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Author Topic: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea  (Read 57082 times)

fromadistance

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #240 on: November 20, 2008, 09:10:39 PM »

- What are you doing?
- I'm working
- What kind of work?
- Thinking...

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, "Crime and Punishment"


So basically Nazism was a "nice try" at conquering nihilism, trying to create that falsity-that-is-the-power? After all, the will to appearance, to illusion, to deception, to becoming, to change, accounts as the most profound and original, most "metaphysical" than the will to truth, to reality, to be, which is itself merely a form of the will to illusion...


CMIW, but basically he's saying that there's no truth per se, and that the "truth" has to be created, isn't that so, CoQ10?
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
(tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)

miska

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Re: "Nothing" "0"
« Reply #241 on: November 20, 2008, 09:50:18 PM »

Grammatically, the word "nothing" is an indefinite pronoun, which means that it refers to something. One might argue that "nothing" is a concept, and since concepts are things, the concept of "nothing" itself is a thing. This logical fallacy is neatly demonstrated by an old joke that contains a fallacy of four terms: if nothing is worse than the Devil, and nothing is greater than God, then the Devil must be greater than God:

The Devil is greater than nothing.
Nothing is greater than God.
The Devil is greater than God.

Clauses can often be restated to avoid the appearance that "nothing" possesses an attribute. For example, the sentence "There is nothing in the basement" can be restated as "There is not one thing in the basement". "Nothing is missing" can be restated as "everything is present". Conversely, many fallacious conclusions follow from treating "nothing" as a noun. Modern logic made it possible to articulate these points coherently as intended, and many philosophers hold that the word "nothing" does not function as a noun, as there is no object that it refers to. There remain various opposing views, however — for example, that our understanding of the world rests essentially on noticing absences and lacks as well as presences, and that "nothing" and related words serve to indicate these.


small turkey, 0 is a number, and "nothing" is the empty set; they are related in that the empty set has zero elements in it; that is, the CARDINALITY of the empty set is zero. We can think of "sets" as collections of objects. For instance, we can have a set like:

S = {dog, cat, horse, car}

We've used the braces "{ }" to group the objects together. Each object (dog, for instance), is called an ELEMENT.  Such a collection consists of "subcollections," or SUBSETS.  That is, there is a subset of the above set which consists of those elements which are animals. Mathematicians say:

A = { x in S : x is an animal } = {dog, cat, horse}

We read this as, "A is the set of all x in S such that x is an animal." So we say that A is CONTAINED in S. Similarly, we can define another subset of S as:

N = { x in S : x is a machine } = {car}

Or we could have said:

N = { x in S : x is not an animal } = { x in S : x not in A } = S \ A

Here the backslash "\" is another notation mathematicians use, which is kind of like subtraction. What happens is we let N consist of elements in S which are not in A. Naturally, one might ask, what is,

E = { x in S : x is neither an animal nor a machine } ?

Or, if we really want to be crazy, what is

E = S \ S ?

Well, it doesn't have any elements.  Such a set is called the empty set, which is written as "{}" or a zero with a slash through it. Why this is not the same as 0 will become clear if we consider sets of numbers, rather than sets of objects. For example, let

S = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4}

What is the CARDINALITY of S?  That is, how many elements does S have?  Clearly, it has 5. Mathematicians write this as |S| = 5. Now, consider the subset {0} of S. It contains a single element, 0. But it is not the empty set, for the empty set has NO elements. Is the empty set a subset of S? Sure! To see why, ask yourself, "Is S a subset of itself?" Yes, because S contains itself, or every element of S is also an element of S (of course). Then S \ S must also be a subset of S. But this is, of course, the empty set. So both {} and {0} are valid subsets of S, but they are not the same.

To see an example of the difference between 0 and {}, we ask, "what is the value of x such that

     5 + x = 3 + 2 ?

Clearly, x = 0 is the answer. Now, what about "what is the value of x such that:

     x + 5 = 1,  and  x + 1 = 1

Obviously, there is no answer; that is, x = {}.

