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CSUS Debate Aff K Toolkit

2008 - 2009 TP

AFF CRITIQUE TOOLBOX

***CEDE the political***............................................................................................10


cede the political........................................................................................................10
cede the political........................................................................................................12
cede the political........................................................................................................13
cede the political........................................................................................................14
cede the political: at the left is dead..........................................................................15
at performance: cede the political.............................................................................16
pragmatism................................................................................................................18
***Futurism Good*** .................................................................................................19
futurism key to movements.......................................................................................19
futurism ket to movements........................................................................................21
futurism key to crisis prevention................................................................................23
futurism key to human survival..................................................................................24
at: any flaw with futurism..........................................................................................25
at: futurism/crises cause paralysis.............................................................................26
at: predictions wrong.................................................................................................27
at: media distortions..................................................................................................28
at: futurism = no value to life....................................................................................29
at: fear mongering by the state.................................................................................30
at: futurism is statist..................................................................................................31
at: chaos inevitable....................................................................................................32
***State***.................................................................................................................33
A2: State Bad.............................................................................................................33
A2: State Bad.............................................................................................................34
A2: State Bad.............................................................................................................35
A2: State Bad (Gender)..............................................................................................36
A2: State Bad (Environment)......................................................................................37
state good..................................................................................................................39
state good: checks capitalism....................................................................................40
Realism Good ...........................................................................................................41
Realism Good ...........................................................................................................42
Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................43
Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................44
Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................45
Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................46
Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................47
Reformism Good – Rorty............................................................................................48
Reformism Good – Rorty – Impact..............................................................................49
Political Vacuum Turn................................................................................................50
Political Vacuum Turn................................................................................................51
Micro-Politics Fail........................................................................................................52
Micro-Politics Permutation..........................................................................................53
Identity Politics Fail....................................................................................................54
Realism Good.............................................................................................................55
Realism Good.............................................................................................................56
Realism Good.............................................................................................................57
*** Postmodernism ***...............................................................................................58

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PoMo Bad General .....................................................................................................58


PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................59
PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................60
PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................61
PoMo Bad General......................................................................................................62
PoMo Bad – Public Sphere..........................................................................................63
PoMo Bad – Public Sphere..........................................................................................64
Ext – PoMo Jacks Public Engagement.........................................................................65
PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner.........................................................................................66
PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner.........................................................................................67
A2: Deconstruction.....................................................................................................68
at: deleuze and guattari ............................................................................................69
A2: Baudrillard...........................................................................................................70
A2: Baudrillard...........................................................................................................71
A2: Baudrillard...........................................................................................................72
at baudrillard: cede the political................................................................................73
at baudrillard: Simulation..........................................................................................74
at baudrillard: Simulation..........................................................................................75
A2: Foucault...............................................................................................................76
A2: Foucault...............................................................................................................77
A2: Foucault...............................................................................................................78
at foucault: no impact................................................................................................79
at foucault: no impact................................................................................................81
at foucault: no impact................................................................................................82
at foucault: no impact (massacres)............................................................................83
at foucault: nazis unique............................................................................................85
at foucault: aff good use of biopower.........................................................................86
at foucault: biopower good........................................................................................87
at foucault: resistance solves impact.........................................................................88
at foucault: resistance solves impact.........................................................................90
at foucault: aff pre-req to alt .....................................................................................91
at foucault: cede the political.....................................................................................92
at foucault: geneaology.............................................................................................94
A2: Agamben.............................................................................................................95
A2: Agamben.............................................................................................................96
A2: Agamben.............................................................................................................97
A2: Aganben..............................................................................................................99
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................100
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................101
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................102
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................103
A2: Agamben ..........................................................................................................104
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................105
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................106
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................107
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................108
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................109
A2: Agamben...........................................................................................................110
at agamben: alternative fails...................................................................................111
at agamben: link over simplified..............................................................................112
at agamben: nazis unique........................................................................................113
at agamben: bare life ..............................................................................................115

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at agamben: the camp.............................................................................................116


at agamben: muselmann.........................................................................................117
***A2: Colonialism***...............................................................................................118
at colonialism: US not an empire.............................................................................118
at colonialism: us not an empire..............................................................................119
at colonialism: US not an empire.............................................................................121
at colonialism: empire good.....................................................................................122
at empire: terrorism must be confronted.................................................................123
*** Ontology *** ......................................................................................................124
A2: Ontology ..........................................................................................................124
A2: Ontology............................................................................................................125
A2: Ontology............................................................................................................126
A2: Ontology............................................................................................................127
A2: Ontology ...........................................................................................................128
A2: Ontology............................................................................................................129
A2: Ontology............................................................................................................130
A2: Spanos .............................................................................................................131
A2: Spanos .............................................................................................................132
at spanos: cede the political....................................................................................134
at spanos: no alternative.........................................................................................135
at spanos: no truth disempowering..........................................................................136
at spanos: humanism good......................................................................................137
at spanos: vietnam good..........................................................................................138
at spanos: vietnam good..........................................................................................139
A2: Heidegger ........................................................................................................140
A2: Heidegger ........................................................................................................141
A2: Heidegger ........................................................................................................142
A2: Heidegger..........................................................................................................143
A2: Hedegger...........................................................................................................144
at heidegger: nazi....................................................................................................145
at heidegger: nazi....................................................................................................146
at heidegger: nazi....................................................................................................148
at heidegger: humanism key to stop nazism............................................................149
at heidegger: ethics too vague................................................................................150
at heidegger: unconcealment bad...........................................................................151
at heidegger: paralysis.............................................................................................152
at heidegger: authoritarian......................................................................................153
at heidegger: no value to life...................................................................................154
at heidegger: no truth = nazism..............................................................................155
at heidegger: paralysis.............................................................................................156
at heidegger: calculations good...............................................................................157
at heidegger: dread of death bad.............................................................................158
at heidegger: permutation.......................................................................................159
at heidegger: being meaningless.............................................................................160
A2: heidegger: link over simplified...........................................................................161
A2: Dillon: calculations good...................................................................................162
Humanism Good .....................................................................................................163
Humanism Good .....................................................................................................164
Consequentialism good............................................................................................166
Consequentialism good............................................................................................167
Calculability good.....................................................................................................168
Calculability good.....................................................................................................169

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Util Good..................................................................................................................170
Util Good..................................................................................................................171
***A2: rights K***.....................................................................................................172
rights good...............................................................................................................172
rights good...............................................................................................................173
rights good...............................................................................................................174
rights good...............................................................................................................176
rights good: not monolithic......................................................................................178
rights good: not western..........................................................................................180
rights good: check on statism..................................................................................181
***Capitalism***.......................................................................................................182
A2: Capitalism .........................................................................................................182
A2: Capitalism ........................................................................................................183
A2: Capitalism ........................................................................................................184
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................185
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................186
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................187
A2: Zizek ................................................................................................................188
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................189
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................190
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................191
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................192
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................193
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................194
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................195
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................196
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................197
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................198
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................199
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................200
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................201
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................202
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................203
A2: Zizek..................................................................................................................204
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................205
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................207
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................209
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................210
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................212
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................214
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails...................................................................................215
at lacan/zizek “the act” fails....................................................................................216
at lacan/zizek: revolution fails..................................................................................217
at lacan/zizek: revolution fails..................................................................................218
at lacan/zizek: does not apply to aff.........................................................................220
at lacan/zizek: non-falsifiable...................................................................................222
at lacan/zizek: non-falsifiable...................................................................................223
at lacan/zizek: conservative politics.........................................................................224
at lacan/zizek: conservative politics.........................................................................226
at lacan/zizek: conservative politics.........................................................................227
at lacan/zizek: essentialism turn..............................................................................228
at lacan/zizek: essentialism turn..............................................................................229

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at lacan/zizek: 9/11 arguments bad.........................................................................230


at lacan/zizek: no connection alt and ballot.............................................................232
A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................233
A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................234
A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................235
A2: Empire (Hardt+Negri) ......................................................................................236
at hardt/negri: alternative  terrorism....................................................................237
at hardt/negri: alternative  terrorism....................................................................238
at hardt/negri: alternative justifies holocaust...........................................................240
at hardt/negri: globalization good............................................................................241
at hardt/negri: capitalism good ...............................................................................243
at hardt/negri: at historical argument......................................................................244
at hardt/negri: no qualified data..............................................................................245
at hardt/negri: multitude fails..................................................................................246
at hardt/negri: nation-state strong...........................................................................247
at hardt/negri: nation-state strong...........................................................................248
at hardt/negri: at biopower Impact...........................................................................249
at hardt/negri: alt fails..............................................................................................250
at hardt/negri: no multitude.....................................................................................251
at hardt/negri: no empire.........................................................................................253
at hardt/negri: hurts movements.............................................................................254
***A2: Language***..................................................................................................255
at langauge ks: cede the politcal.............................................................................255
at language k: generic.............................................................................................256
at language k: generic.............................................................................................258
at language ks: censorship hurst the left.................................................................259
*** Representations *** ..........................................................................................260
A2: Representations ...............................................................................................260
A2: Representations ...............................................................................................261
A2: Fear of Death ...................................................................................................262
A2: Fear of Death.....................................................................................................263
A2: Fear of Death ...................................................................................................264
at fear of death: mobilizes people/compassion........................................................265
at fear of death: Fear Key to Value to Life................................................................266
at fear of death: key to survival ..............................................................................267
at fear of death: deterence good.............................................................................268
at fear of nukes: fear Key to Peace and Survival......................................................269
at fear of nukes: Peace and Survival........................................................................270
at nucelar numbing: plan solves impact...................................................................271
at non-violence: could not solve the holocaust........................................................272
at non-violence: Violence Key to Peace....................................................................273
at cuomo: Negative Peace Key to Positive Peace.....................................................274
................................................................................................................................274
threat construction: peace.......................................................................................275
threat construction: prevents escalation..................................................................277
threat construction: threats real..............................................................................278
threat construction: reps irrelevant..........................................................................279
A2: Love Alternative ...............................................................................................280
A2: Localism (Nayar) ..............................................................................................281
A2: Localism (Nayar) ..............................................................................................282
at global/local: perm................................................................................................283
at global/local: global resistance key.......................................................................284

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A2: Disease K .........................................................................................................285


A2: Orientalism (Said) ............................................................................................286
***Gender***............................................................................................................287
at gender ir: no alt...................................................................................................287
at gender ir: no link..................................................................................................288
at gender ir: perm....................................................................................................289
at gender ir: 3rd world feminism..............................................................................290
*** Ethics ***............................................................................................................292
A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) ..........................................................................292
A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) ..........................................................................293
A2: Obligation To Other (Levinas) ..........................................................................294
A2: Badiou ..............................................................................................................295
A2: Badiou ..............................................................................................................296
A2: Badiou ..............................................................................................................297
A2: Badiou................................................................................................................298
at badiou: ethics......................................................................................................299
at badiou: politics fail...............................................................................................300
at badiou: politics fail...............................................................................................301
at badiou: politics fail...............................................................................................302
at badiou: permutation............................................................................................303
at badiou: alternative unworkable and communist..................................................304
A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................305
A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................306
A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................308
A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................309
A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................310
A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................311
A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................313
A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................314
A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................315
A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................316
A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................317
A2: Nietzsche ..........................................................................................................318
A2: Nietzsche...........................................................................................................319
*** Security ***........................................................................................................320
A2: Security K .........................................................................................................320
A2: Security K .........................................................................................................321
A2: Security K .........................................................................................................322
A2: Security K .........................................................................................................323
***A2: Borders***.....................................................................................................324
at borders: inevitable...............................................................................................324
at borders: solves war..............................................................................................325
at borders: africa......................................................................................................326
***RANDOM CARDS***.............................................................................................327
at critiques of science..............................................................................................327
at said: no alternative..............................................................................................328
at butler: perm.........................................................................................................329
identity politics: cede the political............................................................................330
specific solvency outweighs the k link......................................................................331
***08/09 TOPIC SPECIFIC***.....................................................................................332
***Land K***............................................................................................................333
SCIENCE GOOD........................................................................................................334

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PERM.......................................................................................................................335
PERM.......................................................................................................................336
PERM.......................................................................................................................337
***Famine K***.........................................................................................................338
PERM........................................................................................................................339
Edkins Indict ............................................................................................................340
Repoliticization bad..................................................................................................341
Tech (s) Imperialism ................................................................................................342
***Deep Eco K***.....................................................................................................343
AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................344
PERM – COTTON AFF................................................................................................345
AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................346
AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................347
AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................348
AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................349
AFF A2: ECONOMY LINK............................................................................................350
AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................351
AFF ANSWERS..........................................................................................................352
*** Heidegger K***...................................................................................................353
AFF ANSWERS: Perm................................................................................................354
Perm EXT.................................................................................................................356
Aff – Management Good ..........................................................................................357
Aff – Technology Good ............................................................................................358
Aff – Technology Good.............................................................................................359
Aff – Technology Good/AT: Tech Links......................................................................360
Aff – Resource Mindset Good/AT: Resources Links...................................................361
Aff – Permutation Solves – Alternative Energy Key...................................................362
Aff – Permutation Solves – General .........................................................................363
Aff – Permutation Solves – General .........................................................................364
Aff – Permutation Solves – Technology ....................................................................365
Aff – Permutation Solves – Technology ....................................................................366
Aff – Permutation Solves/Ontology Not First ............................................................367
Aff – Technology/Calculation Permutation Solves ....................................................368
Aff – Environmental Pragmatism Good ....................................................................369
Aff – Rejecting Management Bad/Impossible ...........................................................370
Aff – Rejecting Technology Bad ...............................................................................371
Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve ................................................................................373
Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve ................................................................................374
Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve.................................................................................375
Aff – Alternative Doesn’t Solve.................................................................................376
Aff – Ontology Doesn’t Come First – Pragmatism.....................................................377
Aff – Ontology Doesn’t Come First – Violence ..........................................................378
Aff – Ethics Before Ontology ....................................................................................379
Aff – Kritik Ethics Bad ..............................................................................................380
Aff – Kritik Ethics Bad...............................................................................................381
Aff – Kritik Ethics Bad ..............................................................................................382
Aff – Kritik Efhics Bad...............................................................................................383
Aff – Impact Inevitable ............................................................................................384
Aff – Impact Inevitable.............................................................................................385
***Eco Fem K***.......................................................................................................386
Connection of Nature and women is Bad.................................................................387
Connection of Nature and women is Bad.................................................................388

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Connection of nature and women is Bad..................................................................389


Karen Warren Flawed...............................................................................................390
Perm Political action.................................................................................................391
Ecofeminism excludes Women of Color....................................................................392
Ecofeminism excludes Women of Color....................................................................393
Ecofeminism excludes Women of Color....................................................................394
*** Bataille K***.......................................................................................................395
Bataille is too utopian.............................................................................................396
Bataille’s approach has no social importance.........................................................397
Bataille’s Methodology of Sacrifice is Flawed..........................................................398
Discourse is Inaccessible and unpragmatic.............................................................399
Racial Realism Supersedes the K.............................................................................401
Black Feminism Supersedes Postmodern Kritik........................................................402
Transgression is Socially Irresponsible; Compassion is Better Alt............................403
Compassion Alternative -- AT: Sentimental and sickly............................................404
Compassion Alternative – Transgression is Insufficient Experience..........................405
Transgression cannot recognize difference in mind-body experiences....................406
Gender K of Transgression vs. Compassion Alternatives..........................................407
AT: Do Both Transgression and Compassion...........................................................408
** Cap K***...............................................................................................................409
Link Turn: Subsidies continue inequality..................................................................410
AT: Link – Subsidies facilitate Neoliberalism.............................................................411
Alternative fails........................................................................................................412
Alternative Fails- Holloway.......................................................................................413
Alternative Fails- Total Rejection..............................................................................414
Aff – Reform Possible/Key.........................................................................................415
A2: Captialism Imperialism/War............................................................................416
A2: Capitalism Inequality/Economic Stratification.................................................417
A2: Capitalism Corporate Abuse/Poverty...............................................................418
A2: Capitalism Starvation/Poverty.........................................................................419
A2: Capitalism Oppresses Working Class/Child Labor...............................................420
A2: Capitalism caused the great depression/trade wars..........................................421
at capitalism K: cede the political............................................................................422
at capitalism K: cede the political............................................................................424
at capitalism K: peace..............................................................................................425
at capitalism K: can be liberatory.............................................................................426
at capitalism K: no specifc alt = failure....................................................................427
Depictions of Capitalism as Bad...............................................................................428
Perm Solves/Reform Key (1/2).................................................................................429
Perm Solves/Reform Key (2/2).................................................................................430
Perm Solves- A2: State Bad......................................................................................431
Reform Good (1/3)...................................................................................................432
Reform Good (2/3)...................................................................................................433
Reform Good (3/3)...................................................................................................434
Working W/n the System Key (1/2)..........................................................................435
Working W/n the System Key (2/2)..........................................................................436
Total Rejection of Capitalism Bad (1/2)....................................................................437
Total Rejection of Capitalism Bad (2/2)....................................................................438
Capitalism Inevitable................................................................................................440
Capitalism Inevitable................................................................................................441
Capitalism Inevitable- Markets.................................................................................442
Collapse Inevitable- Credit Crisis..............................................................................443

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Capitalism Inevitable/Good......................................................................................444
Capitalism Not Root Cause.......................................................................................445
Capitalism Not Root Cause- No Free Markets...........................................................446
Capitalism Not Root Cause/Reformable....................................................................447
Capitalism is Reformable.........................................................................................448
Capitalism is Reformable.........................................................................................449
Capitalism is Human Nature.....................................................................................450
Cap Good – Financial Independence.........................................................................451
***Environmental Security K*** ..............................................................................452
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................453
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................454
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................455
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................456
Affirmative Answers ................................................................................................457
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................458
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................459
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................460
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................461
Affirmative Answers.................................................................................................462

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***CEDE the political***

cede the political

This failure to engage the political process turns the affirmative into spectators who
are powerless to produce real change.

Rorty 98 – professor emeritus of comparative literature and philosophy, by courtesy,


at Stanford University (Richard, “ACHIEVING OUR COUNTRY: Leftist Thought in
Twentieth-Century America”, 1998, Pg. 7-9)

Such people find pride in American citizenship impossible, and vigorous participation
in electoral politics pointless. They associate American patriotism with an
endorsement of atrocities: the importation of African slaves, the slaughter of Native
Americans, the rape of ancient forests, and the Vietnam War. Many of them think of
national pride as appropriate only for chauvinists: for the sort of American who re-
joices that America can still orchestrate something like the Gulf War, can still bring
deadly force to bear whenever and wherever it chooses. When young intellectuals
watch John Wayne war movies after reading Heidegger, Foucault, Stephenson, or
Silko, they often become convinced that they live in a violent, inhuman, corrupt
country. They begin to think of themselves as a saving remnant-as the happy few
who have the insight to see through nationalist rhetoric to the ghastly reality of
contemporary America. But this insight does not move them to formulate a
legislative program, to join a political movement, or to share in a national hope. The
contrast between national hope and national self-mockery and self-disgust becomes
vivid when one compares novels like Snow Crash and Almanac of the Dead with
socialist novels of the first half of the century-books like The Jungle, An American
Tragedy, and The Grapes of Wrath. The latter were written in the belief that the tone
of the Gettysburg Address was absolutely right, but that our country would have to
transform itself in order to fulfill Lincoln's hopes. Transformation would be needed
because the rise of industrial capitalism had made the individualist rhetoric of
America's first century obsolete. The authors of these novels thought that this
rhetoric should be replaced by one in which America is destined to become the first
cooperative commonwealth, the first classless society. This America would be one in
which income and wealth are equitably distributed, and in which the government
ensures equality of opportunity as well as individual liberty. This new, quasi-
communitarian rhetoric was at the heart of the Progressive Movement and the New
Deal. It set the tone for the American Left during the first six decades of the
twentieth century. Walt Whitman and John Dewey, as we shall see, did a great deal to
shape this rhetoric. The difference between early twentieth-century leftist in-
tellectuals and the majority of their contemporary counterparts is the difference
between agents and spectators. In the early decades of this century, when an
intellectual stepped back from his or her country's history and looked at it through
skeptical eyes, the chances were that he or she was about to propose a new political
initiative. Henry Adams was, of course, the great exception-the great abstainer from
·politics. But William James thought that Adams' diagnosis of the First Gilded Age as a
symptom of irreversible moral and political decline was merely perverse. James's
pragmatist theory of truth was in part a reaction against the sort of detached
spectators hip which Adams affected. For James, disgust with American hypocrisy
and self-deception was pointless unless accompanied by an effort to give America
reason to be proud of itself in the future. The kind of proto- Heideggerian cultural
pessimism which Adams cultivated seemed, to James, decadent and cowardly.
"Democracy," James wrote, "is a kind of religion, and we are bound not to admit its
failure. Faiths and utopias are the noblest exercise of human reason, and no one with
a spark of reason in him will sit down fatalistically before the croaker's picture. "2
cede the political

The affirmative’s strategy is not political. Instead it is a strategy against politics. This
undermines the possibility of liberation.

Grossberg, 92 (Lawrence, Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at the


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “We Gotta Get Out of this Place: Popular
Conservatism and Postmodern Culture”, page 278-279)

Finally, the frontier itself is transformed. It is still partly defined by an attitude in


which we are all implicated. In this sense, the frontier is in everyone—and with it, the
possibility of evil. But now its popular/resonance is rearticulated to "activities" that
have to be affectively and morally judged and policed. The enemy is not within
people but in specific activities that construct the frontier over in the image of the
new conservatism. The frontier becomes a seductive machine, seducing people not
only into the need to invest, but ultimately into a series of temporary and mobile
investments which locate them within a popular conservatism. The frontier's articula-
tion by the logic of scandal marks a real break with older conservatisms built on
some notion of tradition. Here politics is not a solution to problems, but a machine
which organizes the population and its practices. What is on the "right" (in both
senses) side of the frontier, on the other side of politics, is a purely affective morality
(ie., one which leaves no space within which specific actions can be judged as
anything other than scandalous). The new conservatism embodies, not a political
rebellion but a rebellion against politics. It makes politics into an other, located on
the other side of the frontier. Anyone who actually talks about serious problems and
their solutions is a dreamer; anyone who celebrates the mood in which the problem is
at once terrifying and boring is a realist. It is no longer believing too strongly that is
dangerous, but actually thinking that one is supposed to make one's dreams come
true. The failure of Earth Day cannot be explained by merely pointing to its status as
a feel-good media event, nor by pointing out the increasingly hypocritical
appropriation of "green politics" by corporate polluters. It is rather that ecology, like
any "politics," has become a question of attitude and investment, as if investing in
the "correct" ideological beliefs, even demonstrating it, was an adequate
construction of the political. Within the new conservative articulation of the frontier,
political positions only exist as entirely affective investments, separated from any
ability to act.
cede the political

Failure to engage in the political process will result in the takeover by the extreme
right, leading to discrimination and war worldwide

Rorty 98 – professor emeritus of comparative literature and philosophy, by courtesy,


at Stanford University (Richard, “ACHIEVING OUR COUNTRY: Leftist Thought in
Twentieth-Century America”, 1998, pg. 89-94)
*WE DO NOT ENDORSE GENDERED LANGUAGE*

Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like
period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example,
has suggested that fascism may be the American future. The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that
members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later
realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to
prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that
suburban white-collar workers-them- selves desperately afraid of being downsized-
are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. At
that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system
has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for-someone willing to assure
them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and
postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’
novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. For once such a strongman takes office, nobody
can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what
would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic. One
thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and
brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women
will come back into fashion. The words "nigger" and "kike" will once again be heard in
the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unaccept-
able to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about
having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet. But such a renewal of sadism will not alter
For after my imagined strongman takes charge, he will quickly
the effects of selfishness.
make his peace with the international superrich, just as Hitler made his with the
German industrialists. He will invoke the glorious memory of the Gulf War to provoke
military adventures which will generate short-term prosperity. He will be a disaster
for the country and the world. People will wonder why there was so little resistance to his evitable rise.
Where, they will ask, was the American Left? Why was it only rightists like Buchanan who spoke to the
workers about the consequences of globalization? Why could not the Left channel the mounting rage
of the newly dispossessed? It is often said that we Americans, at the end of the twenti eth century, no
longer have a Left. Since nobody denies the existence of what I have called the cultural Left, this amounts to an
admission that that Left is unable to engage in national politics. It is not the sort of Left which can be asked to deal
with the consequences of globalization. To get the country to deal with those consequences, the present cultural
Left would have to transform itself by opening relations with the residue of the old reformist Left, and in particular
with the labor unions. It would have to talk much more about money, even at the cost of talking less about stigma. I
have two suggestions about how to effect this transition. The first is that the Left should put
a moratorium on theory. It should try to kick its philosophy habit. The second is that the Left should try to
mobilize what remains of our pride in being Americans. It should ask the public to consider how the country of Lincoln and
Whitman might be achieved. In support of my first suggestion, let me cite a passage from Dewey's Reconstruction in
Philosophy in which he expresses his exasperation with the sort of sterile debate now going on under the rubric of
"individualism versus communitarianism." Dewey thought that all discussions which took this dichotomy seriously suffer
from a common defect. They are all committed to the logic of general notions under which specific situations are to be
brought. What we want is light upon this or that group of individuals, this or that concrete human being, this or that
special institution or social arrangement. For such a logic of inquiry, the traditionally accepted logic substitutes discussion
of the meaning of concepts and their dialectical relationships with one another. Dewey was right to be exasperated by
sociopolitical theory conducted at this level of abstraction. He was wrong when he went on to say that ascending to
this level is typically a right ist maneuver, one which supplies "the apparatus for intellec tual justifications of the
established order. "9 For such ascents are now more common on the Left than on the Right. The contemporary
academic Left seems to think that the higher your level of abstraction, the more subversive of the estab lished order
you can be. The more sweeping and novel your conceptual apparatus, the more radical your criti que. When one of
today's academic leftists says that some topic has been "inadequately theorized," you can be pretty certain that he or she
is going to drag in either philosophy of language, or Lacanian psychoanalysis, or some neo-Marxist version of economic
determinism. Theorists of the Left think that dissolving political agents into plays of differential subjectivity, or political
initiatives into pursuits of Lacan's impossible object of desire, helps to subvert the established order. Such subversion,
they say, is accomplished by "problematizing familiar concepts." Recent attempts to subvert social institutions by prob-
lematizing concepts have produced a few very good books. They have also produced many thousands of books which
represent scholastic philosophizing at its worst. The authors of these purportedly "subversive" books honestly believe that
they are serving human liberty. But it is almost impossible to clamber back down from their books to a level of abstraction
on which one might discuss the merits of a law, a treaty, a candidate, or a political strategy. Even though what these
authors "theorize" is often something very concrete and near at hand-a current TV show, a media celebrity, a recent
These futile attempts to
scandal-they offer the most abstract and barren explanations imaginable.
philosophize one's way into political relevance are a symptom of what happens when
a Left retreats from activism and adopts a spectatorial approach to the problems of
its country. Disengagement from practice produces theoretical hallucinations. These
result in an intellectual environment which is, as Mark Edmundson says in his book Nightmare on Main Street, Gothic.
The cultural Left is haunted by ubiquitous specters, the most frightening of which is called "power." This is the name
of what Edmund son calls Foucault's "haunting agency, which is everywhere and nowhere, as evanescent and
insistent as a resourceful spook."10

cede the political

Institutional approaches are the only way to avoid the collapse of all movements and
effectively challenge the flawed state policies.

Grossberg, 92 (Lawrence, Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at the


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “We Gotta Get Out of this Place: Popular
Conservatism and Postmodern Culture”, page 388-389)

The demand for moral and ideological purity often results in the rejection of any
hierarchy or organization. The question-can the master's tools be used to tear down
the master's house?-ignores both the contingency of the relation between such tools
and the master's power and, even more importantly, the fact that there may be no
other tools available. Institutionalization is seen as a repressive impurity within the
body politic rather than as a strategic and tactical, even empowering, necessity. It
sometimes seems as if every progressive organization is condemned to recapitulate
the same arguments and crisis, often leading to their collapse. 54 For example,
Minkowitz has described a crisis in Act Up over the need for efficiency and
organization, professionalization and even hierarchy,55 as if these inherently
contradicted its commitment to democracy. This is particularly unfortunate since Act
Up, whatever its limitations, has proven itself an effective and imaginative political
strategist. The problems are obviously magnified with success, as membership,
finances and activities grow. This refusal of efficient operation and the moment of
organization is intimately connected with the Left's appropriation and privileging of
the local (as the site of democracy and resistance). This is yet another reason why
structures of alliance are inadequate, since they often assume that an effective
movement can be organized and sustained without such structuring. The Left needs
to recognize the necessity of institutionalization and of systems of hierarchy, without
falling back into its own authoritarianism. It needs to find reasonably democratic
structures of institutionalization, even if they are impure and compromised.

The desire for pure politics undermines a litany of meaningful possibilities at


overcoming domination.
Grossberg, 92 (Lawrence, Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “We Gotta Get Out of this Place: Popular
Conservatism and Postmodern Culture”, page 396)

Above all, rethinking the possibility of a Left politics will require a new model of
intellectual and political authority which does not begin by confidently judging every
investment, every practice, every articulation and every individual. It will have to
measure both intellectual and political progress by movement within the fragile and
contradictory realities of people's lives, desires, fears and commitments, and not by
some idealized utopia nor by its own theoretical criteria. It will offer a moral and
progressive politics which refuses to "police" everyday life and to define a structure
of "proper" and appropriate behaviors and attitudes. An impure politics—certainly,
without the myth of a perfect reflexivity which can guarantee its authority (for
authority is not an intellectual prize). A contaminated politics, never innocent, rooted
in the organization of distance and densities through which all of us move together and
apart, sometimes hesitatingly, at other times recklessly. A politics that attempts to
move people, perhaps just a little at first, in a different direction. But a politics
nonetheless, one which speaks with a certain authority, as limited and frail as the lives
of those who speak it. It will have to be a politics articulated by and for people who
are inevitably implicated in the contemporary crisis of authority and whose lives have
been shaped by it. A politics for and by people who live in the contemporary world of popular tastes,
and who are caught in the disciplined mobilization of everyday life. A politics for people who are
never innocent and whose hopes are always partly defined by the very powers and
inequalities they oppose. A modest politics that struggles to effect real change,
that enters into the often boring challenges of strategy and compromise. An impure
politics fighting for high stakes.

cede the political: at the left is dead

Progressive momentum can be built upon with big tent, practical politics—operating
at only the level of ideology dooms the movement.
Wilson, 2000 – Editor and Publisher of Illinois Academe – 2000 (John K. Wilson, “How
the Left can Win Arguments and Influence People” p. 5- 6)

The trend toward progressive attitudes among Americans has only accelerated. Today,
Americans advocate gender equality on a level unthinkable at the time I was born, an era when airline
stewardess were fired when they turned thirty, got married, or gained fifteen pounds. Today, racial
equality is an ideal widely accepted, even if the reality falls short. Today, equality for gays
and lesbians is a politically viable possibility, a remarkable leap for an issue that was virtually invisible at
the time of the Stonewall riot. Today, environmental awareness and the enormous number
of people who recycle would have been unimaginable to the small group of activists
who gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day. Even though the American people
have been moving to the left on a number of important issues, the two major political
parties have shifted to the right. The left's revival requires both the recognition of the
disadvantages it faces and a willingness to fight against those barriers while making
use of the advantages that progressives have over the right. The biggest advantage that
the left holds is that it doesn't have to be afraid of speaking the truth to the public. Conservatives, despite
their assertions of public support, must always be wary of dealing too openly with Americans. That is,
every idea on the right must be carefully vetted to ensure the proper spin control. Even "radical" ideas
such as Steve Forbes's flat tax must conceal the extent of tax cuts for the rich under the disguise of a
universal tax reduction. This book argues that progressives need to reshape their arguments
and their policy proposals to increase their influence over American politics. It also
contends that the left need not sell its soul or jettison its diverse constituents in order to succeed. Rather
than moderation, I urge a new kind of tactical radicalism. Rather than a monolithic left focused
on class or labor or postmodernism or whatever the pet ideological project of the day
is, I advocate a big-tent left capable of mobilizing all its people. Progressives already
have the hearts and minds of the American people. What the left lacks is a political
movement to translate that popularity into political action. What the left needs is a
rhetorical framework and political plan of action to turn the progressive potential in
America into a political force.
Progressive ideals are alive and well in the US.
Wilson, 2000 – Editor and Publisher of Illinois Academe – 2000 (John K. Wilson, “How
the Left can Win Arguments and Influence People” p. 2- 4)

The thesis of this book is that a majority of Americans now believe (or could easily be
persuaded to believe) in many progressive ideas, even though the power of the
progressive movement itself in mainstream politics has largely disintegrated. In
reality, progressives are nearly everywhere, with the possible exception of corporate
boardrooms, the White House, and Bob Jones University. Progressives look like
everyone else, although they appear to be a little more forlorn than most.
Unfortunately, the progressive views of the American majority do not translate into
political power. Progressives cannot sit back and await the rising masses to thrust the
left into power. Rather, progressives need to give their potential supporters a reason to be politically active and intellectually
interested in the ideas of the left. If you relied on just the mass media in America or on election results, you would have to conclude that this is
a conservative nation. We hear about polls declaring that the American people demand lower taxes, smaller government, the elimination of
welfare, the mass execution of criminals, and daily pledges of allegiance to the free market. We see Republicans in charge of Congress,
successfully pursuing their goals of putting a prison on every corner and lowering taxes on the wealthy in order to allow economic prosperity
to trickle down to everyone else. America must be conservative. It seems logical, doesn't it? If the Republicans hold political power and the
"liberal" Democrats are following their lead, this must mean that the majority of Americans share the values of the right. If the "liberal" media
.
agree with this assessment, then it's surely an established fact: progressivism as a mass movement is dead in America
Progressivism as an ideology is a powerful force in the American psyche. From
environmentalism to feminism to racial equality, Americans believe deeply in
progressive ideas. All these ideologies were minority movements just a generation
ago; now, however, open opposition to them is considered political suicide in most of
the country. Why, then, does a progressive political movement seem so unthinkable? In a political system controlled by the principle
of "one dollar, one vote," these progressive views lose out to the more economically powerful ideas held by the conservative status quo. These
progressive ideas end up being ignored by mega-media corporations controlled by the same wealthy forces. This book is not an attempt to
establish a philosophy of the left. Like any political movement, the left has many different philosophies driving its members. Leftists are
concerned about civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, poverty, homelessness, education, imprisonment, empowerment, and much more.
Leftists believe in liberalism, Marxism, libertarianism, Christianity, and a wide range of other ideologies. Trying to find a common intellectual
ground for everything is impossible, since not every leftist can possibly share the same belief in every issue and in what the top priorities
should be. Even trying to define what a leftist is seems to be a difficult task, especially since most of the people who believe in leftist ideas
may be unwilling to accept the label. This book is, instead, a guide for political rhetoric and strategic action, a sometimes helpful, sometimes
annoying attempt to help the left overcome its own flaws and seek out ways to reach and convince a larger audience about progressive ideas.
This is a self-help book for leftists looking for ways to convince the world that what they believe is correct. This book is also a road map
: over the past
showing how the left can turn the public debate to issues they can win. This book originates from a puzzling paradox
several decades, American political attitudes have become dramatically more
progressive. Movements for civil rights, women's equality, and environmental
protection, once promoted by a radical fringe, are now fully embraced by the
mainstream.

at performance: cede the political

Faith in performance is naïve and fails to reshape politics

Rothberg & Valente 97 Molly Anne Rothenberg, Assoc. Prof English @ Tulane and
Joseph Valente, Assis. Prof English @ U. Ill, Feb. 1997, College Literature, v. 25, Iss. 1,
“Performative chic,” p pq

The recent vogue for performativity, particularly in gender and postcolonial studies, suggests that
the desire for political potency has displaced the demand for critical rigor.l Because Judith Butler
bears the primary responsibility for investing performativity with its present critical cachet, her work
furnishes a convenient site for exposing the flawed theoretical formulations and the hollow political
claims advanced under the banner of performativity. We have undertaken this critique not solely in the
interests of clarifying performativity's theoretical stakes: in our view, the appropriation of
performativity for purposes to which it is completely unsuited has misdirected crucial activist
energies, not only squandering resources but even endangering those naive enough to act on
performativity's (false) political promise. It is reasonable to expect any practical political
discourse to essay an analysis which links its proposed actions with their supposed effects,
appraising the fruits of specific political labors before their seeds are sown. Only by means of
such an assessment can any political program persuade us to undertake some tasks and forgo
others. Butler proceeds accordingly: "The task is not whether to repeat, but how to repeat or, indeed to
repeat, and through a radical proliferation of gender, to displace the very gender norms that enable
repetition itself' (Gender Trouble 148). Here, at the conclusion to Gender Trouble, she makes good her
promise that subjects can intervene meaningfully, politically, in the signification system which
iteratively constitutes them. The political "task" we face requires that we choose "how to repeat" gender
norms in such a way as to displace them. According to her final chapter, "The Politics of Parody," the
way to displace gender norms is through the deliberate performance of drag as gender parody.
pragmatism

A critical mass of small reforms is the only way that a radical left agenda is possible.

Wilson, 2000 – Editor and Publisher of Illinois Academe – 2000 (John K. Wilson, “How
the Left can Win Arguments and Influence People” p. 121- 123)

Progressives need to be pragmatic in order to be powerful. However, pragmatism


shouldn't be confused with Clintonian centrism and the abandonment of all
substance. Pragmatists have principles, too. The difference between a pragmatic
progressive and a foolish one is the willingness to pick the right fights and fight in the
right way to accomplish these same goals. The current failure of progressivism in
America is due to the structure of American politics and media, not because of a
wrong turn that the movement took somewhere along the way. What the left needs is
not a "better" ideology but a tactical adaptation to the obstacles it faces in the
contemporary political scene. A pragmatic progressivism does not sacrifice its ideals
but simply communicates them better to the larger public. The words we use shape how people
respond to our ideas. It’s tempting to offer the standard advice that progressives should present their ideas in the most palatable form. But
palatable to whom? The media managers and pedestrian pundits who are the intellectual gatekeepers won't accept these ideas. By the time
progressives transform their ideas into the political baby food necessary for inclusion in current debates, it barely seems to be worth the
effort. Leftists need to seize the dominant political rhetoric, even though it may be conservative in its goals, and turn it in a progressive
direction. Progressives need to use the antitax ideology to demand tax cuts for the poor. Progressives need to use the antigovernment and
antiwelfare ideology to demand the end of corporate welfare. Progressives need to translate every important issue into the language that is
permissible in the mainstream. Something will inevitably be lost in the translation. But the political soul underlying these progressive ideas
The left does not need to abandon its progressive
can be preserved and brought to the public's attention.
views in order to be popular. The left only needs to abandon some of its failed
strategies and become as savvy as the conservatives are at manipulating the press
and the politicians. The language of progressive needs to become more mainstream,
but the ideas must remain radical. In an age of soulless politicians and spineless
ideologies, the left has the virtue of integrity. Until progressives become less self-
satisfied with the knowledge that they're right and more determined to convince
everyone else of this fact, opportunities for political change will not be forthcoming.
Progressives have also been hampered by a revolutionary instinct among some leftist
groups. According to some left wingers, incremental progress is worthless---that is,
nothing short of a radical change in government will mean anything to them. Indeed,
for most radical left wingers, liberal reforms are a threat to the movement, since they
reduce the desire for more extreme changes. What the revolutionaries fail to realize
is that progressive achievements can build on one another. If anything approaching a
political revolution actually happens in America, it will be due to a succession of
popular, effective, progressive reforms. A popular uprising in the ballot box is
possible only if the left can change its political assumptions about smaller, specific
issues.
***Futurism Good***

futurism key to movements

Debates by non-government action about future crises are critical to social movements—
distopian visions are mobilizing transnational movements that are effectively pressuring
governments into preventing everything from nuclear annihilation to slowing the spread of
AIDS.
Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations
Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

In the twenty-first century, the lines of political cleavage are being drawn along those of
competing dystopian visions. Indeed, one of the notable features of recent public discourse and socio-political struggle is their
negationist hue, for they are devoted as much to the prevention of disaster as to the realization of the good, less to what ought to be than what could but
must not be. The debates that preceded the war in Iraq provide a vivid illustration of this tendency, as both camps rhetorically invoked incommensurable
catastrophic scenarios to make their respective cases. And as many analysts have noted, the multinational antiwar protests culminating on February 15,
2003 marked the first time that a mass movement was able to mobilize substantial numbers of people dedicated to averting war before it had actually
broken out. More generally, given past experiences and awareness of what might occur in the future, given the cries of ‘never again’ (the Second World
War, the Holocaust, Bhopal, Rwanda, etc.) and ‘not ever’ (e.g., nuclear or ecological apocalypse, human cloning) that are emanating from different parts
of the world, the avoidance of crises is seemingly on everyone’s lips – and everyone’s conscience. From the United Nations and regional multilateral
organizations to states, from non-governmental organizations to transnational social movements, the determination to prevent the actualization of
potential cataclysms has become a new imperative in world affairs. Allowing past disasters to reoccur and unprecedented calamities to unfold is now
widely seen as unbearable when, in the process, the suffering of future generations is callously tolerated and our survival is being irresponsibly
jeopardized. Hence, we need to pay attention to what a widely circulated report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty
identifies as a burgeoning “culture of prevention,”3 a dynamic that carries major, albeit still poorly understood, normative and political implications.
Rather than bemoaning the contemporary preeminence of a dystopian imaginary, I am
claiming that it can enable a novel form of transnational socio-political action, a
manifestation of globalization from below that can be termed preventive foresight. We
should not reduce the latter to a formal principle regulating international relations or an
ensemble of policy prescriptions for official players on the world stage, since it is, just as
significantly, a mode of ethico-political practice enacted by participants in the emerging
realm of global civil society. In other words, what I want to underscore is the work of farsightedness, the social processes through which
civic associations are simultaneously constituting and putting into practice a sense of responsibility for the future by attempting to prevent global
catastrophes. Although the labor of preventive foresight takes place in varying political and socio-cultural settings – and with different degrees of
institutional support and access to symbolic and material resources – it is underpinned by three distinctive features: dialogism, publicity, and
transnationalism. In the first instance, preventive foresight is an intersubjective or dialogical process of address, recognition, and response between two
parties in global civil society: the ‘warners,’ who anticipate and send out word of possible perils, and the audiences being warned, those who heed their
, the
interlocutors’ messages by demanding that governments and/or international organizations take measures to steer away from disaster. Secondly
work of farsightedness derives its effectiveness and legitimacy from public debate and
deliberation. This is not to say that a fully fledged global public sphere is already in
existence, since transnational “strong publics” with decisional power in the formal-
institutional realm are currently embryonic at best. Rather, in this context, publicity signifies
that “weak publics” with distinct yet occasionally overlapping constituencies are coalescing
around struggles to avoid specific global catastrophes.4 Hence, despite having little direct
decision-making capacity, the environmental and peace movements, humanitarian NGOs,
and other similar globally-oriented civic associations are becoming significant actors
involved in public opinion formation. Groups like these are active in disseminating
information and alerting citizens about looming catastrophes, lobbying states and
multilateral organizations from the ‘inside’ and pressuring them from the ‘outside,’ as well
as fostering public participation in debates about the future. This brings us to the
transnational character of preventive foresight, which is most explicit in the now
commonplace observation that we live in an interdependent world because of the
globalization of the perils that humankind faces (nuclear annihilation, global warming,
terrorism, genocide, AIDS and SARS epidemics, and so on); individuals and groups from far-
flung parts of the planet are being brought together into “risk communities” that transcend
geographical borders.5 Moreover, due to dense media and information flows, knowledge of
impeding catastrophes can instantaneously reach the four corners of the earth – sometimes
well before individuals in one place experience the actual consequences of a crisis
originating in another. My contention is that civic associations are engaging in dialogical,
public, and transnational forms of ethico-political action that contribute to the creation of a
fledgling global civil society existing ‘below’ the official and institutionalized architecture of
international relations. The work of preventive foresight consists of forging ties between
citizens; participating in the circulation of flows of claims, images, and information across
borders; promoting an ethos of farsighted cosmopolitanism; and forming and mobilizing
weak publics that debate and struggle against possible catastrophes. Over the past few
decades, states and international organizations have frequently been content to follow the
lead of globally- minded civil society actors, who have been instrumental in placing on the
public agenda a host of pivotal issues (such as nuclear war, ecological pollution, species
extinction, genetic engineering, and mass human rights violations).
futurism ket to movements

Debates from non-governmental actors about futurism and crises aversion have been critical
to forming movements addressing pollution, genocide, AIDS, racism, and war. Decades of
social activism have been motivated by futurism—this history overwhelms their non-
empirical theory.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

Societies emerging from the horrors and devastation of two world wars came to recognize
that certain dangers (principally wars of aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity, and
nuclear armageddon) needed to be averted at all costs. The international community
thereby devised a number of institutional responses, such as the Charter giving birth to the
United Nations, the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the UN
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. However, by
paralyzing the United Nations system and fuelling a nuclear arms race, the onset and
escalation of the Cold War rendered the institutional sphere largely ineffective. In response
to this paralysis came the nuclear disarmament and peace movements, which were spurred
on by the terrifying realization that human beings had devised the means for their own
annihilation and that the two geopolitical blocs were pursuing an exterminist logic; given
that human survival could no longer be entrusted to governments or multilateral institutions,
citizens had to organize themselves to tackle the problem head-on. In the 1970s and 1980s,
widely circulated reports from the Club of Rome and the Brundtland Commission combined
with environmental activism brought another global threat to public attention, the prospect
of ecological ruin caused by a rampant industrialism that mercilessly depleted the earth’s
resources and polluted it at an unsustainably destructive pace. Yet it is since the end of the
Cold War that the idea of prevention has truly come into its own in both the formally and
informally organized domains of global governance. The dissolution of the bipolar
stalemate between East and West opened the door to greater inter-state coordination and
collaboration, perhaps most significantly at the United Nations Security Council.9 The
creation of supranational judicial institutions (e.g., the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court) are also signal achievements of the
post-Cold War world order, for they may well have a latent deterrence effect despite the fact
that they are designed to prosecute crimes against humanity ex post facto. The Rome
Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court is itself part of an expanding
infrastructure of multinational conferences and agreements that has come into being over
the past decade or so; governments and NGOs have participated in large-scale, UN-
sponsored summits that have yielded agreements or declarations incorporating strong
preventive language: the Rio Summit on the environment, the Kyoto Protocol on climate
change, the International Treaty to Ban Landmines, and, of most relevance for our purposes,
the Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future
Generations.10 Furthermore, the unfolding of a process of globalization from below has
meant that certain civil society organizations are increasingly vocal in demanding that
governments, multilateral institutions and transnational corporations take preventive action
or cease to engage in activities and support policies that imperil humankind. In addition,
farsightedness has become a priority in world affairs due to the appearance of new global
threats and the resurgence of ‘older’ ones. Virulent forms of ethno-racial nationalism and
religious fundamentalism that had mostly been kept in check or bottled up during the Cold
War have reasserted themselves in ways that are now all-too-familiar – civil warfare,
genocide, ‘ethnic cleansing,’ and global terrorism. And if nuclear mutually assured
destruction has come to pass, other dangers are filling the vacuum: climate change, AIDS
and other diseases (BSE, SARS, etc.), as well as previously unheralded genomic perils
(genetically modified organisms, human cloning). Collective remembrance of past atrocities
and disasters has galvanized some sectors of public opinion and made the international
community’s unwillingness to adequately intervene before and during the genocides in the
ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda, or to take remedial steps in the case of the spiraling African and
Asian AIDS pandemics, appear particularly glaring.
futurism key to crisis prevention

Scenario planning is critical in a world where annihilation is a possibility—addressing


problems now greatly enhances our ability to avert global catastrophe.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

Independently of this contractualist justification, global civil society actors are putting forth a
number of arguments countering temporal myopia on rational grounds. They make the case
that no generation, and no part of the world, is immune from catastrophe. Complacency and
parochialism are deeply flawed in that even if we earn a temporary reprieve, our children
and grandchildren will likely not be so fortunate unless steps are taken today. Similarly,
though it might be possible to minimize or contain the risks and harms of actions to faraway
places over the short-term, parrying the eventual blowback or spillover effect is improbable.
In fact, as I argued in the previous section, all but the smallest and most isolated of crises
are rapidly becoming globalized due to the existence of transnational circuits of ideas,
images, people, and commodities. Regardless of where they live, our descendants will
increasingly be subjected to the impact of environmental degradation, the spread of
epidemics, gross North-South socioeconomic inequalities, refugee flows, civil wars, and
genocides. What may have previously appeared to be temporally and spatially remote risks
are ‘coming home to roost’ in ever faster cycles. In a word, then, procrastination makes little
sense for three principal reasons: it exponentially raises the costs of eventual future action;
it reduces preventive options; and it erodes their effectiveness. With the foreclosing of long-
range alternatives, later generations may be left with a single course of action, namely, that
of merely reacting to large-scale emergencies as they arise. We need only think of how it
gradually becomes more difficult to control climate change, let alone reverse it, or to halt
mass atrocities once they are underway. Preventive foresight is grounded in the opposite
logic, whereby the decision to work through perils today greatly enhances both the
subsequent room for maneuver and the chances of success. Humanitarian, environmental,
and techno-scientific activists have convincingly shown that we cannot afford not to engage
in preventive labor. Moreover, I would contend that farsighted cosmopolitanism is not as
remote or idealistic a prospect as it appears to some, for as Falk writes, “[g]lobal justice
between temporal communities, however, actually seems to be increasing, as evidenced by
various expressions of greater sensitivity to past injustices and future dangers.”36 Global
civil society may well be helping a new generational self-conception take root, according to
which we view ourselves as the provisional caretakers of our planetary commons. Out of our
sense of responsibility for the well-being of those who will follow us, we come to be more
concerned about the here and now.
futurism key to human survival

Futurism is key to human survival. Debates amongst citizens are the only way to reign in
the excesses of statism.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

In recent years, the rise of a dystopian imaginary has accompanied damning assessments
and widespread recognition of the international community’s repeated failures to
adequately intervene in a number of largely preventable disasters (from the genocides in
the ex-Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and East Timor to climate change and the spiraling AIDS
pandemics in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia). Social movements, NGOs, diasporic
groups, and concerned citizens are not mincing words in their criticisms of the United
Nations system and its member-states, and thus beginning to shift the discursive and moral
terrain in world affairs. As a result, the callousness implicit in disregarding the future has
been exposed as a threat to the survival of humanity and its natural surroundings. The
Realpolitik of national self-interest and the neoliberal logic of the market will undoubtedly
continue to assert themselves, yet demands for farsightedness are increasingly reining them
in. Though governments, multilateral institutions, and transnational corporations will
probably never completely modify the presentist assumptions underlying their modes of
operation, they are, at the very least, finding themselves compelled to account for egregious
instances of short-sightedness and rhetorically commit themselves to taking corrective
steps. What may seem like a modest development at first glance would have been
unimaginable even a few decades ago, indicating the extent to which we have moved
toward a culture of prevention. A new imperative has come into being, that of preventive
foresight.
at: any flaw with futurism

Any problem that they identify about futurism will only be worse in a world where we give
up. Either others will decide for us or we will be overwhelmed by crises. Futurism may have
flaws but scenario planning by citizens is the best hope that we have.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

None of this is to disavow the international community’s rather patchy record of avoiding
foreseeable calamities over the last decades, or to minimize the difficulties of implementing
the kinds of global institutional reforms described above and the perils of historical
contingency, presentist indifference toward the future, or alarmism and resignation. To my
mind, however, this is all the more reason to pay attention to the work of preventive
foresight in global civil society, through which civic associations can build up the latter’s
coordination mechanisms and institutional leverage, cultivate and mobilize public opinion in
distant parts of the world, and compel political leaders and national and transnational
governance structures to implement certain policies. While seeking to prevent cataclysms
from worsening or, better yet, from occurring in the first place, these sorts of initiatives can
and must remain consistent with a vision of a just world order. Furthermore, the labor of
farsightedness supports an autonomous view of the future, according to which we are the
creators of the field of possibilities within which our successors will dwell. The current socio-
political order, with all its short-term biases, is neither natural nor necessary. Accordingly,
informed public participation in deliberative processes makes a socially self-instituting future
possible, through the involvement of groups and individuals active in domestic and
supranational public spaces; prevention is a public practice, and a public responsibility. To
believe otherwise is, I would argue, to leave the path clear for a series of alternatives that
heteronomously compromise the well-being of those who will come after us. We would
thereby effectively abandon the future to the vagaries of history (‘let it unfold as it may’),
the technocratic or instrumental will of official institutions (‘let others decide for us’), or to
gambles about the time-lags of risks (‘let our progeny deal with their realization’). But, as I
have tried to show here, this will not and cannot be accepted. Engaging in autonomous
preventive struggles, then, remains our best hope. A farsighted cosmopolitanism that aims
to avert crises while working toward the realization of precaution and global justice
represents a compelling ethico-political project, for we will not inherit a better future. It must
be made, starting with us, in the here and now.
at: futurism/crises cause paralysis

Crisis scenarios do not cause paralysis—historically, the most effective social movements
have used distopian imagery to compel action.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

Returning to the point I made at the beginning of this paper, the significance of foresight is a
direct outcome of the transition toward a dystopian imaginary (or what Sontag has called
“the imagination of disaster”).11 Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-
Four, two groundbreaking dystopian novels of the first half of the twentieth century, remain
as influential as ever in framing public discourse and understanding current techno-scientific
dangers, while recent paradigmatic cultural artifacts – films like The Matrix and novels like
Atwood’s Oryx and Crake – reflect and give shape to this catastrophic sensibility.12 And yet
dystopianism need not imply despondency, paralysis, or fear. Quite the opposite, in fact,
since the pervasiveness of a dystopian imaginary can help notions of historical contingency
and fallibilism gain traction against their determinist and absolutist counterparts. Once we
recognize that the future is uncertain and that any course of action produces both
unintended and unexpected consequences, the responsibility to face up to potential
disasters and intervene before they strike becomes compelling. From another angle,
dystopianism lies at the core of politics in a global civil society where groups mobilize their
own nightmare scenarios (‘Frankenfoods’ and a lifeless planet for environmentalists,
totalitarian patriarchy of the sort depicted in Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale for Western
feminism, McWorld and a global neoliberal oligarchy for the alternative globalization
movement, etc.). Such scenarios can act as catalysts for public debate and socio-political
action, spurring citizens’ involvement in the work of preventive foresight.
at: predictions wrong

Just because we cannot predict the future with total certainty does not mean that we cannot
make educated guesses. And, scenario planning is key to making responsible choices. We
are obligated to take care of the planet if we have a significant role to play.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

A radically postmodern line of thinking, for instance, would lead us to believe that it is
pointless, perhaps even harmful, to strive for farsightedness in light of the aforementioned
crisis of conventional paradigms of historical analysis. If, contra teleological models, history
has no intrinsic meaning, direction, or endpoint to be discovered through human reason, and
if, contra scientistic futurism, prospective trends cannot be predicted without error, then the
abyss of chronological inscrutability supposedly opens up at our feet. The future appears to
be unknowable, an outcome of chance. Therefore, rather than embarking upon grandiose
speculation about what may occur, we should adopt a pragmatism that abandons itself to
the twists and turns of history; let us be content to formulate ad hoc responses to
emergencies as they arise. While this argument has the merit of underscoring the fallibilistic
nature of all predictive schemes, it conflates the necessary recognition of the contingency of
history with unwarranted assertions about the latter’s total opacity and indeterminacy.
Acknowledging the fact that the future cannot be known with absolute certainty does not
imply abandoning the task of trying to understand what is brewing on the horizon and to
prepare for crises already coming into their own. In fact, the incorporation of the principle of
fallibility into the work of prevention means that we must be ever more vigilant for warning
signs of disaster and for responses that provoke unintended or unexpected consequences (a
point to which I will return in the final section of this paper). In addition, from a normative
point of view, the acceptance of historical contingency and of the self-limiting character of
farsightedness places the duty of preventing catastrophe squarely on the shoulders of
present generations. The future no longer appears to be a metaphysical creature of destiny
or of the cunning of reason, nor can it be sloughed off to pure randomness. It becomes,
instead, a result of human action shaped by decisions in the present – including, of course,
trying to anticipate and prepare for possible and avoidable sources of harm to our
successors. Combining a sense of analytical contingency toward the future and ethical
responsibility for it, the idea of early warning is making its way into preventive action on the
global stage.

Scenario planning is no longer the product of sterile government number crunching.


