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Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dzhokhar Noir

by Steve Neumann

Slight are the outward signs of evil thought,
Within—within—'twas there the spirit wrought!
Love shows all changes—Hate, Ambition, Guile,
Betray no further than the bitter smile...

—Lord Byron, The Corsair

I’m sure by now you’ve seen him on the cover. He’s good-looking but not gorgeous. He’s sensitive and seductive. There are those who believe he’s the victim of a conspiracy, and then there are those who think he’s a monster. There are those who call him a freedom fighter, and those who call him just plain evil. To combat what he felt was the glorification of a terrorist, Massachusetts state policeman Sean Murphy just released photos this week from the night Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. In these, he looks dangerously depleted, bloodied, and barely conscious, a stark contrast to the brooding rock star image he used for his social media profile.

I. Isn’t it Byronic?

But I suspect that these new photos will only serve to bolster Tsarnaev’s fan base, who is accustomed to seeing cinematic antiheroes in just these types of situations. And that’s what Dzhokhar is, an antihero. To be a hero, even an antihero, is to fight against a perceived oppressor; to be a Neo against the Machines, an Assange against the Pentagon, a Snowden against the NSA. Like any proper antihero, Dzhokhar doesn’t seem to have perpetrated carnage simply for the sake of carnage, or just to “watch the world burn,” as Alfred describes The Joker in The Dark Knight. He claims to have acted on behalf of Muslims being oppressed the world over. He is alleged to have written “the U.S. is killing our innocent civilians” on the inside of the boat where he was finally captured. This is not a claim that is unique to him, of course; the view that Western foreign policy, particularly military policy, is the impetus for acts of terrorism is standard fare whether you watch Fox News or CNN.

Antiheroes have an inscrutable magnetism and an air of the romantic about them. The nineteenth century poet Lord Byron seems to have provided the template for our modern conception of the romantic antihero: a charismatic but cynical loner; emotionally conflicted with a troubled past; a rogue, but not because of a lack of intelligence or education. In Byron’s 1814 poem “The Corsair,” he describes his antihero Conrad:

He knew himself a villain—but he deemed
The rest no better than the thing he seemed;
And scorned the best as hypocrites who hid
Those deeds the bolder spirit plainly did.

Perhaps antiheroes like Dzhokhar are so fascinating to us because we see a little bit of ourselves in them. Who among us doesn’t feel a certain twinge of disaffection at the state of the world? Who among us hasn’t fantasized, at least in a passing daydream, about being an “international man of mystery” like Julian Assange, or a daring whistleblower on the lam like Edward Snowden? Is it any wonder that young men, and even not-so-young men, are enthralled with the James Bond franchise, of which Skyfall is the twenty-third installment?

There are many other antiheroes of dubious moral fiber in Hollywood cinema, almost too many to name: Jason Bourne, Han Solo, John Rambo, and V from V for Vendetta. In these films, of course, the audience comes to identify with the protagonist, even root for him. The victims he dispatches so seemingly dispassionately aren’t “real” people, after all. We miss some of the slaughter anyway because our face is buried in a giant tub of popcorn.

Antiheroes like Assange and Snowden, however, haven’t used violence or physical force to achieve their goals, so far as we know. Their cynicism has compelled them to act with a view to effect change that is worthier of emulation, even though it’s been argued, mostly by the government, that their actions have jeopardized the lives of secret agents and the like. In a recent article in The Guardian, Julian Baggini stresses the importance of being able to distinguish between thinking like a cynic and acting like a cynic. He says that whistleblowers like Assange and Snowden are “both cynical about what they see and idealistic about what they can do about it.” Dzhokhar seems to have only considered half the equation.

Is cynicism, or even a certain level of criminality or illegality - or perhaps a better word is rebellion - a necessary evil in our modern world? As Baggini says, we need cynicism because we “can't make things better unless we see quite how bad they are.” It could be argued that anyone who works against established conventions, or attempts to thwart the intentions of a great political power is in fact a criminal. That person is, at any rate, a rebel. And Nietzsche, in his posthumously published notes, claims that there may be “cases in which one might have to honor the rebel, because he finds something in our society against which war ought to be waged - he awakens us from our slumber.” Is not Snowden such a rebel? Or Assange? What about Dzhokhar?

