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Pragmatism

An election day anecdote. I was at a bar after one of the first days of classes. We went out with a celebrated philosopher, and we drank cheap beer. Since the class itself was focused on politics, we were discussing the upcoming election. The problem of choosing between the schmucks came up. For me, I said, this is no problem: you take a look at the respective interests of the schmuck and compare it with historical precedents. McCain would be more or less an continuation of the insanity of the Bush years: autocratic, bellicose, baldly deregulationary. Obama would be a return to Clintonite rule: technocratic; sanctioning; more veiled approach to plunder. These are broad, abstract terms. So you need a test case to flesh them out a bit. Thankfully, there is the case of Iraq: Clinton’s regime of hard-talk (ie, crippling sanctions) against Iraq killed an estimated 250,000 - 500,000 people; Bush’s leveling of the country looks to have killed upwards of a million, maybe upwards of two, besides scattering depleted uranium dust throughout the desert and lowering Iraqi civil society into a chaotic hell. So, the choice between technocrat and sociopath is no choice at all. One of the people at my table asked me, you can do that? Of course, I said, what other option do you have? Nader?

Categories: Anecdotes.

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6 Responses

  1. Well at least for the first time in eight years we choose the technocrat over sociopath…that is something.

  2. It very much is! Now for the Cabinet choices…

  3. technocrat or sociopath”. I feel the same way.

  4. I am still just very pleased McCain did not win. This is a relief — a major one.

  5. I agree with that too. Say, who is the celebrated philosopher?

  6. Simon Critchley.



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