Bloody Madness


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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45 Responses

  1. You’re feisty today!

    ETA: Always a good thing.Report

  2. Avatar Peter Muchen says:

    Oh trying or anarchy now, eh ED? What, your flirtation with liberalism hasn’t worked out? Worked out ok to get you a gig at Forbes after all.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Peter Muchen says:

      That’s an utterly incoherent thing to say. My politics had literally nothing to do with my gig at Forbes and in any case conservative would have helped me out more with a publication like Forbes.

      I think there are valuable lessons to learn from anarchy, but no I don’t think I can go the distance with that philosophy. Government is chaos, but I have a hard time fully realizing a world without it nonetheless. Then again I’ve been writing about anarchy for a long time now, and my attraction to mutualism of the sort Kevin Carson writes about. Indeed, I’ve written many dozens of posts about it so “trying on anarchy now” is sort of a ludicrous, petty thing to say.

      But thanks for playing.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Peter Muchen says:

      Oh, and I see liberalism and anarchy as fellow travelers by the way. My liberalism and my attraction to anarchy are not disparate things.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        They’re not fellow travelers. The liberal instinct is precisely the belief that limited, sustainable, constitutional government is possible that does not amount to, or tend toward, tyranny, making the terror associated with anarchy an unnecessary option, and therefore something profoundly not to be wished for, and to be resisted by way of working toward that sustainable non-tyrannical form of government. Anarchists and liberals both react against tyranny, but who doesn’t? This does not make them fellow-travelers.Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Michael Drew says:

          I said fellow travelers, not the same thing entirely. Again, I consider myself a libertarian-leaning liberal with anarchist sympathies. But still a liberal. There is the way the world is and the way we wish the world could be.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            They’re not exactly the same thing… and they’re not fellow travelers, either. Which is not to say you can’t be what you say you are here. But the two things are not fellow-travelers. If they were, then more liberals would have anarchist sympathies, and more anarchists would be far more sympathetic to liberalism, and in both instances they overwhelmingly are emphatically not. Which is not to say a person with your identity identity and your inclination toward anarchy is being somehow incoherent, or that there aren’t others like you. it’s just that you happen to pull together ideological attitudes that are much more opposed than aligned. And just because you do that in your case does not make these attitudes fellow travelers, nor just because you say it’s the case, does it make it so. It is not the case that liberalism and anarchism are fellow-traveling ideologies, even though it’s certainly possible to adhere to one while having certain inclinations toward the other.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            Oh, but we yearn for order!Report

  3. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Perhaps I’m just overly sensitive to a bunch of bloggers who have never fought in a war before, or had their homes blown to pieces by American drones, or had some far-off superpower come drop a bunch of bombs down on their village in order to liberate them

    One needs to have a sense of what one does not know in the course of writing on one topic or another. Something you yourself might remember from time to time.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Art Deco says:

      I’m not the one advocating we invade another country.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Doesn’t excuse you.Report

      • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        No, but you are advocating that the US (and other outside powers including multinational organizations) should not exert the limited effort and treasure required to turn the tides of what was by all reputable accounts a slaughter against people demanding change in their authoritarian state. Your argument that “callous bloggers don’t live with the consequences of their positions” cuts both ways. No one here who has advanced the non-interventionist position on Libya was going to live out the consequences of said position on the ground. After Gaddafi forces had finished their attacks and regained control, non-interventionist bloggers could reassure themselves that Libya was screwed no matter what, and thus taking any action to alter that trend was doomed.Report

  4. Avatar trizzlor says:

    Can you explain why you find the idea of powerful countries working together to prevent genocide (as would pass “a basic just war theory test”) so abhorrent, rather than just sneer at the language choice?

    Nowhere in your Forbes columns on police aggression have I seen you make the argument that the police should be disbanded entirely or act as a purely defensive organization – as you seem to be suggesting contra Beauchamp.

    And, at least within the context of this post, you too have not been the victim of a drone attack; nor have you lived under a dictator who threatens to make the streets run red with your blood because you’re from the wrong village. So perhaps I’m missing your point about having the personal experience to know how to act in such a situation.

    As for Ron Paul, he seems to completely reject the idea of crimes against humanity, or at least that such crimes can ever supersede national sovereignty. Given that said crimes were defined from practical examples that occurred within his lifetime, his position does seem odd.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to trizzlor says:

      Why shouldn’t of we gone in and taken care of Stalin after we* took care of Hitler, when Paul was about 10? Or Mao in ’72? Both had body counts well in excess of Hitlers’.

      *and by we I mean he. We took care of Tojo.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to trizzlor says:

      Are you sure we were preventing genocide?Report

      • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        We were preventing the possibility. From here on out, if NATO determines that a slaughter could happen, it’s justified to start bombing. I have a feeling at some point in the future China will crack down viciously on protesters killing tens of thousands of innocent people (they’ve done it before in higher numbers), so NATO should proactively bomb China starting tomorrow. The same goes for Iran, and Syria is a no-brainer. Then NATO needs to go to the heart of Africa and save all threatened innocent people — it’s long over-due.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        The requirement to pass “a basic just war theory test” was in the passage you cited, it seems like genocide would unquestionably do that. (If you’re asking weather I personally think that the Libyan was was wise, no I don’t).Report

      • Avatar Creon Critic in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Well, the UN Security Council was concerned about “gross and systematic violations of human rights, including the repression of peaceful demonstrators” (UNSC Res. 1970). UNSC action having been preceded by condemnations of the Arab League, AU, and OIC. Libya’s own representatives to the UN wrote to the Security Council expressing concerns about the Libyan government’s conduct. And Libyan leaders were making speeches that spoke of impending mass reprisals against opponents, referring to “cleansing” and such.

        The non-interventionist answer in the face of crimes against humanity is simply not good enough. Leave aside Ron Paul’s lifetime, in my twenty-something lifetime the US has been a bystander to genocide. Wherever US power can be usefully employed to prevent and punish genocide, it should be used to do so. If that makes us the world’s police, so be it.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Creon Critic says:

          I don’t think that genocide is the criteria they’re using. If it was only to prevent genocide, then they’d have an argument. Still, if we thought outside the US military/industrial complex big ass box, the world might come up with a solution that doesn’t force one nation into the role of Global Police. A combination of NGO/emergency, limited-military operations – a special orgnanization not tied to one nation, might be more effective to assist countries facing the anamoly of mass killings. I don’t have the complete answer of course, but I’m sure the world can come up with something better.Report

  5. Avatar Katherine says:

    E.D., elimating government doesn’t eliminate. Power will always be with us. It just eliminates any structure by which the public can control that power. Government is the means by which we decide who has power by a means other than “the strongest grabs the most”.

    Don’t confuse empire and government.Report

  6. Avatar Katherine says:

    Dammit. That first sentence was supposed to end with ‘power’. Why doesn’t this blog have an edits system for comments?Report

  7. “Perhaps I’m just overly sensitive to a bunch of bloggers who have never fought in a war before, or had their homes blown to pieces by American drones, or had some far-off superpower come drop a bunch of bombs down on their village in order to liberate them…”

    While I agree with your overall conclusions about Beauchamp’s post, I think this may be an unfair line of attack. There are plenty of good/great bloggers who write about subjects they don’t have personal experience with. You and I write a fair amount about under-performing schools and yet I have never attended one and I suspect you haven’t either. I’ve never taught in a classroom but I have lots of opinions on teaching methods.Report

  8. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    In unsurprising news, the summary executions have begun.Report