No, Dzhokhar is not this kind of rebel. It’s true that he makes us aware of injustices that are being perpetrated against innocent civilians around the world; in this case, innocent Muslims who are the victims of “collateral damage” in the West’s war on terror, or are caught in the mob crossfire of unprecedented political upheaval, thanks to Western meddling. But Dzhokhar’s means to raise consciousness only serves to inflame passions that make any rational analysis or discussion of it nearly impossible.

II. Courage or Cowardice?

Whatever else you may think of Assange and Snowden, it’s clear that they were driven by idealistic goals. There is still some element of responsibility in their sedition. They are prepared to be called to the carpet to face the consequences of their actions. Though Snowden’s action seems to be a one-off attempt at change, Assange resists incarceration so he can continue his work at exposing what he deems are crimes by States against their citizenry. Snowden seemingly wants to avoid capture and conviction because he truly believes he’s done nothing wrong.

Dzhokhar, on the other hand, fled the scene because he knew he did something wrong - and something appallingly wrong. Even though he felt compelled to avenge atrocities against his purported brethren, he eventually (allegedly) admitted that he “did not like killing innocent people." He fled because he didn’t want to face punishment for something he knew he should be punished for.

In his musings about the individual and society, Nietzsche further distinguished between the potentially honorable rebel and what we might call the mere criminal:

There are delicate and sickly inclined natures, so-called idealists, who cannot achieve anything better than a crime...it is the great justification of their little, pale existences, a payment for a protracted cowardice and mendaciousness, a moment at least of strength...

Incapable of bringing about any real change, they lack the patience, self-control and courage to engineer an inclusive stratagem that would truly inspire others to do the same, something that would achieve a sort of snowball effect, a constructive tipping point toward some admirable goal. But Dzhokhar was by all accounts a typical American teenager who played sports, listened to hip-hop, watched The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and smoked prodigious amounts of marijuana. And, ironically, a close friend said that he “had a talent for moving between social groups and always seemed able to empathize with just about anyone's problems.” A genuine quasi-emo kid.

III. All in All He’s Just Another Drone in the Hive

As the Boston Marathon bombing showed us, he’s not just any kid. He’s a drone in our communal hive, someone who is “neither ruler nor subject,” as Socrates put it, a disordered person capable of and likely to stir up trouble. But this drone has a stinger, and the maelstrom of family problems, identity issues, and run-of-the-mill teenage angst and ennui led him to use it. Fortunately, he was caught; and like the bee in the hive that dies after stinging, he has been neutralized and removed.

Less than a month before the bombing, Dzhokhar tweeted the following: “People come into your life to help you, hurt you, love you and leave you and that shapes your character and the person you were meant to be.” What he says is half-true, or perhaps a third-true. Genetics obviously plays a part in shaping our character, too, and there is a third aspect that shapes it as well: individual choice. Though choices aren’t free in the sense of being outside the chain of causality that stretches back even to his genetic inheritance, a civilized society must hold dangerous individuals responsible for their choices, if only to quarantine them from the rest of us and deter those who might copy them. Society can’t tolerate those drones molded after the form of Byron’s Conrad:

He hated Man too much to feel remorse,
And thought the voice of Wrath a sacred call,
To pay the injuries of some on all.

30 comments:

  1. Does America have the right to kill people with bombs? Are we the people of the United States antiheroes too? =

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  2. Romanticism, Byronic or otherwise, elevates feelings over thought, the individual (hero or anti-hero) over society, the irrational or mystic over the rational or reasonable. It's the apotheosis of selfishness and it makes one's own feelings on a given issue the only concern in determining appropriate conduct. It's part of the milieu in which this kind of killer and those who sympathize with him develop.

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  3. OK. That is it. Another unjustifiable act whose perpetrator claims to be just a revenge. But if we keep thinking this way back into other acts that allegedly 'justified' or just motivated the previous one and into those which seemed to motivate these last one, I think to myself: are we able or patient to trace back the original motivating act of a series of chained regrettable reactions? does this help anyway in preventing such facts? what would be our aim if at least the last question is answered with a 'no'?

