the spread of "freedom" and "democracy" continues unabated

whilst at home;

"We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"

and the reaction of the 'educated' classes to these triumphs of modernisation? applause - although the article notes unreflectively that "Some selections have been notoriously unpopular, such as Adolf Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1942, and Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979." and there is an alternative perspective perhaps worthy of consideration, and conspicuous by its absence from the arena of public debate.

"The conception of presidential sovereignty crafted by the radical statist reactionaries of the Bush administration is so extreme that it has drawn unprecedented criticism in the most sober and respected establishment circles. These ideas were transmitted to the President by the newly appointed Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzales – who is depicted as a moderate in the press. They are discussed by the respected constitutional law professor Sanford Levinson in the current issue of the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Levinson writes that the conception is based on the principle that "There exists no norm that is applicable to chaos." The quote, Levinson comments, is from Carl Schmitt, the leading German philosopher of law during the Nazi period, who Levinson describes as “the true éminence grise of the Bush administration.” The administration, advised by Gonzales, has articulated “a view of presidential authority that is all too close to the power that Schmitt was willing to accord his own Führer,” Levinson writes.

One rarely hears such words from the heart of the establishment."


"The principle of universality is the most elementary of moral truisms. It is the foundation of “Just War theory” and in fact of every system of morality deserving of anything but contempt. Rejection of such moral truisms is so deeply rooted in the intellectual culture as to be invisible. To illustrate again how deeply entrenched it is, let’s return to the principle of “anticipatory self-defense,” adopted as legitimate by both political organizations in the US, and across virtually the entire spectrum of articulate opinion, apart from the usual margins. The principle has some immediate corollaries. If the US is granted the right of “anticipatory self-defense” against terror, then, certainly, Cuba, Nicaragua, and a host of others have long been entitled to carry out terrorist acts within the US because there is no doubt of its involvement in very serious terrorist attacks against them, extensively documented in impeccable sources, and in the case of Nicaragua, even condemned by the World Court and the Security Council (in two resolutions that the US vetoed, with Britain loyally abstaining). The conclusion that Cuba and Nicaragua, among many others, have long had the right to carry out terrorist atrocities in the US is of course utterly outrageous, and advocated by no one. And thanks to our self-determined immunity from moral truisms, there is no fear that anyone will draw the outrageous conclusions."

No comments:

Post a Comment