attorneys for fetuses

in alabama, fetus > life itself

a fine example of how the modern state sustains itself via the control of women’s bodies.

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in defense of islam, a critique of modernity

its ironic that deciding to distance myself from christianity and writing a paper on terrorism in defense of islam coincide at around the same time. ‘christianity’, increasingly indistinguishable from the ‘modern’ democratic state has become the source of so many ills. in no way am i condoning terrorism. but its important to understand that fundamentalism is a unique and specifically modern phenomena that could not exist if the secularization of the West did not first occur. a secularization made possible on the basis of christian values. marcel gauchet describes christianity as “the religion for departing from religion.” at the heart of christianity is the possibility, the seed kernel, for the disenchantment and divorce of its adherents from christianity itself towards a secular framework of modern ideals; it is a religion that strives to give birth, if by giving birth we understand it as an act of creating something completely separate and autonomous from one’s self. this is the transition from the sacred to the rational. but not a conversion, for the rational retains traces of the sacred. christianity creates free individuals who strive to achieve an identity separate from their place of origin, this is an inescapable aspect of the human condition. but the great trick in christianity is that the individuality that one seeks is reflected in the image of the maker so that one’s desire for selfhood is ultimately returned to a desire for ‘God’. and hence the violence of ownership of what it exiles, excretes, ejaculates, from itself. this is the nihilistic trap that is christianity. the same logic that entrenches the West in a secular frame whereby non-modernized cultures become demonized and marginalized as irrational ‘others’. for what is modern is that which conforms to public discourse grounded in secular reason. what is christian is that which conforms to scripture grounded in the logos. but it is this very discourse that creates the myth of the ‘islamic other’. the notion that there can be only one ‘God’ and that ‘he’ is ours. it doesn’t get much more sacred than this. and by sacred i mean what constitutes the demonic and orgiastic experience of primeval time where there was no differentiation between forces of nature and the elements within nature, such as man. religious identity, mirroring national identity, has become increasingly bound to this sacred undifferentiation today. the primal forces of the sacred are so indivisible from one’s sense of identity that there is no capacity or possibility for transcendence, or being open to the possibility that your truth may not be the only one. in so many ways the secular democratic state, mirroring the religious, has become just as fundamental and insulated as the non-modern cultures that our media so opportunistically otherizes, further widening the division between two already antagonistic forces. democracy and its ground of secular reason has become a new form of fundamentalism, which is perhaps a symptom of any form of immanence. it is the dominant framework under which the entire global community feels its weight and imposition. so it comes at no surprise that when you perpetually antagonize your neighbor, that when you perpetually take away their resources, impose upon them the pressure to conform to the ‘neighborhood’ code, inhibit their development and ridicule their identity…when all this is done, in the name of the secular West, one shouldn’t be surprised when this neighbor suddenly lashes out. it is the eruption, the orgasm, necessary to any build-up of tensile energy within a body or system; but terrorism is a reaction that discharges the increase of tensile energy through violent means; violent because it is repressed; repressed because ‘islam’ as ‘other’ is inadmissible to secular reason. justification and moral judgements are of no help here. this kind of violent disruption to the functioning of the global community is what the global body itself requires if it is to identify the underlying causes for this tension. terrorism doesnt merely point to its perpetrators, just as an abnormal reflex such as involuntary shitting doesn’t merely isolate one’s digestive system as pathological; rather what these ‘abnormal’ disruptions suggest is a more systemic underlying cause of the repression that leads to a violent discharge- modern democracy founded on reason. this is what the modern state body is capable of: production and consumption. it consumes resources. it produces abnormal reflexes. so long as there exists a prevailing hegemonic norm under which discourse between separate state organs are codified and ordered, there will simultaneously exist an unassimilated surplus of forces that resist this codification. it is precisely in this antagonism, this resistances between forces that something like a global political community can persist at all. thus an orgasm of violent discharge is periodically necessary, on occasion. i have not mentioned the role that time plays in the possibility of producing a free movement that sublimates the reaction of violent discharge, or acts of terrorism. but introducing the notion of time, of mutual becoming between self and other would require a distancing from one’s adherence to a core set of background beliefs, a distancing from christian and secular logoi. i will delay time for now and return to this another day. after all, we’re always trying to catch up to time.

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on intellectual responsibility

“intellectuals should make public use of the professional knowledge that they possess, on their own initiative and without being commissioned by anyone to do so. they need not be neutral and eschew partisanship, but they should be aware of their own fallibility. they should limit themselves to relevant issues; in other words, they should endeavor to improve the deplorable discursive level of public debates. intellectuals must walk a difficult tightrope in other respects as well. they should not use the influence they acquire through their words as a means to gain power, thus confusing influence with authority tied to positions in party organization or government. intellectuals cease to be intellectuals once they assume public office [one ceases to reflect and critique in freedom once tethered to the expected adherence to some prevailing ideology]. if there is one thing intellectuals- a species that has so often attacked its own kind and pronounced its demise- cannot allow themselves, then it is to become cynical.” (paraphrased from Between Naturalism and Religion x Habermas, pp. 22-23)

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