    Sometimes I dare to think we all know where to look for the real - or at least, the most probable - causes of things like that and what to do to prevent them. But systematically we do nothing except keep playing this same game, perhaps because we are really convinced that we have good reasons to do so. As a species we admire and recognize the strength and the 'purposes' of Nature, although we have created a society - perhaps only because we are commanded to do so by our gregarious condition - inside which it we strangely cultivate the idea of renovating Nature: and indeed we change the course of rivers, make steel beasts fly etc. And often when I ask, as I did in the beginning of this paragraph, why don't we address this kind of evil problem more objectively, starting from, for instance, by changing each of us (is this just A or THE solution?), I get the answer: but this is Nature; how dare you think of changing Nature?

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    1. Waldemar -

      Who gives the answer, "how dare you think of changing nature"?

      I'm all for changing nature, especially human nature.

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    2. Steve, I don't know, just speculating;

      Among all natural things (I would even say just 'things', due to the dead ends of defining 'natural'), so, there's a kind of habit of blindly preserve what came to be called 'human nature'; there's a kind of perpetual search for what we believe to be 'inner human', perhaps cultivated by religion, mysticism, but certainly by a fashion derived from a psychoanalytic stream that overestimates it and one of the symptoms of this care can be captured in considerations like: 'show the worst, but show yourself; be yourself in spite of being hated; etc'. There's something maybe poetic in this twisted view of what is human and perhaps we, as a sentient species, fear to lose it, or fear just to lose poetry... In fact, if ethics is the science of the ends (and I'm convinced of that), although, from a pragmatical point of view, we believe to be applying every learning in the last chapters of our natural science books (we dare to think of the 'end of science'...), we barely started to put in action the first paragraph in the foreword of our highly inconclusive, vague book on ethics. In spite of widely using 'democracy', for instance, can we comfortably assert we, as a group or society or even a species, are ethically distinguishable from a goth or from the 'founders' of Jericho? I can't be that optimistic.

      Not too much to say: that sentence you mentioned above is also applied to the 'market', whose laws are claimed to be 'natural' or 'necessarily derived' from the 'natural' practice of exchanging goods, and so, are immutable, not to be subjected to burnishes of no kind: thinking of if would be flirting with tyranny, so, a morally unacceptable option (is it so, necessarily so, or just a judgment we coined after some similar villainy has been done in behalf of a misguided idea of 'equality' and 'fraternity'?). Then, we're confined to a position of being just its public in an unending show whose actors are indeed human beings... too.

      "What does puzzle me is why Christians and Jews don't seem to utilize the same tactics. Of course, this could because they are typically the instigators, and have considerably more power, both military and political, I don't know."

      Concerning this phrase of yours, I'd observe that Christianity and Judaism are no longer religions strict sense, but more like clubs whose membership cards are presented whenever their members fancy their moral tenets are questioned. Christians and Jews have better - for pragmatical - reasons to wage war and to disguise their infinite repertoire of terrorism acts, all this by just pretending they're pursuing THE 'universal good'. In this sense we must agree, Christians and Jews somewhat polished their 'human natures'. ;(

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  4. "Whatever else you may think of Assange and Snowden, it’s clear that they were driven by idealistic goals. There is still some element of responsibility in their sedition. "
    Baloney. Two narcissistic psychopaths who had no intentions of facing the music.

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    1. You beat me to it, Baron. I was going to come in on this too if only to say that our motivations are never clear. Moral heroes are few and far between and are unlikely to be the figures the media latches on to.

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    2. He does overrate Assange, who's clearly driven by ego, and mismanaged Wikileaks.

      I wouldn't put Snowden in the narcissism ring yet, although reserving the right to do that in the future.

      And, per Philip below, he misses Manning entirely.

      Or the whistleblowers inside federal agencies being attacked by Dear Leader. THEY are the heroes, if anybody.

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    3. Whether they (Assange and Snowden) are heroes, antiheroes, idealistic, or just plain jerks are matters that are debatable matters, because these terms are subjective. But "narcissistic" and "psychopathic" are well-defined terms in psychiatry and if you want to make those diagnoses, you will need evidence (and credentials, I might add). Yeah, I know, you are just blowing smoke here.

