Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Christian's Confusion | Evangelical Rhetoric: Innerancy, Salvation, and Homophobic Hatred

It is amazing, to those of us stationed at the WhatUpWally? headquarters, the various ways in which Christians attempt to justify their homophobia in seemingly nice ways. Excluding the recent Chik-Fil-E Hate-A-Thon a few months ago, Christians are being forced to alter their rhetoric... kinda. No longer is it acceptable to condemn gays straight to hell or to cite AIDS as God's condemnation. 

However, the new rhetoric of Christian homophobia is neatly clothed in the language of "all men are sinners" and that homosexuality is no greater of a sin than heterosexual infidelity or alcoholism. Although this may appear to be an improvement from hellbound theology, beneath the surface is a deeper attack on the personhood of homosexuals. 

Today we came across a Facebook rebuttal to an article on NBC News 'Ex-gay' group says it's shutting down; leader apologizes for 'pain and hurt', that utilizes this new "all sins are equal" rhetoric:

We have heard this line of argument before. Many Christians attempt to demonstrate that they too can "love the gays" by sympathizing with the sin in their own lives. This is extremely problematic and we would like to call it what it is - hatred disguised as love. 

Now, before we go any further, we believe that Fisher and other Christians using the "all sins are equal" rhetoric are doing so with good intentions. This can be read as an attempt to correct the path of explicit hatred that has been endemic to the Christian church when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. The church has been a agent of harm to homosexual individuals and many in the evangelical community are attempting to dial down the judgement and extend an empathetic hand to the homosexual community in order to expand their opportunities for conversion. 

However, this new disposition towards the homosexual community may be more dangerous as it attacks the individual's disposition towards love as a derivative form of "real love." 

Whom one person loves and is attracted to is not at all similar to infidelity or alcoholism. A man that loves another man is not making a choice as much as a man that loves a woman is making a choice. Who one loves is who one loves. 

An important question here is why do Christians care so much? 

We cannot claim to know the answer to this question but we can offer two explanations.

1. If you pull one string the whole thing may unravel: 

From Grace Bible Church's (the church that Brian Fisher pastors) website:

Evangelical Christianity, even though it may not appear to be a fundamentalist movement because of its fancy churches, coffee bars, indie rock praise and worship, lax dress code, and emphasis on forgiveness, is predicated on the absolute truth and innerancy of the Bible. This book is the word of God and therefore it is to be taken literally. Now we all know that Christians do not take the Bible literally or else they would not love football so much and they would be socialists. However, those issues that they deem the most important, i.e. the definition of marriage being between man and woman, they claim to be true for all humanity because the bible says so and the bible is the absolute truth. So... because what the church's interpretation of the bible is and because that interpretation is deemed to be absolute truth and because the foundation of this truth is that it is the word of God and because the bible is the word of god it is innerant... then the whole thing must be true and it must be true for all humanity. 

Christian's are obsessed with converting homosexuals to Christianity and ridding them of their sin because IF their INTERPRETATION of homosexuality as a sin IS WRONG - then the bible is no longer innerant. If the bible is no longer innerant then it may not be the word of god. If the bible is no longer the absolute word of God then it may not be true for all of humanity. If it is not true for all of humanity then it may not be true even for Christians. If it is not true for Christians then the foundation of their security in heaven is shaken. Therefore to pull the string that says homosexuality is not a sin, means the whole bible unravels - leaving Christians with existential anxiety.

2. Saving Lost Souls

From Grace Bible Church's Mission Statement
This is only one church's mission statement but it is a fairly good representation of what evangelical churches across the nation strive towards: "worship God and multiply believers." The "great commission" as they call it, instructs Christians to to "go forth and make disciples of all nations."
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
Sin is something that separates man from God and that sin entered all of humanity with Adam and Eve (also the beginning of patriarchal ideology). All men have sinned and the only way to be reconciled with God is by accepting his "son", Jesus Christ, who died as the atonement for your sin. You are supposed to repent from your sin and turn from your wicked ways and obedience to Jesus is the path to a full life. This is the absolute word of God. 

Conversion of "non-believers" is central to evangelical theology. They believe that if they do not "share Christ" with the "lost" then they are partly responsible for that lost soul spending eternity in hell. So it makes more sense when your classmate, coworker, or the guy next to you on the airplane is relentless to get you to say a prayer asking Jesus into you life. This aggressive command to make disciples of all the nations is drilled into their heads, since childhood, every sunday (and however many bible studies they go to during the week) as they are prepared to serve in the "Lord's Army."

So why are Christians so militantly opposed to homosexuality? 

Because it threatens their whole way of life. If they don't convert the homosexual they are responsible for his/her eternal damnation and if homosexuality is not a sin then the bible (or their interpretation of it) is not the absolute truth. To overcome this existential doubt, evangelical Christians become further entrenched in their ideology, hold the absoluteness of the bible with a firmer grip, and go forth to save the lost souls. 
"We all, every man and woman, have attractions that are unhealthy. The presence of an attraction in our hearts, or its stubborn refusal to leave, does not alone validate it as a positive good....
We are all broken. We are all beset by destructive longings. However, through God's grace, a supportive community, and the development of new, healthy habits, we can overcome our inherent fears, inadequacies and even unhealthy attractions" - Fisher

The rhetoric of "all sins are equal" may appear to be more accepting but in the end it is only rhetorical trickery, a fancy package on homophobia, and a way to reconcile the world as it is with the way they want the world to be. 

In the end, what appears to be love is actually hate (we know that is a strong word). Comparing homosexuality to infidelity and alcoholism is a direct attack on the humanity of a homosexual man or woman. A man loving another man or a woman loving another woman is not a symptom of unhealthy living, inadequacies, brokeness, or destructive longings - it is just love. 

Faith can be a good thing for some people but when it becomes the foundation of an attack on who a person is, it becomes destructive and unproductive. 

Doing Fine Without Jesus,

12-29-13 Update: Because most people comment on our Facebook page, we thought we'd go ahead and add those responses to the blog - considering that they are an important piece to this ongoing dialogue.

Facebook responses:

New Track from The Weeknd | Ricky Hill - Nomads ft. The Weeknd

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Video | Ice Cube X The Roots - It Was a Good Day

The Road to Prelims | Developing a Culture of Civil Liberties: Balancing Liberty and Security

How are civil liberties to be protected in wartime without preventing the government from responding effectively to a crisis? In the book War and Liberty (2007), Geoffrey Stone argues, “The United States has a long and unfortunate history of overreacting to the dangers of wartime,” and that “…in each we went too far in restricting our liberties.” (Stone 2007, 166) Stone supports this argument by exploring the liberty violations of President Adam’s Sedition Act of 1798, President Lincoln’s suspensions of habeas corpus during the Civil War, President Wilson’s Sedition Act during World War I, Japanese internment camps during World War II, McCarthyism during the Cold War, illegal surveillance and infiltration of antiwar groups during Vietnam, and illegal wiretapping and indefinite detention of American citizens during the War on Terror. Citizens place trust in their elected officials but whether the policies implemented during the seven cited periods worked to save the nation from further danger is unknown. What is known is that the nation came to regret its actions (Stone 2007). Even after such regrets, it should not be a surprise that America’s leaders, once again, justified the violation of civil liberties after 9/11:

"Indeed, it should hardly surprise us that a nation swept up in war fever would lose its sense of composure. The fear, anger, and patriotism engendered during a war inevitably undermine the capacity of individuals and institutions to make clearheaded judgments and risk, fairness, and danger. We all know this as a matter of personal experience. It is difficult to make calm, balanced decisions in a state of personal anxiety, outrage, or passion." (Stone 2007, 167)

So the question remains, what should be done to balance the needs of national security against protections of civil liberties? Stone acknowledges that the nation will not find a perfect balance between liberty and security but that it can be less quick to abandon liberty (Stone 2007). If we cannot guarantee a perfect balance between security and liberty than it makes sense to construct policies and constitutional doctrine that makes it difficult to abandon liberty. Stone’s suggests that a solution to this problem is that we develop a “culture of civil liberties” and he places the burden of slowing the abandonment of civil liberties on four groups – the people, Congress, Executive Branch, and Judicial Branch.

Civil Liberties and National Security after 9/11

The World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, ushered the United States into a new period of war and presented the nation with a new dilemma of balancing national security and liberty. In some ways, George Bush did learn from past mistakes:

But in 2004 it was inconceivable that the Bush administration would prosecute Howard Dean, even though his criticisms of the war in Iraq were every bit as inflammatory as the criticisms of Lyon, Vallandigham, and Debs. This is a profound and hard-bought achievement. We should neither take it for granted nor underestimate its significance. It is a testament to the strength of democracy. (Stone 2007, 171)

In this passage, Stone contrasts President Bush’s non-prosecution of Howard Dean for dissention to past periods when President’s used their power to silence those who opposed war. For Stone, this is a marked improvement. Stanley Renshon agrees, in his 2004 book, In His Father’s Shadow: The Transformations of George W. Bush, he argues that Bush has acted less imperial than Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Renshon comes to this conclusion because Bush did not suspend habeas corpus or set up detention camps (Stuckey and Ritter 2007, 661). Although it is an improvement that George Bush did not prosecute Howard Dean, suspend habeas corpus, or set up detention camps, this line of reasoning does not account for the Bush administration’s unconstitutional acts such as; secret detention of thousands of noncitizens, closed deportation meetings, interception of mail and phone calls without judicial warning, and indefinite detention of American citizens (Stone 2007). These policies of the Bush administration signal that the nation still has work to do when it comes to defending civil liberties. Stone argues that Bush’s violations provide further proof that the courts need to construct further safeguards against the consolidation of power in the Executive Branch. Former Department of Justice, deputy assistant attorney general, John Yoo disagrees. He contends that the nature of The War on Terror is different than any previous war and therefore the courts should not restrict the power of the president:

"The world after September 11, 2001, however, is very different. It is no longer clear that the United States must seek to reduce the amount of warfare, and it is certainly no longer clear that the constitutional system ought to be fixed so as to make it difficult to use force." (Yoo 2005, ix)

According to Yoo’s argument, policies such as secret detention, closed deportation meetings, intercepted mail, and detention of American citizens are justified because; “…terrorist attacks, however, demonstrate that inaction can be extremely high – the possibility of a direct attack on the United States and the deaths of thousands of citizens.” (Yoo 2005, x) This type of fear based policy making is what led to John Adam’s Sedition Act, Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, Wilson’s prosecution of dissenters, Roosevelt’s Japanese internment camps, McCarthyism, and Johnson’s and Nixon’s illegal surveillance. Although Stone believes that Bush improved by not suspending habeas corpus, he disagrees with Yoo’s statement that “it is certainly no longer clear that the constitutional system ought to be fixed so as to make it difficult to use force.” Stone cites the Constitutional violations of the Bush administration as evidence that the courts need to construct constitutional doctrine to limit the power of the executive branch and protect the nation from abandoning liberties.

Stone does not place the burden of balancing security and liberty solely on the courts. Rather, he advocates a national development of a “culture of civil liberties” and outlines how citizens, congress, the executive branch, and the judicial branch) can go about cultivate this culture of liberty.

Citizen Responsibility

The first responsibility is placed on the people of the United States, as Judge Learned Hand stated in 1944, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” (Quoted in Stone 2007, 172) Citizens must demand protection of their liberties in order to urge Congress and the courts to implement liberty protection policies. If citizens react, instead, with fear and demand irrational decisions by the government, they create an environment that jeopardizes their Constitutional rights. Stone states:

"A critical determination of how our nation responds to the stresses of wartime is the attitude of the public. Citizens in a self-governing society are responsible for their own actions and the actions of their government. They cannot expect public officials to act calmly and judiciously without regard of their own response." (Stone 2007, 172)

Stone maintains that the people need to cultivate a “culture of civil liberties” to withstand fear and the “perils of war fever.” (Stone 2007, 173) If the people covet their liberties and resist making irrational demands on the government, then Congress would have the time to make decisions after full deliberation and slow the process of abandoning civil liberties.

Congressional Responsibility

The second responsibility rests on Congress and its ability to provide oversight of the Executive Branch. According to Stone, Congress should enact a mandatory cool down period before making decisions and implement a sunset provision to reconsider decisions after a short period of time (Stone 2007). Considering the value of a cool down period Stone states:
"An obvious peril of wartime is that Congress will act precipitously in response to public hysteria. To prevent this, Congress could adopt a rule prohibiting it from enacting such legislation without full and fair deliberation." (Stone 2007, 176)
By taking the time to have full and fair deliberation, Congress could better manage a threat to national security without succumbing to the fearful reactions of the people. Even after a cool down period, the decisions made “will often be warped by the effects of the crisis mind-set,” and “should automatically be reconsidered after a relatively short time.” (Stone 2007, 176) A sunset provision, according to Stone, “should require reconsideration within no more than one year of enactment, and regularly thereafter.” (Stone 2007, 176) A sunset provision could allow the president flexibility to take decisive action but would help protect civil liberties by allowing Congress to reconsider those decisions after a short period of time. Implementing a cool down period and a sunset provision would ensure Congress the time to make rational decisions, grant the Executive Branch the power to make national security decisions, protect against Executive Branch consolidation of power, and slow the abandonment of civil liberties.

