I would like to here to give an account of Hegel's discussion on the Enlightenment, and absolute freedom and terror. Further more I would like to use that exegesis as springboard from which to investigate the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This will lead us into a critical analysis of the current war in Iraq. Enlightenment begins by an appeal to the people as already enlightened. However, if this were the case, there would be no possibility of enlightenment, for the enlightened would have no to be enlightened further. Enlightenment founds itself on pure insight. Pure insight orients itself towards the universal towards non-subjective truths. This begins enlightenments staged battled with religious faith and superstition. It is from superstition that people must free themselves in order to become enlightened. They can free themselves through an appeal to their already enlightened being which has the capacity for pure insight already built in to their consciousness. Pure insight encounters religion as worshipping objects which pure insight posits as being nothing more than object. From the point of view of pure insight religious faith seems ridiculous, and pure insight is right to think this way. If religious faith was deifying the objects of its rituals it would be silly, but pure insight misinterprets religious rituals. The objects involved in the rituals of religious faith belong to a different order of understanding then in pure insight. The objects themselves are not simply objects, objectively (as in pure insight) neither are they themselves imbued with the deity (as pure insight claims). Rather, the objects are part of a symbolic order which attempts to interpret and give meaning to the religious faith. This symbolic order aimed at interpreting the meaning of what the person of religious faith is having faith in. However, were pure insight to understand this, I am not sure that it would change its view, for symbolic orders are entirely antithetical (from the point of view of pure insight) to the project of pure insight and the enlightenment. This is because they lack objective reference and universality.

Furthermore the religious person who in his faith sacrifices denies his immediate desires and material wants is equally absurd. For here the religious person has not only invested objects within a symbolic order and thus with a meaning that can't be objectively or universally found in the object itself, but has forgone the value of objects as objectively present in his denial or subjugation of individualistic material wants. The pure insight of the enlightenment brings against religious faith both charges of impracticality and ethical evil wrongdoing for demanding that the individual divest himself of certain forms of materiality for the sake and propagation of what pure insight finds to be falsehoods. The only ends which to pure insight can be legitimated are immediate and material ends. Its accusation to religious faith is that in religious faith the individual is sacrificed to an absolute that has no immediate ends. Pure insight sees in religious faith a threat to individualism and plurality. In its critical stance towards religious faith (which is in a sense a 'straw-man', a mere effigy of religion to be burnt at the stake) the enlightement proposes its own constitution of the world. This constitution is based on 'sense-certainty' and empiricism. Only through sensory perception can man apprehend the world as it really is. The intangibility of religious faith and its positive constitution of the world conflict with the enlightenment for solely this reason, that it is not opposed to empiricism, but that it is completely excluded by it. What pure insight and the enlightenment accuse religion and faith of falsity is really a separate 'language-game' altogether, that could not be legitimated nor even claims to be founded on, empirical data. Religion indeed gets corrupted when it attempts to play that game. As was said, the enlightenment in its claim against religion however does have a positive constitution of the world. That positive claim however is really a positive negativety in which it thrusts objects out as the truth by negating every 'subjective' predicate from the object itself. The sensible overwhelms the objects and forces the evacuation of the 'sensuous'. Sense-certainty guarantees the objects as existing absolutely in themselves and in absolute externality to the subject.

In this vacuum, the enlightment finds that the only value which and object can objectively have is in its being useful for something or somebody else. Every object becomes a useful thing, existing for the individual that stands over against them in absolute externality. However, usefulness, utiliy, is supposed to be an objective quality, and pure insights finds in objects not just there utility, but their objective utility. The objective utility already implies an objective, universal subject. That everything becomes objectively useful, for everyone, implies for pure insight, the reification as the universal subject of the enlightenment as the primary thing, for whom the world exists. Faith and insight clash on this particular issue, not realizing that in both instances the world and spirit have been divorced in the positing of an absolute. On the one hand faith always looks beyond the world to an absolute guarantee in the great beyond. Insight reduces the world to its most banal depictions in which the object is naively taken for granted and has no part in reason other than utility.

Insight in its conquering of faith continues on its own development. Its end is to render objects as completely self-identical and external to the 'I'='I' circuitry of the subject of enlightenment. The endgame for enlightenment is a negative reducibility, the claim of things being 'nothing more than x'. This claim is positive in the sense that x is something, but cannot be anything more besides. So the individual particularity which relates to and identifies with the object is negated and erased as fictitious, and in this sense the individual, as particular, is part of the superstition that the enlightenment opposes, not as part of its project but as unintended consequence of its project. The universal subject of enlightenment apprehends the object only in its utility. The enlightenment, based on the project of individualism, fails to recognize its own contradictions when the project of enlightenment begins its project with the assumption of a universal individual. What is rational to do and to believe becomes merely the satisfaction of the individual.

