Culture: how does it work?

Lovers of culture generally know that it has been around for a while. It hasn’t gotten any better though. Nowadays, just about everything that is outside the realm of necessity indulges in a rather peculiar use of the freedom that comes into its own in cultural matters.

But first to the exciting question of when the business got started.

The ‘Brexit’ – Clarifications on the cancellation of Britain’s EU membership by the state and the people

The British people voted for Brexit 52% to 48%. In view of this result, there is a sense of disbelief across the rest of Europe. Just how can such a fundamental question of the reason of state for the nation in particular, and for Europe in general, be put to the people to answer? How irresponsible of Prime Minister Cameron not only to gamble with Britain’s future in the EU but possibly risk the future of all Europe, simply because he wanted to have the upper hand against his Europhobic party members. The interested public in Germany and elsewhere may well understand the dual calculation of the British prime minister, namely to put pressure on the EU by threatening a referendum in order to negotiate more beneficial conditions of membership so that he could end the permanent row about EU membership that paralysed his party. But now that Cameron has ‘lost the gamble’, no one will understand any more. After the first spiteful comments – if you ask the people, you shouldn’t be surprised if you eventually fritter away not only your own career but also the future of the nation! – there is now general concern in Europe about how to end the ‘insecurity’ as fast as possible in the upcoming ‘difficult and lengthy negotiations’ with a British government that has decided to leave Europe; to limit the damage caused by losing a key member; and to rebuild a relationship with Britain that is useful for the present state and future progress of the EU. Britain on its part – for all the excitement that the supporters of the exit show about their regained ‘independence’ – has to bear in mind its continued politico-economic ‘dependence’ on the EU, that’s for sure.

The Human Right

Not a week goes by without someone accusing somebody of some human-rights violation. The accusers are politicians, journalists, and speakers from organizations committed to improving moral conduct in the world of states; generally they reside in the free West. The accused are generally politicians somewhere else, foreign governments, and “self-appointed” rulers. The court expected to take up the charge is primarily the international democratic public, i.e., more of an imagined judge, whose penal power consists in defaming the accused. When state powers capable of asserting themselves worldwide act as prosecutor, they not infrequently go ahead and declare themselves to be both judge and executor of their verdicts, which include quite harsh penalties. The club of European sovereigns and the U.N. in New York have additionally set up special courts that take up many an official action for human-rights violations in perfect legal form. The substance of the accusations is the great variety of more or less brutal acts that a ruling power commits against its subjects.

So how to judge such cases?

Keyword: Justice

When experiencing harm, dissatisfied citizens have the well-known custom of complaining about having been treated unjustly, and they blame politicians for having failed to deliver on their original promises. This complaint shows two things: firstly, everybody takes absolutely for granted that in a system of rule humanity is divided into opposites — executors of sovereign power dictate the living conditions and opportunities to which the rest of the population have to subject the conduct of their lives. Secondly, it is noteworthy that those subjected to the sovereign do not simply make fools of themselves when they demand being treated justly by the authorities, but instead count on — and can indeed count on — getting a hearing at least. That may have its particular forms in the bourgeois state, but it is something that in principle the citizens and the modern constitutional state share with their respective historical predecessors. As a political power insists on treating its subjects justly and judges its use of force accordingly, it is willing to listen when this kind of complaint from “below” is directed at it. And when subordinates complain, they always invoke justice vis-à-vis their sovereign because it is first and foremost a maxim of sovereign power. The sovereign doesn’t merely want to suppress the self-interests of those it subjugates and repress their will, but wants to rule justly.

The myth of "Globalization"
The World Market as an Objective Constraint

When a word becomes a slogan, it starts getting treated as a concept. Yet, just because it gets used over and over again doesn’t guarantee that those who use the word, who consider it to be so meaningful, have actually conceived anything. In fact, people never start with an explanation of what exactly the discussion is about when they haul out their clever word. On the contrary, a proper slogan indicates someone in the know, spares the need for any further comment, and demands general agreement; this, no doubt, explains the popularity of slogans among those of our contemporaries intent on earning a bit of irrefutability for their otherwise quite personal opinions. On the other hand, slogans have earned a bad reputation among people mindful of the bad habit of using some shorthand to avoid reasons and explanations, and to kill off any attempts by others in this direction. To those who occasionally want to know something more precisely, fiddling about with slogans is a dishonest manner of discourse. It is a way of conjuring up necessities without any sensible basis and demanding general recognition for them — necessities that are in no way as necessary as the so eagerly bandied-about slogan would suggest. On the contrary, these necessities are intended to conceal interests and intentions that really deserve no recognition at all, but rather closer examination.

War against Saddam
The Latest Contributions to the Never-Ending Debate over Just Wars and Unjustified Violence in World Politics

The United States, together with Great Britain, is at war with Iraq. Their declared goal is the removal of Iraq’s ruling regime. With that, they present the rest of the world with what are largely faits accomplis, demanding agreement by everyone and assistance from allies without allowing any other state any influence on their plans and proceedings, and thereby vexing these same allies quite a bit.

Terror against America and the American War against Terror
An Attack Changes the World — or Does it Really?

When condemning is on the rise, when consternation effortlessly makes the difference between human victims and damaged national security vanish; when horror not only prevails but is cultivated so thoroughly that it is only good for the unchallengeable call to military action, then explaining the events and the international situation in which they take place already counts as dissenting behavior. And yet, such behavior is directly invited by the official interpreters of "this senseless lunacy" when they publicly pronounce their judgements. Time and again they raise the question of how such a "boundless hatred for America and the entire West can come about." Unfortunately, this trace of curiosity is also continuously smothered — the prosecutorial ambition committed to "infinite justice" contents itself with the answer "inexplicable," certifies the assassins as having warped perceptions, and considers how to get hold of people who harbor and carry out such a dissenting and malicious world view. Everything that characterizes the "new world order" — along with all the usual biases of a free society — comes up in these considerations, everything that as well causes so many difficulties for those who have proclaimed it and intend to establish it.

The President of the United States of America Proudly Presents:
The Official Propaganda for a New Sort of World War

The “new national security strategy of the United States” concerns everybody in some way. In order that everybody understand precisely why and to what extent it does concern them, the president, in his introductory remarks, gives himself the honor of first of all presenting his great country, which is so anxious about its own security. With commendable straightforwardness, he immediately comes to the essential point; namely to the matter of war and peace. After all, it is precisely through the wars that countries inflict on the globe that they leave their deepest impression on it. This is of course also the case for this mighty country, yet what is more important — if you follow your president — is that in all its likewise rather mighty wars, this nation has really and truly never acted with the selfish motives generally characteristic of nations.

Great Britain — the pioneer of modern social reforms
A model lesson on the magic formula for how to use wages and the social welfare budget as weapons in global competition

With their common market, the European states have removed tariffs and trade barriers to set down the same conditions for competition for capital based in Europe. But they didn’t come to an agreement concerning the working class. For the treatment of labour, the member states have reserved special rights for themselves so that they can use all elements of the proletarian standard of living as instruments in their competition against each other. Great Britain has even refused to sign the European Social Charter, however limited it is, and is adamant that no regulations imposed by the European Union should come in the way of national self-assertion. Today, “pro-European” Blair is just as determined to defend the British right to “opt out” against Brussels as “Euro-sceptic” Thatcher was in her time. He, too, insists that only reckless treatment of the working population ensures the nation’s competitive edge, his prime objective. And he sees himself corroborated by the course of events.


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