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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Bush's State of the Union Entitlement, Justice and the War of All Against All

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.