Presidential Responsibility

The third group responsible for slowing the abandonment of civil liberties is the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch should resist secrecy and select cabinet members who will defend civil liberties. According to Stone, the Executive Branch has a tendency to become overly secretive in times of war and that secrecy undermines the separation of powers:
"In a self-governing system committed to the separation of powers, excessive secrecy is a recipe for disaster. The American system of government depends on a reasonable degree of transparency, congressional oversight, and public awareness in order to check the threat of an overreaching executive." (Stone 2007, 177)
In order for presidents to balance the need for national security against the need for civil liberty protection they must acknowledge their responsibility to protect the nation from its enemies and to respect the liberties granted by the Constitution (Stone 2007). To ensure that the presidents uphold the Constitutional rights of individuals, every administration should “have within its highest councils individuals who will ardently and credibly defend civil liberties.” (Stone 2007, 176,177) A senior official representing civil libertarian views can keep the Executive Branch from endorsing extreme positions that threaten civil liberties. If the Bush Administration would have been more transparent and included senior officials who argued to protect civil liberties, it may have not secretly detained thousands of noncitizens, held closed deportation meetings, intercepted mail and phone calls without judicial warning, and indefinitely detained American citizens on determination that they were unlawful enemy combatants (Stone 2007).

Judicial Responsibility

Last, the Judicial Branch needs to set clear precedent which will slow the president’s ability to abandon civil liberties in wartime. Stone documents that “even in wartime, presidents have not attempted to restrict civil liberties in the face of settled Supreme Court precedent.” (Stone 2007, 182) He notes that Lincoln did not implement a Sedition act, Wilson did not suspend habeas corpus, and Bush did not install a federal loyalty program on Muslim-Americans. This would suggest that in times of peace, “the Court must articulate clear constitutional rules that are not easily circumvented or manipulated,” and that these rules “will provide firm guidance for later periods of stress.” (Stone 2007, 182) By setting firm precedent, the Judicial Branch can help slow the abandonment of civil liberties in wartime.


As Stone has argued, the nation may never find the perfect balance between the needs of national security and civil liberty. But, the nation can slow the speed in which civil liberties are abandoned. The distinction between finding the perfect balance and slowing the speed of abandonment is important because it recognizes the complexity of wartime strategy and the interaction between the people, Congress, Executive Branch, and Judicial Branch. In times of national emergency, it is hard to determine what is right and wrong. Stone illustrates this well when he says:

"As with any counterfactual, we cannot know for certain what would have happened if Lincoln had not suspended the writ of habeas corpus, Wilson had not prosecuted those who protested World War I, or McCarthy had not raged against communist subversion." (Stone 2007, 166)

We do not know what would have happened if past presidents had not made these decisions, but we do have the luxury of hindsight. When we look back at the seven periods we can recognize that we suppressed liberties more than needed and that we came to regret those suppressions. So, the goal should no longer be how to find that perfect balance but how we can slow the abandonment of civil liberties. If the people cultivate a culture of civil liberties, the Congress implement a cool down period and a sunset provision, the Executive Branch can resist secrecy and select civil libertarian cabinet members, and the Judicial Branch set clear and firm precedent in times of peace then, in times of war, the Executive Branch may be less quick to abandon civil liberties.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jazz Funk Hop Instrumentalism | The The Stuyvesants - Refined

Los Angeles Hip Hop | WhatUpWally? Presents Jay Phoenix - Rising from the Ashes Mixtape

We are pleased to introduce you to long time friend of WhatUpWally and skilled lyricist, Jay Phoenix. A Los Angeles native and student of hip hop, Jay Phoenix has dedicated himself to lyrical honesty and to creating music with a sense of urgency.

The WUW? Presents Jay Phoenix Mixtape chronicles Jay Phoenix's journey from amateur rapper to skilled lyricist. Be on the lookout for Jay's official debut mixtape with New York's OB Cash this summer.

