Thursday, February 21, 2008

Review: State of Exception

State of Exception by Giorgio Agamben

Interesting for its historical examination of 'states of exception', where laws are suspended for the government to better deal with an emergency - an emergency which, conveniently, the government itself gets to define.

But when Agamben gets into the metaphysics of states of exception - are they within the law, outside of it, or the subsumption of the law's own negation? - I started feeling like I was slogging through the same cum-stained terrain of other intellectual masturbators - like Foucault.

BTW, yes, Agamben compares the US to fascist countries - and then compares them both with the Romans, among others. To clear things up though, there is nothing whatsoever objectionable to making comparisons, even between things or events that are held (even with great sanctimoniousness) to be incommensurable and utterly unique. What people really mean when they, with great indignation, object to a "comparison" between two things or events, is that they would object to the two things or events being equated. OK, so remember kids, comparisons are always OK, but relatively few things can be fairly equated. When your rightist friend nearly chokes on her own tongue in righteous anger when she hears someone making a comparison between fascist Germany and today's U.S., please politely remind her to conserve her indignation for the time when someone equates fascist Germany with today's U.S.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add your comments here