11.11.2005

...breaking radio silence with incoming news... (and revised on Nov 12.)

A confidential memo circulating among senior Republican leaders suggests that a new attack by terrorists on U.S. soil could reverse the sagging fortunes of President George W. Bush as well as the GOP and "restore his image as a leader of the American people."


Found here. Not surprising, I guess. After all, that Goering quote is (I hope) a matter of public knowledge by now. But here's what I think is significant: these Republicans, or neo-conservatives, or whatever they call themselves, try so hard to be objectivists: that they are using Reason to perceive and to follow a greater Truth, a greater Virtue. Look at their hero Strauss: they crave a return to a time of purer truths and noble ends. At night, they can look in the mirror and see themselves wrapped in moral fibre.
Noble ends justify messy means. Remember? "We don't torture, but if we did it would be alright because it's a different kind of war." Anyone who decries those means is a philosophical dwarf, a closet traitor, etc. etc. right?
That moral fibre might as well be a Hollywood costume, borrowed from the set of "Patton" or wherever. It rings false. I don't to point you to any of the evidence that the CPA was the most corrupt government in history. You know all this. (okay, maybe it is worth a link. Just... hold your nose when you get there, okay?)
Here's the philosophy that worked for Bush for so long:

Means (lies, torture, war, ie. we don't wanna know)
==>
Ends (Security for the American People, democracy, blabla)

In other words, the stated ends of the 'war on terror' are to extinguish Evil, or at least its political influence. The means in which you fight it are inherently justified, even if they are in themselves are evil. Hence the argument that liberals (who the fuck are liberals again?!) should not 'defend' the monsters incarcerated in gitmo, because they would not extend that beneficience to us. Noble means are not a luxury we can afford.
I hope that the inherent contradiction of using evil to fight evil is apparent to everyone. I hope it is also apparent that the stated means and ends of this conflict are completely counterfeit.

I submit to you the revised version:
Means (terrorism, ie. letting it happen, exacerbating its causes)
==>
Ends (Continued Republican dominance)

The ends are as they have always been: the pursuit of power. And as never before has it been made explicit by those with the power, that the interests of people and their government are diametrically opposed. Time and time again the argument against anarchism has been made: that people are inherently cruel, and so some greater power must be created to pursue the lofty ends of freedom and justice. I would answer: power is inherently cruel, because because it provides to some the (usually violent, sometimes hegemonic) means to advance their own ends; that is, their own personal power, wealth, and influence. Power has never originated after the fact; power has existed before its alibi. In other words, its existence precedes its essence. Diminishing the ability of power to deploy violent means is the only way of ensuring freedom or justice. There are no ends, only means. Looking at means are the only way we have to measure morality.
But I digress. Some other choice quotes:
“The President’s popularity was at an all-time high following the 9/11 attacks,” admits one aide. “Americans band together at a time of crisis.”

Other Republicans, however, worry that such a scenario carries high risk, pointing out that an attack might suggest the President has not done enough to protect the country.


Never once is it suggested that such a turn of events would be a serious reversal of their stated aims, only that those means might not in fact produce the desired ends. It's positively ghoulish. Oh, here's another snip:

As Republican political strategists scramble to find a message – any message – that will ring true with voters, GOP leaders in Congress admit privately that control of their party by right-wing extremists makes their recovery all but impossible.

“We’ve made our bed with these people,” admits an aide to House Speaker Denny Hastert. “Now it’s the morning after and the hangover hurts like hell.”


Remember when democrats were licking their wounds after last election, debating that they hadn't done enough to 'woo' the right demographics, that they should drop the abortion thing, buy more guns, etc. etc.? Same thing here.
Whaddaya mean 'hangover'? I thought you were Down with the Family Values! You mean- you told me that you had moral fibre, but you were just sayin' that to get wit' me!!
Shocking, I know. But what this says is that the people doing the murderous arithmetic are the "moderate Republicans."

One of the things I hate most in the universe: used-car salesmen covering their ass with hijacked moral fibre. On that note, let's visit another corner of the vomitorium:

Ashley Smith, the woman who says she persuaded suspected courthouse gunman Brian Nichols to release her by talking about her faith, discloses in a new book that she gave him methamphetamine during the hostage ordeal.

here. Now, here's what's galling about this piece of work:
Nichols is accused of killing four people, including a judge.
"It's hard for people to understand the miracle of the story," she told the newspaper. "This was totally a God thing, to me in my life. This was God getting my attention, going, `I'm going to give you one more chance.'"
Yes, it's very hard for me the see the 'miracle' in a situation where four people died, a man got the death penalty, and a junky got a book deal. This is not, let me be clear, about contempt for christianity; there's is no real christianity in the story. What we have is a narcissist getting rich and dressing it up as the 'power of faith.' People using higher values to justify their own self-interest.

And why did god give her another chance? Could the answer be: 'because he has bigger plans for me?' Do those plans involve working at a shelter, benefitting the human race, y'know, doing all those 'jesus' things? Or does it involve profitting from a book deal while pretending to spread 'inspiration?' Let me add that the title of this book will be "Unlikely Angel." God is reduced to a literary agent pushing the incredible story of 'Her.'

ok, now I really have to get back to writing essays. consider us on hiatus for another three weeks. Then, though, there should be some new shit up. This year has been my first opportunity to really get into the work of the Frankfurt school, and it's certainly made an impression. For example, if you want to expand on today's polemic you can pick up Max Horkheimer's 'Eclipse of Reason' and read chapter one: 'means and ends.' So long...

2 Comments:

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Jake R. said...

I would love to read your thoughts on the Frankfurt School, I too have been reading them a lot more of late and have found it immensely exciting stuff. I'm going to pick up "Eclipse of Reason" soon, I just finished "The Stars down to Earth" by Adorno, it's a great study of the LA times astrological column.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger eric said...

Cool, i haven't read that one...
i'm taking a course right now, where our two primary texts are 'eclipse' and 'one-dimensional man', by herbert marcuse. both are really outstanding; i prefer marcuse right now because a lot of it i find more pertinent right now. it's kinda difficult, tho. they refer back to aristotle, plato, freud, hegel... ugh. be forewarned.

 

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