Monday, July 27, 2009

Sarah Palin's Valedictory

In her farewell to the Alaskan Statehouse yesterday, Mrs. Palin said that she would like to remind all those in the media that it is for their freedoms United States soldiers are overseas fighting and dying and that, therefore, the media should honor their freedoms' protectors and stop "making things up!"

Four points need to be made:

1) The soldiers who are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are hardly doing so for the freedom of the press as Mrs. Palin would have us believe. We have no freedom of the press to fight and die for. If we had real freedom of the press, then the American People would be allowed to see the real horrors of war every night on their televisions, reported by journalists not embedded with and, therefore, not beholden to the military. But that kind of reporting happened in Vietnam, and it turned people against the war, and so our government had to put an end to such "freedoms". That's why now all our war journalists might as well be marionettes.

2) If the media had stopped making things up like, say, the story that Saddam Hussein would soon be able to shoot all kinds of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons at us, our soldiers would not be fighting and dying in that "war for freedom" that Mrs. Palin so jingoistically adores. Moreover, if the media had not been so busy making things up about the Big Bad Baghdad Bogeyman and reported true things such as, say, that the Taliban were ready to hand us Osama bin Laden if we only gave them hard proof that he was indeed behind the 9/11 Attacks, then our soldiers might not now be fighting and dying for "freedom" in Afghanistan, either.

3) Our soldiers are not the ones paying the heaviest price for our "freedoms". The poor people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan are. Our "free" media should honor them by at least reporting truthfully and comprehensively about how many of them our "freedom fighters" are wounding, torturing, and murdering.

4) Even without Tina Fey Sarah Palin remains a stupid, clueless, fascist bitch.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hey, what about the Bisexuals?

If current marriage laws in all but five states (I think it is five, anyway) deny an entire class of people the "fundamental" right to marry whomever they wish, don't these laws in their most unenlightened insistence that marriage is between just two people shamelessly violate the basic human rights of the bisexual? I mean, how the hell is a bisexual supposed to actualize fully his or her (or both) sexual identity with just one spouse?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A reminder to certain readers of mine

One simply cannot be pro-life, declare that all human life is sacred and, therefore, should be respected, honored, and, above all, protected and at the same time support the murderous foreign policy of the United States Government, the premise of which is that it is noble and sweet to kill lots and lots of people for the sake of natural resources to fuel our gluttony.

Therefore, if you still support, say, the Iraqi War or the Afghan War but insist that you are pro-life, please, stop. You are doing the pro-life cause a disservice by robbing it of its original meaning and replacing it with something that cries out to God for vengeance.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just Curious: Is this offensive?

"Agriculture is now motorized food industry--in essence the same as the manufacturing of corpses in gas chambers and extermination camps, the same as blockading and starving of nations, the same as the manufacture of hydrogen bombs."

Historians of Philosophy will recognize the above quote as one of the Nazi Martin Heidegger's more infamous dicta, and yet it seems to me that what he says here is the point of departure for the current critique of the Food Industry. After all, the predicate of this critique is that the Food Industry treats nature like a whore to be raped, and how is that different in kind from treating human beings as material for lamp shades?

So, if the critique against the Food Industry has a point, does this mean a progression in Heidegger's rehabilitation, or do we want to say that people like Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and all advocates of a return to traditional (what is now called "organic") farming are really closet National Socialists?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Parmenidian Prayer by Friedrich Nietzsche

Below is my very, very favorite Nietzsche Quote. I know, I know. I am supposed to be a very devout Catholic and, therefore, I am not supposed to like Nietzsche. I also am supposed to practice custodia oculorum each and every time a lithe, luscious, and therefore tempting young woman crosses my path, but I do not. Philosophy starts in wonder and unfortunately I am too much of a philosopher to resist the wide-eyed wonder for which a beautiful young woman is the efficient, material, formal, and final cause. Yeah, I am a hypocrite. Perhaps. I am also Jesuit-educated and, therefore, can come up for an excuse for any sin just like an American Christian Republican but with this difference, my rationalizations are wittier and more elegant. I can always claim allegiance to the vigorous philosophical tradition that has always existed within Catholicism to justify my roving eye.

Yeah, but back to the Nietzsche Quote. It is a slap at Parmenides, the first systematic philosopher of Being, who was so obsessed with the eternity thereof that he philosophized Being out of our lives. Because he reasoned that Being must be eternal and unchanging, he thought he was forced to conclude that nothing transitory had Being and, thus, that everything around us was not a thing at all but simply an illusion, a lie. Parmenides was the first Protestant. The Protestants say nature is totally depraved and, thus, cannot be Godly in any way, and thus we must rely on faith alone in a God that can only be hidden, and Parmenides says that nature is too changeable to exist, and, therefore, we must conclude that we can never ever experience true Being. The former expresses philosophically what the latter says theologically, and so even though Nietzsche is that "God is Dead" Guy, and I as a Catholic am supposed to revile him as the Great Evil Atheist Bogeyman, I can still appreciate this zinger against Parmenides as a really great philosophical zinger against Protestantism and still remain an Orthodox Catholic:

"Merely a Certainty grant me, ye Gods, is the Prayer of Parmenides, and let there be over the sea of ignorance one small plank, just wide enough to lie on! Everything that becomes, that is voluptuous, damask, blossoming, deceiving, alluring and seductive, all that is full of life, all this you can have; only give me just one single, poor, empty certainty!"

--Die Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen, §11

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Questions to Ponder on this Fourth of July

How can freedom differ from license? And is the freedom to bomb innocent civilians at will, as the Messiah is continuing to do in Pakistan, cause for celebration? And is the very attempt to define freedom a hopelessly performative contradiction because freedom, if it is true freedom, has no limits? And if freedom has no limits, does that mean that wars fought on behalf of freedom must be perpetual and, thus, can have no "exit strategy"? So, if true freedom can be sustained only by perpetual war which means, of course, perpetual bloodshed, why is freedom worth celebrating? Should the Fourth of July, the Feast Day of Freedom, be instead The Day That Will Live On In Infamy?