Producers interested in collaborating should email us at Please include samples of your work.

Follow Jay Phoenix on twitter @iPhoenix11

Rising from the Blog,

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Road to Prelims | Some Side Note & Quotes

Although I am not speeding down the road, I have racked up some serious mileage over the last week. As we travel this road together, I would like to provide some interesting and thought inspiring quotes that have sped up my thinking.

“This narrow focus on economic incentives ignores all the other reasons that individuals have for developing new ideas…. A society that makes money the exclusive motivating force in all spheres of activity cuts itself off from what have historically been vital streams of human activity.” 
- Fred Block. 1990. Postindustrial Possibilities: A Critique of Economic Discourse. Berkely: University of California Press.

- Zygmunt Bauman. 2012. liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

- Jurgen Habermas. 2001. The Postnational Constellation.

“Things have come to pass where lying sounds like truth, truth like lying…. The confounding of truth and lies, making it almost impossible to maintain a distinction, and a labor of Sisyphus to hold onto the simplest pieces of knowledge, … [marks] the conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power.”
Theodor Adorno. 1945. Minimia Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life

“For Hobson and Hobsbawn, then, imperialism is toxic: it compromises the state’s ability to govern at home, drains the treasury, fuels racism and militarized versions of nationalism, and enriched a class of political and economic usurpers at the cost of the ‘common good.’”
- Stephen J. Hartnett and Laura Anne Stengrim. Globalization and Empire.

“The crimes, therefore, that his nation or one of its units commits cannot be indifferent to him. He shares the guilt as he shares the satisfaction in the generous deeds and worthy products of nation or army. Even if he did not consciously will them and was unable to prevent them, he cannot wholly escape responsibility for collective deeds.”
— J. Glen Gray Quoted in Walzer, Michael. 2006. Just and Unjust Wars.

Blogging toward prelims,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cincinnati Hip Hop | Wonder Brown - J.A.W.S.

While enjoying a Cincinnati Reds game, Jamie "Wonder Brown" Farris (local Cincinnati musician and good friend of the WUW? crew) commented that hip hop music, at its core, may be the purest form of American folk music. Although hip hop music is often disregarded as an art form, when the music is encountered in it pure form, the listener is drawn into complex narratives about desire, hope, love, loss, longing, and despair. In order to listen to hip hop in this way, the listener must disconnect from the culture industry that seeks to uproot all art (including hip hop) from the source of its creativity and authorship to displace it in the realm of conformity and commodity. 

Not that everything one hears on the radio is trash but it is typically stripped from the authorial originality and reproduced to reach spots on a strategic demographic marketing graph. The music created outside of the mainstream maintains the ability to nurture the folk roots of hip hop. 

This is where Wonder Brown's music comes into view.

Carefully crafting lyrics originating from biography and struggle, Wonder Brown (a published poet) represents the antithesis to corporately crafted hooks and dance moves. His music has meaning and if willing, the listener is invited to join the journey of life.

As a member of the underground collective, Scribbling Idiots, Wonder Brown has labored hard to perfect his song writing, production, and stage performance. The 10+ years of grinding pay off on Wonder Brown's latest solo project - J.A.W.S. Opting for live instrumental production instead of stale computer programming, Wonder Brown's folk lyrics come to life as he narrates tales from the light and dark side. 

J.A.W.S., like most superior folk art, requires multiple listening sessions before you are fully able to comprehend what WB is up to on this record. But, once you grow to appreciate Wonder Brown's labor of creativity, this album will continually reveal its multidimensionality. 

Follow Wonder Brown on the Twitters

J.A.W.B. Just Another Wonderful Blog,

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Road to Prelims | Introduction and Invitation

In a few months I will be taking my preliminary exams to qualify to attempt to qualify to write my dissertation to hopefully qualify for a cap, a gown, and a diploma declaring I have earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Sociology.

The problem is that passing this exam means mastering approximately 65 texts, 90% of those being large books with small fonts and ZERO pictures. I know what you are thinking… why in the world would one choose to submit himself to this sort of voluntary torture? We don't have time to answer this question right but maybe we will over the course of this summer.

With that much to read, it is difficult to organize the writings into a coherent fashion and the rest of the WUW? Office is sick of hearing me think out loud – so, I have been ordered to blog my way through it.