The section 'Absolute Freedom and Terror' is Hegel's account of the consequences of the enlightenment and pure insight in lieu of its failure to apprehend the problematic relationship between its initial presupposition and its project. Absolute freedom is constituted primarily as absolute independence from the object. The one primary valuable predicate of an object, its utility, is assumed to be given in the object itself, as apart from the object's relation to the subject. Spirit takes on the form of knowing the object. Knowing the object takes on the form in knowing it in its uses. Knowing the world then becomes constituted by a general will. Notice here the way in which Rousseau posits general will. For Rousseau general will is neither the will of a government nor popular or democratic will. It is the will of those present, past and future, the will of a universal subject. Thus what is best is linked up to the utility of actions, events, objects and thought for the universal subject. This will is indifferent to and cannot be articulated in the form of, any single subject nor representable by a majority or popular demand. Popular demand cannot represent the general will, because what is popularily demanded does not necessarily reflect the general will in its orientation towards utility. Here once again the contradiction inherent to enlightenment comes up, that it presupposes always already enlightened subjects, that would still somehow need enlightened. The popular will can conflict with the general will, because the popular can is contingent and despite the presupposition of the always already enlightened subject, can still be contaminated by superstition and subjective valuations. Differences between groups and social organizations get collapsed into the general will, appealing to their subjectivity. The subject of the 'I'= 'I' which possess its universal rights supersedes any historical situation in which it finds itself. Lineage, class, entitlement, property etc. are all accidents to this subject. Differences between individuals and social groups, or even societies themselves become external objects for the subject. These differences get sucked into the vacuum of the enlightenment and pure insight in that they no longer possess any quality other than utility. This utility gets attached to the object in itself, rather than as it stands for the individual subject. The distinction becomes made between what is essential and what is contingent. On the one side is place the universal subject of the enlightenment and the utility of the object, on the other side is everything else. Thus the subject in encountering its particular situation approaches that situation from the side of the whole, the general will, for the situation no longer stands before the individual as singular, but berfore the universal subject and the will of the whole (indifferent to the whole as sum of differentiated individuals). The will of the individual gets appropriated by the general will, and their becomes no room for and individual will not in accord with the general will. But the contest between the general will and the individual will is uneven and it is the general will that overcomes the individual will.

Once the individual will is overcome by the general will, the individual cannot act as such. The individual acts as representative of the general will. The political, what is properly political is now lost in politics. Politics aims at representing the general will, and thus is concerned with the utility of action and legislation. The political, in its fusion with politics thus gives rise to the contamination of economics. Politics has its marks of distinction eroded by the demands of economics because politics, unlike the political, concerns itself with utility and thus economies. Differentiation of groups, even within the state are differentiated by what they do, not by their ends. All differentiations are differentiated by distributions of labour, they all serve the same purpose, but in different ways. "For where the self is merely represented and is present only as an idea, there it is not actual; where it is represented as proxy, it is not." (paragraph 588, Phenomenology of Spirit). However because the general will must operate in all its instances from the actions of the individual, the actions of the individual become negative and destructive, in that it must negate itself in the action and as well negate and destroy that which emerges as an individual instance of a will working against the general will. The very tension creates a situation in which what is not in accord with the general will becomes its enemy and is set against. This is primarily because individual wills posit something other than utility, or at least, utility as not pertaining to the object in-itself but as an instance of the object-for-self of the particular individual. The individual will is an object for the general will which possesses no utility for the general will and must be eliminated for the sake of efficiency. Further more, that the general will becomes self-conscious it apprehends the individual will as being dangerous and destructive to it, for the individual will is an implicit challenge to the presupposition that the general will makes of a universal subject. Thus the general will needs to erase particular distinctions in order to affirm itself as the general will. This is the ultimate failure of the enlightenment for Hegel.

The Declaration of Independence is precisely the move to absolute freedom. That first and foremost it is a declaration of independence it is precisely a negative act. It perceives itself and its purpose as to 'dissolve the Political Bands which connected them with another' as 'necessary for one People'. However it doesn't dissolve the political bands to which one is tied to another but re-organizes them. In the very act of declaring independence and in the dissolution of political bands there is an implicit affirmation of the interdependence of the two parties. However this relationship will not be dissolved but constituted negatively. What is really happening in this new negative relationship is the declaration of a pure exteriority in which the relationship between the one and the other has as the only the predicate of that relationship its utility. The dissolution of the political bands is an act of necessity for one people and is declaring its right to act as a universal subject to hold its other (Britain) as a purely exterior object and to judge it in accordance with the objectively held utility. Utility is already emerging because politics, as dealing with economies of means and ends, and the political are being used synonomously. Since the actual bands and connections between the one and the other cannot actually be dissolved, but simply mutated, through a 'declaration of independence' what is being dissolved is a connection based on the utility of one group for another. The political gets subsumed into politics when 'one people' considers its 'political bands' to be 'dissolved' for the sake of 'necessity'. The subject's declaration of the independence is a declaration of a negative re-constitution of its ties to what it is declaring itself to be independent from, re-positioned from the standpoint of pure exteriority. It protracts itself towards the general will, rather than the individual will precisely because it legitimizes itself (on the following pages citing the crimes of the king) by positing its other as no longer useful to it. For example: "(vii) He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriation of Lands." Furthermore the declaration itself is a declaration "By the Representatives of the United States of America," It is as representatives of the general will, the "one people", of the united states of America that this declaration is declared. This 'one people' dissolving its political bands, of course, is a fabrication. The population of the United States was deeply divided. However it is no mere fabrication in terms of a cynical lie, since what is being appealed to is the general will which finds it no longer useful to be affiliated with Britain in the same way. It is a fabrication in that it is making something (the one people) through an exclusion of those who do not act in accord with the general will.

