{Guest Post} [Topics: Ethics, Philosophy of Language, Terrorism]

Testing Terrorism:

On Stephen Nathanson, Michael Walzer, and Terrorism in Relation to Conventional Warfare

 

Introduction:

Venn Diagram - Terrorism and Conventional Warfare - Stephen Nathanson, Michael WalzerTerrorism and conventional warfare are thought to inhabit two close yet separate spheres. Accolades and patriotic flags romanticize the grim reality of conventional warfare, while face masks and frightening rhetoric emphasize the deadly image of terrorism.

The term ‘terrorism’ typically elicits an intense emotional response, tainting the discussion of its ethics, and preventing understanding. The first misconception which must be made clear is that terrorism is not a separate phenomenon from  conventional warfare; terrorism must be considered at the very least an outgrowth of conventional warfare, understood as an adaptive strategy which reflects desperation.

I posit that terrorism is simply another form of warfare. If the preceding statement is true, the ethics of conventional warfare will apply to terrorism. If both conventional warfare and terrorism hold the same moral implications, one cannot discount one without discounting the other.

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{Guest Post} [Topics: Ethics, Philosophy of Language, Terrorism]

Testing Terrorism:

On Stephen Nathanson, Michael Walzer, and Terrorism in Relation to Conventional Warfare

was last modified: August 25th, 2016 by Avi Gupta

[Film: Starship Troopers, Paul Verhoeven, 1997]
Poking Fun at Militarism:

How Paul Verhoeven’s Cult Classic Starship Troopers Willfully Discards Robert Heinlein’s Novel

 

Introduction:

Starship Troopers movie poster - Paul Verhoeven - Robert A. Heinlein - movie vs. bookStarship TroopersStarship Troopers - Paul Verhoeven - Robert A. Heinlein - movie vs. book—in all of its campy, corny glory—is a hugely enjoyable film. But most of the film’s fans are likely unaware that the novel on which it was based (Starship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinStarship Troopers - Paul Verhoeven - Robert A. Heinlein - movie vs. book) has almost the literal opposite themes of the movie. Indeed, unlike the blatant anti-propaganda and anti-conformist messages of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s comedic and hyperbolic offering, Heinlein’s 1959 novel is a fascistic and militaristic critique of diplomacy, diversity, and (by extension) peace.

I would make it no secret that I find Heinlein’s novel odious. Its unjustified nationalism is at best short-sighted; its casting of enemy combatants as literal insects is both condescendingly heavy-handed and laughably repulsive; its insistence that large-scale violent armed conflict is the only and best solution to factional disagreements is a demonstrably false assertion; and its premise that only like-minded militarists and willing pawns should have the right to vote in their society is nothing short of frightening. So this article will take a close look at all of the ways that Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers acts directly against the project of Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I hope you enjoy it.

The nature of this article is such that it requires spoiling basic plot details of Starship Troopers, so you should only continue reading after this paragraph if you either do not mind spoilers or have already seen the film (or read the book, though the two have somewhat different plots).

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[Film: Starship Troopers, Paul Verhoeven, 1997]
Poking Fun at Militarism:

How Paul Verhoeven’s Cult Classic Starship Troopers Willfully Discards Robert Heinlein’s Novel

was last modified: February 10th, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Work: Beowulf, (Author Unknown), c. 700-1000]
Ending Unending Feuds:

The Portent of Beowulf‘s Historicization of Violent Conflict

 

Introduction:

Beowulf first pageIt has long been a clichéd truism that history is written by the victors; this assertion is often paired with the acknowledgment that a history written by those who lost major conflicts or were subjugated would be starkly different. The ubiquity of such sentiments clearly declares the paramount nature of considering perspective in approaching any historical account, whether that work is presented as non-fiction or fiction.

In the Old English verse work BeowulfBeowulf, the question of perspective can be considered within the literary context of looking at speaker, syntax, and diction. One is meant, in light of the aforementioned modern sentiment, to look both at what that speaker aims to communicate about the events and individuals as well as at how and why the communication is thus structured.

That speaker, in historicizing the Geatish-Swedish Wars, actively obfuscates chronology, emphasizing the cyclical, muddy, and endless nature of feuding conflict so as to present the impotence of war, the tragedy of revenge, and the dependence of the two on a preoccupation with the past.

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[Work: Beowulf, (Author Unknown), c. 700-1000]
Ending Unending Feuds:

The Portent of Beowulf‘s Historicization of Violent Conflict

was last modified: February 24th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Work: Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961]
Rocks and Hard Places Galore:

The Bureaucratic Appropriation of War in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

 

What do you get when you mix the surreal, atmospheric absurdism of Kafka’s best known works with the darkly comedic anti-war satire of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five? I would say that you get something very close to a book published about 40 years after Kafka’s death, and about 10 years before the publication of Vonnegut’s novel: Catch-22 by Joseph HellerCatch-22 - Joseph Heller - bureaucracy.

I would make it no secret that Catch-22 is one of my personal favorite novels. It is a novel that represents a masterclass in the modernist and postmodernist technique of melding high culture and low culture, as well as tragedy and comedy. This article explores the dominant philosophy and masterful presentation of Heller’s most successful novel.

The nature of this article is such that it requires spoiling basic plot details of Catch-22, so you should only continue reading after this paragraph if you either do not mind spoilers or have already read the book.

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[Work: Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961]
Rocks and Hard Places Galore:

The Bureaucratic Appropriation of War in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

was last modified: November 6th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski