Tag Archives: democracy

On the Value of Life, or, The Botched Genocide

Genocide is as human as art or prayer.

It / would be better / That twenty million should die than one be saved.

It would be a stronger world, a stronger loving world, to die in.

Life is cheap, these days; / We have to compete with Asia, we are cheap as dust …

… whenever the sanctity of life is proclaimed, the smell of real blood is never far away.

God began this series of botched genocides by sparing Noah. Instead of a dove bearing an olive branch, a black-bird or vulture bearing hemlock could have spared us all this ridiculousness. The idea of “the remnant” has reached its comical finale. “The remainder” must also be considered: all that is left is the refuse, the swarming, writhing mass of human-garbage.

They loudly proclaim the sacredness of the life of all god’s creatures. Yet, to justify their frivolous existence, they rely on death: “I could die tomorrow! I could be hit by a bus!” This is, they say, “living life to the fullest!”

Today, what makes life worthless (that is: without value) is its sheer abundance. The number of superfluous people, especially angry, uneducated young men, abound today: “We are too many!” This is their cry as they blindly lash out against everything that functions, against everything that (they perceive) excludes them from its functioning.

If the twentieth century (or the uncountable, unrecorded centuries before it) could have taught us anything it is that life is not valuable. It is merely amusing that millions have starved to death, have been tortured to death, have been raped and left for dead, have been wounded so badly that death is a preference.

The Palestinians should heed well Herr Gandhi’s advice to the Holocaust Jews and commit mass-suicide;

the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.

This would spare the world having to watch the drawn-out, protracted, bureaucratic genocide Israel is committing before the gaze of an international audience.

If only Nature were more thorough, she would not leave her work half-finished. Instead, entire populations are ruined and the “charitable” turn out in droves in order to be recognized as “magnanimous,” to show that privilege born of greed is not merely self-interested. And the remaining population: the men rape the women, the women give birth to unwanted children, the children are raised in conditions of abjection. D.C. al Coda.

Humanity can be mobilized for great causes, there can be no doubt. Unfortunately, these causes always involve mobilization against their fellow man.

There have been no successful genocides amongst human beings, unless the extinction of animal species is counted as “genocide.” If, up to this point in history, the botched genocides are among the most “horrific” events, what would a successful genocide be like?

The “Other” is the victim of the present project of genocide (apart from Israel’s systematic destruction of the Palestinians). It is the “Other” that is the most pitiful victim of all because it is a victim of the democratic, inclusive regime of “universal human rights.” Once the “Other” has been exterminated, once it has become “one of us,” a liberated, consuming tax-payer, how will the value of life be determined? When there is no “Other,” there can be no differential to allow for any kind of calculation of value, let alone the valuation of life. Already, life is at a minimal value because the “Other” is so diminished. A glorious “Other,” not an “Other” fabricated to be a victim, is what challenges life to affirm itself in the face of absolute negativity.

All things considered, there is smug comfort to be had in indifference. Sooner help a wounded beast than aid a dying man on the street. Laugh at the dying stranger and walk away.

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PART FOUR The Archive and the Record: Memory, Obsession, the Discourse of the Miser and the Dustbin of History

The more obsessed with records, the more storage needed to house those records: thus does the dustbin of history devour the content of our existence. Because all is consigned in advance, there is no possibility for repetition (i.e. tragedy-farce-history); rather, what takes place is identical reproduction: the uncanny phenomena that even when two things are exactly identical, one is even more identical than the other. The trend can be seen in political systems (with certain exceptions such as North Korea and a few Islamo-Fascist states) and the adoption of global capitalism and the speculative market economy (again, with certain exceptions and slight variations on the theme like authoritarian capital in China, South American “eco-capitalism,” etc). Capital is very close to shedding the vestige of democracy it has worn for nearly two centuries—China being the prime example of capital without democracy.

Rage Without Theory: Egypt Is Not An Event

The beauty of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

The enunciated desire for “democracy,” seen in the Egyptian protests, is surely a sign of the times. Although mobilized, the Egyptian people lack a unified interest, there is no common reason. Crying for “democracy,” is, by definition, the interests and reasons of the many.

Mubarak has resigned! The military will oversee Egypt through a “transition.” But a transition into what? Two possibilities are immanent on the horizon. The first is that the military refuses to give up the national authority bestowed upon it by the “international community.” The second, arguably more likely scenario, is that the party eventually “elected” will be a politico-theological aristocracy. A third, distant possibility: Egypt actually adopts the foreign discourse of liberal-democracy. However, all they know of “democracy” has either been distorted by their “democratically elected” former leader, or been stylized by Advertising Empires that promote democracy as “the best of all possible worlds.” But we know, however, it is not the best. It is merely the least worst.