Now, hopefully, things are a bit more clear.  The idea of "nothing" stems from this notion of a collection. Like eggs in a basket. If you had no eggs (nothing in the basket), then this is analogous to the empty set. The NUMBER of eggs in the basket is zero. So we can think of "nothing" as a term describing the set itself, whereas "zero" is a term not describing a set, but an element. The confusion between the two is a result of the fact that the number of elements in the empty set is 0.
The other night I came home late, and tried to unlock my house with my car keys. I started the house up. I was speeding, and a cop pulled me over. He asked where I lived. I said, "right here, officer". Later, I parked it on the freeway, got out, and yelled at all the cars, "Get out of my driveway!"

E m m a n u e l l e

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First Philosophize, Then Die
« Reply #242 on: November 30, 2008, 02:08:09 PM »

did, One of the characteristics that makes people free is the fact that we can always pull out of a situation. You can quit your job, you can accept not paying the rent, you can say no. The ultimate expression of this fact is that a person can always choose suicide. Therefore, every situation is one you choose because you could always get out of it. When speaking of suicide, then, you don't raise it simply as an abstraction, but as a genuine choice that faces everyone in everyday life. Many men and women during the Nazi occupation of Paris who resisted literally chose death, rather than betray their fellows. As unthinkable as choosing death is for many people, people must acknowledge that it is a choice that's available.


Meaning For a "KZler" "KZler" was a nickname for inmates of Nazi concentration camps. The existential analyst Victor Frankl (1905-1997), himself a KZler, discovered logotherapy there. Logotherapy aims to repair a person's sense of meaning. The first problem Frankl had to address with KZlers was entrance-shock, a "state of panic, accompanied by imminent danger of suicide." Frankle somehow organized a team concerned with the prevention of suicides. Isn't that amazing? Why deter suicide when death is an everyday routine of mass killings? Why attempt to "repair meaning" when meaningless existence is a guaranteed condition? "The contrary of suicide is the man condemned to death," says Camus, and that is Frankl's own experience.

Conscious Distance From Oneself: "...one morning I marched out of camp, scarcely able to endure any longer the hunger, the cold, and the pain in my feet, swollen from oedema, frozen and festering, and stuffed into open shoes. My situation seemed to me to be beyond comfort or hope. Then I imagined to myself that I was standing at a lectern... about to give a lecture entitled 'Group Psychotherapeutic Experiences in a Concentration Camp'... Believe me, at that moment I could not hope it would ever be granted to me..."

Frankl says he practised self-therapy, trying to objectify himself at a distance from suffering, to outlive the prison. Indeed, logotherapy "outlived" the camps and is practicable today, because as Frankl says, "the concentration camp was nothing more than a microcosmic mirroring of the human world as a whole." That lesson applies to "conditions in the world today."

after virtue

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #243 on: December 01, 2008, 08:29:30 PM »

Well, to expand a bit on this :) Most psychologists are content to work within an established framework of thinking (philosophy) and do not usually question the presuppositions of their work. But sometimes the very meaning of the activities of a scientific discipline becomes questionable, a crisis of identity of a whole science sets in. Heidegger recognized that our very way of thinking as scientists, as psychologists, as modern rational men, is part of the problem. We are thinking about ourselves, others, and our world in the wrong way. We have the wrong starting point. Heidegger introduces into philosophical discourse a radical distinction. He speaks of two modes of thinking: rational, calculative thinking and intuitive, meditative thinking. Our world and reality as a whole reveals itself in a totally different way to each of these modes. The calculative mode predominates in modern secular and technological man. It is based on willfulness and the desire both to objectify everything and to dominate the objects of thought. It is concerned with the ontic level of the being of man and the being of worldly things. The meditative mode of thinking, which Heidegger also calls "thanking thinking," is based on a completely different attitude which is respectful, open, loving, and in awe of the mystery of what is, the Being of beings. This way of thinking is ontological, concerned with the essential dimensions of Being; it questions things in their grounding, and it expresses a basic reverential and religious, a theodimensional stance toward reality. Meditative thinking is a "thinking" that overcomes the limits of willful ego-consciousness and the separation inherent in the subject-object split.