The hope is that by working through these works by writing, and writing toward you - the audience, I will learn more effectively and maybe the rest of you can join me in this journey.

So I am formally inviting you to join me on this journey.

Let’s Start From the Beginning

In October, I will sit in a room for 8 hours, 2 days in a row, with 1 computer, and 0 notes. During this time, I will answer 4 questions written by my 4 committee members and organized by the chair of my committee. A week later, I will sit in a room with the same four and they will interrogate me until they deem me worthy to move forward in the program or decide that I have wasted the last 3 years and $40,000 (let’s hope for the first case).

What are the texts I will be reading and writing about? You can click here to see the list.

If you are feeling a little ambitious and think you may want to engage in a little dialogue with me along the way, I will suggest a couple of books that will help in the process:

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. 2000. Empire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Somers, Margaret. 2008. Genealogies of Citizenship: Markets, Statelessness, and the Right to Have Rights. New York: Cambridge.

Hartnett, Stephen J., and Laura Ann Stengrim. 2006. Globalization and Empire: The US Invasion of Iraq, Free Markets, and the Twilight of Democracy. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

Agger, Ben. 2004. Speeding Up Fast Capitalism. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.

Polanyi, K. [1944] 1957. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston. MA: Beacon.

These are difficult books, Polanyi being the most difficult and Agger probably the easiest, but they are well worth the mental investment. I would say that these 5 books most encapsulate what I am attempting to think about

OK… So What I am Attempting to Think About?

What I am concerned with is how neoliberal ideology, globalization, and war affect the possibilities of citizen action. To push a bit deeper, how do we conceptualize democracy and citizenship in our contemporary era of globalization where multinational corporations, NGOs, and the IMF, World Bank, and United Nations operate on a supranational level. What does it mean to be a citizen when the state does not occupy the central role of authority? What are the possibilities of enacting citizenship in an era that may have moved beyond the model of the nation-state? How does globalization affect war and in turn how does war affect democracy and citizenship?

The four sections of my reading list are designed to structure these questions.

Section 1:
General Section

These readings connect the three main sections together. Generally, all of these works are highly theoretical, historical, and concerned with the ideas of economics, democracy, citizenship, war, and globalization. Each reading approaches these subjects from a unique perspective and when read together help paint a more full picture of our contemporary scenario.

Section 2:
Globalization, Democracy, and the Persistence of Citizenship

This section is primarily concerned with how democratic citizenship may be conceptualized as we becoming fully immersed in this new epoch of globalization. A key concept of this section is that of the public sphere. Jurgen Habermas is probably the most important theorist and although she is not included, Hannah Arrendt is right there with Habermas. 

Section 3:
Markets and Citizenship

This is the section I am most interested in and most relevant our present day political discourse. How does free market ideology affect citizenship. Specifically, we are interrogating neoliberal ideology globally and domestically. Think about it this way, if “the market” is presumed to be something that is natural and not conditioned by culture, then all of culture is subordinated and organized by market principles. Family, religion, social structures, poverty, wealth, etc, are explained within free market principles – meaning economics first and people second. Thought of in another way, as Noam Chomsky adequately puts it, what does it mean when people are subordinated to profits? 

Section 4:
War and State Formation

How war affects state formation is an interesting way to think about globalization, democracy, and citizenship. As we look over the history of democratic formation, we gain greater understanding of the variations by looking at how citizens respond to being called on to sacrifice in times of war by demanding greater rights. But more important for our purposes here, how does the nature of contemporary war – an all volunteer armed force, independent military contractors accounting for approximately half of our forces in the war in Iraq, and faceless fighting such as the use of drones – affect the expectations of citizens and the government in a democracy? How do stateless or supranational actors such as the UN, NGOs, and terrorist organizations affect the way war is waged? 

Moving Forward

Our task here is to synthesize these questions, theories, and contemporary scenarios in a way to better understand the world we live in. This is not simply an intellectual exercise rather these question may help us to unpack the political rhetoric that has polarized the political community in the United States. Sound bites and talk shows do more to complicate our conception of the world than they do to help us better understand it. As citizens, I firmly believe it is our duty to look beneath the surface of political sound bites, look at our world through a historical perspective, and disaggregate the rhetoric of empty words that divide instead of educate.

I am excited that y’all will be joining me in this journey and I hope that we can learn something together!

Blogging toward prelims,