The above clip shows a recent planning session during which Anne-Marie Slaughter, a professional drill instructor at Princeton, lays out her plan for no-kill zones in Syria. Interestingly, the first step in establishing no-kill zones is arming everyone to the teeth. Gentlemen, you can't kill in here! This is a no-kill zone!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Primitive superstitious Afghan people are rioting because we burned the Koran. It's like this guy says, "This is not just about dishonoring the Koran, it is about disrespecting our dead, and killing our children." Like he said, it's just about dishonoring the Koran.
“Will you be the generation that sat on the sidelines and watched as candidate after candidate comes up, and the national media takes their whack at them to try to destroy them in every way possible, as they’ve done with every single Republican candidate, and as they will between now the election? Will you sit on the sidelines and say, 'Boy, that’s not fair,’ or will you stand up and fight for freedom?”I like that Rick casts this in world-historical terms, like: it is the generational struggle of those now living to stop the media from taking whacks at Republican candidates in an overstuffed primary contest. I am going to start using this formulation at home, I think. "Honey, will you be the generation that sat on the sidelines while I folded all of this laundry? Will you complain that I mixed your vintage tees with polo shirts? Or will you come over here and fold it yourself?" But voters love to be hectored about this sort of thing; it gets their essential juices flowing. Well, shit, if fighting for freedom involves hauling my ass down to the precinct and yanking a lever, you can call me Che, or Edmund Burke, or Joan of Arc, or whomever. The essential derangement of democratic systems comes alive every campaign, wherein participation in the accepted, prescribed, normative civic forums is cast as a revolutionary act. Obviously the Oh, Brother campaign did just the same back in its preadministrative phase, and I expect them to pull it out again.
It is a little sillier, if only a little, coming from the supposed conservative candidate, which only comments once more on the tragicomedy of the whole American political taxonomy. Our conservatives may or may not be totally atavistic, but they do proclaim allegiance to a certain revolutionary creed. They say they despise and abhor all the existing institutions of government and wish to through their Dr. Scholls into the machinery. Meanwhile, the liberals defend all the state's traditional institutions, which they claim to have erected with nothing much more than gumption, a fiat currency, and their very own wartime dictator, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thus does every worm, um, turn; the agents of so-called progress, having built their society, become with the swift passage of years the conservative defenders of it, and the former conservatives become the prophets bringing a new gospel, even if it harkens ever back into some Edenic past.
None of them are sincere, of course; Rick Santorum no more wants to destroy the institutions of American state capitalism than Barack Obama--this restaurant may be getting lousier and lousier reviews, but it's still making money for the owners and not yet fit for an accidental grease fire ifyaknowhadahmean. So there's that. I've said it before and will again: I truly do admire the genius of our system of superficial consensualism, a system whereby we are forever assenting to our present circumstances in the belief that we have any option to do otherwise.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Most libertarians and anarchists are not really concerned with freedom or liberty or self-determination or property or the nonexistence of property or any of their other infinite set of synonyms for autonomy per se. Their philosophies of personal freedom are quite literally personal. The old insult that libertarians are in it for the weed is reductive, sure, but it has the element of truth. To some degree or other, we are all in it for the weed, the guns, or the butt sex. By we, I mean men, and I'll come back to that.
Most libertarians will tell you that they would be willing to countenance a more randomly dangerous world and most anarchists will tell you that they understand that their philosophy, were it somehow to become actual, would result in what we late-modern materialists would regard as poverty and material privation. It is supposed to be a mark of bravery and/or sincerity to embrace a philosophy that would see you knocked down an economic peg or two, giving up the iPad in exchange for the ploughshare or what have you. But ironically those reduction in circumstances do not lead to a decline in the advocates' position within the structures of power; quite the opposite: the dismantling of traditional hierarchy and authority advances the lower orders in which the anarchist imagines himself. No number of caveats about a more horizontal world, a declined West, an equitable distribution of wealth or property or political determination undermines this fundamental truth in any way. To some degree, all you dudes imagine an advancement in the advancement of your interests.
