Monday, August 20, 2007

"We can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy!"

Like many a disgruntled person with a "foreign" name, I'm often asked "If you're so unhappy with the US, why don't you just leave?" Well, a) I was born here (as were my folks), b) Everyone I love is here, c) Living on a piece of stolen land does not ethically oblige one to obey the nation-state that occupies it, and d) I love New York City, which belongs to the world as much as it does the US.

But the biggest reason is that American power is, at this point in history, a *global* force that can't be avoided. Which is why I need my own planet to exercise my benevolent but authoritarian rule over! According to the following quiz, that planet would be Saturn. Join me in my conquest! Or find out what planet *you* should rule.

You Should Rule Saturn

Saturn is a mysterious planet that can rarely be seen with the naked eye.

You are perfect to rule Saturn because like its rings, you don't always follow the rules of nature.
And like Saturn, to really be able to understand you, someone must delve beyond your appearance.

You are not an easy person to befriend. However, once you enter a friendship, you'll be a friend for life.
You think slowly but deeply. You only gain great understanding after a situation has past.

8 comments:

Kelly said...

I'd much prefer you to rule this planet.

Saladin said...

Well thank you, my dear! I would make you High Minister of Wine and Chocolate!

Anonymous said...

You do describe yourself as Arab on your masthead even though you are an American citizen, so is it any wonder that people say you should leave if you have a problem with this country?

I'm posting anonymously, not because I'm not prepared to put my money where my mouth is, but because I do not want to risk having any interaction with the likes of you.

Saladin said...

Anonymous

"is it any wonder that people say you should leave if you have a problem with this country?"

No, it's not any wonder. It's also not any wonder that people do all sorts of obnoxious shit -- but just because it's predictable behavior doesn't mean it's good behavior.

And if you don't want to risk having any interaction with "the likes of" me, why in the hell would you post here?

Did I inherit you from KabobFest.com?

mel said...

Hey Saladin,

I am curious about points C and D and would like to invite you to explain them a little further:
“c) Living on a piece of stolen land does not ethically oblige one to obey the nation-state that occupies it”
I am interested in your use of ethics here as well as your concept of property: First and most simply, were the US a piece of not-“stolen land”, whatever such a place may be or might have been, would this condition then obligate you to obey the nation-state pace Hobbes and Socrates?

Second, in what way do you see property-legitimacy coinciding with nation-state legitimacy? Is a nation-state ever not stolen or fragmented land? How do temporarily, ethnic, religious-ethical-spiritual or hereditary factors contribute to an ideal of land or nation-state land ownership? And how do you establish authenticity in this frame-work for modern communities?

What are the conditions for nation-state obeisance?

and “d) I love New York City, which belongs to the world as much as it does the US.”
You here again assert an idea of belonging: but in what sense? Financial, metaphorical, hereditary, sympathetic, cultural – and how does the idea of a globally owned metropolis then complicate an idea of legislative obeisance? How does this extend to all pieces of land, stolen or not, under political, economic, and cultural globalization ?

And, finally:
Could you speak to how you see spiritual, religious, ethical, and ethnic inheritance either ideally or personally informing the idea of nation-state obedience?

Your post raises some interesting points, and I'd like to hear more!

Invisible Woman said...

I cosign with you, Saladin.

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

i understand where you're coming from with points a), b), c), and d), (yes, i put a comma before the and, cuz i'm old school with that grammar,) and i don't think that professing that "living on a piece of stolen land does not ethically oblige one to obey the nation-state that occupies it" necessitates that one obey any other nation-state, because every situation begs for a different excuse! neatly categorized logic is for the birds. i prefer fuzzy science, which allows one to not be figured out and so easily coopted or occupied.

Saladin said...

Mel -

I think that every piece of land is probably "stolen" in some sense in that some group of people at some point probably pushed out some other group of people.

I don't think people ought to give their allegience in general to nation-states/goverments (even those that are 'organic' or 'indigenous', whatever that means).

But I think it's particularly annoying to hear cries for obedience to a nation-state that has such a "nasty, brutish and short" history (slavery, native genocide, nukes, etc) and such a belligerent cultural [out John-Bulling John Bull] attitude toward not only the rest of the world, but half its own citizens. A hard sell, right?

Some of your points about property highlight a roblem, though: owning things, of course, makes one complicit in all sorts of diabolical plots and arrangements. Buying things as well. I don't claim to be free of hypocrisy or complicity -- it is one of the strengths of mwa-ha-ha Capitalism that it is pretty close to impossible to really, fully "take the red pill". And no, I'm not ready to, say, give my laptop up for public use.

But I think that another of the strengths of this system is that too many people have swallowed the idea that if one is the least bit complicit in a system, one has no right to complain about it. I don't buy that. And thus I don't buy "love it or leave it".

This is hardly a comprehensive (or even coherent) response to your points, Mel, but I think you'll see where I'm coming from. Also see today's post!