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    4. I don't got to show you no credentials, gringo.

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    5. Baron -

      What makes Assange and Snowden "psychopaths"? Also, I don't necessarily consider "narcissism" as such to be a vice. Satisfied sheep don't change the world - wily wolves do.

      Gadly -

      I agree that it seems Assange has mismanaged Wikileaks. But that wasn't my point. My point was more about the courage of thumbing one's nose at the (alleged) greatest superpower in the world, with the intention of effecting change.

      But I purposely didn't include Manning because he had no intention of "coming out." Manning may be a "hero", but he's not really a "antihero" as I understand it. At least Snowden identified himself as the leaker. And based on what I've read about him, I don't think he rashly decided to do that simply because he wanted his 15 minutes of fame. Obviously he's aware of the fact that the US government could "surgically remove" Osama bin Laden from a sovereign country, thanks to a network of CIA and other intelligence agents already embedded there. I'd be willing to bet that that thought is ever-present on his mind. Obama said he wouldn't "scramble jets for a 29 year-old hacker," but I'd be willing to bet he'd use other means.

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    6. What makes Assange and Snowden psychopaths? The standard definition is:
      A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.
      Each of these has acted against the legitimate interests of their own society and done so criminally to boot. It's true that the classification of information by our Government can be an arbitrary process, but the need for classification for the general protective purpose of the public is not arbitrary. Both of these have acted aggressively to punish their Governments under the perverted pretense that they had the right to do so, since the citizenry in general did not know they had consented to the keeping of secrets for reasons these two decided shouldn't have been kept at all. That the wholesale releasing of these secrets would likely get some agents of their Governments killed did not concern them, and continues to be a matter of their disconcern. And further, there is a lack of strength to these convictions in the sense that they aren't willing to defend their acts on their home turf.

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  5. People come into your life to help you, hurt you, love you and leave you and that shapes your character and the person you were meant to be.

    This is the cry of victimhood, the excuse for inadequacy, a fear of taking responsibility for one's fate in life. It is the inevitable result of today's unprincipled narcissism.

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  6. You did not mention Bradley Manning. He is a type of hero in my book. (I'm not sure after reading this post what you are defining to be an "antihero".) Manning revealed US military actions that killed Iraqi civilians in what could be considered war crimes. That was an important thing to do.

    I don't think Edward Snowden is a hero of any sort. He is a fool and a (Ron Paul type) political tool. What Snowden did (and is doing) does not compare to Manning, for example, in any way I can think of.

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    1. Beyond Manning, I'd add the various whistleblowers inside federal agencies, whom Dear Leader has indicated he will be vigorous in prosecuting.

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    2. As I mentioned above, I didn't mention Manning because he's not an "antihero" in my book. I'd sooner call him a "hero" proper.

      Philip - can you elaborate on why you don't think Snowden is a hero? How would you describe him?

      As far as being a political tool, I think that was his intention.

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    3. On Snowden vs Manning:

      I consider Manning to be a hero because the way I see it he saw that real atrocities had occurred (the killing of innocent Iraqis) and exposed this. This is a true public service and I believe he had truly noble motivations. I hope he gets acquitted.

      What I think about Snowden is this: He went into the latest NSA job (via Booz Allen Hamilton) with the intention of taking out data on PRISM. (This was after he became a Ron Paul supporter.) I haven't learned anything about PRISM that I didn't believe to be the case before. (WIRED had an article on NSA's capabilities in March, 2012, just without the name "PRISM" of course.*) So Snowden (who had certainly read the WIRED article) just wanted to dump on Obama, or he became one of the black-helicopter Ron Paul drones, or both.

      It surprises me that some (some Tea Party types + some clueless liberals) want to make Snowden a hero. Also, it seems to me that more people are agitated that NSA might have captured their gmails than are upset that Iraqi innocents were killed. There's something perverse about that. I hope Snowden goes to jail, and Manning gets out.


