Sunday, November 11, 2007

If Democracy Exists

When I read the news about Chavez’s cross swords with the Spanish King, I recall Zizek’s counter argument to Ivan Karamazov’s assertion on the absence of an ethical ground if god doesn't exists with his If God exists, everything is permitted”.

It was reported that, the Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero warned Chavez to respect the democratic debate, "I want to express to you President Hugo Chavez that in a forum where there are democratic governments ... one of the essential principles is respect,"

Zizek’s argument might simply be applied to politics: If democracy exists, everything is permitted. All our privileges have been limited by mutual respect which could be translated as to avoid touching the heart of the matter that may be antagonize the opposition. The problem with “democratic” governments is their comfort that is feigning as an obligation to rationalize the use of excessive power. The real dictators are not dangerous as such since they are bereft of the shiftiest tools for justification. To be exact, while it is a lot easier “historically” to condemn Nazism for its crimes against humanity, the historical imperialism of the UK could well be tolerated by the invention of new political concepts such as “democratic realism” to validate the modern expansion strategies of the United States which has triggered enough blood bath comparable with the most brutal experiences of the human history. It is very fascinating to keep the track of Hitler’s relatively sloppy arguments to rationalize his position, which are narrowed with denunciation of the “Bolshevik Imperialism” bolstered by the Jewish conspiracy and the betrayal to the pact of peaceful colonialism. Some examples could be:

“Russia planned a world revolution and German workmen would be used but as cannon-fodder for bolshevist imperialism”

“Bolshevism has attacked the foundations of our whole human order, alike in State and society, the foundations of our conception of civilization, of our faith and of our morals: all alike are at stake.”

“If Europe does not awaken to the danger of bolshevist infection, commerce will decrease in spite of all the good will of individual statesmen.”

“Jewry, with its bolshevist onslaught, might smash the Aryan States and destroy those native strata of the people whose blood destined them for leadership, and in that case the culture which had hitherto sprung from these roots would be brought to the same destruction....”

“We know further that now, as before, there is lurking threateningly that Jewish-international world enemy who has found a living expression in bolshevism.”

"I do not know whether the world will become fascist! But I am deeply convinced that this world in the end will defend itself against the most severe bolshevistic threat that exists."

"Germany has no colonial claims on countries which have taken no colonies away from her."
“The German people once built up a Colonial Empire, without robbing anyone and without any war. This was taken away from us. It was said that the natives did not want to belong to Germany, that the colonies were not adminis-tered properly by the Germans, and that these colonies had no true value. If this is true, this valuelessness would also apply to the other nations, and there is no reason why they should wish to keep them from us. Germany has never demanded colonies for military purposes, but exclusively for economic ones”.

What impotent arguments are these that even make us to think once on the historical justness of Hitler’s “preemptive strike” against the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy? But at the same time he was well aware in relation to the tricky power of democracies that licenses variety of actions free from ethical ground:

“There has been formed in the world the curious custom of dividing peoples into so-called 'authoritarian' States, that is disciplined States, and democratic States. In the authoritarian, that is, the disciplined States, it goes without saying that one does not abuse foreign peoples, does not lie about them, does not incite to war. But the democratic States are precisely 'democratic,' that is, that all this can happen there In the authoritarian States a war - agitation is of course impossible, for their Governments are under an obligation to see to it that there is no such thing. In the democracies, on the other hand, the Governments have only one duty: to maintain democracy, and that means the liberty, if necessary, to incite to war...”

To emphasize the mutual connection, I think it could be useful to copy&paste my observation which was posted to Marxmail regarding the relation between Ann Coulter and more sensible neocons:

"I read some of the articles on her website:

The danger behind her ludicrous political propositions is not that they are admissible, but they render the logical premises possible to be perceived as rational. The proposal of "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" is much lessthreatening than the official doctrines as "bringing democracy", "preemptive strikes", "struggle against Muslim fundamentalism", etc. While, the assertion to convert whole infidels to sensible believers is acomplete exaggeration, destroying the secular nationalist Iraq to erect an Islamist but more tractable regime is the logical premise of convertingmischievous subjects to the believers of global order.

This is the duplication of good cop/bad cop craftiness. One of the components of a political discourse portrays the villain, who is symbolising the aftermath of avoiding cooperation, or of the terrifying outcomes of being shy away to interfere in current situation, the other one represents the bearable penalties of being included in the discourse and inevitable sacrifice of the compromise. (If you are eager to live in amore safety world you have to drop some of your old democratic rights, e.g.) Real interrogator is the one, who disguised himself as a good cop but the ultimate misfortune of the suspect.

Ann Coulter gives examples of pathological contradictions of an authentic racist mind like one of her associates: . But these statements arenot truly dangerous isolated from their original political discourse andhow it works in reality. The danger lies in the blindness that they beget which does not allow us to identify the new forms of fascism."