Debates amongst citizens about future crises have created a global early warning next work
that has both been proven relatively accurate and able to influence government action.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

Despite the fact that not all humanitarian, technoscientific, and environmental disasters can
be predicted in advance, the multiplication of independent sources of knowledge and
detection mechanisms enables us to foresee many of them before it is too late. Indeed, in
recent years, global civil society’s capacity for early warning has dramatically increased, in no
small part due to the impressive number of NGOs that include catastrophe prevention at the heart of their mandates.17 These organizations are often the
first to detect signs of trouble, to dispatch investigative or fact-finding missions, and to warn the international community about impending dangers; to
wit, the lead role of environmental groups in sounding the alarm about global warming and species depletion or of humanitarian agencies regarding the
What has
AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, frequently months or even years before Western governments or multilateral institutions followed suit.
come into being, then, is a loose-knit network of watchdog groups that is acquiring finely
tuned antennae to pinpoint indicators of forthcoming or already unfolding crises. This
network of ‘early warners’ are working to publicize potential and actual emergencies by
locating indicators of danger into larger catastrophic patterns of interpretation, culturally
meaningful chains of events whose implications become discernable for decision-makers
and ordinary citizens (‘this is why you should care’).18 Civic associations can thus invest
perilous situations with urgency and importance, transforming climate change from an apparently mild and distant
possibility to an irreversible and grave threat to human survival, and genocide from a supposedly isolated aberration to an affront to our common
humanity. The growing public significance of preventive message in global affairs is part and parcel of what Ignatieff has termed an “advocacy
revolution,”19 since threatened populations and allied organizations are acting as early warning beacons that educate citizens about certain perils and
appeal for action on the part of states and multilateral institutions. Global civil society players have devised a host of ‘naming and shaming’ strategies and
high-profile information campaigns to this effect, including press conferences, petitions, mass marches, and boycotts, and spectacular stunts that
0 The advocacy
denounce bureaucratic inertia, the reckless pursuit of profit, or the preponderance of national interests in world affairs.2
revolution is having both ‘trickle-down’ and ‘trickle-up’ effects, establishing audiences of
constituents and ordinary citizens conversant with some of the great challenges facing
humanity as well as putting pressure on official institutions to be proactive in their long-term
planning and shorter-term responses.

at: media distortions

They are right that the media is not perfect. But, the proliferation of different types of
media makes government cover-ups very difficult and can dramatically shape public
opinion. And, there is a healthy skepticism of the media that mobilizes citizens to question
further.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

None of this would be possible without the existence of global media, whose speed and
range make it possible for reports of an unfolding or upcoming disaster to reach viewers or
readers in most parts of the world almost instantaneously. Despite the highly selective
character of what is deemed newsworthy and state and commercial influence on what is
broadcast, several recent attempts to hide evidence of acts of mass violence (Tiananmen
Square, East Timor, Chechnya, etc.) and crises (e.g., during the Chernobyl nuclear accident
in the Soviet Union or the SARS outbreak in China) have failed; few things now entirely
escape from the satellite camera, the cellular telephone, or the notebook computer. And
although the internet may never become the populist panacea technological determinists
have been heralding for years, it remains a key device through which concerned citizens and
activists can share and spread information. While media coverage almost always follows a
crisis rather than preceding it, the broadcast of shocking images and testimonies can
nevertheless shame governments and international organizations into taking immediate
steps. The ‘CNN or BBC effect,’ to which we should now add the ‘Al-Jazeera effect,’ is a
surprisingly powerful force in impacting world public opinion, as the now notorious Abu
Ghraib prison photographs remind us. The possibility that the threat of media exposure may
dissuade individuals and groups from enacting genocidal plans or reckless gambles with our
future is one of the lynchpins of prevention in our information-saturated age. Are
forewarnings of disasters being heard? The mobilization of official intervention and popular
interest has certainly been mixed, yet global civil society is having some success in
cultivating audiences and advocates coalescing around specific perils (mass human rights
violations, ecological devastation, genetic engineering, epidemics, and so on). After Bhopal
and Chernobyl, after ‘mad cow disease’ and the war in Iraq, citizens are scrutinizing,
questioning and even contesting official expertise in risk assessment more than ever
before.21 Hence, in a world where early warnings of cataclysms are often available,
pleading ignorance or helplessness to anticipate what may come in the future becomes less
and less plausible.
at: futurism = no value to life

Short-sightedness is what makes life disposable—the techno-strategic logic that they indict
is at its worst when we refuse to consider long-term consequences. Future orientation is the
only way to make better decisions.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

At another level, instrumental-strategic forms of thought and action, so pervasive in modern


societies because institutionally entrenched in the state and the market, are rarely
compatible with the demands of farsightedness. The calculation of the most technically
efficient means to attain a particular bureaucratic or corporate objective, and the
subsequent relentless pursuit of it, intrinsically exclude broader questions of long-term
prospects or negative side-effects. What matters is the maximization of profits or national
self-interest with the least effort, and as rapidly as possible. Growing risks and perils are
transferred to future generations through a series of trade-offs: economic growth versus
environmental protection, innovation versus safety, instant gratification versus future well-
being. What can be done in the face of short-sightedness? Cosmopolitanism provides some
of the clues to an answer, thanks to its formulation of a universal duty of care for humankind
that transcends all geographical and socio-cultural borders. I want to expand the notion of
cosmopolitan universalism in a temporal direction, so that it can become applicable to future
generations and thereby nourish a vibrant culture of prevention. Consequently, we need to
begin thinking about a farsighted cosmopolitanism, a chrono-cosmopolitics that takes
seriously a sense of “intergenerational solidarity” toward human beings who will live in our
wake as much as those living amidst us today. But for a farsighted cosmopolitanism to take
root in global civil society, the latter must adopt a thicker regulative principle of care for the
future than the one currently in vogue (which amounts to little more than an afterthought of the nondescript ‘don’t forget later generations’ ilk). Hans
Jonas’s “imperative of responsibility” is valuable precisely because it prescribes an ethico-political relationship to the future consonant with the work of
farsightedness.27 Fully appreciating Jonas’s position requires that we grasp the rupture it establishes with the presentist assumptions imbedded in the
intentionalist tradition of Western ethics. In brief, intentionalism can be explained by reference to its best-known formulation, the Kantian categorical
imperative, according to which the moral worth of a deed depends upon whether the a priori “principle of the will” or “volition” of the person performing it
– that is, his or her intention – should become a universal law.28 Ex post facto evaluation of an act’s outcomes, and of whether they correspond to the
initial intention, is peripheral to moral judgment. A variant of this logic is found in Weber’s discussion of the “ethic of absolute ends,” the “passionate
devotion to a cause” elevating the realization of a vision of the world above all other considerations; conviction without the restraint of caution and
prudence is intensely presentist.29 By contrast, Jonas’s strong consequentialism takes a cue from Weber’s “ethic of responsibility,” which stipulates that
we must carefully ponder the potential impacts of our actions and assume responsibility for them – even for the incidence of unexpected and unintended
results. Neither the contingency of outcomes nor the retrospective nature of certain moral judgments exempts an act from normative evaluation. On the
, consequentialism reconnects what intentionalism prefers to keep distinct: the moral
contrary
worth of ends partly depends upon the means selected to attain them (and vice versa),
while the correspondence between intentions and results is crucial. At the same time, Jonas
goes further than Weber in breaking with presentism by advocating an “ethic of long-range
responsibility” that refuses to accept the future’s indeterminacy, gesturing instead toward a
practice of farsighted preparation for crises that could occur.30 From a consequentialist
perspective, then, intergenerational solidarity would consist of striving to prevent our
endeavors from causing large-scale human suffering and damage to the natural world over
time. Jonas reformulates the categorical imperative along these lines: “Act so that the
effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life,” or “Act
so that the effects of your action are not destructive of the future possibility of such life.”31
What we find here, I would hold, is a substantive and future-oriented ethos on the basis of
which civic associations can enact the work of preventive foresight.
at: fear mongering by the state

Debate is the antidote to state fear mongering—scenario planning by informed groups can
counter-act official misinformation. And, the alternative is that the governments will
continue to scare us but we will be too apolitical and ill informed to counter act lies.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

State and market institutions may seek to produce a culture of fear by deliberately
stretching interpretations of reality beyond the limits of the plausible so as to exaggerate
the prospects of impending catastrophes, or yet again, by intentionally promoting certain
prognoses over others for instrumental purposes. Accordingly, regressive dystopias can
operate as Trojan horses advancing political agendas or commercial interests that would
otherwise be susceptible to public scrutiny and opposition. Instances of this kind of
manipulation of the dystopian imaginary are plentiful: the invasion of Iraq in the name of
fighting terrorism and an imminent threat of use of ‘weapons of mass destruction’; the
severe curtailing of American civil liberties amidst fears of a collapse of ‘homeland security’;
the neoliberal dismantling of the welfare state as the only remedy for an ideologically
constructed fiscal crisis; the conservative expansion of policing and incarceration due to
supposedly spiraling crime waves; and so forth. Alarmism constructs and codes the future in
particular ways, producing or reinforcing certain crisis narratives, belief structures, and
rhetorical conventions. As much as alarmist ideas beget a culture of fear, the reverse is no
less true. If fear-mongering is a misappropriation of preventive foresight, resignation about
the future represents a problematic outgrowth of the popular acknowledgment of global
perils. Some believe that the world to come is so uncertain and dangerous that we should
not attempt to modify the course of history; the future will look after itself for better or
worse, regardless of what we do or wish. One version of this argument consists in a
complacent optimism perceiving the future as fated to be better than either the past or the
present. Frequently accompanying it is a self-deluding denial of what is plausible (‘the world
will not be so bad after all’), or a naively Panglossian pragmatism (‘things will work
themselves out in spite of everything, because humankind always finds ways to survive’).37
Much more common, however, is the opposite reaction, a fatalistic pessimism reconciled to
the idea that the future will be necessarily worse than what preceded it. This is sustained by
a tragic chronological framework according to which humanity is doomed to decay, or a
cyclical one of the endless repetition of the mistakes of the past. On top of their dubious
assessments of what is to come, alarmism and resignation would, if widely accepted,
undermine a viable practice of farsightedness. Indeed, both of them encourage public
disengagement from deliberation about scenarios for the future, a process that appears to
be dangerous, pointless, or unnecessary. The resulting ‘depublicization’ of debate leaves
dominant groups and institutions (the state, the market, techno-science) in charge of sorting
out the future for the rest of us, thus effectively producing a heteronomous social order.
How, then, can we support a democratic process of prevention from below? The answer, I
think, lies in cultivating the public capacity for critical judgment and deliberation, so that
participants in global civil society subject all claims about potential catastrophes to
examination, evaluation, and contestation.
at: futurism is statist

Debates amongst citizens about government policy are proof that futurism is not statist—it
is able to mobilize citizens to demand change and imagine alternative political futures.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

NGOs and social movements active in global civil society have drawn upon the moral
imagination in similar ways, introducing dystopian scenarios less as prophecies than as
rhetorical devices that act as ‘wake-up calls.’ Dystopias are thrust into public spaces to jolt
citizens out of their complacency and awaken their concern for those who will follow them.
Such tropes are intended to be controversial, their contested character fostering public
deliberation about the potential cataclysms facing humankind, the means of addressing
them, and the unintended and unexpected consequences flowing from present-day trends.
In helping us to imagine the strengths and weaknesses of different positions towards the
future, then, the dystopian imaginary crystallizes many of the great issues of the day.
Amplifying and extrapolating what could be the long-term consequences of current
tendencies, public discourse can thereby clarify the future’s seeming opaqueness. Likewise,
fostering a dystopian moral imagination has a specifically critical function, for the disquiet it
provokes about the prospects of later generations is designed to make us radically question
the ‘self-evidentness’ of the existing social order.34 If we imagine ourselves in the place of
our descendants, the takenfor- granted shortsightedness of our institutionalized ways of
thinking and acting becomes problematic. Indifference toward the future is neither
necessary nor inevitable, but can be – and indeed ought to be – changed. Aside from the
moral imagination, and given that the idea of gambling with humanity’s future or failing to
minimize its possible sources of suffering is logically unsustainable, the appeal to reason
represents another main trigger of intergenerational solidarity.
at: chaos inevitable

Chaos is not inevitable—careful future planning has been enormously effective. Medical
research, humanitarian law, and environmental regulations are just a few areas where
futurism has prevented enormous suffering. Debates amongst citizens are key to assessing
probability and effectively planning.

Kurasawa, 04 (Professor of Sociology, York University of Toronto, Fuyuki, Constellations


Volume 11, No 4, 2004).

Moreover, keeping in mind the sobering lessons of the past century cannot but make us
wary about humankind’s supposedly unlimited ability for problemsolving or discovering
solutions in time to avert calamities. In fact, the historical track-record of last-minute,
technical ‘quick-fixes’ is hardly reassuring. What’s more, most of the serious perils that we
face today (e.g., nuclear waste, climate change, global terrorism, genocide and civil war)
demand complex, sustained, long-term strategies of planning, coordination, and execution.
On the other hand, an examination of fatalism makes it readily apparent that the idea that
humankind is doomed from the outset puts off any attempt to minimize risks for our
successors, essentially condemning them to face cataclysms unprepared. An a priori
pessimism is also unsustainable given the fact that long-term preventive action has had
(and will continue to have) appreciable beneficial effects; the examples of medical research,
the welfare state, international humanitarian law, as well as strict environmental regulations
in some countries stand out among many others. The evaluative framework proposed above
should not be restricted to the critique of misappropriations of farsightedness, since it can
equally support public deliberation with a reconstructive intent, that is, democratic
discussion and debate about a future that human beings would freely self-determine.
Inverting Foucault’s Nietzschean metaphor, we can think of genealogies of the future that
could perform a farsighted mapping out of the possible ways of organizing social life. They
are, in other words, interventions into the present intended to facilitate global civil society’s
participation in shaping the field of possibilities of what is to come. Once competing
dystopian visions are filtered out on the basis of their analytical credibility, ethical
commitments, and political underpinnings and consequences, groups and individuals can
assess the remaining legitimate catastrophic scenarios through the lens of genealogical
mappings of the future. Hence, our first duty consists in addressing the present-day causes
of eventual perils, ensuring that the paths we decide upon do not contract the range of
options available for our posterity.42 Just as importantly, the practice of genealogically
inspired farsightedness nurtures the project of an autonomous future, one that is socially
self-instituting. In so doing, we can acknowledge that the future is a human creation instead
of the product of metaphysical and extra-social forces (god, nature, destiny, etc.), and begin
to reflect upon and deliberate about the kind of legacy we want to leave for those who will
follow us. Participants in global civil society can then take – and in many instances have
already taken – a further step by committing themselves to socio-political struggles forging
a world order that, aside from not jeopardizing human and environmental survival, is
designed to rectify the sources of transnational injustice that will continue to inflict needless
suffering upon future generations if left unchallenged.
***Sta te***

A2: State Bad

Debating about the state does not mean capitulating to it --- discussing government policy
creates critical understanding that facilitates resistance against its worst abuses
Donovan and Larkin ’06 (Clair and Phil, Australian National University, Politics, Vol. 26, No. 1)
We do not suggest that political science should merely fall into line with the government
instrumentalism that we have identified, becoming a 'slave social science' (see Donovan, 2005). But, we
maintain that political scientists should be able to engage with practical politics on their own terms and should
be able to provide research output that is of value to practitioners. It is because of its focus on understanding,
explanation, conceptualisation and classification that political science has the potential to
contribute more to practical politics, and more successfully. As Brian Barry notes, 'Granting (for the
sake of argument) that [students of politics] have some methods that enable us to improve on the deliverances of
untutored common sense or political journalism, what good do they do? The answer to that question is: not much.
But if we change the question and ask what good they could do, I believe that it is possible to justify a more positive
answer' (Bany, 2004, p. 22). A clear understanding of how institutions and individuals interact or how
different institutions interact with each other can provide clear and useful insights that practitioners can
successfully use, making - or perhaps remaking - a political science that 'directs research efforts to good
questions and enables incremental improvements to be made' (ibid., 19). In this sense, political
science already has the raw material to make this contribution, but it chooses not to utilise it in
this way: no doubt, in part, because academics are motivated to present their findings to other
academics and not the practitioners within the institutions they study.

Change outside the state is temporary --- only engaging institutions produces lasting remedies
Milbrath ’96 (Lester W., Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Sociology – SUNY Buffalo, Building Sustainable Societies, Ed.
Pirages, p. 289)

In some respects personal change cannot be separated from societal change. Societal transformation will not be successful
without change at the personal level; such change is a necessary but not sufficient step on the route to sustainability. People
hoping to live sustainably must adopt new beliefs, new values, new lifestyles, and new worldview. But lasting personal change is
unlikely without simultaneous transformation of the socioeconomic/political system in which people function. Persons may
solemnly resolve to change, but that resolve is likely to weaken as they perform day-today within a system reinforcing different
beliefs and values. Change agents typically are met with denial and great resistance. Reluctance to challenge mainstream society
is the major reason most efforts emphasizing education to bring about change are ineffective. If societal transformation must be
speedy, and most of us believe it must, pleading with individuals to change is not likely to be effective.
A2: State Bad

State power is flexible and open to reorientation


Krause and Williams ‘97
(Keith, Professor of Political Science – York U., and Michael, Professor of Political Science – U Southern Main,
Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases, p. xvi)

Many of the chapters in this volume thus retain


a concern with the centrality of the state as a locus not only
of obligation but of effective political action. In the realm of organized violence, states also
remain the preeminent actors. The task of a critical approach is not to deny the centrality of the
state in this realm but, rather, to understand more fully its structures, dynamics, and possibilities
for reorientation. From a critical perspective, state action is flexible and capable of reorientation,
and analyzing state policy need not therefore be tantamount to embracing the statist assumptions of
orthodox conceptions. To exclude a focus on state action from a critical perspective on the grounds that
it plays inevitably within the rules of existing conceptions simply reverses the error of
essentializing the state. Moreover, it loses the possibility of influencing what remains the most
structurally capable actor in contemporary world politics.

Only debating state policies can avert nuclear conflict --- this doesn’t mean accepting the system
Spanier ’90 (John, PhD – Yale and Teacher – U Florida, Games Nations Play, p. 115)

Whether the observer personally approves of the "logic of behavior" that a particular framework seems to
suggest is not the point. It is one thing to say, as done here, that the state system condemns each state to
be continually concerned with its power relative to that of other states, which, in an anarchical system, it regards as
potential aggressors. It is quite another thing to approve morally of power politics. The utility of the state-
system framework is simply that is points to the "essence" of state behavior. It does not pretend to account for all factors, such as
moral norms, that motivate states. As a necessarily simplified version of reality, it clarifies what most basically concerns and
drives states and what kinds of behavior can be expected. We, as observers, may deplore that behavior and the anarchical system
that produces it and we may wish that international politics were not as conflictual and violent as the twentieth century has
already amply demonstrated. We may prefer a system other that one in which states are so committed to advancing their own
national interests and protecting their sovereignty. Nevertheless, however much we may deplore the current
system and prefer a more peaceful and harmonious world, we must first understand the contemporary
one if we are to learn how to "manage" it and avoid the catastrophe of a nuclear war.
A2: State Bad

Ignoring the state is politically disastrous --- only opposition to specific institutions can
meaningfully challenge domination
Grossberg ’92 (Lawrence, Professor of Communication – U Illinois, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, p. 390-1)

But this would mean that the


Left could not remain outside of the systems of governance. It has sometimes to work with,
against and with in bureaucratic systems of governance. Consider the case of Amnesty
International, an immensely effective organization when its major strategy was (similar to that of the Right) exerting
pressure directly on the bureaucracies of specific governments. In recent years (marked by the recent rock tour), it has
apparently redirected its energy and resources, seeking new members (who may not be committed to actually doing anything;
membership becomes little more than a statement of ideological support for a position that few
are likely to oppose) and public visibility. In stark contrast, the most effective struggle of the Left in recent
times has been the dramatic (and, one hopes continuing) dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. It was accomplished
by mobilizing popular pressure on the institutions and bureaucracies of economic and governmental
institutions, and it depended upon a highly sophisticated organizational structure. The Left too often thinks that it
can end racism and sexism and classism by changing people’s attitude and everyday practices
(e.g. the 1990 Black boycott of Korean stores in New York). Unfortunately, while such struggles may be
extremely visible, they are often less effective than attempts to move the institutions (e.g. banks, taxing
structures, distributors) which have put the economic relations of bleack an immigrant populations in place and which
condition people’s everyday practices. The Left needs institutions which can operate within the system of
governance, understanding that such institutions are the mediating structures by which power is actively
realized. It is often by directing opposition against specific institutions that power can be challenged.
The Left assumed for some time now that, since it has so little access to the apparatuses of agency, its only alternative is to seek a public voice in the media through
tactical protests. The Left does in fact need more visibility, but it also needs greater access to the entire range of apparatuses of decision making power. Otherwise
the Left has nothing but its own self-righteousness. It is not individuals who have produced starvation and the other social
disgraces of our world, although it is individuals who must take responsibility for eliminating them. But to do so, they must act with organizations, and within the
systems of organizations which in fact have the capacity (as well as responsibility) to fight them. Without such organizations, the only models of political
commitment are self-interest and charity. Charity suggests that we act on behalf of others who cannot act on their own behalf. But we are all precariously caught in
the circuits of global capitalism, and everyone’s position is increasingly precarious and uncertain. It will not take much to change the position of any individual in the
United States, as the experience of many of the homeless, the elderly and the “fallen” middle class demonstrates. Nor are there any guarantees about the future of any
single nation. We can imagine ourselves involved in a politics where acting for another is always acting for oneself as well, a politics in which everyone struggles
with the resources they have to make their lives (and the world) better, since the two are so intimately tied together! For example, we need to think of affirmation
action as in everyone’s best interests, because of the possibilities it opens. We need to think with what Axelos has described as a “planetary thought” which “would
be a coherent thought—but not a rationalizing and ‘rationalist’ inflection; it would be a fragmentary thought of the open totality—for what we can grasp are
fragments unveiled on the horizon of the totality. Such a politics will not begin by distinguishing between the local and the global (and certainly not by valorizing
Resistance is always a
one over the other) for the ways in which the former are incorporated into the latter preclude the luxury of such choices.
local struggle, even when (as in parts of the ecology movement) it is imagined to connect into its global
structures of articulation: Think globally, act locally. Opposition is predicated precisely on locating the points of articulation between them, the
points at which the global becomes local, and the local opens up onto the global. Since the meaning of these terms has to be understood in the context of any
Fight locally because that is the scene
particular struggle, one is always acting both globally and locally: Think globally, act appropriately!
of action, but aim for the global because that is the scene of agency. “Local struggles directly target national and
international axioms, at the precise point of their insertion into the field of immanence.” This requires the imagination and construction of forms of unity,
.
commonality and social agency which do not deny differences Without such commonality, politics is too easily reduced to a question of individual rights (i.e., in the
terms of classical utility theory); difference ends up “trumping” politics, bringing it to an end. The struggle against the disciplined mobilization of everyday life can
only be built on affective commonalities, a shared “responsible yearning: a yearning out towards something more and something better than this and this place now.”
The Left, after all, is defined by its common commitment to principles of justice, equality and democracy (although these might conflict) in economic, political and
cultural life. It is based on the hope, perhaps even the illusion, that such things are possible. The construction of an affective commonality attempts to mobilize
people in a common struggle, despite the fact that they have no common identity or character, recognizing that they are the only force capable of providing a new
historical and oppositional agency. It strives to organize minorities into a new majority.
A2: State Bad (Gender)

The state is not inherently patriarchal –- reformism is a more effective way to challenge patriarchy
Rhode ’94 (Deborah L., Professor of Law – Stanford, 107 Harv. L. Rev. 1181, April, Lexis)

Neither can the state be understood solely as an instrument of men's interests. As a threshold matter, what
constitutes those interests is not self-evident, as MacKinnon's own illustrations suggest. If, for example, policies liberalizing
abortion serve male objectives by enhancing access to female sexuality, policies curtailing abortion presumably also serve male
objectives by reducing female autonomy. n23 In effect, patriarchal frameworks verge on tautology. Almost any
gender-related policy can be seen as either directly serving men's immediate interests, or as compromising
short-term concerns in the service of broader, long-term goals, such as "normalizing" the system and stabilizing power
relations. A framework that can characterize all state interventions as directly or indirectly patriarchal
offers little practical guidance in challenging the conditions it condemns. And if women are not a homogenous
group with unitary concerns, surely the same is true of men. Moreover, if the state is best understood as a network of institutions
with complex, sometimes competing agendas, then the patriarchal model of single-minded instrumentalism seems highly
implausible. It is difficult to dismiss all the anti-discrimination initiatives of the last quarter century as purely counter-
revolutionary strategies. And it is precisely these initiatives, with their appeal to "male" norms of "objectivity and the
impersonality of procedure, that [have created] [*1186] leverage for the representation of women's interests." n24 Cross-
cultural research also suggests that the status of women is positively correlated with a strong state,
which is scarcely the relationship that patriarchal frameworks imply. n25 While the "tyrannies" of public
and private dependence are plainly related, many feminists challenge the claim that they are the same. As Carole Pateman notes,
women do not "live with the state and are better able to make collective struggle against institutions than individuals." n26 To
advance that struggle, feminists need more concrete and contextual accounts of state institutions than patriarchal frameworks
have supplied. Lumping together police, welfare workers, and Pentagon officials as agents of a
unitary patriarchal structure does more to obscure than to advance analysis. What seems necessary is a
contextual approach that can account for greater complexities in women's relationships with governing institutions. Yet despite
their limitations, patriarchal theories underscore an insight that generally informs feminist theorizing. As Part II reflects,
governmental institutions are implicated in the most fundamental structures of sex-based inequality and in the strategies
necessary to address it. [Continues] These tensions within the women's movement are, of course, by no means unique. For any
subordinate group, the state is a primary source of both repression and assistance in the struggle for
equality. These constituencies cannot be "for" or "against" state involvement in any categorical sense. The questions are always
what forms of involvement, to what ends, and who makes these decisions. From some feminist perspectives, liberalism has failed
to respond adequately to those questions because of deeper difficulties. In part, the problem stems from undue faith in formal
rights. The priority granted to individual entitlements undermines the public's sense of collective responsibility. This critique has
attracted its own share of criticism from within as well as from outside the feminist community. As many left feminists, including
critical race theorists, have noted, rights-based claims have played a crucial role in advancing group as well
as individual interests. n32 Such
claims can express desires not only for autonomy, but also for participation in
the struggles that shape women's collective existence. The priority that state institutions place on rights is not in
itself problematic. The central difficulty is the limited scope and inadequate enforcement of currently recognized entitlements.
Since rights-oriented campaigns can advance as well as restrict political struggle, evaluation of their strategic value demands
historically-situated contextual analysis.
A2: State Bad (Environment)

The immediacy of environmental degradation makes state action essential --- anti-statist critiques
fail and reproduce violence
Eckersley ‘04 (Robyn, Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne, THE GREEN STATE: RETHINKING
DEMOCRACY AND SOVEREIGNTY, p. 90-93)
It might be tempting to conclude from this general critique that states are part of the problem rather than
the solution to ecological degradation. With its roots in the peace and antinuclear movements, the green movement
has long been critical of the coercive modality of state power—including the state-military-industrial complex—and might therefore be
understandably skeptical toward the very possibility of reforming or transforming states into more
democratic and ecologically responsive structures of government. The notion that the state might come to represent an ecological savior and
trustee appears both fanciful and dangerous rather than empowering. Yet
such an anti-statist posture cannot withstand
critical scrutiny from a critical ecological perspective. The problem seems to be that while states have been
associated with violence, insecurity, bureaucratic domination, injustice, and ecological degradation, there is
no reason to assume that any alternatives we might imagine or develop will necessarily be free of, or less burdened by,
such problems. As Hedley Bull warns, violence, insecurity, injustice, and ecological degradation pre-date the
state system, and we cannot rule out the possibility that they are likely to survive the demise of the state system, regardless
of what new political structures may arise. ‘9 Now it could be plausibly argued that these problems might be lessened under a more
democratic and possibly decentralized global political architecture (as bioregionalists and other green decentralists have argued). However, there
is no basis upon which to assume that they will be lessened any more than under a more deeply democratized state system. Given the
of many ecological problems (e.g., global warming), building on the state
seriousness and urgency
governance structures that already exist seems to be a more fruitful path to take than any attempt to
move beyond or around states in the quest for environmental sustainability.20 Moreover, as a matter of principle, it can be argued that environmental
benefits are public goods that ought best be managed by democratically organized public power and not by private power.2l Such an approach is consistent with
critical theory’s concern to work creatively with current historical practices and associated understandings rather than fashion utopias that have no purchase on such
practices aid understandings. In short, there is more mileage to be gained by enlisting and creatively developing the existing norms, rules, and practices of state
governance in ways that make state power more democratically and ecologically accountable than designing a new architecture of global governance de novo (a
daunting and despairing proposition). Skeptics should take heart from the fact that the organized coercive power of democratic states is not a totally untamed power,
insofar as such power must be exercised according to the rule of law and principles of democratic oversight. This is not to deny that state power can sometimes be
seriously abused (e.g., by the police or national intelligence agencies). Rather, it is merely to argue that such powers are not unlimited and beyond democratic control
and redress. The focus of critical ecological attention should therefore be on how effective this control and redress has been, and how it might be strengthened. The
same argument may be extended to the bureaucratic arm of the state. In liberal democratic states, with the gradual enlargement, specialization, and depersonalization
of state administrative power have also come legal norms and procedures that limit such power according to the principle of democratic accountability. As Gianfranco
Poggi has observed, at the same time as the political power of the state has become more extensive in terms of its subject matter and reach, so too have claims for
public participation in the exercise of this power widened.22 This is also to acknowledge the considerable scope for further, more deep-seated democratic oversight.
Indeed, it is possible to point to a raft of new ecological discursive designs that have already emerged as partial antidotes to the technocratic dimensions of the
administrative state, such as community right-to-know legislation, community environmental monitoring and reporting, third-party litigation rights, environmental and
technology impact assessment, statutory policy advisory committees, citizens’ juries, consensus conferences, and public environmental inquiries. Each of these
initiatives may be understood as attempts to confront both public and private power with its consequences, to widen the range of voices and perspectives in state
administration, to expose or prevent problem displacement, and/or to ensure that the sites of economic, social, and political power that create and/or are responsible
for ecological risks are made answerable to all those who may suffer the consequences. This is precisely where an ongoing green critical focus on the state can remain
productive. Insofar as any agency of the state (military, police, or environmental protection agencies) is no longer properly accountable to citizens (whether directly
and/or via the executive or the parliament), then the democratic state is failing its citizens. Seen in this light, the green critique of the
administrative state should be understood not as a critique of the state per se but rather a critique of
illegitimate power. It is a power that is no longer properly accountable to citizens according to the ideals of liberal democracy. The ultimate
challenge for critical political ecologists should not be simply to bring liberal democratic practice into alignment with liberal democratic ideals
(although this would be a good start) but to outline a distinctively green set of regulative ideals, and a green democratic constitutional state that is
less exclusionary and more public spirited than the liberal democratic state. The
concern should not be the mere fact that
states exercise power but rather how this power can be made more accountable and hence more
legitimate.
state good

Turning away from the state prevents mobilization for good causes.
Goble 98 (Paul, Publisher of RFE/RL, “THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEPOLITICIZATION,” Radio
Free Europe, October 12, 1998, http://www.friends-
partners.org/friends/news/omri/1998/10/981012I.html(opt,mozilla,unix,english,,new),
accessed July 07)

First, as people turn away from the state as the source of support, they inevitably
care less about what the state does and are less willing to take action to assert
their views. That means that neither the state nor the opposition can mobilize
them to take action for or against anything. As a result, the opposition cannot
easily get large numbers of people to demonstrate even if the opposition is taking
positions that polls suggest most people agree with. And the government cannot draw
on popular support even when it may be doing things that the people have said
they want. That means that the size of demonstrations for or against anything or anyone
are an increasingly poor indicator of what the people want or do not want the state to do.
Second, precisely because people are focusing on their private lives and taking
responsibility for them, they are likely to become increasingly upset when the state
attempts to intervene in their lives even for the most benign purposes, particularly if it does
so in an ineffective manner. Such attitudes, widespread in many countries and important in
limiting the power of state institutions, nonetheless pose a particular danger to countries
making the transition from communism to democracy. While those views help promote the
dismantling of the old state, they also virtually preclude the emergence of a new and
efficient one. As a result, these countries are often likely to find themselves without the
effective state institutions that modern societies and economies require if they are to be
well regulated. And third, countries with depoliticized populations are especially at
risk when they face a crisis. The governments cannot count on support because
people no longer expect the governments to be able to deliver.
state good: checks capitalism

The state is necessary to check the free market.


Kamiya 97 (Gary, Executive Editor, “Smashing the State,” Salon.com, The Brainwave
Project, January 20, 1997, http://www.salon.com/jan97/state2970120.html)

Perhaps the most depressing thing about libertarianism is its almost unconscious aversion to
the notion that in a representative democracy, we are the government. Of course, our
democracy is plagued with big-money corruption and a thousand other problems, but when
a significant percentage of people begin to think of government as "them," democracy itself
is in trouble. There is a discomforting family resemblance between libertarianism and the
militia movement. The libertarian insistence on seeing government as a malevolent
or at best obstructionist external force fails to acknowledge its organic, changing
nature. Government does, of course, set policy and attempt to dictate the course of events,
but much of what it does is respond to, and referee, conflicts in society. Far from
being a reified Other, government exists precisely to grapple -- through the instrument
of law -- with issues that individuals cannot resolve by themselves. The libertarian
failure to recognize the flexibility of law gives a scholastic, how-many-angels-can-
dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin quality to many of its arguments. When property rights
clash with environmental rights, for example, who adjudicates? Government does,
through law: No libertarian solution would produce a different framework. Government will
not resolve those problems to the liking of all interested parties -- but neither would any
other process. We have big government in large part because we live in an
enormously complex society -- because we have big problems. Libertarians are fond
of saying the regulatory welfare state is somehow a continuation of despotic power
-- as if there were a historical thread running between the Sun King and Sweden's
social democracy. This tendentious view, verging on paranoia, is not only
ahistorical, it ignores the role modern governments play in moderating corporate
power.
Realism Good

Realism cannot be simply rejected – it is a permanent part of the thinking of foreign policy
elites
Guzzini ‘98 (Stefano, Prof – Central European U, Realism in International Relations and International Political
Economy, p. 22)

Therefore, in a third step, this chapter also claims that it


is impossible just to heap realism onto the dustbin of
history and start anew. This is a non-option. Although realism as a strictly causal theory has been a
disappointment, various realist assumptions are well alive in the minds of many practitioners and
observers of international affairs. Although it does not correspond to a theory which helps us to understand a real
world with objective laws, it is a world-view which suggests thoughts about it, and which permeates our daily
language for making sense of it. Realism has been a rich, albeit very contestable, reservoir of
lessons of the past, of metaphors and historical analogies, which, in the hands of its most gifted representatives, have been
proposed, at times imposed, and reproduced as guides to a common understanding of international affairs. Realism is alive
in the collective memory and self-understanding of our (i.e. Western) foreign policy elite and
public, whether educated or not. Hence, we cannot but deal with it. For this reason, forgetting realism is
also questionable. Of course, academic observers should not bow to the whims of daily politics But staying at distance, or
being critical, does not mean that they should lose the capacity to understand the language of those who make significant
decisions, not only in government, but also in firms, NGOs, and other institutions. To the contrary this understanding as
increasingly varied as it may be, is a prerequisite for their very profession. More particularly, it
is a prerequisite for
opposing the more irresponsible claims made in the name, although not always necessarily in
the spirit, of realism. This short-term conflict makes transition to their alternative impossible --– only realism
can provide a pragmatic bridge Murray ‘97 (Alastair J.H, Prof Political Theory, U Edinburgh, Reconstructing
Realism: Between Power Politics and Cosmopolitian Ethics, p. 194) Given that, in the absence of
a resolution of such difficulties, longer-term objectives are liable to be unachievable, realism
would seem to offer a more effective strategy of transition than reflectivism itself. Whereas, in
constructivism, such strategies are divorced from an awareness of the immediate problems which obstruct such efforts, and, in
critical theoretical perspectives, they are divorced from the current realities of international politics altogether, realism's
emphasis on first addressing the immediate obstacles to development ensures that it at least
generates strategies which offer us a tangible path to follow. If these strategies perhaps lack the
visionary appeal of reflectivist proposals, emphasising simply the necessity of a restrained, moderate diplomacy in order to
ameliorate conflicts between states, to foster a degree of mutual understanding in international relations, and, ultimately, to
develop a sense of community which might underlie a more comprehensive international society, they at least seek to take
advantage of the possibilities of reform in the current international system without jeopardising
the possibilities of order. Realism's gradualist reformism, the careful tending of what it regards as an
essentially organic process, ultimately suggests the basis for a more sustainable strategy for reform
than reflectivist perspectives, however dramatic, can offer.
Realism Good

Abandoning security fails -–- all that will happen is that non-realist will be removed from
office
Kavka ‘87 (Gregory S., Prof – UC Irvine, Moral Paradoxes of Nuclear Deterrence, p. 86-87)

The lesson of the kidney case seems to be that one can, at most, actively impose substantially lesser risks or harms
on other innocent people to protect oneself. Can this lesson be applied to national as well as individual self-defense?
One might contend that it cannot be, appealing for support to the hallowed ought-implies-can principle.
According to that principle agents, including nations, can only be obligated to act in ways they are capable of
acting. But, it may be suggested, nations are literally incapable of refraining from taking steps
believed to be necessary for national defense, even if these impose horrible risks or harms
on outside innocents. For any government that failed to undertake the requisite defensive
actions (e.g., any government that abandoned nuclear deterrence) would be quickly ousted
and replaced by a government willing to under take them.
Reformism Good – Rorty

The alternative values theory over practice, meaning it can never solve.
Rorty 98[Richard, PhD in Philosophy from Yale, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 36]

This leads them to step back from their country and, as they say, "theorize" it. It leads them to do what Henry
Adams did: to give cultural politics preference over real politics, and to mock the very idea that
democratic institutions might once again be made to serve social justice. It leads them to prefer
knowledge to hope.
I see this preference as a turn away from secularism and pragmatism-as an attempt to do precisely what Dewey and Whitman thought should not be done: namely, to
the leftists who are most concerned
see the American adventure within a fixed frame of reference, a frame supplied by theory. Paradoxically,
not to "totalize," and who insist that everything be seen as the play of discursive differences
rather than in the old metaphysics-of-presence way, are also the most eager to theorize, to
become spectators rather than agents.37 But that is helping yourself with one hand to what you
push away with the other. The further you get from Greek metaphysics, Dewey urged, the less anxious you should be to find a frame within which to
fit an ongoing historical process.
This retreat from secularism and pragmatism to theory has accompanied a revival of ineffability.
We are told over and over again that Lacan has shown human desire to be inherently unsatisfiable, that Derrida has shown meaning to be undecidable, that Lyotard
has shown commensuration between oppressed and oppressors to be impossible, and that events such as the Holocaust or the massacre of the original Americans are
Hopelessness has become fashionable on the Left-principled, theorized, philosophical
unrepresentable.
hopelessness. The Whitrnanesque hope which lifted the hearts of the American Left before the 1960s is now thought to have been a symptom of a naive
"humanism."
I see this preference for knowledge over hope as repeating the move made by leftist intellectuals who, earlier in the century, got their Hegelianism from Marx rather
than Dewey. Marx thought we should be scientific rather than merely utopian-that we should interpret the historical events of our day within a larger theory. Dewey
did not. He thought one had to view these events as the protocols of social experiments whose outcomes are unpredictable.
This Left still wants to put
The Foucauldian Left represents an unfortunate regression to the Marxist obsession with scientific rigor.
historical events in a theoretical context. It exaggerates the importance of philosophy for politics,
and wastes its energy on sophisticated theoretical analyses of the significance of current events.
But Foucauldian theoretical sophistication is even more useless to leftist politics than was Engels' dialectical materialism. Engels at least had an eschatology.
. Because they regard liberal reformist initiatives as symptoms of a
Foucauldians do not even have that
discredited liberal "humanism," they have little interest in designing new social experiments.
This distrust of humanism, with its retreat from practice to theory, is the sort of failure of nerve which leads people to abandon secularism for a belief in sin, and in
Delbanco's "fixed standard by which deviance from the truth can be measured and denounced." It leads them to look for a frame of
reference outside the process of experimentation and decision that is an individual or a national
life. Grand theorieseschatologies like Hegel's or Marx's, inverted eschatologies like Heidegger's, and rationalizations of hopelessness like Foucault's and Lacan's-
satisfy the urges that theology used to satisfy. These are urges which Dewey hoped Americans might cease to feel. Dewey wanted Americans to share a civic religion
that substituted utopian striving for claims to theological knowledge.
Reformism Good – Rorty

The alternative provides no method of implementation and overlooks political solutions


Rorty 98 [Richard, PhD in Philosophy from Yale, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 76]
With this partial substitution of Freud for Marx as a source of social theory, sadism rather than selfishness has become the principal target of the Left. The heirs of the
. Many members of this Left specialize in what they
New Left of the Sixties have created, within the academy, a cultural Left
call the "politics of difference" or "of identity" or "of recognition." This cultural Left thinks more
about stigma than about money, more about deep and hidden psychosexual motivations than
about shallow and evident greed.
This shift of attention came at the same time that intellectuals began to lose interest in the labor unions, partly as a result of resentment over the union members' failure
to back George McGovern over Richard Nixon in 1972. Simultaneously, the leftist ferment which had been centered, before the Sixties, in the social science
departments of the colleges and the universities moved into the literature departments. The study of philosophy-mostly apocalyptic French and German philosophy-
replaced that of political economy as an essential preparation for participation in leftist initiatives.

The new cultural Left which has resulted from these changes has few ties to what remains of the pre-Sixties reformist Left. That
saving remnant consists largely of labor lawyers and labor organizers, congressional staffers, lowlevel bureaucrats hoping to rescue the welfare state from the
Republicans, journalists, social workers, and people who work for foundations. These are the people who worry about the way in which the practices of the National
Labor Relations Board changed under the Reagan administration, about the details of alternative proposals for universal health care, about budgetary constraints on
This residual reformist Left
Head Start and daycare programs, and about the reversion of welfare programs to state and local governments.
thinks more about laws that need to be passed than about a culture that needs to be changed.
The difference between this residual Left and the academic Left is the difference between the people who read books like Thomas Geoghegan's Which
Side Are You On?-a brilliant explanation of how unions get busted-and people who read Fredric Jameson's Postmodemism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.
operates on a level of abstraction too high to encourage any particular
The latter is an equally brilliant book, but it
political initiative. After reading Geoghegan, you have views on some of the things which need to be done. After reading Jameson, you have
views on practically everything except what needs to be done.

The academic, cultural Left approves-in a rather distant and lofty way--of the activities of these
surviving reformists. But it retains a conviction which solidified in the late Sixties. It thinks that the system, and not just the laws, must be changed.
Reformism is not good enough. Because the very vocabulary of liberal politics is infected with dubious presuppositions which need to be exposed, the first task of the
Left must be, just as Confucius said, the rectification of names. The concern to do what the Sixties called "naming the system" takes precedence overreforming the
laws.
Reformism Good – Rorty

The alternative is too abstract – it creates a spectatorial approach rather than an activist one
Rorty 98[Richard, PhD in Philosophy from Yale, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 91]

the
It is often said that we Americans, at the end of the twentieth century, no longer have a Left. Since nobody denies the existence of what I have called
cultural Left, this amounts to an admission that that Left is unable to engage in national politics. It is not the sort of
Left which can be asked to deal with the consequences of globalization. To get the country to deal with those
consequences, the present cultural Left would have to transform itself by opening relations with the residue of the old reformist Left, and in particular with the labor
unions. It would have to talk much more about money, even at the cost of talking less about stigma.
I have two suggestions about how to effect this transition.
The first is that the Left should put a moratorium on theory. It should try to kick its philosophy habit. The second is that the Left should
try to mobilize what remains of our pride in being Americans. It should ask the public to consider how the country of 'Lincoln and Whitman might be achieved.
the sort of sterile
In support of my first suggestion, let me cite a passage from Dewey's Reconstruction in Philosophy in which he expresses his exasperation with
debate now going on under the rubric of "individualism versus communitarianism." Dewey thought that all
discussions which took this dichotomy seriously suffer from a common defect. They are all committed to the
logic of general notions under which specific situations are to be brought. What we want is light upon this or that group of individuals, this or that concrete human
being, this or that special institution or social arrangement. For such a logic of inquiry, the traditionally accepted logic substitutes discussion of the meaning of
concepts and their dialectical relationships with one another.
Dewey was right to be exasperated by sociopolitical theory conducted at this level of abstraction. He was wrong when he went on to say that ascending to this level is
typically a rightist maneuver, one which supplies "the apparatus for intellectual justifications of the established order. "9 For such ascents are now more common on
The contemporary academic Left seems to think that the higher your level of
the Left than on the Right.
abstraction, the more subversive of the established order you can be. The more sweeping and
novel your conceptual apparatus, the more radical your critique.
When one of today' s academic leftists says that some topic has been "inadequately theorized," you can be pretty certain that he or she is going to drag in either
Theorists of the Left think that
philosophy of language, or Lacanian psychoanalysis, or some neo-Marxist version of economic determinism.
dissolving political agents into plays of differential subjectivity, or political initiatives into
pursuits of Lacan's impossible object of desire, helps to subvert the established order. Such
subversion, they say, is accomplished by "problematizing familiar concepts."
Recent attempts to subvert social institutions by problematizing concepts have produced a few very good books. They have also produced many thousands of books
which represent scholastic philosophizing at its worst. The authors of these purportedly "subversive" books honestly believe that they are serving human liberty. But it
is almost impossible to clamber back down from their books to a level of abstraction on which one might discuss the merits of a law, a treaty, a candidate, or a
Even though what these authors "theorize" is often something very concrete and near
political strategy.
at hand-a current TV show, a media celebrity, a recent scandal-they offer the most abstract and barren explanations
imaginable.
These futile attempts to philosophize one's way into political relevance are a symptom of what
happens when a Left retreats from activism and adopts a spectatorial approach to the problems of
its country. Disengagement from practice produces theoretical hallucinations. These result in an intellectual
environment which is, as Mark Edmundson says in his book Nightmare on Main Street, Gothic. The cultural Left is haunted by
ubiquitous specters, the most frightening of which is called "power." This is the name of what
Edmundson calls Foucault's "haunting agency, which is everywhere and nowhere, as evanescent
and insistent as a resourceful spook."
Reformism Good – Rorty

Even if their criticism is right, we need to keep the alternative private, while still taking public
political action
Rorty 98[Richard, PhD in Philosophy from Yale, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 96]
I have argued in various books that the philosophers most often cited by cultural leftists-Nietzsche, Heidegger,
Foucault, and Derrida-are largely right in their criticisms of Enlightenment rationalism. I have argued further that
traditional liberalism and traditional humanism are entirely compatible with such criticisms. We can still be
old-fashioned reformist liberals even if, like Dewey, we give up the correspondence theory of truth and start
treating moral and scientific beliefs as tools for achieving greater human happiness, rather than as representations of
the intrinsic nature of reality. We can be this kind of liberal even after we turn our backs on Descartes, linguistify
subjectivity, and see everything around us and within us as one more replaceable social construction.

But I have also urged that insofar as these antimetaphysical, anti-Cartesian philosophers offer a quasi-religious form
of spiritual pathos, they should be relegated to private life and not taken as guides to political deliberation. The
notion of "infinite responsibility," formulated by Emmanuel Levinas and sometimes deployed by Derrida-as well as
Derrida's own frequent discoveries of impossibility, unreachability, and unrepresentabflity-e-may be useful to some
of us in our individual quests for private perfection. When we take up our public responsibilities, however, the
infinite and the unrepresentable are merely nuisances. Thinking of our responsibilities in these terms is as
much of a stumbling-block to effective political organization as is the sense of sin. Emphasizing the
impossibility of meaning, or of justice, as Derrida sometimes does, is a temptation to Gothicize--to view democratic
politics as ineffectual, because unable to cope with preternatural forces.

Whitman and Dewey, I have argued, gave us all the romance, and all the spiritual uplift, we Americans need to go
about our public business. As Edmundson remarks, we should not allow Emerson, who was a precursor of both
Whitman and Dewey, to be displaced by Poe, who was a precursor of Lacan. For purposes of thinking about how
to achieve our country, we do not need to worry about the correspondence theory of truth, the grounds of
normativity, the impossibility of justice, or the infinite distance which separates us from the other. For those
purposes, we can give both religion and philosophy a pass. We can just get on with trying to solve what Dewey
called "the problems of men. "
Reformism Good – Rorty

Only political action can revive the Left –- the plan is a key step to building alliances
Rorty 98[Richard, PhD in Philosophy from Yale, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 98]

The cultural Left often seems convinced that the nation-state is obsolete, and that there is
therefore no point in attempting to revive national politics. The trouble with this claim is that the
government of our nation-state will be, for the foreseeable future, the only agent capable of making
any real difference in the amount of selfishness and sadism inflicted on Americans. It is no comfort
to those in danger of being immiserated by globalization to be told that, since national
governments are now irrelevant, we must think up a replacement for such governments. The
cosmopolitan super-rich do not think any replacements are needed, and they are likely to prevail.
Bill Readings was right to say that "the nation-state [has ceased] to be the elemental unit of capitalism," but it
remains the entity which makes decisions about social benefits, and thus about social justice.12 The current leftist
habit of taking the long view and looking beyond nationhood to a global polity is as useless as was faith in Marx's
philosophy of history, for which it has become a substitute. Both are equally irrelevant to the question of how to
prevent the reemergence of hereditary castes, or of how to prevent right-wing populists from taking advantage of
resentment at that reemergence. When we think about these latter questions, we begin to realize that one of the
essential transformations which the cultural Left will have to undergo is the shedding of its semiconscious anti-
Americanism, which it carried over from the rage of the late Sixties. This Left will have to stop thinking up
ever more abstract and abusive names for "the system" and start trying to construct inspiring images
of the country. Only by doing so can it begin to form alliances with people outside the academy-
and, specifically, with the labor unions. Outside the academy, Americans still want to feel patriotic. They still want
to feel part of a nation which can take control of its destiny and make itself a better place. If the Left forms no
such alliances, it will never have any effect on the laws of the United States. To form them will
require the cultural Left to forget about Baudrillard' s account of America as Disneyland-as a country of
simulacra-and to start proposing changes in the laws of a real country, inhabited by real people who
are enduring unnecessary suffering, much of which can be cured by governmental action. 13 Nothing
would do more to resurrect the American Left than agreement on a concrete political platform, a
People's Charter, a list of specific reforms. The existence of such a listendlessly reprinted and debated, equally
familiar to professors and production workers, imprinted on the memory both of professional people and of those
who clean the professionals' toilets-might revitalize leftist politics. 14 --1 The problems which can be cured
by governmental action, and which such a list would canvass, are mostly those that stem from
selfishness rather than sadism. But to bring about such cures it would help if the Left would
change the tone in which it now discusses sadism. The pre-Sixties reformist Left, insofar as it concerned
itself with oppressed minorities, did so by proclaiming that all of us-black, white, and brown-are Americans, and
that we should respect one another as such. This strategy gave rise to the "platoon" movies, which showed
Americans of various ethnic backgrounds fighting and dying side by side. By contrast, the contemporary
cultural Left urges that America should not be a melting-pot, because we need to respect one
another in our differences. This Left wants to preserve otherness rather than ignore it.
Reformism Good – Rorty

Current reformism will solve the criticism – we should stick with concrete solutions like the plan
Rorty 98[Richard, PhD in Philosophy from Yale, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 102]
Edmundson, Delbanco, and other cultural commentators have remarked that the contemporary United States is filled
with visions of demons and angels. Stephen King and Tony Kushner have helped form a national collective
unconscious which is "Gothic" in Edmundson's sense. It produces dreams not of political reforms but of
inexplicable, magical transformations. The cultural Left has contributed to the formation of this
politically useless unconscious not only by adopting "power" as the name of an invisible,
ubiquitous, and malevolent presence, but by adopting ideals which nobody is yet able to imagine
being actualized. Among these ideals are participatory democracy and the end of capitalism. Power will pass
to the people, the Sixties Left ,believed, only when decisions are made by all those who may be
affected by their results. This means, for example, that economic decisions will be made by stakeholders rather
than by shareholders, and that entrepreneurship and markets will cease to play their present role. When they do,
capitalism as we know it will have ended, and something new will have taken its place. But what this new thing will
be, nobody knows. The Sixties did not ask how the various groups of stakeholders were to reach a consensus about
when to remodel a factory rather than build a new one, what prices to pay for raw materials, and the like. Sixties
leftists skipped lightly over all the questions which had been raised by the experience of nonmarket economies in the
so-called socialist countries. They seemed to be suggesting that once we were rid of both bureaucrats and
entrepreneurs, "the people" would know how to handle competition from steel mills or textile factories in the
developing world, price hikes on imported oil, and so on. But they never told us how "the people" would learn how
to do this. The cultural Left still skips over such questions. Doing so is a consequence of its
preference for talking about "the system" rather than about specific social practices and specific
changes in those practices. The rhetoric of this Left remains revolutionary rather than reformist
and pragmatic. Its insouciant use of terms like "late capitalism" suggests that we can just wait for
capitalism to collapse, rather than figuring out what, in the absence of markets, will set prices
and regulate distribution. The voting public, the public which must be won over if the Left is to emerge from the academy into the
public square, sensibly wants to be told the details. It wants to know how things are going to work after markets are put behind us. It wants to
know how participatory democracy is supposed to function. The cultural Left offers no answers to such demands for
further information, but until it confronts them it will not be able to be a political Left. The
public, sensibly, has no interest in getting rid of capitalism until it is offered details about the
alternatives. Nor should it be interested in participatory democracy-the liberation of the people from the power of the technocrats-until it is
told how deliberative assemblies will acquire the same know-how which only the technocrats presently possess. Even someone like myself,
whose admiration for John Dewey is almost unlimited, cannot take seriously his defense of participatory democracy against Walter Lippmann's
insistence on the need for expertise. IS The cultural Left has a vision of an America in which the white patriarchs have stopped voting and have
left all the voting to be done by members of previously victimized groups, people who have somehow come into possession of more foresight and
imagination than the selfish suburbanites. These formerly oppressed and newly powerful people are expected to be as angelic as the straight white
males were diabolical. If I shared this expectation, I too would want to live under this new dispensation. Since I see no reason to share it, I think
that the Left should get back into the business of piecemeal reform within the framework of a market economy. This was the business the
Someday, perhaps, cumulative piecemeal reforms
American Left was in during the first two-thirds of the century.
will be found to have brought about revolutionary change. Such reforms might someday produce a presently
unimaginable nonmarket economy, and much more widely distributed powers of decisionmaking. They might also, given similar reforms in other
countries, bring about an international federation, a world government. In such a new world, American national pride would become as quaint as
we should not let the abstractly described best
pride in being from Nebraska or Kazakhstan or Sicily. But in the meantime,
be the enemy of the better. We should not let speculation about a totally changed system, and a
totally different way of thinking about human life and human affairs, replace step-by-step reform
of the system we presently have.
Reformism Good – Rorty – Impact

A collapse of the Reformist Left means a return to discrimination and inevitable war
Rorty 98[Richard, PhD in Philosophy from Yale, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America pg 87]
If the formation of hereditary castes continues unimpeded, and if
the pressures of globalization create such castes not
only in the United States but in all the old democracies, we shall end up in an Orwellian world. In such a world,
there may be no supernational analogue of Big Brother, or any official creed analogous to Ingsoc. But there will be an analogue of the Inner Party-namely, the
international, cosmopolitan super-rich. They will make all the important decisions. The analogue of Orwell's Outer Party will be educated, comfortably off,
cosmopolitan professionals-Lind's "overclass," the people like you and me.
The job of people like us will be to make sure that the decisions made by the Inner Party are carried out smoothly and efficiently. It will be in the interest of the
international superrich to keep our class relatively prosperous and happy. For they need people who can pretend to be the political class of each of the individual
nation-states. For the sake of keeping the proles quiet, the super-rich will have to keep up the pretense that national politics might someday make a difference. Since
economic decisions are their prerogative, they will encourage politicians, of both the Left and the Right, to specialize in cultural issues," The aim will be to keep the
minds of the proles elsewhere--to keep the bottom 75 percent of Americans and the bottom 95 percent of the world's population busy with ethnic and religious
hostilities, and with debates about sexual mores. If the proles can be distracted from their own despair by media-created pseudo-events, including the occasional brief
and bloody war, the super-rich will have little to fear.
Contemplation of this possible world invites two responses from the Left. The first is to insist
that the inequalities between nations need to be mitigated-and, in particular, that the Northern Hemisphere must share its
wealth with the Southern. The second is to insist that the primary responsibility of each democratic nation-state is to its own least advantaged citizens. These two
responses obviously conflict with each other. In particular, the first response suggests that the old democracies should open their borders, whereas the second suggests
that they should close them. 8
The first response comes naturally to academic leftists, who have always been internationally minded. The second response comes
naturally to members of trade unions, and to the marginally employed people who can most easily be recruited into right-wing populist movements. Union members in
the United States have watched factory after factory close, only to reopen in Slovenia, Thailand, or Mexico. It is no wonder that they see the result of international free
trade as prosperity for managers and stockholders, a better standard of living for workers in developing countries, and a very much worse standard of living for
American workers. It would be no wonder if they saw the American leftist intelligentsia as on the side of the managers and stockholders-as sharing the same class
interests. For we intellectuals, who are mostly academics, are ourselves quite well insulated, at least in the short run, from the effects of globalization. To make things
we often seem more interested in the workers of the developing world than in the fate of our
worse,
fellow citizens.
Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period, one in which
populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example, has suggested that fascism may be the
American future. The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers,
will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around
the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers-them-selves desperately afraid of being downsized-are not going to let
themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.
At that point, something
will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start
looking around for a strongman to vote for--someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats,
tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis'
novel It Can't Happen Here may then be played out.
For once such a strongman takes office, nobody can predict
what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly
overoptimistic. One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by
black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for
women will come back into fashion. The words "nigger" and "kike" will once again be heard in the workplace. All the
sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come
flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their
manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet. But such a renewal of sadism will not alter the
effects of selfishness. For after my imagined strongman takes charge, he will quickly make his peace with
the international superrich, just as Hitler made his with the German industrialists. He will invoke
the glorious memory of the Gulf War to provoke military adventures which will generate short-
term prosperity. He will be a disaster for the country and the world. People will wonder why
there was so little resistance to his evitable rise. Where, they will ask, was the American Left? Why was it
only rightists like Buchanan who spoke to the workers about the consequences of globalization? Why could not the Left channel the mounting
rage of the newly dispossessed?
Political Vacuum Turn

Abdicating political engagement creates a vacuum that will be filled by violent elites
Cook ’92 (Anthony, Associate Professor, Georgetown Law, New England LR, Spring, 26 New Eng.L. Rev. 751)

The effect of deconstructing the power of the author to impose a fixed meaning on the text or offer a continuous
narrative is both debilitating and liberating. It is debilitating in that any attempt to say what should be done
within even our insular Foucaultian preoccupations may be oppositionalized and deconstructed as an illegitimate
privileging of one term, value, perspective or narrative over another. The struggle over meaning might continue ad
infinitum. That is, if a deconstructionist is theoretically consistent and sees deconstruction not as a political tool but
as a philosophical orientation, political action is impossible, because such action requires a degree of
closure that deconstruction, as a theoretical matter, does not permit. Moreover, the approach is debilitating because
deconstruction without material rootedness, without goals and vision, creates a political and spiritual void into
which the socially real power we theoretically deconstruct steps and steps on the disempowered and
dispossessed. [*762] To those dying from AIDS, stifled by poverty, dehumanized by sexism and racism, crippled
by drugs and brutalized by the many forms of physical, political and economic violence that characterizes our
narcissistic culture, power hardly seems a matter of illegitimate theoretical privileging. When vision,
social theory and political struggle do not accompany critique, the void will be filled by the rich, the
powerful and the charismatic, those who influence us through their eloquence, prestige, wealth and power.