      (I wrote a poem about this last month:
      Snowden is no Manning)


      * This was written in March, 2012. And then think of all the people "shocked" (like "Louis" in "Casablanca") to find out about PRISM:

      Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.
      03.15.12

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    4. 1) If you want to apply some pop psychology to Snowden's actions, then here's a little pop psychology for you:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

      "Psychological projection ... a defence mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world."

      It can often be spotted when people make angry accusations of the inward motivations of others, while lacking any good evidence of said motivations.

      I.e. Snowden could not possibly have made the enormous personal sacrifices he made out of good intentions, because you never would.

      2) In regard to your supposed concern for dead Iraqis, maybe you should read about how the NSA's secret operations helped in the invasion of Iraq:

      http://www.thenation.com/blog/174744/remember-when-nsa-surveillance-was-used-help-launch-iraq-war#

      I'm guessing you couldn't care less.

      3) If you're going to pull the pathetic "We already knew" defense (as if the entire world read some March 2012 Wired article -- they didn't -- which told us everything about the NSA's secret operations -- it didn't) then by applying the same "logic", well, we already new stuff happens, so why is anybody ever reporting anything? Heck, WE ALL KNOW you have opinions, so why post anything on any blog ever again?

      4) Finally, your poem is one of the most pathetic things I have ever seen.

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  7. Steve,

    I’m thankful that you mentioned that Dzhokhar claims to have acted on behalf of Muslims being oppressed the world over, and wrote that Dzhokhar felt that “the U.S. is killing our innocent civilians”. I’m thankful because the usual treatment is to play to prejudices and attribute the violence to Islamic teachings.

    But I’m puzzled that you wrote that the “view that Western foreign policy, particularly military policy, is the impetus for acts of terrorism is standard fare”. To the contrary, blaming the teachings of Islam for violence and appealing to stereotypes on the basis of zero evidence is “standard fare” from what I’ve seen.

    Case in point: Jerry Coyne wrote: “By all accounts the Tsarnaev brothers were creditable students, good athletes, and seemingly nice people. That is, of course, until they fell into the grips of Islam.”

    This, of course, is the usual garbage spewed out by Dawkins/Coyne/Harris lacking any evidence and based solely upon their prejudices. The truth of the matter is the leaders and congregation of the Cambridge mosque that Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended were pro-American, pro-patriotic, supporters of nonviolent leader Martin Luther King, Jr., -- the mosque leaders preached a sermon celebrating King’s life and praising his nonviolent life-style. And, as you yourself have noted, Dzhokhar himself gives military/political reasons for his violence.

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    1. Well, to clarify, I would say that among Islamic apologists (including the terrorists themselves), the standard talking point is that they are committing acts of terrorism as a reaction to Western military (and political) action and presence in Islamic nations.

      My own view is that acts of terrorism *are* the result of, in reaction to, inspired by, etc., Western imperialism; but the specific type of acts are inspired by religion. I don't believe that every Islamic terrorist is solely motivated by religion.

      What does puzzle me is why Christians and Jews don't seem to utilize the same tactics. Of course, this could because they are typically the instigators, and have considerably more power, both military and political, I don't know.

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    2. Steve,

      I agree with you that the terrorists themselves cite military/political motivations. Forgive me, I thought you were talking about "standard fare" from major US media outlets.

      I resist the term "Islamic apologists" -- you don't have to be an apologist to simply recognize the reality. Accurate analysis does not imply approval or defense of the bombers.

      When you say "the specific type of acts are inspired by religion", what is your evidence? Studies show that religion is neither necessary nor sufficient cause. Islam expressly FORBIDS suicide (no exceptions) -- so the more fundamentalist your approach, the LESS likely suicide bombing is to be inspired by religion -- it is inspired mainly by other things.

      Christians and Jews (and secularists) DO employ the same tactics, The largest suicide bombing group is the secularist Tamil Tigers. People tend to forget Timothy McVeigh, Baruch Goldstein, and a host of others -- because they do not fit into the stereotype of Muslims as the sole supreme evil.

      Of course, as you mentioned, the asymmetry of military power would cause a group to hit soft civilian targets rather than military targets with whom they are unable to cope -- and would cause another group to do their murdering of civilians with million dollar drone missiles instead of basket bombs.

