Reviews for Absolute Freedom, Terror and the War on Iraq
brianhalo3 chapter 1 . 5/5/2003
Response to reviews.

RCS: The only real criticism I see you having is that you don't understand my work. Other than that you don't really seem to be saying anything (except for making silly and reactionary assumptions about the 'intellectual' and 'acedemic' elites as some monolithic force...which is completely false. P.S. your reading of Nietzsche (if you actually did read him...) is so bad that it makes we want to puke

Admiral: At least you give me some actual criticisms and I thank you for that. However I think you have misunderstood the work, I'm not looking at the truth or falsity of the premises of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I'm trying to look at the type of work being done by the text in constructing a subject, a nation, the meaning or purpose of the nation, how the subject relates to the world, the space of the political ect.

To both reviewers, the fact that I write with a difficult style is precisely because I respect the problems and the texts I read enought to realize that there are no easy answers. I'm not going to write a thousand words simply listing 'hackneyed' arguments for or against the war, because on boths sides they make the issues to simple, much more simple in fact then they really are. If you don't understand it, or have difficulty than e-mail me and ask me, I love responding, so long as its done in the write tone, with enough respect for the fact that I'm doing the work necessary to address these problems. I wrote these to generate discussions and debates, not resentful reviews by people who are offended because I my essays are hard to read (I could have wrote this paper using Hegel's terminology and style in which case I would have barely been able to read it...). If you want to act like spoiled children and demand that everyone who thinks or writes has to think and write at your level, keep it to yourself. I'm generally writing for people who are high school seniors or older, but I'm really writing for anyone who wants to the work to have one of those rare and precious things we call a 'thought', we rarely ever think, we have many other mental activities but thinking is something different. I want to think and to encourage other people to think, as I said I'm perfectly willing and hopefully able to help people who want to understand the papers I write better and to help them work through the stuff I write and I respect anyone who wants to challenge themselves to do so. To these two who hide behind anti-intellectualism to veil the fact that they are so scared of the world in its depth and complexity that they have to put down anyone who tries to break out of the simple binary oppositions and 'either/or' organizations of the world.
RCS chapter 1 . 5/4/2003
Aside from the absurdity of the political interpretations within, the essay is ineffective in its purpose. Most essays are written to open people to certain ideas with the hope of influencing some sort of pursuasion. The intellectual-sounding text of the essay is the very erudite verbiage preferred by the intellectual elitists in academia. And since most in academia already believe that America and its institutions are a "big fat lie" the author is basically preaching to the choir (religious reference intended). If the author wishes to persuade those who have differing viewpoints to believe as he does, he must write to the audience he intends to pursuade. Writing to a level compredended by those with an undergraduate-level education, for example, would have been more effective than the elitist verbiage of the text.

A word about Hegel. Just because he's considered a "philosopher" or an "intellectual" doesn't necessarily mean his ideas are correct. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's nihilism gave birth to policies espoused by such humanitarians as Karl Marx, Vladimer Lenin, and Adolf Hitler. So don't take a philosopher's words as being right simply because he holds the title "philosopher."
Admiral chapter 1 . 4/30/2003
This is the biggest load of pseudo-intellectual bullcrap I've ever read. The premises you're basing these arguments on are fundamentally flawed. They simply don't hold water.

You're saying the basic tenets of the Declaration of Independence are invalid because it's used as the basis of our representatives' decision to rebel against Great Britain when there was a dissenting side to the argument that didn't want to rebel? Well, the majority of the Western World had abolished slavery by the time of the American Revolution. Are you also contending that the reasons for doing so were invalid because some people thought it wasn't a bad idea to make beasts of burden out of fellow human beings? This argument is errant nonsense, and is based on a complete misreading of the document. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." does not mean that an all-powerful "We" is creating self-evident truths to further their cause. "Self-evident" is self-explanatory. It means that they saw something in the community as a whole that anybody could see if they looked closely enough. People generally consider themselves no better or no worse than one another. People want to live. People want to be free. People want to enjoy their lives and freedom. This is human nature. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." doesn't mean "We're making these beliefs self-evident so we can use them to dominate everybody." It means "This is what we see. This is what we've observed. Look around you at how you and your fellows exist." They looked and saw an existence that they wanted to encourage and support and that Great Britain didn't. The fact that some people in the United States disagreed doesn't make the idea WRONG.

Secondly, you have the same fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of American Government that way too many people have, outside of the United States and in it. The U.S. is NOT and never has been a Democracy. Under the Articles of Confederation it was a Confederacy, with the central government representing the will of the State Governments. Under the Constitution it is a Republic, with the central government representing the will of the people. Representation is based on the number of active states, population and popular vote. The popular vote is the only democratic part of the process, and it is human nature for different people to vote for different things. The people of the United States have the opportunity to influence how the government represents them every two years. In each vote, there are going to be winners and losers, or more succinctly, supporters and dissenters of the resulting government. Though the dissenters have every right to dissent, there is NO LAW that says they have a right to influence a government they didn't vote for. In this country they are not punished by the government for their dissent, but the government is under no real obligation to take that dissent into account when setting policy for this country. Both sides think they're right. Both sides have an opportunity to speak out and influence voters. Both sides have a chance to get into positions of power. The side that wins gets to set the national agenda. Period.

What you're arguing for is consensus, where nothing is done until there are no opposing sides. You're notion is that every time someone disagrees with the side in power the side in power must stop everything until the opposition is satisfied. (And I contend that you wouldn't be arguing that if the side in power agreed with you.) That simply doesn't happen in the real world. Under that concept, nothing would ever get done, not even in a true democracy. There will always be someone who disagrees. Again, that is human nature. In the United States, the "Will of the People" is represented by the governement that is elected. It's the decision our Founding Fathers (All representatives of the People under the Articles of Confederation) decided our country should work, and it has worked well for over two hundred years, without a monarchy, a Prime Minister, or "party coalitions". It has worked so well that it has saved the Old World from itself twice and become the one place on Earth that everybody in the Old World wants to get to.

There was opposition to the War in Iraq among people around the world. Those people don't vote in US elections. Among those who do, the majority was in favor of the War. There was dissenting opinion. That's fine. In a year the dissenters will have the opportunity to punish the people that took us to war by voting them out of office. Until then, by the nature of our government, the Bush Administration is representing the "Will of the People" by prosecuting the war, opposition notwithstanding. You can use Hegel, Socrates, Camus, Proust, Wonder Woman, Homer Simpson or whomever you please to argue the point but that won't change reality.

BTW, unlike your first reviewer I'm not going to fawn over your writing style. Anybody can look up esoteric words in a dictionary, and you'd think that someone trying so hard to demonstrate how erudite he is as you are would be better at proofreading. I'm sure Hegel corrected all of his spelling and grammar mistakes.
Fina Arvanthol chapter 1 . 4/29/2003
Wow... this gives us a lot to think about. While I don't entirely agree with everything in it, I'm not here to voice my opinion. Your writing skills are incredible to me. I've seen very few writers on FPN with the most experienced and advanced vocabulary skills that you have. Your writing generally has a good flow to it, but sometimes the reader can lose track of where you are going with the paper occasionally. This is your only flaw in which I can distinguish, however, and I must say that you are an excellent writer. Keep up the good work.

-Gamer GX