Their alternative grants tacit support to neo-liberal violence --- political engagement is
necessary to check statist abuses
Barbrook ’97 (Dr. Richard, School of Westminster, Nettime, “More Provocations”, 6-5, http://ww.nettime.org/Lists-
Archives/nettime-l-9706/msg00034.html)
I thought that this position is clear from my remarks about the ultra-left posturing of the 'zero-work' demand. In Europe, we
have real social problems of deprivation and poverty which, in part, can only be solved by state action. This does
not make me a statist, but rather an anti-anti-statist. By opposing such intervention because they
are carried out by the state, anarchists are tacitly lining up with the neo-liberals. Even worse, refusing even to vote for
the left, they acquiese to rule by neo-liberal parties. I deeply admire direct action movements. I was a radio pirate and we provide server space
for anti-roads and environmental movements. However, this doesn't mean that I support political abstentionism or, even worse, the mystical
nonsense produced by Hakim Bey. It
is great for artists and others to adopt a marginality as a life style choice, but
most of the people who are economically and socially marginalised were never given any choice. They are
excluded from society as a result of deliberate policies of deregulation, privatisation and welfare cutbacks carried
out by neo-liberal governments. During the '70s, I was a pro-situ punk rocker until Thatcher got elected. Then we learnt
the hard way that voting did change things and lots of people suffered if state power was withdrawn from
certain areas of our life, such as welfare and employment. Anarchism can be a fun artistic pose. However,
human suffering is not.
Political Vacuum Turn

Only concrete action can prevent mass suffering


Ling ‘01(LHM, Professor, The New School, New York, Post-Colonial International Relations: Conquest and Desire Between Asia and
the West)
Without concrete action for change, postmodernism's `dissident voices' have remained bracketed,
disconnected, not really real. In maintaining `a critical distance' or `position offshore' from which to `see the possibility
of change' (Shapiro, 1992: 49), the postmodern critic brushed off too conveniently the immediate cries of
those who know they are burning in the hells of exploitation, racism, sexism, starvation, civil war, and
the like but who have few means or strategies to deal with them. What hope do they have of
overthrowing the shackles of sovereignty without a program of action? After all, asked Mark Neufeld,
`What is political without partisanship?' (Neufeld, 1994: 31). In not answering these questions, postmodernists recycled,
despite their avowals to the contrary, the same sovereign outcome as (neo)realism: that is,
discourse divorced from practice, analysis from policy, deconstruction from reconstruction,
particulars from universals, and critical theory from problem-solving. Dissident international relations could
not accommodate an interactive, articulating, self-generative Other. Its exclusive focus on the Western Self ensured, instead, (neo)realism's
sovereignty by relegating the Other to a familiar, subordinate identity: that is, as a mute, passive reflection of the West or utopian projection of
the West's dissatisfaction with itself. Critique
became romanticized into a totalizing affair - especially for
those who must bear the brunt of its repercussions. bell hooks asked, appropriately: `[s]hould we not be
suspicious of postmodern critiques of the "subject" when they surface at a historical moment when many subjugated people feel
themselves coming to voice for the first time?' (hooks, 1990: 28) Without this recognition, postmodernists ended up
marginalizing, silencing, and exiling precisely those who are `the greatest victims of the West's
essentialist conceits (the excolonials and neocolonials, Blacks, women, and so forth)' (Krishna, 1993:
405). Worse yet, added Roger Spegele, dissidence as offshore observation has `freed us from the
recognition that we have a moral obligation to do anything about it' (Spegele, 1992: 174).
Micro-Politics Fail

Micropolitics fail – they prevent coalition building that is essential to achieving real goals, this
ensures groups continual existence on the margins of power and eventual cooptation by dominant
power structures
Best and Kellner 02 prof phil @ UT el paso prof phil @ UCLA (Steven, Doug, “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future”
http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28.htm)

The emphasis on local struggles and micropower, cultural politics which redefine the political, and attempts to
develop political forms relevant to the problems and developments of the contemporary age is extremely valuable,
but there are also certain limitations to the dominant forms of postmodern politics. While an emphasis on
micropolitics and local struggles can be a healthy substitute for excessively utopian and ambitious
political projects, one should not lose sight that key sources of political power and oppression are
precisely the big targets aimed at by modern theory, including capital, the state, imperialism, and
patriarchy. Taking on such major targets involves coalitions and multi-front struggle, often
requiring a politics of alliance and solidarity that cuts across group identifications to mobilize
sufficient power to struggle against, say, the evils of capitalism or the state.
Thus, while today we need the expansion of localized cultural practices, they attain their real significance only
within the struggle for the transformation of society as a whole. Without this systemic emphasis, cultural and
identity politics remain confined to the margins of society and are in danger of degenerating into
narcissism, hedonism, aestheticism, or personal therapy, where they pose no danger and are
immediately coopted by the culture industries. In such cases, the political is merely the personal, and the original
intentions of the 1960s goal to broaden the political field are inverted and perverted. Just as economic and political demands have their referent in
subjectivity in everyday life, so these cultural and existential issues find their ultimate meaning in the demand for a new society and mode of
production
Micro-Politics Permutation

The permutation solves – a combination of macro and micropolitics is best


Best and Kellner 02 prof phil @ UT el paso prof phil @ UCLA (Steven, Doug, “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future”
http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28.htm)

Yet we would insist that it


is not a question of micro vs macropolitics, as if it were an either/or proposition,
but rather both dimensions are important for the struggles of the present and future.[15] Likewise,
we would argue that we need to combine the most affirmative and negative perspectives, embodying
Marcuse's declaration that critical social theory should be both more negative and utopian in reference to the status
quo.[16] There are certainly many things to be depressed about is in the negative and cynical
postmodernism of a Baudrillard, yet without a positive political vision merely citing the negative
might lead to apathy and depression that only benefits the existing order. For a dialectical politics,
however, positive vision of what could be is articulated in conjunction with critical analysis of what is in a
multioptic perspective that focuses on the forces of domination as well as possibilities of emancipation
While postmodern politics and theory tend to polarize into either the extremely negative or excessively
affirmative, key forms of postmodern literature have a more dialectical vision. Indeed, some of the more
interesting forms of postmodern critique today are found in fictional genres such as cyberpunk and magical realism. Cyberpunk, a subgenre
within science fiction, brings science fiction down to earth, focusing not on the intergalactic battles in the distant future, but the social problems
facing people on earth in the present.[17] Cyberpunk writers such as Bruce Sterling and William Gibson offer an unflinching look at a grim social
reality characterized by transnational capitalist domination, Social Darwinist cultural settings, radical environmental ruination, and the implosion
of the body and technology, such that humans become more and more machine like and machines increasingly become like human beings. Yet
cyberpunk novels foreground this nightmare world in order to warn us that it is an immanent possibility for the near future, in order to awaken
readers to a critical reflection on technology and social control, and to offer hope for alternative uses of technology and modes of social life.
Similarly, magical realism examines the wreckage of centuries of European colonialism, but also maintains a positive outlook, one that embraces
the strength and creativity of the human spirit, social solidarity, and spiritual and political transcendence. Like cyberpunk novels, magical realism
incorporate various aesthetic forms and conventions in an eclectic mixture that fuses postmodernism with social critique and models of resistance.
But it is also a mistake, we believe, to ground one's politics in either modern or postmodern
theory alone. Against one-sided positions, we advocate a version of reconstructive postmodernism
that we call a politics of alliance and solidarity that builds on both modern and postmodern
traditions. Unlike Laclau and Mouffe who believe that postmodern theory basically provides a basis for a new
politics, and who tend to reject the Enlightenment per se, we believe that the Enlightenment continues to
provide resources for political struggle today and are skeptical whether postmodern theory alone can
provide sufficient assets for an emancipatory new politics. Yet the Enlightenment has its blindspots and
dark sides (such as its relentless pursuit of the domination of nature, and naive belief in "progress," so we believe
that aspects of the postmodern critique of Enlightenment are valid and force us to rethink and reconstruct
Enlightenment philosophy for the present age. And while we agree with Habermas that a reconstruction of the
Enlightenment and modernity are in order, unlike Habermas we believe that postmodern theory has
important contributions to make to this project)
Identity Politics Fail

Identity politics fail – it forces a splinter into sub-groups, preventing any possible positive change
Best and Kellner 02 prof phil @ UT el paso prof phil @ UCLA (Steven, Doug, “Postmodern Politics and the Battle for the Future”
http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28.htm)

Various forms of postmodern politics have been liberatory in breaking away from the abstract and
ideological universalism of the Enlightenment and the reductionist class politics of Marxism, but they tend to be
insular and fragmenting, focusing solely on the experiences and political issues of a given group,
even splintering further into distinct subgroups such as divide the feminist community. Identity
politics are often structured around simplistic binary oppositions such as Us vs. Them and Good vs.
Bad that pit people against one another, making alliances, consensus, and compromise difficult or impossible.
This has been the case, for example, with tendencies within radical feminism and ecofeminism
which reproduce essentialism by stigmatizing men and "male rationality" while exalting women
as the bearers of peaceful and loving value and as being "closer to nature."[18] Elements in the black
nationalist liberation movement in the 1960s and the early politics of Malcolm X were exclusionist and racist,
literally demonizing white people as an evil and inferior race. Similarly, the sexual politics of some gay and
lesbian groups tend to exclusively focus on their own interests, while the mainstream environmental
movement is notorious for resisting alliances with people of color and grass roots movements.[19]
Even though each group needs to assert their identity as aggressively as possible, postmodern
identity politics should avoid falling into seriality and sheer fragmentation. These struggles, though
independent of one another, should be articulated within counterhegemonic alliances, and attack power formations
on both the micro- and macro-levels. Not all universalistic appeals are ideological in the sense criticized by Marx;
there are common grounds of experience, common concerns, and common forms of oppression that different groups
share which should be articulated -- concerns such as the degradation of the environment and common forms of
oppression that stem from capitalist exploitation and alienated labor
Realism Good

Abandoning realism risks a transition to fascism


Mearsheimer ‘95John J., professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “The False Promise of International Institutions.”
International Security, Vol. 19, No. 3., Winter 94/95.

Nevertheless, critical theorists occasionally point to particular factors that might lead to changes in
international relations discourse. In such cases, however, they usually end up arguing that changes in the
material world drive changes in discourse. For example, when Ashley makes surmises about the future of
realism, he claims that "a crucial issue is whether or not changing historical conditions have
disabled longstanding realist rituals of power." Specifically, he asks whether "developments in late
capitalist society," like the "fiscal crisis of the state," and the "internationalization of capital," coupled with "the
presence of vastly destructive and highly automated nuclear arsenals [has] deprived statesmen of the latitude for
competent performance of realist rituals of power?" (157) Similarly, Cox argues that fundamental change occurs
when there is a "disjuncture" between "the stock of ideas people have about the nature of the world and the practical
problems that challenge them." He then writes, "So me of us think the erstwhile dominant mental construct of
neorealism is inadequate to confront the challenges of global politics today." (158)
It would be understandable if realists made such arguments, since they believe there is an
objective reality that largely determines which discourse will be dominant. Critical theorists,
however, emphasize that the world is socially constructed, and not shaped in fundamental ways
by objective factors. Anarchy, after all, is what we make of it. Yet when critical theorists attempt to explain why
realism may be losing its hegemonic position, they too point to objective factors as the ultimate cause of change.
Discourse, so it appears, turns out not to be determinative, but mainly a reflection of developments in the objective
world. In short, it seems that when critical theorists who study international politics offer glimpses of their thinking
about the causes of change in the real world, they make arguments that directly contradict their own theory, but
which appear to be compatible with the theory they are challenging. (159)
There is another problem with the application of critical theory to international relations. Although critical
theorists hope to replace realism with a discourse that emphasizes harmony and peace, critical
theory per se emphasizes that it is impossible to know the future. Critical theory according to its
own logic, can be used to undermine realism and produce change, but it cannot serve as the basis
for predicting which discourse will replace realism, because the theory says little about the
direction change takes. In fact, Cox argues that although "utopian expectations may be an element in
stimulating people to act...such expectations are almost never realized in practice." (160)
Thus, in a sense, the communitarian discourse championed by critical theorists is wishful thinking,
not an outcome linked to the theory itself. Indeed, critical theory cannot guarantee that the new
discourse will not be more malignant than the discourse it replaces. Nothing in the theory
guarantees, for example, that a fascist discourse far more violent than realism will not emerge as
the new hegemonic discourse.
Realism Good

Only realism has empirical support – other theories are simply not supported in practice
Mearsheimer ’95 John J., professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “The False Promise of International Institutions.”
International Security, Vol. 19, No. 3., Winter 94/95.

Three points are in order regarding the critical theorists' interpretation of history. First,
one cannot help but be
struck by the sheer continuity of realist behavior in the critical theorists' own account of the past.
Seven centuries of security competition and war represents an impressive span of time,
especially when you consider the tremendous political and economic changes that have taken
place across the world during that lengthy period. Realism is obviously a human software
package with deep-seated appeal, although critical theorists do not explain its attraction.
Second, a close look at the international politics of the feudal era reveals scant support for the
claims of critical theorists: Markus Fischer has done a detailed study of that period, and he finds "that feudal
discourse was indeed distinct, prescribing unity, functional cooperation, sharing, and lawfulness." (166) More
importantly, however, he also finds "that while feudal actors observed these norms for the most part on the level
of form, they in essence behaved like modern states." Specifically, they "strove for exclusive
territorial control, protected themselves by military means, subjugated each other, balanced
against power, formed alliances and spheres of influence, and resolved their conflicts by the use
and threat of force." (167) Realism, not critical theory, appears best to explain international
politics in the five centuries of the feudal era.
Third, there are good reasons to doubt that the demise of the Cold War means that the millennium
is here. It is true that the great powers have been rather tame in their behavior towards each other
over the past five years. But that is usually the case after great-power wars. Moreover, although
the Cold War ended in 1989, the Cold War order that it spawned is taking much longer to
collapse, which makes it difficult to determine what kind of order or disorder will, replace it. For
example, Russian troops remained in Germany until mid-1994, seriously impinging on German
sovereignty, and the United States still maintains a substantial military presence in Germany. Five
years is much too short a period to determine whether international relations has been
fundamentally transformed by the end of the Cold War, especially given that the "old" order of
realist discourse has been in place for at least twelve centuries.
Realism Good

Trying to infuse states with ethical norms is hopeless – the anarchic international system
will prevent them from going along
Mearsheimer ‘95
John J., professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “The False Promise of International Institutions.” International Security, Vol.
19, No. 3., Winter 94/95.

For critical theorists, the key to achieving a "postmodern international system" is to alter state
identity radically, or more specifically, to transform how states think-about themselves and their
relationship with other states. (139) In the jargon of the theory, "intersubjective understandings and
expectations" matter greatly. (140) In practice, this means that states must stop thinking of themselves
as solitary egoists, and instead develop a powerful communitarian ethos. (141) Critical theorists
aim to create an international system characterized not by anarchy, but by community. States
must stop thinking of themselves as separate and exclusive--i.e., sovereign--actors, and instead
see themselves as mutually conditioned parts of a larger whole. (142) States, or more precisely,
their inhabitants and leaders, should be made to care about concepts like "rectitude," "rights,"
and "obligations." In short, they should have a powerful sense of responsibility to the broader international
community.
*** Postmodernism ***

PoMo Bad General

Postmodernism collapses into meaninglessness when we attempt to apply pomo to real


world problems. Their relativism has value has value only in an intellectual vacuum.
Christopher Butler, Sept. 5, 2K5
[“The Postmodern Vacuum,” http://christopherbutler.wordpress.com/2005/09/05/the-postmodern-vacuum/, The Invisible Things, Articles in
Apologetics, accessed 3-10-2007, JT]

According to postmodern theorist Jean-François Lyotard, postmodernism is characterized by its ‘incredulity


toward metanarratives.’ The late literary theorist and philosopher Jacques Derrida concurred, and argued that knowledge
could not maintain integrity without invoking an ‘original utterance,’ the logos. The idea that man would be given or have
access to the ‘original utterance’ is thus called logocentrism. Critics of postmodern thought would rightly agree and point out that
without being grounded in an objective standard, postmodernism can masquerade as philosophy
without having to account for the logical disparities that so clearly exist when such a system
attempts to be practically applied. The Christian, regardless of his philosophical or logical capabilities in argument,
should be expectedly and unabashedly logocentric. The Word of God, as preserved in the Bible is the first and last word- the
source of the metanarrative from which we presume objective morality, elitism of ideas, and the convictions of the individual.
This is fundamental to Christian theology and has clear and logical implications upon forming a Christian worldview. As
observed by a Wikipedia author, ‘Many of these critiques attack, specifically, the perceived "abandonment of objective truth" as
being the crucial unacceptable feature of the post-modern condition.’ This is absolutely the case, for there can be no
compatibility between a philosophy reliant upon the reality of objective truth and a philosophy that elevates agnosticism to its
objective truth (essentially, to state that truth does not exist and defend such a statement as being true).
We have all encountered postmodernism in its popular form of relativism, an attitude reflected in
a phrase at this point cliché: ‘Truth is relative.’ Yet it is such a pronouncement which pulls the carpet from
underneath itself! If it is so, then that must include the statement itself, thereby invalidating it. If it is not so, then such a statement
is meaningless in its inability to adequately reflect reality. One who claims that truth is relative speaks into an
intellectual vacuum; he can neither generate worthwhile response, nor express anything truly
meaningful. This is the bankruptcy of postmodern thought, and yet Alan Bloom, in his book, The Closing of
the American Mind, affirms the state of things as he writes, ‘Every professor on a university campus today can be absolutely sure
of one thing: that almost every student coming in for an education is confident that truth is not absolute but relative.’

Postmodernism is a coping mechanism for global capitalism


Steve Mizrach, 2K7
[“Talking pomo: An analysis of the postmodern movement,” http://www.fiu.edu/~mizrachs/pomo.html, accessed 3-10-2007, JT]

Critics of postmodernism come mainly from the Marxist camp. They feel that postmodernism
is a diversionary
tactic, the last ditch of a late capitalism in the process of dying. They dislike fervently the way that
postmodern aesthetics rejects socialist realism - and, for that matter, epistemological realism.
They often point out how semiotics and the postmodern idea that everything is image and nothing is
substance are used cynically by advertising agencies - which, unable to sell us real goods of real
production, can now only sell us images of satisfaction and packaged happiness.
PoMo Bad General

The critique locks us in an endless cycle of debate and prevents any action
Jarvis in ’02 Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002

Debate is generally considered to be at the heart of intellectual life. It is the dynamic that allows scholars to
locate themselves intellectually within their field of study, to express opinions within a communal environment, and,
in the best of all possible worlds, to function as a catalyst for the generation of new insights and ideas. Without
debate, intellectual life would wither away.
The study of international politics is no different in this regard. It flourishes when debate flourishes and
is all the better for a plurality of ideas that are freely expressed and critically explored. Often, however, debates
are cast in such a way that there appear to be only two options: a right or wrong answer dependent
on the side of the fence where one is sitting. The science/relativism issue is a good example. Neorealists cast
relativists in a negative light, painting them as an evil nemesis only too willing to destroy the fabric of
academic life. In contrast, relativists flaunt their antipathy toward science and adopt relativism as a
way of gaining maximal leverage against their opponents. Importantly, however, despite their
antagonism, the relativists entrap themselves in a hermeneutic logic, failing to transcend the cyclic
structure of tile debate. Criticism toward neorealism becomes simply opposition to neorealism.
In this case, debate becomes bogged down in a cycle of affirmation and repudiation as scholars
line up according to the side that best captures their loyalties and beliefs.
The lesson to be learned from this is that extreme viewpoints generate, and tend to perpetuate, equally
extreme discourses. The absolute faith that both sides have in the "truth" of their own views
makes it impossible for them to see any merit in the views of others, fostering the sort of radical
repudiationism we see in the work of Justine Rosenberg and Jim George, among others. What these theorists fail
to understand is that the way they frame their criticisms also determines how others respond to them
and suggests that transcending the cyclic logic so indicative of contemporary theoretical debates
in International Relations requires considerably more precision, elegance, and ingenuity than
displayed by George.
Unfortunately, this oppositional logic
informs much of the debate about realism, creating a kind of
epistemological dualism that entraps theorists in a(n) seemingly inescapable cycle of affirmation
and repudiation. The strengths and weaknesses of each approach become mostly superfluous to the process, and
tribal loyalty to one creed over another becomes the nexus around which debate and discourse are
conducted. Ideological battle replaces theoretical discourse with each side painting its opponent
in the worst possible light while reinforcing the legitimacy of its own position by discrediting
that of the opponent(s). There are, then, limits to what can be accomplished with criticism,
highlighting that ideologies and political positions are not held solely as a result of their logic or elegance.
PoMo Bad General

The alt fails, must engage in political structures to solve practical problems
Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002

But whatever one says about radical human agency and of its prospects for liberation, in practice emancipation
will involve some degree of social engineering: inequalities have to be corrected, wrongs made
right, and injustices corrected. The agents of global change, whoever they might be, will have to
force some individuals and groups to do their bidding. In the end, legislative reform and the forced
direction of groups and individuals are unavoidable realities. Moreover, in situations where
entrenched cultural and historical values collide, and this is a likely possibility from a theory that seeks
to "help others speak for themselves," we might reasonably expect some degree of violence and
have to tolerate it. George, however, refuses to explore these probabilities. Do the advocates of
postmodern values, for example, take up arms against those who are unwilling to let "others" speak
for themselves? If they do not, then their case has no real teeth. But if they do, they must, at
some stage, sanction the use of force. This is a conundrum endemic to the theoretical architecture
of postmodernism, and one George fails to tackle, indeed is reticent even to acknowledge. Clearly, however,
George wants to defend the proposition that his "new world order" will be less dangerous than the
new/old one of George Bush senior, the Clinton administration, or of George Bush junior and the realists. But,
again, he fails to demonstrate how his version of postmodernism can prevent the intrusion and
corruption of its schema by violence or else justify the use of violence in pursuit of those ends he
otherwise champions. He does neither.
PoMo Bad General

The critique fails; it ignores the reality and permanence of political institutions. At best,
their alt is wishful thinking.
Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002

Moreover, why should we assume that states and individuals want to listen and will listen to what the marginalized
and the oppressed have to say? There is precious little evidence to suggest that "listening" is something the advanced
capitalist countries do very well at all. Indeed, one of the allegations so forcefully alleged by Muslim
fundamentalists as justification for the terrorist attacks of September 11 is precisely that the West, and America in
particular, are deaf to the disenfranchised and impoverished in the world. Certainly, there are agencies and
individuals who are sensitive to the needs of the "marginalized" and who champion institutional forums where
indigenous voices can be heard. But on even the most optimistic reckoning, such forums and institutions represent
the exception, not the rule, and remain in the minority if not dwarfed by those institutions that represent Western,
first world interests. To be sure, this is realist power-political image of the current configuration of the global polity, but one apparently, and
ironically, endorsed by George if only because it speaks to the realities of the marginalized, the imposed silences, and the multitude of
oppressions on which George founds his call for a postmodern ethic.
Recognizing such realities, however, does not explain George's penchant for ignoring them entirely, especially in terms of the structural rigidities
they pose for meaningful reform. Indeed, George's desire to move to a new "space beyond International Relations" smacks of
wishful idealism, ignoring the current configuration of global political relations and power distribution; of the
incessant ideological power of hyperindividualism, consumerism, advertising, Hollywood images, and fashion
icons; and of the innate power bestowed on the (institutional) barons of global finance, trade, and transnational
production. George seems to have little appreciation of the structural impediments such institutions pose for radical
change of the type he so fiercely advocates. Revolutionary change of the kind desired by George ignores that fact
that many individuals are not disposed to concerns beyond their family, friends, and daily work lives. And
institutional, structural transformation requires organized effort, mass popular support, and dogged single
mindedness if societal norms are to be challenged, institutional reform enacted, consumer tastes altered, and political
sensibilities reformed. Convincing Nike that there is something intrinsically wrong with paying Indonesian workers
a few dollars a week to manufacture shoes for the global market requires considerably more effort than postmodern
platitudes and/or moral indignation. The cycle of wealth creation and distribution that sees Michael Jordan receive
multimillion dollar contracts to inspire consumer demand for Nike products, while the foot soldiers in the factory
eke out a meager existence producing these same products is not easily, or realistically challenged by
pronouncements of moving beyond International Relations to a new, nicer, gentler nirvana.

The critique prevents action


Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002
In any period of political or intellectual upheaval it is commonplace to hear pronouncements
of the death of the old and the birth of the new, of the clear superiority of the latest
ideology, moral code, revolutionary government, philosophical system, or theory. Western
intellectual history is littered with such examples. The need for a "new beginning" is a
constant refrain in intellectual life, and the logic behind such calls is often seductive and
compelling. The past is a repository of flawed ideas, dangerous moral and social codes,
superstitions and illusions, and a millstone around the neck of the present. To continue to
privilege and idealize the past not only distorts present thinking and retards practice, but
hampers our ability to deal effectively with current and future political problems. By casting
off the chains of the past, we will come to see the present in a new light and look forward to
a better, brighter future. At the heart of views of this sort is an overwhelming desire for
liberation and freedom. But reality is rarely so clear-cut.
PoMo Bad General

Critique is contradictory and replicates same problems it attempts to solve.


Jarvis in ‘02
Darryl S.L., “International Relations and the ‘third debate,’” Praeger Publishers, copyright 2002

First, why should one accept the central tenet of postmodernism that all cognitive and ethical claims are merely
made in relation to incommensurable metanarratives? The mere fact of disagreement among narratives or
worldviews shows only that different people have held different beliefs; it does not show that all such beliefs are
equally valid or that none has any better foundation than another. Reason and evidence, in fact, better support the
claims of modem science than of premodern folk wisdom. The standard postmodernist reply is that the "reason and
evidence" appealed to here are only those of the modern, scientific metanarrative and that there are no universal
standards of reason and truth to which one can appeal beyond that particular point of view. But the sort of truth
claims and privileging moves that postmodernists condemn in their opponents are claims and
moves they make themselves. Indeed, it is hard to see how they or anyone else can avoid presupposing such
notions of truth and its implications. Thus, so far as postmodernism implies the advent of a postmodern
historical epoch characterized by a certain attitude to what has gone before. it relies inescapably
on a metanarrative of its own. In its contempt for, and reduction of, all claims of truth and justice
to claims of interest and power, that metanarrative is more thoroughly totalizing than most
Enlightenment views--with the possible exception of Marxism, its intellectual precursor in this regard. The very
notion of the "unmasking" of power presupposes a conception of truth, namely, that there truly is
something to be unmasked. In short, postmodernism displays a deeply self-contradictory
character that it shares with other forms of relativism: it relativizes all claims except its own.
PoMo Bad – Public Sphere

Their alternative crushes social engagement in the public sphere


Boggs ‘97(Carl, Professor of Political Science – National University, Theory & Society 26, December, p. 766-68)

Postmodernism and its offshoots (poststructuralism, semiotics, difference feminism, etc.) have indeed reshaped much of academia,
including such disciplines as sociology, history, literature, film, and communications. More than that, the theory (if that is the correct label for some- thing so diffuse)
amounts to a kind of anti-paradigm paradigm, which often refocuses debates around defining motifs of the post-Fordist order: commodification of culture, the media
spectacle, proliferation of images and symbols, fragmentation of identities, the dispersion of local movements, and loss of faith in conventional political ideologies
and organizations. So far as all this is concerned, post-modernism can be viewed as marking a rather healthy break with the past.50 The problem is that the main thrust
of postmodernism so devalues the common realm of power, governance, and economy that the dynamics of social and
institutional life vanish from sight. Where the reality of corporate, state, and military power wind up vanishing within a post-
modern amorphousness, the very effort to analyze social forces and locate agencies or strategies of change becomes impossible.
In its reaction against the comprehensive historical scope of Marxism, the micro approach dismisses in toto macropolitics and
with it any conceivable modern project of radical transformation. An extreme ``micro'' focus is most visible in such theorists
as Baudrillard who, as Steven Best and Douglas Kellner put it, in effect ``announce the end of the political project in the end of
history and society''51 – a stance that replicates the logic of a profoundly depoliticized culture. Postmodern theory has been
interpreted as a current fully in sync with the mood of political defeat that has overcome the left in most industrialized countries
since the early 1980s.52 It is hardly coincidental that postmodernism grew into an academic fashion in the wake of failed hopes
after the sixties and the later decline of popular movements in the face of a rising conservative hegemony. The crisis of Marxism and the
disintegration of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe further intensifed feelings of resignation on the left. The new middle strata that was the backbone of the new
left and new social movements turned in larger numbers toward careers and more affluent lifestyles. Radicalism, where it persisted to any extent, took on the veneer of
an ``aesthetic pose.'' Thus, at a time of mounting pessimism and retreat, the rhetorical question posed by Alex Callinicos scarcely demands an answer: ``What political
subject does the idea of a postmodern epoch help constitute?''53 By the 1990s even the discussion of political subjectivity or agency among leftist academics seemed
rather passe¨ .54 In politics as in the cultural and intellectual realm, a postmodern fascination with indeterminacy, ambiguity, and chaos easily
supports a drift toward cynicism and passivity; the subject becomes powerless to change either itself or society. Further, the
pretentious, jargon-filled, and often indecipherable discourse of postmodernism reinforces the most faddish tendencies in
academia. Endless (and often pointless) attempts to deconstruct texts and narratives readily become a facade behind which
professional scholars justify their own retreat from political commitment. In Russell Jacoby's words: ``At the end of the radical theorizing
project is a surprise: a celebration of academic hierarchy, professions, and success. Never has so much criticism yielded so much affirmation. From Foucault the
professor learned that power and institutions saturate everything. Power is universal; complicity with power is universal, and this means university practices and
malpractices are no better or worse than anything else.''55 While multiple sites of power and resistance need to be more clearly theorized than in the past, and while
Marxian fixation on class struggle, the primacy of capital-labor relations, and social totality has lost its rationale, the extreme postmodern assault on macro
institutions severs the connection between critique and action. Moreover, to the extent that postmodernism embraces a notion of
subjectivity that is decentered and fragmented, the very idea of citizenship gets obscured. As Philip Wexler argues, the social,
legal, and political requirements of citizenship were historically founded upon universal norms of democracy, freedom, and
equality, but postmodernism, which blurs everything and dissolves politics into the sphere of culture and everyday life, destroys
this foundation. Once the subject melts into a murky cultural diffuseness, into a world of images and spectacles, the elements of
citizenship simply evaporate.56 Various democratic ideals may be kept alive within the official ideology, mainly to legitimate
the electoral ritual, but they fail to resonate with the times. As Wexler concludes: ``For now, citizen- ship will remain the
appropriate sign of post-modernism and semiotic society – a restored sign artifact that may be recycled and used so long as it
does not disturb contemporary society's profound need for superficiality.''57 In the splintered, discontinuous world inhabited by
Baurdrillard, Foucault, and kindred theorists, social bonds are weakened and the link between personal life and the public sphere
is fractured. Where truth, language, and ideology are perpetually contested, nothing is settled or taken for granted. While this
ethos corresponds well to an era in which emphasis is placed on local knowledge and identity movements, it is a depoliticizing
ethos insofar as it blurs or dismisses macro forms of economic and political power. Where the state is either ignored or broken
down into a mosaic of localized and partial entities, politics too winds up obliterated. Symbols and images become far more
important than concrete struggles involving rival claims to power, economic interests, and visions of a better society.58 In a
social order where symbols and images dominate mass consciousness, the splintering of local identities coincides with the decline
of political opposition. Corporate colonization is left only feebly challenged by the proliferation of local groups, by the
celebration of diversity and multiculturalism that has entered into American public discourse since the 1980s. Dispersed
identities, however constructed, are easily assimilated into the sphere of the all-powerful commodity, which coincides with the
spread of anti-political sentiment. As communities assume what Zygmunt Bauman calls an ``imaginary'' character,59 identities
become detached from the public sphere, and politics is allowed to descend into a spectacle. Hence the eclipse of the collective
subject and the atrophy of political language that defines so much postmodern theorizing is now linked more and more to the
stubborn reality of corporate domination.
PoMo Bad – Public Sphere

Extinction results ---- only robust engagement can check elite influences that intensify all
violence
Boggs ‘97(Carl, Professor of Political Science – National University, Theory & Society 26, December, p. 773-4)

The decline of the public sphere in late twentieth-century America poses a series of great dilemmas and
challenges. Many ideological currents scrutinized here ^ localism, metaphysics, spontaneism, post- modernism, Deep
Ecology – intersect with and reinforce each other. While these currents have deep origins in popular movements of the 1960s and
1970s, they remain very much alive in the 1990s. Despite their different outlooks and trajectories, they all share one thing
in common: a depoliticized expression of struggles to combat and overcome alienation. The false
sense of empowerment that comes with such mesmerizing impulses is accompanied by a loss of public
engagement, an erosion of citizenship and a depleted capacity of individuals in large groups to work
for social change. As this ideological quagmire worsens, urgent problems that are destroying the fabric of
American society will go unsolved – perhaps even unrecognized – only to fester more ominously into the
future. And such problems (ecological crisis, poverty, urban decay, spread of infectious diseases,
technological displacement of workers) cannot be understood outside the larger social and global context of
internationalized markets, finance, and communications. Paradoxically, the widespread retreat from politics,
often inspired by localist sentiment, comes at a time when agendas that ignore or side- step these global
realities will, more than ever, be reduced to impotence. In his commentary on the state of citizenship today, Wolin refers to
the increasing sublimation and dilution of politics, as larger numbers of people turn away from public concerns toward private
ones. By diluting the life of common involvements, we negate the very idea of politics as a source
of public ideals and visions.74 In the meantime, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The unyielding truth
is that, even as the ethos of anti-politics becomes more compelling and even fashionable in the United States, it is the
vagaries of political power that will continue to decide the fate of human societies. This last point
demands further elaboration. The shrinkage of politics hardly means that corporate colonization will be
less of a reality, that social hierarchies will somehow disappear, or that gigantic state and military
structures will lose their hold over people's lives. Far from it: the space abdicated by a broad citizenry,
well-informed and ready to participate at many levels, can in fact be filled by authoritarian and reactionary elites – an
already familiar dynamic in many lesser- developed countries. The fragmentation and chaos of a Hobbesian world, not
very far removed from the rampant individualism, social Darwinism, and civic violence that have been so much a part of the
American landscape, could be the prelude to a powerful Leviathan designed to impose order in the
face of disunity and atomized retreat. In this way the eclipse of politics might set the stage for a
reassertion of politics in more virulent guise – or it might help further rationalize the existing power structure. In either case,
the state would likely become what Hobbes anticipated: the embodiment of those universal, collective interests that had vanished
from civil society.75
Ext – PoMo Jacks Public Engagement

Postmodernism cements depoliticization and cements corporate colonization


Boggs, 2000 (Carl, “The End of Politics, Corporate Power and the Deline of the Public Sphere” pg 220-221)

In the splintered, discontinuous universe theorized by Foucault, Baudrillard, Richard Rorty, and kindred writers,
social coherence is weakened and the linkage between personal and public, micro and macro, and
local and global is fractured-a devastating turn for politics, especially radical politics, in an age of
globalization. Further, where truth, language, and social referents are so tenaciously contested as to dissolve into
limitless interpretations of what constitutes basic social trends in the world, where nothing is ever settled, no strategy
for change is even thinkable. While this perspective may correspond well to a milieu in which greater attention is
devoted (perhaps rightly) to local knowledge and concerns, it is nonetheless depoliticizing insofar as it tends
to obscure what in fact needs to be retheorized-that is, macro levels of economic and political
power. Where the state system, for example, is devalued or broken down into a mosaic of dispersed and partial
entities, politics too ends up obliterated. Oddly enough for a discourse that embodies such radical pretensions, the
whole realm of symbols and images-central to what Norman Denzin describes as the "cinematic age"30-becomes far
more important than concrete struggles around rival claims to power, economic interests, and visions of a better
society. Despite its critical and oppositional language, therefore, postmodernism is actually system-
reproducing in its celebration of fragmented, localized, and (occasionally) privatized discourses; it fits the
imperatives of corporate colonization, partly because it reflects an ethos of public disintegration and
partly because, in its extreme formulations, it gives rise to a disempowering nihilism.
PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner

Exclusive emphasis on postmodern micro-politics misses the key sources of power --- only
multi-faceted coalitional politics prevent degeneration into narcissism and defeat
Best and Kellner ‘01(Steven, Prof Philosophy, UT El Paso and Douglass, Philosophy Chair, Postmodern Politics and the Battle
for the Future, Democracy and Nature: The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol. 7, No. 1)
The emphasis on local struggles and micropower, cultural politics which redefine the political, and attempts to develop political
forms relevant to the problems and developments of the contemporary age is extremely valuable, but there are also certain
limitations to the dominant forms of postmodern politics. While an emphasis on micropolitics and local struggles can be a healthy
substitute for excessively utopian and ambitious political projects, one should not lose sight that key sources of political power
and oppression are precisely the big targets aimed at by modern theory, including capital, the state, imperialism, and patriarchy.
Taking on such major targets involves coalitions and multi-front struggle, often requiring a politics of alliance and solidarity
that cuts across group identifications to mobilize sufficient power to struggle against, say, the evils of capitalism or the state. Thus,
while today we need the expansion of localized cultural practices, they attain their real significance only within the struggle for the transformation of society as a
whole. Without this systemic emphasis, cultural and identity politics remain confined to the margins of society and are in danger of
degenerating into narcissism, hedonism, aestheticism, or personal therapy, where they pose no danger and are immediately
coopted by the culture industries. In such cases, the political is merely the personal, and the original intentions of the 1960s goal to broaden the political
field are inverted and perverted. Just as economic and political demands have their referent in subjectivity in everyday life, so these cultural and existential issues find
their ultimate meaning in the demand for a new society and mode of production. Yet we would insist that it is not a question of micro vs macropolitics, as if it were an
either/or proposition, but rather both dimensions are important for the struggles of the present and future.[15] Likewise, we would argue that we need to combine the
most affirmative and negative perspectives, embodying Marcuse's declaration that critical social theory should be both more negative and utopian in reference to the
status quo.[16] There are certainly many things to be depressed about is in the negative and cynical postmodernism of a Baudrillard,
yet without a positive political vision merely citing the negative might lead to apathy and depression that only benefits the
existing order. For a dialectical politics, however, positive vision of what could be is articulated in conjunction with critical
analysis of what is in a multioptic perspective that focuses on the forces of domination as well as possibilities of emancipation. While postmodern politics and
theory tend to polarize into either the extremely negative or excessively affirmative, key forms of postmodern literature have a more dialectical vision. Indeed, some
of the more interesting forms of postmodern critique today are found in fictional genres such as cyberpunk and magical realism. Cyberpunk, a subgenre within science
fiction, brings science fiction down to earth, focusing not on the intergalactic battles in the distant future, but the social problems facing people on earth in the present.
[17] Cyberpunk writers such as Bruce Sterling and William Gibson offer an unflinching look at a grim social reality characterized by transnational capitalist
domination, Social Darwinist cultural settings, radical environmental ruination, and the implosion of the body and technology, such that humans become more and
more machine like and machines increasingly become like human beings. Yet cyberpunk novels foreground this nightmare world in order to warn us that it is an
immanent possibility for the near future, in order to awaken readers to a critical reflection on technology and social control, and to offer hope for alternative uses of
technology and modes of social life. Similarly, magical realism examines the wreckage of centuries of European colonialism, but also maintains a positive outlook,
one that embraces the strength and creativity of the human spirit, social solidarity, and spiritual and political transcendence. Like cyberpunk novels, magical realism
incorporate various aesthetic forms and conventions in an eclectic mixture that fuses postmodernism with social critique and models of resistance. But it is also a
mistake, we believe, to ground one's politics in either modern or postmodern theory alone. Against one-sided positions, we
advocate a version of reconstructive postmodernism that we call a politics of alliance and solidarity that builds on both modern
and postmodern traditions. Unlike Laclau and Mouffe who believe that postmodern theory basically provides a basis for a new politics, and who tend to reject
the Enlightenment per se, we believe that the Enlightenment continues to provide resources for political struggle today and are
skeptical whether postmodern theory alone can provide sufficient assets for an emancipatory new politics. Yet the Enlightenment
has its blindspots and dark sides (such as its relentless pursuit of the domination of nature, and naive belief in "progress," so we believe that
aspects of the postmodern critique of Enlightenment are valid and force us to rethink and reconstruct Enlightenment philosophy for the present
age. And while we agree with Habermas that a reconstruction of the Enlightenment and modernity are in order, unlike Habermas we believe that
postmodern theory has important contributions to make to this project. Various forms of postmodern politics have been liberatory in breaking
away from the abstract and ideological universalism of the Enlightenment and the reductionist class politics of Marxism,
but they tend to be insular and
fragmenting, focusing solely on the experiences and political issues of a given group, even splintering further into distinct
subgroups such as divide the feminist community. Identity politics are often structured around simplistic binary oppositions such
as Us vs. Them and Good vs. Bad that pit people against one another, making alliances, consensus, and compromise difficult or
impossible. This has been the case, for example, with tendencies within radical feminism and ecofeminism which reproduce
essentialism by stigmatizing men and "male rationality" while exalting women as the bearers of peaceful and loving value and as being "closer to nature."[18]
Elements in the black nationalist liberation movement in the 1960s and the early politics of Malcolm X were exclusionist and racist, literally demonizing white people
as an evil and inferior race. Similarly, the sexual politics of some gay and lesbian groups tend to exclusively focus on their own interests, while the mainstream
environmental movement is notorious for resisting alliances with people of color and grass roots movements.[19] Even though each group needs to assert their identity
as aggressively as possible, postmodern identity politics should avoid falling into seriality and sheer fragmentation. These struggles,
though independent of one another, should be articulated within counterhegemonic alliances, and attack power formations on
both the micro- and macro-levels. Not all universalistic appeals are ideological in the sense criticized by Marx; there are
common grounds of experience, common concerns, and common forms of oppression that different groups share which should be articulated --
concerns such as the degradation of the environment and common forms of oppression that stem from capitalist exploitation and
alienated labor.
PoMo Bad – Best + Kellner

Postmodernism draws distinctions between different social identities; this legitimates the formation
of hierarchies of power, allowing for class privilege
Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas, “Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and
Critical Theory” http://www.uta.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2.htm)

Since contemporary capitalism was producing in effect a new metaphysics and new ideology, philosophical critique
defined as the critique of ideology became an integral part of its social theory. In this context, it is relevant to note
that one of the generally overlooked functions of ideology is to draw false boundaries within such domains as sex,
race, and class, so as to construct ideological divisions between men and women, the "better classes" and "the lower
classes," whites and peoples of color, etc. Ideology constructs divisions between proper and improper behavior,
while constructing a hierarchy within each of these domains which justifies the domination of one sex, race, and
class over others by virtue of its alleged superiority, or the natural order of things. For example, women are said to
be by nature passive, domestic, submissive, etc., and their proper domain is thus deemed to be the private sphere, the
home, while the public sphere was reserved for, allegedly, more active, rational, and domineering men.
In these ideological operations we see abstraction at work: ideologies which legitimate the superiority of men over
women, or of capitalism over other social systems, so as to attempt to justify the privileges of the ruling classes or
strata, -- such patriarchal capitalist ideologies abstract from the injustices, inequities, and suffering produced by
patriarchal capitalism, such as the glaring inequities of power and wealth within a supposedly egalitarian society.
Thus I believe that abstraction is fundamentally related to the key features of ideology such as legitimation,
domination, and mystification, and that the drawing of boundaries (between allegedly inferior and superior systems,
groups, policies, values, etc.) also plays a fundamental role in this process.[1] Boundary maintainence (between men
and women, capitalists and workers, whites and non-whites, Americans and the rest of the world, capitalism and
communism, etc. etc.) serves the interests of social domination, as well as the functions of legitimation and
mystification of social reality. Thus I am proposing that the "distortion," "mystification," "masking," and other
occluding functions usually associated with ideology are related to a certain sort of abstraction and to a specific type
of ideological boundaries.
A2: Deconstruction

Deconstruction creates a political void that will be filled by elites, locking in oppression
Cook ’92 (Anthony, Associate Professor, Georgetown Law, New England LR, Spring, 26 New Eng.L. Rev. 751)

The effect of deconstructing the power of the author to impose a fixed meaning on the text or offer a continuous
narrative is both debilitating and liberating. It is debilitating in that any attempt to say what should be done
within even our insular Foucaultian preoccupations may be oppositionalized and deconstructed as an illegitimate
privileging of one term, value, perspective or narrative over another. The struggle over meaning might continue ad
infinitum. That is, if a deconstructionist is theoretically consistent and sees deconstruction not as a political tool but
as a philosophical orientation, political action is impossible, because such action requires a degree of
closure that deconstruction, as a theoretical matter, does not permit. Moreover, the approach is debilitating because
deconstruction without material rootedness, without goals and vision, creates a political and spiritual void into
which the socially real power we theoretically deconstruct steps and steps on the disempowered and
dispossessed. [*762] To those dying from AIDS, stifled by poverty, dehumanized by sexism and racism, crippled
by drugs and brutalized by the many forms of physical, political and economic violence that characterizes our
narcissistic culture, power hardly seems a matter of illegitimate theoretical privileging. When vision,
social theory and political struggle do not accompany critique, the void will be filled by the rich, the
powerful and the charismatic, those who influence us through their eloquence, prestige, wealth and power.
at: deleuze and guattari

The negative’s conception of the alternative and its need to function alone ensures its failure—Deleuze and Guattari
opposed total opposition of the state and the nomad—treating the nomad as a complete outsider is narcissistic and
impossible.

Mann, 95 (Professor of English at Pomona, Paul, “Stupid Undergrounds,” PostModern


Culture 5:3, Project MUSE)

Intellectual economics guarantees that even the most powerful and challenging work cannot
protect itself from the order of fashion. Becoming-fashion, becoming-commodity, becoming-
ruin. Such instant, indeed retroactive ruins, are the virtual landscape of the stupid
underground. The exits and lines of flight pursued by Deleuze and Guattari are being shut
down and rerouted by the very people who would take them most seriously. By now, any
given work from the stupid underground's critical apparatus is liable to be tricked out with
smooth spaces, war-machines, n - 1s, planes of consistency, plateaus and
deterritorializations, strewn about like tattoos on the stupid body without organs. The nomad
is already succumbing to the rousseauism and orientalism that were always invested in his
figure; whatever Deleuze and Guattari intended for him, he is reduced to being a romantic
outlaw, to a position opposite the State, in the sort of dialectical operation Deleuze most
despised. And the rhizome is becoming just another stupid subterranean figure. It is perhaps
true that Deleuze and Guattari did not adequately protect their thought from this dialectical
reconfiguration (one is reminded of Breton's indictment against Rimbaud for not having
prevented, in advance, Claudel's recuperation of him as a proper Catholic), but no vigilance
would have sufficed in any case. The work of Deleuze and Guattari is evidence that, in real
time, virtual models and maps close off the very exits they indicate. The problem is in part
that rhizomes, lines of flight, smooth spaces, BwOs, etc., are at one and the same time
theoretical-political devices of the highest critical order and merely fantasmatic, delirious,
narcissistic models for writing, and thus perhaps an instance of the all-too-proper blurring of
the distinction between criticism and fantasy. In Deleuze-speak, the stupid underground
would be mapped not as a margin surrounding a fixed point, not as a fixed site determined
strictly by its relation or opposition to some more or less hegemonic formation, but as an
intensive, n-dimensional intersection of rhizomatic plateaus. Nomadology and rhizomatics
conceive such a "space" (if one only had the proverbial nickel for every time that word is
used as a critical metaphor, without the slightest reflection on what might be involved in
rendering the conceptual in spatial terms) as a liquid, colloidal suspension, often retrievable
by one or another techno-metaphorical zoning (e.g., "cyberspace"). What is at stake,
however, is not only the topological verisimilitude of the model but the fantastic possibility
of nonlinear passage, of multiple simultaneous accesses and exits, of infinite fractal lines
occupying finite social space. In the strictest sense, stupid philosophy. Nomad thought is
prosthetic, the experience of virtual exhilaration in modalities already mapped and
dominated by nomad, rhizomatic capital (the political philosophy of the stupid underground:
capital is more radical than any of its critiques, but one can always pretend otherwise). It is
this very fantasy, this very narcissistic wish to see oneself projected past the frontier into
new spaces, that abandons one to this economy, that seals these spaces within an order of
critical fantasy that has long since been overdeveloped, entirely reterritorialized in advance.
To pursue nomadology or rhizomatics as such is already to have lost the game. Nothing is
more crucial to philosophy than escaping the dialectic and no project is more hopeless; the
stupid-critical underground is the curved space in which this opposition turns back on itself.
A2: Baudrillard

Baudrillard leaves the masses to collapse, only engaging in macro-politics solves


Best prof phil @ UT el paso and Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 2k2 (Steven, Doug, “Postmodern Politics and the
Battle for the

Future” http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/Illumina%20Folder/kell28.htm)
A postmodern politics begins to take shape during the 1960s, when numerous new political groups and struggles emerged. The development of a new postmodern
politics is strongly informed by the vicissitudes of social movements in France, the United States, and elsewhere, as well as by emerging postmodern theories. The
utopian visions of modern politics proved, in this context, difficult to sustain and were either rejected in favor of cynicism, nihilism, and, in some cases, a turn to the
The modern emphasis on collective struggle,
right, or were dramatically recast and scaled down to more "modest" proportions.
solidarity, and alliance politics gave way to extreme fragmentation, as the "movement" of the
1960s splintered into various competing struggles for rights and liberties. The previous emphasis
on transforming the public sphere and institutions of domination gave way to new emphases on
culture, personal identity, and everyday life, as macropolitics were replaced by the micropolitics of local
transformation and subjectivity. In the aftermath of the 1960s, novel and conflicting conceptions of postmodern politics emerged.
Postmodern politics thus take a variety of forms and would include the anti-politics of
Baudrillard and his followers, who exhibit a cynical, despairing rejection of the belief in
emancipatory social transformation, as well as a variety of efforts to create a new or reconstructed politics. On the
extreme and apolitical position of a Baudrillard, we are stranded at the end of history, paralyzed and frozen,
as the masses collapse into inertia and indifference, and simulacra and technology triumph over
agency. Thus, from Baudrillard's perspective, all we can do is "accommodate ourselves to the time left to
us."
A2: Baudrillard

Baudrillard’s radical theory is incapable solving the problem it critiques, only totalizing
solutions are capable of breaking down capitalist structures that are the root cause
Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas, “Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and
Critical Theory” http://www.uta.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2.htm)

Against Foucault, Lyotard, and others who reject macro-theory, the category of totality, or meta-narratives, I would argue that precisely
now we need such totalizing theories to attempt to capture the new totalizations being undertaken by capitalism in the realm of
consumption, the media, information, etc. Now, more than ever, we need macro-theories that will attempt to cognitively map the
context of the new forms of social develoment and the relationships between spheres like the economy, culture, education, politics, etc.
Furthermore, unlike Mark Poster (forthcoming) and others, I believe that it is a mistake to sever the mode of information from the mode of
production, and believe that there continues to be "determination in the last instance" by the economic in the current stage of capitalism. Thus I would propose that
the new social conditions, new technological developments, and new political challenges should be conceptualized in terms of a
theory of techno-capitalism rather than postmodernism. With Fredric Jameson (1984), I would propose that we are currently in a
new configuration of capitalism where postmodernism can be read as the cultural logic of capital but where the hegemony of
capital is still the fundamental principle of social organization and where capital attempts to control ever more domains of life. I
would, however, agree with those who claim that we need to rethink the problematics of radical politics, of socialism or even radical
social transformation or emancipation, in the light of the new social conditions and challenges -- though I shall not address this issue here Yet against a radical
implosive postmodernism such as one finds in Baudrillard -- and Arthur Kroker's and David Cook's The Postmodern Scene
(1986) is an even more extreme case -- I would argue for the need to draw boundaries, or conceptual distinctions, and to make what Marx calls
"rational abstractions" rather than leaping into the delirious postmodern implosion of all boundaries, abstractions, and distinctions in the
vertiginous flux of the hyperreal. As Wittgenstein and Derrida attacked metaphysical abstractions which dissolved differences in unifying
schemes, we should undertake to criticize ideological-metaphysical abstractions yet should also draw distinctions which make connections and
which conceptualize important differences. As Marx put it in his introduction to the Grundrisse: "It might seem, therefore, that in order to talk
about production at all we must either pursue the process of historic development through its different phases, or declare beforehand that we are
dealing with a specific historical epoch such as e.g. modern bourgeois production, which is indeed our particular theme. However, all epochs of
production have certain common traits, common characteristics. Production in general is an abstraction, but a rational abstraction insofar as it
really brings out and fixes a common element" (i.e. in different modes of production). Yet Marx goes on to insist that: "Still, this general
category, this common element sifted out by comparison, is itself segmented many times over and splits into different determinations. Some
determinations belong to all epochs, others only to a few" (Marx 1976, p. 106). Thus, while there are general "determinations valid for production
as such," and so for all epochs, we must not, he warns, obscure "their essential differences" (Marx 1976, p. 101). Consequently, for Marx
"rational abstraction" fixes a "common element" that plays a constitutive role in various situations and contexts. The "concrete" in this analysis is
itself a product of many determinations, many relations, and "rational abstraction" thus designates specific determinations in a multiple and multi-
dimensional relational chain. "Bad abstraction" is thus overcome by situating abstractions back into a specific set of differential relations,
contextualizing one's concepts and analyses within a set of historically specific and complex social relations. This is what, I maintain, we need to
do in the postmodernism debate: we should grasp the differences between the old and the new stages of society (or art,
philosophy, etc.), and the continuities between the previous and new stage of society -- a continuity constituted precisely by the continuing
primacy of capitalist relations of production in the current organization of society.[4] Thus, against postmodernists who celebrate the radically "new" -- and
rupture, discontinuity, and difference, -- I would argue that we need to characterize both the continuities and the discontinuities in
the historical process and that this involves both pointing to ruptures and breaks in recent history as well as continuities.
Consequently, while New French Theory has attempted to cross the borderline and to chart out the terrain of the new, their claims
for an absolute break between modernity and postmodernity are not always convincing. Although we may be living within a
borderline, or transitional space, between the modern and the postmodern, and may be entering a terrain where old modes of thought and language are not always useful, it seems at
this point in time that in many ways, New French Theory is itself flawed and not of much use in helping us to understand and
resolve many of the crucial theoretical and political problems that we currently face (i.e. moving beyond the current age of conservative
hegemony, learning to use and live with new technologies in ways that will enhance human life, and understanding and dealing with a wide range of social problems
from technological unemployment to AIDS). Thus while we clearly need new theories and politics to understand the conflicts, problems, and
developments of the contemporary era I believe that we need new concatenations of Marxism, Critical Theory, and New French
theory to solve the theoretical and political problems which confront us today.
A2: Baudrillard

Baudrillard is wrong --- his theory rests on untenable premises and ignores the important
role that capitalism plays in the creation of the media
Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas, “Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and
Critical Theory” http://www.uta.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2.htm)
It is here, I suggest, on Baudrillard's borderline between the modern and the postmodern, that a critical interrogation of his thought and politics
should begin. On this point, almost every discussion of Baudrillard in English seems to presuppose that he is right, that we
are in something like a postmodern condition, that we have left modernity behind and are in a qualitatively new society where the old categories
and old distinctions no longer hold. Such a vision rests, I believe, partly on wishful thinking and partly on a desire to
differentiate oneself from old-fashioned traditionalists, while positioning oneself as avant-garde. Stronger, in my
forthcoming book on Baudrillard, I shall that his postmodern social theory rests on some shaky theoretical premises,
especially concerning the role of the media, cybernetics and design, and representation and social reproduction in
the contemporary world (Kellner 1989b). Living on the Borderline Consequently, in confronting the differences between Baudrillard and the now
classical Critical Theory, the following issues arise: is Baudrillard correct that we have entered a postmodern society, or are we still stuck in a more stream-lined and
advanced version of the old capitalist society? Are the fundamental boundaries within social theory (between classes, forces and relations of production, Left and
Right, domination and emancipation, representations and reality, etc.) still intact and effective, or have they been superseded and imploded by contemporary social
developments? What is the status of representation, social critique, emancipation, and socialism in the allegedly postmodern world? In short, are Marxism and Critical
Theory still viable enterprises, or have their assumptions and positions been vitiated by contemporary social developments? My own position is that if Marxism and
Critical Theory want to continue to be relevant to the theoretical and political concerns of the present age, they must address the issues advanced by the postmodern
critical social theory today must attempt to theorize the new social
challenge to previous traditions of social theory. This means that
conditions and phenomena analyzed by the postmodernists, and must demonstrate that their categories and theories
continue to be applicable and illuminating in theorizing the new social conditions. This in turn requires rethinking such enterprises
as Marxism and Critical Theory in terms of the new issues posed and the new challenges advanced by the current configurations of the media, consumer and
information societies; by cybernetics and design; by the restructuring of labor and production; by the new configurations of class; and by the new modes of the
colonization of everyday life. The responses of those identified with Critical Theory to New French Theory and the postmodernism debate so far, however, have been
highly defensive and not particularly productive. Habermas has tended to interpret postmodern thinkers under the sign of irrationalism, and has himself continued to
defend modernity and rationalism without always successfully addressing the critiques of modernity, rationalism, and his own work advanced by the postmodernists
and New French Theory (Habermas 1987). Most recent articles on postmodernism and New French Theory in Telos -- which has consistently championed certain
versions of neo-Marxism and Critical Theory in the U.S. over the past two decades -- are primarily hostile, dismissive, and not particularly illuminating (Berman 1984
and Wolin 1984). Their mode of reception is primarily an Adornesque absolute negation rather than a Benjaminian redemptive hermeneutic which would attempt to
appropriate or redeem what is valuable and useful in New French Theory. Indeed, I would maintain that Critical Theory has so far rejected New French Theory
precisely at those points where its own classical theories are most in need of revision and development: i.e. in attempting to theorize new social conditions and
phenomena like the consumer society, media, information, computerization, etc. The classical Critical Theory of the consumer society tends to downplay the
importance of sign-value and the semiological dimension, while its media theories and ideology critique of popular culture often underemphasized the importance of
form, of codes, of the nature and structure of media themselves --precisely the focus of the best of the New French Theory (Kellner 1989a and 1989b). And, finally,
New French Theory has focused on such new phenomena as cybernetics, computerization, the information society, etc. that have appeared since the classical texts of
Critical Theory were produced which Critical Theory today must deal with if it is not to become irrelevant to the current problems of the present age. The
attempts of New French Theory, however, to conceptualize these new phenomena in terms of a "post," and often
anti-Marxian discourse and framework, however, are highly problematical as is their frequent denunciation of
macro-social theory in favor of micro theory and politics (this is particularly true of Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari,
and others). It is my view that New French Theorists like Baudrillard, Lyotard and Foucault have made a serious
theoretical and political mistake in severing their work from the Marxian critique of capitalism precisely at a point
when the logic of capital has been playing an increasingly important role in structuring the new stage of society
which I conceptualize as a new stage of capitalism -- capitalism as techno-capital (Kellner 1989a). Indeed, I would
argue that Marxian categories are of central importance precisely in analyzing the phenomena focused on by
Baudrillard and New French Theory: the consumer society, the media, information, computers, etc. For it is
capitalism that is determining what sort of media, information, computers, etc. are being produced and distributed
precisely according to their logic and interests. That is, in techno-capitalist societies, information, as Herbert Schiller
and others have shown, is being more and more commodified, accessible only to those who can pay for it and who
have access to it. Education itself is becoming more and more commodified as computers become more essential to
the process of education, while more and more domains of knowledge and information are commodified and
transmitted through computers (I'm thinking both of computer learning programs which force consumers to buy programs to learn typing,
math, history, foreign languages, etc. as well as modem-programs and firms like Compu-Serve which make access an abundance of information,
entertainment, networking, etc. via computer for those who can afford to pay its per minute information prices).
at baudrillard: cede the political

Baudrillard is just a fashionable source of cynicism—not a political strategy.


Rojek 93 (Chris, Deputy Director, Theory, Culture & Society Centre , Professor of Sociology
and Culture at Nottingham Trent University, Forget Buadrillard? Edited by Chris Rojek, pgs
109)

His lacerating nihilism, his readiness to prick any cause, his devotion to experience for
experience s sake, are all recurring tropes of at least one type of modernism. To be sure,
modernism is a multi-faceted concept. Rather than speak of the project of modernism it is
perhaps more accurate to speak o projects of modernism. These projects work around a
central dichotomy: reflecting the order of things and exposing the fundamental disorder of
things. In the political realm the keynote projects designed to reflect the order of things
have been (a) providing a theory of liberal democracy which legitimates the operation of he
market; (b) the socialist critiques of capitalism and the plan for the reconstruction of society;
and (c) the feminist transformation of the male order of things. These are all constructive
projects. They either aim to give shape to people's lives or they seek to replace the easing
set of politico-economic conditions with a state of affairs that is judged to be superior on
rational or moral grounds. Baudrillard it might be said, traces the dispersal of these projects
He relishes being the imp of the perverse, the ruthless exponent of the disorder of things
His work exposes the posturing and circularities of constructive arguments. But in doing this
Baudrillard is not acting as the harbinger of a new postmodern state of affairs. Rather he is
treading the well worn paths of one type of modernist sceptism and excess – a path which
has no other destiny than repletion. His message of ‘no future’ does not transcend the
political dilemma of modernism, it exemplifies it.

Baudrillard’s alternative fails to confront real world politics.

Best & Kellner, 98 Department of Philosophy at University of Texas-El Paso, 1998 [Steven
& Douglas, http://www2.cddc.vt.edu/illuminations/kell28.htm, “Postmodern Politics and the
Battle for the Future”]

In the aftermath of the 1960s, novel and conflicting conceptions of postmodern politics
emerged. Postmodern politics thus take a variety of forms and would include the anti-politics
of Baudrillard and his followers, who exhibit a cynical, despairing rejection of the belief in
emancipatory social transformation, as well as a variety of efforts to create a new or
reconstructed politics. On the extreme and apolitical position of a Baudrillard, we are
stranded at the end of history, paralyzed and frozen, as the masses collapse into inertia and
indifference, and simulacra and technology triumph over agency. Thus, from Baudrillard's
perspective, all we can do is "accommodate ourselves to the time left to us." [3]
at baudrillard: Simulation

We do, in fact, know the difference between simulation and reality—the media plays a
healthy role in the public sphere.

