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On "Getting Over the Holocaust" -- It's Yom Hashoa afterall!

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
This is a very nice peice I read in Ha'aretz this morning. It takes a sensitive and thoughtful approach to the relatively understandable 'advice' that Jews should "get over the Holocaust".


Bradley Burston said:
He was well-meaning. I'm convinced of it. His words were meant to be helpful, and, in the way of many well-meaning people, they were also deadly.

This is the fourth Holocaust remembrance day since the letter came in. Responding to an article about astronaut Ilan Ramon and the imagery of the Shoa that framed the doomed flight, a reader from Kennewick, Washington headed his letter: "Get over the Holocaust!"

"The nation of Israel", he wrote, needs "to mature and get over the Holocaust. It is like water under the bridge, the past, history. Americans must get over the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Viet Nam, Grenada, and Iraq (Desert Storm). That is life. Experience it for all God gives you and get over the past!"

It's a sentiment that makes a certain sense, at least from 9,000 miles away. You want to help, so you advise people who are still pained, still grieving, to move on, to get on with their lives.

It's a sentiment that also proves that it's a long way from Washington State to Auschwitz, and farther still to this place, which manages to find room to hold all of the ghosts of Auschwitz and hosts more, from as far back as the Inquisition, the destruction of the Temple, slavery in Egypt. All of them, and this month's Passover terrorism as well.

There are readers, many of them, who at this very moment are thinking "Oh no, here it comes, the litany, the ostentatious suffering, the reveling in victimhood, the endless preoccupation with the woes of the Jews."

There are readers who at this very moment are thinking, "These Jews, with all due respect, they learned nothing from the Nazis - they're just as bad in their treatment of the Palestinians, if not worse."

In fact, one of those who chose this Holocaust Remembrance Day to tell us to get on with our lives was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

With exquisite timing, Ahmadinejad chose the eve of Yom Hashoah to issue his latest advisory, telling the Jews of the Holy Land that they should pack up and move away - to Europe, the place, he says, we all came from.

The world leader who shot to international notoriety in October by calling the Holocaust a myth, wasn't through yet. "Logically, this fake regime cannot survive," he said, referring to Israel, in an additional incentive to persuade us to go.

This time, his harshest admonishment was saved for Europeans themselves, his compassion reserved for the Jews, whom he views as being trapped in a huge prison.

"Why did you force them [the Jews] to take refuge in Palestine?" he said, addressing Europe during told a rare news conference to which the foreign press was invited. "Why do you think they are comfortable in Palestine? They left because of your anti-Semitism."

"Open the doors of this big jail and let people decide for themselves.
You will see they will return to their motherland,"

The president is telling us to get over it as well. Move on. And out. For our own good.

It might be time to break it to Ahmedinajad that most of us didn't come from Europe, and few of us have any interest in living there.

It might be time to break it to our readers who believe that we are as bad as the Nazis, that the compassion showed by individual Israeli officers and soldiers in a broad range of contacts with Palestinians often has a great deal to do with the soldiers' consciousness of the Holocaust and of persecution of the Jews.

Anyone who knows this newspaper, knows that it makes great efforts to expose mistreatment of Palestinians by members of the security forces, in an effort to assure that wrongful practices are stopped.

What we do not do, is to do enough to expose and thus encourage the acts of compassion and human generosity that anyone who really knows the IDF, knows is part and parcel of the way the army works.

Some of the most compassionate IDF officers are, in fact, the children and grandchildren of survivors. Thousands and thousands of them. For them, there is no question of getting over the Holocaust. They will not. For them, every day of their lives is Yom Hashoa. Even after two generations.

It doesn't end, even if you try to make it end. The sins of the Nazis will be visited upon the Jews, perhaps until the tenth generation.

Sixty years on, the Holocaust bears different lessons for all of us. Some believe that the lesson is do unto others before they do unto you. Others believe that the lesson has much more to do with compassion and tolerance even when it may seem undeserved, when the blood cries vengeance. War does that to you. It replaces compassion with hatred.

