"guilty" and "innocent" (was Re: debates)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Thu Oct 12 21:18:06 PDT 2000

>On Thu, 12 Oct 2000 22:22:06 -0400 Yoshie Furuhashi
><furuhashi.1 at osu.edu> wrote:
> > We will find out who was responsible and hold them accountable...
>What, you have a problem with this?!? Or should the costs be defrayed, "We're
>all responsible for this, and we should all be held accountable." How
>indiscriminary. Welcome to postmodernity, enjoy your stay: do
>whatever you want
>while you're here. Mr. Sade, you here too? - glad to see it.
>The point is to hold people responsible for what they do. Universal guilt is a
>wash for particular acts of barbarism. I say, bring 'em up before a war crimes
>tribunal. And I'm not talking about "terrorists" here.
>aspects of anarchism,

So you want Clinton & the American government to "find out who was responsible and hold them accountable"? Clinton & the American government who, for instance, bombed a pharmaceutical factory to hold the terrorists accountable?

Rousseau's _Discourse on the Origin of Inequality_ still illuminates the nature of justice:

***** Do you not know that numbers of your fellow-creatures are starving, for want of what you have too much of? You ought to have had the express and universal consent of mankind, before appropriating more of the common subsistence than you needed for your own maintenance. Destitute of valid reasons to justify and sufficient strength to defend himself, able to crush individuals with ease, but easily crushed himself by a troop of bandits, one against all, and incapable, on account of mutual jealousy, of joining with his equals against numerous enemies united by the common hope of plunder, the rich man, thus urged by necessity, conceived at length the profoundest plan that ever entered the mind of man: this was to employ in his favor the forces of those who attacked him, to make allies of his adversaries, to inspire them with different maxims, and to give them other institutions as favorable to himself as the law of nature was unfavorable.

With this view, after having represented to his neighbors the horror of a situation which armed every man against the rest, and made their possessions as burdensome as their wants, and in which no safety could be expected either in riches or in poverty, he readily devised plausible arguments to make them close with his design. "Let us join," said he, "to guard the weak from oppression, to restrain the ambitious, and secure to every man the possession of what belongs to him: let us institute rules of justice and peace, to which all without exception may be obliged to conform; rules that may in some measure make amends for the caprices of fortune, by subjecting equally the powerful and the weak to the observance of reciprocal obligations. Let us, in a word, instead of turning our forces against ourselves, collect them in a supreme power which may govern us by wise laws, protect and defend all the members of the association, repulse their common enemies, and maintain eternal harmony among us."

Far fewer words to this purpose would have been enough to impose on men so barbarous and easily seduced; especially as they had too many disputes among themselves to do without arbitrators, and too much ambition and avarice to go long without masters. All ran headlong to their chains, in hopes of securing their liberty; for they had just wit enough to perceive the advantages of political institutions, without experience enough to enable them to foresee the dangers. The most capable of foreseeing the dangers were the very persons who expected to benefit by them; and even the most prudent judged it not inexpedient to sacrifice one part of their freedom to ensure the rest; as a wounded man has his arm cut off to save the rest of his body.

Such was, or may well have been, the origin of society and law, which bound new fetters on the poor, and gave new powers to the rich; which irretrievably destroyed natural liberty, eternally fixed the law of property and inequality, converted clever usurpation into unalterable right, and, for the advantage of a few ambitious individuals, subjected all mankind to perpetual labor, slavery and wretchedness. *****


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