March, 95 James Marsh, Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University, 95, Critique, Action,
and Liberation, pp. 292-293

Such an account, however, is as one-sided or perhaps even more one-sided than that of naive modernism. We
note a residual idealism that does not take into account socioeconomic realities already pointed out such as the
corporate nature of media, their role in achieving and legitimating profit, and their function of manufacturing
consent. In such a postmodernist account is a reduction of everything to image or symbol that misses the
relationship of these to realities such as corporations seeking profit, impoverished workers in these
corporations, or peasants in Third-World countries trying to conduct elections. Postmodernism does not
adequately distinguish here between a reduction of reality to image and a mediation of reality by image. A
media idealism exists rooted in the influence of structuralism and poststructuralism and doing insufficient
justice to concrete human experience, judgment, and free interaction in the world.4 It is also paradoxical or
contradictory to say it really is true that nothing is really true, that everything is illusory or imaginary.
Postmodemism makes judgments that implicitly deny the reduction of reality to image. For example, Poster and
Baudrillard do want to say that we really are in a new age that is informational and postindustrial. Again, to say
that everything is imploded into media images is akin logically to the Cartesian claim that everything is or might
be a dream. What happens is that dream or image is absolutized or generalized to the point that its original
meaning lying in its contrast to natural, human, and social reality is lost. We can discuss Disneyland as
reprehensible because we know the difference between Disneyland and the larger, enveloping reality of
Southern California and the United States.5 We can note also that postmodernism misses the reality of the
accumulation-legitimation tension in late capitalism in general and in communicative media in particular. This
tension takes different forms in different times. In the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, for example, social,
economic, and political reality occasionally manifested itself in the media in such a way that the electorate
responded critically to corporate and political policies. Coverage of the Vietnam war, for example, did help
turn people against the war. In the 1980s, by contrast, the emphasis shifted more toward accumulation in the
decade dominated by the “great communicator.” Even here, however, the majority remained opposed to
Reagan’s policies while voting for Reagan. Human and social reality, while being influenced by and represented
by the media, transcended them and remained resistant to them.6 To the extent that postmodernists are critical of
the role media play, we can ask the question about the normative adequacy of such a critique. Why, in the
absence of normative conceptions of rationality and freedom, should media dominance be taken as bad rather
than good? Also, the most relevant contrasting, normatively structured alternative to the media is that of the
“public sphere,” in which the imperatives of free, democratic, nonmanipulable communicative action are
institutionalized. Such a public sphere has been present in western democracies since the nineteenth century but
has suffered erosion in the twentieth century as capitalism has more and more taken over the media and
commercialized them. Even now the public sphere remains normatively binding and really operative
through institutionalizing the ideals of free, full, public expression and discussion; ideal, legal requirements
taking such forms as public service programs, public broadcasting, and provision for alternative media; and
social movements acting and discoursing in and outside of universities in print, in demonstrations and forms of
resistance, and on media such as movies, television, and radio.7
at baudrillard: Simulation

Relegating human suffering to the realm of simulation is just nihilism, crushing politics.
Kellner, 89 Phil. Chair @ UCLA, 1989, Jean Baudrillard, p. 107-8, Douglas

Yet does the sort of symbolic exchange which Baudrillard advocates really provide a solution to the question of
death? Baudrillard’s notion of symbolic exchange between life and death and his ultimate embrace of nihilism
(see 4.4) is probably his most un-Nietzschean moment, the instant in which his thought radically devalues life
and focuses with a fascinated gaze on that which is most terrible — death. In a popular French reading of
Nietzsche, his ‘transvaluation of values’ demanded negation of all repressive and life- negating values in favor of
affirmation of life, joy and happiness. This ‘philosophy of value’ valorized life over death and derived its values
from phenomena which enhanced, refined and nurtured human life. In Baudrillard, by contrast, life does not
exist as an autonomous source of value, and the body exists only as ‘the caarnality of signs,’ as a mode of
display of signification. His sign fetishism erases all materialjty from the body and social life, and makes
possible a fascinated aestheticized fetishism of signs as the primary ontological reality. This way of seeing
erases suffering, disease, pain and the horror of death from the body and social life and replaces it with
the play of signs — Baudrillard’s alternative. Politics too is reduced to a play of signs, and the ways in
which different politics alleviate or intensify human suffering disappears from the Baudrillardian
universe. Consequently Baudrillard’s theory spirals into a fascination with signs which leads him to
embrace certain privileged forms of sign culture and to reject others (that is, the theoretical signs of
modernity such as meaning, truth, the social, power and so on) and to pay less and less attention to materiality
(that is, to needs, desire, suffering and so on) a trajectory will ultimately lead him to embrace nihilism (see
4.4).
A2: Foucault

Foucault’s rejection of meta-solutions dooms the alternative, it prevents the formation of new
totalizing theories that are essential to breaking down the capitalist structures that are the root
cause of the problem
Kellner prof phil @ UCLA 1998 (Douglas, “Boundaries and Borderlines: Reflections on Jean Baudrillard and
Critical Theory” http://www.uta.edu/huma/illuminations/kell2.htm)
Against Foucault, Lyotard, and others who reject macro-theory, the category of totality, or meta-narratives, I would
argue that precisely now we need such totalizing theories to attempt to capture the new totalizations being
undertaken by capitalism in the realm of consumption, the media, information, etc. Now, more than ever, we need
macro-theories that will attempt to cognitively map the context of the new forms of social develoment and the
relationships between spheres like the economy, culture, education, politics, etc. Furthermore, unlike Mark Poster
(forthcoming) and others, I believe that it is a mistake to sever the mode of information from the mode of
production, and believe that there continues to be "determination in the last instance" by the economic in the current
stage of capitalism. Thus I would propose that the new social conditions, new technological developments, and new
political challenges should be conceptualized in terms of a theory of techno-capitalism rather than postmodernism.
With Fredric Jameson (1984), I would propose that we are currently in a new configuration of capitalism where
postmodernism can be read as the cultural logic of capital but where the hegemony of capital is still the fundamental
principle of social organization and where capital attempts to control ever more domains of life. I would, however,
agree with those who claim that we need to rethink the problematics of radical politics, of socialism or even radical
social transformation or emancipation, in the light of the new social conditions and challenges -- though I shall not
address this issue here

Biopower in contemporary society is an expression of the


enhancement of life, not the power to kill
Ojakangus Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2k5 (Mika, “Impossible Dialogue on Bio-power”
http://www.foucault-studies.com/no2/ojakangas1.pdf)
In fact, the history of modern Western societies would be quite incomprehensible without taking into account that there exists a form o power which
refrains from killing but which nevertheless is capable of directing people’s lives. The effectiveness of bio‐power can be seen
lying precisely in that it refrains and withdraws before every demand of killing, even though these
demands would derive from the demand of justice. In bio‐political societies, according to Foucault, capital
punishment could not be maintained except by invoking less the enormity of the crime itself than the
monstrosity of the criminal: “One had the right to kill those who represented a kind of biological danger
to others.”112 However, given that the “right to kill” is precisely a sovereign right, it can be argued that the bio‐political societies analyzed by
Foucault were not entirely bio‐political. Perhaps, there neither has been nor can be a society that is entirely bio‐political. Nevertheless, the fact is
that present‐day European societies have abolished capital punishment. In them, there are no longer exceptions. It is
the very “right to kill” that has been called into question. However, it is not called into question because of enlightened moral
sentiments, but rather because of the deployment of bio‐political thinking and practice. For all these reasons, Agamben’s thesis,
according to which the concentration camp is the fundamental bio‐political paradigm of the West, has to
be corrected.113 The bio‐political paradigm of the West is not the concentration camp, but, rather, the
present‐day welfare society and, instead of homo sacer, the paradigmatic figure of the bio‐political society
can be seen, for example, in the middle‐class Swedish social‐democrat. Although this figure is an object –
and a product – of the huge bio‐political machinery, it does not mean that he is permitted to kill without
committing homicide. Actually, the fact that he eventually dies, seems to be his greatest “crime” against
the machinery. (In bio‐political societies, death is not only “something to be hidden away,” but, also, as Foucault stresses, the
most “shameful thing of all”.114) Therefore, he is not exposed to an unconditional threat of death, but rather to
an unconditional retreat of all dying. In fact, the bio‐political machinery does not want to threaten him,
but to encourage him, with all its material and spiritual capacities, to live healthily, to live long and to live happily – even when, in
biological terms, he “should have been dead long ago”.115 This is because bio‐power is not bloody power over bare life for its
own sake but pure power over all life for the sake of the living. It is not power but the living, the
condition of all life – individual as well as collective that is the measure of the success of bio‐power.
A2: Foucault

Engaging liberalism is essential to breaking down biopower, it promotes a form of


rationality that limits state power
Lacombe Criminology Simon Fraser U 1996 (Danny, “Reforming Foucault: A Critique of the Social Control
Thesis” The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 47, No. 2 Jstor

The nature of the relation between the individual and the political order concerned Foucault in his studies of 'bio-
power' and 'bio-politics'. In this work, he implicitly negates his earlier claims that rights in the West were unequivocally linked to the sovereign
(1980b, 1988, 199 1). Foucault introduced the notion of 'bio-power' in his work on sexuality to designate the proliferation of a technology of
power-knowledge primarily concerned with life. Bio-power was a mechanism that took charge of life by 'investing the body,
health, modes of subsistence and habitation, living conditions, the whole space of existence' (Foucault 1980b: 14344, emphasis added). The
notion of bio-power is useful for our understanding of the phenomenon of resistance because while it represents a
totalizing or universal mechanism -one that interpellates the subject as a member of a population - it also contains
the seed for a counter-power or a counter-politics because that mechanism individualizes the subject of a population.
It is this aspect of bio-power, its simultaneous totalizing and individual-izing tendencies, that is of importance in understanding the strategies by which individual
subjects can claim the right to self-determination. Foucault explains that against this [bio-]power that was still new in the nineteenth century, the
forces that
resisted relied for support on the very thing it invested, that is, on life and man as a living being. Since the last century, the
great struggles that have challenged the general system of power were not guided by the belief in a return to former rights, or by the age-old dream of a cycle of time
or a Golden Age. (. . .) [Wlhat was demanded and what served as an objective was life, understood as the basic needs, man's concrete essence, the realization of his
potential, a plentitude of the possible. Whether or not it was Utopia that was wanted is of little importance; what we have seen has been a very real process of struggle;
life as a political object was in a sense taken at face value and turned back against the system that was bent on controlling it. It was life more than the law that became
the issue of political struggles, even if the latter were formulated through affirmations concerningrights. The 'right' tolife, to one's body, to health, to happiness, to the
satisfaction of needs, and beyond all the oppressions or 'alienations,' the 'right' to rediscover what one is and all that one can be, this 'right' (. . .) was the political
response to all these new procedures of power which did not derive, either, from the traditional right of sovereignty. (Foucault 1980b: 144-5) If
life,
understood here as 'man's concrete essence', is affirmed through rights claims, then, like Foucault we can no longer
conceive law as necessarily linked to the sovereign. It must be linked to a different political rationality, one I believe, in
which human rights are at the centre. While Foucault never specifically addressed the question of human rights, his lectures on 'bio-politics' (at
the College de France between 1978 and 1979) suggest that struggles for life and for self-determination are to be understood in
the context of liberalism. In his lectures, he explores the relation between bio-power -the mechanisms taking charge
of life -and the emergence of bio-politics, by which he means the way in which a rationalization was attempted, dating from the eighteenth century, for the
problems posed to governmental practice by the phenomena specific to an ensemble of living beings: health, hygiene, birthrate, longevity, races . . .(198 1 :353)
Foucault's statement is significant because it suggests that we cannot dissociate the problems posed by the question
of population (bio-power) from the political rationality within which they emerged, liberalism. Far from conceiving
it as a political theory or a representation of society, Foucault understands liberalism as an 'art of government', that
is, as a particular practice, activity and rationality used to administer, shape, and direct the conduct of people (1981 :
358). As a rationality of government - a 'governmentality' -liberalism, towards the beginning of the eighteenth century, breaks from reason of state (la
raison d'e'tat) which since the sixteenth century had sought to 'justify the growing exercise of government' (Foucault 198 1 :354). What distinguishes
liberalism from reason of state as an art of government is that for liberalism 'there is always too much government'
(Foucault 1981: 354-5). In fact, far from being organized around the principle of a strong state, liberalism upholds
the principle of maximal economy with minimal government (Foucault 1981: 354). The question of liberalism, that
of 'too much governing,' regulates itself, according to Foucault, 'by means of a continuing reflection' (1 98 1: 354).
The idea of reflexivity here is significant because it refers to a mechanism of self-critique, and self-limitation,
inherent in liberalism. Foucault claims that Liberalism (. . .) constitutes - and this is the reason both for its polymorphous character and for its recurrences - an
instrument for the criticism of reality. Liberalism criticizes an earlier functioning government from which one tries to escape; it
examines an actual practice of government that one attempts to reform and to rationalize by a fundamental analysis; it criticizes a practice of government to which one
is opposed and whose abuses one wishes to curb. As a result of this, one can discover liberalism under different but simultaneous forms, both as a schema for the
regulation of governmental practice and as a theme for sometimes radical opposition to such practice. (Foucault 198 1 : 356) What
allows liberalism to
oppose state power, then, is not the principle of sovereignty or the idea of a natural right external to the state; rather
it is a rationality, a governmentality of life that takes on 'the character of a challenge' (Foucault 1981 :353). People
resist the conditions under which they live, they make claims for or against the state, because they have been
submitted to government. In other words, the political technologies that seek to render us governable as a population
(bio-power and bio-politics) simultaneously make possible the critique of these same technologies.'
A2: Foucault

Foucault’s relativism dooms his project, it forces the alternative into a morally bankrupt
mode of thinking – the only ethical action is to take action to increase access to public
health
Maesena, Netherlands Institute for the Social Sciences and Nijhuis Municipal Department of Public Health, 1999
(Laurent J G van der, Harry G J, “Continuing the debate on the philosophy of modern public health: social quality as
a point of reference” http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/54/2/134?ck=nck)
ETHICS AND SOCIAL QUALITY

Foucault's conceptual scheme is highly stimulating for analysing propositions and points of view
on ethical questions. The position taken by Petersen and Lupton however also implies a form of
relativism. The world is appreciated as totally contingent and dependent on the structure of human minds. Claims
for an objective reality are judged as arrogant. Doyal and Gough commented implicitly on Foucault's
perspective by stating the consistent relativist one who regards the whole of social life as a "construction", each aspect of which
has no more or less veracity than the other enters a moral wasteland into which few have feared to tread.78 Roy
Bhaskar's conclusion concerning the epistemic fallacy can be applied to Peterson's and Lupton's study as well.
Statements about being can be reduced to or analysed in terms of statements about knowledge
that is, that ontological questions can always be transposed into epistemological terms. This
results in the systematic dissolution of the idea of a world independent of but investigated by
science.79 From our perspective, society is to be conceived both as the totality of conditions of
human actions and as the result of human actions. For a valid comprehension of society as a
subject of public heath, the multi-layered mechanisms that can change these human actions and
strategies need to be analysed. The challenge of our modern enterprise of public health is to
improve social conditions related to health. In doing so, we are in fact meeting our values and
norms, in other words, the ethical questions of public health. The social quality theory tries to respond to this
challenge. In our opinion, modern public health, based on a theory of which we have attempted to outline some
principles, has to play an important part in this moral endeavour.
at foucault: no impact

Foucault says that power is not inherently evil—it is only a problem when it turns into
domination.

Foucault, quoted in an interview published in 97 (Michel, philosopher, professor and


chairman of the History of Systems of Thought @ the College de France, Ethics Subjectivity
and Truth, Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984, Vol. 1, Ed. Paul Rabinow, 1997, p. 298-
299)

Power is not evil. Power is games of strategy. We all know that power is not evil! For
example, let us take sexual or amorous relationships: to wield power over the other in a sort
of open-ended strategic game where the situation may be reversed is not evil; it’s a part of
love, of passion and sexual pleasure. And let us take, as another example, something that
has often been rightly criticized—the pedagogical institution. I see nothing wrong in the
practice of a person who, knowing more than others in a specific game of truth, tells those
others what to do, teaches them, and transmits knowledge and techniques to them. The
problem in such practices where power— which is not in itself a bad thing— must inevitably
come into play in knowing how to avoid the kind of domination effects where a kid is
subjected to the arbitrary and unnecessary authority of a teacher, or a student put under
the thumb of a professor who abuses [their] authority. I believe that this problem must be
framed in terms of rules of law, rational techniques of government and ethos, practices of
the self and of freedom.

All health policies are not the same—biopower within a democratic context are radically
different than their fascism examples.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism, Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,”
Central European History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

In the Weimar model, then, the rights of the individual, guaranteed formally by the
constitution and substantively by the welfare system, were the central element of the
dominant program for the management of social problems. Almost no one in this period
advocated expanding social provision out of the goodness of their hearts. This was a
strategy of social management, of social engineering. The mainstream of social reform in
Germany believed that guaranteeing basic social rights— the substantive or positive
freedom of all citizens — was the best way to turn people into power, prosperity, and profit.
In that sense, the democratic welfare state was— and is — democratic not despite of its
pursuit of biopower, but because of it. The contrast with the Nazi state is clear. National
Socialism aimed to construct a system of social and population policy founded on the
concept of individual duties, on the ubiquitous and total power of the state, and on the systematic
absorption of every citizen by organizations that could implant that power at every level of their lives — in political and associational life, in the family, in
the workplace, and in leisure activities. In the welfarist vision of Weimar progressives, the task of the state was to create an institutional framework that
would give individuals the wherewithal to integrate themselves successfully into the national society, economy, and polity. The Nazis aimed, instead, to
give the state the wherewithal to do with every citizen what it willed. And where Weimar welfare advocates understood themselves to be constructing a
system of knowledge and institutions that would manage social problems, the Nazis fundamentally sought to abolish just that system by eradicating — by
finding a “final solution” to — social problems. Again, as Peukert pointed out, many advocates of a rights-based welfare structure were open to the idea
targets for sterilization; the right to health could easily be
that “stubborn” cases might be legitimate
redefined as primarily a duty to be healthy, for example. But the difference between a
strategy of social management built on the rights of the citizen and a system of racial policy
built on the total power of the state is not merely a semantic one; such differences had very
profound political implications, and established quite different constraints. The rights-based
strategy was actually not very compatible with exclusionary and coercive policies; it relied
too heavily on the cooperation of its targets and of armies of volunteers, it was too
embedded in a democratic institutional structure and civil society, it lacked powerful legal
and institutional instruments of coercion, and its rhetorical structure was too heavily slanted
toward inclusion and tolerance.
at foucault: no impact

Even if they are right that our policy is biopolitical, the fact that it is carried out by a
democratic state makes it profoundly different.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism, Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,”
Central European History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

In short, the continuities between early twentieth-century biopolitical discourse and the
practices of the welfare state in our own time are unmistakable. Both are instances of the
“disciplinary society” and of biopolitical, regulatory, social-engineering modernity, and they
share that genealogy with more authoritarian states, including the National Socialist state,
but also fascist Italy, for example. And it is certainly fruitful to view them from this very
broad perspective. But that analysis can easily become superficial and misleading, because
it obfuscates the profoundly different strategic and local dynamics of power in the two kinds
of regimes. Clearly the democratic welfare state is not only formally but also substantively
quite different from totalitarianism. Above all, again, it has nowhere developed the fateful,
radicalizing dynamic that characterized National Socialism (or for that matter Stalinism), the
psychotic logic that leads from economistic population management to mass murder. Again,
there is always the potential for such a discursive regime to generate coercive policies. In
those cases in which the regime of rights does not successfully produce “health,” such a
system can —and historically does— create compulsory programs to enforce it. But again,
there are political and policy potentials and constraints in such a structuring of biopolitics
that are very different from those of National Socialist Germany. Democratic biopolitical
regimes require, enable, and incite a degree of self-direction and participation that is
functionally incompatible with authoritarian or totalitarian structures. And this pursuit of
biopolitical ends through a regime of democratic citizenship does appear, historically, to
have imposed increasingly narrow limits on coercive policies, and to have generated a
“logic” or imperative of increasing liberalization. Despite limitations imposed by political
context and the slow pace of discursive change, I think this is the unmistakable message of
the really very impressive waves of legislative and welfare reforms in the 1920s or the
1970s in Germany.90 Of course it is not yet clear whether this is an irreversible dynamic of
such systems. Nevertheless, such regimes are characterized by sufficient degrees of
autonomy (and of the potential for its expansion) for sufficient numbers of people that I
think it becomes useful to conceive of them as productive of a strategic configuration of
power relations that might fruitfully be analyzed as a condition of “liberty,” just as much as
they are productive of constraint, oppression, or manipulation. At the very least,
totalitarianism cannot be the sole orientation point for our understanding of biopolitics, the
only end point of the logic of social engineering.
at foucault: no impact

Biopower does not expand authority over the body when it is deployed by a government
that also respects rights.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism,
Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,” Central European
History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

At its simplest, this view of the politics of expertise and professionalization is certainly
plausible. Historically speaking, however, the further conjecture that this “micropolitical”
dynamic creates authoritarian, totalitarian, or homicidal potentials at the level of the state
does not seem very tenable. Historically, it appears that the greatest advocates of political
democracy —in Germany left liberals and Social Democrats —have been also the greatest
advocates of every kind of biopolitical social engineering, from public health and welfare
programs through social insurance to city planning and, yes, even eugenics.102 The state
they built has intervened in social relations to an (until recently) ever-growing degree;
professionalization has run ever more rampant in Western societies; the production of
scientistic and technocratic expert knowledge has proceeded at an ever more frenetic pace.
And yet, from the perspective of the first years of the millennium, the second half of the
twentieth century appears to be the great age of democracy in precisely those societies
where these processes have been most in evidence. What is more, the interventionist state
has steadily expanded both the rights and the resources of virtually every citizen —
including those who were stigmatized and persecuted as biologically defective under
National Socialism. Perhaps these processes have created an ever more restrictive “iron
cage” of rationality in European societies. But if so, it seems clear that there is no necessary
correlation between rationalization and authoritarian politics; the opposite seems in fact to
be at least equally true.
Biopower doesn’t lead to tyranny
at foucault: no impact (massacres)

Biopower does not make massacres vital—a specific form of violent sovereignty is also
required.

Ojakangas, 05 - PhD in Social Science and Academy research fellow @ the Helsinki
Collegium for Advanced Studies @ University of Helsinki – 2005 (Mika, “The Impossible
Dialogue on Biopower: Foucault and Agamben,” May 2005, Foucault Studies, No. 2,
http://www.foucault-studies.com/no2/ojakangas1.pdf)

Admittedly, in the era of biopolitics, as Foucault writes, even “massacres have become
vital.” This is not the case, however, because violence is hidden in
the foundation of biopolitics, as Agamben believes. Although the twentieth century
thanatopolitics is the “reverse of biopolitics”, it should not be understood, according to
Foucault, as “the effect, the result, or the logical consequence” of biopolitical rationality.
Rather, it should be understood, as he suggests, as an outcome of the
“demonic combination” of the sovereign power and biopower, of “the city-
citizen game and the shepherd-flock game” or as I would like to put it, of patria
potestas (father’s unconditional power of life and death over his son) and cura maternal
(mother’s unconditional duty to take care of her children). Although massacres can be
carried out in the name of care, they do not follow from the logic of biopower
for which death is the “object of taboo”. They follow from the logic of sovereign power,
which legitimates killing by whatever arguments it chooses, be it God, Nature, or life.

Biopower does not cause racism or massacres—it is only when it is in the context of a violent
or racist government that it is dangerous.

Ojakangas, 05 - PhD in Social Science and Academy research fellow @ the Helsinki
Collegium for Advanced Studies @ University of Helsinki – 2005 (Mika, “The Impossible
Dialogue on Biopower: Foucault and Agamben,” May 2005, Foucault Studies, No. 2,
http://wlt-studies.com/no2/ojakangas1.pdf)

It is the logic of racism, according to Foucault, that makes killing acceptable in


modern biopolitical societies. This is not to say, however, that biopolitical societies
are necessarily more racist than other societies. It is to say that in the era of
biopolitics, only racism, because it is a determination immanent to life, can “justify
the murderous function of the State”.89 However, racism can only justify killing –
killing that does not follow from the logic of biopower but from the logic of the
sovereign power. Racism is, in other words, the only way the sovereign power, the right to kill, can be maintained in biopolitical societies:
“Racism is bound up with workings of a State that is obliged to use race, the elimination of races and the purification of the race, to
exercise its sovereign power.”90 Racism is, in other words, a discourse – “quite compatible”91 with biopolitics – through which biopower can
be most smoothly transformed into the form of sovereign power. Such transformation, however, changes everything. A biopolitical society that
wishes to “exercise the old sovereign right to kill”, even in the name of race, ceases to be a mere biopolitical society, practicing merely
biopolitics. It becomes a “demonic combination” of sovereign power and biopower, exercising sovereign means for biopolitical ends. In its
most monstrous form, it becomes the Third Reich. For this reason, I cannot subscribe to Agamben’s thesis, according to which biopolitics is
absolutized in the Third Reich.93 To be sure, the Third Reich used biopolitical means – it was a state in which “insurance and reassurance
were universal”94 – and aimed for biopolitical ends in order to improve the living conditions of the German people -- but so did many other
What distinguishes the Third Reich from those other nations is the fact
nations in the 1930s.
that, alongside its biopolitical apparatus, it erected a massive machinery of death. It
became a society that “unleashed murderous power, or in other words, the old
sovereign right to take life” throughout the “entire social body”, as Foucault puts
it.95 It is not, therefore, biopolitics that was absolutized in the Third Reich – as a
matter of fact, biopolitical measures in the Nazi Germany were, although harsh,
relatively modest in scale compared to some present day welfare states – but rather
the sovereign power: “This power to kill, which ran through the entire social body of Nazi society, was first manifested when
the power to take life, the power of life and death, was granted not only to the State but to a whole series of individuals, to a
considerable number of people (such as the SA, the SS, and so on). Ultimately, everyone in the Nazi State had the power of life and death
over his or her neighbours, if only because of the practice of informing, which effectively meant doing away with the people next door, or
The only thing that the Third Reich actually absolutizes is,
having them done away with.96” in
other words, the sovereignty of power and therefore, the nakedness of bare life – at
least if sovereignty is defined in the Agambenian manner: “The sovereign is the one
with respect to whom all men are potentially homines sacri, and homo sacer is the
one with respect to whom all men act as sovereigns.”97
at foucault: nazis unique

Nazi biopolitics were unique.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism, Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,”
Central European History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

Again, Peukert was very aware that he was writing the history of only one kind of modernity,
and that the most destructive potentials of modern social engineering discourse were only
to be realized in a very specific historical context. The “Final Solution” was, as he remarked,
“one among other possible outcomes of the crisis of modern civilization,” and one possible
only in the context of the concatenation of economic, social, and political disasters through
which Germany passed in the two decades before 1933. The fact that Nazism was “one of
the pathological developmental forms of modernity does not imply that barbarism is the
inevitable logical outcome of modernization,” which also created “opportunities for human
emancipation.” And yet, again, the history that Peukert actually wrote was the history of
disaster— a disaster that, frequently, does seem at least highly likely. The “fatal racist
dynamic in the human and social sciences,” which consists in their assignment of greater or
lesser value to human characteristics, does “inevitably become fixated on the utopian
dream of the gradual elimination of death,” which is “unfailingly” frustrated by lived reality.
In periods of fiscal crisis the frustration of these “fantasies of omnipotence” generates a
concern with “identifying, segregating, and disposing of ” those judged less valuable.68 In
the most detailed exposition of his analysis, Grenzen der Sozialdisziplinierung, Peukert
argues that, given the “totalitarian claim to validity” of bourgeois norms, only the two
“strategies of pedagogical normalization or eugenic exclusion” were open to middle-class
social reformers; when the one failed only the other remained. Yet the failure of pedagogical
normalization was preprogrammed into the collision between middle-class “utopias of order”
and the “life-worlds” of the working class, which were rendered disorderly by the logic of
industrial capitalism.69 Again, in Peukert’s model it seems to me that it is really only a
matter of time and circumstance before the fundamentally and necessarily murderous
potential of modernity is unleashed.
at foucault: aff good use of biopower

Biopower is a description of our era—it is neither inherently good, nor bad. Our specific
context is more important than their sweeping generalization.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism, Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,”
Central European History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

This notion is not at all at odds with the core of Foucauldian (and Peukertian) theory.
Democratic welfare states are regimes of power/knowledge no less than early twentieth-
century totalitarian states; these systems are not “opposites,” in the sense that they are two
alternative ways of organizing the same thing. But they are two very different ways of
organizing it. The concept “power” should not be read as a universal stifling night of
oppression, manipulation, and entrapment, in which all political and social orders are grey,
are essentially or effectively “the same.” Power is a set of social relations, in which
individuals and groups have varying degrees of autonomy and effective subjectivity. And
discourse is, as Foucault argued, “tactically polyvalent.” Discursive elements (like the
various elements of biopolitics) can be combined in different ways to form parts of quite
different strategies (like totalitarianism or the democratic welfare state); they cannot be
assigned to one place in a structure, but rather circulate. The varying possible constellations
of power in modern societies create “multiple modernities,” modern societies with quite
radically differing potentials.91
at foucault: biopower good

Biopower is also positive—such as the dramatic decrease in infant mortality.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism,
Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,” Central European
History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

Of course, at the most simple-minded level, it seems to me that an assessment of the


potentials of modernity that ignores the ways in which biopolitics has made life tangibly
better is somehow deeply flawed. To give just one example, infant mortality in Germany in
1900 was just over 20 percent; or, in other words, one in five children died before reaching
the age of one year. By 1913, it was 15 percent; and by 1929 (when average real purchasing
power was not significantly higher than in 1913) it was only 9.7 percent.93 The expansion of
infant health programs— an enormously ambitious, bureaucratic, medicalizing, and
sometimes intrusive, social engineering project— had a great deal to do with that change. It
would be bizarre to write a history of biopolitical modernity that ruled out an appreciation for
how absolutely wonderful and astonishing this achievement— and any number of others like
it — really was. There was a reason for the “Machbarkeitswahn” of the early twentieth
century: many marvelous things were in fact becoming machbar. In that sense, it is not
really accurate to call it a “Wahn” (delusion, craziness) at all; nor is it accurate to focus only
on the “inevitable” frustration of “delusions” of power. Even in the late 1920s, many social
engineers could and did look with great satisfaction on the changes they genuinely had the
power to accomplish.
at foucault: resistance solves impact

Even if they win that our health policy turns to the dark side of biopolitics, their impact will
still be prevented by localized resistance.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism,
Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,” Central European
History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

In the current literature, it seems that biopolitics is almost always acting on (or attempting
to act on) people; it is almost never something they do. This kind of model is not very
realistic. This is not how societies work. The example of the attempt to create a eugenic
counseling system in Prussia should be instructive in this respect. Here public health and
eugenics experts— technocrats— tried to impart their sense of eugenic crisis and their
optimism about the possibility of creating a better “race” to the public; and they successfully
mobilized the resources of the state in support of their vision. And yet, what emerged quite
quickly from this effort was in fact a system of public contraceptive advice — or family
planning. It is not so easy to impose technocratic ambitions on the public, particularly in a
democratic state; and “on the ground,” at the level of interactions with actual persons and
social groups, public policy often takes on a life of its own, at least partially independent of
the fantasies of technocrats. This is of course a point that Foucault makes with particular
clarity. The power of discourse is not the power of manipulative elites, which control it and
impose it from above. Manipulative elites always face resistance, often effective, resistance.
More important, the power of discourse lies precisely in its ability to set the terms for such
struggles, to define what they are about, as much as what their outcomes are. As Foucault
put it, power— including the power to manage life —“comes from everywhere.”105
Biomedical knowledge was not the property only of technocrats, and it could be used to
achieve ends that had little to do with their social-engineering schemes.106 Modern
biopolitics is a multifaceted world of discourse and practice elaborated and put into practice
at multiple levels throughout modern societies.

As Foucault argues, power is fluid. Biopower has created new freedoms as well as new
oppressions—context is key.

Dickinson 04 - Associate Professor, History Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley - 2004 (Edward Ross,
“Biopolitics, Fascism,
Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity,” Central European
History, vol. 37, no. 1, 1–48)

Uncoupling “technocracy” from “discourse” is not yet enough, however. We should also be
alive to the ways in which new social practices, institutions, and knowledge generated new
choices — a limited range of them, constrained by all kinds of discursive and social
frameworks, but nonetheless historically new and significant. Modern biopolitics did create,
in a real sense, not only new constraints but also new degrees of freedom— new levers that
increased people’s power to move their own worlds, to shape their own lives. Our
understanding of modern biopolitics will be more realistic and more fruitful if we
reconceptualize its development as a complex process in which the implications of those
new choices were negotiated out in the social and discursive context. Again, in the early
twentieth century many more conservative biopolitical “experts” devoted much of their
energy precisely to trying— without any discernable success— to control those new degrees
of freedom. For most social liberals and Social Democrats, however, those new choices were
a potential source of greater social efficiency and social dynamism. State policy reflected
the constant negotiation and tension between these perspectives. Nor should we stop at a
reexamination of knowledge and technology. It might make sense, too, to reexamine the
process of institution-building, the elaboration of the practices and institutions of biopolitics.
No doubt the creation of public and private social welfare institutions created instruments
for the study, manipulation, or control of individuals and groups. But it also generated
opportunities for self-organization and participation by social groups of all kinds.
at foucault: resistance solves impact

Their K oversimplifies—biopower is not a one-way street—it produces equivalent resistances


that check the impact.

Campbell, 98 - professor of international politics at the University of Newcastle - 1998


(David, “Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity,” pg. 204-
205)

The political possibilities enabled by this permanent provocation of power and freedom can
be specified in more detail by thinking in terms of the predominance of the “bio-power”
discussed above. In this sense, because the governmental practices of biopolitics in Western
nations have been increasingly directed toward modes of being and forms of life — such that
sexual conduct has become an object of concern, individual health has been figured as a
domain of discipline, and the family has been transformed into an instrument of government
— the ongoing agonism between those practices and the freedom they seek to contain
means that individuals have articulated a series of counterdemands drawn from those new
fields of concern. For example, as the state continues to prosecute people according to
sexual orientation, human rights activists have proclaimed the right of gays to enter into
formal marriages, adopt children, and receive the same health and insurance benefits
granted to their straight counterparts. These claims are a consequence of the permanent
provocation of power and freedom in biopolitics, and stand as testament to the “strategic
reversibility” of power relations: if the terms of governmental practices can be made into
focal points for resistances, then the “history of government as the ‘conduct of conduct’ is
interwoven with the history of dissenting ‘counterconducts.”’39 Indeed, the emergence of
the state as the major articulation of “the political” has involved an unceasing agonism
between those in office and those they rule. State intervention in everyday life has long
incited popular collective action, the result of which has been both resistance to the state
and new claims upon the state. In particular, “the core of what we now call ‘citizenship’
consists of multiple bargains hammered out by rulers and ruled in the course of their
struggles over the means of state action, especially the making of war.” In more recent
times, constituencies associated with women’s, youth, ecological, and peace movements
(among others) have also issued claims on society. These resistances are evidence that the
break with the discursive/nondiscursive dichotomy central to the logic of interpretation
undergirding this analysis is (to put it in conventional terms) not only theoretically licensed;
it is empirically warranted. Indeed, expanding the interpretive imagination so as to enlarge
the categories through which we understand the constitution of “the political” has been a
necessary precondition for making sense of Foreign Policy’s concern for the ethical borders
of identity in America. Accordingly, there are manifest political implications that flow from
theorizing identity. As Judith Butler concluded: “The deconstruction of identity is not the
deconstruction of politics; rather, it establishes as political the very terms through which
identity is articulated.”
at foucault: aff pre-req to alt

Foucault’s concept of resistance is only possible in a world without violence—the aff is a pre-
requisite for the alternative.

Bevir, 99 – Department of Political Science @ University of Newcastle – 1999 (Mark,


“Foucault and Critique:
Deploying Agency against Autonomy, Political Theory, Volume 27 No. 1, Page 65 February
1999, JSTOR)

Perhaps we might say, therefore, that power or pastoral-power recognizes the value of the
subject as an agent, whereas violence or discipline attempts to extinguish the capacity of
the subject for agency. Although Foucault, of course, never describes things in quite these
terms, he does come remarkably close to doing so. In particular, he defines violence, in
contrast to power, as aiming at domination or as a physical constraint that denies the ability
of the other to act: “where the determining factors saturate the whole there is no
relationship of power,” rather “it is a question of a physical relationship of constraint.”27
Similarly, he defines power, in contrast to violence, as able to come into play only where
people have a capacity to act, perhaps even a capacity to act freely: “power is exercised
over free subjects, and only insofar as they are free,” by which “we mean individual or
collective subjects who are faced with a field of possibilities in which several ways of
behaving, several reactions and diverse comportments may be realized.”28 If we thus
accept that power always treats the subject as an agent, whereas violence always attempts
to extinguish the capacity of the subject for agency, we can see why Foucault’s later work
on power emphasises that power, unlike violence, necessarily entails a capacity for
resistance. To treat someone as an agent, one has to recognise that they can do other than
one wishes—they can resist. Power can exist only where people have a capacity to act
freely, and so only where they can resist that power. Perhaps, therefore, we should define as
violent any relationship—whether overtly violent or not—in which an individual has his
action determined for him. Violence manifests itself in any relationship between individuals,
groups, or societies in which one denies the agency of the others by seeking to define for
them actions they must perform. Power, in contrast, appears in any relationship—although
no overtly violent relationship could meet the following requirement—in which an individual
does not have his action determined for him. Power manifests itself whenever individuals,
groups, or societies act as influences on the agency of the subject without attempting to
determine the particular actions the subject performs. Here a rejection of autonomy implies
that power is ineliminable, while a defence of agency implies that power need not
degenerate into violence. Foucault’s final work on the nature of governmentality suggests,
therefore, that society need not consist solely of the forms of discipline he had analysed
earlier. Society might include an arena in which free individuals attempt only to influence
one another. I hope my discussion of Foucault’s theory of governmentality has pointed to
the way in which a distinction between violence and power might provide us with normative
resources for social criticism absent from his earlier work. Provided we are willing to grant
that the capacity for agency has ethical value—and this seems reasonable enough—we will
denounce violent social relations and champion instead a society based on a more benign
power.
at foucault: cede the political

Endless investigation of power makes real struggles against oppression impossible.

Hicks, 03- Professor and chair of philosophy at Queens College of the CUNY (Steven V.,
“Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Foucault: Nihilism and Beyond,” Foucault and Heidegger: Critical
Encounters, Ed. Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg, p. 109, Questia)

Hence, the only “ethico-political choice” we have, one that Foucault thinks we must make
every day, is simply to determine which of the many insidious forms of power is “the main
danger” and then to engage in an activity of resistance in the “nexus” of opposing forces. 72
“Unending action is required to combat ubiquitous peril.” 73 But this ceaseless Foucauldian
“recoil” from the ubiquitous power perils of “normalization” precludes, or so it would seem,
formulating any defensible alternative position or successor ideals. And if Nietzsche is
correct in claiming that the only prevailing human ideal to date has been the ascetic ideal,
then even Foucauldian resistance will continue to work in service of this ideal, at least under
one of its guises, viz., the nihilism of negativity. Certainly Foucault's distancing of himself
from all ideological commitments, his recoiling from all traditional values by which we know
and judge, his holding at bay all conventional answers that press themselves upon us, and
his keeping in play the “twists” and “recoils” that question our usual concepts and habitual
patterns of behavior, all seem a close approximation, in the ethicopolitical sphere, to the
idealization of asceticism.

Critiques of power are so localized that they prevent coalition from forming that could
genuinely fight oppression.

Cook, 92- Associate Professor at Georgetown Law School (Anthony E., “A Diversity of
Influence: Reflections on Postmodernism, Spring, 26 New Eng.L. Rev. 751, Lexis)

Several things trouble me about Foucault's approach. First, he nurtures in many ways an
unhealthy insularity that fails to connect localized struggle to other localized struggles and
to modes of oppression like classism, racism, sexism, and homophobia that transcend their
localized articulation within this particular law school, that particular law firm, within this
particular church or that particular factory. I note among some followers of Foucault an
unhealthy propensity to rely on rich, thick, ethnographic type descriptions of power relations
playing themselves out in these localized laboratories of social conflict. This reliance on
detailed description and its concomitant deemphasis of explanation begins, ironically, to
look like a regressive positivism which purports to sever the descriptive from the normative,
the is from the ought and law from morality and politics. Unless we are to be trapped in this
Foucaultian moment of postmodern insularity, we must resist the temptation to sever
description from explanation. Instead, our objective should be to explain what we describe in
light of a vision embracing values that we make explicit in struggle. These values should act
as magnets that link our particularized struggles to other struggles and more global critiques
of power. In other words, we must not, as Foucault seems all too willing to do, forsake the
possibility of more universal narratives that, while tempered by postmodern insights,
attempt to say and do something about the oppressive world in which we live. Second,
Foucault's emphasis on the techniques and discourses of knowledge that constitute the
human subject often diminishes, if not abrogates, the role of human agency. Agency is of
tremendous importance in any theory of oppression, because individuals are not simply
constituted by systems of knowledge but also constitute hegemonic and counter-hegemonic
systems of knowledge as well. Critical theory must pay attention to the ways in which
oppressed people not only are victimized by ideologies of oppression but the ways they craft
from these ideologies and discourses counter-hegemonic weapons of liberation.
at foucault: geneaology

Foucaultian genealogy is trapped in a double bind: its extreme relativism either undercuts
its political usefulness or a new master discourse is produced.

Habermas, 87- Permanent Visiting Professor at Northwestern (Jürgen, The


Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, p. 279)

Foucault's historiography can evade relativism as little as it can this acute presentism. His
investigations are caught exactly in the self-referentiality that was supposed to be excluded
by a naturalistic treatment of the problematic of validity. Genealogical historiography is
supposed to make the practices of power, precisely in their discourse-constituting
achievement, accessible to an empirical analysis. From this perspective, not only are truth
claims confined to the discourses within which they arise; they exhaust their entire
significance in the functional contribution they make to the self-maintenance of a given
totality of discourse. That is to say, the meaning of validity claims consists in the power
effects they have. On the other hand, this basic assumption of the theory of power is self-
referential; if it is correct, it must destroy the foundations of the research inspired by it as
well. But if the truth claims that Foucault himself raises for his genealogy of knowledge were
in fact illusory and amounted to no more than the effects that this theory is capable of
releasing within the circle of its adherents, then the entire undertaking of a critical
unmasking of the human sciences would lose its point. Foucault pursues genealogical
historiography with the serious intent of getting a science underway that is superior to the
mismanaged human sciences. If, then, its superiority cannot be expressed in the fact that
something more convincing enters in place of the convicted pseudo-sciences, if its
superiority were only to be expressed in the effect of its suppressing the hitherto dominant
scientific discourse in fact, Foucault's theory would exhaust itself in the politics of theory,
and indeed in setting theoretical-political goals that would overburden the capacities of even
so heroic a one-man enterprise. Foucault is aware of this. Consequently, he would like to
single out his genealogy from all the rest of the human sciences in a manner that is
reconcilable with the fundamental assumptions of his own theory. To this end, he turns
genealogical historiography upon itself; the difference that can establish its preeminence
above all the other human sciences is to be demonstrated in the history of its own
emergence.
A2: Agamben

Sovereignty must be used strategically –-- critique can be simultaneous


Lombardi ’96 (Mark Owen, Associate Prof Political Science – Tampa, Perspectives on Third-World Sovereignty, p. 161)

Sovereignty is in our collective minds. What we look at, the way we look at it and what we expect to see must
be altered. This is the call for international scholars and actors. The assumptions of the paradigm will dictate
the solution and approaches considered. Yet, a mere call to change this structure of the system does little except
activate reactionary impulses and intellectual retrenchment. Questioning the very precepts of sovereignty, as has
been done in many instances, does not in and of itself address the problems and issues so critical to transnational
relations. That is why theoretical changes and paradigm shifts must be coterminous with applicative studies.
One does not and should not precede the other. We cannot wait until we have a neat self-contained and accurate
theory of transnational relations before we launch into studies of Third-World issues and problem-solving. If we
wait we will never address the latter and arguably most important issue-area: the welfare and quality of life for
the human race.

Agamben’s criticism fetishizes biopolitics, using it as an excuse for action or instrument for
confronting it blocking critical thought
Virno, 2002 Paolo, (“General intellect, exodus, multitude,” in Archipelago number 54, June,
http://www.neuralyte.org/~joey/generation-online/p/fpvirno2.htm)

Agamben is a thinker of great value but also, in my opinion, a thinker with no political vocation.
Then, when Agamben speaks of the biopolitical he has the tendency to transform it into an
ontological category with value already since the archaic Roman right. And, in this, in my opinion,
he is very wrong-headed. The problem is, I believe, that the biopolitical is only an effect derived
from the concept of labor-power. When there is a commodity that is called labor-power it is
already implicitly government over life. Agamben says, on the other hand, that labor-power is only
one of the aspects of the biopolitical; I say the contrary: over all because labor power is a
paradoxical commodity, because it is not a real commodity like a book or a bottle of water,
but rather is simply the potential to produce. As soon as this potential is transformed into a
commodity, then, it is necessary to govern the living body that maintains this potential, that
contains this potential. Toni (Negri) and Michael (Hardt), on the other hand, use biopolitics in a
historically determined sense, basing it on Foucault, but Foucault spoke in few pages of the
biopolitical - in relation to the birth of liberalism - that Foucault is not a sufficient base for
founding a discourse over the biopolitical and my apprehension, my fear, is that the
biopolitical can be transformed into a word that hides, covers problems instead of being an
instrument for confronting them. A fetish word, an "open doors" word, a word with an
exclamation point, a word that carries the risk of blocking critical thought instead of helping
it. Then, my fear is of fetish words in politics because it seems like the cries of a child that is
afraid of the dark..., the child that says "mama, mama!", "biopolitics, biopolitics!". I don't
negate that there can be a serious content in the term, however I see that the use of the term
biopolitics sometimes is a consolatory use, like the cry of a child, when what serves us are, in
all cases, instruments of work and not propaganda words.
A2: Agamben

Agamben’s representation of the muselmann belittles the experiences of the actual


experiences of the victims in concentration and extermination camps.
Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe, Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions, V5, Issue 1, “The Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben:
A Critical Evaluation” pp. 139-157)

In his exploration of Auschwitz and his interpretation of Levi’s writings, Agamben postulates that the notion of
testimony can be understood only from the viewpoint of the ‘dead witnesses’ perfectly epitomised by the
‘muselmann’. The term ‘muselmann’ was used in Auschwitz to refer to deportees who suffered from clinical
exhaustion and multiple, chronic illnesses and came to embody, in the eyes of fellow deportees, what man, subjected
to extreme brutality and deprivation and on the verge of death, could become. The ‘muselmann’ was the incarnation
of their own fate. Using this figure, Agamben develops the following paradox: since any testimony is, in essence,
impossible, and since, therefore, the reality of the death camps is inaccessible, only the impossible figure of the
‘muselmann’ can point to the ethical reality of Auschwitz. Thus, radicalising Levi’s words, Agamben turns the
‘muselmann’ into the ‘integral witness’. Such a contention is naturally reminiscent of the thought discussed earlier:
the ‘muselmann’ becomes the ‘epiphanic’ incarnation of what testifies to the existence of the human dimension in
man as revealed in Auschwitz, its only resemblance to man being its cadaveric appearance.

To decipher the meaning of Agamben’s ‘muselmann’, it is necessary to look into the polysemic dimension of this
word, which evidently transcends the concentration camp universe. From a purely lexical point of view, first of all,
the word ‘muselmann’ is utterly foreign to the Polish language and to the numerous other languages that were
spoken in Auschwitz. From a current affairs, contextual point of view ( Remnants of Auschwitz was published in
1998), the Muslim, who is linked to political Islam and Palestine, can be seen as the antagonist of the Jew, who is
conversely linked to modern Israel and Zionism. 25 From an imaginary point of view, the ‘muselmann’ is
reminiscent of the numerous texts and pictorial representation of the suffering body of Christ. 26 Moreover,
Agamben’s theory neglects the complexity of the concentration camp reality, and the crucial differences between the
functioning of camps on the one hand, and the extermination centres on the other. While Agamben can on no
account whatsoever be linked to or accused of negationist views, he must be criticised for his abusive use of the
victims’ representations, a trend which has become fairly general. Thus, the figure of the ‘muselmann’ is a faithful
epitome of the ‘screen victim’ syndrome frequently found in mediadriven humanitarian operations: the figure tends
to hide the real victims and blur our understanding of what actually happened.
A2: Agamben

RIGHTS ARE NOT NECESSARILY OR MERELY A PART OF THE STATE;


RATHER, AS PRACTICES ON THE PART O HUMAN BEINGS INTERACTING
WITHIN THE SOCIAL FORMS.

Daly, 2004. (Frances, Research fellow in the Philosophy Department at the Australian National University, “The
non-citizen and the concept of human rights”, Borderlands E-Journal).

A significant part of Agamben's rejection of rights is based on the belief that rights necessarily involve processes by
which values are made eternal. The argument as to whether there is a problem with the idea of eternal metajuridical
values able to be inscribed within rights is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is the problem of what
particular values we find inscribed, and by what process these values have been arrived at; secondly, there are
certainly difficulties at issue with an understanding of what is eternal within such values. But such arguments often
proceed on the basis of misplaced assumptions. Instead of indicating the actual nature of the problem with particular
metajuridical values, or indeed indicating what, for example, a construction of an eternalized, homogeneous
substrate would mean for the idea of a social contract or rights, it is presumed that, despite whatever it is that
constitutes their content, it is such values themselves that are at fault. Agamben elides all difference by assuming
that right has only judgment, calculation and control as its outcome, and that the basis of right is its place within the
structure of the State. And yet right is not necessarily or merely a part of the State; rather it is
better understood as practices on the part of human beings interacting within social forms
(of which the State may or may not be a part). The problem would appear to be that not only
are we no clearer as to the actual problems involved in such values, but we are also left
without a basis for the critique of the intention of right. And, not surprisingly, we are also
without any basis for considering the productive content of these values. Legal positivism
assumes or sets out the basis for rights within a normative framework of the State that merely
takes for granted judicial postulates of the inalienability of rights, the basis of rights in property
and assumptions that people are in fundamental accord on matters of right. It is unable to
imagine a realm of freedom against the State. But within rights, I would argue, we can detect
unsatisfied demands that have nothing to do with essentialist assumptions about 'man' or
'citizen'. These demands are concerned with an understanding of human freedom in
relation to values of solidarity, justice and the overcoming of alienation; they are historical
and contingent, shifting and alive, and are not about a fixed, static, generic essence of the
person, or some ahistorical or superhistorical immutable totality. What it is to be human is
open and changeable, although not without determinations, commonalities and shared
properties that can emerge at various times. Simply because we would want to challenge a
distorted, limited or perhaps unappealing view of what it is to be human, does not mean
that we are unable to say anything about what it is to be a creative, suffering, desiring
being. Somewhat strangely, Agamben's argument is ultimately more concerned with the problem of contradictions
within the theory and practice of rights and with attendant illusions that arise from these contradictions than with a
critique of content or with an examination of a new potentiality that might emerge out of what he takes to be our
present vacuousness. Such contradictions and illusions certainly do exist in relation to right, although as far as
↓Card Continues ↓
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attitudes to the law are concerned I believe that a Slöterdijkean 'cynical reason' probably more
accurately describes the matter. The assumption that any understanding of human values is a
reductionist, eternalizing essentialism has become one of the banalities of much contemporary
theorizing, but even in more considered forms it often fails to come to terms with what it is
attempting to criticize. For example, if there is a problem with making right the depository of
eternal values, this is hardly because we have arrived at some content that would forevermore
allow us to express a sense of justice in common. Rather, it is because what becomes 'eternalized'
(or, more correctly, what merely congeals under certain circumstances and is able to be
reformulated for these changing circumstances) is a view of what it means to be human in terms
of an ability to possess. Thus, what is frequently taken to be the eternal nature of right is,
unfortunately, anything but the idea of communal principles that would provide some natural
standard, however derived, for justice. Instead, what becomes solidified, and, more importantly,
reified, is a positivity of existing conditions (such as the right to possess, exclude and alienate)
through which doctrines of the rights of the individual are determined. This, I want to argue, is at
the basis of the juridical objectification separating ethics or justice from law. It is this reification
of law rather than the eternalization of values that is of significance to a critique of rights. With
the rise of individualism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the idea of natural rights of
the individual, of liberty, fraternity, and equality of the individual – of 'inalienable' rights and
normative ideals – was quite clearly conceived in terms of the citoyen. What persisted of a sense
of natural justice for all, whose standard had been derived from various sources - in nature, God,
a view of reason or human nature - was undoubtedly distorted by a sense of individualism
defined in terms of possession and property rights. But this sense was not completely
extinguished. It is certainly on the basis of a realm of legal positivism and its doctrines of
positive law, a realm which assumes that no element of law or right pre-exists an act of the State,
that some of the basic contradictions that Agamben highlights are likely to emerge. For it is the
State that institutes types of validity for its laws on the basis of procedure rather than any sense
of morality or principles of justice. But there are other pathways to rights, other forms in which
principles of justice have been derived and enacted. And if this is the case, why must we then
necessarily conclude from a critique of legal positivism that there can be no ethical basis to
rights?
A2: Aganben

Rather than kritiking the possible illusions that may arise from the existence of rights, it is
more urgent that we kritik the absence of sense of justice.
Daly, 2004. (Frances, Research fellow in the Philosophy Department at the Australian National University, “The
non-citizen and the concept of human rights”, Borderlands E-Journal).

If we are to understand the real function of rights in the modern State, as Agamben wishes to do, as rights of the
citizen serving the interests of the nation-State, then we need to understand why a separation between human and
citizen rights emerged, and what relation the distinction between these rights has to the propositions of an ethical or
just life. This, I want to argue, involves understanding an inheritance that brings with it illusions and aporias, and, at
the same time, a theoretical heritage that has engaged with certain ideals and intentions that reveal an anticipation of
what is right and just. An ahistorical disdain for legal action is merely the obverse of the process of fetishizing
legality. Much theory that merely substitutes the idea of the static essence of the person to explain the consequence
of good and evil in the world with an equally static, invariant view of authority and the State is, I would argue,
ultimately eternalizing such concepts. Undoubtedly, some sort of move beyond categories
underscoring divisions within the ways people are entitled to live their lives is necessary. But
much of the power of any such critique must depend upon the manner in which the context of
this life – the possible experience of acting in the world, or 'form-of-life' - is itself understood. In
the absence of any such context, what tends to emerge is a return to the problem of rights
reduced to a division of form and content, rather than the overturning of this very problematic.
Only in this case, because the content is seen to fall short of the abstraction of, for example, a
"whatever singularity", the form is wholly discarded. More importantly, by revisiting this
problem via a dismissal of the context of rights, and more specifically of the possibility of traces
of the intention towards human dignity, a rich heritage of critique is sidelined. Moreover, a
separation of law and ethics in rights is just as much the separation of ethics from law, the latter
an entirely necessary basis for an autonomous, ethical life beyond the juridical relations of the
world of goods. For ethics to be completely subsumed by the law would hardly be a desirable
thing; the law carries with it exploitative, ideological relations that are not a part of a viable
ethics. Nor would it be in any way likely, given that what we are dealing with in relation to
current, existing law is a form of decision-making as the ideological playing out of a conflict of
wills upon the assumption that the State is all of us and that the will of the State must ultimately,
justly, prevail. This is not the basis of a radical equality or solidarity. What we have instead is the
separation of society from the ideals of the ethicality of a subject, partly, but not exclusively, the
outcome of an Enlightenment abstract rationalism that insists upon a narrow calculation for its
judgments. It is this absence of a sense of real justice that most needs to be subjected to
critique today, not the possible illusions which might arise from the existence of rights.
Agamben sees the necessity of this separation but he attributes it to a lack of ambiguity inherent within law. He also
nervously empties any sense of being human of anything that is not simply potentiality, as if right and ethics have
nothing to do with human possibility. The concept of potentiality has much that is worthwhile – there is a radical
uncompletedness within our being human - but it needs what I refer to as "an ethos of the imagination" that is able to
imagine an emancipatory ethics, and that is grounded in a basic responsibility for the other (Daly, 2001: passim) to
be of use in critical theorizing.
A2: Agamben

Agamben’s kritik fails, another state formation will always rise instead wehsould use the
state in strategic instances for responsibility of human needs.
Passavant, 2007 (Paul A, Political Theory 2007; 35; 147, “The Contradictory State of Giorgi Agamben,”
http://ptx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/35/2/147, Pg25-26)

Finally, Agamben indicates, through the example of the apostle Paul and the remnant of those who faithfully adhere to messianic law, the
possibility of active political subjects adequate to the challenge of state sovereignty. This argument,
however, contradicts his earlier positions embracing potentiality over the acts emblematic of sovereign decisions, and an experience of being
by relying on a determinate situation to create the conditions of possibility
beyond any idea of law. It also,
for a successful speech act, occludes the forms of power needed to maintain this situation against
other ontological possibilities much as his first theory of passage beyond the state of integrated spectacle did. This argument also
begs the question of how this messianic community might relate to that which remains other to its situation. That is, Agamben must
address the very questions that his ontological approach to state sovereignty intended to avoid—
questions of power and otherness. In sum, Agamben remains haunted by the very problems that motivated not
only his critique of the state but also his attempt to remove this inquiry from political philosophy to “first” philosophy. 43
At the end of Agamben’s theory of the state, politics remains. There are four implications of this critique for political theory and
the state. First, the modern state is poorly understood as transcendent, unitary, and sovereign. The “state” encompasses a variety of
institutions, many of which predate modernity.44 The Foucauldian understanding of government, I suggested, is the practice by which
articulations between these institutions are forged—and non-state institutions are joined to this chain—and they are mobilized toward various
purposes. The plural nature of this ensemble is precisely what gives extension to the modern state.45 Second, if we
treat the state as an ensemble of institutions, then the concept of a state of emergency is poorly suited to
understanding our political present. Agamben rightly criticizes the USA PATRIOT Act in State of Exception. This law, like most laws
that are passed in an ongoing legal system, amends a variety of other laws and sits on a foundation created by these other laws, such as the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The Antiterrorism Act created the possibility of attributing guilt by association since it
criminalized the provision of material support for organizations that the administration deems “terrorist”—provisions that the USA PATRIOT
Act builds upon.46 From this perspective, current policies are less “exceptional,” unfortunately, and more a continuing development of a national
security state apparatus that has been built through legislation like the National Security Act of 1947, through discourse, and through the creation
of stakeholders (the military-industrial complex).47 In other words, another state formation is struggling to emerge through the
ruin of liberal democracy in the United States, and this emergence (and ruin) is hastened by those who seek to
enhance surveillance and presidential powers, while diminishing the power of courts and legislative oversight as a
response to September 11, 2001.48 Third, any social formation is constituted by elements of both contingency and
determination. By emphasizing pure potentiality, Agamben misses this and either cherishes the excessive quality of
pure potentiality to the neglect of the exigent needs of the present, or neglects how the active political subjects he
does defend are embedded within finite commitments that necessarily persevere through the foreclosure of other
possibilities. Some contemporary political theorists concerned with injustice and the lack of democracy also emphasize contingency, excess, and potentiality
over determination, finitude, and acts.49 These theorists correctly seek to disrupt oppressive patterns. Since politics—hence political change—would not be possible
under conditions of absolute determination, emphasizing contingency or excess makes sense. Yet reflection upon the retraction of certain state services from places
like the Bronx during the late 1970s permits us to see how neither justice nor democracy is served by excessive economic duress or violence. Not only are these
contingencies unjust, but also their incapacitating effects prevent democratic practices of government where the latter necessarily presupposes some collective
capacity to direct and achieve collective purposes. State
actions that mitigate chaos, economic inequality, and violence, then,
potentially contribute to the improved justice of outcomes and democracy. Political theorists must temper celebrating
contingency with a simultaneous consideration of the complicated relation that determination has to democratic purposes.5 Fourth, the state’s
institutions are among the few with the capacity to respond to the exigency of human needs identified by political
theorists. These actions will necessarily be finite and less than wholly adequate, but responsibility may lie on the side of
acknowledging these limitations and seeking to redress what is lacking in state action rather than calling for pure
potentiality and an end to the state. We may conclude that claims to justice or democracy based on the wish to rid ourselves of the state once and for all
are like George W. Bush claiming to be an environmentalist because he has proposed converting all of our cars so that they will run on hydrogen.51 Meanwhile, in the
here and now, there are urgent claims that demand finite acts that by definition will be both divisive and less than what a situation demands.52 In the end, the
state remains. Let us defend this state of due process and equal protection against its ruinous other.
A2: Agamben

ALT – DN SOLVE
Agamben is problematic because he offers little political vocation, his shallow analysis of
biopolitics prevents the alternative for solving
Virno, 2002. (Paolo, linguistics professor, “INTERVIEW WITH PAOLO VIRNO”, <http://www.generationonline.
org/p/fpvirno2.htm>.)

Agamben is a problem. Agamben is a thinker of great value but also, in my opinion, a thinker
with no
political vocation. Then, when Agamben speaks of the biopolitical he has the tendency to
transform it into an ontological category with value already since the archaic Roman right. And,
in this, in my opinion, he is very wrong-headed. The problem is, I believe, that the biopolitical is
only an effect derived from the concept of labor-power. When there is a commodity that is called
labor-power it is already implicitly government over life. Agamben says, on the other hand, that
labor-power is only one of the aspects of the biopolitical; I say the contrary: over all because
labor power is a paradoxical commodity, because it is not a real commodity like a book or a
bottle of water, but rather is simply the potential to produce. As soon as this potential is
transformed into a commodity, then, it is necessary to govern the living body that
maintains this potential, that contains this potential. Toni (Negri) and Michael (Hardt), on the
other hand, use biopolitics in a historically determined sense, basing it on Foucault, but Foucault
spoke in few pages of the biopolitical - in relation to the birth of liberalism - that Foucault is not
a sufficient base for founding a discourse over the biopolitical and my apprehension, my fear, is
that the biopolitical can be transformed into a word that hides, covers problems instead of being
an instrument for confronting them. A fetish word, an "open doors" word, a word with an
exclamation point, a word that carries the risk of blocking critical thought instead of helping it.
Then, my fear is of fetish words in politics because it seems like the cries of a child that is afraid
of the dark..., the child that says "mama, mama!", "biopolitics, biopolitics!". I don't negate that
there can be a serious content in the term, however I see that the use of the term biopolitics
sometimes is a consolatory use, like the cry of a child, when what serves us are, in all cases,
instruments of work and not propaganda words.
A2: Agamben

ALT – DN SOLVE
Although Agamben says that we need a new and coherent form ontology of potentiality,
this already exists; his calls for this new alternative are merely false.
Casarino and Negri, 2001. (Cesare, Associate rofessor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the
University of Minnesota, and Antonio, Political Philosophy Professor at Padua University, founded Potere Operaio (Worker Power) Group,
leading member of the Autonomia Operaia. Taught at the Université de Vincennes (Paris-VIII) and the Collège International de Philosophie, “It’s
a Powerful Life: A Conversation on Contemporary Philosophy”, Project Muse, p.178-180.)