Just this once, however, it might be time to look at the Holocaust for what it remains - a wound that will never heal, an experience that is beyond our experience, comprehension, or puny, wrongheaded automatic comparisons to current events.

Just this once, after all these years, let us honor the victims and survivors with introspection, with compassion, with modesty, with respect, with awe.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Ditto Much said:
not gonna happen

Not while the generation that experienced it is still alive.
I don't think it should ever happen--the systematic, human processing and farming, industrial nature of the Holocaust is too good an example of how dangerous a centralaised state bureaucracy can be. Every state is capable to committing another Holocaust against anyone....or everyone, fuck!

I used to kinda understand when people would get tired of learning about the Holocaust--but then I learned the stuff they never teach your in school...the stuff about how industrialised, well-organised and pathological it was. THAT'S fucking scary. Always hearing about "Six Million Jews...gas chambers...ovens....concentration camps..." actually seems to miss the point entirely when you think about it that way.

In a class I took this year, they drew a direct line from the Enlightenment to the Holocaust, and how everything in between was a precondition--though it didn't necessarily HAVE to happen, but Enlightenment ideas about science, nature and social totality were the birthplace of the State and all the horrors it has, does and will commit. THAT'S what they should teach to high school kids.

Talking about the gas chambers in the Holocaust is kinda like focusing on military hardware in a discussion about the fundamental injustice of war.
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
I don't think it should ever happen--the systematic, human processing and farming, industrial nature of the Holocaust is too good an example of how dangerous a centralaised state bureaucracy can be. Every state is capable to committing another Holocaust against anyone....or everyone, fuck!

I used to kinda understand when people would get tired of learning about the Holocaust--but then I learned the stuff they never teach your in school...the stuff about how industrialised, well-organised and pathological it was. THAT'S fucking scary. Always hearing about "Six Million Jews...gas chambers...ovens....concentration camps..." actually seems to miss the point entirely when you think about it that way.

In a class I took this year, they drew a direct line from the Enlightenment to the Holocaust, and how everything in between was a precondition--though it didn't necessarily HAVE to happen, but Enlightenment ideas about science, nature and social totality were the birthplace of the State and all the horrors it has, does and will commit. THAT'S what they should teach to high school kids.

Talking about the gas chambers in the Holocaust is kinda like focusing on military hardware in a discussion about the fundamental injustice of war.
I agree with you completely about how the tragedy of the Halocaust seems to be uniformly mis-directed. There are plenty of instances of genocide that are equally tragic on a humanitarian scale, some even more so, but the Holocaust is unique in the fact that it worked so well.

I'm not in agreement with how you point the blame solely on the system that was in place. Sytems, organizations and institutions are completely harmless by themselves, it is the people using them and the way in which they are used that is what should be of concern.

Let me use some concrete examples.

Pasenger airplanes have allowed the world to become smaller. They have facilitated business, politics, travel, and even the distribution of food as aid. It is possible that the ability for political leaders to fly and meet with thier counterparts in person may have even detered countless conflicts. Yet in the hands of the terrorists on 9/11 they not only killed thousands of US citizens, they started the biggest conflict the world has seen in decades.

Or the internet. A system that allows the decemination of ideas both good and bad.

What should be understood is how the system was perverted. Things like how the economic situation in Germany was used to scape goat those who were easily identifiable (Jews / gays etc). Or how propoganda was used to sway opinion. Or how Hitler used a private army to muscle in on the politics of the time.

Watching for such indicators makes identifying troubled areas of the world much easier. It was evident that something was going down in Afganestan when the began identifying non-muslims with patches on thier clothing, for thier own safty of course :rolleyes: Or the dire poverty, famine, and extreme population densities in many African nations (Rwanda) that make it easy to point to another "group" as the reason for the problems.

