, Deleuze and Guattari insist that "capitalism has haunted all forms of society, but it haunts them as their terrifying nightmare, it is the dread they feel of a flow that would elude their codes."2 Is this flow that eludes every society's codes not identical with generic multiplicity, the void which, eluding every representation, nonetheless haunts every situation? Does not capitalism make its entry at a society's point of impasse—social relations already haunted by variously dissimulated exploitation —and revolutionize them into the capital-labor relation? A safely non-Orientalist version of this would be the eruption from modernist art's evental site—the art market, which belonged to the situation of modernism while being excluded from its represented state—of what we might call the "Warhol-event," which inaugurates the transition from the formal to the real subsumption of (artistic) labor under Capital. It makes perfect sense to say that this transition is the truth of the [End Page 308] Warhol-event. As we saw earlier, the real subsumption of labor under Capital, the conversion of every relation into a monetary relation, is the origin of formal equality: that is, the foundation of universalism. And far from pertaining to mere animal life beneath the level of the truth-procedure,

capitalism itself fits perfectly the form of the revolutionary Event. It would then appear that capitalism is, like religion, eliminated from the art-politics-sciencelove series only by fiat. And why is this? Because the economic, the "servicing of goods," cannot enter Badiou's system without immediately assuming the status of a cause. Excluded from direct consideration, capitalism as a condition of set theory is perfectly innocuous; its preconditional status belongs to a different order than what it conditions. It opens up a mode of presentation, but what is presented existed all along: look at Paul, for example. But included as the product of a truth-procedure, capitalism immediately appears as the basis for all the others: it is, in fact, the revolutionary irruption of Capital (in whatever society) that conditions any modern process of science, art, love, or politics. If Badiou's system were to consider capitalism directly, some elements, those pertaining to the "base," would appear to have more weight than others—the "superstructure." The effects of such an inclusion of capitalism in Badiou's system—an inclusion which nothing prevents—would be catastrophic. Radical universality (as opposed to the historically conditioned universality imposed by the emergence of capitalism) would become unthinkable. The "eternity" of truth would yield to historicism.

at badiou: politics fail
Unfortunately for Badiou, his great enemy of capitalism fits perfectly within what he considers a truth event—the alternative merely re-creates the status quo. Brown, 04 (Nicholas, University of Illinois at Chicago, Or, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek, Waiting for Something to Happen, CR: The New Centennial Review 4.3 (2004) 289-319). Badiou cannot think Capital precisely because Capital has already thought Badiou. And let's face it: despite Badiou's inspiring presentation, nothing is more native to capitalism than his basic narrative matrix. The violent seizure of the subject by an idea, fidelity to it in the absence of any guarantee, and ultimate transformation of the state of the situation: these are the elements of the narrative of entrepreneurial risk, "revolutionary innovation," the "transformation of the industry," and so on. In pushing away material reproduction, Badiou merely adapts this narrative to the needs of intellectuals, who, in Badiou's conception, have a monopoly over much of the field of truth. Failure to cope with the power of capitalism dooms any ethical system to failure. Brown, 04 (Nicholas, University of Illinois at Chicago, Or, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek, Waiting for Something to Happen, CR: The New Centennial Review 4.3 (2004) 289-319). The problem with this ethics—as Brecht showed us, with ethics in general—is that, under capitalism, the only fully consistent ethical position is ruthless self-interest. There is no ethical position that is both minimally compassionate and fully ethically consistent. Mauler in Saint Joan is doomed to make money from all of his generous impulses; the good woman of Szechwan can only help her neighbors by taking advantage of them. In fact, this split constitutes part of capitalism's dynamism. The ideological force of capitalism is that so many people are given a subjective interest in maintaining the stability of capitalism, even if this interest involves competing with neighbors who share an "objective" interest in ending it. Any "opting out" is at present simply quixotic, and only possible on the basis of substantial privilege. Plainly, professors want tenured positions, for the same reason the unemployed want jobs: because they exist. (As for playing the stock market, this criticism buys neoliberal rhetoric hook, line, and sinker: most academics who "play the stock market" do so because universities, like many other U.S. employers, have shifted the burden of risk from their own retirement systems onto the individual employees.)