This claim regarding Agamben’s failure to think the constitution of the political has made me think of the sentence
with which he ends his discussion of your arguments about constituent power. Let me read it to you. He writes:
“Until a new and coherent ontology of potentiality (beyond the steps that have been made in this direction by
Spinoza, Schelling, Nietzsche, and Heidegger) has replaced the ontology founded on the primacy of the act and
its relation to potentiality, a political theory exempt from the aporias of sovereignty remains unthinkable.”13
On the one hand, I completely agree with what he is saying here, and, on the other hand, I would like to take all this
in different directions from the ones I think he pursues. I do share his concerns regarding that dominant ontological
tradition that is willing and able to conceive of potentiality only as mere means to that all-important end that is the
act—thereby not only subordinating potentials to acts but also failing to understand and indeed to think potentiality
tout court (even though, as Agamben rightly points out, the foundational text of this tradition—namely, Aristotle’s
Metaphysics—is far more complex and astute with respect to the question of potentiality than such a tradition has
often dared to admit). Such concerns lead him in the end to attempt to produce a concept of potentiality without
making recourse to the mediating passage or transformation from potentiality to act—that is, to conceive of
potentiality no longer in relation to the act, and, indeed, to think potentiality at once without any relation and without
any act whatsoever.14 (And, clearly, this is also tantamount to producing a concept of means without end.) Whereas
I agree that it is necessary to banish this mediating relation from any thought of potentiality— a relation that in the
end has always had the effect of enslaving potentiality to act—I also feel that by getting rid of the relation one does
not somehow get rid of the act too, that it is one thing to dispense with this relation and quite another to imply that
the whole question of actualization will also vanish into thin air or become irrelevant once such a relation has been
Wnally dispensed with. On the contrary! Doing without this relation should lead to a radical and global
reconceptualization of both potentiality and act as immanent to each other, that is, as distinct yet indiscernible from
each other. It is only by rethinking both at once in such a way that a “new and coherent ontology of potentiality” can
at all come into being. And this is why, whereas Agamben suggests in the above sentence that such an ontology
is yet to come, I think that it already exists in some form, and that, in particular, Deleuze took important steps in
this direction. If we understand Deleuze’s deployment of the dyad of “virtual” and “actual” as one of his ways of
posing the question of the relation between potentiality and act, for example, we can see that Deleuze does not
dispense with the actual just because it has only too often been used to suppress and indeed repress the virtual, and
does not theorize the virtual in isolation from the actual. In Deleuze, the virtual and the actual form an immanent
circuit, in the sense that each of the two is the obverse side of the other—and hence the actual always has virtual
facets, always leads parallel virtual lives, and vice versa.15 The virtual and the actual, thus, are two different ways
of apprehending the very same thing. Importantly, this also means that the actualization of the virtual never
constitutes an impoverishment or mortiWcation of the virtual, because such an actualization always produces in its
turn still other virtual realities. In Agamben, on the other hand, one often gets the feeling that potentiality always
pulls back at the last moment from realizing itself in the act precisely because he understands such a realization to
constitute nothing other than the depletion and death of potentiality: it’s as if potentiality, by realizing itself in the
act, would be relegated to playing the role of a haunting yet fossilized presence within the act, not unlike a mummy
within the sarcophagus, or, better yet, within a pyramid. And yet, having said all this, I also think that there are
elements in Agamben’s work that point in different directions, which might be more reconcilable with Deleuze’s
positions on this matter (I am thinking, for example, of that beautiful chapter on the question of halos in Agamben’s
The Coming Community, about which I have commented elsewhere.)16
A2: Agamben

ALT – DN = ACTION
Agamben’s acceptance of Schmitt’s central theme regarding political judgment make it
impossible for him to make a real alternative which he can contest.
Norris, 2003. (Andrew, Political Science Professor at Penn, “The Exemplary Exception”, Radical Philosophy,
<http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/default.asp?channel_id=2188&editorial_id=13097>.)

Such claims are difficult for political philosophy to address, as they undermine so many of its guiding assumptions.
Instead of asking us to construct and evaluate different plans of action, Agamben asks us to evaluate the
metaphysical structure and implications of the activity of politics as such. Instead of asking us to consider the true or
proper nature of political identity, Agamben asks us to consider a threshold state of the non-identical, the liminal.
And far from bringing concepts such as rights, authority, public interest, liberty or equality more clearly into view,
Agamben operates at a level of abstraction at which such concepts blur into their opposites. He takes this approach
because, like Arendt, he believes that claims to justice can only be made if one understands the ground of the
political upon which both justice and injustice stand. If Foucault's goal was 'to make the cultural unconscious
apparent',4 Agamben's is that of bringing to expression the metaphysics that our history has thus far only shown. He
argues that, properly understood, what that history shows us is that politics is the truly fundamental structure of
Western metaphysics insofar as it occupies the threshold on which the relation between the living being and the
logos is realized. In the 'politicization' of bare life - the metaphysical task par excellence - the humanity of living
man is decided [si decide].É There is politics because man is the living being who, in language, separates and
opposes himself to his own bare life and, at the same time, maintains himself in relation to that bare life in an
inclusive exclusion.5 What is perhaps both most intriguing and most problematic about Agamben's work is that -
unlike, say, that of Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy - it brings these claims about metaphysics into
dialogue with a specific set of quite concrete examples, including refugee camps, hospital wards, death rows and
military camps. All of these are sites where, on Agamben's account, one can perceive the metaphysical negation that
allows for the affirmation of distinctively human life: bare life, nuda vita.
One way to evaluate Agamben's claims is to consider how well they help us to describe and understand such
examples.6 Another is to ask whether Agamben's claims are intelligible on their own account - to see, that is,
whether they open themselves up to an immanent critique. This approach has a number of advantages, chief among
which is that it does not demand that we simply choose whether to accept or reject Agamben's approach in a global
way. Instead such an approach allows us to be open to a radically different way of thinking about politics and
political philosophy while at the same time maintaining some critical distance from it. In what follows I want to
pursue this option by way of considering Agamben's appropriation of the early decisionist political theory of Carl
Schmitt. I will argue that Agamben's acceptance of Schmitt's central claims regarding political judgment make it
impossible for him to weave together his suggestive reading of examples from philosophy and political history into a
mode of political thought that fulfils his own ambition of 'returning thought to its practical calling'.7
Agamben's project hinges upon the paradigmatic status of the camp. But on his own account, there is an
isomorphism between the exception and the example or paradigm. Given his acceptance of Schmitt's analysis of the
former as the product of the sovereign decision, this makes Agamben's evaluation of the camp as 'the fundamental
biopolitical paradigm of the West' into a sovereign decision beyond the regulation of rule or reason. As this casts his
readers as either subject or enemy, it is hard to imagine how the politics it might produce will serve as a real
alternative to that which it contests.
A2: Agamben

ALT - OVERSIMPLIFIES
Agamben’s attempt to apply his theory to actual reality oversimplifies the situation. The
conception of the muselmann, the dead witness, in concentration camps belittles the
resistance that did occur.
Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe, Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions, V5, Issue 1, “The
Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Evaluation” pp. 139-157)
At a seminar on Saint Paul held in Paris in 1999, Agamben advocated what appeared to be a relevant
distinction between time, the time of the end and the end in itself. In other words, he urged his audience not to
confuse eschatology with messianism. However, as soon as time is no longer conceived of in its transcendental
dimension and is envisaged as a materialised, immanent notion, and as soon as Agamben seeks to apply his
theory not only to texts but also to historical reality and concentration camps, his thought starts to
oversimplify reality itself. The most blatant example of oversimplification is the figure of the ‘muselmann’,
who compresses and distorts the complexity of the camp and, in the first instance, the complexity of the
multiple temporalities which co-existed within the camp; such temporalities simply cannot be reduced to the
mere image of emaciated bodies recycled into a rhetorical figure.
Wolfgang Sofski, whose book L’Organisation de la terreur was a source of inspiration to Agamben, 28 offers a
seminal categorisation of the different temporalities generated by the camp. On the one hand, he identifies a
planned temporality detached from the past and from the future and deprived of any intimate continuity, in
which human beings were brutally dispossessed of both their own personalities and of all spirituality. The
crushing monotony of this relationship between time and existence, repeated time and again through the
same cycle, was nonetheless disrupted by sudden, unexpected avalanches of violence. This temporality slowly
led to the degradation of the self under the yolk of the camp’s organisation and hierarchy, from the kapos to the SS.
On the other hand, Sofski identifies rival, precarious temporalities generated by the various forms of
resistance (passive or active, individual or collective), and the numerous instances of corruption and
irregularity. One could also add to this temporality the idea of temporary salvation as well as the fatal events which
took place in special places, such as the Revier (infirmary). Even if Sofski could be criticised for nearly turning the
notion of ‘absolute power’ into a myth, for speaking of ‘the’ camp and ‘the’ SS, his rigorous research is seminal in
that it acknowledges the heterogeneity of the camp system. The same cannot be said of Agamben, whose quest
leads him to ‘find what he is looking for’ in terms of truth, essence and paradigm.
A2: Agamben

ALT - OVERSIMPLIFIES
Agamben’s simplistic theories eliminate the actual complexities of the historical facts of the
situations he chooses to analyze.
Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe, Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions, V5, Issue 1, “The
Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Evaluation” pp. 139-157)

Agamben’s denigration of the Sonderkommando on the rather simplistic basis that they
were an integral part of the bipolar victim/ henchman scheme, precludes any
understanding of the ‘grey areas’. His blindness to the many ambiguities of human life, as
found in his desire to seek in the ‘muselmann’ an impossible, pure witness, reveals the
biaises of this philosopher. He refuses to investigate rationality, and erects a rhetorical
edifice which is aimed at the sublime and, in filigrane, reflects his attraction for
irrationality; he is fascinated by a type of essentialist monocausalism; he radicalises
Heidegger’s ontology. These are some of the features of a philosophy permeated by strong
theological motives, evenif its expression is to a certain extent secularised.
Agamben could have decided to restrict his research to the margins of the dual problematic
of the National Socialist camp system and Judeocide, to revolve around it as he had done until
Bartleby ou la creation. In 1995, however, perhaps deeply traumatised by the genocides
which took place in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia, by the numerous
commemorations of the Judeocide and possibly also by the electoral breakthrough, into the
political landscape of his own country, of the Movimento Sociale Italiano under its new guise
as the ‘National Alliance’, Agamben decided to move toward political philosophy. He started
to cenceptualise twentieth-century violence. His irrepressible tendency to reduce the
complexity of reality down to its essentialist nature, however, raises a question which
transcends Agamben himself, namely the question of the inadequate linkage between, on
the one hand, the long philosophical tradition to which Agamben is indebted, and, on the
other, modern and contemporary history. For as long as philosophy remains a prisoner of the
onto-theology which permeates it, this question will remain formulated as follows: can
philosophy investigate the concepts of violence and time without losing its way through an
essential quest which distracts, and sometimes totally isolates it from the sociopolitical issues of
our time?
A2: Agamben

AFF AT: ALT – THEORY FLAWED


Agamben fails to look at the concentration camps in terms of the Third Reich. In
constructing the camp as space outside of the law, he ignores the fact that the historical
occurrences were not considered the norm, which presents a fundamental flaw in his
theory. His “all or nothing” perspective when it comes to the forms of life reproduce the
terror upon which the Third Reich was built.
Mesnard in 2004 (Phillipe, Totalitarian Movement and Political Religions, V5, Issue 1, “The
Political Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Evaluation” pp. 139-157)

This deliberate lack of an historical outlook is the source of other errata and
misinterpretations by Agamben. For instance, his interpretation of politics in terms of all or
nothing stems from a specific period characterised by the unrivalled rule of a state of
terror, which has become the sole articulation between the law and the norm. It is a period
in which the law is no more than its own ideological falsification (the rule of racial laws and
criminalisation), and the norm has assumed the caricatured appearance of the law. The
repressive Nazi regime, built upon the SS apparatus, strengthened by its administrative and legal institutions and
cemented by an overwhelming propaganda machine, steered German society through a radical period which was
exacerbated by the war and the ‘total war’. Exceptional procedures were widespread throughout the Reich, but no
one even tried to pretend that these were the norm.34 By striving to locate in ‘the camp’
what he calls the ‘very paradigm of political space’, Agamben erects an insurmountable
frontier around concentration camps which become, in fact, isolated from their
surrounding society, and turns them into an exclusive ‘outside’. Consequently, Agamben
fails to envisage the global system which surrounded the camps, and included numerous
social and economic interfaces present on the entire territory of the Third Reich.
Agamben’s attempt to locate a paradigm in ‘the’ camp is seriously flawed, because any
paradigm must be conceived and constructed from the viewpoint of a whole society. In an echo
to a remark made by Martin Broszat to Saul Friedländer, even ‘Auschwitz’ cannot account for the vast apparatus, established on a European
level, which gave birth to the concentration and extermination systems.
Agamben’s vision of the camp as an absolute
space is also flawed: camps were in fact the sordid, random conjunction of selective,
unrivalled power and absolute relativity.
Let us make another observation here. It could be argued that the camps were structures governed by extremely tight, interwoven
sets of rules, interdictions and laws (albeit arbitrary and useless ones), structures in which, therefore, the ‘all is possible’ assertion
was difficult to enact. After all, were camps not places where potentialities were so restricted than
the very act of creating a potentiality (by drawing, writing, creating or just surviving) was in
itself an act of resistance? The ‘all is possible’ was the fate of the most prisoners, but only in the sense that the ‘all’ could reduce
them to nothing with the minimal of delay. The ‘all or nothing’ logic favoured by Agamben fails to grasp
and envisage the entire range of potentialities. In fact, he reproduces and makes his own
the very logic upon which terror is built, a logic which from his early writings carries the
idea of the dominated man crushed by the omnipotent ‘all’. This logic is incarnated in the
‘muselmann’: it reveals a purist thought in which politics is envisaged under the exclusive sign of a paradigmatic absolute which
discredits any territory which is not political in its essence. This radical vision of politics, also shared by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, can
be challenged through a citation by Jacques Rancière, who argues that politics ‘n’est jamais pure, jamais fondée sur une essence propre de la
communauté et de la loi’.35
A2: Agamben

AFF AT: LAW PART OF SOVEREIGN


Agamben’s assumption of the notion of law is incorrect. It does not have to be an order for
the sovereign. Rather, it can be an idea of a ‘rule’.
Hussain, 2000. (Nasser, Department of history, University of California, Berkeley, “Thresholds: Sovereignty and
the Sacred”, Law and Society Association, University of Massachusetts, Lexis Nexis.)

It is fairly safe to say that not only has the concept of sovereignty been undertheorized but that,
just as importantly, since the end of ancient regime monarchies and the rise and consolidation of
liberalconstitutional states, the need for such theorization has been considered doubtful. The
figure of the sovereign has been relegated to a repertoire of archaic images: the prerogative of
kings and the ritualistic majesty of despots and absolutist [*499] monarchs. Although the
question of sovereign power is not entirely absent from contemporary scholarship, increasingly
this question belongs either to strictly historical issues of the "king's two bodies" and the like or
to the legal theoretical problems of the distribution of sovereign power within a normative rule-
bound framework. A clear and well-known example of the latter is H.L.A. Hart's The Concept of
Law (1961).
Written in response to a positivist theory inherited from John Austin, which defines law as a
"command of the sovereign," Hart's "fresh response" in The Concept of Law aims to move
definitions of law away from notions of "orders, obedience, habits and threats" and toward "the
idea of a rule," without which, Hart insists, "we cannot hope to elucidate even the most
elementary forms of law" (Hart 1961: 78). Hart's "concept" of law is a complex combination of
primary rules of obligation with secondary rules, the latter which are found in more mature legal
systems and confer powers and stipulate procedures. This picture is generally well known and
we need not dwell on its intricacies here. What is important for our purposes is the way in which
sovereignty in Hart's schema is reduced entirely to a framework of rules. These rules, Hart
contends, are not just descriptive of the sovereign and those who obey him but are fundamental
and constitutive.
In a significant passage in The Concept of Law, Hart attempts to show how the notion of
sovereign orders virtually disappears in the rule-bound format of a modern electoral democracy.
Framing the explanation in the vocabulary of a historical Bildung, a developmental schema that
unself-consciously subtends much of the text, Hart argues that in the case in which the sovereign
is identifiable with a single person, it may be possible to concede that the rules of governance
(for instance, the requirement that orders must be declared and signed by the monarch) exist in a
descriptive mode. But in the more disseminated form of the electorate - indeed, in the case of
procedures that members of a society must follow in order to function as an electorate in the first
place - rules "cannot themselves have the status of orders issued by the sovereign, for nothing
can count as orders issued by the sovereign unless the rules already exist and have been
followed" (pp. 74-75). Such a circularity of logic and process effectively occludes the possibility
of action outside the circle.
A2: Agamben

AFF AT: AGAMBEN CREDIBLE


Agamben contradicts himself in his works.
Passavant, 2007. (Paul, A., “The Contradictory State of Giorgio Agamben”, Sage Journals Online.)

I argue that Giorgio Agamben employs two, contradictory theories of the state in his works.
Earlier works, such as The Coming Community and Means without End, suggest that the state
today functions as an aspect of the society of the spectacle where spectacle is the logical
extension of the commodity form under late capitalism. This part of Agamben's work attributes a
determined character to the state and a determining power to the economic forces of capitalism
that conditions particular forms of the state. Later work, such as Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power
and Bare Life and State of Exception, are preoccupied with the logic of juridical sovereignty and
the increased frequency of states of emergency. This part of Agamben's work attributes a
determining strength to the state under current conditions. Although his earlier work provides a
more coherent narrative of how it is possible to move from contemporary society to ideal
community, it does not provide the theory of political action necessary to overcome the power of
the state he describes when he theorizes the state in Homo Sacer and State of Exception. None of
the three possibilities of political action present in his later works provides passage beyond
state sovereignty without violating his philosophical commitments.
A2: Agamben

AFF AT: WHATEVER BEING


In order to be political, one must be at risk; the ‘whatever being’ is simply too
homogeneous a concept, closing off meaningful politics.
Wilson, 2006. (Matthew, W., Department of Geography, University of Washington, “Life at risk: interrogating
the political status of queering bodies”, p. 14-15.)

To be political, our bodies must also be vulnerable. This statement, Butler’s argument in
Precarious Life, calls our attention to identification and disidentification – precisely the paradox
Agamben is confronted with at the end of Homo Sacer. And yet, to be relevant, visible, subject,
and alive, we must engage in political projects that claim political status as such. The FDA and
its epidemiological evidence must be (and will continue to be) pressured to recognize and resist
the impulse to abjectify the gay male donor. The contradiction that I pose (following Agamben)
of critiquing and pressuring is to precisely engage in projects which (again) produce homo sacer
– the new threshold of difference. The STD guide represents a different perspective. While also
complicit in abjectifing queer bodies as at-risk bodies needing greater responsibility, the STD
guide is a project that seems less discriminatory at the surface. I argue, however, that these two
projects have similar biopolitical mechanisms; in each, which bodies matter is re-scripted
through discourse and in each, the unraveling body is the central figure of the narrative. The
queer body is exactly this unraveling body, caught up in a what Lee Edelman calls a “death
drive”: a term for “what the queer, in the order of the social, is called forth to figure: the
negativity opposed to every form of social viability” (2004: 9). ‘Life at risk’ and unraveling
bodies is queer by opposition to the social. And so, somewhat inconclusively, I return to the
question I posed earlier: Is presuming a life beyond (or not at) risk simply too risky? In other
words, is returning to a universal notion of ‘being’ – what Agamben (1993 [1990]) calls
“whatever” being, in The Coming Community – simply too homogeneous a concept, risking
the loss of exclusion that queer politics are somewhat founded upon? While to be political (and
therefore biopoliticized) is to also already be bare life and precarious life, resistance somehow
outside of the political is largely inconceivable. Further exploration of these thresholds of
(post)modern life is necessary – how are they constituted, and through what spaces – such that
the mechanisms of displacement and dissection could be undone (or at least that the adverse
effects of which could be lessened). Being mindful of the contradictions of such projects, as this
paper has attempted to present, is equally as necessary.
A2: Agamben

AFF AT: WHATEVER BEING


Agamben’s ‘whatever being’ is not possible at more than a personal lever. Agamben’s
impact will never happen that perpetual warfare will collapse the government ending the
state as an institution.
Cmiel, 1996. (Kenneth, Professor of Cultural History at Iowa, “The Fate of the Nation and the Withering of the
State”, American Literary History, Spring, p. 196, JSTOR)

If community cannot be a closed thing, if it is forever open to the potentially new, then the dream
of a national community is simply impossible. In Agamben's community, the idea of something
being "un- American" makes no sense, for there is no defining essence in a "whatever
singularity." Yet Agamben is also aware that capitalism and the state will continue. Indeed, he
recognizes that after the fall of Communism, they are sweeping the globe. Politics, in the future,
Agamben argues, will not be community building but the perpetual project of communities
against the state, "a struggle between the State and the non-State (humanity), an insurmountable
disjunction between whatever singularity and the State organization" (84). I doubt Agamben's
new community is actually coming. It remains far from clear that communities without
identities are emerging anywhere except in the febrile imaginations of a few philosophers. It
is not that I dislike the dream. It is for me the most attractive dream there is. It is that I am
skeptical that such "whatever singularities" are possible on more than the level of personal
behavior. Politics is too clunky for such subtlety. Even the new social movements seem far
more down-to-earth and prone to defining themselves than Agamben's theorizing. Politics,
alas, demands more leaden language. Still, the image of the state fighting communities is one
worth pondering. Its distance from earlier welfare state thinking could not be more dramatic.
Instead of the state embodying the will of the nation, we have a picture of numerous
communities at war with the state. It is, and I say this with no relish, a far more plausible picture
of our emerging politics than Walzer's happy pluralism. Just think of insurance companies,
Perotistas, and gay and lesbian activists-all communities distrustful of the state, all committed to
struggling with the state. Agamben does not ask what this perpetual warfare will do to
government. Like Walzer, he assumes that the state will trudge on as before. Yet if this
warfare between humanity and the state is constant, is it not plausible to surmise that
hostility to the state will become permanent? With the fiction that the state embodies the
nation's will dying, who will defend the state? Who will keep it from becoming the recipient
of increasing rancor and from being permanently wobbly? Isn't that a good way of
understanding recent politics in the US? And as for Agamben's own Italy the past decade has
revealed a public far more disgusted with the state than even in America.
at agamben: alternative fails

Agamben’s “coming community” is too weak to be sustainable.

Gordon 04 (Andrew, Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History at Harvard University,
“Review Study: Rethinking Area Studies, Once More,” Journal Of Japanese Studies, Vol. 30,
No. 2, 2004, pg. 424-425)

Okada draws on Giorgio Agamben to argue for “singularities to form a community


without affirming an identity.” Such a community would be premised on a belief “that
humans co-belong without any representable condition of belonging” (p. 200). This
is an ambitious but doomed quest. The sort of community here envisioned is
devoid of the emotional attachments that reinforce strong communities in real
life. The sad part—and here I agree with Okada entirely— is that these emotions so
easily rest on feelings of exclusion or essentialist notions of identity; the sadder
part is that I don’t see how the community he seeks could generate loyalties
sufficient to allow its survival.
at agamben: link over simplified

Agamben’s biopower is over-simplified and prevents us from confronting specific political


circumstances.

Virno 02 (Paolo, PhD and Italian philosopher, “General intellect, exodus, multitude,”
Archipelago No. 54, June 2002, http://www.generation-online.org/p/fpvirno2.htm)

Agamben is a thinker of great value but also, in my opinion, a thinker with no political
vocation. Then, when Agamben speaks of the biopolitical he has the tendency to
transform it into an ontological category with value already since the
archaic Roman right. And, in this, in my opinion, he is very wrong-headed. The problem
is, I believe, that the biopolitical is only an effect derived from the concept of labor-
power. When there is a commodity that is called labor-power it is already
implicitly government over life. Agamben says, on the other hand, that labor-power is
only one of the aspects of the biopolitical; I say the contrary: over all because labor
power is a paradoxical commodity, because it is not a real commodity like a book
or a bottle of water, but rather is simply the potential to produce. As soon as this
potential is transformed into a commodity, then, it is necessary to govern the
living body that maintains this potential, that contains this potential. Toni (Negri)
and Michael (Hardt), on the other hand, use biopolitics in a historically determined sense,
basing it on Foucault, but Foucault spoke in few pages of the biopolitical - in relation to the
birth of liberalism - that Foucault is not a sufficient base for founding a discourse
over the biopolitical and my apprehension, my fear, is that the biopolitical can be
transformed into a word that hides, covers problems instead of being an
instrument for confronting them. A fetish word, an "open doors" word, a word
with an exclamation point, a word that carries the risk of blocking critical thought
instead of helping it. Then, my fear is of fetish words in politics because it seems
like the cries of a child that is afraid of the dark..., the child that says "mama,
mama!", "biopolitics, biopolitics!". I don't negate that there can be a serious
content in the term, however I see that the use of the term biopolitics sometimes
is a consolatory use, like the cry of a child, when what serves us are, in all cases,
instruments of work and not propaganda words.
at agamben: nazis unique

Not all politics turn to Nazism—modern power structures are incredibly diverse.

Rabinow & Rose 03 (Paul, Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, Nikolas, Professor of


Sociology @ the London School of Economics, “Thoughts On The Concept of Biopower
Today,” December 10, 2003, http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/sociology/
pdf/RabinowandRose-BiopowerToday03.pdf, accessed July 07, pg. 8-9)

The interpretation of contemporary biopolitics as the politics of a state modeled


on the figure of the sovereign suits the twentieth century absolutisms of the
Nazis and Stalin. But we need a more nuanced account of sovereign power to
analyze contemporary rationalities or technologies of politics. Since these authors take
their concept and point of reference from Foucault, it is worth contrasting their postulate of
a origin and beneficiary of biopower to Foucaultís remarks on sovereignty as a form of power
whose diagram, but not principle, is the figure of the sovereign ruler. Its characteristic is
indeed ultimately a mode of power which relies on the right to take life. However, with the
exception of certain ‘paroxysmal’ moments, this is a mode of power whose activation can
only be sporadic and non-continuous. The totalization of sovereign power as a mode
of ordering daily life would be too costly, and indeed the very excesses of the
exercise of this power seek to compensate for its sporadic nature. Sovereignty, in
this sense, is precisely a diagram of a form of power not a description of its
implementation. Certainly some forms of colonial power sought to operationalize it, but in
the face of its economic and governmental costs, colonial statecraft was largely to take a
different form. The two megalomaniac State forms of the twentieth century also sought to
actualize it, as have some others in their wake: Albania under Hoxha, North Korea. But no
historian of pre-modern forms of control could fail to notice the dependence of sovereign
rule in its non-paroxysmal form on a fine web of customary conventions, reciprocal
obligations, and the like, in a word, a moral economy whose complexity and scope far
exceeds the extravagance displays of the sovereign. Sovereign power is at one and the
same time an element in this moral economy and an attempt to master it.

Not all biopolitics bring about genocide—it trivializes Nazism to say that all enactments of
the state of exception are equivalent.

Rabinow & Rose 03 (Paul, Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, Nikolas, Professor of


Sociology @ the London School of Economics, “Thoughts On The Concept of Biopower
Today,” December 10, 2003, http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/sociology/
pdf/RabinowandRose-BiopowerToday03.pdf, pg. 8-9)

Agamben takes seriously Adorno’s challenge “how is it possible to think after


Auschwitz?” But for that very reason, it is to trivialize Auschwitz to apply Schmitt’s
concept of the state of exception and Foucault’s analysis of biopower to every instance
where living beings enter the scope of regulation, control and government. The power to
command under threat of death is exercised by States and their surrogates in multiple
instances, in micro forms and in geopolitical relations. But this is not to say that this form
of power commands backed up by the ultimate threat of death is the guarantee or
underpinning principle of all forms of biopower in contemporary liberal societies.
Unlike Agamben, we do not think that : the jurist the doctor, the scientist, the expert,
the priest depend for their power over life upon an alliance with the State (1998:
122). Nor is it useful to use this single diagram to analyze every contemporary instance of
thanato-politics from Rwanda to the epidemic of AIDS deaths across Africa. Surely the
essence of critical thought must be its capacity to make distinctions that can
facilitate judgment and action.
at agamben: bare life

The concept of bare life over-determines the power of the state—theories that emphasize
resistance are more powerful.

Cesarino & Negri 04 (Cesare, associate professor of cultural studies, Antonio, professor
emeritus @ the Collège International de Philosophie, “It’s a Powerful Life: A Conversation on
Contemporary Philosophy,” Cultural Critique, Vol. 57, Spring 2004, pg. 172-173)
I believe Giorgio is writing a sequel to Homo Sacer, and I feel that this new work will be resolutive for his thought—in the sense that he will be forced in it
to resolve and find a way out of the ambiguity that has qualified his understanding of naked life so far. He already attempted something of the sort in his
recent book on Saint Paul, but I think this attempt largely failed: as usual, this book is extremely learned and elegant; it remains, however, somewhat
trapped within Pauline exegesis, rather than constituting a full-fledged attempt to reconstruct naked life as a potentiality for exodus, to rethink naked life
the concept of naked life is not an impossible,
fundamentally in terms of exodus. I believe that
unfeasible one. I believe it is possible to push the image of power to the point at
which a defenseless human being [un povero Cristo] is crushed, to conceive of that
extreme point at which power tries to eliminate that ultimate resistance that is
the sheer attempt to keep oneself alive. From a logical standpoint, it is possible to
think all this: the naked bodies of the people in the camps, for example, can lead
one precisely in this direction. But this is also the point at which this concept
turns into ideology: to conceive of the relation between power and life in such a
way actually ends up bolstering and reinforcing ideology. Agamben, in effect, is
saying that such is the nature of power: in the final instance, power reduces each
and every human being to such a state of powerlessness. But this is absolutely
not true! On the contrary: the historical process takes place and is produced
thanks to a continuous constitution and construction, which undoubtedly
confronts the limit over and over again—but this is an extraordinarily rich limit, in
which desires expand, and in which life becomes increasingly fuller. Of course it is
possible to conceive of the limit as absolute pow-erlessness, especially when it has been
actually enacted and enforced in such a way so many times. And yet, isn't such a
conception of the limit precisely what the limit looks like from the standpoint of
constituted power as well as from the standpoint of those who have already been
totally annihilated by such a power—which is, of course, one and the same
standpoint? Isn't this the story about power that power itself would like us to
believe in and reiterate? Isn't it far more politically useful to conceive of this limit
from the standpoint of those who are not yet or not completely crushed by power,
from the standpoint of those still struggling to overcome such a limit, from the
standpoint of the process of constitution, from the standpoint of power [potenza]?
at agamben: the camp

Suggesting that the camp is everywhere is silly—government power may be expansive but it
does not always produce corpses—Nazism was unique.

Levi & Rothberg 03 (Neil, Professor of English @ Drew University, Michael, Professor of
English @ the University of Sydney, “Auschwitz and the Remnants of Theory: Towards an
Ethics of the Borderlands,” (11: 1/2), 2003, pg.30-31)

At the same time, Agamben's formulations strike us as problematic and inadequate


in several respects. First, by restructuring the "zone of the human" to conform to the
condition of the Muselmann, Agamben removes the figure of the Muselmann from
the context-the camps-in which he or she is "produced." The Muselmann becomes an
isolated figure floating, like a Giacometti sculpture, in an otherwise apparently empty
abstract space that Agamben calls "humanity." The Muselmann is meant to bear a certain
truth about the nature of ethics "after Auschwitz," but is it not important when trying to
articulate such an ethics to reflect on what Auschwitz was?4 Surely such an account should
attend to the historical, legal, and political conditions that led to the development of the
camp system, including the kinds of features that Zygmunt Bauman focuses on in Modernity
and the Holocaust - such as a massive, morally indifferent bureaucratic apparatus that
dehumanized its "objects" and distanced its agents from a sense of responsibility for their
actions, as well as the obsessive hatred of the Jews that Saul Friedländer has recently
dubbed "redemptive antisemitism."5 If the Muselmann would not have existed
without these factors, shouldn't an ethics focused upon this figure also take
account of them? Interestingly enough, in Homo Sacer Agamben himself argues that "the
camp" is the "nomos" (definitive political element) of the modern. In remarking that "[w]hat
happened in the camps so exceeds the juridical concept of crime that the specific juridico-
political structure in which those events took place is often simply omitted from
consideration" (1998, 166), Agamben could be preparing a critique of what is omitted from
Remnants of Auschwitz. Homo Sacer argues that the camp is the space where the state of
exception becomes normal and where "whether or not atrocities are committed depends not
on law but on the civility and ethical sense of the police who temporarily act as sovereign"
(1998, 174). This line of argument produces an antinomy in the Agamben oeuvre: for the
Agamben of Homo Sacer a camp is a camp if anything is possible within it, no matter
whether or not it actually produces Muselmänner and corpses, while for the Agamben of
Remnants of Auschwitz the important fact about the Muselmann is simply that such a figure
happened, not where and how he became possible. What links the positions of his two
works is a level of abstraction that deliberately brackets features of each
paradigm ordinarily understood as essential: for the camp, figures such as the
Muselmann; for the Muselmann, the conditions of the camp. Both moves permit
Agamben to dismantle the boundary between the Nazi camps and the modern world. We
have already seen this in relation to the Muselmann, in the wake of whose existence all
previously existing moral concepts must be revised. It can be seen also in the examples of
modern camps Agamben offers, including, "[t]he soccer stadium in Bari into which the
Italian police in 1991 provisionally herded all illegal Albanian immigrants," the zones
d'attentes in French international airports where foreigners requesting refugee status are
held, and even, he suggests in an earlier version of the essay, gated communities in the USA
(1998, 174).6 At such moments Agamben seems to be suggesting that Auschwitz is
potentially everywhere, a suggestion that ends up eliding the specific challenges
posed both by the Muselmann and the camp system.
at agamben: muselmann

Agamben’s claim that the Muselmann is the ‘complete witness’ undermines the historical
importance of other positions within Auschwitz. This is the equivalent of denying that other
survivors had authentic experiences and must be rejected.

Levi & Rothberg 03 (Neil, Professor of English @ Drew University, Michael, Professor of
English @ the University of Sydney, “Auschwitz and the Remnants of Theory: Towards an
Ethics of the Borderlands,” (11: 1/2), 2003, pg.31-32)

We would also identify a second problem with Agamben's approach: the grounds for
Agamben's selection of the Muselmann as the "complete witness" are not clear.
Ethics after Auschwitz must take account of the Muselmann, but that does not
justify transforming him into a fetish, the sole site of the truth of the camps. If Levi's
own testimony is on his own account unrepresentative, that surely does not mean that it has no truth content. The fact that Levi himself distrusts the
testimony of, say, former members of the Sonderkommando (the camp inmates who were forced, under threat of death, to operate the crematoria) is no
reason to disqualify such testimony out of hand. The power of Claude Lanzmann's astonishing film Shoah derives in no small part from the testimony of a
former "crematorium raven" (P. Levi 60). Despite his attempt to develop a complex theory of testimony premised on the relationship between the
Muselmann and the surviving witness, Agamben ultimately homogenizes the site of witness by polarizing those positions. While there is warrant
for such a reading in Levi's texts (e.g., Levi's notion of "the drowned and the saved"), those texts also include the hypothesis of "the gray zone," a zone of
ethical uncertainty in which figures such as the Sonderkommando are paradigmatic. In fact, testimony from the gray zone may prove as illuminating about
the ethical challenges of the Nazi genocide as that derived from an understanding of Levi's paradox. Despite the serious reservations expressed by Levi
about the testimonies of figures who were forced into the most terrible complicity with the Nazis, such testimonies have been shown to be of great value
.7 In what remains
in understanding the Nazi genocide, and, indeed, in making clear the need for theoretical innovation in order to do so
one of the most profound attempts to "think" the Nazi genocide, historian and
social theorist Dan Diner proposes that Nazi action can be most effectively
illuminated from the perspective of the gray zone, and particularly that of the
Judenräte - the Jewish councils who ran the ghettos and were charged to make
decisions about who would be allowed to work and who would be sent to the
camps (130-137). The councils negotiated on the assumption that the Nazis were rational -
specifically, that they would not want to exterminate a productive labor source while at war.
The Nazis utilized this assumption to facilitate the killing process, with which the councils
found themselves unsuspectingly cooperating. It is the Jewish councils' experience of
participating in their own destruction while acting according to the logic of self-
preservation that Diner terms the counterrational. And it is in reflecting on the
Jewish experience of Nazi counterrationality that Diner says we encounter the
limits of historical understanding. Only at this limit point, according to Diner, can we
begin to "think the Nazis" via what he calls negative historical cognition. While we
wouldn't want to generalize the standpoint of the Judenräte as the essence of the Holocaust
any more than we would that of the Muselmann, when read alongside each other the
arguments of Agamben and Diner strongly suggest the importance of multiplying the
epistemological standpoints from which we approach the Nazi genocide.
***A2: Colonialism***

at colonialism: US not an empire

The is mischaracterized as an empire—reciprocal economic partnerships and democratic


agreements are the norm.
Ikenberry, 04. Professor of Geopolitics. G. John Ikenberry. “Illusions of Empire: Defining the
New American Order” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2004.

Is the United States an empire? If so, Ferguson's liberal empire is a more persuasive portrait
than is Johnson's military empire. But ultimately, the notion of empire is misleading -- and misses
the distinctive aspects of the global political order that has developed around U.S. power. The United
States has pursued imperial policies, especially toward weak countries in the periphery. But
U.S. relations with Europe, Japan, China, and Russia cannot be described as imperial, even when
"neo" or "liberal" modifies the term. The advanced democracies operate within a "security community" in
which the use or threat of force is unthinkable. Their economies are deeply interwoven. Together, they
form a political order built on bargains, diffuse reciprocity, and an array of intergovernmental institutions
and ad hoc working relationships. This is not empire; it is a U.S.-led democratic political order that has no
name or historical antecedent.To be sure, the neoconservatives in Washington have trumpeted their own imperial vision: an era of global rule organized around
the bold unilateral exercise of military power, gradual disentanglement from the constraints of multilateralism, and an aggressive effort to spread freedom
and democracy. But this vision is founded on illusions of U.S. power. It fails to appreciate the role of cooperation and rules in the exercise and preservation
of such power. Its pursuit would strip the United States of its legitimacy as the preeminent global power and severely compromise the authority that flows
from such legitimacy. Ultimately, the neoconservatives are silent on the full range of global challenges and opportunities that face the United States. And
, the American public has no desire to run colonies or manage a global empire. Thus, there
as Ferguson notes

are limits on American imperial pretensions even in a unipolar era. Ultimately, the empire debate
misses the most important international development of recent years: the long peace
among great powers, which some scholars argue marks the end of great-power war.
Capitalism, democracy, and nuclear weapons all help explain this peace. But so too does the
unique way in which the United States has gone about the business of building an
international order. The United States' success stems from the creation and extension of international
institutions that have limited and legitimated U.S. power.

Hegemony doesn’t equate to empire—other nations can choose to disengage from US


security guarantees.

Ikenberry, 04. Professor of Geopolitics. G. John Ikenberry. “Illusions of Empire: Defining the
New American Order” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2004.
Johnson also offers little beyond passing mention about the societies presumed to be under
Washington's thumb.

Domination and exploitation are, of course, not always self-evident. Military pacts and security
partnerships are clearly part of the structure of U.S. global power, and they often reinforce fragile and
corrupt governments in order to project U.S. influence. But countries can also use security ties with the
United States to their own advantage. Japan may be a subordinate security partner, but the U.S.-Japan
alliance also allows Tokyo to forgo a costly buildup of military capacity that would destabilize East Asia.
Moreover, countries do have other options: they can, and often do, escape U.S. domination simply by
asking the United States to leave. The Philippines did so, and South Korea may be next. The variety
and complexity of U.S. security ties with other states makes Johnson's simplistic view of
military hegemony misleading.
at colonialism: us not an empire

Global pluralism makes empire impossible—the US has influence but not the control
described by the negative.

Zelikow, 03 “Transformation of National Security” Philip Zelikow. Professor of History and


Public Affairs, University of Virginia. National Interest, Summer 2003, pg. 18-10 Lexis).

But these imperial metaphors, of whatever provenance, do not enrich our understanding;
they impoverish it. They use a metaphor of how to rule others when the problem is how to
persuade and lead them. Real imperial power is sovereign power. Sovereigns rule, and a ruler is
not just the most powerful among diverse interest groups. Sovereignty means a direct
monopoly control over the organization and use of armed might. It means direct control over the
administration of justice and the definition thereof. It means control over what is bought and sold, the
terms of trade and the permission to trade, to the limit of the ruler's desires and capacities. In the
modern, pluralistic world of the 21st century, the United States does not have anything like such
direct authority over other countries, nor does it seek it. Even its informal influence in the political
economy of neighboring Mexico, for instance, is far more modest than, say, the influence the British
could exert over Argentina a hundred years ago. The purveyors of imperial metaphors suffer from
a lack of imagination, and more, from a lack of appreciation for the new conditions under
which we now live. It is easier in many respects to communicate images in a cybernetic
world, so that a very powerful United States does exert a range of influences that is quite striking. But
this does not negate the proliferating pluralism of global society, nor does it suggest a will to imperial
power in Washington. The proliferation of loose empire metaphors thus distorts into banal nonsense the
only precise meaning of the term imperialism that we have. The United States is central in world politics
today, not omnipotent. Nor is the U.S. Federal government organized in such a fashion that
would allow it to wield durable imperial power around the world-it has trouble enough
fashioning coherent policies within the fifty United States. Rather than exhibiting a confident
will to power, we instinctively tend, as David Brooks has put it, to "enter every conflict with
the might of a muscleman and the mentality of a wimp." We must speak of American power and
of responsible ways to wield it; let us stop talking of American empire, for there is and there will be no
such thing.

The US focuses on spreading democracy- their claims of empire are outdated.

Boot, 03 (“Neither new nor nefarious: the liberal empire strikes back” Max Boot, fellow of
the Council of foreign relations, Current History, Vol. 102, Iss. 667; pg. 361 Nov. 2003. Pro
Quest)

If the Europeans, with their long tradition of colonialism, have found the price of empire too high, what
chance is there that Americans, whose country was born in a revolt against empire, will replace the
colonial administrators of old?
Not much. The kind of imperial missions that the United States is likely to undertake today are very
different. The Europeans fought to subjugate "natives"; Americans will fight to bring them democracy
and the rule of law. (No one wants to put Iraq or Afghanistan permanently under the Stars and Stripes.)
European rule was justified by racial prejudices; American interventions are justified by self-defense and
human rights doctrines accepted (at least in principle) by all signatories to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. European expeditions were unilateral; American missions are
usually blessed with international approval, whether from the United Nations, NATO, or simply an ad
hoc coalition. Even the US intervention in Iraq this year, widely held to be "unilateral," enjoys
far more international support (and hence legitimacy) than, say, the French role in Algeria in
the 1950s.
at colonialism: US not an empire

Multilateralism an inevitable check on the possibility of empire.

Zelikow, 03 “Transformation of National Security” Philip Zelikow. Professor of History and


Public Affairs, University of Virginia. National Interest, Summer 2003, pg. 18-10 Lexis).

Everything that America does in the world is done multilaterally. That emphatically includes the policies
the Bush Administration considers most important, and even those that are the most "military" in
character. The global war against terrorism is being conducted through an elaborate, often
hidden, network of multilateral cooperation among scores of governments. A large number
of players are interacting on intelligence, law enforcement, military action, air
transportation, shipping, financial controls and more. Ongoing military operations in
Afghanistan involve several countries, and were multilateral even at the height of American
military activity, as the United States relied heavily on relationships with Pakistan, Russia,
three Central Asian governments and a variety of Afghan factions. The caricature of the
administration's unilateralism usually rests on the recitation of a by now standard list of diplomatic
actions that some other governments did not like (Kyoto, the International Criminal Court and so
on). Some of these disagreements were handled in a style and manner that seemed
insensitive or simply maladroit. Unfortunately, too, the caricature of the administration's
unilateralism is willingly fed by some U.S. officials and unofficial advisers who relish the chance to play
the role of the truth teller lancing foreign obfuscations. Sometimes they overplay the part, sensing
the license they get from working for a plain-spoken president.
at colonialism: empire good

Imperialism is good: the defeat of Nazism and the promotion of democracy are a force for
good.

Boot, 03 “American Imperialism? No need to run away from Label” Max Boot, Senior fellow
of the Council of foreign relations, USA Today, May 6, 2003. http://66.102.1.104/scholar?
hl=en&lr=&q=cache:sP5soPyDtzAJ:www.attacberlin.de/fileadmin/Sommerakademie/Boot_Im
perialim_fine.pdf+author:max+author:boot).

Mind you, this is not meant as a condemnation. The history of American imperialism is
hardly one of unadorned good doing; there have been plenty of shameful episodes, such as
the mistreatment of the Indians. But, on the whole, U.S. imperialism has been the greatest force
for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated the monstrous evils of communism and
Nazism and lesser evils such as the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing. Along the way, it
has helped spread liberal institutions to countries as diverse as South Korea (news - web sites) and
Panama. Yet, while generally successful as imperialists, Americans have been loath to
confirm that's what they were doing. That's OK. Given the historical baggage that ''imperialism''
carries, there's no need for the U.S. government to embrace the term. But it should definitely embrace the
practice. That doesn't mean looting Iraq of its natural resources; nothing could be more
destructive
of our goal of building a stable government in Baghdad. It means imposing the rule of law,
property rights, free speech and other guarantees, at gunpoint if need be. This will require selecting a new
ruler who is committed to pluralism and then backing him or her to the hilt. Iran and other neighboring
states won't hesitate to impose their despotic views on Iraq; we shouldn't hesitate to impose our
democratic views.
at empire: terrorism must be confronted

Pointing out flaws with imperialism is not enough—there are real threats posed by terrorism
that the alternative must be able to solve.

Gitlin, 06 - Professor of Journalism and Sociology at Columbia University - 2006(Todd, The


Intellectuals And The Flag, p. 151)

During the Bush years intellectuals have had their work cut out for them exposing
the arrogance of empire, piercing its rationalizations, identifying its betrayal of patriotic
traditions. But all that said, serious questions remained about what intellectuals of
the left wanted: What was to be done about fighting the jihadists and improving
democracy’s chances? What roles made sense for the United States, the United Nations,
NATO, or anyone else? What was required of governments, nongovernmental
organizations, foundations, and private initiatives? Given that the Iraq War had been
ill advised, what should be done next about Iraq and Iraqis? About such questions many
intellectuals of the left were understandably perplexed—and sometimes evasive.
Foreign policy wasn’t “their problem.” Their mode was critical and back-glancing,
not constructive and prospective. It was useful to raise questions about the
purposes of U.S. bases abroad, for example. It was satisfying, but not especially
useful, to think that the questions answered themselves. So the intellectuals’
evasion damaged what might have been their contribution to the larger debate
that the country needed—and still needs—on its place in the world and how it
protects itself. Liberal patriots would refuse to be satisfied with knee-jerk answers but
would join the hard questions as members of a society do—members who criticize in behalf
of a community of mutual aid, not marginal scoffers who have painted themselves into a
corner. Liberal patriots would not be satisfied to reply to consensus truculence
with rejectionist truculence. They would not take pride in their marginality. They
would consider what they could do for our natural allies, democrats abroad. They
would take it as their obligation to illuminate a transformed world in which al
Qaeda and its allies are not misinterpreted as the current rein-carnations of the
eternal spirit of anti-imperialism. They would retain curiosity and resist that
hardening of the categories that is a form of self-protection against the
unprecedented.
*** Ontology ***

A2: Ontology

Preventing widespread death precedes ontological questioning


Davidson ‘89 (Arnold L., Associate Prof Philosophy – U Chicago, Critical Inquiry, Winter, p. 426)

I understand Levinas’ work to suggest


another path to the recovery of the human, one that leads through
or toward other human beings: “The dimension of the divine opens forth from the human face… Hence metaphysics is
enacted where the social relation is enacted- in our relations with men… The Other is not the incarnation of God, but precisely by his
face, in which he is disincarnate, is the manifestation of the height in which God is revealed. It is our relations with men… that give to theological concepts the sole
Levinas places ethics before ontology by beginning with our experience of the
signification they admit of.”
human face: and, in a clear reference to Heidegger’s idolatry of the village life of peasants, he associated himself with Socrates,
who preferred the city where he encountered men to the country with its trees. In his discussion of skepticism and
the problem of others, Cavell also aligns himself with this path of thought, with the recovery of the finite
human self through the acknowledgement of others: “As long as God exists, I am not alone. And couldn’t the other suffer the fate
of God?… I wish to understand how the other now bears the weight of God, shows me that I am not alone in the universe. This requires understanding the
The suppression of the other, the human,
philosophical problem of the other as the trace or scar of the departure of God [CR, p.470].”
in Heidegger’s thought accounts, I believe, for the absence, in his writing after the war, of the experience of
horror. Horror is always directed toward the human; every object of horror bears the imprint of
the human will. So Levinas can see in Heidegger’s silence about the gas chambers and death
camps “a kind of consent to the horror.” And Cavell can characterize Nazis as “those who have
lost the capacity for being horrified by what they do.” Where was Heidegger’s horror? How could he have failed to
know what he had consented to? Hannah Arendt associates Heidegger with Paul Valery’s aphorism, “Les evenements
ne sont que l’ecume des choses’ (‘Events are but the foam of things’).” I think one understands the source of her intuition. The
mass extermination of human beings, however, does not produce foam, but dust and ashes; and it
is here that questioning must stop.
A2: Ontology

It’s impossible to determine an answer to being –-- ontological questioning results in an


infinite regress and total political paralysis
Levinas and Nemo ‘85 (Emmanuel, Professor of Philosophy, and Philippe, Professor of New Philosophy, Ethics and
Infinity, p. 6-7)
Are we not in need of still more precautions? Must we not step back from this question to raise another, to
recognize the obvious circularity of asking what is the “What is . .?“ question? It seems to beg the question. Is our new
suspicion, then, that Heidegger begs the question of metaphysics when he asks “What is poetry?” or
“What is thinking?”? Yet his thought is insistently anti-metaphysical. Why, then, does he retain
the metaphysical question par excellence? Aware of just such an objection, he proposes, against the vicious circle of the
petitio principi, an alternative, productive circularity: hermeneutic questioning. To ask “What is. . .?“ does not partake of onto-theo-logy
if one acknowledges (1) that the answer can never be fixed absolutely, but calls essentially, endlessly, for additional “What is . . .?“
questions. Dialectical refinement here replaces vicious circularity. Further, beyond the openmindedness called for by dialectical refinement,
hermeneutic questioning (2) insists on avoiding subjective impositions, on avoiding reading into rather than harkening
to things. One must harken to the things themselves, ultimately to being, in a careful attunement to what is. But do the
refinement and care of the hermeneutic question — which succeed in avoiding ontotheo-logy succeed in avoiding all viciousness? Certainly they
convert a simple fallacy into a productive inquiry, they open a path for thought. But is it not the case that however much
refinement and care one brings to bear, to ask what something is leads to asking what something
else is, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum? What is disturbing in this is not so much the infinity of interpretive depth,
which has the virtue of escaping onto-theo-logy and remaining true to the way things are, to the phenomena, the coming to be and
passing away of being. Rather, the problem lies in the influence the endlessly open horizon of
such thinking exerts on the way of such thought. That is, the problem lies in what seems to be the
very virtue of hermeneutic thought, namely, the doggedness of the “What is . . .?“ question, in its
inability to escape itself, to escape being and essence.
A2: Ontology

Survival is a prerequisite to evaluating ontology – you can’t relate to the world without
being in the world
Robbins ’99 Brent Dean Robbins, doctoral student in clinical psychology @ Duquesne University. “Medard Boss.”
http://mythosandlogos.com/Boss.html

Medicine, deriving its foundations from Descartes, begins with an understanding of a split between
subject and object and between mind and body. As such, medicine approaches the human body as a thing
subject to causal, mechanistic processes like inanimate objects in nature. For Boss, however, the human being is
precisely not a thing, and thus the body cannot be understood as a thing. Rather, the body is primarily an
existential-body, the means by which we are a being-in-the-world and "body-forth" our
possibilities. It is as bodies that we exist in existential space. But this space is not the res extensa of
Descartes; it is not mere geometrical space. "Human beings," writes Boss, "are, as an open, clear realm of
perception, so essentially spatial that they dwell from the beginning with whatever is accessible
to perception, and in a way suited to the meaning they perceive." (90) That is, for human beings,
spatiality is part of the ontological structure of the human being, without which our being-in-the-
world would not be possible. This is a spatiality which is an openness to significance, to how things matter to
us. As such, spatiality is meaningful and consists of the context of significance which is the world.
As Being-there (Dasein), the human being is always with the things of the world, "actually at the place where the
thing is present." (92) In this sense, the body is not a thing, but the existential center by which things can presence to
us in our world-openness. Yet, in my experience, I am not simply here at my body; rather, it is my body which is the
openness to the "there" which is the meaningful world of perception. Things, unlike my body, gather a world of
meaning. They gather together the contextual signficance of the world as mattering to me as a human being. Thus,
too, the thing is not a representation in my head: "When we visualize something, we establish a relationship to the
thing itself, not to some mere subjective representation of it inside us." (92) In my experience, I am at the thing, I am
in-the-world as a embodied being.

Evaluate our disads on the same level as ontology – survival coincides with the opening of
ontological space
Robbins ‘99Brent Dean Robbins, doctoral student in clinical psychology @ Duquesne University. “Medard Boss.”
http://mythosandlogos.com/Boss.html

Space and time, as such, make possible and yet are equiprimordial with human bodyhood. Yet,
while natural science views the human body as some self-contained material thing, by doing so it "disregards
everything that is specifically human about human bodyhood." (100) The human body, unlike a thing, is not
limited like the material borders of inanimate objects. Rather, as a world-openness, human
embodiment is an opening onto things "there" in the world, while things are self-contained and have no
experience what-so-ever. The human body does not end at the skin, but existentially opens onto a
world of possibilities which are significant. "The borders of my bodyhood coincide with those of
my openness to the world," writes Boss. "They are in fact at any given time identical, though they
are always changing with the fluid expansion and contraction of my relationships to the world."
(103)
A2: Ontology

our ethical obligation to save lives precedes ontology – the value of life comes from human
agency, which death destroys
Robbins ‘99Brent Dean Robbins, doctoral student in clinical psychology @ Duquesne University. “Medard Boss.”
http://mythosandlogos.com/Boss.html

*THIS CARD IS GENDER-MODIFIED

"Death is an unsurpassable limit of human existence," writes Boss (119). Primarily, however, human
beings flee from death and the awareness of our mortality. But in our confrontation with death and our morality, we
discover the "relationship" which "is the basis for all feelings of reverance, fear, awe, wonder, sorrow, and deference
in the face of something greater and more powerful." (120). Boss even suggests that "the most dignified human
relationship to death" involves keeping it--as a possibility rather than an actuality--constantly in awareness without
fleeing from it. As Boss writes: "Only such a being-unto-death can guarantee the precondition that the Dasein be
able to free itself from its absorption in, its submission and surrender of itself to the things and relationships of
everyday living and to return to itself." (121) Such a recognition brings the human being back to his
responsibility for his existence. This is not simply a inward withdrawal from the world--far from
it. Rather, this responsible awareness of death as the ultimate possibility for human existence
frees the human being to be with others in a genuine way.
From this foundation--based on the existentials described above--Boss is able to articulate an understanding
of medicine and psychology which gives priority to the freedom of the human being to be itself.
By freedom, Boss does not mean a freedom to have all the possibilites, for we are finite and
limited by our factical history and death. Yet within these finite possibilities, we are free to be
who we are and to take responsibility for who we are in the world with others and alongside
things that matter. Psychotherapy comes into play in cases in which people suffer from "pathological
deficiencies of freedom," who, while constricted, still retain a degree of freedom, but a freedom which includes a
suffering from constrictedness. The therapist, in this regard, provides the client with a space to free up this
constricted existence in order to discover previously foreclosed possibilities of being in the world.
A2: Ontology

Our ethical obligation to save lives precedes ontology


Taminiaux 2003 Jacques, professor of philosophy @ Boston College. “The presence of Being and Time in Totality and Infinity”

Levinas fully agrees with the notion of a metaphysical desire as a desire for the other but he fully
disagrees with the supposed accomplishment and satisfaction of that desire in a final visibility.
Metaphysics, he says, is désir de l'invisible. The other is not at all offered to a vision of the Self. It is
desired as invisible.
Hence the meaning of the word transcendence in Levinas use of it. Since
the metaphysical desire aims to
the otherness of the other without possible satisfaction or fulfillment in an ultimate vision, the
movement of such desire is transcendence. The word designates an elevation. It is a «transascendance»(35),
Levinas says. Transascendance is a relation between myself and the absolute exteriority of the other which is such
that the Self and the Other cannot be part of a visible totality in which their relation would be symmetrical and
reversible. In other words, transascendance is a «breach of totality»(35).
Upon close inspection it appears that a confrontation with Heidegger is involved in that characterization of
metaphysics and of transcendence. The confrontation is, so to speak, condensed in Levinas' strong formula:
«Metaphysics precedes ontology». Metaphysics has precedence over ontology. By contrast, Heidegger claims
that metaphysics accomplishes itself in ontology, that is in the vision attainable by the human Dasein of what it
means to be. The Greek word for vision is theoria. Heidegger again and again insists in Being and Time on the
precedence of the bios theoretikos, contemplation as the highest way of life.
In Levinas' analysis the trouble with theoria is that it does not fit with metaphysical desire because it
does not respect the alterity of the other. To be sure it claims to let what it contemplates manifest
itself for its own sake but since its contemplation is a matter of understanding it always
renounces the marvel of exteriority by absorbing the other into the Self thanks to a third term that
the knowing subject finds in itself. So does Heidegger's ontology by finding the key to the
meaning of Being in my own temporality. The primacy of the question of Being in Heidegger's
thought leads to a self-sufficiency, to egoism. Metaphysical desire as understood by Heidegger is
a desire to be properly myself to the detriment of the Other. Ontology is an Egology.
This is what confirms Heidegger's notion of transcendence. Transcendence in Being and Time is not a movement of
elevation towards the other but a movement through which the individual Dasein, by overcoming what is not
properly its own, elevates itself to an insight into what is exclusively its own, its ownmost possibility, the possibility
of its own death. Dasein becomes authentic by confronting its own mortality. Transcendence in
Heidegger's sense is essentially a return to the Selfhood of the Self. It is a totalization.
According to Levinas there is only one way for transcendence to avoid that totalization, to be a
breach of totality: it is by being ethical, by acknowledging the primacy of the Other over the
Self.
To say that Metaphysics precedes ontology amounts to claim that Ethics precedes ontology,
whereas in Heidegger ontology precedes ethics. Levinas used to quote repeatedly Plato's famous formula:
to agathon epekeina tès ousias and to translate it into: the Good is beyond Being. It is significant that Heidegger also
used to quote repeatedly the same formula but to deprive the motto of an essentially ethical connotation by reading it
as meaning Being is beyond beings. In other words what is at stake in Plato's formula for Heidegger is merely my
elevation towards my ownmost possibility, not at all my elevation to the height of the Other.
A2: Ontology

Focus on ontology misses the boat – it ignores broader question of practice, which are key
to avoid nihilism
Backhouse 2002
Roger E., “The Economic Worldview: Studies in the Ontology of Economics.” http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111/1468-
0297.t01-11-00083/full/
It might be thought that, between them, these two volumes must provide a reasonably thorough coverage of the broad range of thinking on
economic methodology from scientific realism to the idea that our view of the world is socially constructed. However, my response was that,
projects of ontology and postmodernism in
though there are papers in both volumes that are of great interest, the
themselves leave me fairly cold. The main reason for this is that the most fruitful work in
methodology over the last decade or so has arguably centred on analysing what economists do.
Thus beliefs about the economic world (economic ontology) acquire significance from the
context in which the economists who hold them are acting. There are chapters in EWV that deal with
economists' practices but to focus on ontology rather than practices is to marginalise what should be
central. Examination of practice is also relevant to the question, addressed in some chapters of PAK, of
whether postmodernism amounts to nihilism. Meaning is socially constructed but to understand
scientific knowlege it is important to take into account the constraints that are imposed by our
ability to do some things and our inability to do other things.

