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4. terror and virtue - larvatus prodeo
May 6th, 2006
11:11 pm

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4. terror and virtue

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From:tristes_tigres
Date:May 7th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)

Your references are better, than your analysis

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Islamofascism is nothing but an empty propaganda term. And wartime propaganda is usually, if not always, crafted to produce hysteria, the destruction of any sense of proportion. Such words, undefined and unmeasured, are used by people more interested in making us lose our heads than in keeping their own."

—Joseph Sobran, Catholic commentator.


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From:larvatus
Date:May 7th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Your references are better, than your analysis

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The propensity to impose religious orthodoxy on the state and the citizenry will do nicely as a basis for definition and measurement.
From:tristes_tigres
Date:May 8th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Your references are better, than your analysis

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Imposing religious beliefs on others, like in this: "I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'" ?

Anyway, if a state's adherence to religious orthodoxy were the yardstick by which Washington picks allies and enemies in the Middle East, the list of the former and the latter would have looked quite differently. Methinks the proposed definition has an unpublished appendix.
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From:larvatus
Date:May 8th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Your references are better, than your analysis

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It would be impossible to overstate my unconcern with Washingtonian apologetics. But consider the source of “Nabil Shaath says”.
    You seem to be having an issue with the idea of the separation of church and state. On the other hand, you have persuaded me to omit the Islamofascist troll from the next revision. Thanks for the inspiration.
From:tristes_tigres
Date:May 19th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Your references are better, than your analysis

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You seem to be having an issue with the idea of the separation of church and state.

Not in the slightest. I am merely pointing out, that if the degree of the said separation figured among the criteria that the US policy planners use to select Middle East allies, than neither the harsh Wahhabi theocracy nor nuclear-armed creator of Taliban would have been among them.

And once thae fanciful notion that the US in the Middle is "fighting Islamofascism" is dispatched, what reasons are you left with ? Surely you don't believe that Iraq had ever anything to do with attacks of 2001 ?
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From:larvatus
Date:May 19th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Your references are better, than your analysis

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Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Consider the possibility that the U.S. venture in Iraq means to promote democratic values among peoples of alternative complexions and competing confessions. Unsavory alliances elsewhere are a separate matter. So is the character of George W. Bush. I have no need to admire the intellectual capacity or the moral integrity of Ronald Reagan, to appreciate and honor his contribution to tearing down that wall.
From:tristes_tigres
Date:May 19th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Your references are better, than your analysis

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Consider the possibility that the U.S. venture in Iraq means to promote democratic values among peoples of alternative complexions and competing confessions.

There have to be some evidence before such an unlikely possibility may be entertained. And heartfelt assurances of the US politicians and media/intellectual circles do not count, I regret to mention.
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From:larvatus
Date:May 20th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC)

Re: Your references are better, than your analysis

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Prima facie plausibility is satisfied by relevant policy statements by Maximilien Robespierre and George W. Bush, du sublime au ridicule. As I said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Which is to say that the burden of proof always falls on the purveyor of conspiracy theories.
From:tristes_tigres
Date:May 25th, 2006 09:12 pm (UTC)

Doublethink

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Over there, you emphasize your unconcern with "Washingtonian apologetics", yet over here you expect that Bush and co. assurances be taken at a face value ?

Rather, given the historical record of the American involvement in the Third World, including the recent examples of the US reaction to the elections in Venezuela and Palestinian autonomy, the assertion that the rulers of America care about a democracy deserves the status of a conspiracy theory.
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From:larvatus
Date:May 25th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Doublethink

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Michael, you know better than that, or ought to. No responsible man cares about promoting democracy as such, nor should he. Political philosophy owes little to Tocqueville for his analysis of the tyranny of the majority in De la Démocratie en Amérique I, Deuxième partie, Chapitre VII. Aristotle deserves the credit for repudiating democracy in the Politics III at 1279b:4-10. In the context of American politics, and U.S. Policy statements, democracy is a shorthand term for some descendant of Aristotelian polity, most commonly a constitutional republic. Whereas your examples exhibit the traits of unjust deviance in favor of rule by the poor, on which see also Plato’s Republic 8, 552a.
From:tristes_tigres
Date:June 12th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC)

Re: Doublethink

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By all means, let us understand "democracy" in this way. Still, in view of the long record of Washington's support for the assorted thugs and death squads worldwide, the only evidence that all those Reagan era incumbents now in charge had the sudden moral reawakening are their own solemn assurances to that effect.

In my examples, the objections are raised not to the electoral system, but to the results of the election. If when the approved by the US elites party wins, it's democracy, wheras when the other wins - it's the unjust rule of the poor, why bother with the ballots at all ? Why not simply declare the winner of the democratic contest by the cable from Washington ?

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From:larvatus
Date:June 17th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)

Re: Doublethink

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In your examples, legitimate objections that concern me are raised to subversion of democracy brought upon by democratic means:
Venezuela is an improbable country to have fallen into this political abyss. It is vast, wealthy, relatively modern and cosmopolitan, with a strong private sector and a homogeneous mixed-race population with little history of conflict. Democracy was supposed to have prevented its decline into a failed state. Yet once President Chávez gained control over the government, his rule became exclusionary and profoundly undemocratic.
Moisés Naím, Hugo Chavez and the Limits of Democracy, The New York Times, March 5, 2003

But Mr. Chavez does not genuinely accept democracy or the rule of law. He delayed the referendum for a year through legal manipulation and political dirty tricks. Now he flirts with outright political repression in an attempt to determine its outcome. In that sense, Sumate and its leaders are the proverbial canary in the coal mine: If they are prosecuted or jailed, the world will know that Venezuela’s referendum is tainted.
—Editorial, A Venezuelan Monitor, The Washington Post, July 30, 2004

For the moment, [Teodoro Petkoff] is on the sidelines. “Chávez has two pedals,” he said: “One is formal democracy and the other is authoritarianism, and he steps on one or the other as circumstances dictate. At every election, the results are close to being evenly divided [for and against him], and he knows how to read and weigh those results correctly. Aside from everything else, the sector that is against him is the most dynamic [of the economy]. And if he were to crush this sector he would have to do it a sangre y fuego — with blood and fire. But if Chávez sees that the 40 percent that is against him is growing weaker, he will step again on the authoritarian pedal.”
Alma Guillermoprieto, The Gambler, The New York Review of Books, Volume 52, Number 16, October 20, 2005

Chávez has the potential to disrupt this progress and revive Latin America’s old political habits. According to a recent poll, only about half of the region’s citizens — including minorities in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil — now believe that democracy is always the best form of government. Latin America is vulnerable, and Chávez has provided a blueprint not just for harnessing anti-Americanism but for the slow consolidation of power. Along the way, he may succeed in baiting the United States into a rhetorical fight that it can’t win, and impeding its international leadership. But ultimately, the United States will not be the biggest loser in the battle Chávez is waging. It will never suffer nearly as much as the people of the continent he dreams of liberating.
Franklin Foer, The Talented Mr. Chávez, The Atlantic Monthly, May 2006
The excerpted articles are well worth reading in their entirety. I recuse myself from providing counterparts to these complaints regarding the case of Hamas. Naming the precedents recounted by Plato and Thucydides is left as an exercise for the reader.
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