at badiou: permutation
The state and the revolutionary political subject can cooperate in Badiou’s conception of the alternative. Hallward, 03 (Badiou: a subject to truth, Peter Hallward, University of Minnesota Press Minneapolis / London 2003, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex Univeristy). We know that Badiou's early and unequivocally hostile attitude to the state has considerably evolved. Just how far it has evolved remains a little unclear. His conception of politics remains resolutely anticonsensual, anti–“re-presentative, ” and thus antidemocratic (in the ordinary sense of the word). Democracy has become the central ideological category of the neo-liberal status quo, and any genuine “philosophy today is above all something that enables people to have done with the 'democratic' submission to the world as it is.” 66 But he seems more willing, now, to engage with this submission on its own terms. La Distance politique again offers the most precise points de repère. On the one hand, the OP remains suspicious of any political campaign—for instance, an electoral contest or petition movement—that operates as a “prisoner of the parliamentary space.” 67 It remains “an absolute necessity [of politics] not to have the state as norm. The separation of politics and state is foundational of politics.” On the other hand, however, it is now equally clear that “their separation need not lead to the banishment of the state from the field of political thought.” 68 The OP now conceives itself in a tense, nondialectical “vis-à-vis” with the state, a stance that rejects an intimate cooperation (in the interests of capital) as much as it refuses “any antagonistic conception of their operation—a conception that smacks of classism.” There is no more choice to be made between the state and revolution; the “vis-àvis demands the presence of the two terms and not the annihilation of one of the two.” 69

at badiou: alternative unworkable and communist
Badiou’s alternative of radical egalitarianism is unworkable and is based on a failed model of communism. Hallward, 03 (Badiou: a subject to truth, Peter Hallward, University of Minnesota Press Minneapolis / London 2003, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex Univeristy). Badiou's politics have always been about “collective emancipation, or the problem of the reign of liberty in infinite situations” (DO, 54; cf. TC, 60). His political goals have remained consistent over the years, since “every historical event is communist, to the degree that 'communist' designates the transtemporal subjectivity of emancipation, the egalitarian passion, the Idea of justice, the will to break with the compromises of the service des biens, the deposition of egoism, an intolerance of oppression, the wish to impose a withering away of the state. The absolute preeminence of multiple presentation over representation.” 84 What has changed is communism's mode of existence. In Badiou's earlier work, the practical (if ultimately unattainable) goal was always to effect the actual, historical achievement of stateless community. Today, in order to preserve politics' “intrinsic relation to truth” (DO, 48), Badiou has had to let go of almost any sort of political engagement with the economic and the social. He continues to declare a wholly egalitarian politics, but as reserved for a strictly subjective plane. The unqualified justice of a generic communism, first proposed in Marx's 1844 Manuscripts and conceived in Badiou's own terms as the advent of “pure presentation, ” as the “undivided authority of the infinite, or the advent of the collective as such” (AM, 91), remains the only valid subjective norm for Badiou's political thought. This subjective norm has become ever more distant, however, from the day-to-day business of “objective” politics: the programmatic pursuit of the generic ideal is itself now dismissed as a “Romantic” dream leading to “fraternity terror” (AM, 101).

A2: Nietzsche
The eternal recurrence is the worst form of nihilism – the attempt to find meaning through repetition conveys a dread at the possibility of a lack of meaning, it is only through denial of meaning can it be possible
Loy prof phil @ Bunkyo U, Japan 1996 (David, “A Buddhist critique of Nietzsche” Asian Philosophy Vol. 6, No. 1, March http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ADM/loy.htm)
The answer is complex, of course, and there is much that Buddhists can learn from Nietzsche, the first post-modernist and still the most important one. In order to reach that answer, however, it will first be necessary to gain some understanding of anatman, the 'no self' doctrine central to Buddhism and to the still-widespread misunderstanding of Buddhism as nihilistic. Of the various ways for us to approach anatman, one of the most insightful is through modem psychology. Buddhism anticipated its reluctant conclusions: guilt and anxiety are not