A good current example of this might be happening right now in the US. If the economy gets much worse they are going to be looking for some group so they can say "it's X's fault we are doing so badly". If X becomes Chinese I wouldn't want to look asian in the US over the next 5 years.
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
atbell said:
I'm not in agreement with how you point the blame solely on the system that was in place. Sytems, organizations and institutions are completely harmless by themselves, it is the people using them and the way in which they are used that is what should be of concern.
Yeah, fair enough--good examples too. Although the propaganda one is still--to me--an example of the system being constructed in a dangerous way. The state explicitly maintains certain institutions for the purpose of acheiving consensus...today it's called PR, but that term was literally invented to replace Propaganda, because of its bad reputaiton (an act of propaganda in itself). The very idea of state-centric control of information for the purpose of managing public opinion really scares me. But I know that it can be indispensible for promoting healthy ideas about, let's say nutrition and the environment and even teaching kids how to manage their money. It's just that the state has such amazing power through its bureaucracy that we may not even know that it's doing something bad...like right now.

For example, Canada does fairly imperialistic economics in the carribean and elsewhere, and we're helping support a relatively fucked up system in Afghanistan, but it's kept out of the public discourse for the most part. (True, it doesn't affect us, but it's supposed to be "our" state, in the sense that its legitimacy exists only as a function of our consent. And we can't oppose that which we don't know...and they take great efforts to sell certain policies such that they garner their own consent, turning the concept on its head.)

The can't claim to act democratically if they deliberately shape public opinion, because then they are just obeying their own echo.

I'm having some really cynical ideas about the state lately because of a lot of research for this one paper I wrote recently. It was about how the French Revolution created the modern nation state, and if you look at how they did it, how they created public education for brain washing, committed genocide to make everyone "French", tried to dictate a national dress code, it makes you really look at OUR system from a different, and frightening perspective. So, it should be understood that I am coming from that place. The research was really dark.

edit: Oh and I think the Mexicans are going to be the focus of blame in the US as their economic troubles unfold into crisis. A part of me eagerly await said crisis (though I could easily suffer as a result, but hey.)
 
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atbell

TRIBE Member
The phrase that came to mind while posting was "guns don't kill people, people kill people", but I didn't include it because I think it's usually bad to contradict yourself.

It's funny that you got such a different read of the French Revolution then I. Admittedly I didn't study it and I read Rousseau years ago but I generally felt the social contract was a fairly valid explanation of the fact that people give up freedoms because of the vast benefits of so doing. For this reason I have always felt that the Revolution was a monumental step forward for civilization and increasing the comfort of those who justly applied the principles embodied by the movement.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
atbell said:
The phrase that came to mind while posting was "guns don't kill people, people kill people", but I didn't include it because I think it's usually bad to contradict yourself.

It's funny that you got such a different read of the French Revolution then I. Admittedly I didn't study it and I read Rousseau years ago but I generally felt the social contract was a fairly valid explanation of the fact that people give up freedoms because of the vast benefits of so doing. For this reason I have always felt that the Revolution was a monumental step forward for civilization and increasing the comfort of those who justly applied the principles embodied by the movement.
Iin principle yes, but only in principle. The FR invented nationalism. One great example--apart from the state-sponsored genocide--was that two regions which didn't speak French (In fact at least 87% of France didn't)--Alsace and Lorraine...so the government came up with three options. 1) Take away all their children and have the state educate them. 2) Displace the entire population throughout all of france. 3) Extrerminate the population.

Apart from razing cultural, linguistic and traditional differences, the state aimed to impose a mass, uniform identification with the Republic. To this end, the Republic set up a centralised bureaucracy with a uniform structure and branches throughout the country. Revolutionary leaders also established general military service for all males, a comprehensive legal code over all citizens regardless of status, faith or location.

The new republic implemented a state-directed secondary and vocational education system that Martin Van Creveld asserts “was in many ways the first of its kind in history.” Revolutionary France also became the world’s first state to have an official anthem for use on public occasions. The singing of a national anthem is directly akin to religious hymns, another example of the Revolution’s hypocritical appropriation of the controls developed by institutions it claimed to oppose.