      I urge you to read "Dying to Win" by Robert Pape. Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, has carried out the best scientific study of suicide bombing to date. Pape is speaking from the authority of having carried out a scientific study. Others are talking through their hats, making it up as they go along, motivated by prejudice.

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  8. Narcissism seems to be the latest buzz word for just about anything that is perceived as an "anti-social" act. The word is tossed about with such abandon that it is now unusual not to hear it used with gravitas at least a dozen times each day, often to add weight to "psychopathological" or "sociopathological". Please stop. Or at least toss in "egocentric" for variety.

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    1. But aren't egocentrics just dumber narcissists?

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    2. Thomas, I second your thoughts. It is so tiresome to hear these terms thrown about arbitrarily!

      Baron: No, narcissism is severe egocentricity (Wikipedia says so!), but neither term implies a lack of intelligence (here I assume you are using "dumb" to mean unintelligent).

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    3. You assume wrong, gringo.

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    4. One man's gringo is another's amigo. If the armchair shrinks out there considered some of the so-called traits of a narcissistic personality, they'd realize how misleading this term can be in common parlance. After all, many people pay significant amounts of money to have a professional give this diagnosis.

      I enjoyed Steve's blog, but think perhaps the use of terms commonly used in literal criticism (hero/anti-hero) may not strike everyone as appropriate in this case. But so what? But the use of terms from different disciplines can yield some useful insights, albeit at other times simply confusion. It's almost a territorial thing at times.

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  9. Let me just expand a little on a point I made earlier. I recognize that Steve is attempting to distinguish in a serious way between more and less justifiable forms of sedition, but I think he takes the hero (or anti-hero) concept too much at face value. To me, this is all mythmaking, spin and media hype. It may be real psychologically (in the popular imagination) but is morally irrelevant in my book. A dangerous distraction, in fact. A fantasy. (I've got a lot of time for Nietzsche also, but not for this Romantic stereotype of the hero or anti-hero.)

    Also, I'm surprised that you seem to take even half-seriously the pathetic attempt to justify random killings as a response to imperialist Western aggression. "[H]e makes us aware of injustices that are being perpetrated against innocent civilians around the world; in this case, innocent Muslims..." Or: "[H]e felt compelled to avenge atrocities against his purported brethren..."

    Nietzsche may have been a bit of a nutter about heroes and the √úbermensch, but he certainly wouldn't have fallen for this simplistic and disingenuous nonsense.

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    1. Mark, "pathetic attempt to justify random killings"? First, I don't know if the use of "pathetic" is justified here. Secondly, you don't really mean "random killings," you mean the killing of random individuals. This was a planned event as you know. Certainly the characterization and motivations of some as "freedom fighters" and others as "terrorists" may have more substance than mere sophistry. You encounter the same sorts of questions in discussions of "guilty but blameless" and "blameworthy but not guilty."

      It seems that Steve is being attacked here for an attempt to make a distinction where you think there is none. Perhaps, his mistake was in tying to tie it uniquely to the Romantic poets. But certainly you don't deny him the perogative of framing this issue in a perspective that is meaningful to him and perhaps others as well. But I don't particularly feel a blog is a place to argue the justification one has for blogging what he wants to.

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    2. Thomas

      Of course a blogger has a right to frame any issue any way he wants. My point is that in discussing this issue Steve gives (as I see it) too much credence to some rather doubtful Romantic notions, and that his use of these notions generates a somewhat distorted view of the moral and political questions involved.

      The core point I wanted to make in the final part of my previous comment was this: that anyone who thinks that deliberately targeting and killing innocent civilians can in any way or to any extent be seen (at least according to any standard notion of justice and morality) as a moral response to perceived immoral US foreign or military policies or actions is seriously mistaken or (in the case of some of the perpetrators, no doubt) deluded.

      Some of the things Steve says about Dzhokhar I agree with. But at a couple of points he appears to give too much credence to the standard line about publicizing or avenging wrongs.

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  10. Example: Barack Obama, hero. Osama bin Laden, antihero.

    Doesn't that make sense?

    It seems to make sense when a specific antihero is always related to specific hero (like antiparticle-particle pairs). I.e., an antihero doesn't exist as some independent thing, but as someone related to someone else.

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