In Heidegger's ultimate vision, we modern Western people have lost our original wholesomeness and holy embeddedness in Being, and have become lost in the material world of things, of human projects, of human willfulness, what he calls "fallenness." We have given up our relatedness and awareness of the ground of Being, we have lost the experience of the truth of Being as an event of primordial wonder, as an experience of gratitude for the revelation of the "splendor of the simple." We are suffering the dues and consequences for the hubris initiated in human thinking by and since Descartes, who made the world, as matter, as res extensa, an object for the calculative view-arid thinking of the rational ego-consciousness of the subject. We have fallen into an understanding of reality as an objective world subjected to the will of man, into a conquest mentality of Promethean scope nurtured by the projection of self-world distance, the subject-object split. For Heidegger, coming out of the Husserlian phenomenological tradition, the
self-world relationship is one of intentionality, of meaningful interdependent interrelatedness. Heidegger wanted to overcome the subject-object split and dualism of Western thinking since Descartes which has placed consciousness in opposition to the objects of nature and led to a fateful separation of man from his world. Heidegger avoids even the traditional terminology of subject and object of consciousness. He chose a multihyphenated term, being-in-the-world (or Dasein) to characterize the essential two-way, person-world interrelationship in his seminal work "Being and Time," which first appeared (in German) in 1927.

For Heidegger, Dasein is that being among beings that is aware of and concerned about the meaning of its own being. Dasein is aware, is questioning, is concerned, is philosophical. Dasein asks even more deeply: "Why is there something rather than nothing at all?" It asks about 'the nothing," the ground of all beings. Being itself, that is, that which is beyond all form, names, distinctions, determinations: the very condition of possibilities. Thus Dasein (man's existence) is not only concerned about the meaning of its own being, but it also has a primordial under-handing of the nature of Being. Heidegger says that any great thinker has but one central thought during all of his life, one essential intuition; Heidegger's is "What is Being (Sein)?" In his work over four decades, Heidegger moved from the concern about the human way of being — Dasein and its essential ontological constitutents as a structure of care, embodied, spatialized, in and through time as lifetime and historicity, relating through attunement, understanding, and speech — to the concern of what is thinking, what is truth, what is a thing, and what is dwelling. Heidegger sees the world and the things of the world as standing in a relevant meaning- and action-contexts relationship to a projecting Dasein.

For Heidegger, there are inauthentic ways of relating, when one acts in the anonymous modes of "Das Man" — the one — and is lost to the world and forgetful of the mystery of Being, in the modes of prattle and gossip; and there are moments — only moments, for Heidegger — of authentic being-in-the-world, of relating with the awareness of one's own being toward death, of finitude, that awakens us to true discourse, of recognition of the "event of Being," the "event of appropriation" as the happening of the truth of Being. Using key metaphors, Heidegger considers man to be an openness into which others and the things of the world appear, and considers Dasein to be the luminating realm, the light, the lumen naturale, into which the things of the world make their appearance and reveal themselves as what they are in their selfgivenness, as themselves in their unconcealed-ness, in their Being. Heidegger comes to understand truth and Being as becoming revealed to man from the hidden ground of concealedness, or "no-thing-ness." Heidegger's emphasis on luminating, on revelation, on the "clearing" (Lichtung) of Being puts him close to the illumination tradition of the East.


Do you know that our Marty supported the Nazis?! He called it a "youthful indiscretion" once Hitler's saga was over, but... Not that he was not forgiven, though... Heidegger's youthful indiscretion is supported by an impressive array of intellectuals including Hannah Arendt (who has added value being Jewish herself) and Richard Rorty. For their judgment they drew on an excellent source: the essay Heidegger submitted to the de-Nazification committee in 1945. Here, the scholar who normally could not string two sentences together without introducing at least 12 obscurities, is for once admirably brief and succinct. He writes: "In April 1933, I was unanimously elected rector (with 2 abstentions) in a plenary session of the university and not, as rumor has it,  appointed by the National Socialist minister." So succinct, in fact, that he however neglects to mention his additional title of "Führer" of the university, which was indeed an honorific bestowed by the minister... And he continues: "Previously I neither desired nor occupied an academic office. I never belonged to a political party," without mentioning his activities in the youth group 'Gralbund,' founded by Richard von Kralik, a conservative nationalist who called the English and Americans "German rejects."