adventitious but intrinsic to the ego. That is because our dissatisfaction with life derives from a repression even more immediate than death-terror: the suspicion that 'I' am not real. For Buddhism, the sense-of-self is not some selfexisting consciousness but a mental construction which experiences its own groundlessness as a lack. On this account, our most problematic dualism is not so much life fearing death as a fragile sense-of-self dreading its own nothingness. By accepting and yielding to that groundlessness, however, I can discover that I have always been grounded, not as a self-present being but as one manifestation of a web of relationships which encompasses everything. What does this understanding of self-as-lack imply about ethics, truth, and the meaning of life for us?
That is the question which motivates this paper, for to raise these issues in the Western tradition is to find ourselves in a dialogue with Nietzsche, whose own texts resonate with many of the same insights: for example, his critiques of the subject ("The 'subject' is not something given, it is something added and invented and projected behind what there is." WP 481) and substance ("The properties of a thing are effects on other 'things' ... there is no 'thing-in-itself.'" WP 557). From this critique, Nietzsche also drew some conclusions quite similar to those of Buddhism: in particular, that morality, knowledge and meaning are not discovered but constructed -- internalised games we learn from each other and play with ourselves. Perhaps the history of his own psyche reveals how momentous these discoveries were; and inevitably his insights were somewhat distorted. Nietzsche understood how the distinction we make between this world and a higher spiritual realm serves our need for security, and he saw the bad faith in religious values motivated by this need. He did not understand how his alternative, more aristocratic values, also reflects the same anxiety. Nietzsche ends up celebrating an impossible ideal, the heroic-ego which overcomes its sense of lack, because he does not see that a heroic ego is our fantasy project for overcoming lack. Nietzsche realised how the search for truth is motivated by a sublimated desire for symbolic security; his solution largely reverses our usual dualism by elevating ignorance and 'untruth' into conditions of life. Philosophy's attempt to create the world reflects the tyrannical will-to-power, becoming the most 'spiritualised' version of the need to impose our will Insofar as truth is our intellectual effort to grasp being symbolically, however, those who no longer need to ground themselves can play the truth-versus-error game with lighter feet. Nietzsche overlooks a different reversal of perspective which could convert the bad-infinite of the heroic will-as-truth into the good infinite of truth-as-play. What he

considered the crown of his system -- eternal recurrence -- is actually its denouement. Having seen through the delusion of Being, Nietzsche could not let it go completely, for he still sought a Being within Becoming. 'To impose upon becoming the character of being -- this is the supreme will to power' (WP 617). Having exposed the bad faith of believing in eternity, Nietzsche is nonetheless able to affirm the value of this moment only by making it recur eternally. In place of the neurotic's attempt to rediscover the past in the future he tries to rediscover the present in the future, yet the eternal recurrence of the now can add something only if the now in itself lacks something. Rather than the way to vanquish nihilism, Nietzsche's will-to-power turns out to be pure nihilism, for nihilism is not the debacle of all meaning but our dread of that debacle and what we do to avoid it. This includes compulsively seizing on certain meanings as a bulwark against that form of lack. If so, the only solution to the dread of meaninglessness is meaninglessness itself: only by accepting meaninglessness, by letting it devour the meanings that we use to defend ourselves against our nothingness, can we realise a meaning-freeness open to the possibilities that arise in our world. In sum, when the lack-driven bad infinite transforms into a lacking-nothing good-infinite, the dualisms of good-versus-evil, truth-versus-error, and meaningfulness-versus-meaninglessness are realised to be games. Do I play them or do they play me? As long as we do not understand what is motivating us, we play with the seriousness of a life-versus-death struggle, for that is what the games symbolise for a self preoccupied with its lack. We are trapped in games which cannot be escaped yet cannot be won, since playing well does not resolve one's sense-of-lack. When there is no need to get anything from the game or gain cloture on it, we can play with the seriousness of a child absorbed in its game. [3

A2: Nietzsche
The will to power re-creates the slave morality it intends to criticize – both are attempts to make

up for a lack in the self, the only truly ethical action is to view oneself as distinct from the world and view the self as interconnected to all other beings
Loy prof phil @ Bunkyo U, Japan 1996 (David, “A Buddhist critique of Nietzsche” Asian Philosophy Vol. 6, No. 1, March http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ADM/loy.htm)
The will-to-power cannot be separated from its sublimation (or 'spiritualisation'), for Nietzsche discovered them together. He was one of the first classicists to realise that the original Olympic games were a sublimated form of war. Nietzsche contended that Greek civilisation was noble and sublime precisely because it had been so cruel and bloodthirsty; the 'golden age' was created by bringing this original ferocity under control. "The thought seems to be: where there is 'the sublime' there must have been that which was made sublime -- sublimated -- after having been for a long time not sublime." [14] Having detected this phenomenon in ancient Greece, Nietzsche began to notice sublimated 'base' impulses in many kinds of activity; for example, Wagner's ferocious will sublimated into the Bayreuth festival. This makes Nietzsche the first, as far as I know, to undertake a systematic study of repression. Nietzsche sees the sublimity of Greek culture as the sublimation of its original ferocity, yet here perhaps the genealogist of morals does not trace his genealogy back far enough. What makes man so ferocious? Can even the will to power, irreducible for Nietzsche, be deconstructed? What, after all, does power mean to us? All power is in essence power to deny mortality. Either that or it is not real power at all, not ultimate power, not the power that mankind is really obsessed with. Power means power to increase oneself, to change one's natural situation from one of smallness, helplessness, finitude, to one of bigness, control, durability, importance. (Becker) [15] We feel we are masters over life and death when we hold the fate of others in our hands, adds Becker; and we feel we are real when the reality of others is in our hands, adds Buddhism. From that perspective, however, desire for power is little different from the slave morality Nietzsche criticises. Both become symptoms of our lack, equally frustrating inasmuch as we are motivated by something that cannot be satisfied in the way we try to satisfy it. No wonder Nietzsche's will-to-power can never rest, that it needs to expand its horizons, and that for most of us morality has been a matter of collecting religious brownie points. In both cases we think that we have found the way to get a grip on our eligibility for immortality -- or being. The whole basis of the urge to goodness is to be something that has value, that endures... Man uses morality to try to get a place of special belongingness and perpetuation in the universe... Do we wonder why one of man's chief characteristics is his tortured dissatisfaction with himself, his constant self-criticism? It is the only way he has to overcome the sense of hopeless limitation inherent in his real situation. (Becker) [16] When I realise that I am not going to attain cloture on that diabolical part of myself, it is time to project it. "The Devil is the one who prevents the heroic victory of immortality in each culture -- even the atheistic, scientific ones." [17] As long as lack keeps gnawing, we need to keep struggling with the Devil, and as we all know the best devil is one outside our own group. Evil is whatever we decide is keeping us from becoming real, and since no victory over any external devil can yield the sense of being we seek, we have become trapped in a paradox of our own making: evil is created by our urge to eliminate evil. Stalin's collectivisation programme was an attempt to build a more perfect socialist society. The Final Solution of the Nazis was an attempt to purify the Earth of its vermin. The Buddhist critique of such ressentiment includes understanding the self-deception involved in such dualistic thinking, when I identify with one pole and vainly try to eliminate its interdependent other. [18] Buddhism gets beyond good and evil not by rebaptising our evil qualities as our best, but with an entirely different perspective. As long as we experience ourselves as alienated from the world, and society as a set of separate selves, the world is devalued into a field-of-play wherein we compete to fulfill ourselves. That is the origin of the ethical problem we struggle with today: without some transcendental ground such as God, what will bind our atomised selves together? When my sense-of-self lets-go and disappears, however, I realise my interdependence with all other phenomena. It is more than being dependent on

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them: when I discover that I am you, the trace of your traces, the ethical problem of how to relate to you is transformed. [19] Of course, this provides no simple yardstick to resolve knotty ethical dilemmas. Yet more important, I think, is that this absolves the sense of separation between us which usually makes those dilemmas so difficult to resolve, including the conceit that I am the one who has privileged access to transcendental principles, or who embodies more fully the will-to-power. Loss of self-preoccupation entails the ability to respond to others without an ulterior motive which needs to gain something from that encounter. Buddhist ethical principles approximate the way of relating to others that nondual experience reveals. As in Christianity, I should love my neighbour as myself -- in this case because my neighbour is myself. In contrast to the 'Thou shalt not -- or else!' implied in Mosaic law, the Buddhist precepts are vows one makes not to some other being but to one's to-berealised-as-empty self: "I vow to undertake the course of training to perfect myself in non-killing," and so forth. If we have not developed to the degree that we spontaneously experience ourselves as one with others, by following the precepts we endeavour to act as if we did feel that way. Yet even these precepts are eventually realised not to rest on any transcendental, objectively-binding moral principle. There are, finally, no moral limitations on our freedom -- except the dualistic delusions which incline us to abuse that freedom in the first place.

