The Camp remains the Nomos

U.S. Border Patrol Houses Unaccompanied Minors In Detention Center

“The parallel institutions of Native American reservations and Spanish missions set the stage for relocating vulnerable residents away from their homes and forcing them to stay elsewhere. But it was not until the technology of barbed wire and automatic weapons that a small guard force could impose mass detention. With that shift, a new institution came into being, and the phrase “concentration camps” entered the world.” – Andrea Pitzer

“Reconcentration [in Cuba], adopted avowedly as a war measure in order to cut off the resources of the insurgents, worked its predestined result…It was not civilized warfare; it was extermination. The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” – President William McKinley, 1898

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New York Times – January 6, 1920

“We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that [Proclamation 4 of 1942 is]…nothing but a cleverly devised trap to accomplish the real purpose of the military authority, which was to lock [Fred Korematsu] up in a concentration camp.” – Justice Owen Roberts, Korematsu v. United States

“By blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation…all in the name of a superficial claim of national security, the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one ‘gravely wrong’ decision with another.” – Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Trump v. Hawaii

“This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“This will lead us to regard the camp not as a historical fact and an anomaly belonging to the past but in  some way as the hidden matrix and nomos of the political space in which we are still living.” – Giorgio Agamben, 1995

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The writing’s on the scoreboard wall

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“I have pointed out that these phenomena are not accidental, that they require more than physiological explanations, that they have a meaning and can be interpreted, and that one is justified in inferring from them the presence of restrained or repressed impulses and intentions.” – Sigmund Freud, 1925

Winter Solstice Reflections

On this first of yuletide, and the first of Nivôse, I give you a plagiarized thought on happiness, from Orwell, to carry you from the end of this year into the next:

“[Charles] Dickens can describe a poverty-stricken family tucking into a roast goose, and can make them appear happy; on the other hand, the inhabitants of perfect universes seem to have no spontaneous gaiety and are usually somewhat repulsive into the bargain. But clearly we are not aiming at the kind of world Dickens described, nor, probably, at any world he was capable of imagining…What are we aiming at, if not a society in which ‘charity’ would be unnecessary? We want a world where Scrooge, with his dividends, and Tiny Tim, with his tuberculous leg, would both be unthinkable. But does that mean we are aiming at some painless, effortless Utopia?… Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step…where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.”

“[Sport] has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with the disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.”

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Remember that, and Carl Schmitt, if you feel as though sports should or could be “apolitical”. Whether you support or boycott Nike, or willfully ignore the whole issue, you are taking a political stance. Sports don’t become political, they’ve always been political. Any change felt to the contrary is you being upset because the shell that encloses your understanding is breaking.

North is North, and South is South, and never the twain shall meet

 

Kipling would be surprised by good signs emerging from the Korean peninsula. Seeing such a backtrack from ideas of confrontation and braggadocio may mean that, perhaps, policies of sunshine can win out after all. That has precedence, and things look favorably towards that approach as big players get on board.

Unfortunately, there’s also a history of such agreements breaking down.

Worst case scenario, let’s make sure no tertius gaudens occurs:

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A Different Take on Testing

I like the work of Freddie deBoer. I really do. However, he recently wrote about the value of standardized testing (and I disagree). However still, at other times, I agree when he says things like:

“What happens after we close the racial achievement gap? Would it imply that a bigotry against those not blessed with strong academic potential would be justified? That’s what “meritocracy” argues, and I believe it’s a moral error. I believe that this tendency, called the hereditarian left by some, will only grow in a world where the logic of meritocracy has brought us spiraling inequality, the division of our country into essentially two different societies with profoundly different qualities of life.”

So agree and disagree at the same time. Hegel would be pleased.