cabull

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Nazism in America
« Reply #244 on: December 30, 2008, 04:52:44 PM »

Is America becoming fascist? Since mainstream media refuse to seriously ask this question, the analysis of where we are heading and what has gone wrong has been mostly off-base. Investigation of the kinds of underhanded, criminal tactics fascist regimes undertake to legitimize their agenda and accelerate the rate of change in their favor is dismissed as indulging in "conspiracy theory." If the f-word is uttered, observers are quick to note the obvious dissimilarities with previous variants of fascism. American writers dare not speak the truth. The blinkered assertion that we are immune to the fascist virus ignores degrees of convergence and distinction based on the individual patient’s history. The New York Times and other liberal voices have been obsessed in recent years with the rise of minority fascist parties in the Netherlands, France and other European countries. They have questioned the tastefulness of new books and films about Hitler, and again demonized the icons of Nazism. Max Frankel, former editor of the Times, quotes from biographer Joachim Fest in his review of Speer: The Final Verdict: "how easily, given appropriate conditions, people will allow themselves to be mobilized into violence, abandoning the humanitarian traditions they have built up over centuries to protect themselves from each other." Is Frankel hinting at his anxiety about the primal being that has arisen in America? The pace of events in the last two years has been almost as blindingly fast as it was after Hitler’s consolidation of fascist power in 1933. Speed stuns and silences.

To pose the question doesn't mean that American fascism is a completed project; at any point, anything can happen to shift the course of history in a different direction. Yet after repeated and open corruption of the normal electoral process, several declarations of global war, adventurous and unprecedented military doctrines, selective suspension of the Bill of Rights and clear signals that a declaration of emergency is on the horizon, surely it is time to analyze the situation differently. Several of the apparent contradictions in the Bush administration's governance make perfect sense if the fascist prism is applied, but not with the usual perspective. Fascism is home, it is here to stay, and it better be countered with all the resources at our disposal. American fascism taps into the perennial complaint against liberalism: that it fails to provide an authentic sense of belonging to the majority of people. America today wants to be communal and virile; it seeks to overcome what many have been convinced are the unreasonable demands of minorities and women; it wants to reinvigorate ideals of nation, region and race in order to take control of the future; it seeks to overcome the social divisiveness of capitalism and democracy, remolding the nation through propaganda and leadership.

We can notice obvious differences from the German or Italian nationalist traditions, of course – we have our own nationalist myths. In the near future, America can be expected to embark on a more radical search to define who is and who is not a part of the natural order: exclusion, deportation and eventually extermination might again become the order of things. Fascism can occur precisely at that moment of truth when the course of political history can tend to one direction or another. Nazism never had the support of the majority of Germans; at best about a third fully supported it. About a third of Americans today are certifiably fascist; another 20 percent or so can be swayed around to particular causes with smart propaganda. The basic paradigm remains more or less intact. Capitalism today is different, so are the means of propaganda, and so are the technological tools of suppression. But that is only a matter of variation, not opposition. With all of Germany's cultural strength, brutality won out; the same analysis can apply to America. Hitler never won clear majorities (his ascent to power was facilitated by the political elites), and yet once he was in power, he crushed all dissent; consider the parallels to the fateful, hair-splitting election of 2000 and its aftermath. Hitler took advantage of the Reichstag fire – the burning of the German parliament, which was blamed on communist arson – to totally reshape German institutions and culture; think of 9/11 as a close parallel. Hitler was careful to give the impression of always operating under legal cover; note again the similarity of a pseudo-legal shield for the actions of the American fascists, who stretch the Geneva Conventions by redefining prisoners of war as "unlawful." One can go on and on in this vein.

If we look at historian Stanley Payne's classical general theory of fascism, we are struck by the increasing similarities with the American model:

A. The Fascist Negations

  • Anti-liberalism.
  • Anti-communism.
  • Anti-conservatism.


B. Ideology and Goals

  • Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state.
  • Organization of a new kind of regulated, multi-class, integrated national economic structure.
  • The goal of empire.
  • Specific espousal of an idealist, voluntarist creed.