In addition to these broad, institutional and bureaucratic reforms, the new state sought to micromanage every aspect of peoples’ lives by imposing a new state culture. The Revolutionary State systematically mobilised poetry, literature and visual arts for the purpose of glorifying itself. Through a broad social engineering programme, the new state aimed at eliminating any details that could lead to a sense of personal independence. While being rhetorically obsessed with liberty and freedom, the Revolutionaries sought to destroy systematically the most basic elements of cultural and personal expression.

In order to purge France of its pre-Republican past, the Convention established a special committee charged with erasing all traces of monarchical history from the public consciousness. The committee decided to eliminate the Gregorian calendar and replace it with a band-new Revolutionary one. According to Hanna Arendt, this was meant to cement the idea that with the Revolution, “the course of history suddenly beg[an] anew.” According to the committee’s spokesman, “we could no longer count the years when the kings oppressed us as a time when we were actually alive.” The new calendar was imbued with revolutionary symbolism and rhetorical devices to constantly remind people of the immediacy of their new present. Van Creveld wrote that “no better way of giving citizens the clearest possible indication of the state’s power to change their working habit and run their lives for them could have been invented.”
One of the more disturbing methods of accomplishing the goal of assimilation was the government dictation of a unified national fashion. By abolishing the right to dress as one wished, the state tried to force the population to bond with the new abstraction of republican France. One proponent of the idea asserted “[a] national costume will accomplish the goal, a goal which is so important to a free people, to announce, or to be reminded of oneself everywhere and at all moments.” (Robbing people of their freedom to dress how they wanted was somehow “so important to a free people”.)

Another example was a law requiring all adult men to wear the tricoloured cockade. Not happy with such limited control, the National Convention amended the law: “The form of dress worn by all citizens, their arms, their exercises, their festival paraphernalia and all things of common concern should likewise be determined by the legislature.”

The government asked the public to submit proposals for the new national style. The Committee for Public Safety— for who fashion was an obvious concern—rejected all public suggestions. In its professional wisdom, the Committee for Public Safety invited a painter to design fashion. He was told to give “his views and suggestions on the means of improving national costume and of rendering it more appropriate to republican morals and to the character of the Revolution.” The Committee dismissed his proposals as well.
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
In The Social Contract, Rousseau wrote that every individual must “put his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will.” According to Rousseau’s logic, there were absolutely no exceptions permitted; the collective must force the submission of those who resist. “This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free…” [emphasis added] It is painfully ironic to compare this Orwellian statement about freedom to one made by Dubois Launay, a hysterical apologist for absolute monarchy: “Only in monarchies is everyone truly free…The will of all being submitted and united to the will of one.”

With respect to its demand for complete submission, The Social Contract bore great resemblance to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. In it, Hobbes declared that the only way for a population to achieve security, happiness and freedom was “to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men.” After relinquishing their power individuals were to consider themselves the author of whatever policies were enacted by the bearer of that power. Referring to the man or assembly of men in receipt of the collective will, Hobbes wrote, “…he hath the use of so much power and strength conferred on him that, by terror thereof, he is enabled to form the wills of them all.”

While Hobbes and Rousseau appear to have proposed two indistinguishable dystopias, there was a subtle difference between them. On one hand, Hobbes very clearly intended for one person or assembly to control the combined fate and wills of the population who submitted their sovereignty. This was, by definition, a framework for representative government—and a defence of absolute monarchy as well. On the other hand, Rousseau invested each individual will into a collective and explicitly abstract “general will”. For example, he wrote that only “the general will alone can direct the state…” In fact, Rousseau bitterly repudiated the idea of transferring popular sovereignty once it had been amassed. “The moment a people gives itself representatives it is no longer free, it no longer exists.” Representative government, therefore, subverts liberty.

However, despite Rousseau’s clarification, his desire remained to have every individual voluntarily or by force submit himself to a higher authority. Thus between Rousseau and Hobbes (and Launay too), the predominant theme was the same: total deference to authority was the only source of freedom. During the Revolutionary period, even among the most bitter rivals with the most irreconcilable political views, there was always complete agreement about the necessity to annex every individual’s free will. That the language and rhetoric of this period are so saturated with references to individual liberty is profoundly disturbing.
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
Couldn't working toward a "general will" be translated into consensus building?

