Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quick Thought

As I write this, there are now five wild turkeys strutting up and down my property.

I would like very much to piss off Peter Singer and Ingrid Newkirk.

Besides, after having run in place for thirty minutes, I am hungry.

I am reconsidering my pacifist stance against guns or, for that matter, crossbows, truncheons, bludgeons, or even the use of shovels as deadly force.

Like I said, I am hungry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jus ad Bellum

So, Mexico is now embroiled in a very, very bloody drug war. The drug lords are killing anyone who gets in their way. This war took the lives of 5,736 persons last year, and the death rate is only accelerating--1,000 during this past January alone. So, the Mexican Drug War has claimed far more lives than those that were lost on 9/11.

Now, 9/11, as everyone should know, was used to justify a war of retaliation, the Afghan War, and a war of prevention, the Iraq War. The rationale for the second war was this: Saddam Hussein has lots and lots of Weapons of Mass Distraction, and Saddam is an evil madman, Hitler on meth. There is no telling what he will do with his apocalyptic arsenal. He could open it up to all kinds of terrorists who want to visit even more 9/lls upon our poor, freedom-loving heads. We can't let another 9/11 happen. Therefore, we must destroy Saddam before he destroys us. Therefore, Shock and Awe. Therefore, fuck Iraq, and then we can sleep at night and continue to love freedom.

But Saddam did not attack us. He did not have those stockpiles of WMD, and he was not arming the terrorists threatening our oh so precious freedoms. But so what? Saddam was still a mad, evil monster who had used mustard gas on his own people and, even though he had no WMD left, he still knew how to make more and was planning to make more, because that's the nature of heinous dastardly villainous bastards like him. To prevent another 9/11 we had no choice but to take him out (and destroy Iraq and take its oil as well, but that's irrelevant; I don't know why, but the neo-cons say that it is).

Okay, so let's return now to the Mexican Drug War. Where are the Drug Lords and their goons getting the weapons that are now terrorizing the good people of Mexico? From Texas. They are getting their weapons from us because in our country it is easier for a murderous thug to acquire an arsenal than it is for a minor to buy a pack of smokes.

So, if it is fine and dandy for us to wage a preventive war against a country because a mad dictator just might give weapons to people who might attack us with them, then it is clear that Mexico has even more reason to attack and invade us. Whereas it was only paranoid imagination that Iraq would attack us or arm the terrorists who would attack us, it is not speculation at all to say we are arming the terrorists who are making Mexico a veritable bloodbath. It is a documented fact. If it is okay to ravage another country because of fear of what its mad dictator might do, then it is especially urgent to fight a country because of what its mad gun laws are actually doing.

Now, of course, Mexico won't attack us. They would get annihilated if they did, but in the light of our own theory of jihad, they would certainly die as righteous martyrs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Carmen Catulli no. 51 (dedicated to dchan)

Equal to a God he seems to me,
Or, if it be not blasphemy,
He surpasses all the Gods, too,
For he gets to sit next to you.

And listens to your sweet, sweet laughter,
Which rips all the sense out of me
For nothing is left thereafter,
When I see you, I prattle mindlessly.

But the tongue withers into blight,
From my weak joints my rage drips down,
My ears are jangled with her sound,
As my eyes blacken in the night.

Catull, leisure makes you rave and burn,
Leisure, Catull, is your disease,
Leisure has ruined kings in their turn,
And has destroyed many bless├Ęd cities.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Socialism and Capitalism

One of the tenets of Conservative Catholicism in these United States is the idea that the evils of abortion, contraception, and civil unions/gay "marriage" are intrinsic to socialism. That may be so, but why? If it is so, then it is because the socialist project, as we learn so clearly from Plato, is the replacement of the family by the state, and so the family must be wiped out in theory and in practice.

But these evils I would argue are also intrinsic to what Conservative Catholics have been duped by vile neo-con toads such as Michael Novak into defending as God's system, capitalism. The capitalist project, as we learn from Locke, is the unquenchable quest for joy in the amassing of wealth. This is what drives society, and so it must be a perpetual cycle. You can never have enough profit, you must always want more, because if you don't want more, you won't work for more, and then you will be overtaken by your competition and shunted back into the miserable proletariat (okay, fine, as we learn from Marx's interpretation of Locke).

(Oh, I must insert another inelegant parenthesis here to point out that it was precisely this mad competition for more that caused the current economic crisis. One bank wanted to get an edge on another bank by leveraging more, the other bank raised the stakes by leveraging even more, and so on and so forth until the rabid lunacy of banks leveraging 30-1 and then, presto, economic apocalypse that will force us to seek refuge with the Amish.)

Therefore, an ambition of constant Calliclean instability is the premise of capitalism, and, thus, the stability of the family must give way to it. Both socialism and capitalism must make war on the family because the telos of each is fundamentally at odds with that of the family.

So, what's my solution? I don't know. A return to medieval feudalism, perhaps?

We're fucked.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Response to Shanna Carpenter

Because I am at home now, I cannot access facebook and, therefore, cannot respond to Miss Carpenter's latest volley in our rather acrimonious debate, at least not on facebook. I can respond here and I will do so in the hope Miss Carpenter will see the response when it is threaded through to my facebook site. This note is meant for Miss Carpenter and others who have happened to have follow our debate on facebook. Those who have not will, of course, not be able to contextualize the response below. My apologies to them.

My Response to Miss Carpenter:

Yes, I should have known that Brazil has much stricter laws against abortion than we do, and good for them. But my point still stands. The principle being upheld is that one may not do evil so that good may happen. This is the basis of morality. If you drop this principle, then you open the door to pragmatism, the premise of which ultimately is nothing but might makes right. I will concede that this particular case is an agonizingly hard one, of course, but even though it seems utterly heartless to say and makes me sound like Ian August Mosley, it still remains true that morality of hard cases makes for bad law. And it remains true that what you are arguing for is nothing less than the justification of the deliberate killing of an innocent human life, and that disgusts me as much as my position sickens you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Peter Sloterdijk on Social Networking Sites (e.g. facebook)

"The retreat from others, the permission to be alone, that is the great achievement of individualism. But the human being is a tribal creature as well. These Web Networks can happily unite both: One can be free of the annoying, obstreperous others, yet the entire tribe is always present."

Well, Herr Sloterdijk has obviously confounded "present" with "virtually present", which may or may not signify a genuine human presence. One can never know. The Internet is truly the world of Kantian Appearances. There is no way to have real knowledge of the thing itself behind the screens and terminals unless, of course, people meet "offline". But then, if that happens, Sloterdijk's "happy union" of liberal deracination with optional tribalism disappears. The other suddenly becomes real. The words and pixels become flesh, and the tribe then is a concrete obligation. If these social networking sites are the pinnacle of liberal individualism, as Peter Sloterdijk suggests, then liberal individualism is indeed a gnostic heresy. This is obvious, of course. The internet just makes the obvious glaring.

Social Networking Sites are Singles Bars where accidental commitments can at last be utterly screened out with certain, scientific precision, but doing so screens out the human being and leaves nothing but an illusion thereof in his stead.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Give me your best pitch

Convert me:

If you're an atheist, tell me why I should be as well, and why I must regard Sisyphus as happy. For those of you who didn't catch the allusion, Sisyphus was a man condemned by the gods to roll a great big rock up a hill, whence it would fall back again on its own weight, and Sisyphus would have to start all over again, and so on for eternity. Albert Camus, the colonialist atheist, took Sisyphus' fate to be the lot of modern, godless man. And the only truly philosophical question for modern, godless man is why he should not slit his wrists. Camus' answer is "The Myth of Sisyphus", believe it or not. Because there is no god, life has no meaning. Life is, thus, absurd. It is as pointless as Sisyphus' punishment, and yet Camus claims Sisyphus to be happy because, well, he chooses to be, I suppose. He manages to yank meaning out of sheer bitchery. How? Tell me this, and I might, just might consider converting to Atheism.

Of course, many Atheist would deny the premise of Camus' essay and assert that godlessness does not equate to absurdity. Well, I really do not know how one can defend this claim. If there is no God, then our world, our lives, everything around us is not the result of an intent. It is ultimately the result of chance, and any meaning we discover is really as fabricated as Atheists say the fairy tales about God are. But I could be wrong. If so, tell me, please.

If you are Wahabist Muslim, please, tell me why I should give up beer and gazing at young women in skimpy bikinis. Tell me why I should worship a very boring book. Tell me why the Koran was not just an excuse for Mohammed to fuck lots of women. And, while you're at it, what's my motivation for belief if I happen to prefer Blue-Eyed Virgins to Dark-Eyed Virgins?

If you are a Mormon, answer me this: may I exchange the planet I get as a reward for not smoking, not drinking, and liking the Osmonds for a library and several cartons of Camel Filters? I really don't want to rule a planet. I would probably make a botch of it, provoke a revolution, and be overthrown and beheaded. So, may I have a library without being a god? Like Nietzsche I'd rather be a scholar than a god.

If you are Wiccan, tell me what is the fun of being a witch without having the ability to turn someone into a newt or to render someone unable to utter anything expect Abba Songs?

If you're an episcopalian, answer me this: may I then believe in anything as long as I drink Gin & Tonic and think John Meacham is profound?

If you are Unitarian, tell me: may I still believe in the certainty of basic arithmetic or would that make me too much of a fundamentalist?

If you are a Sarah Palin groupie, would you please tell me how expensive your lobotomy was and if it hurt at all.

Oh, and if you are a Catholic who still thinks the Iraq War was a textbook example of a Just War--a war that has killed about a million Iraqis, displaced millions more, driven a hundred thousand women and girls into prostitution and sex slavery, has produced more starving children than even the brutal decade-long regime of economic sanctions did--tell me exactly why people like you do not give Catholicism a worse name than buggering priests or, well, vile, disgusting middle-aged leches like me?

If you are Protestant, would you please tell me why Luther was right and David Koresh was wrong or vice versa.