And here is the comment that a left as regards to the article on Renegade Eye dealing with the "democratic" activism of the opposition in Venezuela:

"It is not surprising that, with a sleight of hand a question of social justice is being converted to a discussion of universal premises of civil society, human rights, law of self-defense (yes, it is extremely impolitic to take up a handgun when the aggressors are modest enough to make do with slingshots), right to assemble, freedom of speech, etc. It is gibberish to accuse Chavez for his furtive attempts to undermine the “democracy” by extending the length of presidency when the opposition is genuinely against the economic reforms. But our democrats and humanists in the shallowest sense, all the wise people who are keen on the superiority of freedom and democracy have no intention to debate about the social consequences of constitutional reforms except the one targeting the article 230. So what about the “social stability fund”, limitation of working hours, autonomy of the Central Bank, agrarian reforms preventing the large estates, etc? Are you promoting the freedom of speech enough to apply your own freedom appropriately?"

So, the vital question rises here: What should we rely on other than justice if the democracy eradicates any ethical ground?


Anonymous said...

But what is "justice," Thrasymachus? Social justice and justice for an individual are NOT always the same thing, are they?

Chavez's justice leans heavily towards "social justice". In a democracy "justice" typically prevented "the individual" from becoming a mere pawn of the herd, a cog for the machine.

Drawing the line between the rights of the individual and those of the state is the challenge of humanity. And the last time I checked, the state only has one purpose, to preserve the rights of the individual, one which every concept of social justice abrogates.

This new constitution of Chavez's creates many new rights for the herd/ State. Why should the State need rights? It already has all the guns.

Nietzsche, WtP - ...the world is Will to Power. And you too are this Will to Power, and nothing besides.

Anonymous said...

btw - I hope you find a trancendent thread in your definition of justice. For without it, you may find yourself perpetrating a grave injustice upon the rest of us.

Mehmet Çagatay said...

Welcome John,

Thanks for your comments that are touching an important aspect of the issue: For what purposes the concept of justice serves if it is being treated abstractly? It is obvious that, justice as a judicial concept mirrors the superstructure of an existing society. It has previously been discussed by some thinkers that it is delusive to criticize capitalism for being unjust until we are not prepared to overstep the limits of bourgeois understanding of justice. So, it is my very obligation to clarify my usage of the concept for avoiding further confusions. By “Justice”, I’m fundamentally designating the revolutionary action that is directed to eliminate any socio-politico-economic confinements of the solidarity of humankind. As we are living in a “global” society that makes us to contact with the other individuals even if we don’t aware (fetishism of commodities), I mean, every single product connects us with the expended existence (labor) of countless individuals from all over the world, it is our immediate responsibility to realize this solidarity politically. This was what I intended to mean by the concept of justice.


Anonymous said...

Oh, you're a Lilliputian making One Worlder. For a moment I thought you might be a New Left Marcusian trying to establish the new and infinitely more progressive "monkey society".

I have no quarrel with you. In fact, I have no doubt you'll win the struggle of the last man. Just don't ever blink, because you won't find me at your victory celebration. I have my OWN work to do.

Nietzsche, "Zarathustra"

And thus spake Zarathustra unto the people:
It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the germ of his highest hope.
Still is his soil rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to
grow thereon.
Alas! there cometh the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man- and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz!
I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you.
Alas! There cometh the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There cometh the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.
Lo! I show you the last man.
"What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?"- so asketh the last man and blinketh.
The earth hath then become small, and on it there hoppeth the last man who maketh everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the ground-flea; the last man liveth longest.
"We have discovered happiness"- say the last men, and blink thereby.
They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. One still loveth one's neighbour and rubbeth against him; for one needeth warmth.
Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbleth over stones or men!
A little poison now and then: that maketh pleasant dreams. And much poison at last for a pleasant death.
One still worketh, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.
One no longer becometh poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still wanteth to rule? Who still wanteth to obey? Both are too burdensome.
No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wanteth the same; everyone is equal: he who hath other sentiments goeth voluntarily into the madhouse.
"Formerly all the world was insane,"- say the subtlest of them, and blink thereby.
They are clever and know all that hath happened: so there is no end to their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled- otherwise it spoileth their stomachs.
They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.
"We have discovered happiness,"- say the last men, and blink thereby.-
And here ended the first discourse of Zarathustra, which is also called "The Prologue", for at this point the shouting and mirth of the multitude interrupted him. "Give us this last man, O Zarathustra,"- they called out- "make us into these last men! Then will we make thee a present of the Superman!" And all the people exulted and smacked their lips. Zarathustra, however, turned sad, and said to his heart:
"They understand me not: I am not the mouth for these ears.
Too long, perhaps, have I lived in the mountains; too much have I hearkened unto the brooks and trees: now do I speak unto them as unto the goatherds.
Calm is my soul, and clear, like the mountains in the morning. But they think me cold, and a mocker with terrible jests.
And now do they look at me and laugh: and while they laugh they hate me too. There is ice in their laughter."

Mehmet Çagatay said...

Hello John,

I think the link below could assure your anxieties about the connections between Marxism and Nietzsche:

politiques USA said...

Mehmet i added you to my blog.

Mehmet Çagatay said...

Hello politiques USA,

I will add a link to your blog. I wish that I could understand the "Las Vegas" one, since I spend a lot of time with poker teories (!). btw, I did not find your e-mail on your blog, so I have decided to write here.

politiques USA said...

My email is

I am not into gambling at all :-)
I moved out from Vegas a few weeks ago and I live now in Houston.

Renegade Eye said...

I'm glad I convinced you not to give up blogging.

The discussion at the forum was about the 2002 coup against Chavez. He wanted straight answers from the Francoist Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who tried to organize diplomatic recognition for the putsch.