Isn't that part of the current governmental prerogative and a cornerstone of democracy?

I guess the difference might be between imposing a general will and simply finding and expressing a general will (aka consensus).
 
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atbell

TRIBE Member
^^^^^

What makes them useless?

Are their ideas misplaced?

You can't be just throwing around insults without an explanation.
 

Hamza

TRIBE Member
they are not policy relevant.
They deal with oughts and not reality.

Then again, I never did place much value on the "political theory/philosophy" side of the subject, I find it too detached from the bottom line, and I can tell you that no government - with the possible exception of Buthan - gives two shits about any theorist from the 1700's.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Hamza said:
oh god, you cited useless philosophers from introduction to political theory....F-
I've never taken that class....Just because YOU only know about those philosophers from your intro to Political Theory class, doesn't mean that's how I know about them.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Hamza said:
they are not policy relevant.
They deal with oughts and not reality.

Then again, I never did place much value on the "political theory/philosophy" side of the subject, I find it too detached from the bottom line, and I can tell you that no government - with the possible exception of Buthan - gives two shits about any theorist from the 1700's.
See, obviously you have missed the entire scope of this discussion. None of this is about "policies" or "bottom lines"...it's about the intellectual refferent of the modern nation state....but feel free to go back to POL101 if need be.
 
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Hamza

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
it's about the intellectual refferent of the modern nation state....but feel free to go back to QUOTE]

The intellecutual refferent of a state, a people, a religion are all byproducts of historical conditions which had nothing to do with theorists.

I look at an event and I see power relations and interests used to manipulate public opinion, gain favor and to define what the agenda should be. I don't bother to read up on the historical debates or arguments over epistomology, theory, etc. The fact that theorists have addressed issues and models is irrelevant to me.


Finally, to harp on the point that the modern nation state has somehow created a system which has allowed the genocide of people and the production of violence is a little naive. Human history - dating back to the caveman is chalk full of examples of brutality and violence. Thus, the nation state - post peace of westphalia if you want - was simply a continuation of our evolution. An evolution which has always been and always will be driven by the bottom line.

Look at the current trend towards "globalization" and coalition building to gain legitimacy - NATO, NORAD, UN, EU - these institutions and others such as the IMF and the World Bank are all supposed to be representative of the new era built upon some normative understanding of how the world ought to be....according to the distribution of power in the international system. Nothing changes the fact that at the end of the day self-interest drives the system. Nation state, or international agency,coaltion, superstate (EU) it all continues to act with the same predictibility of the earliest humans.

Obviously we have different approaches when it comes to looking at things, and that won't change. I'm pretty sure that I don't need to go back to POLS101 seeing as I've already taught that course.
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
This sounds dangerously close to a contradiction.

Hamza said:
I don't bother to read up on the historical debates or arguments over epistomology, theory, etc. The fact that theorists have addressed issues and models is irrelevant to me.
Hamza said:
I'm pretty sure that I don't need to go back to POLS101 seeing as I've already taught that course.
How is one able to teach about things that they don't read up on?

Hamza said:
they are not policy relevant.
They deal with oughts and not reality.

Then again, I never did place much value on the "political theory/philosophy" side of the subject, I find it too detached from the bottom line, and I can tell you that no government - with the possible exception of Buthan - gives two shits about any theorist from the 1700's.
Is it possible that while you find such things detached from the bottom line, others are able to make the connections.

For instance, it is quite clear to me that your study of the bottom line has already been done. Power politics, based on Machiavelli and implemented by Richelieu under the King Louis XIV made France "great" for all of two generations before the damage done by the ruthless use of real politic lead to the demise of the monarchy under King Louis XVI. Or we could site the latter example of Otto Von Bismarck in Germany who did the same thing as his predecessor only a century earlier and had almost the exact same results. Germany became great for a spell but then fell into war less then a generation after the draconian measures were taken.

