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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
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.