In [II} of the Declaration of Independence, we are presented with the foundation of the break, that is what gives the right to the declaration of Independence in lieu of the acts of King of Britain. "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." I would like to begin by examining the movement of the first segment of this paragraph. "We hold these Truths to be self-evident", there is an internal contradiction that requires that the Spirit of this text be not conscious of itself. The truths are held to be self-evident, given in themselves and exterior and indifferent to subjective moments. On the other hand it is the 'We' that 'holds' them to be 'self-evident'. 'that all Men are created equal' and endowed 'with certain unalienable Rights' requires that a general will, the 'We' must actively bring about the self-evidences of those rights. The self-evident, universality of these rights is not something endowed or self-evident in themselves but self-evident in their appropriation and propagation by a general 'We'. The 'We' is demarcated retroactively as the 'We' that holds those truths to be self-evident. The 'We' is the 'we' of universal subjects that must hold themselves to be universal in order to preserve and secure this 'we'. Indeed, its constitution of a representative government is instituted 'to secure these Rights'. The absolute freedom declared in its independence finds itself confronted in its political associations only with utility. This utility refers itself back to the general will of the 'we' that holds itself to be self-evident. The 'Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness', are the concrete forms of the self-evident 'We', the immediate satisfactions of the individual, the individual which is subsumed into the 'We'. Its positive definition of the other groups which confront the 'We' of the concrete group which has declared itself independent are always positively constituted by the negation of all predicates except that of utility. It is a faction that declares itself to hold the truth of the universal 'we' and the general will. For the sake of this 'we' that faction must embark on a campaign of expansion in order to secure the rights of 'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness' by inferentially securing the 'We' that holds these rights to be self-evident Truths. Without the 'We' these truths are no longer self-evident because it is the 'we' that holds them to be self-evident. In order to maintain itself as the 'We', the 'we' must secure these rights at the expense of that which presents itself as other to the general will. The individual will of states must be sub-orinated to the will of the whole. The will of the whole, however is primarily constituted by the will of 'the We' which is held in its self-evidence by a particular faction. A faction which in its insecurity over the fact that the 'We' is confronted by others who differ from it must attempt to secure this 'We' with a project of death. Even its own death as a faction must come to pass in order to secure this 'We' and yet it cannot do so for the death of the faction would compromise the security of the 'We', because it is the faction that holds the 'We' and insists on its universality.

Here we can see how the war in Iraq has as its double motivation 'security' and 'liberation'. The war must achieve the security of the faction which holds itself, unconsciously, as the guarantor of the universal 'We', by 'liberating'others. But liberating here, means entirely, in Hegelian, the bringing about of absolute freedom in the sense of absolute subject/object division, manifested in the 'general will' of the 'We', which sees externalizes itself in the world only the utility of objects. 'Liberation' here means the assimilation of states and groups other to the 'We', by bringing them into the 'We' themselves. It must destroy all those who oppose the 'We', in order to secure the 'We' by proving that there is nothing other than the will of the 'We'. 'Liberation' thus means that it must provoke others into encountering the world only in utility, a utility located utterly in the object and without reference to the particular ends or rationality of the individual will. Thus the war for liberation is the war for absolute freedom in all its glorious banality.

Futhermore we can also see how it happens that people who oppose the war become characterized as being for 'Saddam'. It seems contradictory to think of a democratic nation like the United States, who justifies its war on the basis of proliferating democracy on the one hand and then reprimands its citizens for opposing the war (in recent legislation), unless we take into consideration its 'enlightened' approach to democracy. Because it is a representational democracy where that founds itself on the 'We' of the general will it has no responsibility to anyone but the 'universal' subject. Thus it can move towards a totalitarian democracy, because the concrete individuals are always answerable to the demands of the total 'We', of the general will. A democracy thought of as to protect the uniqueness and rights of the individual should always make room for oppositions. But when the democracy founds itself on a general will who knows the world in its utility then internal or external dissension (not just Iraq, but France, Germany, even Canada) becomes sided with the enemy precisely because the general will cannot see it in any other light but a lack of utility. Thus the 'We' becomes quick to dismiss these challenges as individuals who belong to the 'we' and yet are misinformed of the utility of the actions, or as somehow being aberrant and 'irrational'. The enemy for the will is that which it finds to lack in its utility, its friends or allies are that which it finds in conformity with its will. The democracy of the United States of America in appealing for its legitimacy to a general will cannot leave room for differences precisely because it cannot find a use for it. This is true both internally and externally. The 'We' that must hold itself to be self-evident, must expand itself in order to hide the fact that what it holds to be self-evident is not so in of itself. It finds its security in the aggressive expansion of the universal we, at no time, however, can it understand itself as expanding, since it must assume that the 'We' is always already and simply repressed. When it expands however, it must internally coagulate so that the 'we' which appeals to the 'We' moves in accordance with a general will which has no place for individual wills.