C. Style and Organization

  • Emphasis on aesthetic structure, stressing romantic and mystical aspects.
  • Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style, and the goal of a mass party militia.
  • Positive evaluation and use of violence.
  • Extreme stress on the masculine principle.
  • Exaltation of youth.
  • Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command.


With American fascism, the first two negations are obvious; the third may seem unlikely. But fascism is not conservatism, and it takes issue with conservatism's anti-revolutionary stance. Conservatism’s libertarian strand – an American staple – would not agree with fascism's "nationalist authoritarian state." Reaganite anti-government rhetoric might have been a precursor to fascism, but free market and deregulationist ideology cannot be labeled fascist. Continuing to look at Payne's list, we note that the goal of empire has found open acceptance over the last couple of years.


DNA samples to be taken from everyone arrested by U.S. authorities

April 16, 2008

The Washington Post reports that DNA samples will be taken from all U.S. citizens arrested for federal crimes and from foreigners detained by U.S. authorities. Currently, genetic material is collected — through a cheek swab — only from people convicted of federal crimes. The rule change, which the Post says will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, aligns the federal government with 13 states that already take DNA samples and turn them over to the U.S. agencies. USA Today's Kevin Johnson wrote earlier this week that the states are expanding their collection of DNA and that 21 others are considering following suit.

Congress gave the Justice Department the power to expand DNA collection to help catch suspects in domestic crimes. Taking DNA from detained foreigners is a first. Privacy advocates object to the change, arguing it goes far beyond the original scope of the federal DNA database, which was aimed at violent criminals. They say the FBI or other federal agencies might permanently keep people's DNA on file even if they are released without being charged formally, have charges dropped or are acquitted in court.

The AP is following the story.

artistic differences

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #245 on: December 31, 2008, 11:46:24 AM »

DNA samples to be taken from everyone arrested by U.S. authorities

The rule change, which the Post says will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, aligns the federal government with 13 states that already take DNA samples and turn them over to the U.S. agencies. USA Today's Kevin Johnson wrote earlier this week that the states are expanding their collection of DNA and that 21 others are considering following suit.

Congress gave the Justice Department the power to expand DNA collection to help catch suspects in domestic crimes. Taking DNA from detained foreigners is a first. Privacy advocates object to the change, arguing it goes far beyond the original scope of the federal DNA database, which was aimed at violent criminals. They say the FBI or other federal agencies might permanently keep people's DNA on file even if they are released without being charged formally, have charges dropped or are acquitted in court.

The AP is following the story.


People are often told that such DNA samples are "voluntary," especially in cases when no arrest has been effectuated and the police rounds up people for DNA sampling (they take like 600 samples to "solve" one case). Well, you know, it's really not very voluntary when police come to you and say, give us a sample or we're going to consider you a suspect and we're going to take additional action. It's really a mistake to call this voluntary; it's a sort of an illusion to call it voluntary. The idea of "consent" is illusory because there's an element of coercion involved -- because in these cases even when people have said they were not going to give the sample, court orders were issued to force them to give the sample. People knew quite well what would happen to them if they didn't cooperate here, of they didn't provide a sample. They would become suspects, they'd be interrogated, they'd be subjected to much worse treatment than if they simply gave the sample.

It is frustrating the police use DNA roundups with no obvious purpose not only to deprive people of their rights but also waste police resources. A court in an Ann Arbor case said that there was a law, it's called the Constitution of the United States, and that the individuals, who "voluntarily" give a sample under these situations -- which can only be described as duress -- are entitled to the sample back. People rightfully are concerned about how their samples might be used floating around in some police station somewhere. And the fact is that part of the reason for not getting the sample back, or at least thinking on the part of police about not giving it back, is the nature of "consent" that went into the first instance.

The police is violating the 4th Amendment rights of the people asked for samples because there has been no individualized suspicion associating them with the case under investigation. These DNA samples taking can be appropriately labeled as "DNA sweeps." As the racial profiling controversy has indicated, the process of requesting permission to search involves potential abuses of citizen rights. Particularly in African-American and Hispanic communities, DNA sweeps reinforce the impression that the police is stereotyping people of color, and as a consequence aggravate long-standing tensions that community policing and other efforts are designed to overcome.

A Model Policy follows here:

"No DNA sample shall be obtained from any person for any law enforcement purpose in connection with an investigation of a crime without probably cause, a court order, or voluntary consent as described in subdivision (2) of this section;".

Section 2 requires that "sample is knowingly and voluntarily given;" that the person be "informed by a written advisory ... that the request may be refused and that refusal does not provide probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe that the person has committed a crime," and that "the person signs the advisory;" Section 2 also states that "No threat, pressure, duress, or coercion of any kind be employed."

The statement of a detective that should the person refuse to provide the sample he or she will be watched by the police because he'd be considered a suspect clearly violates the above rule.

latitude

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The United Nazi States of America
« Reply #246 on: January 02, 2009, 11:39:53 AM »

DNA samples to be taken from everyone arrested by U.S. authorities

April 16, 2008

The Washington Post reports that DNA samples will be taken from all U.S. citizens arrested for federal crimes and from foreigners detained by U.S. authorities. Currently, genetic material is collected — through a cheek swab — only from people convicted of federal crimes. The rule change, which the Post says will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, aligns the federal government with 13 states that already take DNA samples and turn them over to the U.S. agencies. USA Today's Kevin Johnson wrote earlier this week that the states are expanding their collection of DNA and that 21 others are considering following suit.

Congress gave the Justice Department the power to expand DNA collection to help catch suspects in domestic crimes. Taking DNA from detained foreigners is a first. Privacy advocates object to the change, arguing it goes far beyond the original scope of the federal DNA database, which was aimed at violent criminals. They say the FBI or other federal agencies might permanently keep people's DNA on file even if they are released without being charged formally, have charges dropped or are acquitted in court.

The AP is following the story.


Police forces may collect DNA samples without the suspects' knowledge, and use it as evidence. Legality of this mode of proceeding has been questioned in Australia. In the United States, it has been accepted, courts often claiming that there was no expectation of privacy, citing California v. Greenwood (1985), during which the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the warrantless search and seizure of garbage left for collection outside the curtilage of a home. Critics of this practice underline the fact that this analogy ignores that "most people have no idea that they risk surrendering their genetic identity to the police by, for instance, failing to destroy a used coffee cup. Moreover, even if they do realize it, there is no way to avoid abandoning one's DNA in public."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/science/03dna.html?ex=1364961600&en=8e0f6894f0f02abc&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

kobacka

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Re: Nazism in America
« Reply #247 on: January 05, 2009, 12:27:30 PM »

Is America becoming fascist? Since mainstream media refuse to seriously ask this question, the analysis of where we are heading and what has gone wrong has been mostly off-base. Investigation of the kinds of underhanded, criminal tactics fascist regimes undertake to legitimize their agenda and accelerate the rate of change in their favor is dismissed as indulging in "conspiracy theory." If the f-word is uttered, observers are quick to note the obvious dissimilarities with previous variants of fascism. American writers dare not speak the truth. The blinkered assertion that we are immune to the fascist virus ignores degrees of convergence and distinction based on the individual patient’s history. The New York Times and other liberal voices have been obsessed in recent years with the rise of minority fascist parties in the Netherlands, France and other European countries. They have questioned the tastefulness of new books and films about Hitler, and again demonized the icons of Nazism. Max Frankel, former editor of the Times, quotes from biographer Joachim Fest in his review of Speer: The Final Verdict: "how easily, given appropriate conditions, people will allow themselves to be mobilized into violence, abandoning the humanitarian traditions they have built up over centuries to protect themselves from each other." Is Frankel hinting at his anxiety about the primal being that has arisen in America? The pace of events in the last two years has been almost as blindingly fast as it was after Hitler’s consolidation of fascist power in 1933. Speed stuns and silences.

To pose the question doesn't mean that American fascism is a completed project; at any point, anything can happen to shift the course of history in a different direction. Yet after repeated and open corruption of the normal electoral process, several declarations of global war, adventurous and unprecedented military doctrines, selective suspension of the Bill of Rights and clear signals that a declaration of emergency is on the horizon, surely it is time to analyze the situation differently. Several of the apparent contradictions in the Bush administration's governance make perfect sense if the fascist prism is applied, but not with the usual perspective. Fascism is home, it is here to stay, and it better be countered with all the resources at our disposal. American fascism taps into the perennial complaint against liberalism: that it fails to provide an authentic sense of belonging to the majority of people. America today wants to be communal and virile; it seeks to overcome what many have been convinced are the unreasonable demands of minorities and women; it wants to reinvigorate ideals of nation, region and race in order to take control of the future; it seeks to overcome the social divisiveness of capitalism and democracy, remolding the nation through propaganda and leadership.

