tjir_v1n2fip01 - Enduring Right: Law, War and the Market...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 108 Enduring Right: Law, War and the Market Peter FITZPATRICK* “Not only can man’s being not be understood without madness, it would not be man’s being if it did not bear madness within itself as the limit of his freedom.” 1 Among the more outrageous claims Baudrillard makes in “The Melodrama of Difference” there is one which aptly invokes extremities. 2 To the geographical extremity of the Alakaluf people of Tierra del Fuego, Baudrillard would add an existential one. “They call themselves ‘Men’ – and there were [for them] no others;” and so, “[i]n their singularity, which could not ever conceive of the Other, the Alakaluf were inevitably vanquished,” in effect exterminated, by “the Whites.” 3 Yet, he goes on, “who can say that the elimination of this singularity will not turn out, in the long run, to be fatal for the Whites too? Who can say that radical foreignness will not have its revenge – that, though effectively conjured away by colonial humanism, it will not return…dooming them to disappear themselves one day in much the same way as the Alakaluf.” 4 Although Baudrillard offers little more than eloquent assertion evidencing this intimated fate, by the work’s end it has become inexorable and imminent. If we were to question the position of surpassing perception which enables Baudrillard so encompassingly to know the Alakaluf, then consistently we should likewise question the complete assurance with which he knows the Occident and its terminus. 5 With the Occident, however, the evidence, if inevitably inadequate, is somewhat more dense. The evidential strand now pursued in this paper concerns a pure and primal humanity, a
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 109 completeness of being, arrogated by the Occident through claims to the ‘human’ of human rights and to the freedom embedded in their assertion, the particular focus here being the United States and the sharpened salience assumed by these rights and this freedom in the aftermath of the ‘events’ of September 2001. The sad extravagance of the Alakaluf claim to completeness becomes the quotidian norm of the Occident. Formulaic reassurance now abounds. In Bauman’s terms, “this is the kind of society which no longer recognizes any alternative to itself,” or, as the indicatively effective mnemonic has it, TINA: there is no alternative. 6 Another instance, purporting to transcend the colloquial, comes from Fukuyama’s notorious affirmation of occidental triumphalism with “the end of history” – although we are now told that it has not quite ended because “we are nowhere near the end of science.” 7 In all other seemingly severable respects however, we are still assured that history has quite ended. So, September 11, 2001 “raised
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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tjir_v1n2fip01 - Enduring Right: Law, War and the Market...

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