For the Egyptian uprising to be an event, something like a communist language is necessary. Not necessarily capital “C” communism, but an abstract theoretical language that could easily name and then translate the Egyptian situation, its countable elements, and the proposed result of action (i.e. “utopia”). Communist revolutions were successful in the past by articulating a situation (the “class struggle”), naming its protagonists (the “proletariat”), naming its enemies (the “bourgeosie,” “kulaks,” “counter-revolutionaries,” etc.), and promising a “world to come.” This “world to come,” however, must always be recognized for what it is: a regime. And communist regimes have always been among the worst disasters (excepting, maybe, Cuba).

Here the problem is most clear: communist discourse, in its Marxian and Freudo-Marxian variations, is a dead language resource. Arab subjectivity does not appear to be compatible with or support communist forms of thought; though it is very easily adapted to fascism … Perhaps a left-leaning fascist populism is the best that can be hoped for.

It will be seen what direction Egypt heads toward. We all have front row seats in the theater that is all front rows: the screens of post-history flicker with images of Egypt’s uprising.

the essence of tragedy : obama november

This is the essence of tragedy,
To have meant well and made woe, and watch Fate
All stone, approach.

I AM AS FAR FROM BEING AN APOLOGIST FOR OBAMA AS ONE COULD GET. WHAT I FIND BEAUTIFUL ABOUT HIM IS THE AURA OF TRAGEDY THAT FOLLOWS HIM LIKE “A BLACK DOG BENEATH THE GREY SKY BY THE BLIND ALLEY BESIDE THE DEEP OCEAN.”

why is Obama’s administration meeting with such critical negativity from all sides of american consciousness? admittedly, he has not fulfilled the promises he made: his healthcare legislation has not changed much except that insurance companies cannot refuse to insure you based on pre-existing conditions; if you have such a condition, you will simply pay a higher premium. (this is from my limited understanding of the new American healthcare; i am not American; if I am wrong or misinformed, please be kind enough to let me know.) on august 19th, American forces withdrew from Iraq minus a reserve force of 50 000 American soldiers, as Obama said back in February 2009. Guantanamo is still operative. the american economy is far from “recovery.”

all this and more contribute to his future legacy as a Supremely Tragic figure on par with the greatest heroes of Greek tragedy. a few reasons why i say he is tragic:

    —he’s black
    —his presidency is the restoration of democracy proper
    —he has to / has had to deal with unprecedented crises (not least of which was the BP oil spill which has ominously disappeared from the front pages …)
    —many of the problems he faces are not solvable through executive power or legislation alone, i.e. “the economy”
    —the american president has little power domestically, and obama himself seems reluctant to unilaterally bypass the system of checks and balances (the exception being the bailout)
    —he smokes

let’s face it, Obama’s healthcare plan will eventually work out for the better, for all Americans. it will be rough going at first, but once it has sufficient funds to actually provide decent coverage for citizens, it’ll be fun on a bun. of course, the critique that bailing out the auto and financial sector could have funded universal healthcare is another issue altogether; the short answer is that there is a structural asymmetry in american economics in which Main street does not thrive without Wall street. this is not Obama’s doing.

of course waging “war on terror” is not Obama’s doing either: that is Bush’s legacy and the boredom of proto-american fascists who are bored at home and need combat abroad (see THE HURT LOCKER). “opportunities for battle were increasingly scarce; not so women eligible for proposals of marriage” (theweleit, 28). the problem with Guantanamo is that no state wants the prisoners who are imprisoned there so that even if they were released today they would have nowhere to go.

it is true for every leader that there will always be opposition to the decisions made. but Obama is a special case. every single decision he makes will be the “wrong” one and not just because people are opposed to it. it will be “wrong” because his presidency is invested with the hopes of saving the american nation, a thoroughly impossible and thankless task. people voted in droves for Obama not because “they knew” his presidency would bring radical change but because “they believed” and “wanted to believe” and were therefore deceived into believing their own illusions for a better future.

Obama will be the one they blame for improving upon the disaster which preceded him: how dare he!? all who voted for Obama are anticipating the final betrayal that he is, after all, limited by obligations to his campaign donors, his corporate sponsors, the members of his cabinet—all of whom precede his obligations to “the people.”

his highest obligation, however, is one that even he is unaware of: Obama’s presidency is the tragedy that will be repeated as farce, and the repetition of farce become history.

a ramble

G20 / G8 protesters VS G20 / G8 security = negative dialec-trix or rage degree zero.

north american protesters should take a lesson from greece and thailand or study a little bit of history and read robespierre or mao: revolution requires blood for its fuel, like freedom, like liberty – unlike luxury, and the whorish pseudo-philosophical attitude: “love of truth.”

Seek for food and clothing first, then the Kingdom of God shall be added unto you.
– Hegel, 1807

america: where did we go wrong? democracy since BUSH is the equivalent of a MOSCOW show trial (V. Putin, Ahmadinejad, S. Berlusconi, more to come, surely others will follow; at least Kim Jong-Il does not pretend he is anything but a dictator).