We can notice obvious differences from the German or Italian nationalist traditions, of course – we have our own nationalist myths. In the near future, America can be expected to embark on a more radical search to define who is and who is not a part of the natural order: exclusion, deportation and eventually extermination might again become the order of things. Fascism can occur precisely at that moment of truth when the course of political history can tend to one direction or another. Nazism never had the support of the majority of Germans; at best about a third fully supported it. About a third of Americans today are certifiably fascist; another 20 percent or so can be swayed around to particular causes with smart propaganda. The basic paradigm remains more or less intact. Capitalism today is different, so are the means of propaganda, and so are the technological tools of suppression. But that is only a matter of variation, not opposition. With all of Germany's cultural strength, brutality won out; the same analysis can apply to America. Hitler never won clear majorities (his ascent to power was facilitated by the political elites), and yet once he was in power, he crushed all dissent; consider the parallels to the fateful, hair-splitting election of 2000 and its aftermath. Hitler took advantage of the Reichstag fire – the burning of the German parliament, which was blamed on communist arson – to totally reshape German institutions and culture; think of 9/11 as a close parallel. Hitler was careful to give the impression of always operating under legal cover; note again the similarity of a pseudo-legal shield for the actions of the American fascists, who stretch the Geneva Conventions by redefining prisoners of war as "unlawful." One can go on and on in this vein.

If we look at historian Stanley Payne's classical general theory of fascism, we are struck by the increasing similarities with the American model:

A. The Fascist Negations

  • Anti-liberalism.
  • Anti-communism.
  • Anti-conservatism.


B. Ideology and Goals

  • Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state.
  • Organization of a new kind of regulated, multi-class, integrated national economic structure.
  • The goal of empire.
  • Specific espousal of an idealist, voluntarist creed.

C. Style and Organization

  • Emphasis on aesthetic structure, stressing romantic and mystical aspects.
  • Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style, and the goal of a mass party militia.
  • Positive evaluation and use of violence.
  • Extreme stress on the masculine principle.
  • Exaltation of youth.
  • Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command.


With American fascism, the first two negations are obvious; the third may seem unlikely. But fascism is not conservatism, and it takes issue with conservatism's anti-revolutionary stance. Conservatism’s libertarian strand – an American staple – would not agree with fascism's "nationalist authoritarian state." Reaganite anti-government rhetoric might have been a precursor to fascism, but free market and deregulationist ideology cannot be labeled fascist. Continuing to look at Payne's list, we note that the goal of empire has found open acceptance over the last couple of years.


DNA samples to be taken from everyone arrested by U.S. authorities

April 16, 2008

The Washington Post reports that DNA samples will be taken from all U.S. citizens arrested for federal crimes and from foreigners detained by U.S. authorities. Currently, genetic material is collected — through a cheek swab — only from people convicted of federal crimes. The rule change, which the Post says will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, aligns the federal government with 13 states that already take DNA samples and turn them over to the U.S. agencies. USA Today's Kevin Johnson wrote earlier this week that the states are expanding their collection of DNA and that 21 others are considering following suit.

Congress gave the Justice Department the power to expand DNA collection to help catch suspects in domestic crimes. Taking DNA from detained foreigners is a first. Privacy advocates object to the change, arguing it goes far beyond the original scope of the federal DNA database, which was aimed at violent criminals. They say the FBI or other federal agencies might permanently keep people's DNA on file even if they are released without being charged formally, have charges dropped or are acquitted in court.

The AP is following the story.


In the state I live in (California) it is called Proposition 69. Here it is:



Starting in 2009 all adults ARRESTED for or charged with ANY felony offense will be taken a DNA sample.

