Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Dreaming Up Our Own Worst Enemy

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Tim has some nice thoughts on enmity and honesty in the context of Al Qaeda’s supposed endorsement of McCain.

The point here is that the war on terror, in a historically novel way, abrogates the basic conditions of veracity that make politics a meaningful category of human discourse. If the possibility of a “terrorist” uttering a true statement is permanently witheld, there is no real enemy to fight at all–there is only our mirror image of who we are as a people. We are damned to perpetually dream up our own worst enemy–and fight ourselves to the death.

We didn’t need additional proof that I was a much less sophisticated and much more juvenile thinker than Tim, but my first reference for this incredibly silly argument was the Sicilian in The Princess Bride:

But it’s so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy’s? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me…

Written by gerrycanavan

October 23, 2008 at 1:46 am

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