These histories and theories become all the more timely as we advance to Kissinger who used the same tactics as outlined by Machiavelli and applied by Richelieu and Bismarck. And now, nearly one generation later, we see a state with dire enemies and ostracized allies, we see a state with a polarized population angry at things they don't understand, we see a state that is failing in front of our very eyes.

Had our leaders been better versed in thinking, in political thought, and in the philosophy of ethics and not simply in how to make money and how to sell to the masses, we might not be watching a the sun set on the American empire.

Hamza said:
An evolution which has always been and always will be driven by the bottom line.
Hamza said:
Nothing changes the fact that at the end of the day self-interest drives the system
This is the type of amoral reasoning that leads to the downfalls of civilizations, but if we must talk about the bottom line we should again reach back to examples of past civilizations that vanished, such as the Norse settlement of Greenland. In this case the bottom line was that the leadership of the settlement, pursuing their perceived self interest, were able to buy themselves the privilege of being the last to starve in the frozen north. In this case self-interest drove the system into the ground.

Hamza said:
Look at the current trend toward "globalization" and coalition building to gain legitimacy - NATO, NORAD, UN, EU - these institutions and others such as the IMF and the World Bank are all supposed to be representative of the new era built upon some normative understanding of how the world ought to be....according to the distribution of power in the international system. Nothing changes the fact that at the end of the day self-interest drives the system. Nation state, or international agency,coaltion, superstate (EU) it all continues to act with the same predictibility of the earliest humans.
All of the institutions you sighted ARE representative of a new era. One has to understand that we are only just starting this new era and that these are only initial attempts at getting things working better. 50 years in political terms is nothing, it's a flash in the pan. It would be fool hearty to expect such massive undertakings as the UN or the EU to work perfectly in their initial incarnation.

It's fairly obvious that policies and bottom lines that result in positive outcomes have been based on thought and scrutiny that includes elements of theories and history.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
hamza said:
I'm pretty sure that I don't need to go back to POLS101 seeing as I've already taught that course.
So you taught those poor students that thinking doesn't matter and they should only be guided by the bottom line, just because that corresponds to your amazingly narrow, self-restricted conception of political theory--in fact, you complete rejection of political theory, philosophy and thinking. What a tremendous diservice to those unfortunate students. Who knows now what horrors they will commit while piloting a state bureaucracy uniquely capable of committing the worst, most efficient terrors.

Hamza, your posts in this thread sound remarkably like an ideological pamphlet chalk full of political slogans and cliches. However, just because you can state these round about conclusions certainly does not make them true. It would be nice if you could back up your broadly generalised cliches and slogans with something other than....well, more slogans.

Thank you atbell.
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
atbell said:
I guess the difference might be between imposing a general will and simply finding and expressing a general will (aka consensus).

That's the WHOLE thing right there. That's the number one issue to me. They spend so much effort BUILDING consensus through PR that they can never claim to be expressing a pre-existing will, or even opinion. So they have turned on its head the entire concept of legitimate power emanating from the people.
 

Deep_Groove

TRIBE Member
Hamza, you don't think that there are connections between the IS of "historical conditions" and "power interests" and the logical concepts and ideas of theory? So what, does political science not exist?

What kind of classes do you teach, where bringing up moderns like Hobbes and Rousseau automatically gets you an F-?

how have you convinced yourself that free inquiry means narrow ideological indoctrination?

- Deep_Groove
 
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Hamza

TRIBE Member
You guys honestly think Kissinger sat around filping pages of "The Prince" before deciding to put policy into place? What came first the theorist or the policy maker?

This would be the "first debate in IR theory" and your examples of historical cases where states behaved in Machivellian ways is the same as saying "blame Morgenthau for the cold war because he laid out the the ontological foundation of postwar (WWI) realism when he wrote "Politics Among Nations". His work, like that of other theorists has been to try and explain/capture what human nature was/is.

It does not mean that states or politicians altered their behavior after reading up on realism 101.