Ethics precedes ontology – the fundamental fact of being is vulnerability and responsibility
to the other
Merleau ’04 Chloë Taylor Merleau, doctoral candidate in philosophy @ University of Toronto, Canada, “Levinasian Ethics and Feminist
Ethics of Care.” www.sspp.us/Protected-Essays/2004-SPEP-Merleau.doc
Levinas argues against the Western philosophic tradition, and against Heidegger in particular, that ontology is not
fundamental. Rather, for Levinas, ethics, a relation to and for an other, is prior to being, grounding
human existence. Before we “are,” we are already in a relation to others, whatever the order of the
verb in this sentence. It is therefore a mistake to begin by theorizing what the being of the self is,
independent of its relations of vulnerability and responsiveness to others, because the self never
is independent of or prior to these ethical terms. Ethics is the fundamental human experience,
and is grounded in relations to others. Mainstream ethical philosophy, however, has inherited the notion of the self assumed
by traditional metaphysics, and thus has been concerned with a subject it presumes to be autonomous and free, independent of others and faced
Even the duties towards others that such ethical
with abstract questions about its own rights, duties, and freedoms.1
theories imagine have typically been duties towards other abstractly-conceived autonomous
agents who are the same as ourselves, and first and foremost is the duty to not interfere in their
rights and freedoms. Philosophy has thus not conceived of ethics as it occurs in our most
fundamental experiences, as a responsiveness to others who are vulnerable to us and to whom we
are vulnerable, and with whom we are in encounters and relations which involve difference and
inequalities in power. Philosophy has not, therefore, approached ethics in terms of the situations
in which it is perhaps most frequently and most desperately required, in relation to those who are
exposed to us in need, requiring our interference and response.

1
A2: Ontology

Our ethical obligation to the other disrupts ontology


Merleau ’04 Chloë Taylor Merleau, doctoral candidate in philosophy @ University of Toronto, Canada, “Levinasian Ethics and Feminist
Ethics of Care.”
www.sspp.us/Protected-Essays/2004-SPEP-Merleau.doc

Both feminist care theorists and Levinas have understood the receptivity towards others of ethics,
the prioritization of responsibility over freedom, as “feminine,” and both have conceived of
maternity as a paradigm (amongst others) for caring, or for being responsible for others.2 The
theorization of ethics as “feminine” occurs in Levinas’s earlier writings, while his development of maternity as trope
for the ethical relation is explored in the major work of his mature philosophy, Otherwise than Being or Beyond
Essence. In his earlier works, such as Time and the Other and Existence and Existents, Levinas develops an ethics
of alterity against the Western tradition of the Same while describing “the feminine” as having alterity as its essence
(1983, 85), and as being “the other par excellence” (1978, 85). The feminine is not different in terms of
qualities, nor different in relation to the masculine, but is difference itself, the very possibility of
ethics.3 At this stage, “the feminine” is the otherness of the Other whom one encounters in the
ethical relation, as well as being the principle of that relation. In Totality and Infinity, however, the
Other of the ethical encounter has become generic, simply human, and yet “the feminine” continues to play a crucial
role. As Catherine Chalier writes, the feminine in Totality and Infinity “stops the project of being,”
“stops this blind strength,” and thus interupts masculine ontology with ethics, disrupts military
values with her welcome, replaces transcendence with proximity and intimacy (1991, 123). In
“Judaism and the Feminine Element,” Levinas describes the masculine “outdoor” world as “hard and
cold,” alienating and ontological: “it neither clothes those who are naked nor feeds those who are hungry […]
Spirit in its masculine existence […] lives outdoors.” (1976, 33) In contrast, the feminine is indoors or domestic,
called “dwelling.” As Levinas notes, however, this “habitation is not yet the transcendence of language. The
Other who welcomes in intimacy is not the you [vous] of the face that reveals itself in a
dimension of height, but precisely the thou [tu] of familiarity.” (1979, 155) At this stage, then,
the feminine other seems no longer the Other of the ethical relation, and yet femininity remains
the principle that interupts masculinity and makes ethics possible.

2
3
A2: Spanos

Spanos' rejection of Humanism destroys any political project and/ or allies and allows the
right to take over
Perkin 1993 [J. Russell, Professor of English at Saint Mary's University, Theorizing the Culture Wars, Postmodern Culture PMC 3.3,
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/v003/3.3r_perkin.html]
My final criticism is that Spanos. by his attempt to put all humanists into the same category and to break totally with the tradition of humanism , isolates
himself in a posture of ultra leftist purity that cuts him off from many potential political allies,
especially when, as I will note in conclusion. His practical recommendations for the practical role of an adversarial
intellectual seem similar to those of the liberal pluralists he attacks. He seems ill-informed about
what goes on in the everyday work of the academy, for instance, in the field of composition studies. Spanos laments the
"unwarranted neglect" (202) of the work of Paulo Freire, yet in reading composition and pedagogy journals over the last few years, I have noticed few thinkers who
have been so consistently cited. Spanos refers several times to the fact that the discourse of the documents comprising The Pentagon Papers was linked to the kind of
discourse that first-year composition courses produce (this was Richard Ohmann's argument): here again, however, Spanos is not up to date. For the last decade the
The academy, in
field of composition studies has been the most vigorous site of the kind of oppositional practices The End of Education recommends.
short, is more diverse. more complex, more genuinely full of difference than Spanos allows, and
it is precisely that difference that neoconservatives want to erase. By seeking to seperate out only
the pure (posthumanist) believers, Spanos seems to me to ensure his self-marginalization. For example, several
times he includes pluralists like Wayne Booth and even Gerald Graff in lists of "humanists" that include William Bennett, Roger Kimball and Dinesh D'Souza. Of
course. there is a polemical purpose to this, but it is one that is counterproductive. In fact, I would even question the validity of calling shoddy and often inaccurate
journalists like Kimball and D'Souza with the title "humanist intellectuals." Henry Louis Gates's final chapter contains some cogent criticism of the kind of position,
which Spanos has taken. Gates argues that the "hard" left's opposition to liberalism is as mistaken as its opposition to conservatism, and refers to Cornel West's
"If you don't build on liberalism, you build on air" (I 87). Building on
remarks about the field of critical legal studies,
air seems -- to me precisely what Spanos is recommending. Gates, on the other hand, criticizes "those rnassively totalizing
theories that marginalize practical political action as a jejune indulgence" (192), and endorses a coalition of liberalism and the left. Spanos misrepresents history and
fails to correctly build off others’ philosophies Perkin 1993 [J. Russell, Professor of English at Saint Mary's University, Theorizing the Culture Wars, Postmodern
the book makes huge
Culture PMC 3.3, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/v003/3.3r_perkin.html] Another problem is that
historical assertions that have the effect of lessening difference, even while it attacks the
metaphysical principle "that identity is the condition for the possibility of difference and not the
other way around" (4; emphasis in original). This is something Spanos has in common with some followers of Derrida who turn deconstruction into a
dogma, rather than realizing that it is a strategy of reading that must take account of the particular logic of the texts being read. Spanos asserts that the classical Greeks
were characterized by "originative, differential, and errant thinking" (105), which every subsequent age, beginning with the Alexandrian Greek, through the Romans,
This not only
the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Victorians, and right up to the present, misunderstood in a reifying and imperialistic appropriation.
implies a somewhat simplistic reception-history of ancient Greek culture; it also, significantly,
perpetuates a myth--the favourite American myth that Spanos in other contexts attacks in the book--of an original period of
innocence, a fall, and the possibility of redemption. There are further problems with the narrative built into The End of
Education. Humanism is always and everywhere, for Spanos, panoptic, repressive, characterized by
"the metaphysics of the centered circle," which is repeatedly attacked by reference to the same overcited passage from Derrida's
"Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences"--not coincidentally one of the places where Derrida allows himself to make large claims
unqualified by their derivation from reading a particular text. In order to make this assertion, Spanos must show that all apparent difference is in fact contained by the
same old metaphysical discourse. Thus, within the space of four pages, in the context of making absolute claims about Western education (or thought, or theory),
Spanos uses the following constructions: "whatever its historically specific permutations," "despite the historically specific permutations," "Apparent
historical dissimilarities," "Despite the historically specific ruptures." (12-15) Western thought, he repeats, has "always reaffirmed a nostalgic and
Spanos is a poor reader of
recuperative circuitous educational journey back to the origin" (15). This over-insistence suggests to me that
Derrida, for he is not attentive to difference at particular moments or within particular texts. He
seems to believe that one can leap bodily out of the metaphysical tradition simply by compiling
enough citations from Heidegger, whereas his rather anticlimactic final chapter shows, as Derrida recognizes more explicitly, that one
cannot escape logocentrism simply by wishing to.
A2: Spanos

Spanos ignores real violence and politics in the world


Dutton 93[Dennis, Professor of Philosophy at Cantuerbury, “Faking Your Way to Tenure” http://denisdutton.com/faking_tenure.htm] The
End of Education has a chapter entitled “The Violence of Disinterestedness.”

Now disinterestedness is not normally what I’d consider violent, at least compared, say, to a couple of skinheads
with baseball bats. But Spanos finds in its advocacy (by Arnold, Babbitt, and I.A. Richards) “a recurrent call for the
recuperation of a logocentric pedagogy in the face of historical ruptures that betrayed the
complicity of humanistic discourse with an essentially reactionary bourgeois ideology and its
discreetly repressive capitalist state apparatuses, which have dominated the vision and practices
of liberal Western industrial societies, especially in North America.” Isn’t it crazy, when you think of it? The
Western industrial societies, especially in North America, were just about the first places in the
world where the vision and practices of liberalism have been given, however imperfectly, a
chance to dominate repressive state apparatuses, rather than vice versa. Does it ever occur to
Spanos what the military police in Burma do to people they don’t like? In Iran? El Salvador?
Those cosy Marxist dictatorships in Africa? Give me the “discreet” repression of the Western
liberal societies any day. Spanos is a man stuck in the 1960s: he doesn’t notice Tiananmen
Square because he’s still obsessed with Kent State. Spanos’s theory has no historical backing and his writing style only
recreates what he rejects Bryant 97[John, Professor of English at Hofstra. “Review: Democracy, Being, and the Art of Becoming America”
College English, Vol. 59, No. 6. (Oct., 1997), pp. 705-711]
As bracing as Spanos's subversive thesis is, and despite his attempts to rectify the New Americanist approach with a finer
grounding in philosophy, its credibility is undermined by the book's wooden historicism and authoritarian style. Generally speaking, Spanos's
"thematizing" of Ahab and Ishmael amounts to reductions supported more by assertion and endless reiteration than
by textual demonstration. The result is a pronouncement, rather than an analysis, that never penetrates to
the way Melville's words work to bring readers into his ontological dilemma. Spanos's historicism is similarly lacking. He reduces
the development of American culture to a sequence of tableaux vivants with helpful intervening placards: The Puritans Hand Over the Mantle of
American Identity to Andrew Jackson. He speaks of Lewis's American Adam and Bercovitch's American Jeremiad as if they were facts, or
pieces of legislation fully endorsed by the populace, rather than cultural theses proposed by modern critics to extend, not end, debate on who we
Spanos is most effective in discussing the more immediate aspects of Vietnam, but he never makes more distant
are and why.
eras come equally to life. His repeated reference to the "Salem Witch Burnings"-they were hanged-
would be a dismissable gaffe if it did not suggest that the author is not sufficiently engaged in
historical reality to deal with it except as a set of abstractions. Spanos's use of Heidegger is necessarily

Card continues
Card Contunued
problematic. In purely metaphysical terms the philosopher's Nietzschean notion of the "will to power" is an intelligible means of comprehending
Being's temporal differentiations: very transcendental. But then, Heidegger was no Emerson; he joined the Nazi party, took his Jewish mentor
Husserl's job, sent a few colleagues racing to the border, but paradoxically conducted an affair with Hannah Arendt. Surely, Heidegger's nazism
does not invalidate the notion of errancy that so effectively explains Ishmael. However, in a study such as this, in which politics is said to derail
ontological interpretation, we naturally expect a full disclosure of an ontology's political potential. In Spanos's view, the liberal reaction to Stalin
"blinded" Americanists to the true ontological value of Moby-Dick and led us into political disaster. Interestingly enough, the optician who
crafted the lenses by which we might read Moby-Dick ontologically, with Ishmael as errant hero, was himself blind to that errancy; Heidegger
somehow missed his own point and became the authoritarian his philosophy would deny. This fact alone suggests the need for a deeper
ontological inquiry into the determinants in Melville's fiction (personality? sex? philosophy?) that cause individuals to mistake Heideggerian
fluidity and become an Ahab, or a Heidegger. To be fair, Spanos has written on Heidegger's nazism elsewhere, but his obscure and parenthetical
allusions to the issue in this book fail to take this matter to its fullest ontological extent. Spanos's style is a curious self-negation of his principal
ideas. It would be too easy to dismiss Spanos for his Heideggerian jargon and Derridean patois. I, for one, enjoy healthy licks of jargon; I love a
patois: they encourage a certain critical economy. But Spanos
uses language as a weapon to polarize readers.
He consigns past critics to tidy, benighted "post-humanist" camps and virtually ignores more recent
explorers of Melville's complex marginalizing rhetoric (including Barbara Johnson, Nina Bayrn, Lawrence Buell, Michael Rogin, Carolyn
Porter, John Samson, and myself).
This needless drawing of "boundaries" is precisely the opposite of
what Spanos (editor of bounhq 2, which seeks to break-and break again-critical boundaries) takes to be "errant" Ishmael's supreme
achievement. Spanos uses language to claim hegemony over readers even as he tries to disclose
Melville's counterhegemonic strategies. His sentences wage war against comprehension: it is
not simply that abstract subjects perform abstract acts upon abstract objects in his
sentences, but that these consmctions are nested within larger equivalent abstractions-
clause within clause--each interrupted by dashes into the contrapositive, each larded with
oxymorons and paradoxes. And when such a sentence achieves a period, Spanos begins again with "In other words. ..." But his
other words bring no relief. (Spanos's excessive use of mammoth, sometimes two-page block quotes would be offensive if not for the fact that
they provide an occasional Tahiti of literary excellence amidst the ocean of his prose.) One might think this mimicry of Heidegger's famously
dense style is a postmodern strategy to induce in readers an apt ontological crisis commensurate with Ishmael's condition, In fact, it
simply
erects a wall of language that circumscribes an academic domain alien to his ontological
project. This book is the second in a projected trilogy. Let's hope Spanos finds a more effective voice.
at spanos: cede the political

Spanos’s rejection of humanism marginalizes his theory and makes leftist coalition
impossible.

Perkin, 93 – Associate Professor of English at Saint Mary's University – 1993 (J. Russell
Perkin, Postmodern Culture 3.3, “Theorizing the Culture Wars,” Project Muse).

My final criticism is that Spanos, by his attempt to put all humanists into the same category and to
break totally with the tradition of humanism, isolates himself in a posture of ultraleftist purity that cuts
him off from many potential political allies, especially when, as I will note in conclusion, his practical recommendations for the
practical role of an adversarial intellectual seem similar to those of the liberal pluralists he attacks. He seems ill-informed about what goes on in the
everyday work of the academy, for instance, in the field of composition studies. Spanos laments the "unwarranted neglect" (202) of the work of Paulo
Freire, yet in reading composition and pedagogy journals over the last few years, I have noticed few thinkers who have been so consistently cited. Spanos
refers several times to the fact that the discourse of the documents comprising The Pentagon Papers was linked to the kind of discourse that first-year
composition courses produce (this was Richard Ohmann's argument); here again, however, Spanos is not up to date. For the last decade the field of
composition studies has been the most vigorous site of the kind of oppositional practices The End of Education recommends. The academy, in short, is
more diverse, more complex, more genuinely full of difference than Spanos allows, and it is precisely that difference that neoconservatives want to erase.
By seeking to separate out only the pure (posthumanist) believers, Spanos seems to me to ensure his
self-marginalization. For example, several times he includes pluralists like Wayne Booth and
even Gerald Graff in lists of "humanists" that include William Bennett, Roger Kimball and
Dinesh D'Souza. Of course, there is a polemical purpose to this, but it is one that is
counterproductive. In fact, I would even question the validity of calling shoddy and often
inaccurate journalists like Kimball and D'Souza with the title "humanist intellectuals." Henry
Louis Gates's final chapter contains some cogent criticism of the kind of position which
Spanos has taken. Gates argues that the "hard" left's opposition to liberalism is as mistaken as its
opposition to conservatism, and refers to Cornel West's remarks about the field of critical legal
studies, "If you don't build on liberalism, you build on air" (187). Building on air seems to me
precisely what Spanos is recommending.

Spanos’s theory has no real-world implications

Lewandowski, 94 - Associate Professor and Philosophy Program Coordinator at The


University of Central Missouri – 1994 (Joseph D. Lewandowsi, Philosophy and Social Criticism,
“Heidegger, literary theory and social criticism,” ed. David M. Rasmussen, P. 119)

Spanos rightly rejects the 'textuality' route in Heidegger and Criticism precisely because of its
totalizing and hypostatizing tendencies. Nevertheless, he holds on to a destructive hermeneutics
as disclosure. But as I have already intimated, disclosure alone cannot support a critical theory
oriented toward emancipation. I think a critical theory needs a less totalizing account of language, one
that articulates both the emphatic linguistic capacity to spontaneously disclose worlds - its innovative
'worlding' possibilities - and its less emphatic, but no less important, capacity to communicate,
solve problems in and criticize the world. The essential task of the social critic - and any literary
theory that wants to be critical - is to couple world disclosure with problem-solving, to
mediate between the extra-ordinary world of 'textuality' and the everyday world of 'texts'. In
this alternative route, literary theory may become the kind of emancipatory oriented critical
theory it can and should be.
at spanos: no alternative

Spanos does not sufficiently connect his genealogy to specific policy recommendations—the
alternative fails to influence the real world.

Lewandowski, 94 - Associate Professor and Philosophy Program Coordinator at The


University of Central Missouri – 1994 (Joseph D. Lewandowsi, Philosophy and Social Criticism,
“Heidegger, literary theory and social criticism,” ed. David M. Rasmussen, P. 115-116)

The point to be made here is that Heidegger's politics are not the only (or necessarily the
largest) obstacle to coupling him with critical theory. Hence much of Spanos's energetic
defense of Heidegger against his 'humanist detractors' (particularly in his defiant concluding
chapter, 'Heidegger, Nazism, and the "Repressive Hypothesis": The American Appropriation
of the Question') is misdirected. For as McCarthy rightly points out, 'the basic issues separating
critical theory from Heideggerean ontology were not raised post hoc in reaction to Heidegger's political
misdeeds but were there from the start. Marcuse formulated them in all clarity during his time in
Freiburg, when he was still inspired by the idea of a materialist analytic of Dasein' (p. 96,
emphasis added). In other words, Heidegger succumbs quite readily to an immanent
critique. Heidegger's aporias are not simply the result of his politics but father stem from the
internal limits of his questioning of the 'being that lets beings be', truth as disclosure, and
destruction of the metaphysical tradition, all of which divorce reflection from social practice
and thus lack critical perspective. Spanos, however, thinks Foucault can provide an alternative
materialist grounding for an emancipatory critical theory that would obviate the objections of
someone such as Marcuse. But the turn to Foucault is no less problematic than the original turn to
Heidegger. Genealogy is not critical in any real way. Nor can it tame or augment what Spanos calls
Heidegger's 'overdetermination of the ontological site'. Foucault's analysis of power, despite its
originality, is an ontology of power and not, as Spanos thinks, a 'concrete diagnosis' (p. 138) of power
mechanism. Thus it dramatizes, on a different level, the same shortcomings of Heidegger's
fundamental ontology. The 'affiliative relationship' (p. 138) that Spanos tries to develop
between Heidegger and Foucault in order to avoid the problem Marcuse faced simply cannot
work. Where Heidegger ontologizes Being, Foucault ontologizes power. The latter sees
power as a strategic and intentional but subjectless mechanism that 'endows itself' and
punches out 'docile bodies', whereas the former sees Being as that neutered term and no-
thing that calls us. Foucault (like Spanos) never works out how genealogy is emancipatory, or how
emancipation could be realized collectively by actual agents in the world. The 'undefined work of
freedom' the later Foucault speaks of in 'What Is Enlightenment?' remained precisely that in
his work.4 The genealogy of power is as much a hypostatization as is fundamental ontology:
such hypostatizations tend to institute the impossibility of practical resistance or freedom. In
short, I don't think the Heideggerian 'dialogue' with Foucault sufficiently tames or complements
Heidegger, nor does it make his discourse (or Foucault's, for that matter) any more emancipatory or
oppositional. Indeed, Foucault's reified theory of power seems to undermine the very notion
of 'Opposition', since there is no subject (but rather a 'docile' body) to do the resisting (or, in
his later work, a privatized self to be self-made within a regime of truth), nor an object to be
resisted. As Said rightly points out in The World, the Text, and the Critic, 'Foucault more or
less eliminates the central dialectic of opposed forces that still underlies modern society' (p.
221, emphasis added). Foucault's theory of power is shot through with false empirical analyses, yet
Spanos seems to accept them as valid diagnoses. Spanos fails to see, to paraphrase Said's criticisms
of Foucault's theory of power, that power is neither a spider's web without the spider, nor a smoothly
functioning diagram (p. 22l).
at spanos: no truth disempowering

Spanos’s rejection of objective truth removes any way to measure the theory’s
emancipatory effects.

Lewandowski, 94 - Associate Professor and Philosophy Program Coordinator at The


University of Central Missouri – 1994 (Joseph D. Lewandowsi, Philosophy and Social Criticism,
“Heidegger, literary theory and social criticism,” ed. David M. Rasmussen, P. 117-118)

But radicalized or not, Spanos's trading of any possibility of 'determinate truth' for Heideggerian
disclosure as eventing of truth/untruth robs his critical theory of the necessary yardstick needed to
measure 'emancipation'. Heidegger's disclosure is a cryptonormative truth; it is an event before
which any critical judgment necessarily fails. Disclosure is not a process of inquiry, but
rather a revealing/concealing that befalls or overtakes us. In his eagerness to draw out the
enabling features and 'post'-humanist dimension of Heidegger's disclosure, Spanos fails to see the
inevitable and internal limits to truth as disclosure. Gadamer encounters similar problems, despite
his keen insights, when he holds on to a Heideggerian disclosure that too often undermines
the power of critical reflection. And the postmodern Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo
encounters a related problem when he attempts to take leave of modernity and proclaim a
liberating postmodernity via Heidegger's disclosure. But while a purely aesthetic theory
interested in 'textuality' can quite justifiably be grounded in truth as disclosure (as American
deconstruction or Vattimo's il pensiero debole is), a truly critical theory interested in
emancipation simply cannot: some types of 'emancipation' are false and need to be
rejected. Texts may very well 'disclose' worlds in the same way that, say, the Greek temple
does for Heidegger. But a genuinely critical theory needs to be able to say what worlds are better or
worse for actual agents in actual worlds - a need, I might add, that Spanos is constantly aware of
and typifies in his denunciation of American imperialism in Vietnam (and elsewhere) in
Heidegger and Criticism.
at spanos: humanism good

Humanist reforms are more effective than totalizing critique.

Good, 01 - Professor of English at the University of British Columbia – 2001 (Graham Good,
Humanism betrayed, P. 7)

Liberal humanism, in my view, offers a more cogent critique of capitalist society because it generally
accepts capitalism as an economic system that is more productive and efficient than the alternatives. Yet
liberal humanism seeks to limit capitalism's social and cultural effects by preserving certain spheres -
politics, art, education - as having a limited autonomy from the imperatives of the market. This attitude of
partial acceptance and partial critique is much more realistic and effective, for example, in protesting the
commercialization of the university, or in preserving artistic standards, than the total rejection of "late-
capitalist society" that is common among academic pseudoradicals. Total opposition is more readily co-
opted by the system because it forms a mirror image. If the system is all-powerful, how can Theorists
explain the possibility or acceptability of their own opposition to it? This problem is usually evaded;
but when it is confronted, a doctrine of "necessary complicity" is often evoked. If you
disbelieve in your own autonomy as an individual, you must be liable in dark moments to
suspect that you are actually working for the system. Resistance to the system is part of the
system. Total rejection flips into total acceptance and opens the way for a personal exploitation of the
academic system. Political correctness covers up careerist realpolitik.
at spanos: vietnam good

Communism was spreading in Vietnam – it had to be stopped.


Podhoretz, 82 – adviser to the US Information Agency and laureate of the Presidential
Medal of Freedom – 1982 (Norman Podhoretz, Why We Were in Vietnam, P. 11)

Indeed, for many people whose original support of American intervention in Vietnam had
been based on memories of Munich, Vietnam not only replaced it but canceled it out. To
such people - the lesson of Munich had been that an expansionist totalitarian power could not be
stopped by giving in to its demands and that limited resistance at an early stage was the only way to avoid
full-scale war later on. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, returning to England from the conference in Munich at which Nazi Germany's claims
over Czechoslovakia had been satisfied, triumphantly declared that he was bringing with him "peace in our time." But as almost everyone would later
agree, what he had actually brought with him was the-certainty of a world war to come-a war that Winston Churchill, the leading critic of the policy of
, if a line had been drawn against Hitler
appeasement consummated at Munich, would later call "unnecessary." According to Churchill

from the beginning, he would have been forced to back away, and the sequence of events that led
inexorably to the outbreak of war would have been interrupted. Obviously, Vietnam differed in many
significant ways from Central Europe in the late 1930s. But there was one great similarity that
overrode these differences in the minds of many whose understanding of such matters had
been shaped by the memory of Munich. "I'm not the village idiot," Dean Rusk, who was
Secretary of State first under Kennedy and then under Johnson, once exploded. "I know
Hitler was an Austrian and Mao is a Chinese…But that is common between the two situations
is - - the phenomenon -of aggression." In-other words, in Vietnam now as in central Europe then,
a totalitarian political force - Nazism then, Communism now-was attempting to expand the area under its
control. A relatively limited degree of resistance then would have precluded the need for massive
resistance afterward. This was the lesson of Munich, and it had already been applied successfully in
Western Europe in the forties and Korea in the fifties. Surely it was applicable to Vietnam.

Vietnam was crucial for American hegemony and democracy promotion.


Podhoretz, 82 – adviser to the US Information Agency and laureate of the Presidential
Medal of Freedom – 1982 (Norman Podhoretz, Why We Were in Vietnam, P. 19-20)
Thus, on June 1, 1956, two years after delivering Schlesinger's favorite speech, Kennedy spoke before the American Friends of Vietnam on "America's
Stake in Vietnam." By this time the French had been defeated, and Vietnam had been partitioned under a set of agreements negotiated in Geneva, with a
Communist regime under Ho Chi Minh established in the North and a non-Communist government under Ngo Dinh Diem set up in the South. According to
the Geneva agreements, Vietnam was to be unified under a government to be elected in 1956, but Kennedy declared that "neither the United States nor
Free Vietnam [was] ever going to be a party to an election obviously stacked and subverted in advance" by the Communists of the North and their agents
To Kennedy, Vietnam represented "the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast
and allies in the South.

Asia," the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike. Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the
Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia . . . would be threatened if the red tide of Communism
overflowed into Vietnam. " This was the first of the four reasons Kennedy g ve for "America's
stake in Vietnam." The second was that Vietnam represented "a proving ground for democracy in
Asia…the alternative to Communist dictatorship. If this democratic experience fails, if some one million
refugees have fled the totalitarianism of the North only to find neither freedom nor security in the South,
then weakness, not strength, will characterize the meaning of democracy in the minds of still more
Asians." It was, Kennedy said, an experiment we could not "afford to permit to fail." The third
reason was that Vietnam, in addition to representing, a test of democracy in Asia, also
represented "a test of American responsibility and determination" there. Characterizing the United
States as the "godparents" of "little Vietnam" and Vietnam as "our offspring" ("We presided
at its birth, we gave assistance to its life, we have helped to shape its future"), Kennedy
concluded that if Vietnam were to fall "victim to any of the perils that threaten its existence-
Communism, political anarchy, poverty and the rest," we would be held responsible and our prestige in
Asia would "sink to a new low." Finally (and most prophetically), America's stake in Vietnam
was "a very selfish one" in the sense that "American lives and American dollars" would inevitably
have to be expended if "the apparent security which has increasingly characterized that area I under the
leadership of President Diem" were to be jeopardized.

at spanos: vietnam good

Containment was necessary to prevent nuclear war with Russia

Podhoretz, 82 – adviser to the US Information Agency and laureate of the Presidential


Medal of Freedom – 1982 (Norman Podhoretz, Why We Were in Vietnam, P. 22-23)

The answer was unclear. On the one hand, the most authoritative and highly articulated
public statement of the assumptions behind containment, the famous article by the then
Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, George F. Kennan (published in
1947 in Foreign Affairs, under the pseudonym "Mr. X"), could only be read to imply that in
principle at least containment was global in scope. "The main element," said Kennan, "of any
United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant
containment of Russian expansive tendencies by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a
series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and maneuvers
of Soviet policy.” Nor did Kennan leave any doubt as to the relation between local Communist
parties and the Soviet Union: the duty of "all good Communists" everywhere in the world, he
wrote, "is the support and promotion of Soviet power, as defined in Moscow." l 2 Yet on the
other hand, three years later, Kennan's boss, Truman's Secretary of State, Dean Acheson,
seemed to suggest that the United States did not regard the independence of South Korea as a vital
interest." This the Soviet Union, the Chinese, and the North Koreans evidently all took as a signal that the
forcible extension of Communist rule to the South would not be met by the application of American
counterforce. It seems unlikely that Acheson, who as much as any one individual was the
father of containment-"present," as he put it in the title of his memoirs, 'bt the creationw-
really intended to send such a signal. But whether there was a misunderstanding here or a
lastminute change of mind, the invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950, triggered an immediate
American response. Only two days after the outbreak of the war, President Truman declared
that "the attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that 4 Communism has passed beyond the
use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war." l4 Not only
was the United States now extending the principles of containment from Europe to Asia, then; it was
going even further in practice.
A2: Heidegger

Heidegger’s alternative results in Nazism to avoid the problems of the world it presents
Zizek 99[Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology, pg 21]
The standard story about Heidegger is that he accomplished his Kehre (turn) after becoming aware of how the original project of Being and Time
leads hack to transcendental subjectivism: owing to the unreflected remainder of subjectivism (decisionism, etc.), Heidegger let
himself be seduced into his Nazi engagement; when, however, he became aware of how he had burnt his fingers’ with it,
he cleared up the remainders of subjectivism and developed the idea of the historical-epochal character of Being itself. . . One is tempted to invert
this standard story: there is a kind of ~vanishing mediator’ between Heidegger I and Heidegger II, a
position of radicalized subjectivity coinciding with its opposite that is, reduced to an empty
gesture, the impossible intersection between the ‘decisionism’ of Heidegger I and his late
‘fatalism’ (the event of Being ‘takes place’ in man, who serves as its shepherd . . .). Far from being the ‘practical consequence’ of this
radicalized subjectivity, Heidegger’s Nazi engagement was a desperate attempt to avoid it. . . . In other words,
what Heidegger later dismissed as the remainder of the subjectivist transcendental approach in Being and Time is what he should have stuck to.
Heidegger’s ultimate failure is not that he remained stuck in the horizon of transcendental
subjectivity, but that he abandoned this horizon all too quickly, before thinking out all its
inherent possibilities. Nazism was not a political expression of the ‘nihilist, demoniac potential
of modern subjectivity’ but, rather, its exact opposite: a desperate attempt to avoid this potential.
Heidegger’s Nazism can’t be separated from his philosophy Thiele 03[Leslie, Professor of Political
Science at the University of Florida. “The Ethics and Politics of Narrative” Foucault and Heidegger: Critical
Encounters] Heidegger was a Nazi and a rather unrepentant one at that. Some suggest
Heidegger’s Nazism cannot be separated from his philosophy, that indeed the former follows from the latter. The
argument, in short, is that Heidegger’s political biography pretty well tells the whole story. This position has been
rearticulated periodically since the end of the Second World War, each time creating something of an academic row. To be sure, the story
of Heidegger’s life does not well illustrate an education in sound moral and political judgment,
except perhaps as an example of a lesson left unlearned. Yet the story that Heidegger himself tells about human life, about human being in
history, can do much to cultivate moral and political judgment. I assert this despite insightful critiques of Heidegger that accuse him of ignoring
and eliding phronesis as human potentiality. My argument, then, is not that Heidegger’s work explicitly celebrates prudence, but that his
philosophical narrative facilitates its cultivation.
A2: Heidegger

Heidegger’s alternative can never yield positive change – it tips the balances toward
dogmatic authoritarianism
Thiele 03[Leslie, Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. “The Ethics and Politics of Narrative” Foucault and Heidegger:
Critical Encounters]

The pursuit of knowledge continues unabated for the skeptic. Yet it proceeds with a suspicious eye. There are inherent limitations toand a price to pay for-the pursuit
of knowledge. Charles Scott describes Foucault's efforts in this regard: "Far from the skepticism that argues that nothing is really knowable ... genealogies embody a
sense of the historical limits that define our capacities for knowing and believing. Things are known. But they are known in ways that have considerable social and
cultural costs."" Both Heidegger and Foucault maintain[s] that there is no legitimate basis for the radical skeptic's
conviction that knowledge is impossible or unworthy of pursuit. This sort of skepticism, Heidegger
states, consists merely in an "addiction to doubt."? The skeptical nature of political philosophical
thought, in contrast, is grounded in the imperative of endless inquiry. The point for Heidegger and Foucault is to inquire not in
order to sustain doubt, but to doubt that one might better sustain inquiry. At the same time, inquiry is tempered with a sensibility of the
ethico-political costs of any "knowledge" that is gained. Doing political philosophy of this sort
might be likened to walking on a tightrope. If vertigo is experienced, a precarious balance may
be lost. Falling to one side leaves one mired in apathy, cynicism, and apoliticism. This results
when skeptical inquiry degenerates into a radical skepticism, an addictive doubt that denies the
value of (the search for) knowledge and undermines the engagements of collective life, which
invariably demand commitment (based on tentatively embraced knowledge). Falling to the other
side of the tightrope leaves one mired in dogmatic belief or blind activism. Authoritarian
ideologies come to serve as stable foundations, or a reactive iconoclasm leads to irresponsible
defiance. Apathy, cynicism, and apoliticism, on the one side, and dogmatic authoritarianism or
reactive iconoclasm, on the other, are the dangerous consequences of losing one's balance. These
states of mind and their corresponding patterns of behavior relieve the vertigo of political philosophical inquiry, but at a prohibitive cost. It has been argued that
Foucault did not so much walk the tightrope of political philosophy as straddle it, at times leaving his readers hopeless and cynical, at times egging them on to an
irresponsible monkeywrenching. For some, the Foucauldian flight from the ubiquitous powers of normalization undermines any defensible normative position.
Hopelessness accompanies lost innocence. Cynicism or nihilism become the only alternatives for those who spurn all ethical and political foundations. By refusing to
paint a picture of a better future, Foucault is said to undercut the impetus to struggle. Others focus on Foucault's development of a "tool kit" whose contents are to be
employed to deconstruct the apparatuses of modern power. Yet the danger remains that Foucault's "hyperactive" tool-kit users will be unprincipled activists, Luddites
at best, terrorists at worst. In either case, Foucault provides no overarching theoretical vision. Indeed, Foucault is upfront about his rejection of ethical and political
theories and ideals. "I think that to imagine another system is to extend our participation in the present system," Foucault stipulates. "Reject theory and all forms of
general discourse. This need for theory is still part of the system we reject."!" One might worry whether action is meant to take the place of thought. If Foucault
Heidegger obviously stumbled off it. In the 1930S, Heidegger
occasionally straddles the tightrope of political philosophy,
enclosed himself within an authoritarian system of thought grounded in ontological reifications
of a "folk" and its history. Heidegger's historicization of metaphysics led him to believe that a new philosophic epoch
was about to be inaugurated. It implicitly called for a philosophical Fuehrer who could put an end to two millennia
of ontological forgetting. The temptation for Heidegger to identify himself as this intellectual
messiah and to attach himself to an authoritarian social and political movement capable of
sustaining cultural renewal proved irresistible. Whether Heidegger ever fully recovered his balance has been the topic of much
discussion. Some argue that Heidegger's prerogative for political philosophizing was wholly
undermined by his infatuation with folk destiny, salvational gods, and political authority. 12
A2: Heidegger

The alternative will destroy ethics and only cause suffering


Thiele 03[Leslie, Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. “The Ethics and Politics of Narrative” Foucault and Heidegger:
Critical Encounters]

The complementarity of Heidegger's and Foucault's accounts of modern demons and saving graces should not be too surprising. Foucault's
indebtedness to and fascination with Heidegger is well documented.' My intent in this chapter is neither to focus on the complementarity of these
visions, nor to outline the striking philosophical and political differences that remain in Heidegger's and Foucault's work. Rather, I attempt to
make a claim for what at first blush might appear a lost cause. Despite their originality and intellectual brilliance, Heidegger
and
Foucault are often castigated as ethico-political dead-ends. They are criticized for their
unwillingness or inability to supply the grounds for sound moral and political judgment.
Heidegger's embrace of Nazism, in particular, is frequently identified as proof positive that he has
little, if anything, to contribute to the ethico-political domain. The standard charge is that his
highly abstract form of philosophizing, empyrean ontological vantage point, and depreciation of
"das Man" undermines moral principle and political responsibility. From his philosophical heights, it is suggested,
Heidegger remained blind to human sufferings, ethical imperatives, and political practicalities.
He immunized himself against the moral sensitivity, compassion, and prudence that might have
dissuaded him from endorsing and identifying with a brutal regime. Those who embrace his
philosophy, critics warn, court similar dangers. In like fashion, it is held that Foucault dug himself into an equally deep,
though ideologically relocated, moral and political hole. Genealogical studies left Foucault convinced of the ubiquity of the disciplinary matrix.
There would be no final liberation. The sticky, normalizing webs of power were inescapable and a "hermeneutics of suspicion" quashed any hope
of gaining the ethical and political high ground.? As such, critics charge, Foucault stripped from us all reason for resistance to unjust power and
all hope of legitimating alternative ethico-political institutions. In a Foucauldian world of panoptic power that shapes wants, needs, and selves,
critics worry, one would have no justification for fighting and nothing worth fighting for.' In sum, Heidegger's and Foucault's critics suggest that
both thinkers undermine the foundations of the practical wisdom needed to ethically and politically navigate late modernity. Despite the brilliance
and originality of their thought, arguably the greatest philosopher and the greatest social and political theorist of the twentieth century remain
ungrounded ethically and divorced from political responsibility. Critics
argue that Heidegger's statements and actions
endorsing and defending Nazi authoritarianism and Foucault's radical anarchism, as displayed in
his discussions of popular justice with Maoists, demonstrate that neither thinker is capable of
supplying us with the resources for sound moral and political judgment.
A2: Heidegger

In the context of the environment it is impossible to do nothing – the environment is


dynamic and sustainable strategies for dealing with its changes must be developed
Bowman ‘01 (D.M.J.S., Northern Territory University, Australia, 2001
Journal of Biogeography, Vol 28, No. 5, Future Eating and Country Keeping:what role has environmental history in the management of
biodiversity?JSTOR)
Land managers can use the enormous complexity of landscape change and the absence of clear
goals as an excuse not to act. But this strategy ignores a basic lesson from environmental history
that it is impossible to ‘do nothing’ in dynamic systems. I suggest that the most basic goal of land
management should be to minimize the rate of species extinction, particularly in largely intact landscapes and to
maintain or restore ecosystem services, such as potable water, in degraded landscapes. In this regard a historical
perspective provides .in important context to detect marked declines in species populations and
ecosystem function. For example, the widespread decline of granivorous bird species (Franklin, 1999) and the
population crash of the endemic conifer (lslli:ris sn:rarroprca R.T. Baker & HG. Sin. (Bowman & Panton, 1993) is
clear evidence that northern Australian tropical savamsas are undergoing rapid evolutionary adjustment in response
to ecological changes initiated by European colonization, The unpotability of many inland waters and collapse of
native fish populations because of eutrophication and salinity dramatically signals the unsustainability of past and
present agriculture practices in southern Australia (State of Environment Advisory Council. 1996.) CONCLUSION
The description and explanation of environmental change is of critical importance for land
management and the conservation of biodiversiry. However, practitioners of environmental
history must accept that their studies are politically charged and that their findings are bounded
by great uncertainty. It is inevitable that conflicting interpretations of essentially the same data will arise
because authors have different value systems. Dovers (2000. p. X) sensibly advises scientists and historians that they
should enter debates about environmental history with their ‘eyes wide open and other parts of their anatomy well
covered’. Many of these tensions will he most apparent in popular works that have a tendency to gloss-over
uncertainties and over- generalize in order to make psychologically saris’ing stories. Some stories can be so
powerhil that they assume a life of their own. Rather than attempting to quash these stories, I suggest it is more
productive for ecologists to harness them to justify subsequent enquiry and to bolster land
management interventions. Although in the short term dogmatically interpreted stories can stifle
public land management debates and frustrate the incorporation of new research findings, in the
long term they will be replaced by new stories to accommodate changing knowledge and value
systems. In any case, on a practical level the rigid application of any single view across the diversity of landscapes
is doomed to failure. just as traditional ecological knowledge enables indigenous people to adapt to
particular environments I am confidetit that appropriate stories will he continually rehned to
bolster ecologically sustainable management of modern landscapes. Regardless of the
ideological struggles amongst different value systems, eventually natural selection will see the
triumph and ecological ‘fit’ stories over ecological flawed ones. Isn’t that Darwin’s law?
A2: Hedegger

Even philosophers cant agree with your alt – they cant decide on whether the ontological
requires us to believe in inherent values
ZIMMERMAN 2K2 (Michael E., Eco-Phenomenology: Back to the Earth Itself)

Philosophers have not yet agreed whether one can successfully identify and defend any property—
ontical or ontological—which would require us to accord "inherent worth" even to humans, much
less to animals and plants, not to mention the ecosystems, mountains, and rivers regarded as so worthy by
many environmentalists. Heidegger's brief accounts of the "dignity" of living beings usually focus on
their Being as physis. But for him, physis somehow means both the manifesting (Being) of beings within
the clearing, and the process whereby an organism unfolds its own structure in the life-process. In my
view, Heidegger never adequately reconciles these two aspects of physis.34 Critics charge that by
virtually equating them, Heidegger ends up in a kind of "ontological aestheticism," which celebrates the
beauty of the self-manifesting of beings at the expense of their merely "ontical" characteristics.35
Don’t hole your breath for their Alt – in the meantime do the plan
Zimmerman 2004, Pf Philosophy, Tulane, 2K4 (Michael E., Nature Revisited: New Essays in Environmental Philosophy, edited by
Bruce Foltz)

Yet, environmentalists often adopt uncritically postmodern theory’s totalizing critique of


modernity, which invites naïve celebration of supposedly eco-friendly premodern societies, the
shortcomings of which are conveniently-ignored. The same critical buzz saw that undermines
modernity’s anthropocentric institutions, moreover, calls into question such crucial
environmental concepts as wilderness, ecosystems, and even nature. Hence, environmentalists often
contend that postmodern theory affirms a subtle kind of anthropocentrism, according to which nature is merely a social construct
arising through human language, culture, and practices. A constructive postmodern theory, however, will integrate the
hermeneutics of suspicion, the critique of foundationalism, contemporary cosmology, the noble achievements of modernity, and
empirically-grounded spiritual insights in a way that contribute to more sophisticated environmentalisms, the kind that
skillfullypromote the well-being of all human and non-human life, as well as the habitats that sustain them. It would be
unwise , however, to hold one’s breath while waiting for widespread acceptance of postmodern
cosmologies and environmentalisms. At first, they will prove attractive primarily to some
members of educated elites in developed societies. This fact, however, should not be a source of
discouragement. As Nietzsche pointed out, the work of philosophers is often untimely. In the meantime, a great deal
can be accomplished on environmental fronts with the relatively anthropocentric and modernist
(free market and regulatory) approaches that appeal to the large majority of Americans and Europeans. It
may be more difficult to environmentalism to those in premodern societies or in societies that are in the process of adopting their
own versions of modern concepts, practices, and institutions. North American history during the past few
centuries shows that people are often more focused on improving their economic status than they
are on caring for the natural environment.
at heidegger: nazi

Heidegger’s philosophy is Nazism—the rejection of technology and re-connection with Being


offered by National Socialism fit with his arguments.

Wolin, 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin, Heidegger’s Children, P. 32)

To say that Arendt's explanation was the more successful, despite its flaws, is hardly
controversial. In many respects, Heidegger's own narrative was simply delusory, a
retrospectively contrived psychological prophylaxis against his own enthusiastic support for
the regime. In Heidegger's view, everything that came to pass-the war, the extermination camps, the
German dictatorship (which he never renounced per se)-was merely a monumental instance of the
"forgetting of Being," for which the Germans bore no special responsibility. After the war, he went so far
as to insist that German fascism was unique among Western political movements in that, for one shining
moment, it had come close to mastering the vexatious "relationship between planetary technology and
modern man." In Heidegger's estimation, therein lay the "inner truth and greatness of National
Socialism." But ultimately "these people [the Nazis] were far too limited in their thinking," he
claimed. Pathetically, Heidegger was left to replay in his own mind the way things might have been
had Hitler (instead of party hacks) heeded the call of Being as relayed by Heidegger himself. Nazism
might thereby have realized its genuine historical potential. Fortunately, the world was spared the
outcome of this particular thought experiment.

Heidegger claimed that Nazism was at the heart of his philosophy and he was personally,
deeply anti-Semitic.

Wolin, 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin, Heidegger’s Children, P. 10-11)

In May 1933, Heidegger sent a telltale telegram to Hitler expressing solidarity with recent
Gleichschaltung legislation. There were instances of political denunciation and personal
betrayal. Moreover, Heidegger remained a dues-paying member of the Nazi Party until the
regime's bitter end. He continued to open his classes with the so-called "German greeting"
of "Heil Hitler!" In 1936, he confided to Lowith that his 'partisanship for National Socialism lay in the
essence of his philosophy"; it derived, he claimed, from the concept of "historicity" (which stressed the
importance of authentic historical commitment) in Being and Time.'" As the rector of Freiburg
University, Heidegger was charged with enforcing the anti-Semitic clauses of the so-called
"Law for the Preservation of a Permanent Civil Service," which effectively banned Jews from all
walks of government service, including university life. Despite his later disclaimers, in his capacity
as rector Heidegger faithfully executed these laws, even though it meant banning Husserl, to
whom he owed so much, from the philosophy faculty library. In the eyes of Hannah Arendt, this
action, which had affected the septuagenarian phenomenologist so adversely, made
Heidegger a "potential murderer."" At the time, Husserl complained bitterly in a letter to a
former student about Heidegger's growing anti-Semitism: "In recent years [he] has allowed his
anti-Semitism to come increasingly to the fore, even in his dealings with his groups of devoted Jewish
students," observes Husserl. "The events of the last few weeks," he continued (referring to
Heidegger's joining the Nazi Party as well as the recent university ban on Jews), "have struck
at the deepest roots of my existence."'" In 1929, Heidegger had already complained that
Germany was faced with a stark alternative: "the choice between sustaining our German
intellectual life through a renewed infusion of genuine, native teachers and educators, or
abandoning it once and for all to growing Jewish influence [Verjudung]-in both the wider and
narrow sense."'

at heidegger: nazi

Heidegger’s Nazism is inexcusable – his own philosophy stressed that thought can’t be
divorced from action.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 33-34)

Although an understanding of Heidegger's political thought should in no way be reduced to


the concrete political choices made by the philosopher in the 1930s, neither is it entirely
separable therefrom. And while the strategy of his apologists has been to dissociate the
philosophy from the empirical person, thereby suggesting that Heidegger's Nazism was an
unessential aberration in the hope of exempting the philosophy from political taint, this strategy will not
wash for several reasons. To begin with, Heidegger's philosophy itself would seem to rule out the
artificial, traditional philosophical separation between thought and action. In truth, much of Being and
Time is concerned with overcoming the conventional philosophical division between theoretical and
practical reason; a fact that is evident above all in the "pragmatic" point of departure of the analytic of
Dasein: "Being-in- the-world" rather than the Cartesian "thinking substance." More importantly,
though, what is perhaps the central category of Heidegger's existential ontology-the category of
"authenticity''- automatically precludes such a facile separation between philosophical outlook and
concrete life-choices. As a work of fundamental ontology, Being and Time aims at delineating the essential, existential determinants of human
Being-in-the-world. Heidegger refers to these structures (e.g., "care," "fallenness," "thrownness," "Being-toward-death") as Existenzialien. The category of
authenticity demands that the ontological structures of Being and Time receive practical or ontic fulfillment; that is, the realization of these categorial determinations in actual, concrete life
contexts is essential to the coherence of the Heideggerian project. This conclusion follows of necessity from the nature of the category of authenticity itself: it would be
Authenticity requires that ontic
nonsensical to speak of an "authentic Dasein" that was unrealized, existing in a state of mere potentiality.

or practical choices and involvements-concrete decisions, engagements, and political commitments-


become an essential feature of an authentic existence.

Heidegger’s Nazism was a logical consequence of his refusal of ethics.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 65)

The consequences of this decisionistic "ethical vacuum," coupled with the prejudicial nature of
Heidegger's conservative revolutionary degradation of the modern life-world, suggests an undeniable
theoretical cogency behind Heidegger's ignominious life-choice of 1933. In its rejection of "moral
convention-which qua convention, proves inimical to acts of heroic bravado-decisionism shows
itself to be distinctly nihilistic vis-a-vis the totality of inherited ethical paradigms.118F or this
reason, the implicit political theory of Being and Time-and in this respect, it proves a
classical instance of the German conservative-authoritarian mentality of the period-remains
devoid of fundamental "liberal convictions" that might have served as an ethicopolitical
bulwark against the enticement of fascism. Freed of such bourgeois qualms, the National
Socialist movement presented itself as a plausible material "filling" for the empty vessel of authentic
decision and its categorical demand for existentiell-historical content. The summons toward an "authentic
historical destiny" enunciated in Being and Time was thus provided with an ominously appropriate
response by Germany's National Revolution. The latter, in effect, was viewed by Heidegger as 'the ontic
fulfillment of the categorical demands of "historicity": it was Heidegger's own choice of a "hero," a
"destiny," and a "community."
at heidegger: nazi

Heidegger’s Dasein was easily translated into a German Dasein and an excuse for
nationalism.

Wolin, 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin, Heidegger’s Children, P. 184-185)

What is troubling about Heidegger's standpoint is not that he judges but the basis on which he
distinguishes. His lock-step identification with the "German ideology" risks settling in advance all
questions of relative historical merit. "Capitalism," "peasant wars," "Negroes"-once the world has been
neatly divided into "historical" and "unhistorical" peoples and events, history's gray zones fade from
view. That the "Volk" that, in Heidegger's view, possessed "historicity" in the greatest abundance-the
Germans-had as of 1934 abolished political pluralism, civil liberties, and the rule of law and was in the
process of consolidating one of the most brutal dictatorships of all time, cannot help but raise additional
doubts about the "existential" grounds of Heidegger's discernment. Here, one could reverse the terms and claim that
Germany of the 1930s suffered from an excess of historicity. Conversely, the historical events and peoples that Heidegger slights could readily be
incorporated into progressive historical narratives." That he fails to perceive these prospects is attributable to his renunciation of "cosmopolitan history"
and his concomitant embrace of a philosophically embellished version of German particularism or socalled Sondenveg. From an epistemological
standpoint, Heidegger's difficulties derive from his decision to base ethical and political judgments on factical rather than normative terms; that is, from
. The more one reconsiders Heidegger's philosophy of the
the Jemeinigkeit or concrete particularity of German Existenz

1930s, the more one sees that one of its guiding leitmotifs is a refashioning of Western metaphysics in
keeping with the demands of the Germanic Dasein." He consistently rejects the "universals" that in the
Western tradition occupied a position of preeminence in favor of ethnocentric notions derived from the
annals of Germanic Being-in-the-world. The example of the airplane that brings the Fuhrer to
Mussolini" is merely a paradigmatic instance of a more general trend.

Heidegger thought that labor camps could be used to attack modernity.

Wolin, 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin, Heidegger’s Children, P. 191)

Heidegger's concern with the importance of labor in the new Reich was a matter of philosophical as well
as political conviction. A longtime critic of the senescence and disorientation of German
university life, he was of the opinion that the labor camps would serve to reintegrate knowledge with the
life of the German Volk, whose simplicity and lack of sophistication he revered.*6A s Lijwith
remarked, Heidegger "failed to notice the destructive radicalism of the whole [Nazi]
movement and the petty bourgeois character of all its 'strength-through-joy' institutions,
because he was a radical petty bourgeois himself."*' Heidegger, who hailed from the provincial
lower classes, and who, despite his manifest brilliance, was denied a university chair until the age of
thirty-nine, found much he could agree with in Nazism's dismantling of the old estates and commitment to
upward social mobility." In his view, the value of labor camps as a vehicle of ideological reeducation for
politically reticent scholars could hardly be overestimated.
at heidegger: humanism key to stop nazism

Their K has it backwards—ethical humanism is key to criticizing Nazism.

Ferry and Renaut, 90 – Professor of Political Science at the Sorbonne and Professor of
Philosophy at Nantes – 1990 (Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, Heidegger and Modernity, trans.
Franklin Philip, P. 107-108)

Whatever is true of this debate, which, it will be readily agreed, here remains open, one
thing is still certain. Heidegger is not close to Nazism because he remained a prisoner of humanism,
nor because of his deliberations about authenticity and the distinguishing property of man.
For Heidegger, the distinguishing property of man is always transcendence, and on the contrary, it was in
the name of this transcendence and thus because he was still a humanist that Heidegger could criticize the
biologizing reifications of Nazi anti-Semitism. More generally, it is very much in the name of
humanism thus understood, in the name of that strictly human capacity to wrench oneself free of
natural determinations, that a criticism of the racist imaenation (in the Lacanian sense) is possible.
When, however, Heidegger makes the destiny of Being the destiny of man, when he thus
returns to the antihumanist idea of a traditional code (if only that of the history of Being), he
founders in inauthenticity, and his fall makes possible the return of the nationalistic myth
and the fanatical hatred of modernity.
at heidegger: ethics too vague

Heidegger’s “call of conscience” is hopelessly vague.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 40)

In the thought of Heidegger, it is the category of the "call of conscience" (Ruf des
Gewissens) that paves the way for authentic decision or Entschlossenheit, thereby elevating
Dasein above the fallenness of the They. Yet, the discussion of the "call of conscience" is
disappointingly vague. When the question is posed as to whence the call emanates, the specific content of
the call, or how it might be recognized, we are provided with only the most roundabout and tenuous hints.
Indeed, Heidegger seems to treat the nebulousness of the call as a virtue. In part, this
evasiveness is an honest reflection of the requirements of existential analysis, which should in principle
bear no responsibility for supplying "existentiell" particulars. For were specific "ontic" directives
provided, the whole question of the "decision" at issue-the Wozu of resolve-would become
superfluous. In a very real sense, it is not up to fundamental ontology to make our choices
for us. It is "we" who must decide, in accordance with what Heidegger is fond of calling our
"ownmost potentiality-for- Being." Nevertheless, these caveats should by no means exonerate
existential analysis from the charge of vacuity or insufficient concreteness.
at heidegger: unconcealment bad

The alternative of treating truth as unconcealment makes it impossible to judge true from
false—this is the sort of error that allowed Hitler to join the Nazis.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 121-122)

Ultimately Heidegger's theory of truth succumbs to the same problem of criterionlessness


that was at issue in the decisionistic approach to human action in Being and Time. On the
one hand, Heidegger seems at first to be claiming that unconcealment is merely an
ontological precondition of truth-which is, as far as it goes, certainly a plausible and
valuable insight. In point of fact, however, the nature of truth is conceptualized in terms of
the dialectic of concealment and unconcealment that occurs within the phenomenological
horizon that has been opened up by a work, a world, etc. In the end, his thoroughgoing
antisubjectivism, which is radicalized in the "Turn," results in a type of ineffectual positivism:
objects (beings) are no longer to be "judged" (for this would be to subject them to subjective
criteria, or, worse still, to "values"), but "disclosed" or "unveiled." Yet, once the lines between
truth and error become blurred, the distinction between authentic and inauthentic unveiling essentially
evaporates: both are victimized by error in an unspecifiable way. Heidegger could conceivably
redeem his theory of truth by an attempt, however minimal, to distinguish a true from an
untrue act of unconcealment. A true unconcealment would thus unveil a being "essentially"
or as it is "in itself." But no such distinction between genuine and non-genuine unveiling is
forthcoming in his work. Instead, error (Irrnis) is paradoxically deemed a mode of unconcealment
that is valid in its own right and thus "equiprimordial" with truth. Or again, Heidegger might have
claimed that unconcealment presents a type of privileged or exemplary disclosure of
beings; and judgments of truth, in turn, could have been predicated on this exemplary mode
of disclosure. But no such claim is made. Instead, all we are left with is an unexalted,
positivistic affirmation of "givenness," "beings in their immediacy," "disclosure as such." In
this respect, Heidegger's theory of Seinsgeschichte regresses behind both the Husserlian
and the ancient Greek conceptions of truth. For in both cases, truth resides not in the
"givenness" of beings as such, but in a supramundane or superior mode of givenness?* As
a result of his obsession with providing a "topography" of truth-with defining the clearing or
openness as a sufficient condition for the appearance of truth as "untruth"-to the wholesale
exclusion of all traditional predicative considerations, Heidegger lays himself open to
extreme judgmental incapacities. And it was this philosophically induced lack of discernment
that would lead to his fatal misapprehension of the intellectual as well as the political
essence of National Socialism.
at heidegger: paralysis

Heidegger’s over determined Being so strongly that free will is impossible.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 153)

Consequently, the major problem with Heidegger's later philosophy is that the doctrine of
Being, in its oppressive omnipotence, causes the conceptual space in which freedom can be
meaningfully thought to all but disappear. In light of this fact, Jaspers' verdict concerning
Heidegger's inability to grasp the nature of human freedom-"Heidegger doesn't know what
freedom is"-becomes readily intelligible. For according to the theory of the "destining of Being," all
the worldly events we experience undergo a prior, other-wordly, metaontological determination. Like a
deus absconditus, Being "essences" or "comes to presence" in ways that are inscrutable to the human
understanding. On this point, Heidegger is emphatically clear: "The history of Being-and not the
decisions of man himself-"underlies and determines every situation et condition humaine." But if this
description of the human condition is correct, then human action is essentially unfree, and the notion of
persons as potentially autonomous actors becomes equally incoherent. For the very possibility of a
meaningful correlation between human practice and its desired ends has been disqualified in advance: it is
not we who are ultimately responsible for the outcome of our actions (for "the advent of beings"); rather,
it is the "destiny of Being.

Emphasis on releasement results in paralyzing passivity.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 147)

As we suggested earlier, the essential thinking of the later Heidegger promotes an "eclipse of
practical reason." For his post-Kehre reformulation of the relation between Being and Dasein rebels so
fervently against the voluntarist dimension of his own earlier thinking that the very concept of
"meaningful human action" is seemingly rendered null and void. If the early Heidegger attempted to
rally Dasein to "decisiveness" (Entschlossenheit), the thought of the later Heidegger appears at
times to be a summary justification of human passivity and inaction (Gelassenheit)-so prejudicially
is the balance between Sein and Mensch struck in favor of the former term. Thus, in the
later Heidegger, the campaign against practical reason develops along a two-fold front: not
only is the concept of Being grossly inflated, but the powers of human reason and will are
correspondingly devalued. In the later writings, Being assumes the character of an omnipotent primal
force, a "first unmoved mover," whose "presencing" proves to be the determinative, ultimate instance for
events in the lowly world of human affairs. In its other-worldly supremacy, this force both withdraws
from the tribunal of human reason and defies the meager capacities of human description: "A Being that
not only surpasses all beings-and thus all men-but which like an unknown God rests and 'essences' in its
own truth, in that it is sometimes present and sometimes absent, can never be explained like a being in
existence; instead, it can only be 'evoked.' "
at heidegger: authoritarian

Heidegger’s philosophy rejects democracy and justifies domination of those deemed


“inauthentic.”
Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 46)

The political philosophical implications of this theory are as unequivocal as they are distasteful to a
democratic sensibility. On the basis of the philosophical anthropology outlined by Heidegger, the modern
conception of popular sovereignty becomes a sheer non sequitur: for those who dwell in the public sphere
of everydayness are viewed as essentially incapable of self-rule. Instead, the only viable political
philosophy that follows from this standpoint would be brazenly elitist: since the majority of citizens
remain incapable of leading meaningful lives when left to their own devices, their only hope for
"redemption" lies in the imposition of a "higher spiritual mission" from above. Indeed, this was the
explicit political conclusion drawn by Heidegger in 1933. In this way, Heidegger's political
thought moves precariously in the direction of the "Fuhrerprinzip" or "leadership principle." In
essence, he reiterates, in keeping with a characteristic antimodern bias, a strategem drawn
from Platonic political philosophy: since the majority of men and women are incapable of ruling
themselves insofar as they are driven by the base part of their souls to seek after inferior satisfactions and
amusements, we in effect do them a service by ruling them from above.77T o date, however, there
has never been a satisfactory answer to the question Marx poses concerning such theories
of educational dictatorship: "Who shall educate the educator?”

The desire for “authentic” leaders justifies totalitarianism.


Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 115-116)

There are many dangers lurking in the statist conception of politics advanced by Heidegger
in the preceding citation. The specifically political danger of this theory of the polis/state is
that it is latently totalitarian: when the state-and the "destiny of a historical Volk" that is its
raison d'ttre-are accorded unchallenged ontological primacy as "the work for the works," the
autonomy and integrity of the other spheres of life (social, cultural, religious) disappears:
they are gleichgeschaltet or immediately subsumed within the political sphere. The Greeks
could solve this potential danger via the institution of direct democracy: by virtue of this
medium, political space was opened up to its maximum extent. But in Heidegger's
contemporary pan-Germanic "repetition" of the ancient polis, the opposite is true: since his
twentieth century polis/ state is integrally tied to the Fiihrerprinzip, it becomes a Fiihrerstaat,
a new form of political tyranny, in which political space shrivels up into the person of the
Fuhrer and his sycophantic entourage.6 As the remarks just cited suggest, for Heidegger,
the concept of a Fiihrerstaat is unproblematical provided there be "rulers alone, but then
really rulers." That is, the rulers must be "authentic" and not imposters. And as we will soon
see, Heidegger develops a theory of world-historical "leader-creators" in order to ground his
partisanship for the Fiihrerprinzip philosophically.
at heidegger: no value to life

Heidegger’s theory reduces the value to life—he forces joyless disconnection from the real
world.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 49-50)

Heidegger's characterization of everydayness is so disproportionately negative that we are seemingly left


with no immanent prospects for realizing our authentic natures in the domain of ontic life as such. For on
the basis of his phenomenological descriptions, it would seem that the ontic sphere in general-
"worldliness" in its entirety-has been "colonized" by the They. Here, we see that Heidegger's
pessimistic philosophical anthropology and his "joyless" social ontology ultimately join forces. The result
is a radical devaluation of the life-world, that delicate substratum of everyday human sociation which
existential phenomenology claims to redeem. At this point, one might raise against Heidegger's
social ontology the same charge he levels against Husserl's theory of the pure,
transcendental ego: it suffers from an impoverishment of world-relations-a fact clearly
evinced in Heidegger's self-defeating celebration of the "non-relational" character of
authentic Dasein cited above. For how can the authenticity of a Dasein that is essentially "non
-relational" ever attain realization in the sphere of ontic life?
at heidegger: no truth = nazism

Critique of the enlightenment justified Nazism.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 152)

And thus, if upon turning to the text of a 1953 lecture we find the observation: "Thinking begins
only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the most stiff-necked adversary
of thought" we cannot help but conclude that in his later work, Heidegger has only sunk more
deeply into the bog of Logosvergessenheit. This verdict gives cause for dismay, for it
suggests that the philosopher has drawn precisely the wrong conclusions from the political events of
1933-1945: instead of participating in the attempt to forge, out of the ravages of postwar Europe, a new
conception of reason and truth, Heidegger himself has become an even greater "stiff-necked" advocate of
counterenlightenment. His thought seeks refuge in the recrudescence of myth: "openness for
the mystery," "the remembrance of Being," and "the mirror-play of the four-fold" (gods and
mortals, heaven and earth) becomes the mystified categorial scheme around which his later
thinking revolved. The notion that analogous counterenlightenment attitudes and doctrines might have
played a key role in the spiritual preparation for the German catastrophe is a thought that has obviously
never crossed his mind.57
at heidegger: paralysis

Heidegger is unable to translate ontological insights into the real world.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 164)

Heidegger's inability to conceptualize the sociohistorical determinants and character of modern


technology raises the oft-discussed question of the "pseudo-concreteness of his philosophy"; that is, its
apparent incapacity to fulfill its original phenomenological promise as a philosophy of "existential
concretion." The problem was already evident in the tension between the ontological and
ontic levels of analysis that dominated the existential analytic of Being and Time. For there
the sphere of ontic life seemed degraded a priori as a result of its monopolization by the "They" and its
concomitant inauthentic modalities. As a result, both the desirability and possibility of effecting the
transition from the metalevel of ontology to the "factical" realm of ontic concretion seemed problematical
from the outset. Nowhere was this problem better illustrated than in the case of the category
of historicity. And thus despite Heidegger's real insight into limitations of Dilthey's
historicism, the inflexible elevation of ontology above the ontic plane virtually closes off the conceptual
space wherein real history might be thought. In truth, it can only appear as an afterthought: as the
material demonstration of conclusions already reached by the categories of existential
ontology. Consequently, the "ontology of Being and Time is still bound to the metaphysics that it
rejects. The conventional tension between existentia and essentia stands behind the difference between
everyday (factical) and 'authentic historical existence.'
at heidegger: calculations good

Old flaws in calculative thought require expanding the reasoning process, not rejecting it.

Wolin, 90 - Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center - 1990 (Richard Wolin, The Politics of Being, P. 167)

Heidegger's theory of technology ultimately collapses under the weight of its own self-imposed
conceptual limitations. And thus, the intrinsic shortcomings of his theoretical framework prevent him
from entertaining the prospect that the problem of technological domination owes more to the dearth of
reason in the modern world rather than an excess. For in modern life, the parameters of rationality have
been prematurely restricted: formal or instrumental reason has attained de facto hegemony; practical
reason-reflection on ends-has been effectively marginalized. Instead of the "overcoming" of reason
recommended by Heidegger, what is needed is an expansion of reason's boundaries, such that the
autonomous logic of instrumental rationality is subordinated to a rational reflection on ends. Similarly,
Heidegger's incessant lamentations concerning the "will to will-the theoretical prism through
which he views the modern project of human self-assertion in its entirety- only serve to
confuse the problem at issue?7 That the forces of technology and industry follow an
independent logic.
at heidegger: dread of death bad

Glorification of dreading death became an excuse for violence on the battlefield.

Wolin, 01 – Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate
Center – 2001 (Richard Wolin, Heidegger’s Children, P. 163-164)

One of the concepts from Being and Time that Marcuse viewed with suspicion was Being-
toward-death. Although its importance has often been underplayed in the vast secondary
literature on Being and Time, Being-toward-death proves a crucial way station on the road to
authenticity. Whereas everyday Dasein (the "they") systematically shuns and avoids
confronting the predicament of human finitude, authentic Dasein distinguishes itself by a
willingness to confront the phenomenon of death unflinchingly. An awareness of death's
inevitability sharpens Dasein's worldly involvements and lcommitments. Since Existenz is
inherently finite (there is no salvation or eternal life), Dasein's commitment to temporality
and worldliness must be radical and total. Yet, as Marcuse notes, Heidegger's ontological
characterization of death betrays a specific ontic context: the glorification of the "front experience" in
Germany following World War I. For example, in Ernst Jiinger's provocative battle chronicles, In
the Storm of Steel and War as Inner Experience, the confrontation with death in war was
elevated to ! the status of a supreme existential rite of passage. It is difficult to dissociate
Heidegger's exaltation of Being-toward-death from this postwar cultural context. Ultimately, this ethos,
which emphasized the imperatives of "sacrifice" and the importance of Nietzsche's maxim, "Have the
courage to live dangerously," found a home in the martial ethos of National Socialism. Heidegger's own
political speeches on behalf of the regime are suffused with the rhetorical bombast characteristic of this
idiom.
at heidegger: permutation

Action and reflection on consequences of that action are compatible.

Padrutt, 92 – Psychiatrist and President of the Daseinsanalyse Gesellschaft – 1992


(Hanspeter Padrutt, Heidegger and the Earth, “Heidegger and Ecology,” ed. LaDelle
McWhorter, P.31)

Once in a while the conceptual interplay of theory and praxis is put against this attempt.
From the philosophical point of view the so-called practical or political dimension of the attempt is
rejected, whereas from the ecological point of view the so-called theoretical, philosophical dimension is
rejected. But deeper reflection and decisive action do not need to contradict each other. Those who
shield themselves from the political consequences might one day be confronted by the fact that no
decision is still a decision that can have consequences. And those who believe that they need not bother
about thinking fail to recognize that no philosophy is also a philosophy – e.g., a cybernetic worldview
– that also has consequences.
at heidegger: being meaningless

Discussions of Being are meaningless—the concept is too abstract to be useful.

Rosen, 69 - Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy at Boston University – 1969


(Stanley Rosen, Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay, P. 35)

Being is not a thing (the ontologists say), but the source of things. To speak of this source
as the sum of all properties common to things is to reduce the source of things to an
abstraction derivative from things. It is to make things the source of Being, an absurd
reversal of the truth! Speech about things is ontic speech and, as such, diverts our attention away from
Being: seduction by ontic speech thus makes fundamental ontology impossible. Being is not an
abstraction, because abstractions are derived or constructed from concrete particulars;
Being is not a construction, but the source of all possible constructions, hence not abstract
but most concrete. Finally, an abstraction is still itself a particular thing, whereas Being, as
the origin or ground of particulars, is not. Being is not a thing; rather than call it "anything at all,"
we would be better advised to say that Being is nothing. Ontology is speech about no thing, and so about
nothing. But even further, since human speech is necessarily of, and in terms of, things (and
so ontic), ontological speech is also the speech of nothing: it is nothingness speaking about
itself, or a gift from nothingness to man, whose own ontic speech obscures the gift even in
the act of acknowledging, receiving, or attempting t o dis-cover it.)

Discourse on being is so abstract that it renders us silent—it is nihilistic paralysis.

Rosen, 69 - Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy at Boston University – 1969


(Stanley Rosen, Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay, P. 45-46)

I have been arguing that ontological speech, in the sense attributed to it by those who follow
Heidegger’s distinction between the ontological and ontic, is in fact silence. Ontologists of this
type wish to talk about Being as distinct from beings, and speech will simply not permit this. If this is a
defect of speech, and the significance of speech is in the deepest and final sense relative to silence, then
there is no reason for what we say or for whether we speak at all, other than the mere fact, although there
is equally no reason to keep silent. The result is absurdism or nihilism. Therefore no reason can
be given which would justify our falling into such desperate straits. Every fundamental
ontological speech of the type in question is not just self-refuting but self-canceling.
A2: heidegger: link over simplified

Heidegger makes it imposisbel to distinguish between democracy and totalitarianism.

Ferry and Renaut, 90 – Professor of Political Science at the Sorbonne and Professor of
Philosophy at Nantes – 1990 (Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, Heidegger and Modernity, trans.
Franklin Philip, P. 87-88)

From this viewpoint, it is first of all clear, as we have noted, that this criticism of technology as
the global concretization of an idea of man as consciousness and will implies, like it or not, a
deconstruction of democratic reamain son and hence, in some sense, of humanism. It is also
clear, however, that Heidegger's thinking, even fixed up this way, continues in some odd way to
misfire because of its one-dimensionality. Just as, on the strictly philosophical level, it leads to lumping
the various facets of modem subjectivity together in a shapeless mass and to judging that the progression
from Descartes to Kant to Nietzsche is linear and in fact inevitable; just as, on the political level, it leads
to the brutal inclusion of American liberalism in the same category with Stalinist totalitarianism. Now
this is no mere matter of taste: anyone has the right to loathe rock concerts, Disney World,
and California. Nonetheless, no one may-Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss, who lived in the
United States, did not make this mistake - identify, in the name of a higher authority, the
barbarism of the Soviet gulags with the depravities of a Western society whose
extraordinary political, social, and cultural complexity allows areas of freedom that it would
wholly unwarranted to judge a priori as mere fringes or remnants of a world in decline.
A2: Dillon: calculations good

Viewing calculative thought as equivalent to domination ensures total political paralysis.

Bronner, 04 Stephen Eric Bronner, Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University,


2004, Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement, p. 3-5

“Instrumental reason” was seen as merging with what Marx termed the “commodity form” underpinning
capitalist social relations. Everything thereby became subject to the calculation of costs and benefits. Even art and
aesthetic tastes would become defined by a “culture industry”—intent only upon maximizing pro fits by seeking the lowest common denominator for its products. Instrumental rationality
was thus seen as stripping the supposedly “autonomous” individual, envisioned by the philosophes, of both the means and the will to resist manipulation by totalitarian movements. En-
lightenment now received two connotations: its historical epoch was grounded in an anthropological understanding of civilization that, from the first, projected the opposite of progress.
This gave the book its power: Horkheimer and Adorno offered not simply the critique of some prior historical moment in time, but of all human development. This made it possible to
identify enlightenment not with progress, as the philistine bourgeois might like to believe, but rather—unwittingly—with barbarism, Auschwitz, and what is still often called “the totally
administered society.” Such is the picture painted by Dialectic of Enlightenment.. But it should not be forgotten that its authors were concerned with criticizing enlightenment generally,
and the historical epoch known as the Enlightenment in particular, from the standpoint of enlightenment itself: thus the title of the work. Their masterpiece was actually “intended to
prepare the way for a positive notion of enlightenment, which will release it from entanglement in blind domination.”4 Later, in fact, Horkheimer and Adorno even talked about writing a
sequel that would have carried a title like “Rescuing the Enlightenment” (Rettung der Aufklarung).5 This reclamation project was never completed, and much time has been spent
the logic of their argument ultimately left them with little positive to
speculating about why it wasn’t. The reason, I believe, is that
say. Viewing instrumental rationality as equivalent with the rationality of domination, and this rationality
with an increasingly seamless bureaucratic order, no room existed any longer for a concrete or effective
political form of opposition: Horkheimer would thus ultimately embrace a quasi-religious “yearning for the
totally other” while Adorno became interested in a form of aesthetic resistance grounded in “negative dialectics.”
Their great work initiated a radical change in critical theory, but its metaphysical subjectivism surrendered
any systematic concern with social movements and political institutions. Neither of them ever genuinely appreciated the democratic
inheritance of the Enlightenment and thus, not only did they render critique independent of its philosophical foundations,6 but also of any practical interest it might serve. Horkheimer and
Adorno never really grasped that, in contrast to the system builder, the blinkered empiricist, or the fanatic, the philosophe always evidenced a “greater interest in the things of this world, a
greater confidence in man and his works and his reason, the growing appetite of curiosity and the growing restlessness of the unsatisfied mind—all these things form less a doctrine than a
spirit.”7 Just as Montesquieu believed it was the spirit of the laws, rather than any system of laws, that manifested the commitment to justice, the spirit of Enlightenment projected the
radical quality of that commitment and a critique of the historical limitations with which even its best thinkers are always tainted. Empiricists may deny the existence of a “spirit of the
times.” Nevertheless, historical epochs can generate an ethos, an existential stance toward reality, or what might even be termed a “project” uniting the diverse participants in a broader
intellectual trend or movement. The Enlightenment evidenced such an ethos and a peculiar stance toward reality with respect toward its transformation. Making sense of this, however, is
impossible without recognizing what became a general stylistic commitment to clarity, communicability, and what rhetoricians term “plain speech.” For their parts, however, Horkheimer
and Adorno believed that resistance against the incursions of the culture industry justified the extremely difficult, if not often opaque, writing style for which they would become famous—
or, better, infamous. Their esoteric and academic style is a far cry from that of Enlightenment intellectuals who debated first principles in public, who introduced freelance writing, who
employed satire and wit to demolish puffery and dogma, and who were preoccupied with reaching a general audience of educated readers: Lessing put the matter in the most radical form in
what became a popular saying—”Write just as you speak and it will be beautiful”—while, in a letter written to D’Alembert in April of 1766, Voltaire noted that “Twenty folio volumes will
never make a revolution: it’s the small, portable books at thirty sous that are dangerous. If the Gospel had cost 1,200 sesterces, the Christian religion would never have been established.”9

Appropriating the Enlightenment for modernity calls for reconnecting with the
vernacular. This does not imply some endorsement of anti-intellectualism. Debates in highly specialized
fields, especially those of the natural sciences, obviously demand expertise and insisting that intellectuals must “reach the masses” has always been a questionable strategy. The subject
.
under discussion should define the language in which it is discussed and the terms employed are valid insofar as they illuminate what cannot be said in a simpler way
Horkheimer and Adorno, however, saw the matter differently. They feared being integrated by the culture
industry, avoided political engagement, and turned freedom into the metaphysical-aesthetic preserve of
the connoisseur. They became increasingly incapable of appreciating the egalitarian impulses generated
by the Enlightenment and the ability of its advocates—Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison,
Thomas Paine, and Rousseau—to argue clearly and with a political purpose.1’ Thus, whether or not their
“critical” enterprise was “dialectically” in keeping with the impulses of the past, its assumptions
prevented them from articulating anything positive for the present or the future.
Humanism Good

Humanism is critical to fighting wars and oppression – empirically proven


Radest 89 [Howard, Dean of Humanist Institute and Director of Ethical Culture Schools, “Doing Good: Humanism and the
Liberal Temptation”, Humanism Today, Vol 5. http://www.humanismtoday.org/vol5/radest.pdf]
Humanists support all
the "right" causes. We will be found defending peace and arguing for
disarmament and opposing nuclear proliferation. Our agenda will include population control and
environmental protection, fair housing and civil rights. We will attack censorship and fight for civil liberties. Separation of
church and state and religious freedom will stand high among our priorities as will "pro-choice" and public schooling. To our credit, Humanists will tend to be actively
engaged in these and other causes, although our engagement will take characteristic form. With rare exceptions as in the "freedom marches" during the 1960's in the
Humanists will be more likely to petition than to demonstrate, to lobby than to march, to
South
proclaim rather than to analyze.2 In that, we exhibit a certain confidence in the processes of
democratic change and a certain conservatism in our approach to power and the state. When pushed,
Humanists, reflecting our 18th century rationalist origins, will still exhibit confidence in schooling 3 and will reject the barricade as the way to get political
reconstruction

Humanism is inescapable – and giving up on it dooms the planet to extinction


Davis 97 [Tony Proffessor of English at Bimignham. Humanism 130]
So there will not after all be, nor indeed could that be, any definitions. The several humanisms – the civic. The
several humanisms – the civic humanism of the quattrocento Italian city-states, the Protestant humanism of sixteenth century northern Europe, the
rationalistic humanism that attended at the revolutions of enlightened modernity, and the romantic and positivistic humanisms through which the European
bourgeoisies established their hegemony over it, the revolutionary humanism that shook the world and the liberal humanism that sought to tame it, the humanism
of the Nazis and the humanism of their victims and opponents, the antihumanist humanism of Heidegger and the humanist antihumanism of Foucault and
are not reducible to one, or even to a single line or pattern. Each has its distinctive historical
Althusser –
curve, its particular discursive poetics, its own problematic scansion of the human. Each seeks, as all discourses must, to
impose its own answer to the question of ‘which is to be master’. Meanwhile, the problem of humanism remains,
for the present, an inescapable horizon within which all attempts to think about the ways in
which human being have, do, might live together in and on the world are contained. Not that the
actual humanisms described here necessarily provide a model, or even a useful history, least of all for those very numerous people, and peoples, for whom they
have been alien and oppressive. Some, at least, offer a grim warning. Certainly it should no longer be possible to formulate phrases like ‘the destiny of man’ or
‘the triumph of human reason’ without an instant consciousness of the folly and brutality they drag behind them. All humanisms, until now,
have been imperial. They speak of the human in the accents and the interests of a class, a sex, a ‘race’.
Their embrace suffocates those whom it does not ignore. The first humanists scripted the tyranny of Borgias,
Medicis and Tudors. Later humanisms dreamed of freedom and celebrated Frederick II, Bonaparte, Bismarck, Stalin. The liberators of
colonial America, like the Greek and Roman thinkers they emulated, owned slaves. At various times, not excluding the present, the circuit of
the human has excluded women, those who do not speak Greek or Latin or English, those whose complexions are not pink, children, Jews.
At the same time, though it
It is almost impossible to think of a crime that has not been committed in the name of humanity.
is clear that the master narrative of transcendental Man has outlasted its usefulness, it would
be unwise simply to abandon the ground occupied by the historical humanisms. For one
thing, some variety of humanism remains, on many occasions, the only available alternative
to bigotry and persecution. The freedom to speak and write, to organize and campaign in
defence of individual or collective interests, to protest and disobey: all these, and the prospect
of a world in which they will be secured, can only be articulated in humanist terms. It is true
that the Baconian ‘Knowledge of Causes, and Secrett Motions of Things’, harnessed to an overweening
rationality and an unbridled technological will to power, has enlarged the bounds of human empire to the
point of endangering the survival of the violated planet on which we live. But how, if not by
mobilizing collective resources of human understanding and responsibility of ‘enlightened
self-interest’ even, can that danger be turned aside?
Humanism Good

Humanism is key to preventing atrocities such as the Holocaust. By denying humanism,


they legitimize abuses of human rights
Ketels 96[Violet, associate professor of English at Temple University, The Holocaust: Remembering for the Future: ‘Havel to the
Castle!’ The Power of the Word,” The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science, November, 1996]
In the Germany of the 1930s, a demonic idea was born in a demented brain; the word went forth; orders
were given, repeated, widely broadcast; and men, women, and children were herded into
death camps. Their offshore signals, cries for help, did not summon us to rescue. We had
become inured to the reality of human suffering. We could no longer hear what the words
meant or did not credit them or not enough of us joined the chorus. Shrieking victims
perished in the cold blankness of inhumane silence. We were deaf to the apocalyptic
urgency in Solzhenitsyn's declaration from the Gulag that we must check the disastrous
course of history. We were heedless of the lesson of his experience that only the unbending
strength of the human spirit, fully taking its stand on the shifting frontier of encroaching
violence and declaring "not one step further," though death may be the end of it--only this
unwavering firmness offers any genuine defense of peace for the individual, of genuine peace
for mankind at large. 2 In past human crises, writers and thinkers strained language to the breaking point to keep
alive the memory of the unimaginable, to keep the human conscience from forgetting. In the current context, however,
intellectuals seem more devoted to abstract assaults on values than to thoughtful probing of
the moral dimensions of human experience. "Heirs of the ancient possessions of higher knowledge and
literacy skills," 3 we seem to have lost our nerve, and not only because of Holocaust history and its tragic aftermath. We feel
insecure before the empirical absolutes of hard science. We are intimidated by the "high modernist rage against mimesis and
content," 4 monstrous progeny of the union between Nietzsche and philosophical formalism, the grim proposal we have
bought into that there is no truth, no objectivity, and no disinterested knowledge. 5 Less certain about the power of
language, that "oldest flame of the [*47] humanist soul," 6 to frame a credo to live by or criteria to judge by, we are
vulnerable even to the discredited Paul de Man's indecent hint that "wars and revolutions are not empirical events . . . but
'texts' masquerading as facts." 7 Truth and reality seem more elusive than they ever were in the past;
values are pronounced to be mere fictions of ruling elites to retain power. We are
embarrassed by virtue. Words collide and crack under these new skeptical strains, dissolving into banalities the colossal
enormity of what must be expressed lest we forget. Remembering for the future has become doubly dispiriting by our having to remember
for the present, too, our having to register and confront what is wrong here and now. The reality to be fixed in memory shifts as we seek
words for it; the memory we set down is flawed by our subjectivities. It is selective, deceptive, partial, unreliable, and amoral. It plays tricks
and can be invented. It stops up its ears to shut out what it does not dare to face. 8 Lodged in our brains, such axioms, certified by science
and statistics, tempt us to concede the final irrelevance of words and memory. We have to get on with our lives. Besides, memories
reconstructed in words, even when they are documented by evidence, have not often changed the world or fended off the powerful seductions
to silence, forgetting, or denying. Especially denying, which, in the case of the Holocaust, has become an obscene industry competing in
the open market of ideas for control of our sense of the past. It is said that the Holocaust never happened. Revisionist history with a
vengeance is purveyed in words; something in words must be set against it. Yet what? How do we nerve to the task when we are
increasingly disposed to cast both words and memory in a condition of cryogenic dubiety? Not only before but also since 1945, the
criminality of governments, paraded as politics and fattening on linguistic manipulation and deliberately reimplanted memory of past real or
imagined grievance, has spread calamity across the planet. "The cancer that has eaten at the entrails of Yugoslavia since Tito's death [has]

Card Continues
Card Continued
Kosovo for its locus," but not merely as a piece of land. The country's rogue adventurers use the word "Kosovo" to reinvoke as sacred the
land where Serbs were defeated by Turks in 1389! 9 Memory of bloody massacres in 1389, sloganized and distorted in 1989, demands the
bloody revenge of new massacres and returns civilization not to its past glory but to its gory tribal wars. As Matija Beckovic, the bard of Serb
nationalism, writes, "It is as if the Serbian people waged only one battle--by widening the Kosovo charnel-house, by adding wailing upon
wailing, by counting new martyrs. to the martyrs of Kosovo. . . . Kosovo is the Serbianized [*48] history of the Flood--the Serbian New
Testament." 10 A cover of Suddeutsche Zeitung in 1994 was printed with blood donated by refugee women from Bosnia in an eerily
We stand benumbed before multiplying horrors. As Vaclav Havel
perverse afterbirth of violence revisited. 11
warned more than a decade ago,
regimes that generate them "are the avant garde of a global crisis in
civilization." The depersonalization of power in "system, ideology and apparat," pathological
suspicions about human motives and meanings, the loosening of individual responsibility, the
swiftness by which disastrous events follow one upon another "have deprived us of our
conscience, of our common sense and natural speech and thereby, of our actual humanity." 12
Nothing less than the transformation of human consciousness is likely to rescue us.
Consequentialism good

Even moral absolutists concede that catastrophic impacts come first


Haber 2002Joram Graf Haber, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Bergen Community College, ” Absolutism and Its
Consequentialist Critics,” p. 6.

Furthermore, not only are Anscombe, Donagan, and Geach absolutists (in the weak sense of the term), but
so are Charles Fried and Bernard Williams. After defending what he calls absolutism (Selection VI),
Fried observes:
We can imagine extreme cases where killing an innocent person may save a whole nation. In such cases it
seems fanatical to maintain the absolute ness of the judgment, to do right even if the heavens will in fact
fall. And so the catastrophic may cause the absoluteness of right and wrong to yield "
And again:
The concept of the catastrophic is a distinct concept just because it identifies the extreme situations in which the
usual categories of judgments (including the category of right and wrong) no longer apply.14
In passages like these. Fried shows himself an advocate of "weak absolutism" by saying that catastrophic cases
produce conceptual anarchy. As Fried says later on,
I do not know . . . whether I would be willing to kill an innocent person to save the whole of humanity from
excruciating suffering and death. There are boundaries to each of these concepts themselves, and the concepts
themselves often become blurred, indeterminate, subject to judgments of prudence at those boundaries."
Thus, Fried is committed to the view that "In no situation could it be right to <|)" except when a catastrophe occurs,
but that doesn't count since in that situation the concepts of right and wrong no longer apply. Bernard Williams
suggests though does not exactly endorse a similar view when he intimates that in extreme situations (when the
consequences of not cping would be disastrous), "it cannot matter any more what happens."16

Absolutism is irrational – it commits us to producing less good than we can


Haber 2002 Joram Graf Haber, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Bergen Community College, ” Absolutism and Its
Consequentialist Critics,” p. 8.

With respect to its critics, consequentialists typically argue that absolutism is irrational—it commits us to the view
that we should produce less good than we are in a position to produce and prevent less evil than we are in a position
to prevent. Often, the controversy centers around hypothetical cases (such as the ones discussed by Philippa Foot in
Selection XI) where an agent is faced with performing an absolutely forbidden action or allowing a disastrous state
of affairs to obtain." In cases like "the fat man in the cave,"20'for example, the consequentialist argues (against the
absolutist) that it is simply irrational not to kill him if the alternative is to allow the others to perish. (For a different
view on a related theme, see Anscombe's "Who Is Wronged?'—Selection XII.)
Kai Nielsen (Selection XIII), for one, takes issue with the absolutist's intuition that it is never permissible to kill an
innocent person. Speaking of the "fat man in the cave," Nielsen contends that it is no less counter-intuitive to kill the
fat man than it is not to, and that this implies there is a possible world in which killing is permissible. (He also makes
the point that if this is so, then thinking of killing the fat man is hardly indicative of a corrupt mind.) Having argued,
then, that refusing to kill the fat man is at least as problematic as not killing him.
Nielsen makes two other points that are characteristic of consequentialist critics. The first is that consequentialists
typically share the same intuitions as absolutists while insisting that they can account for them in a way that
absolutists cannot. (In speaking of "the magistrate and the threatening mob,"21 for instance, Nielsen is skeptical that
consequentialism requires that the magistrate execute the innocent derelict.) The second point is that there is nothing
sacred about our moral intuitions. If, for instance, we have the intuition that it is always wrong to kill but the intuition
generates problematic counterexamples, then that is a reason to give up our intuition. Conservativism for
conservatism's sake is an irrational dogma.
Consequentialism good

Even deontology puts survival first


Fried 2002
Charles Fried, professor of law @ Harvard, “Right and Wrong as Absolute.” P. 76-77, in Absolutism and its Consequentialist Critics, edited by
Jorem Graf Haber.

Even within such boundaries we can imagine extreme cases where killing an innocent person may save a whole
nation. In such cases it seems fanatical to maintain the absoluteness of the judgment, to do right even if the heavens
will in fact fall. And so the catastrophic may cause the absoluteness of right and wrong to yield, but even then it
would be a non sequitur to argue (as consequentialists are fond of doing) that this proves that judgments of right and
wrong are always a matter of degree, depending on the relative goods to be attained and harms to be avoided. 1
believe, on the contrary, that the concept of the catastrophic is a distinct concept just because it identifies the extreme
situations in which the usual categories of judgment (including the category of right and wrong) no longer apply. At
the other end of the spectrum, there is the concept of the trivial, the de minimis where the absolute categories do not
yet apply. And the trivial also does not prove that right and wrong are really only a matter of degree. It is because
of these complexities and because the term absolute is really only suggestive of a more complex structure, that I also
refer to the norms of right and wrong not as absolute but as categorical.*) When we say that one must not grievously
harm an innocent person, that one must not lie, these are categorical prohibitions in the sense that (within limits) no
amount of good can justify them. But they are not absolute in the sense that we may never be justified in doing acts
which have these very results—the death of an innocent person, the propagation of false beliefs—as a consequence.
They are absolute in the sense that they point out certain acts we must not perform. They are not absolute in the
consequentialist's sense; they do not state that a certain state of the world is of such supreme importance that the
value of everything else must be judged by its tendency to produce that state. So here we see a complex relation
between deontological judgments on what we do and evaluative (axiological) judgments on states of the world—
with which we are also concerned. We must indeed be concerned with producing good in the world, but without
violating the absolute norms of right and wrong).
Calculability good

Calculability is a prerequisite to care for the other – without it, the other’s suffering is
inaccessible
Santilli 2003 Paul C., Siena College. “Radical Evil, Subjection, and Alain Badiou’s Ethic of the Truth” Event World Congress of The
International Society for Universal Dialogue, Pyrgos, Greece May 18-22, 2003.

From the standpoint of an ethics of subjection there is even something unnecessary or superfluous about the void of suffering in the subject
bearers of evil. For Levinas, the return to being from the ethical encounter with the face and its infinite depths is fraught with the danger the
subject will reduce the other to a "like-me," totalizing and violating the space of absolute alterity. As Chalier puts it, "Levinas conceives of the
moral subject's awakening, or the emergence of the human in being, as a response to that pre-originary subjection which is not a happenstance of
being."28 But if there really is something inaccessible about suffering itself, about the 'other' side
of what is manifestly finite, subjected, and damaged, then to a certain extent it is irrelevant to
ethics, as irrelevant as the judgment of moral progress in the subject-agent. Let me take the parent-
child relation again as an example. Suppose the child to exhibit the symptoms of an illness. Are not the
proper "ethical" questions for the parent to ask questions of measure and mathematical multiples:
How high is the fever? How long has it lasted? How far is the hospital? Can she get out of bed? Has
this happened before? These are the
questions of the doctor, the rescue squads and the police. They are questions about being,
about detail, causes
and effects. Ethically our response to the needs of must be reduced to a positivity simply because
we have access to nothing but the symptoms, which are like mine. Our primary moral responsibility
is to treat the symptoms that show up in being,
not the radically other with whom I cannot identify. Say we observe someone whose hands have been chopped off with
a machete. How would we characterize this? Would it not be slightly absurd to say, "He had his limbs severed and he suffered," as though the
cruel amputation were not horror enough. Think of the idiocy in the common platitude: "She died of cancer, but thank God, she did not suffer", as
For ethics, then, the only suffering that
though the devastating annihilation of the human by a tumor were not evil itself.
matters are the visible effects of the onslaught of the world. All other suffering is excessive and
inaccessible. Therefore, it is in being, indeed in the midst of the most elemental facts about
ourselves and other people, that we ethically encounter others by responding to their needs and
helping them as best we can.
It is precisely by identifying being and not pretending that we know any thing about suffering,
other than it is a hollow in the midst of being, that we can act responsibly. What worries me about
Levinas is that by going beyond being to what he
regards as the ethics of absolute alterity, he risks allowing the sheer, almost banal facticity of suffering to be swallowed in the infinite depths of
transcendence. Indeed, it seems to me that Levinas too often over emphasizes the importance of the emergence of the subject and the inner good
in the ethical encounter, as though the point of meeting the suffering human being was to come to an awareness of the good within oneself and
not to heal and repair. I agree with Chalier's observation that Levinas's "analyses adopt the point of view of the moral subject, not that of a person
who might be the object of its solicitude."29 Ethics has limits; there are situations like the Holocaust where to speak of a moral responsibility to
But an ethics that would be oriented to the vulnerabilities of the subjected
heal and repair seems pathetic.
(which are others, of course, but also myself) needs to address the mutilation, dismemberment,
the chronology of torture, the
numbers incarcerated, the look of the bodies, the narratives, the blood counts, the mines, knives,
machetes, and poisons. Evil really is all that. When the mind does its work, it plunges into being,
into mathematical multiples and starts counting the cells, the graveyards, and bullet wounds.
Rational practical deliberation is always about the facts that encircle the void inaccessible to
deliberation and practical reason.30
Calculability good

Calculability is key to resistance against the worst forms of violence


Campbell ’99 David, professor of international politics at the University of Newcastle. “The Deterritorialization of Responsibility:
Levinas, Derrida, and Ethics after the End of Philosophy,” published in Moral Spaces: Rethinking Ethics and World Politics, edited by
David Campbell and Michael J. Shapiro.

The finite nature of the decision may be a "madness" in the way it renders possible the impossible,
the infinite character of justice, but Derrida argues for the necessity of this madness. Most
importantly, although Derrida's argument concerning the decision has, to this point, been concerned with an
account of the procedure by which a decision is possible, it is with respect to the necessity of the decision
that Derrida begins to formulate an account of the decision that bears upon the content of the decision. In so
doing, Derrida's argument addresses more directly—more directly, I would argue, than is acknowledged by
Critchley— the concern that for politics (at least for a progressive politics) one must provide an account of the
decision to combat domination.
That undecidability resides within the decision, Derrida argues, "that justice exceeds law and
calculation, that the unpresentable exceeds the determinable cannot and should not serve as alibi
for staying out of juridico-political battles, within an institution or a state, or between institutions
or states and others."" Indeed, "incalculable justice requires us to calculate." From where does this
insistence come? What is behind, what is animating, these imperatives? It is both the character of
infinite justice as a heteronomic relationship to the other, a relationship that because of its
undecidabilily multiplies responsibility, and the fact that "left to itself, the incalculable and giving
{donatrice) idea of justice is always very close to the bad, even to the worst, for it can always be
reappropriated by the most perverse calculation."'2 The necessity of calculating the incalculable
thus responds to a duty, a duty that inhabits the instant of madness and compels the decision to
avoid "the bad," the "perverse calculation," even "the worst." This is the duty that also dwells with
deconstruction and makes it the starting point, the "at least necessary condition," for the
organization of resistance to totalitarianism in all its forms. And it is a duty that responds to
practical political concerns when we recognize that Derrida names the bad, the perverse, and the
worst as those violences "we recognize all too well without yet having thought them through, the
crimes of xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, religious or nationalist fanaticism."93
Util Good

THE ONLY MORAL ACTION IS TO SAVE THE MOST LIVES


Wasserman and Strudler 2003 Philosophy and Public Affairs 31.1
In making choices about saving people from death, what moral signif- icance should attach to the fact that one
choice involves saving more people than another? Consequentialists typically have an easy time with such questions
because they believe that the morally best choice pro- duces the best consequences and that, other things being
equal, more lives saved is a better consequence than fewer lives saved. The conse- quentialist position involves what
might be called the compensation as- sumption: the proposition that other things equal, the gain that comes from
saving a larger group of people somehow more than compensates for the loss that occurs by not saving some other,
smaller group of peo- ple. If numbers have the moral importance that consequentialists sup- pose, then it should be
at least presumptively right to sacrifice a person to save others; for example, it is unclear why one may not simply
kill an innocent person and harvest his organs if doing so is the only available way of saving the lives of people who
will die without those organs. In fact, however, the prospect of saving the lives of those people seems to provide no
reason, or an exceedingly weak one, for killing an innocent person, even if there is no other way to acquire needed
organs. One might respond in many ways to the apparent harshness of the consequentialist approach to choices
among lives. Most obviously, one might seek to qualify or constrain consequentialist reasoning by adopt- ing a
pluralist moral theory that mixes or integrates consequentialist and nonconsequentialist elements. We cannot
canvass pluralistic theo- ries in this article, but we must acknowledge that some of them are com- plex and
ingeniou~.~ Still, we suspect that they are doomed attempts to breed species that are in essence incompatible. If one
shares our doubts about the prospects for modifying or constraining consequentialism, it makes sense to look to
nonconsequentialist approaches to choices among lives-approaches that do not rely directly or indirectly on the
claim that more people saved is a better consequence. The nonconsequentialist approaches we consider treat the
failure to save the group with the greater number as a failure to respect the value or equality of the individual lives in
that group. We argue that despite their initial appeal, these approaches do not succeed, and we conclude that there
does not yet exist a cogent nonconsequentialist answer to the question of numbers. We begin with an important early
attempt by Gregory Kavka because an analysis of its weaknesses suggests the moral complexity of choices among
lives and the distinctive character of more recent efforts to understand these choices.
Util Good

Nonconsequentialist theories disregard value and equality of life. Consequentialism is best


because it preserves the most lives.
Wasserman and Strudler 2003 Philosophy and Public Affairs 31.1
In making choices about saving people from death, what moral significance should attach to the fact that one choice
involves saving more people than another? Consequentialists typically have an easy time with such questions
because they believe that the morally best choice pro- duces the best consequences and that, other things being
equal, more lives saved is a better consequence than fewer lives saved. The conse- quentialist position involves what
might be called the compensation as- sumption: the proposition that other things equal, the gain that comes from
saving a larger group of people somehow more than compensates for the loss that occurs by not saving some other,
smaller group of peo- ple. If numbers have the moral importance that consequentialists sup- pose, then it should be
at least presumptively right to sacrifice a person to save others; for example, it is unclear why one may not simply
kill an innocent person and harvest his organs if doing so is the only available way of saving the lives of people who
will die without those organs. In fact, however, the prospect of saving the lives of those people seems to provide no
reason, or an exceedingly weak one, for killing an innocent person, even if there is no other way to acquire needed
organs. One might respond in many ways to the apparent harshness of the consequentialist approach to choices
among lives. Most obviously, one might seek to qualify or constrain consequentialist reasoning by adopt- ing a
pluralist moral theory that mixes or integrates consequentialist and nonconsequentialist elements. We cannot
canvass pluralistic theo- ries in this article, but we must acknowledge that some of them are com- plex and
ingeniou~.~ Still, we suspect that they are doomed attempts to breed species that are in essence incompatible. If one
shares our doubts about the prospects for modifying or constraining consequentialism, it makes sense to look to
nonconsequentialist approaches to choices among lives-approaches that do not rely directly or indirectly on the
claim that more people saved is a better consequence. The nonconsequentialist approaches we consider treat the
failure to save the group with the greater number as a failure to respect the value or equality of the individual lives in
that group. We argue that despite their initial appeal, these approaches do not succeed, and we conclude that there
does not yet exist a cogent nonconsequentialist answer to the question of numbers. We begin with an important early
attempt by Gregory Kavka because an analysis of its weaknesses suggests the moral complexity of choices among
lives and the distinctive character of more recent efforts to understand these choices.
***A2: Capitalism ***

***A2: rights K***

rights good

Rights are not perfect but do contain a radical element in their promotion of universal
human dignity. They can be effectively used to leverage the state.

Daly, Research Fellow in Philosophy, 04 (Frances, Australian National University, “The


Non-citizen and the Concept of Human Rights”, borderlands,
http://www.borderlandsejournal.adelaide.edu.au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen.htm)

At its most fundamental, right is the right to something, and within the realm of natural
rights or rights of the human being, it has been principally concerned with rights against
oppression and inequality in order to realize a potential for freedom. Citizen rights have at
their basis quite different values, namely, a range of political and property rights to be
realized within and not against the State. This is not to say that law associated with human
rights is not, at times, itself an external form of oppression - but natural or human right is
also able to offer something quite different. The term needs to be used advisedly because of
the problematic connotations it has – but there is a tradition of natural right containing
anticipatory elements of human dignity in which forms of justice as ethically-based
community survive, and it is this tradition, I would argue, which needs to be renewed. We
can see this in all struggles for human dignity in which unsatisfied demands exist for
overcoming the lack of freedom of exploitation and constraint; the inequality of degradation
and humiliation; the absence of community in egoism and disunity. And so too can we view
this via the necessary reference point that a critique of right provides: by acknowledging the
hypocrisy of law or the distance between intention and realization we have an important
basis for distinguishing between the problem of right and its complete negation, such as we
would see under despotic, fascistic rule. The use and abuse of right is not the same thing as
a complete absence of right, and understanding this is vital to being able to comprehend
where and in what ways democratic, constitutional States become, or are, fascistic. Natural
right, or the right of the human being, occupies a space of interruption in the divide between
law and ethicality that can, on occasion, act as to reintroduce a radical pathos within right.
rights good

Rights do not create a fixed identity. When we appeal to rights in terms of universal justice
they are deeply radical and able to create open communities.

Daly, 04
(http://www.borderlandsejournal.adelaide.edu.au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen.htm,
The non-citizen and the concept of 'human rights', Frances Daly,Australian National
University
2004).

Legal positivism assumes or sets out the basis for rights within a normative framework of
the State that merely takes for granted judicial postulates of the inalienability of rights, the
basis of rights in property and assumptions that people are in fundamental accord on
matters of right. It is unable to imagine a realm of freedom against the State. But within
rights, I would argue, we can detect unsatisfied demands that have nothing to do with
essentialist assumptions about 'man' or 'citizen'. These demands are concerned with an
understanding of human freedom in relation to values of solidarity, justice and the
overcoming of alienation; they are historical and contingent, shifting and alive, and are not
about a fixed, static, generic essence of the person, or some ahistorical or superhistorical
immutable totality. What it is to be human is open and changeable, although not without
determinations, commonalities and shared properties that can emerge at various times.
With the rise of individualism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the idea of
natural rights of the individual, of liberty, fraternity, and equality of the individual – of
'inalienable' rights and normative ideals – was quite clearly conceived in terms of the citizen.
What persisted of a sense of natural justice for all, whose standard had been derived from
various sources - in nature, God, a view of reason or human nature - was undoubtedly
distorted by a sense of individualism defined in terms of possession and property rights. But
this sense was not completely extinguished. It is certainly on the basis of a realm of legal
positivism and its doctrines of positive law, a realm which assumes that no element of law or
right pre-exists an act of the State, that some of the basic contradictions that Agamben
highlights are likely to emerge. For it is the State that institutes types of validity for its laws
on the basis of procedure rather than any sense of morality or principles of justice. But there
are other pathways to rights, other forms in which principles of justice have been derived
and enacted. And if this is the case, why must we then necessarily conclude from a critique
of legal positivism that there can be no ethical basis to rights?

Rights must be judged by their specific deployment, not abstract theory. Even if there are
flaws between norms and application, rights contain a radical element of universal dignity
that can be used to leverage real change.

Daly, 04
(http://www.borderlandsejournal.adelaide.edu.au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen.htm,
The non-citizen and the concept of 'human rights', Frances Daly,Australian National
University
2004).

An ahistorical disdain for legal action is merely the obverse of the process of fetishizing
legality. Much theory that merely substitutes the idea of the static essence of the person to
explain the consequence of good and evil in the world with an equally static, invariant view
of authority and the State is, I would argue, ultimately eternalizing such concepts.
Undoubtedly, some sort of move beyond categories underscoring divisions within the ways
people are entitled to live their lives is necessary. But much of the power of any such
critique must depend upon the manner in which the context of this life – the possible
experience of acting in the world, or 'form-of-life' - is itself understood. In the absence of any
such context, what tends to emerge is a return to the problem of rights reduced to a division
of form and content, rather than the overturning of this very problematic. Only in this case,
because the content is seen to fall short of the abstraction of, for example, a "whatever
singularity", the form is wholly discarded. More importantly, by revisiting this problem via a
dismissal of the context of rights, and more specifically of the possibility of traces of the
intention towards human dignity, a rich heritage of critique is sidelined. Continues... The use
and abuse of right is not the same thing as a complete absence of right, and understanding
this is vital to being able to comprehend where and in what ways democratic, constitutional
States become, or are, fascistic. Natural right, or the right of the human being, occupies a
space of interruption in the divide between law and ethicality that can, on occasion, act as to
reintroduce a radical pathos within right.

rights good

Rights for refugees tap into the radical core of rights—the idea that there is a universal
human dignity. Past failures of rights are not reasons to abandon the concept, they are
reasons why rights must be more aggressively extended to all.

Daly, 04
(http://www.borderlandsejournal.adelaide.edu.au/vol3no1_2004/daly_noncitizen.htm,
The non-citizen and the concept of 'human rights', Frances Daly,Australian National
University
2004).

Let us look then at the more specific example of the right of the refugee or right of asylum.
In the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen there is a perceived need to
set out what are described as "the natural, sacred, and inalienable rights of man". These
rights, as is well known, concern freedom, equality, the right to liberty, property, security
and resistance to oppression, the presumption of innocence, the right to opinion and
religious expression and free communication. Likewise, the 1948 Universal Declaration of
Human Rights restates these rights and extends an understanding of right to economic,
social and cultural rights and, perhaps most importantly from the perspective of this paper, the right to a freedom of movement and
residence and the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. We have already mentioned the institutionalization of these rights
in citizen rights, and that this sense of right was a creation of the nation-State. And along with this is the problematic nature of the inclusion of the right of
property as an inalienable right, which first arose as the consequence of the division of labour and has little to do with anything inherently human, and the
basic difficulty that arises with a sense of innate rights, as all rights have been acquired. We detect as well the formalism of general juridical equality with
the much more normative content of the constitutional state of fundamental social division – those whose access to education, security, work and freedom
, it would be a
from detention can be assumed, and those whose lack of this assumption is outlined in their right to seek its guarantee. However
clear distortion of the struggles involved in the emergence of codified natural rights to not
also mention that an essential part of a sense of the absolute inalienability of the person was
a view of individual freedom within community (the sort of idea we find Rousseau, for
instance) and the attempt to exercise limits upon the power of tyrants to curtail that
freedom. That there has been a highly variable degree of protection of these rights, or in
certain cases no protection of them at all, is naturally problematic but cannot of itself be
attributed to the fact of rights themselves. The context of rights is one that is frequently
unstable, and, as such, it is important to clearly assess the place of rights within our present
conditions of unfreedom. Often as a result of their denial, human rights currently act so as to
allow a questioning of the assumed authority of the State. Indeed, without a sense of rights
it would be difficult for us to understand the current absence of real freedom. If we consider
the contemporary struggles of the 'Sans Papiers' in France, the several hundred thousand
people whose refusal of the label 'illegal' and fight for documentation is premised on the
basis that the undermining of rights is merely a way of attacking the value of dignity for all,
we can see a clear example of the possibility that can be realized through right. The Sans Papiers are
well-known for their questioning of the assumptions of immigration policies, such as the existence of quotas, detention camps and deportations, and they
argue cogently for an end to frontiers themselves. Madjiguène Cissé argues that the initiatives of those claiming their rights are basic to the survival of
communities (Cissé, 1997: 3). This is done on the basis of an appeal to rights of justice and egalitarianism. Indeed, it is not possible to understand this
emancipatory struggle outside a conception of rights. 25. Agamben views all such setting out of rights as essentially reintegrating those marginalized from
citizenship into the fiction of a guaranteed community. Law only "wants to prevent and regulate" (Agamben, 2001: 1) – and it is certainly the case that
– but within rights, I argue, we can also detect a potential for justice. In contrast,
much law does
Agamben contends that legal right and the law always operate in a double apparatus of pure
violence and forms of life guaranteed by a Schmittian 'state of emergency' (Agamben, 2000:
43). And although he recognizes the dire consequences of a state of emergency with the
eradication of the legal status of individuals, he views this as the force of law without law, as
a mystical or fictional element, a space devoid of law, an 'empty legal space', or 'state of
exception' as Carl Schmitt refers to it, that is essential to the legal order (Carl Schmitt, 1985:
6). What is then eliminated here is any sense of how the appeal to rights brings into
question institutionalized unfreedom and why this underlying insufficiency between the idea
of right and real need is opposed by those attempting to expand the realm of human rights.
The problem with this strategy for doing away with any distinction and placing the refugee in
a position of pure potentiality is that, instead of liberating or revolutionizing the place of the
refugee, it creates an eternal present that is unable to connect the very real reality of
difference with a critique of the society that victimizes the refugee in the manner with which
we are currently so familiar.
rights good

Even if the law is not perfect and culture values matter, rights still protect us from
oppression.

Altman, 90 (Andrew, (Professor of Philosophy; Georgia State University) Critical Legal


Studies: A Liberal Critique, page 8)

There are undoubtedly elements of the liberal tradition which exaggerate the extent to
which the law alone gives contemporary liberal societies the degree of humanity and
decency they have. There are undoubtedly elements of the liberal tradition which
exaggerate the power of law to work its will against the entrenched customs and traditions
of a culture. We would be wise to keep in mind Tocqueville’s lesson about the failures of law
in cultural set tings where it has tried to operate in opposition to pervasive and deep-seated
social norms. But it would be equally wrong to dismiss the protections offered by the law as
superfluous or useless. Between the area in which law is useless because it receives
insufficient support from the rest of the culture and the area in which law is superfluous
because the rest of the culture provides all of the protections we can reasonably ask for,
there is a wide expanse of territory. It is within the borders of that territory that law can and
does make a difference. It is within the borders of that territory that legal rights can and do
work to protect people from the evils of intolerance, prejudice, and oppression. This is the
heart of the liberal tradition in legal philosophy. It is a tradition worthy of allegiance.

Rights are the best path to liberation—if you take their alternative seriously, it would require
massive coercion to create a collective voice capable of challenging the law.

Sparer, 84 (Ed, (Law Professor, University of Pennsylvania) 36 Stan. L. Rev. 509, January).

We would do well to follow the radical approach of building upon our core human rights
tradition, demonstrating the contradiction between that tradition and our social institutions,
and developing ways to fuse human rights into new cooperative institutions of our own
making. Such work requires a concern for theory which feeds social movement, but
successful social movement comes from the struggle for the realization of our basic rights,
not from their disparagement. One must step outside the liberal paradigm into a realm where truth may be experiential, where
knowledge resides in world views that are themselves situated in history, where power and ideas do not exist separately. Continues... Central to the
argument I have made thus far is the notion that individual autonomy and community are not contradictions at all; rather, they shape and give meaning
and richness to each other. Kennedy and other Critical legal theorists of the dominant school recognize the latter thought. At the same time, they argue
that the very interdependence of these concepts leads to the fundamental and seemingly unresolvable contradiction they embody. In an oft-quoted
passage, Kennedy states: Even when we seem to ourselves to be most alone, others are with us, incorporated in us through processes of language,
cognition and feeling that are, simply as a matter of biology, collective aspects of our individuality. Moreover, we are not always alone. We sometimes
experience fusion with others, in groups of two or even two million, and it is a good rather than a bad experience. But at the same time that it forms and
protects us, the universe of others (family, friendship, bureaucracy, culture, the state) threatens us with annihilation and urges upon us forms of fusion
that are quite plainly bad rather than good. A friend can reduce me to misery with a single look. Numberless conformities, large and small abandonments
of self to others, are the price of what freedom we experience in society. And the price is a high one. Through our existence as members of collectives, we
impose on others and have imposed on us hierarchical structures of power, welfare, and access to enlightenment that are illegitimate, whether based on
. The kicker is that the abolition of these
birth into a particular social class or on the accident of genetic endowment
illegitimate structures, the fashioning of an unalienated collective existence, appears to
imply such a massive increase of collective control over our lives that it would defeat its
purpose. Only collective force seems capable of destroying the attitudes and institutions
that collective force has itself imposed. Coercion of the individual by the group appears to
be inextricably bound up with the liberation of that same individual. If one accepts that
collective norms weigh so heavily in favor of the status quo that purely "voluntary"
movement is inconceivable, then the only alternative is the assumption of responsibility for
the totalitarian domination of other people's minds -- for "forcing them to be free."
rights good: not monolithic

Human rights are not a monolith—they can be adapted by local cultures.


Ibhawoh, 00 – Lecturer in African History and International Development Studies at the Edo
State University in Nigeria – 2000 (Bonny Ibhawoh, “Between Culture and Constitution:
Evaluation the Cultural Legitimacy of Human Rights in the Africa State”, human rights
quarterly 2.2, Project Muse).

This assumption tends to ignore the fact that societies are constantly in the process of
change wrought by a variety of cultural, social, and economic forces. It seems an
elementary but necessary point to make that so-called traditional societies--whether in Asia,
Africa, or in Europe--were not culturally static but were eclectic, dynamic, and subject to
significant alteration over time. Traditional cultural beliefs are also neither monolithic nor
unchanging. In fact they could--and were--changed in response to different internal and
external pressures. Cultural change can result from individuals being exposed to and
adopting new ideas. Individuals are actors who can influence their own fate, even if their
range of choice is circumscribed by the prevalent social structure or culture. In doing so,
those who choose to adopt new ideas, though influenced by their own interest, initiate a
process of change which may influence dominant cultural traditions. Culture is thus
inherently responsive to conflict between individuals and social groups. 7 It is a network of
perspectives in which different groups hold different values and world views, and in which
some groups have more power to present their versions as the true culture. The
significance of this is that we proceed from the assumption that certain cultural traditions
inherently appearing in conflict with national and universal human rights standards may in
fact have the potential of being influenced through a process of change and adaptation to
meet new human rights standards.

Human rights concepts are universal but their implementation varies widely.
Donnelly, 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies,
University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly, “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”,
Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306, Project Muse).

Human rights are (relatively) universal at the level of the concept, broad formulations such
as the claims in Articles 3 and 22 of the Universal Declaration that "everyone has the right to
life, liberty and security of person" and "the right to social security."50 Particular rights
concepts, however, have multiple defensible conceptions. Any particular conception, in turn,
will have many defensible implementations. At this level—for example, the design of
electoral systems to implement the right "to take part in the government of his country,
directly or through freely chosen representatives"—relativity is not merely defensible but
desirable.51 Functional and overlapping consensus universality lie primarily at the level of
concepts. Most of the Universal Declaration lies at this level as well. Although international
human rights treaties often embody particular conceptions, and sometimes even particular
forms of implementation,52 they too permit a wide range of particular practices. Substantial
second order variation, by country, region, culture, or other grouping, is completely
consistent with international legal and overlapping consensus universality.

Rights enable cultural expression.


Donnelly, 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies,
University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly, “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”,
Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306, Project Muse).

Human rights seek to allow human beings, individually and in groups that give meaning and
value to their lives, to pursue their own visions of the good life. Such choices—so long as
they are consistent with comparable rights for others and reflect a plausible vision of human
flourishing to which we can imagine a free people freely assenting—deserve our respect. In
fact, understanding human rights as a political conception of justice supported by an
overlapping consensus requires us to allow human beings, individually and collectively,
considerable space to shape (relatively) universal rights to their particular purposes—so long
as they operate largely within the constraints at the level of concepts established by
functional, international legal, and overlapping consensus universality.
rights good: not western

Human rights are not inherently Western.

Donnelly, 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies,


University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly, “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”,
Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306, Project Muse).

The social-structural "modernity" of these ideas and practices, however, not their cultural
"Westernness," deserves emphasis.15 Human rights ideas and practices arose not from any
deep Western cultural roots but from the social, economic, and political transformations of
modernity. They thus have relevance wherever those transformations have occurred,
irrespective of the pre-existing culture of the place.

Human rights not exclusive to Western countries—it si essentialist to imply that other
cultures inherently oppose rights.

Donnelly, 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies,


University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly, “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”,
Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306, Project Muse).

It is important to remember that virtually all Western religious and philosophical doctrines
through most of their history have either rejected or ignored human rights Today, however,
most adherents of most Western comprehensive doctrines endorse human rights. And if the
medieval Christian world of crusades, serfdom, and hereditary aristocracy could become
today's world of liberal and social democratic welfare states, it is hard to think of a place
where a similar transformation is inconceivable. Consider claims that "Asian values" are
incompatible with internationally recognized human rights.24. Asian values—like Western
values, African values, and most other sets of values—can be, and have been, understood as
incompatible with human rights. But they also can be and have been interpreted to support
human rights, as they regularly are today in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. And political
developments in a growing number of Asian countries suggest that ordinary people and
even governments are increasingly viewing human rights as a contemporary political
expression of their deepest ethical, cultural, and political values and aspirations.25 No culture
or comprehensive doctrine is "by nature," or in any given or fixed way, either compatible or
incompatible with human rights.
rights good: check on statism

Rights are the best model for protecting people against modern states and markets—no
viable alternative has worked as well.

Donnelly, 07 – Andrew Mellon Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies,


University of Denver – 2007 (Jack Donnelly, “The Relative Universality of Human Rights”,
Human Rights Quarterly 29 page 281-306, Project Muse).

