Friday, November 27, 2009

Continuing our conversations 4

First, a huge thank you to Roland, for naming me as one of his favourite blogs in his Normblog profile. He's on the same wave length as me, as demonstrated by this:
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Hannah Arendt, Fredrich Engels, George Orwell.
Over at his music blog, some recent highlights include The First Rock 'n' Roll Song; Paul Whiteman, the jazz era and the Hungarian suicide song; early London calypso blues; and the great Don Covay.


Relevant to Chomsky, Bosnia and Pol Pot: The Fat Man on the responsibility to protect.

Relevant to Peter Oborne and the 'Israel lobby': Geoffrey Alderman on Disraeli, Gladstone and Lerman.

Relevant to the 'Israel lobby', and to the friends of Israel who are not friends of the Jews: Snoopy on Lee Barnes, anti-Zionist.

On the journey back from Islamism: Johann Hari, plus further observations from Eric Martin (via, ahem, AaroWatch).


kellie said...

On the responsibility to protect, I found this discussion interesting, on developing persuasive 'national interest' argument for action against genocide, arguments aimed at political leaders rather than the general public.

Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership and Action to Prevent Mass Atrocities, at the United States Institute of Peace, Sept 21.

The argument made is that potential negative effects of local genocides are becoming ever more global.

It strikes me that the national interest argument being seen as cynical and the moral argument being seen as virtuous obscures how strongly connected the two are. If globalisation increases the threat of secondary effects worldwide from local genocides, it is also globalisation which increases the level of moral engagement worldwide.

One can be cynical about how moral outrage about clearly visible atrocities outweighs outrage at hidden atrocities, but it makes sense if one believes that moral outrage is based in some kind of self-preservation instinct that also encompasses preservation of family and tribe. It makes sense from that point of view to instinctively react strongly to visible outrages even if they're geographically distant, as their visibility indicates a genuine closeness through global connectivity, and is a warning that other effects can reach us as well as the photo images.

This also reminds me of attempts by the UK and US governments to on the one hand base justification on the Iraq war on national interest, while at the same time draw in the moral argument on human rights and democracy to try and better convince the public. The oft heard reaction that this was somehow cynical ignored that the two arguments were not in conflict, but were actually inseparable.

bob said...

Just re-reading this. Very wise words Kellie.