Now, tell one of these freedom lovers that every interaction with the state rests on a foundation of violence, and he will nod in considered agreement, but tell him that every interaction between women and men rests upon a foundation of rape, and he will throw up his hands in genuine bewilderment and cry that he is never going to rape anyone! The theory is disproven. This suggests that he is at the end of it willfully opposed to considering, really considering, his own supposed principles, less yet to actually using the analytic tools of his philosophy to observe and consider the world around him. It is true that not every man rapes; indeed, most do not. Most officials of the state do not enact violence; the IRS is full of pencilnecks; the cashier at the city-county building is not going to blow your head off when you're late to renew your dog license. Still, we have no difficulty in recognizing the web of coercion underlying even the most banal interactions with the various agents of the state, even as we are astonished at the suggestion that the patriarchy functions in precisely the same way.
The difference is that men, when confronted with the specter of Woman, Ascendent, perceive the potential for an actual, relative decline in their own status, a meaningful giving-over of their own privileged position in the world to the benefit of someone else. Never mind that the decline is meaningless within the context of a real equality; indeed, it is the currency with which we might all buy a better world. Instead, they yelp like a gang of talk-radio benchwarmers confronted with the nightmare that some black guy, somewhere, got a job that might've gone to a white. Suggest that we must fundamentally reorder our very civilization, and they are all on board; suggest that this might involve a total renovation of our ideas of sex and gender, and suddenly The Women are coming in a genocidal program to cut off all their johnsons. Watching a group of soi-disant radicals circle the wagons against the very suggestion that men rule women--a statement so banal as to be a truism in any other circumstance--is one of the most laughable and pathetic sights imaginable.
If this most ancient and unyielding form of human inequity is of no interest to your philosophy of the destruction of all authority, then your ersatz philosophy is mere affectation, and your protests to the contrary are lies. If you find yourself confronting the word feminism with questions about how there can be a feminism if masculine and feminine are false categories, and if you are impressed with your cleverness in this regard, then I invite you to consider your own anarchy, wherein the whole object of your obsession, the State, is a metaphor and an abstraction.
Nothing is as disappointing as discovering that one's self-described compatriots are fools.
CORUSCANT - Should the League of Non-Aligned Worlds decide to launch a strike on the Romulan Star Empire, its pilots would have to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs through Reaver space, resupply their Tillium reserves en route, disable the shield generator, and attack multiple Borg unimatrices simultaneously using at least 100 White Star vessels.The Grey Lady reveals itself as one of the finest fanfic sites of the current era as it hungrily fantasizes about war between Israel and Iran. Were I a pessimist, I would perhaps view this as laying the groundwork, but I have lately been feeling an unseemly sort of optimism, and all this jingoism toward Iran is sounding increasingly impotent and fantastical. I say this with full knowledge that we are making cross-border incursions and doing drone strikes and plotting assassinations. Nevertheless, the scifi quality of our major propaganda organs' coverage of the future war suggests that we are stymied, that low-level conflict is the best we can manage. It's still hell, but it's a higher circle of hell. Baby steps.
That is the assessment of a bunch of nerds making mash-up space battle videos for YouTube, who say that the planet-killing device in The Doomsday Machine from TOS was obviously more realistic than the Death Star, although the Shadows' planet-killing cloud of nuclear warheads from B5 is really the only plausible device of its type, since obviously no directed energy weapon could ever blow up an entire planet--I mean, the whole idea is ridiculous--I mean, how could a beam weapon generate energy in excess of the kinetic energy of a massive collision between two planetary bodies . . . and, like, even that wouldn't necessarily break up an entire planet . . . like, how could you induce a planet to explode? It doesn't make any sense! Maybe you could drop a singularity into its core and make it implode, like in the Star Trek reboot, but . . .
What? Oh. "All the trekkies are like, 'Oh, yeah, our deflector shield technology is obviously superior to anything in the Star Wars universe,' but that doesn't mean that a Galaxy Class vessel is going to go up against a Star Destroyer," said Greedo175 during a wide-ranging debate at Memory Alpha.
-Elizabeth Bumiller, The Times