I'm not saying that the bottom line SHOULD drive policy, of course I would love to see a fair international system, I've argued for it in many places by pointing out flaws within current policies on many issues from human rights to international security. All I'm saying is that the bottom line DOES drive policy.

I spent the better part of four years doing my work in the theoretical side of IR, and the first time I was exposed to a hard policy environment the theoretical stuff got torn to shreds. Again, I think you guys missed my point which was simply that governments don't give two shits about the post-sturcturalist marxist feminist view of the international economy, or any other theoretical paradigm - they simply don't speak that language. I'm not saying I condone this view. I've learned that to deal with gov'ts, politicians, etc you need to put things in terms of the bottom line otherwise it does not register.

As for the dig towards me having taught kids not to think, that's an idiotic comment to make and I won't address it.

Anyway, I'm through here.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Hamza said:
You guys honestly think Kissinger sat around filping pages of "The Prince" before deciding to put policy into place? What came first the theorist or the policy maker?
Henry Kissinger wrote a book called DIPLOMACY, all about the intellectual history of International Relations. Ouch! Oh shit. I'll let you catch your breath.

ALL the French Revolutionaries were obsessed with Rousseau, Montesquie, Voltaire, Locke, Hobbes, and Diderot. These are the Enlightenment Philosophes who ideas are THE pillars of modern society.

These are the thinkers that pioneered the subjects of "public opinion", "nationality", "the state", "the nation", "the people", "public will"...These terms are all permanent fixtures in the modern political lexicon. The Prince is ANCIENT compared to this stuff. But you knew that, since you TAUGHT this stuff, didn't you. So then you must know that referrencing 'the prince' is reduction to ridicule.

To ignore these issues with such dedication is to proudly boast ignorance.

And you're missing the point. The policy makers DON'T HAVE TO THINK about the intellectual referent of the systems they pilot. That's the whole point, is that they do NOT sit around thinking, otherwise they would freak themselves out.

It would cause tremendous cognitive dissonance because it would violate something they are emotionally and psychologically invested in. They would have to answer questions that they are neither prepared nor willing to deal with.

The intellectual referent CAME FIRST. The Enlightenment is the basis of everything today. The French Revolutionaries weren't government bureaucrats first...they INVENTED a whole new way of organising society, and they invented it based on PHILOSOPHY...specifically the philosophers of the enlightenment.

Before that--as you might know--soeciety was organised based around monarchies, feudalism, religious infallibility, seperate estates, nobility. The French Revolution destroyed ALL of that, and replaced it with a system that is entirely different, but far more oppressive and unrestrained. Society used to be governed by local relationships. Every city and province in France had their own constitutions and laws. The state destroyed every kind of social structure that competed with it.

That's why all this is important...and worth....you know, worth reading up on.
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
And NONE of this has to do with IR, which I majored in. None of it is about IR.

It's far more fundamental and basic--to the point of being totally irrelavent!

We're talking about THE STATE. Stateism. Governmentality. Think Michael Foucault, not Morgenthau. The STATE is the problem...it's a political invention, just like "public opinion." The state tells us that its power comes from us in the form of public consent. And yet it exerts itself endlessly for the purpose of imposing that consent upon the public. Manufacturing consent.

It's not about America or France, it's about THE STATE. How it works, its intellectual pillars. This is fundamental. And THAT'S where the problem is.
 

Hamza

TRIBE Member
Yes the state is the problem, I don't see an alternative to it.
Not all states are bad, the Sweden's of the world do a fair job of taking care of their people.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
This thread has suffered quite a derailment, though the intellectual discussion is fascinating. :)

However:

Hamza said:
oh god, you cited useless philosophers from introduction to political theory....F-
Hamza, it won't be long before SellyCat is teaching professors their place...trust me. He's a smart cookie. Your authority as a graduate is street cred for surviving the educational gauntlet, but won't phase any of us. ;)

Also, agreeing that "the state" is the problem is highly non-specific, and I think worthy of further discussion. I'm curious: are larger states necessitated by population growth?
 
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