The spread of modern markets and states has globalized the same threats to human dignity
initially experienced in Europe. Human rights represent the most effective response yet
devised to a wide range of standard threats to human dignity that market economies and
bureaucratic states have made nearly universal across the globe. Human rights today
remain the only proven effective means to assure human dignity in societies dominated by
markets and states. Although historically contingent and relative, this functional universality
fully merits the label universal—for us, today. Arguments that another state, society, or
culture has developed plausible and effective alternative mechanisms for protecting or
realizing human dignity in the contemporary world deserve serious attention. Today,
however, such claims, when not advanced by repressive elites and their supporters, usually
refer to an allegedly possible world that no one yet has had the good fortune to experience.
The functional universality of human rights depends on human rights providing attractive
remedies for some of the most pressing systemic threats to human dignity. Human rights
today do precisely that for a growing number of people of all cultures in all regions.
Whatever our other problems, we all must deal with market economies and bureaucratic
states. Whatever our other religious, moral, legal, and political resources, we all need equal
and inalienable universal human rights to protect us from those threats.
***Capitalism***

A2: Capitalism

Total rejection of capitalism fragments resistance --– the perm solves best
Gibson-Graham ‘96 (J.K., Feminist Economists – The End of Capitalism)

One of our goals as Marxists has been to produce a knowledge of capitalism. Yet as “that which is known,” Capitalism
has become the intimate enemy. We have uncloaked the ideologically-clothed, obscure
monster, but we have installed a naked and visible monster in its place. In return for our
labors of creation, the monster has robbed us of all force. We hear – and find it easy to believe – that the
left is in disarray. Part of what produces the disarray of the left is the vision of what the left is arrayed against. When
capitalism is represented as a unified system coextensive with the nation or even the world, when it
is portrayed as crowding out all other economic forms, when it is allowed to define entire
societies, it becomes something that can only be defeated and replaced by a mass collective
movement (or by a process of systemic dissolution that such a movement might assist). The revolutionary task of
replacing capitalism now seems outmoded and unrealistic, yet we do not seem to have an
alternative conception of class transformation to take its place. The old political economic “systems” and
“structures” that call forth a vision of revolution as systemic replacement still seem to be dominant in the Marxist political
imagination. The New World Order is often represented as political fragmentation founded upon economic unification. In
this vision the economy appears as the last stronghold of unity and singularity in a world of diversity and plurality. But why
can’t the economy be fragmented too? If we theorized it as fragmented in the United States, we could being to see a huge
state sector (incorporating a variety of forms of appropriation of surplus labor), a very large sector of self-employed and
family-based producers (most noncapitalist), a huge household sector (again, quite various in terms of forms of exploitation,
with some households moving towards communal or collective appropriation and others operating in a traditional mode in
which one adult appropriates surplus labor from another). None of these things is easy to see. If capitalism takes up
the available social space, there’s no room for anything else. If capitalism cannot coexist,
there’s no possibility of anything else. If capitalism functions as a unity, it cannot be partially
or locally replaced. My intent is to help create the discursive conception under which
socialist or other noncapitalist construction becomes “realistic” present activity rather than a
ludicrous or utopian goal. To achieve this I must smash Capitalism and see it in a thousand pieces.
I must make its unity a fantasy, visible as a denial of diversity and change. Perm solves –- only using capitalism to
fight capitalism can be effective Monthly Review ‘90 (March, Vol. 41, No. 10, p. 38) No institution
is or ever has been a seamless monolith. Although the inherent mechanism of American
capitalism is as you describe it, oriented solely to profit without regard to social consequences, this
does not preclude significant portions of that very system from joining forces with the
worldwide effort for the salvation of civilization, perhaps even to the extent of furnishing the
margin of success for that very effort.
A2: Capitalism

Cap solves war


Bandow 2005 fellow @ cato 2k5 (Doug, “Spreading Capitalism Is Good for Peace” http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?
pub_id=5193)

In a world that seems constantly aflame, one naturally asks: What causes peace? Many people, including U.S.
President George W. Bush, hope that spreading democracy will discourage war. But new research suggests that
expanding free markets is a far more important factor, leading to what Columbia University's Erik Gartzke calls a "capitalist
peace." It's a reason for even the left to support free markets. The capitalist peace theory isn't new: Montesquieu and Adam Smith believed in
it. Many of Britain's classical liberals, such as Richard Cobden, pushed free markets while opposing imperialism. But World War I
demonstrated that increased trade was not enough. The prospect of economic ruin did not prevent rampant nationalism, ethnic hatred, and
security fears from trumping the power of markets. An even greater conflict followed a generation later. Thankfully, World War II left war
essentially unthinkable among leading industrialized - and democratic - states. Support grew for the argument, going back to Immanual Kant,
that republics are less warlike than other systems. Today's corollary is that creating democracies out of dictatorships will reduce conflict.
This contention animated some support outside as well as inside the United States for the invasion of Iraq. But Gartzke argues that "the
'democratic peace' is a mirage created by the overlap between economic and political freedom." That is,
democracies typically have freer economies than do authoritarian states. Thus, while "democracy is desirable for
many reasons," he notes in a chapter in the latest volume of Economic Freedom in the World, created by the
Fraser Institute, "representative governments are unlikely to contribute directly to international peace."
Capitalism is by far the more important factor. The shift from statist mercantilism to high-tech capitalism has
transformed the economics behind war. Markets generate economic opportunities that make war less desirable.
Territorial aggrandizement no longer provides the best path to riches. Free-flowing capital markets and other
aspects of globalization simultaneously draw nations together and raise the economic price of military conflict.
Moreover, sanctions, which interfere with economic prosperity, provides a coercive step short of war to achieve
foreign policy ends. Positive economic trends are not enough to prevent war, but then, neither is democracy. It
long has been obvious that democracies are willing to fight, just usually not each other. Contends Gartzke, "liberal political
systems, in and of themselves, have no impact on whether states fight." In particular, poorer democracies perform like non-
democracies. He explains: "Democracy does not have a measurable impact, while nations with very low levels of
economic freedom are 14 times more prone to conflict than those with very high levels." Gartzke considers other
variables, including alliance memberships, nuclear deterrence, and regional differences. Although the causes of conflict vary, the relationship
between economic liberty and peace remains. His conclusion hasn't gone unchallenged. Author R.J. Rummel, an avid proponent of the
democratic peace theory, challenges Gartzke's methodology and worries that it "may well lead intelligent and policy-wise analysts and
commentators to draw the wrong conclusions about the importance of democratization." Gartzke responds in detail, noting that he
relied on the same data as most democratic peace theorists. If it is true that democratic states don't go to war,
then it also is true that "states with advanced free market economies never go to war with each other, either." The
point is not that democracy is valueless. Free political systems naturally entail free elections and are more likely to protect other forms of
liberty - civil and economic, for instance. However, democracy alone doesn't yield peace. To believe is does is dangerous:
There's no panacea for creating a conflict-free world. Capitalism stops poverty Stephens Ph.D. candidate 2k (Patrick, “The
morality of capitalism” http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth--225-The_Morality_Capitalism.aspx) The beginning of the twenty-first
century is a great time for capitalism. Socialism has been discredited. Countries around the world are opening
their markets and removing barriers to trade. America has experienced the longest period of growth that the
world has ever seen and produced an explosion of technology that promises to reshape social structures, increase
freedom, cure disease, and extend the human life-span. It truly is a wonderful time to be alive. But despite the
prosperity that capitalism has brought to America and the West, it still suffers from an image problem. The old
Left-wing critiques are fading; Marxist arguments are rare and social experiments in rent-control, welfare
benefits, and the public ownership of capital are being abandoned. But in their place, a different critique of
capitalism is catching hold. This new critique--which, as it turns out, is not so new--does not challenge the
effectiveness of capitalism. Capitalism, it acknowledges, is better than any other system at creating wealth,
eradicating poverty, and developing technology. The new critique is aimed instead at the morality of capitalism;
it asks if wealth, mass affluence, and technology are really such good things after all.
A2: Capitalism

Non-capitalist societies destroy the environment


Dominick 98 Emeritus Professor humanities @ OSU 1998 (Raymond, “Capitalism, communism, and environmental protection:
Lessons from the German experience” http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3854/is_199807/ai_n8795240/pg_1

At no time since its inception two hundred years ago has the ideology of free market capitalism stood more
dominant than it does today. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, communists confidently
challenged the advocates of laissez-faire, claiming that their system could produce more wealth than capitalism
and distribute it more equitably. In the process, they boasted that communism could cure a broad range of social
problems, including environmental pollution.L Following the worldwide collapse of communism,
almost all these claims proved to be false, none more so than the promise to protect the
environment. After the Iron Curtain crumbled and uncensored reporting became possible, academics and
the popular press rushed to document the massive environmental devastation in the Soviet
zone.2 The West German magazine Der Spiegel indignantly branded communist East Germany as an
"ecological outlaw of the first rank," noting, for example, that the Buna chemical works in the East dumped ten
times more mercury into its neighboring river in a day than a comparable West German plant did in a year. The
same article also reported that each of the two-cycle cars commonly operated in the East emitted
one hundred times as much carbon monoxide as a western auto equipped with a catalytic
converter. Elaborating on the air pollution problem, an article in Current History pointed out that East German
sulphur dioxide emissions per capita were the highest in the world; the burden of that particular pollutant
exceeded the corresponding figure for capitalist West Germany by a factor of twelve. Reflecting on these
and other environmental contrasts in the summer of i99o, as East and West Germany moved
toward unification, the New York Times reported that "one issue taking on urgency is how the
orderly and clean half of the country can help clean up the disheveled and polluted half....
Quick action is needed because four decades of unbridled industrial spewing and spilling in East Germany have
created an acute crisis for man and nature."3 Some commentators used the appalling evidence from the region
east of the Iron Curtain to argue that the fundamental economic principles of communism
predictably and inevitably produce environmental disaster. A Polish economist observed that "in
Marxist ideology, natural resources are free and have no intrinsic value . . . Their sole purpose
is to serve, not to constrain, humans." A West German analyst seconded this view, writing that the
"socialist labor theory of value inevitably led to serious, almost universal environmental and
health dangers." An American observer interpreted these environmental failings as the result
of the absence of capitalism: "Absent a profit motive, energy, materials, and natural resources
could be squandered without care. And they were."4 Such an implication-that capitalist economic
principles can cure the environmental crises caused by communism-dovetails perfectly with
the current zeitgeist, but it is highly questionable from an historical point of view.
A2: Zizek

Zizek justifies violence of the state through terror as a means to impose good terror
ROBINSON & TORMEY 2K5 (Andrew and Simon, “Zizek is not a radical,” THESIS ELEVEN, N80,
FEBRUARY, http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf pg 20)

What Zizek is telling left radicals, therefore, is to abandon the notion of the state as a source of
violence and to see it as part of the solution to, rather than the problem of, reordering social life.
Zizek sees the state as a useful ally, and an instrument through which to impose the good terror.
He denounces anti-statism as idealist and hypocritical,129 and attacks the anticapitalist
movement for lacking political centralisation.130 Zizek does not offer an alternative to statist
violence; in Zizek’s world (to misquote an anarchist slogan), ‘whoever you fight for, the state
always wins’. Opponents of the war in Afghanistan and the arms trade, of police racism and
repression against demonstrators, will find no alternative in Zizek - only a new militarism, a
‘good terror’ and yet another Cheka.

Only the permutation solves. The plan creates the spring board for resistance which is a
prerequisite to solving without it the alternative would fail
ROBINSON & TORMEY 2K5 (Andrew and Simon, “Zizek is not a radical,” THESIS ELEVEN, N80,
FEBRUARY, http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf pg 23-24)

Zizek is right to advocate a transformative stance, but wrong to posit this as a radical break constituted ex nihilo. Far
from being the disavowed supplement of capitalism, the space for thinking the not-real which is opened by
imaginaries and petty resistances is a prerequisite to building a more active resistance and ultimately, a substantial
social transformation. In practice, political revolutions emerge through the radicalisation of existing demands and
resistances – not as pure Acts occurring out of nothing. Even when they are incomprehensible from the standpoint of
‘normal’, conformist bystanders, they are a product of the development of subterranean resistances and counter
hegemonies among subaltern groups. As Jim Scott argues, when discontent among the subaltern strata generates
‘moments of madness’, insurrections and revolutions, it does so as an extension of, and in continuity with, existing
‘hidden transcripts’, dissenting imaginaries and petty resistances. As Scott’s evidence shows, resistance ‘requires an
experimental spirit and a capacity to test and exploit all the loopholes, ambiguities, silences and lapses available...
[and] setting a course for the very perimeter of what the authorities are obliged to permit or unable to prevent’.144
Such petty resistance can pass over into more general insurrections. When prisoners at a Stalinist camp, expected to
deliberately lose a race against their guards, ‘spoiled the performance’ with a ‘pantomime of excess effort’, a ‘small
political victory had real political consequences’, producing a ‘flurry of activity’.145 Filipino peasant uprisings often
acted out an ideology developed through a subverted version of passion plays,146 and European carnivals often
passed over into insurrection.147 Social change does not come from nothing; it requires the pre-existence of a
counter-culture involving nonconformist ideas and practices. ‘You have to know how the world isn’t in order to
change it’.148 As Gramsci puts it, before coming into existence a new society must be ‘ideally active’ in the minds of
those struggling for change.149
A2: Zizek

The Act’s form of active nihilism ultimately fails and isn’t sociall effective as it gets
repressed, allows for violence and doesn’t propose methods of solving in modes of isolation
ROBINSON & TORMEY 2K5 (Andrew and Simon, “Zizek is not a radical,” THESIS ELEVEN, N80,
FEBRUARY, http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf pg 26)

The history of resistance gives little reason to support Zizek’s politics of the Act. The ability to Act in the manner
described by Zizek is largely absent from the subaltern strata. Mary Kay Letourneau (let us recall) did not transform
society; rather, her ‘Act’ was repressed and she was jailed. In another case discussed by Zizek, a group of Siberian
miners is said to accomplish an Act - by getting massacred.150 Since Acts are not socially effective, they cannot help
the worst-off, let alone transform society. Zizek’s assumption of the effectiveness of Acts rests on a confusion
between individual and social levels of analysis. Vaneigem eerily foresees Zizek’s ‘Act’ when he argues against
‘active nihilism’. ‘In a gloomy bar where everyone is bored to death, a drunken young man breaks his glass, then
picks up a bottle and smashes it against the wall. Nobody gets excited; the disappointed young man lets himself be
thrown out... Nobody responded to the sign which he thought was explicit. He remained alone, like the hooligan
who burns down a church or kills a policeman, at one with himself, but condemned to exile for as long as other
people remain exiled from their existence. He has not escaped from the magnetic field of isolation; he is suspended
in a zone of zero gravity’.151 The transition from this ‘wasteland of the suicide and the solitary killer’ to
revolutionary politics requires the repetition of negation in a different register,152 connected to a positive project to
change the world and relying on the imaginaries Zizek denounces, the carnival spirit and the ability to dream.153

Zizek’s advocacy of violence justified actions like Nazism and Soviet terror
Robinson and Tormey, 2004 (Andrew and Simon, activist and doctoral student in the School of Politics, University of
Nottingham, teaches in the schools of Politics and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. Thesis Eleven, University of
Nottingham, “Zizek is not radical,” http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf, February pg 18-20)

Secondly, Zizek implies that Lenin must in some sense have ‘understood’ that the revolution would necessarily betray itself, and that all
revolutions are structurally doomed to fall short of whatever ideals and principles motivate them. He also implies that the success or failure of a
revolution has nothing to do with whether the modes of thought and action, social relations and institutions which follow are at all related to the
original revolutionary ideals and principles. What matters is that power is held by those who ‘identify with the symptom’, who call themselves
‘Proletarian’. Zizek therefore endorses the conservative claim that Lenin’s utopian moments were Machiavellian manoeuvres or at best confused
delusions, veiling his true intentions to seize power for himself or a small elite: Lenin was the ‘ultimate political strategist’.121 That Zizek
endorses the ‘Lenin’ figure despite endorsing nearly every accusation against Lenin serves to underline the degree to
which Zizek’s politics are wedded to conservative assumptions that repression, brutality and terror are ‘always with
us’. Rejecting the claim that politics could be otherwise, Zizek wishes to grasp, embrace and even revel in the
grubbiness and violence of modern politics. The moment of utopia in Russia was for Zizek realised when the Red
Guards succumbed to a destructive hedonism in moments of Bataillean excess.122 The only difference for Zizek
between leftist ethics and the standpoint of Oliver North, the Taleban, the anti-Dreyfusards and even the Nazis is
that such ‘rightists’ legitimate their acts in reference to some higher good, whereas leftists also suspend the higher
good in a truly authentic gesture of suspension.123 The Soviet Terror is a good terror whereas the Nazi one is not,
only because the Soviet terror was allegedly more total, with everyone being potentially at risk, not only out-
groups.124 Zizek goes well beyond advocating violence as a means to an end; for Zizek, violence is part of the end
itself, the utopian excess of the Act. The closest parallel is the nihilism of Nechaev’s Catechism of a Revolution
which proclaims that ‘everything is moral that contributes to the triumph of the revolution; everything that hinders it
is immoral and criminal’.125 As Peter Marshall comments in his digest of anarchist writings and movements, the
Catechism is ‘one of the most repulsive documents in the history of terrorism’. One can only speculate what he
would have made of ‘Repeating Lenin’.126
A2: Zizek

The alternative leaves social exclusion, violence and fails at subversing capitalism
Robinson and Tormey, 2004 (Andrew and Simon, activist and doctoral student in the School of Politics, University of
Nottingham, teaches in the schools of Politics and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. Thesis Eleven, University of
Nottingham, “Zizek is not radical,” http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf, pg 9)

The choice of the term ‘suspension’ is revealing, for although in Zizek’s account the surface structure of the social
system is changed during such a ‘suspension’, the deep structure of the social system as set out in Lacanian theory is
not (and cannot be) changed in the slightest. So an Act shatters capitalism, but it leaves intact many of
its most objectionable features, including social exclusion,56 violence,57 naturalisation,58
reification and myths,59 all of which are for Zizek primordial, ever-present and necessary in any
society. Further, since the Act involves submission to a Cause and a Leader, it cannot destroy the
authoritarian structure of capitalism: ‘often, one does need a leader in order to be able to “do the
impossible”... subordination to [the leader] is the highest act of freedom’.60 So, while an Act may destroy the
specific articulations of oppression within the present system (e.g. the identification of the Real with
illegal immigrants), it necessarily produces a system which is equally oppressive.
A2: Zizek

Zizek's lack of an alternative and general ambiguity renders his anti-capitalist rhetoric
meaningless
Ernesto Laclau, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex, 2000, “Contingency, Hegemony,
Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left”

Zizek takes a patently anti-capitalist stance, and asserts that the proponents of postmodernism 'as a rule, leave out
of sight the resignation at its heart- the acceptance of capitalism as “the only game in town”, the renunciation of any real attempt
to overcome the existing capitalist liberal regime' (SZ, p. 95). The difficulty with assertions like this is that they
mean absolutely nothing. I understand what Marx meant by overcoming the capitalist regime,
because he made it quite explicit several times. I also understand what Lenin or Trotsky meant
for the same reason. But in the work of Zizek that expression means nothing- unless he has a
secret strategic plan of which he is very careful not to inform anybody. Should we understand that
he wants to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat? Or does he want to socialize the means of production and abolish market
mechanisms? And what is his political strategy to achieve these rather peculiar aims? What is the
alternative model of society that he is postulating? Without at least the beginning of an answer
to these questions, his anti-capitalism is merely empty talk.

Zizek’s alternative is a prescription for political sterility


Ernesto Laclau, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex, 2000, “Contingency, Hegemony,
Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left”
The imagery around the base/superstructure metaphor decisively shapes Zizek's vision of political
alternatives. Thus he distinguishes between struggles to change the system and struggles within
the system. I do not think that this distinction, posed in those terms, is a valid one. The crucial question is:
how systematic is the system? If we conceive this systematical as the result of endogenous laws
of development- as in the case of the retroactive reversal of contingency into necessity- the only alternatives are
either that those laws lead, through their operation, to the self-destruction of the system(let us
remember the debate in the Second International, on the mechanic collapse of the system) or to the system's destruction
from outside. If, on the contrary, systematicity is seen as a hegemonic construction, historical change
is conceivable as a displacement in the relations between elements- some internal and some
external to what the system had been. Questions such as the following may be asked: How is it possible to
maintain a market economy which is compatible with a high degree of social control of the
productive progress? What restructuralition of the liberal democratic institutions is necessary so
that democratic control becomes effective, and does not degenerate into regulation by an all-
powerful bureaucracy? How should democratization be conceived so that it makes possible global political effects which
are, however, compatible with the social and cultural pluralism existing in a given society? These questions are thinkable within
the Gramscian strategy of a war on position, while in Zizek's suggestion of a direct struggle for overthrowing
capitalism and abolishing liberal democracy, I can see only a prescription for political
quietism and sterility.
A2: Zizek

Universality is a joke Ernesto


Laclau, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex, 2000, “Contingency, Hegemony, Universality:
Contemporary Dialogues on the Left”

Zizek thinks that the degree of globality or universality of a struggle depends on its location in
the social structure: some struggles, conceived as 'class struggle'- those of the workers, especially- would
spontaneously and tendentially be more 'universal' in their effects because they take place at the
'root' of the capitalist system; while others, more 'cultural' in their aims- such as multiculturalist ones-
would be more prone to particularism and, as a result, easier to integrate into the present system
of domination. For me this is a spurious distinction. There is no struggle which has inscribed in
itself the guarantee of being the privileged locus of universalistic political effects. Workers' demands-
higher wages, shorter working hours, better conditions in the workplace, and so on- can, given the appropriate circumstances, be
as easily integrated into the system as those of any other group. Conversely, given the globalization of
capitalism, dislocations could take place which are the basis of anti-systemic movements led by
groups who are not directly part of the capitalist relations of production. So while for Zizek the
distinction between 'class struggle' and what he calls 'postmodernism' is fundamental, I tend to blur it.
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 1/4


Zizek’s alternative necessarily reproduces violence and oppression. It takes these things as
a given, and merely changes they ways in which violence is expressed.
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 2)
The Act resolves all problems in a single, all-encompassing Terror which bypasses particularities and
violently stops the ‘mad dance’ of shifting identities, operating instead to ground a new political universality by opting
for the impossible, with no taboos, no a priori norms . . . respect for which would prevent us from ‘resignifying’ terror. (Butler et al., 2000: 326)
An Act is symbolic death, creatio ex nihilo, and self-grounded.17 It is the outcome of ‘an ethics grounded in
reference to the traumatic Real which resists symbolisation’, i.e. to ‘an injunction which cannot be grounded in
ontology’ ( Zizek, 1997a: 213–14), a ‘selfreferential abyss’ ( Zizek, 1997a: 223), an excessive gesture irreducible to
human considerations and necessarily arbitrary (as in Zizek, 2000: 155; 1999: 96). The suspension of ethical,
epistemological and political standards is thus not merely a necessary consequence of a Zizekian Act – it is a
defining feature. Such a suspension is necessary so a new system can be built from nothing, and anything
short of a full Act remains on enemy terrain (see also, respectively, Zizek, 2000: 155; Butler et al., 2000: 126). The choice of the term
‘suspension’ is revealing, for although in Zizek’s account the surface structure of the social system is changed during such a ‘suspension’, the
deep structure of the social system as set out in Lacanian theory is not (and cannot be) changed,
altered or reformed. So an Act shatters capitalism, but it leaves intact many of its most objectionable
features, including social exclusion, violence, naturalization, reification and myths, all of which are for
Zizek primordial, ever-present and necessary in any society.18 Further, since the Act involves submission to
a Cause and a Leader, it cannot destroy the authoritarian structure of capitalism: ‘often, one does need
a leader in order to be able to “do the impossible”. . . subordination to [the leader] is the highest act of freedom’
( Zizek, 2001b: 246–7). So, while an Act may destroy the specific articulations of oppression within the
present system (e.g. the identification of the Real with illegal immigrants), it necessarily produces a system
which is equally oppressive. To succeed, their alternative requires an authoritarian leader capable
of engaging in horrible violence in order to bring about change.

Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 2)
Furthermore, despite Zizek’s emphasis on politics, his discussion of the Act remains resolutely
individualist – as befits its clinical origins. Zizek’s examples of Acts are nearly all isolated actions by
individuals, such as Mary Kay Letourneau’s defiance of juridical pressure to end a relationship with a youth, a
soldier in Full Metal Jacket killing his drill sergeant and himself, and the acts of Stalinist bureaucrats who
rewrote history knowing they would later be purged ( Zizek, 1997a: 21; 1999: 385–7; 2001b: 98–9). Even the Russian Revolution becomes for
Zizek a set of individual choices by Lenin, Stalin and the aforementioned bureaucrats, as opposed to the culmination of mass actions involving
This is problematic as a basis for understanding previous social
thousands of ordinary men and women.
transformations, and even more so as a recommendation for the future. The new subject Zizek envisages is
an authoritarian leader, someone capable of the ‘inherently terroristic’ action of ‘redefining the
rules of the game’ ( Zizek, 1999: 377). We would argue that this is a conservative, if not reactionary,
position. Donald Rooum’s cartoon character Wildcat surely grasps the essence of left radical ambition rather better when he states, ‘I don’t
just want freedom from the capitalists. I also want freedom from people fit to take over’ (Rooum, 1991: 24).
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 2/4


Zizek’s politics subordinate everything to rejecting the status quo, and result in
authoritarianism and human rights abuses
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 2)
Yet it is still the case that Zizek mercilessly rejects the present state of the world. On the one hand, he is very aware
of problems of great significance for the left: the privatization of everything from telecommunications to genes, the
invisible exploitation of workers in sweatshops, the growing ecological crisis, and the weight of the forces lined up
to make these attacks, and the crisis they generate, seem ‘normal’.12 And yet, on the other hand, he launches
conservative-sounding attacks on liberalism and reflexivity ( Zizek, 1999: 358; Zizek, 2000: 9); the lack of a
Master ( Zizek, 1997a: 151–3, 164; 1999: 358; 2001b: 246–7); and campaigns against sexual violence
( Zizek, 1999: 285; 2000: 72, 111). He also rails against ‘permissiveness’ and ‘decadence’ and calls for a
conformist ‘normal mature subject’ prepared to submit to authority on trust and to identify
authentically with social roles ( Zizek, 1997a: 148, 193; 1999: 369, 399; 2000: 110–11, 133– 5). Though it is far
from clear that the changes he demands are unproblematically progressive, he clearly wants a comprehensive
transformation. Indeed, he dismisses others’ concerns for human rights, moderation and toleration as mere
‘humanist hysterical shirking of the act’ and announces that he doesn’t care if ‘bleeding-heart liberals’ accuse him of
‘linksfaschismus’ (Butler et al., 2000: 326; Zizek, 1999: 380). Zizek’s position thus sacrifices everything to
a core orientation. Yet the question remains, how can he reconcile such a stance with the impossibility of
imagining a radical alternative?
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s theory encourages violence as part of antagonism constitutive of humanity – it


should be rejected on the notion that it would allow for unspeakable atrocities.
Robinson and Tormey 03, (Andrew and Simon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor
of Politics at Nottingham University, 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical,”
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf)
As becomes evident ‘class struggle’ is not for Zizek an empirical referent and even less a category of
Marxisant sociological analysis, but a synonym for the Lacanian Real. A progressive endorsement of ‘class
struggle’ means positing the lack of a common horizon and assuming or asserting the insolubility of political
conflict.16 It therefore involves a glorification of conflict, antagonism, terror and a militaristic
logic of carving the field into good and bad sides, as a good in itself.17 Zizek celebrates war
because it ‘undermines the complacency of our daily routine’ by introducing ‘meaningless
sacrifice and destruction’.18 He fears being trapped by a suffocating social peace or Good and so
calls on people to take a ‘militant, divisive position’ of ‘assertion of the Truth that enthuses them’.19 The content of this
Truth is a secondary issue. For Zizek, Truth has nothing to do with truth-claims and the field of ‘knowledge’. Truth is an event which ‘just
happens’, in which ‘the thing itself’ is ‘disclosed to us as what it is’.20 Truth is therefore the exaggeration which distorts any balanced system.21
A ‘truth-effect’ occurs whenever a work produces a strong emotional reaction, and it need not be
identified with empirical accuracy: lies and distortions can have a truth-effect, and factual truth can cover the
disavowal of desire and the Real.22 In this sense, therefore, Lenin and de Gaulle, St Paul and Lacan are all carriers
of the truth and therefore are progressive, ‘radical’ figures, despite the incompatibility of their doctrines. Such
individuals (and it is always individuals) violently carve the field and produce a truth-effect. That
de Gaulle and the Church are political rightists is of no importance to Zizek, since he redefines ‘right’ and ‘left’ to avoid such problems. He
also writes off the human suffering caused by carving the field as justified or even beneficial: it
has a ‘transcendental genesis’ in the subject, and its victims endure it because they obtain
jouissance from it.23 The structural occurrence of a truth-event is what matters to him - not what
kind of world results from it. This is a secondary issue - and anyway one that he thinks is impossible to discuss, since the logic of
liberal capitalism is so total that it makes alternatives unthinkable.24 One should keep the utopian possibility of alternatives open, but it should
remain empty, awaiting a content.25
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 3/4


Zizek’s politics require authoritarian control and violence. He endorses actions such as
Stalinist purges, and concedes that political change is impossible.
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 2)

So the Act is a rebirth – but a rebirth as what? The parallel with Lacan’s concept of ‘traversing the fantasy’ is crucial
because, for Lacan, there is no escape from the symbolic order or the Law of the Master. We are trapped
in the existing world, complete with its dislocation, lack, alienation and antagonism, and no transcendence can
overcome the deep structure of this world, which is fixed at the level of subject-formation. The most we can hope
for is to go from incapable neurosis to mere alienated subjectivity. In Zizek’s politics, therefore, a
fundamental social transformation is impossible. After the break initiated by an Act, a system similar
to the present one is restored; the subject undergoes identification with a Cause, leading to a new ‘proper symbolic Prohibition’
revitalized by the process of rebirth ( Zizek, 1999: 154, 368), enabling one ‘effectively to realize the necessary pragmatic measures’ ( Zizek,
1997b: 72–3), which may be the same ones as today. It is on this ground that Zizek is relaxed about supporting measures that, far from
challenging or undermining the status quo, give added support to it – as, for example, in his refusal to denounce structural adjustment policies
( Zizek, 1996: 32). This is all because, in his view, it is possible to start a ‘new life’, but only by replacing one symbolic fiction with another
( Zizek, 1999: 331). As a Lacanian, Zizek is opposed to any idea of realizing utopian ‘fullness’ and thus in escaping the vicissitudes of the
Any change in the basic structure of existence, whereby one may overcome
political qua antagonism.
dislocation and disorientation, is out of the question. However, he also rejects practical solutions to
problems as a mere displacement ( Zizek, 1999: 383–4). So an Act neither solves concrete problems nor
achieves drastic improvements; it merely removes blockages to existing modes of thought and action. It
transforms the ‘constellation which generates social symptoms’ (Butler et al., 2000: 124), shifting exclusion from
one group to another, but it does not achieve either drastic or moderate concrete changes. It ‘means that we accept
the vicious circle of revolving around the object [the Real] and find jouissance in it, renouncing the myth that
jouissance is amassed somewhere else’ ( Zizek, 1988: 109–10). It also offers those who take part in it a ‘dimension
of Otherness, that moment when the absolute appears in all its fragility’, a ‘brief apparition of a future utopian
Otherness to which every authentic revolutionary stance should cling’ ( Zizek, 2000: 159–60). This
absolute, however, can only be glimpsed. The leader, Act and Cause must be betrayed so the social
order can be refounded. The leader, or ‘mediator’, ‘must erase himself [sic] from the picture’ ( Zizek, 2001b:
50), retreating to the horizon of the social to haunt history as spectre or phantasy ( Zizek, 2000: 64). Every Great
Man must be betrayed so he can assume his fame and thereby become compatible with the status quo ( Zizek, 1999:
90–1, 316); once one glimpses the sublime Universal, therefore, one must commit suicide – as Zizek
claims the Bolshevik Party did, via the Stalinist purges (1997c).
A2: Zizek

The result of the plan is to completely subordinate the individual, replicating the abuses of
concentration camps
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 2)

The Act thus reproduces in the socio-political field the Lacanian concept of traversing the fantasy.
Traversing the fantasy involves ‘accepting’ that there is no way one can be satisfied, and therefore
a ‘full acceptance of the pain . . . as inherent to the excess of pleasure which is jouissance’, as well as a
rejection of every conception of radical difference ( Zizek, 1997a: 30–1). It means ‘an acceptance of the fact
that there is no secret treasure in me’ ( Zizek, 1997a: 10), and a transition from being the ‘nothing’ we are
today to being ‘a Nothing humbly aware of itself, a Nothing paradoxically made rich through the very awareness of
its lack’ ( Zizek, 2000: 146–7). It involves being reduced to a zero-point or ‘ultimate level’ similar to that
seen in the most broken concentration-camp inmates ( Zizek, 2001b: 76–7, 86), so the role of analysis
is ‘to throw out the baby’ in order to confront the patient with his [their] ‘dirty bathwater’ ( Zizek,
1997a: 62–3), inducing not an improvement but a transition ‘from Bad to Worse’, which is ‘inherently
“terroristic” ’ ( Zizek, 1999: 377). It is also not freedom in the usual sense, but prostration before the
call of the truth-event, ‘something violently imposed on me from the Outside through a traumatic encounter
that shatters the very foundation of my being’ ( Zizek, 1999: 377). With shades of Orwell, Zizek claims that the Act involves ‘the highest
freedom and also the utmost passivity with a reduction to a lifeless automaton who blindly performs its gestures’. In other words, in the Act
freedom equals slavery ( Zizek, 1999: 377).
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s Alt is Oppressive/Violent 4/4


Zizek’s Theory promotes violence and exclusion of the Other
Robinson 05 (Andrew, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University, 2005, “The Political Theory of
Constitutive Lack: A Critique”)

Zizek's anti-capitalism has won him friends in leftist circles, but the capitalism to which he
objects is not the capitalism of classical Marxist critique. One could, indeed, question whether Zizek is
attacking capitalism (as opposed to liberalism) at all. His "capitalism" is a stultifying world of suffocating Good
which is unbearable precisely because it lacks the dimension of violence and antagonism. It is, he says, 'boring',
'repetitive' and 'perverse' because it lacks the 'properly political' attitude of 'Us against Them'20. It therefore
eliminates the element of unconditional attachment to an unattainable Thing or Real, an element which is the core of
humanity21. It delivers what Zizek fears most: a 'pallid and anaemic, self-satisfied, tolerant peaceful
daily life'. To rectify this situation, there is a need for suffocating Good to be destroyed by
diabolical Evil22. 'Why not violence?' he rhetorically asks. 'Horrible as it may sound, I think it's a
useful antidote to all the aseptic, frustrating, politically correct pacifism'23. There must always be social
exclusion, and 'enemies of the people'24. The resulting politics involves an 'ethical duty' to accomplish an Act which
shatters the social edifice by undermining the fantasies which sustain it25. As with Mouffe, this is both a duty and
an acceptance of necessity. 'By traversing the fantasy the subject accepts the void of his nonexistence'26. On a
political level, this kind of stance leads to an acceptance of social exclusion which negates
compassion for its victims. The resultant inhumanity finds its most extreme expression in Zizek's
work, where 'today's "mad dance", the dynamic proliferation of multiple shifting identities... awaits its resolution in
a new form of Terror'27. It is also present, however, in the toned-down exclusionism of authors such as Mouffe.
Hence, democracy depends on 'the possibility of drawing a frontier between "us" and "them"', and 'always entails
relations of inclusion-exclusion'28. 'No state or political order... can exist without some form of exclusion'
experienced by its victims as coercion and violence29, and, since Mouffe assumes a state to be necessary, this means
that one must endorse exclusion and violence. (The supposed necessity of the state is derived from the supposed
need for a master-signifier or nodal point to stabilize identity and avoid psychosis, either for individuals or for
societies). What is at stake in the division between these two trends in Lacanian political theory is akin to the
distinction Vaneigem draws between "active" and "passive" nihilism30. The Laclauian trend involves an implied
ironic distance from any specific project, which maintains awareness of its contingency; overall, however, it
reinforces conformity by insisting on an institutional mediation which overcodes all the "articulations". The
Zizekian version is committed to a more violent and passionate affirmation of negativity, but one which
ultimately changes very little. The function of the Zizekian "Act" is to dissolve the self, producing a historical
event. "After the revolution", however, everything stays much the same. For all its radical pretensions,
Zizek's politics can be summed up in his attitude to neo-liberalism: 'If it works, why not try a dose of it?'31. The
phenomena which are denounced in Lacanian theory are invariably readmitted in its "small print",
and this leads to a theory which renounces both effectiveness and political radicalism.
A2: Zizek

Alternative Fails-Any type of resistance to capitalism is rejected by Zizek, the alternative


can never materialize
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 8)

So an Act neither solves concrete problems nor achieves drastic improvements; it merely
removes blockages to existing modes of thought and action. It transforms the ‘constellation which
generates social symptoms’ (Butler et al., 2000: 124), shifting exclusion from one group to another, but it does not
achieve either drastic or moderate concrete changes. It ‘means that we accept the vicious circle of revolving around
the object [the Real] and find jouissance in it, renouncing the myth that jouissance is amassed somewhere else’
(Zizek, 1988: 109–10). It also offers those who take part in it a ‘dimension of Otherness, that moment when the
absolute appears in all its fragility’, a ‘brief apparition of a future utopian Otherness to which every authentic
revolutionary stance should cling’ (Zizek, 2000: 159–60). This absolute, however, can only be glimpsed. The leader,
Act and Cause must be betrayed so the social order can be refounded. The leader, or ‘mediator’, ‘must erase himself
[sic] from the picture’ (Zizek, 2001b: 50), retreating to the horizon of the social to haunt history as spectre or
phantasy (Zizek, 2000: 64). Every Great Man must be betrayed so he can assume his fame and thereby become
compatible with the status quo (Zizek, 1999: 90–1, 316); once one glimpses the sublime Universal, therefore, one
must commit suicide – as Zizek claims the Bolshevik Party did, via the Stalinist purges (1997c). Furthermore,
despite Zizek’s emphasis on politics, his discussion of the Act remains resolutely individualist – as befits its clinical
origins. Zizek’s examples of Acts are nearly all isolated actions by individuals, such as Mary Kay Letourneau’s
defiance of juridical pressure to end a relationship with a youth, a soldier in Full Metal Jacket killing his drill
sergeant and himself, and the acts of Stalinist bureaucrats who rewrote history knowing they would later be purged
(Zizek, 1997a: 21; 1999: 385– 7; 2001b: 98–9). Even the Russian Revolution becomes for Zizek a set of
individual choices by Lenin, Stalin and the aforementioned bureaucrats, as opposed to the
culmination of mass actions involving thousands of ordinary men and women. This is
problematic as a basis for understanding previous social transformations, and even more so as a
recommendation for the future. The new subject Zizek envisages is an authoritarian leader,
someone capable of the ‘inherently terroristic’ action of ‘redefining the rules of the game’ (Zizek,
1999: 377). We would argue that this is a conservative, if not reactionary, position. Donald
Rooum’s cartoon character Wildcat surely grasps the essence of left radical ambition rather
better when he states, ‘I don’t just want freedom from the capitalists. I also want freedom from
people fit to take over.’
A2: Zizek

The Revolution is nihilism and anti-ethical-the alternative is circular and will never solve
Robinson and Tormey 05
(Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish
Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8 November 2005, pg. 9)

True to form, Zizek does not see mere ‘impossibility’ as a barrier to action at all. Rather, he sees a
confrontation with the impossible as a sign of the purity and authenticity of a particular action, i.e. of what he
identifies as an authentic Act. For Zizek, an authentic, radical Act necessarily comes from the repressed
Real, and involves the return of this repressed impossibility. It necessarily, therefore, surprises not only
conformist observers, but the actor; it ‘surprises/transforms the agent itself’ (Butler et al., 2000: 124). The
Act therefore opens a redemptive dimension via a ‘gesture of sublimation, of erasing the traces of one’s past .
. . and beginning again from a zero-point’ (Zizek, 2000: 127). Such an Act is for Zizek a transcendental
necessity for subjective action, ‘a quasi-transcendental unhistorical condition of possibility and . .
impossibility of historicisation’ (Zizek, 1997a: 225–6). The Act, which for Zizek is the sole criterion
of
whether one’s politics are radical, is a structural or formal category, defined (in principle)
internally and radically separated from anything which does not meet its criteria. All alternatives
that fall short of the criteria of full Acts are for Zizek necessarily complicit in capitalism, even
those which share Zizek’s hostility to liberal capitalism, and including some which fit particular
formal requirements of an Act. At best, they are hysterical ‘false acts’, providing a ‘pseudo-
radical’, pseudo-resistance which actually sustains capitalism by contributing to its ‘phantasmic
supplement’. Acts have several formal criteria which Zizek formulates differently on different
occasions. First, someone who Acts must identify with the symptom, thereby revealing a
repressed Truth and bringing the Real to the surface.
Second, they must ‘suspend’ the existing symbolic system, including its ethics, politics, and
systems of meaning and knowledge; an Act is nihilistic and extra-, even anti-, ethical (at least as
regards any conception of the good). Since Zizek denies the existence of radical social, cultural
or psycho-logical difference, he believes that everyone is equally trapped by the dominant
symbolic system, so any break with it must come from beyond meaning and positive ethics. The
commitment an Act generates must be ‘dogmatic’; it ‘cannot be refuted by any argumentation’
and is indifferent to the truth-status of the Event it refers to. An Act has its own inherent
normativity, refusing all external standards; an Act (or Decision) is circular and tautological,
based on a ‘shibboleth’, and incomprehensible except from the inside.
A2: Zizek

Alternative Fails-radical resistance fails and only continues the cycle of oppressive
alienation, hierarchies and domination
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 1)

The work of Slavoj Zizek has become an essential reference point for debates concerning the
future of left radical thought and practice. His attacks on identity politics, multiculturalism and ‘radical
democracy’ have established him as a leading figure amongst those looking to renew the link between socialist
discourse and a transformative politics. However, we contend that despite the undeniable radicality of Zizek’s
theoretical approach, his politics offers little in the way of inspiration for the progressive left. On the
contrary, his commitment to Lacanian categories reasserts the primordial character of alienation,
hierarchy and domination, and his proposed schema for confronting the status quo, the model of
the Act, serves to reaffirm rather than contest the given. We suggest that a genuinely
transformative politics should (contra Zizek) stress the necessity for the prefiguration of
alternatives, of linking and radicalizing ‘petty’ resistances, of encouraging critical and utopian
forms of thought and activity.

Alternative Fails-Zizek’s alternative is not progressive and reinforces current political


structures through active nihilism
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 2)

In this article we want to suggest that whilst Zizek’s


recent work is intellectually ‘radical’, this is not,
despite appearances to the contrary, a radicalism that left politics can draw sustenance or hope
from. Zizek does not offer an alternative that is genuinely progressive or transformative, but only
the negativity of what Raoul Vaneigem terms ‘active nihilism’ (1967: 178). This negativity
‘breaks’ with the present but undermines rather than generates a meaningful politics of resistance
to the system. What Zizek delivers falls short of its promise. In our view, therefore, his position
should be opposed by those genuinely concerned with advancing left radical goals and a
meaningful resistance to the neoliberal status quo.
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s alternative cannot escape the current social system – he merely shifts oppression
from one group to another.
Robinson and Tormey 03, (Andrew and Simon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor
of Politics at Nottingham University, 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical,”
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf)

So the Act is a rebirth - but a rebirth as what? The parallel with Lacan’s concept of ‘traversing the fantasy’ is crucial,
because, for Lacan, there is no escape from the symbolic order or the Law of the Master. We are
trapped in the existing world, complete with its dislocation, lack, alienation and antagonism, and
no transcendence can overcome the deep structure of this world, which is fixed at the level of
subjectformation; the most we can hope for is to go from incapable neurosis to mere alienated subjectivity. In
Zizek’s politics, therefore, a fundamental social transformation is impossible. After the break
initiated by an Act, a system similar to the present one is restored; the subject undergoes identification
with a Cause,77 leading to a new ‘proper symbolic Prohibition’ revitalised by the process of rebirth,78 enabling
one ‘effectively to realize the necessary pragmatic measures’,79 which may be the same ones as
today, e.g. structural adjustment policies.80 It is possible to start a new life by replacing one
symbolic fiction with another.81 As a Lacanian, Zizek is opposed to any idea of realising utopian fullness.
Any change in the basic structure of existence, whereby one may overcome dislocation and disorientation, is out of
the question. However, he also rejects practical solutions to problems as a mere displacement.82 So an Act
neither solves concrete problems nor achieves drastic improvements; it merely removes
blockages to existing modes of thought and action. It transforms the ‘constellation which
generates social symptoms’,83 shifting exclusion from one group to another, but it does not
achieve either drastic or moderate concrete changes. It ‘means that we accept the vicious circle of
revolving around the object [the Real] and find jouissance in it, renouncing the myth that jouissance is amassed
somewhere else’.84 It also offers those who take part in it a ‘dimension of Otherness, that moment when the
absolute appears in all its fragility’, a ‘brief apparition of a future utopian Otherness to which every authentic
revolutionary stance should cling’.85 This absolute, however, can only be glimpsed. The leader, Act and Cause must
be betrayed so the social order can be refounded. The leader, or ‘mediator’, ‘must erase himself [sic]
from the picture’,86 retreating to the horizon of the social to haunt history as spectre or phantasy.87 Every Great
Man must be betrayed so he can assume his fame and thereby become compatible with the status quo;88 once one
glimpses the sublime Universal, therefore, one must commit suicide - as Zizek claims the Bolshevik
Party did, via the Stalinist purges (‘When the Party Commits Suicide’).
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s alternative is political paralysis – progressivism built around the desire for
transformation is the only way to avoid the replication of oppression.
Robinson and Tormey 03, (Andrew and Simon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor
of Politics at Nottingham University, 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical,”
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf)

Zizek’s politics are not merely impossible, but potentially despotic, and also (between support
for a Master, acceptance of pain and alienation, militarism and the restoration of order)
tendentially conservative. They serve only to discredit the left and further alienate those it seeks
to mobilise. Instead, a transformative politics should be a process of transformation, an alinear,
rhizomatic, multiform plurality of resistances, initiatives, and, indeed, acts, which are sometimes spectacular
and carnivalesque, sometimes prefigurative, sometimes subterranean, sometimes rooted in institutional change
and reform, sometimes directly revolutionary. Zizek’s model of the pledged group, bound together by
the One who Acts, is entirely irrelevant to the contemporary world and would be a step
backwards from the decentred character of current leftradical politics. Nor need this decentring be seen
as a weakness as Zizek insists. It can be a strength, protecting radical politics from self-appointed elites,
transformism, infiltration, defeat through the ‘neutralisation’ of leaders, and the threat of a repeat of the Stalinist
betrayal. In contrast with Zizek’s stress on subordination, exclusivity, hierarchy and violence, the tendency of anti-
capitalists and others to adopt anti-authoritarian, heterogeneous, inclusive and multiform types of
activity offer a better chance of effectively overcoming the homogenising logic of capitalism and
of winning support among wider circles of those dissatisfied with it. Similarly, the emphasis on
direct action - which can include ludic, carnivalesque and non-violent actions as well as more overtly
confrontational ones - generates the possibility of empowerment through involvement in and support
for the myriad causes which make up the anti-capitalist resistance. This resistance stands in stark
contrast to the desert of ‘heroic’ isolation advocated by Zizek, which, as Laclau puts it, is ‘a
prescription for political quietism and sterility’.154 Zizek is right that we should aim to overcome the
‘impossibilities’ of capitalism, but this overcoming should involve the active prefiguration and
construction in actuality of alternative social forms, not a simple (and actually impossible) break
with everything which exists of the kind imagined by Zizek. It is important that radicals invoke
‘utopias’, but in an active way, in the forms of organisation, ‘disorganisation’, and activity we
adopt, in the spaces we create for resistance, and in the prefiguration of alternative economic,
political and social forms. Utopian imaginaries express what is at stake in left radicalism: that what
exists does not exist of necessity, and that the contingency of social institutions and practices makes
possible the overthrow of existing institutions and the construction or creation of different
practices, social relations, and conceptions of the world. The most Zizek allows to radicals is the ability
to ‘glimpse’ utopia while enacting the reconstruction of oppression. Radicals should go further,
and bring this imagined ‘other place’ into actual existence. Through enacting utopia, we have the ability
to bring the ‘no-where’ into the ‘now-here’
A2: Zizek

Their alternative as presented in this debate round is not the radical act – it fails to meet
Zizek’s own standards of what constitutes the Act. Zizek calls this a “false act,” one which
merely serves to continue capitalism.
Robinson and Tormey 03, (Andrew and Simon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor
of Politics at Nottingham University, 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical,”
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf)

Caught in the Act The answer is that Zizek does not see impossibility as a barrier to action. Rather, he sees it as a sign of the purity and
authenticity of a particular action, i.e. of what he identifies as an authentic Act. For Zizek, an authentic, radical Act
necessarily comes from the repressed Real, and involves the return of this repressed impossibility. It necessarily,
therefore, surprises not only conformist observers, but the actor; it ‘surprises/transforms the agent
itself’.37 The Act therefore opens a redemptive dimension via a ‘gesture of sublimation, of
erasing the traces of one’s past … and beginning again from a zeropoint’. 38 Such an Act is for Zizek a
transcendental necessity for subjective action, ‘a quasi-transcendental unhistorical condition of possibility and … impossibility of historicisation’.
The Act, which for Zizek is the sole criterion of whether one’s politics are radical, is a structural or formal category, defined (in principle)
All alternatives - even those which share
internally and radically separated from anything which does not meet its criteria.
Zizek’s hostility to liberal capitalism, and including some which fit particular formal
requirements of an Act - which fall short of the criteria of full Acts are for Zizek necessarily
complicit in capitalism. At best, they are hysterical ‘false acts’, providing a pseudo-radical
pseudo-resistance which actually sustains capitalism by contributing to its phantasmic
supplement.40 Acts have several formal criteria which Zizek formulates differently on different occasions. Firstly,
someone who Acts must identify with the symptom, thereby revealing a repressed Truth and bringing the Real to
the surface. Secondly, they must ‘suspend’ the existing symbolic system, including its ethics, politics,
and systems of meaning and knowledge;41 an Act is nihilistic and extra-, even anti-, ethical (at least as regards any
conception of the good). Since Zizek denies the existence of radical social, cultural or psychological difference, he believes that everyone is
equally trapped by the dominant symbolic system, so any
break with it must come from beyond meaning and
positive ethics. The commitment an Act generates must be ‘dogmatic’; it ‘cannot be refuted by any
argumentation’ and is indifferent to the truth-status of the Event it refers to.42 An Act has its
own inherent normativity, refusing all external standards;43 an Act (or Decision) is circular and
tautological,44 based on a shibboleth,45 and incomprehensible except from the inside.46 It is a response to
an ethical injunction beyond ordinary ethical norms, so that ‘although what I am about to do will have catastrophic
consequences for my well-being and for the well-being of my nearest and dearest, none the less I simply have to do
it, because of the inexorable ethical injunction’.47 The Act resolves all problems in a single, all-encompassing
Terror which bypasses particularities and violently stops the ‘mad dance’ of shifting identities, operating instead ‘to
ground a new political universality by opting for the impossible, with no taboos, no a priori
norms... respect for which would prevent us from ‘resignifying’ terror, the ruthless exercise of power, the spirit of
sacrifice’.48 An Act is symbolic death,49 creatio ex nihilo and self-grounded.50 It is the outcome of ‘an ethics
grounded in reference to the traumatic Real which resists symbolisation’, i.e. to ‘an injunction which cannot
be grounded in ontology’,51 a ‘selfreferential abyss’,52 an excessive gesture irreducible to human
considerations and necessarily arbitrary.53 The suspension of ethical, epistemological and political
standards is not a necessary consequence of a Zizekian Act - it is a defining feature. It is necessary so a
new system can be built from nothing,54 and anything short of a full Act remains on enemy
terrain.55
A2: Zizek

Zizek’s alternative is genocide – it requires acceptance of human nature as violent and


extermination of those who get in the way of the revolution.
Robinson and Tormey 03, (Andrew and Simon, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University and Professor
of Politics at Nottingham University, 2003 “Zizek is not a Radical,”
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.tormey/articles/Zizeknotradical.pdf)

Secondly, Zizek implies that Lenin must in some sense have ‘understood’ that the revolution would necessarily
betray itself, and that all revolutions are structurally doomed to fall short of whatever ideals and principles motivate
them. He also implies that the success or failure of a revolution has nothing to do with whether the modes of thought
and action, social relations and institutions which follow are at all related to the original revolutionary ideals and
principles. What matters is that power is held by those who ‘identify with the symptom’, who call themselves
‘Proletarian’. Zizek therefore endorses the conservative claim that Lenin’s utopian moments were
Machiavellian manoeuvres or at best confused delusions, veiling his true intentions to seize
power for himself or a small elite: Lenin was the ‘ultimate political strategist’.121 That Zizek endorses the
‘Lenin’ figure despite endorsing nearly every accusation against Lenin serves to underline the degree to which
Zizek’s politics are wedded to conservative assumptions that repression, brutality and terror are
‘always with us’. Rejecting the claim that politics could be otherwise, Zizek wishes to grasp,
embrace and even revel in the grubbiness and violence of modern politics. The moment of utopia
in Russia was for Zizek realised when the Red Guards succumbed to a destructive hedonism in
moments of Bataillean excess.122 The only difference for Zizek between leftist ethics and the standpoint of Oliver
North, the Taleban, the anti-Dreyfusards and even the Nazis is that such ‘rightists’ legitimate their acts in reference
to some higher good, whereas leftists also suspend the higher good in a truly authentic gesture of suspension.123
The Soviet Terror is a good terror whereas the Nazi one is not, only because the Soviet terror
was allegedly more total, with everyone being potentially at risk, not only out-groups.124 Zizek
goes well beyond advocating violence as a means to an end; for Zizek, violence is part of the end
itself, the utopian excess of the Act. The closest parallel is the nihilism of Nechaev’s Catechism of a
Revolution which proclaims that ‘everything is moral that contributes to the triumph of the
revolution; everything that hinders it is immoral and criminal’.125 As Peter Marshall comments
in his digest of anarchist writings and movements, the Catechism is ‘one of the most repulsive
documents in the history of terrorism’. One can only speculate what he would have made of
‘Repeating Lenin’.126
A2: Zizek

Perm Solves-Challenging leftist theories is the only way to create true political
progressivism
Robinson 05 (Andrew, Professor of Politics at Nottingham University, 2005, “The Political Theory of
Constitutive Lack: A Critique”)

Amongst a plethora of radical theoretical perspectives, a new paradigm is slowly becoming


hegemonic. Inspired by the work of Jacques Lacan, theorists are increasingly turning to the
concept of "constitutive lack" to find a way out of the impasses of classical Marxist, speculative
and analytical approaches to political theory. Beneath the debates between rivals such as Ernesto
Laclau and Slavoj Zizek, there is a unity of purpose about the parameters of political theory.
Across the work of authors such as Zizek, Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Yannis Stavrakakis, David
Howarth, Renata Salecl, Jason Glynos, Aletta Norval and Saul Newman, there is a central set of
motifs and claims which mark out a distinct tradition within contemporary political thought. The
idea of "constitutive lack", constructed as an ontological claim, operates also in these theories as
a normative concept, and it is used to found normative claims. The title of Alenka Zupančič's
most famous book Ethics of the Real summarises the outlook of all these authors1. The challenge
posed by this influential perspective is too important to ignore. Its paradigmatic structure - the
shared, often unconscious and unreflexive, assumptions which unite its various proponents in a
single way of thinking and arguing - is becoming the dominant trend in (ostensibly) radical
theory. It is accounting for a growing number of submitted and published articles and is gaining
a growing support among researchers and graduates. It has almost invisibly gained a foothold in
theoretical literature significant enough to raise its influence to a level second only, perhaps, to
the analytical/Rawlsian tradition. This is at least partly due to its radical pretensions. It is,
however, crucial to challenge it, because its political effects are to paralyse "radical" theory. It
provides a very weak basis for any kind of politics, and certainly no basis for a radical or
transformative agenda. It is, in short, a surrogate radicalism, a theoretical placebo which does not
live up to the promises it makes. This article examines this paradigm through a critique of its
founding concept. In contrast to the claims of authors such as Laclau to have escaped the
"essentialism" of classical political theory, I shall demonstrate that the idea of "constitutive lack"
involves the reintroduction of myth and essentialism into political theory. I shall demonstrate that
Lacanian political theory cannot meet its claims to be "radical" and "anti-essentialist", and its
central arguments are analytically flawed. First of all, however, I shall outline the parameters of
this new theoretical paradigm2.
A2: Zizek

Alt Fails and Impact Turn-Zizek does not provide any social transformation theory and
endorses an endless cycle of war and violence
Robinson and Tormey 05 (Andrew Robinson and Simon Tormey, professors of the school of Politics at
University of Nottingham, “A Ticklish Subject?Zizek and the Future of Left Radicalism,” Thesis Eleven, 8
November 2005, pg. 2-3)

Against this alleged pseudo-radicalism, Zizek revives traditional leftist concepts such as ‘class
struggle’. He ignores, however, the ‘orthodox’ left meaning of such terms, rearticulating them in
a sophisticated Hegelian and Lacanian vocabulary. Yet problems remain: Zizek’s version of
‘class struggle’ does not map on to traditional conceptions of an empirical working class, and
Zizek’s ‘proletariat’ is avowedly ‘mythical’. He also rejects newer forms of struggle such as the
anti-capitalist movement and the 1968 uprisings, thereby reproducing a problem common in
radical theory: his theory has no link to radical politics in an immediate sense. Nevertheless, he
has a theory of how such a politics should look, which he uses to judge existing political
radicalisms. So how does Zizek see radical politics emerging? Zizek does not offer much by way
of a positive social agenda. He does not have anything approximating to a ‘programme’, nor a
model of the kind of society he seeks, nor a theory of the construction of alternatives in the
present. Indeed, the more one looks at the matter, the more difficult it becomes to pin Zizek
down to any ‘line’ or ‘position’. He seems at first sight to regard social transformation not as
something ‘possible’ to be theorized and advanced, but as a fundamental ‘impossibility’ because
the influence of the dominant symbolic system is so great that it makes alternatives unthinkable.
A fundamental transformation, however, is clearly the only answer to the otherwise compelling
vision of contemporary crisis Zizek offers. Can he escape this contradiction? His attempt to do so
revolves around a reclassification of ‘impossibility’ as an active element in generating action.
Asserting or pursuing the impossible becomes in Zizek’s account not only possible but desirable.
So how then can the left advance its ‘impossible’ politics? How is a now ‘impossible’ model of
class struggle to be transformed into a politics relevant to the present period? As becomes
evident, ‘class struggle’ is not for Zizek an empirical referent and even less a category of
Marxisant sociological analysis, but a synonym for the Lacanian Real. A progressive
endorsement of ‘class struggle’ means positing the lack of a common horizon and assuming or
asserting the insolubility of political conflict. It therefore involves a glorification of conflict,
antagonism, terror and a militaristic logic of carving the field into good and bad sides, as a good
in itself (see, for example, the discussion in Zizek, 2000: 57, 126). Zizek celebrates war because
it ‘undermines the complacency of our daily routine’ by introducing ‘meaningless sacrifice and
destruction’ (Zizek, 1999: 105). He fears being trapped by a suffocating social peace or Good
and so calls on people to take a ‘militant, divisive position’ of ‘assertion of the Truth that
enthuses them’ (Zizek, 2001b: 237–8).
at lacan/zizek: “the act” fails

Zizek’s Act fails to accomplish fundamental change—it is merely therapeutic for individuals.

Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The


Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog,
http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-in-
progress_15.html)

Why does Zizek support the Act? Although he connects the Act to 'radicalism', he does not
state anywhere that the Act accomplishes any fundamental change in the deep structure of
existence; at best, it can temporarily suspend (for instance) exclusion. This is not an attempt
to achieve a better world (still less a perfect one!) but a purely structural attempt to restore
something which Zizek thinks is missing. In this sense, even in its 'radicalism', the Act is
conservative. Zizek is concerned that the matrix of sublimation - the possibility of producing
'sublime' objects which seem to encapsulate the absolute - is under threat (FA 26;
elsewhere, Zizek attacks postmodernists and other 'new sophists' for this). The Act in
whatever form reproduces the possibility of sublimity; in this sense, it reproduces old
certainties in new forms, undermining all the gains made by theories of historicity and
contingency. The purpose of the Act, which Zizek has transplanted from psychoanalytic
practice (directed at individual psyches) to socio-political practice (directed at entire social
systems) without considering whether this is possible or appropriate, is primarily
therapeutic. The role of the Act is to solve the antinomy of the present by asserting a Real
against the combined Imaginary and Real of simulacra, thereby reintroducing the
impossibility that shatters the Imaginary, enabling us to traverse the fantasy (TS 374; the
fantasy is the extimate kernel of libidinal investment which Zizek sees lurking almost
everywhere). Zizek seems to be restoring to psychoanalysis a naive conception of
psychological health: via the ex nihilo act, one can escape the logic of the symptom (DSST
178).

Zizek’s Act is radically nihilistic and accomplishes nothing political.

Robinson 04 (Andrew, PhD, political theory, University of Nottingham, “Introduction: The


Basic Zizekian Model,” Theory Blog,
http://andyrobinsontheoryblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/zizek-notes-and-work-in-
progress_15.html)

It is important to realise that the Act is not revolutionary in the sense of creating something
new on the basis of an ideal, or an imaginary, or the restoration of an authentic pre-
alienated state, or any other process which would allow one to create something on the
basis of a project and praxis. The Act is radically nihilistic (see below). For Zizek, the subject
can change nothing - all it can do is add itself to reality by an act of claiming responsibility
for the given (SOI 221). Zizek is a little inconsistent on the relationship between the Act and the existin