A2: Nietzsche
The alternative enables genocide– the idea of supreme power for a person at the expense of others legitimates actions of violence against the weak
Simpson scholar in human rights/democracy 1995 (Christopher “The Splendid Blond Beast” http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Genocide/SplendidBlondeBeast.html) Friedrich Nietzsche called the aristocratic predators who write society's laws "the splendid blond beast" precisely because they so often behave as though they are beyond the reach of elementary morality. As he saw things, these elites have cut a path toward a certain sort of excellence consisting mainly of the exercise of power at the expense of others. When dealing with ordinary people, he said, they "revert to the innocence of wild animals.... We can imagine them returning from an orgy of murder, arson, rape and torture, jubilant and at peace with themselves as though they had committed a fraternity prank-convinced, moreover, that the poets for a long time to come will have something to sing about and to praise.'' Their brutality was true courage, Nietzsche thought, and the foundation of social order. Today genocide-the deliberate destruction of a racial, cultural, or political group-is the paramount example of the institutionalized and sanctioned violence of which Nietzsche spoke. Genocide has been a basic mechanism of empire and the national state since their inception and remains widely practiced in "advanced" and "civilized" areas. Most genocides in this century have been perpetrated by nation-states upon ethnic minorities living within the state's own borders; most of the victims have been children. The people responsible for mass murder have by and large gotten away with what they have done. Most have succeeded in keeping wealth that they looted from their victims; most have never faced trial. Genocide is still difficult to eradicate because it is usually tolerated, at least by those who benefit from it. The Splendid Blond Beast examines how the social mechanisms of genocide often encourage tacit international cooperation in the escape from justice of those who perpetrated the crime... According to psychologist Ervin Staub, who has studied dozens of mass crimes, genocidal societies usually go through an evolution during which the different strata of society literally learn how to carry out group murder. In his book The Roots of Evil, Staub contends that genocidal atrocities most often take place in countries under great political, economic, and often military stress. They are usually led by authoritarian parties that wield great power yet are insecure in their rule, such as the Nazis in Germany or the Ittihad (Committee of Union and Progress) in Turkey. The ideologies of such parties can vary in important respects, but they are nonetheless often similar in that they create unity among "in-group" members through dehumanization of outsiders. Genocidal societies also show a marked tendency toward what psychologists call "justworld" thinking: Victims are believed to have brought their suffering upon themselves and, thus, to deserve what they get. But the ideology of these authoritarian parties and even their seizure of state power are not necessarily enough to trigger a genocide. The leading perpetrators need mass mobilizations to actually implement their agenda. For example, the real spearheads of genocide in Germanythe Nazi party, SS, and similar groups- by themselves lacked the resources to disenfranchise and eventually murder millions of Jews. They succeeded in unleashing the Holocaust, however, by harnessing many of the otherwise ordinary elements of German life-of commerce, the courts, university scholarship, religious observance, routine government administration, and so on-to the specialized tasks necessary for mass murder. Not surprisingly, many of the leaders of these "ordinary" institutions were the existing notables in German society. The Nazi genocide probably would not have been possible without the active or tacit cooperation of many collaborators who did not consider themselves Nazis and, in some cases, even opposed aspects of Hitler's policies, yet nonetheless cooperated in mass murder. Put bluntly, the Nazis succeeded in genocide in part through offering bystanders money, property, status, and other rewards for their active or tacit complicity in the crime.

