Reply to “The Moral Status of Political Violence”

In the wake of Charlottesville debacle, something I didn’t want to write about, my friend Paul penned an essay titled “The Moral Status of Political Violence” wherein he argues that political violence is moral insofar as it meets certain criteria. As I told Paul on Twitter, I was considering replying to him and although I really didn’t want to write about ethics, I decided to spend a night and write this. What follows is a reply to Paul’s argument that he abbreviates as follows:

I think political violence is moral if it meets most(or all) of the following conditions:
  1. It will not cause escalation
  2. All other nonviolent options have been exhausted
  3. The person using violence has little to no power within existing legal systems
  4. Nonviolent alternatives would be much less effective1)Paul, “The Moral Status of Political Violence,” on Paul Writes Things, published 8/13/17, accessed 8/13/17, <http://paulwritesthings.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-moral-status-of-political-violence.html>

Fair warning: The following post will be different than most of my others posts insofar as, not only is the content different (I tend not to write about ethics), but the style is reminiscent of my policy debate days. In that vein, I will be responding Paul’s offensive arguments one by one while raising my own objections. Specifically, I would like to raise questions regarding what Paul said, counter some of his points, and briefly provide a statement of my stance. The latter will not be very detailed as this is primarily a critique of Paul’s essay, but hopefully it will get some traction regardless.

“So in other words, yes I do believe beating the hell out of white supremacists in Charlottesville is ok. I don’t usually like antifa, but in this instance they are completely justified.”

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1. Paul, “The Moral Status of Political Violence,” on Paul Writes Things, published 8/13/17, accessed 8/13/17, <http://paulwritesthings.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-moral-status-of-political-violence.html>

The Birth of the Two Hour Music Video

Anyone who knows me (in any capacity) knows that I adore watching films. While science fiction will always have a special place in my heart, if offered, I will watch just about anything — silent, noir, superhero, buddy cop, etc. As I’ve grown more attentive to the construction of films — that is to say, lighting, mise-en-scène, soundscaping, etc. –, I’ve noticed a slightly disturbing trend: my favorite aspects (and what I would argue are the most important aspects of film) are being sidelined. As everything in our lives moves faster and becomes more in-your-face, plot and character development are being either rushed or skipped over entirely in favor of fast action sequences, stunning (or obnoxious) shots with over-the-top special effects, and, of course, expensive soundtracks. While I don’t want to down play the importance of choreography, cinematography, or soundscaping and design (in fact, I wanted to be a foley artist at one point in my life), nor do I wish to mourn a long-gone age of film, I do want to point out the disturbing trend: big-budget films — that is to say, top billed, IMAX, summer blockbusters — are increasingly turning into two hour music videos.

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“The Rhizome” by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Translated from English into American

In 2012, Sean Joseph Patrick Carney published an article for continent. titled “’The Precession of Simulacra’ by Jean Baudrillard, Translated from English into American.” The article, while entirely humorous and, at some points, lewd, served to explain Baudrillard’s rather difficult essay in terms the layperson could understand. Given the success of Carney’s translation in elucidating some of Baudrillard’s more complicated ideas, I figured a few other dead French guys deserved the same American love that we export to the world. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari have frustrated students and scholars alike for decades due not only to the intentional obtuseness of their prose, but also due to the difficultly of their ideas. Well no longer! I present Deleuze and Guattari’s (arguably) central idea, the rhizome, in bite-sized, McNugget format. One devient deux.

Translated from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi, 3-25.

Look at these two love birds.

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Against Ideology

P U R E  I D E O L O G Y  is the name of the game and everyone wants in on it, and if you’re a Žižekian, you’re ahead of the curve. If you’re an internally consistent Žižekian, congratulations! According to some interpretations of Žižek — indeed, he espouses this in various places –, while we may think that we live in a post-ideological era, ideology is still constantly around us. We critique dominate hegemonies in the hopes of creating counter-narratives, but all that ends up happening is that we replicate the dominate ideologies of the past; capitalism is persistent. The following quotation from Žižek is especially salient:

Ideology is not simply imposed on ourselves, ideologies are spontaneous relationships to our social world, how we perceive it’s meaning, and so on and so on. We, in a way, enjoy our ideology.1)Slavoj Žižek, “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology – What is Ideology?” Excerpt from The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology2012: 5:00-5:20

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The Gordian Knot of Climate Change and Terrorism

Following the recent terror attacks in Manchester and on the London Bridge, both the Left and the Right have been quick to give their own narratives of what happened and why. The Right, predictably, blames the attack on open-borders, multiculturalism, and Islamic extremism, whereas the Left is placing blame either upon “hate-mongers,” climate change, and interventionist foreign policies. As with all things, I think that the truth lies in the middle…but that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to reply to dear, old Tomi Lahren and the following asinine tweet of hers:

Tomi’s tweet, along with countless others like it, are imbued with a fundamental misunderstanding of the Gordian Knot that is the relationship between climate change and terrorism. This post will be a modest attempt to explain what people mean when they say “climate change is linked to terrorism.”

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