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/bp_nov04/prop_69_entire.pdf

FranzMarshall

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Re: The Most Basic Choice Is Living
« Reply #248 on: January 10, 2009, 04:22:39 PM »

did, One of the characteristics that makes people free is the fact that we can always pull out of a situation. You can quit your job, you can accept not paying the rent, you can say no. The ultimate expression of this fact is that a person can always choose suicide. Therefore, every situation is one you choose because you could always get out of it. When speaking of suicide, then, you don't raise it simply as an abstraction, but as a genuine choice that faces everyone in everyday life. Many men and women during the Nazi occupation of Paris who resisted literally chose death, rather than betray their fellows. As unthinkable as choosing death is for many people, people must acknowledge that it is a choice that's available.


I tend to believe Sartre's philosophy is so pessimistic because it was written during the Nazi occupation of France where Sartre was living. The peace ended on September 3, 1939, when France and Britain declared war on Germany. Sartre was reinducted into the army. His division was sent to Eastern France, where he worked in the meteorological service sending up balloons, testing the direction of the wind. However, the war interfered little with his own productivity: he began a big novel "The Age of Reason" and read Soren Kierkegaard. He was taken prisoner on June 21, 1940. In the prisoner of war camp, he washed rarely, didn't shave, and developed a reputation for being dirty. In these conditions he began writing a major philosophical work, "Being and Nothingness."

The atmosphere of the Nazi occupation of Paris where he was writing can be felt in these lines from "The Republic of Silence": "We were never more free than during the German occupation. We had lost all our rights, beginning with the right to talk. Every day we were insulted to our faces and had to take it in silence. Under one pretext or another, as workers, Jews, or political prisoners, we were deported en masse. Everywhere, on billboards, in the newspapers, on the screen, we encountered the revolting and insipid picture of ourselves that oppressors wanted us to accept. And, because of all this, we were free. Because the Nazi venom seeped even into our thoughts, every accurate thought was a conquest. Because an all-powerful police tried to force us to hold our tongues, every word took on the value of a declaration of principles. Because we were hunted down, every one of our gestures had the weight of a solemn commitment. The circumstances, atrocious as they often were, finally made it possible for us to live, without pretense of false shame. The hectic and impossible existence that is known as the lot of man... Exile, captivity, and especially death -- which we usually shrink from facing at all in happier times -- became for us the habitual objects of our concern. We learned that they were neither inevitable accidents, not even constant and exterior dangers, but that they must be considered as our lot itself, our destiny, the profound source of our reality as men."

sous rature

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #249 on: January 15, 2009, 01:35:13 PM »

Derrida is very interesting indeed - If his writing has no extractable concepts or method, we can still loo at WHAT it does: what EFFETCS it has. Derrida offers a way of thinking these effects. By his own account, his writing has a matrix. Its two strands are DERAILED COMMUNICATION and UNDECIDABILITY. Derrida finds both of these in the figure of the VIRUS. "Everything I have done is dominated by the thought of a virus, the virus being many things. Follow two threads. One, the virus introduces disorder into communication, even in the biological sphere -- a derail of coding and decoding. Two, a virus is not a microbe, it is neither living nor non-living, neither alive nor dead. Follow these threads and you have the matrix of all I have done since I started writing."



http://www.avatarhosting.net/pics/8144/Dissemination.jpg

A poststructualist theorist to the core, Derrida bases much of the theory explicated in Dissemination on the process of infinite semiosis -- the endless reproduction of signs. The concept of difference is quite useful in drawing out this process, which explains how scission leads to both dissemination and trace. It is no coincidence that infinite semiosis resembles biological mitosis in cell organisms, particularly viruses (even by the name). This is precisely the metaphor that Derrida shoots for in Dissemination. The way by which a virus reproduces itself is eerily comparable to differance. In order to procreate, a virus must first invade a normal cell. After that, the cell replicates with the virus inside it, and every cell generated thereafter will continue to contain the infection. The important lines of correspondence in this scenario are drawn between,

1) the mitotic split and "scission," which results in the propagation of more distinct, autonomous signs
2) and the persistence of the virus, which is analogous to the enduring trace that unveils the filial relationships between signs.

Much like with the virus, both these functions, bound together in differance, are necessary circumstances for meaning to exist and proliferate.