A2: Nietzsche
Permutation solves best – we must protect society by preventing our impacts before the will to power is possible
Golomb Hebrew U of jeruselum 2k6 (Jacob, “Can One Really Become a "Free Spirit Par Excellence"or an Übermensch?” The Journal of Nietzsche Studies 32 Muse) In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche embarks on the genealogical inquiry also to examine whether the emphasis on the immanence, autarchy, and extreme individuality of authentically powerful persons is compatible with a social context. The genealogical account shows that the moral patterns of positive power (detailed below) were occasionally manifested within this or that social and historical context, though not always in their most perfect or distinct forms. It also shows that factors external to these patterns (like Christianity) were responsible for their disappearance. Nietzsche's affirmation of society as the necessary condition for the materialization of positive power attenuates the radical stance of his extreme individualism. And because Nietzsche affirms "a community" (e.g., GM II:9) and does not seek to destroy it, he had to explain how the übermenschlich patterns of behavior or the morality of positive power are possible within the social context. He analyzes the nature of the interaction among members of society and maintains that genuine justice is possible only within a social fabric composed of equally powerful members: "Justice . . . is the good will among parties of approximately equal power to come to terms with one another, to reach an 'understanding' by means of a settlement—and to compel parties of lesser power to reach a settlement among themselves" (GM II:8). Nietzsche argues that the powerful individual is characterized by egoism. Avoidance of any altruistic activity and ideology would seemingly contradict any possible moral system. This emphasis on the egoism of genuine power, however, does not prevent Nietzsche from continuing to describe the moral and social network of powerful individuals who would willingly and freely enter the restrictive social fabric: The noble soul accepts this fact of its egoism without any question mark. . . . [U]nder certain circumstances there are some who have rights equal to its own. . . . [I]t moves among these equals with their equal privileges, showing the same sureness of modesty and delicate reverence that characterize its relation with itself. . . . [E]very star is such an egoist. . . . [I]t honors itself in them and in the rights it cedes to them; it does not doubt that the exchange of honors and rights is of the nature of all social relations and thus also belongs to the natural condition of things. (BGE 265) Nietzsche declares here that recognition of the value and freedom of others originates in egoism. Only an individual possessing an abundance of positive [End Page 27] power and a firm selfhood is able to grant similar rights and freedoms to all those who are recognized as equals. This individual is not afraid that this might diminish or destroy her or his own power. It is a self-affirmation and a confidence in one's power and virtues that enable the affirmation of "others" and their uniqueness. For Nietzsche, human egoism and the emphasis on selfhood do not contradict the social and moral order; they actually create the ideal conditions for its proper functioning.

because violence is actually an impulse to eliminate conflict by annihilating or incapacitating an opponent. Power.424). Agonistics helps us articulate the social and political ramifications of Nietzsche's concept of will to power. The self is constituted in and through what it opposes and what opposes it. Prospects For A Democratic Agon: Why We Can Still Be Nietzscheans. Project Muse) How can we begin to apply the notion of agonistics to politics in general and democracy in particular? First of all. The human self is not formed in some internal sphere and then secondarily exposed to external relations and conflicts. in other words. since the results are binding and backed by the coercive power of the government." wherein one must affirm both the presence and the power of one's opponents as implicated in one's own posture (TI "Morality as Antinature. however. . Democratic elections allow for. peaceful exchanges and transitions of power. For Nietzsche. 10 In the light of Nietzsche's appropriation of the two forms of Eris. A radical agonistics rules out violence. . [L]anguage is the weapon in democratic contests. however. What this implies is that the category of the social need not be confined to something like peace or harmony. The binding results. therefore. And in this passage Nietzsche specifically applies such a notion to the political realm.A2: Nietzsche AFF: Perm Use of the state is critical to Nietzsche’s exercise of the will to power—Self-cultivation is an agonistic process that democracy can enhance Hatab 2002 (professor at Old Dominion University. it seeks that which resists it" (KSA 12. "will to power can manifest itself only against resistances. is not simply an individual possession or a goal of action. and therefore as an intrinsically social activity." 3). and live under. 12 . democratic elections and procedures establish temporary control and subordination—which. the self is formed through agonistic relations. interactive conception. As Nietzsche put it in an 1887 note. . do not connote a deterioration of a social disposition and can thus be extended to political relations. it is necessary to distinguish between agonistic conflict and sheer violence. bringing the agon to an end. 11 In a later work Nietzsche discusses the "spiritualization of hostility (Feindschaft). . The Journal of Nietzsche Studies 24 (2002) 132-147. . p. so that conflict is a mutual co-constitution of contending forces. therefore. specific configurations of power. outcomes depend upon a contest of speeches where one view wins and other views lose in a tabulation of votes. . Political judgments are not preordained or dictated. any annulment of one's Other would be an annulment of one's self in this sense. therefore. it is more a global. [End Page 134] Opposition generates development. . . Agonistic relations. every advance in life is an overcoming of some obstacle or counterforce. Competition can be understood as a shared activity for the sake of fostering high achievement and self-development. contestation and competition can be seen as fundamental to selfdevelopment and as an intrinsically social phenomenon. produce tangible effects of gain and loss that make political exchanges more than just talk or a game. the policies of the winner. . and depend upon. The urgency of such political contests is that losers must yield to. Therefore. we notice. of domination and submission in democratic politics. can always be altered or reversed because of the succession of periodic political contests. How can democracy in general terms be understood as an agonistic activity? Allow me to quote from my previous work.

