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:
It will not cause escalation
All other nonviolent options have been exhausted
The person using violence has little to no power within existing legal systems
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.”
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:
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:
Hey liberals, this is what we are fighting against while you fight weather. #londonbridge
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.”
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.
Back in 2014, The Onionran an article titled “Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show.” In the article, the author(s) mocked the modern Left’s attempt to problematize everything to the point that individuals can’t enjoy media without feeling like they’re perpetuating systems of violence. Indeed, the line of thinking spearheaded by claims such as “oh, X did something bad, therefore I can’t enjoy their work” is what leads to blogs like Your Fave Is Problematic, Laci Green saying “[t]he truth is, literally everyone and everything is problematic,” and other attempts to suck the life out of anything fun. Is the trend of ruthlessly slaughtering enjoyment confined only to the Regressive Left, however? Of course not since, at the end of the day, all political ideologies circle back around towards one another. Indeed, in our wonderful Current YearTM, both the Regressive Left and the Alt-Right are filled with different but equally obnoxious tone police, media killjoys, and cry babies. We have entered a world where Laci Green and Lana Lokteff are more closely linked than one would imagine.