Wednesday, March 31, 2010

John Kenneth Galbraith’s “whatever works” quote appended to the 3/31/2010 Word of the Day, zeitgeist, seems far more appropriate to the previous day's realpolitik. It has everything to do with “politics guided by practical considerations, instead of principles or ethics.” Alas, Galbraith studiously ignores questions raised by even the most cursory inquiry into principles and ethics: "Works for whom? At whose expense? And who decides somebody else's expense is worth bearing?"

Small wonder U.S. law defines terrorism as “acts dangerous to human life that are in violation of the criminal laws of the United States” (emphasis added). Presumably, acts dangerous to human life and not in violation of U.S. law are perfectly acceptable--notwithstanding the protestations of those on the receiving end of a particular U.S. campaign of bombing, invading or blockading.

One might say terrorism is just a freelance version of realpolitik. One might also say the U.S.' state-sanctioned version is very much a part of the zeitgeist and a harbinger of the Gotterdammerung of the West.



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