Friday, July 18, 2014

"Rawls isn't interested in people. He's interested in ideas!"

still updating, every day
These are the images from Gaza that are too graphic for many US news outlets to publish
We're reliving the late 19th century, or the beginning of the 20th.

repeats: Geuss on Rawls, stating what should always have been obvious. A regretful pedant commenting on an earnest and unreflective one.
One can easily imagine a person confronted with the events of the Second World War being motivated to ask various questions, for instance about European history, about the dynamics of political systems under stress, about the economics of competitive international markets, about human social psychology and the structure of collective action. What, however, would one have to believe about the world to think that "What is the correct conception of justice?" is the appropriate question to ask in the face of concentration camps, secret police, and the firebombing of cities? Are reflections about the correct distirbution of goods and services in a "well-ordered society" the right kind of intellectual response to slavery, torture, and mass murder? Was the problem in the Third Reich that people in extermination camps didn't get the slice of the economic pie that they ought to have had, if everyone had discussed the matter freely and under the right conditions? Should political philosophy really be essentially about questions of fairness of distribution of resources? Aren't security and the control of violence far more important? How about the coordination of action, the sharing of information, the cultivation of trust, the development and deployment of human individual and social capacities, the management of relations of power and authority, the balancing of the demands of stability and reform, the provision for a viable social future?
While Rome burns. Two posts on recent events by echt-Rawslian, Harry Brighouse

Why “Ann Coulter” would love cricket,
I don’t mind football, I’ve even come to enjoy watching it a bit as a result of my daughter’s enthusiasm, but I do enjoy the odd rant against it, and have always found it funny that Americans assume that because of my accent I have a favorite team and know the offside rule (I don’t have a favorite team, but I do know the offside rule, though my knowing it is rather like my ability to recall the entire cast of the Love Boat, the result of an unhealthy tendency to remember entirely unimportant things that I don’t care about).
Uncensored  (a link to the reading of a poem by Sigfried Sassoon.)
You told me, in your drunken-boasting mood,
How once you butchered prisoners. That was good!
I'm sure you felt no pity while they stood
Patient and cowed and scared, as prisoners should.
So much art

Helena Cobban, in 2006. nothing's changed
"On Human Shields (and Human Rights Watch)"
I’ve been having a bit of an email exchange today with Sarah Leah Whitson, the director of the Middle East Division of Human Rights Watch, over their decision, yesterday, to rush out a press release criticising the Gazans’ latest use of nonviolent mass action to halt Israel’s resumed practice of punitive home demolitions in Gaza. 
The text of the HRW press release is now available on-line. It is titled OPT: Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks. 
In Sarah Leah’s emails to me she has stressed two points: (1) The point, also made in the press release, that ““Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.” And (2) that for Palestinian military commanders, in particular, to ask civilians to act as “human shields” in this way represented an unlawful attempt to pur civilians at potential risk. 
I have pointed out to her that by these lights, for Mandela (who was a military commander, much more than Ismail Haniyeh– who was quoted in the HRW release– ever was) to call for South Africa’s non-whites to engage in nonviolent mass actions against the apartheid regime, which were often very risky indeed, would also likewise have been considered “unlawful” or even– as HRW grandiosely terms the situation in Gaza “a war crime.”
I think Zizek’s jokes are badly told and have, on the whole, a bad effect. The life of the mind is lived marginally worse, thanks to his energetic interventions.
Holbo's still happily ensconced in Singapore. Chart his interests by charting the issues he avoids. The same is true for all of them.

Zizek for the LRB. The plagiarism's nothing.
repeat: his weaknesses picked apart, in Ramallah. There are far worse.

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