yet workable conceptions of justice and injustice are established by the historical force of human law. out of which a future grows: perhaps nothing antagonizes its "modern spirit" so much. Here Nietzsche analyzes the law in a way analogous to his account of the Greek agon and its healthy sublimation of natural impulses for destruction. He indicates that the global economy of nature is surely not a function of justice. Nietzsche attributes the historical emergence of law not to reactive resentment but to active. one lives very irresponsibly: precisely this is called "freedom. Prospects For A Democratic Agon: Why We Can Still Be Nietzscheans. repudiated: one fears the danger of a new slavery the moment the word "authority" is even spoken out loud. That is how far decadence has advanced in the valueinstincts of our politicians." That which makes an institution an institution is despised.11. A legal system is a life-promoting cultural force that refashions natural energies in less savage and more productive directions." 39). Card Continues ." and that are able to reconfigure offenses as more "impersonal" violations of legal provisions rather than sheer personal injuries. Surprisingly. hated. and that are not an elimination of conflict but an instrument in channeling the continuing conflict of different power complexes. One lives for the day. The Journal of Nietzsche Studies 24 (2002) 132-147. Because of our modern faith in a foundational individual freedom. Nietzsche does not indict such forces as slavish infirmities. of our political parties: instinctively they prefer what disintegrates. we no longer have the instincts for forming and sustaining the traditions and modes of authority that healthy institutions require. what hastens the end. Hatab 2002 (professor at Old Dominion University. The whole of the West no longer possesses the instincts out of which institutions grow.A2: Nietzsche Nietzsche rejected the repudiation of institutions. Project Muse) Those who take Nietzsche to be diagnosing social institutions as descendants of slave morality should take note of GM II. Finally. worldly forces that check and redirect the "senseless raging of revenge. where Nietzsche offers some interesting reflections on justice and law. where Nietzsche clearly diagnoses a repudiation of institutions as a form of decadence. one lives very fast. Legal arrangements are "exceptional conditions" that modulate natural forces of power in [End Page 136] social directions. He saw the state as a place to realize his alternative. those who read Nietzsche as an anti-institutional transgressor and creator should heed TI ("Skirmishes of an Untimely Man.

we can retrieve an Aristotelian take on social institutions as fitting and productive of human existence. Most procedural rules are built around the idea of coequal competition in open court before a jury who will decide the outcome. 17 I think that both notions of separation of powers and legal adversarialism are compatible with Nietzsche's analysis of the law noted previously—that a legal order is not a means of preventing struggle. 16 Our common law tradition is agonistic in both conception and practice. and proper operation of government offices and judicial practice. And the presumption of innocence is fundamentally meant to contest the government's power to prosecute and punish.Card Continued In the light of these remarks. but by multiplying the number of power sites in a government and affirming their competition through mutual self-assertion [End Page 137] and mistrust. tyranny is avoided not by some project of harmony. . And an agonistic conception of political activity need not be taken as a corruption or degradation of an idealized order of political principles or social virtues." With a primal conception of power(s). function. Our own tradition of the separation of powers and an adversarial legal system can be taken as a baseline conception of the nature. where the judge in most respects plays the role of an impartial referee. but "a means in the struggle between power-complexes" (GM II.11). a Nietzschean emphasis on power and agonistics offers significant advantages for political philosophy. The founders of the Constitution inherited from Montesquieu the idea that a division of powers is the best check on tyranny. but as modulations of a ubiquitous array o