Category Archives: Philosophy

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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References   [ + ]

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 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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Robert Anton Wilson, Finitude, and Realism

The late Robert Anton Wilson has been a person of interest to me for a while now, and although his thoughts are very sporadic and aphoristic (being spread amongst his numerous novels and speeches), his contributions to Discordian thought have been vital. More specifically, however, a quotation by him in The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles has held my attention for a long time. In Nature’s Godwriting as Sigismundo Celine, Wilson says the following:

“Is,” “is.” “is” — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don’t know what anything “is”; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.1)Robert Anton Wilson, Nature’s God: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Vol. 3), (Las Vegas: New Falcon, 2007).

Clearly channeling the general semantic theory of Alfred Korzybski and its later incarnations as E-Prime (topics that will no doubt be written about in the future),2)Indeed, in later posts on general semantics and E-Prime, which ‘is’ we’re talking about must be sorted out as the ‘is of identity’ — for example, “Max is a dog” — is, arguably, ontologically different than the ‘is of predication’ — for example, “Max is diabetic.” the quotation has a certain ring of idealism to it. Indeed, while I think Wilson’s comment is insightful, I’ve been hesitant to fully accept his disdain for the word ‘is’ insofar as such an acceptance seems, at first glance, to relegate one to a strictly phenomenal (and arguably, consequently idealist) understanding of the world. While I’m unsure whether or not I’m willing to jump aboard the ‘anti-is’ train, I do think there is a way to reconcile Wilson’s view with ontological realism by utilizing both a brief discussion of what Quentin Meillassoux calls “finitude” and Graham Harman’s ontology of objects.

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References   [ + ]

1. Robert Anton Wilson, Nature’s God: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Vol. 3), (Las Vegas: New Falcon, 2007).
2. Indeed, in later posts on general semantics and E-Prime, which ‘is’ we’re talking about must be sorted out as the ‘is of identity’ — for example, “Max is a dog” — is, arguably, ontologically different than the ‘is of predication’ — for example, “Max is diabetic.”

Book Review: “The Alternative of Real Ecology” by Kveldulf Gunnar Larsson

Introduction

Self-titled “real ecologist,” Kveldulf Gunnar Larsson, gives himself a lofty task in The Alternative of Real Ecology1)Kveldulf Gunnar Larsson, The Alternative of Real Ecology (Germany: Solitude Books, 2016). when he attempts to critique ecology as it is presented today, environmentalism is it is practiced around the globe, and humanistic thought…all in a book that is self-styled as “a collection of thoughts […] not written to be taken seriously.”2)Larson, The Alternative of Real Ecology, 95, 266. Indeed, The Alternative of Real Ecology is a unique book insofar as it is, either intentionally or unintentionally, written in a quasi-Delezuoguttarian way by trying to do away with subjectivity both in the traditional, humanistic sense, and in the sense of being a book about something. Indeed, Larsson notes his book has no value in the traditional sense. “It has no scientific, academic or literary value. It was not written to entertain or make money. It has no educational value; it was not written to educate. It doesn’t even have any environmental value as it’s not an environmental book.”3)Ibid., 2. Unfortunately, the subsequent questions that arise from Larsson’s bold statements and radical project (e.g. ‘What am I reading?’ ‘Why am I reading this?’ ‘How ought I understand the human-‘nature’ relationship?’) receive little treatment apart from the repetition of slogans within the 260+ pages of the book. Furthermore, numerous editorial and stylistic errors hinder the reading of The Alternative of Real Ecology to the point that, not only does one become angry with the text itself, but the project as a whole is jeopardized. The subsequent review will be divided into three parts: substance, critique, and style; however, as we shall see, the nature of the project necessarily intertwines the three together.


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References   [ + ]

1. Kveldulf Gunnar Larsson, The Alternative of Real Ecology (Germany: Solitude Books, 2016).
2. Larson, The Alternative of Real Ecology, 95, 266.
3. Ibid., 2.