FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Entitlement, Justice and the War of All Against All

by ALLAN NAIRN

President Bush said last night during his State of the Union Address: “We will deliver justice to our enemies”

So does that mean that it’s dependent on our enemies to deliver justice to us?

That’s the way people like Bin Laden think, and Bush apparently shares his mindset.

A leader chooses his definition of justice and goes out and kills — or does whatever — to the culprit.

Thats the way things theoretically work by default in the absence of a strong society, in the condition of something like what Thomas Hobbes called “the war of all against all.”

But if we didn’t have a strong society, Bush wouldn’t have a $2.8 trillion budget (FY 2007). He wouldn’t have Secret Service bodyguards, so he’d have to wear a holster to the podium, as Arafat — who had a smaller budget — once did.

Without a strong society there wouldn’t be any effective inheritance laws, so Bush would be out there scrambling for work and food like everybody else.

In other words, you can’t have it both ways.

You can’t luxuriate in huge social entitlements while ignoring society’s most basic laws and taboos: the ones regarding killing other people, the ones that say that society defines justice on these matters — not individual leaders, or even establishments — and it defines it by consensus and law (i.e. murder laws), made laboriously over time.

So if Bush wants to go out and kill somebody with a sword, as he might in a Hobbesian world, that’s up to him.

But he shouldn’t be surprised — or complain — when he’s arrested by society’s law-enforcers.

ALLAN NAIRN can be reached through his blog.

 

 

 

 

 

ALLAN NAIRN writes the blog News and Comment at www.newsc.blogspot.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 28, 2017
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail