It’s logical

“Just as in logic, we can see a sort of reaction of the form of the proposition upon its content when the principle of contradiction leads to a simplification and purification of the initial definitions, so in ethics, reciprocity implies a purification of the deeper trend of conduct, guiding it by gradual stages to universality itself. Without leaving the sphere of reciprocity, generosity the characteristic of our third stage allies itself to justice pure and simple, and between the more refined forms of justice, such as equity and love properly so called, there is no longer any real conflict.” – Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (trans. Marjorie Gabain)

Reciprocity failure is another matter entirely

“Like all spiritual realities which are the result, not of external constraint but of autonomous development, reciprocity has two aspects: reciprocity as a fact, and reciprocity as an ideal, as something which ought to be. The child begins by simply practising reciprocity, in itself not so easy a thing as one might think. Then, once he has grown accustomed to this form of equilibrium in his actions, his behaviour is altered from within, its form reacting, as it were, upon its content. What is regarded as just is no longer merely reciprocal action, but primarily behaviour that admits of indefinitely sustained reciprocity. The motto ‘Do as you would be done by’, thus comes to replace the conception of crude equality.” – Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (trans. Marjorie Gabain)

As it often does

“Very early in life, even before the infant can speak, its conduct is constantly being subjected to approval or censure. According to circumstances people are pleased with baby and smile at it, or else frown and leave it to cry, and the very inflections in the voices of those that surround it are alone sufficient to constitute an incessant retribution. During the years that follow, the child is watched over continuously, everything he does and says is controlled, gives rise to encouragement or reproof, and the vast majority of adults still look upon punishment, corporal or otherwise, as perfectly legitimate. It is obviously these reactions on the part of the adult, due generally to fatigue or impatience, but often, too, coldly thought out on his part, it is obviously these adult reactions, we repeat, that are the psychological starting point of the idea of expiatory punishment. If the child felt nothing but fear or mistrust, as may happen in extreme cases, this would simply lead to open war.” – Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (trans. Marjorie Gabain)

What it is

“America is a great, unwieldy Body. Its Progress must be slow. It is like a large Fleet sailing under Convoy. The fleetest Sailors must wait for the dullest and slowest. Like a Coach and six—the swiftest Horses must be slackened and the slowest quickened, that all may keep an even Pace.” – John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, June 17, 1775

A careful choice of words

“1924, July 26: Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon, a black physician, is turned away from the East El Paso Fire Station when he tries to vote. This sets in place a chain of legal challenges that do not end until they reach the United States Supreme Court.

“1927, March 7: The rights of Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon, a black physician, are vindicated at the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Oliver Wendell Holmes, who wrote the decision, concentrated on ‘equal rights’ and not ‘voting rights.’ So voting rights for blacks were flouted in Texas for a few more years.”

— Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

The cooler head prevailed

“1882, May 27: El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire meets with the city council to discuss his dismissal. The big marshal walks into the conference room twirling his six shooter and saying, ‘I can straddle every goddamned alderman here.’ The meeting was adjourned.

“May 29: Stoudenmire sobers up and resigns.”

– Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

The two-party system

“1871, August 7: The Mesilla riot occurs. As the liquor flowed, Democrats and Republicans paraded in opposite directions around the Mesilla, New Mexico, plaza. A collision took place, and that sparked the fighting. When it ended, nine men lay dead and between 40 and 50 were wounded. No charges were brought.” – Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

Salt to die for

“1870, December 7: The Salt War explodes as politicians begin killing each other on the streets of El Paso. Attorney Ben Williams is drinking and ranting in Ben Dowell’s saloon when Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain walks in. Fountain is shot twice, his life saved by a pocket watch stopping one of the bullets. Fountain alerts District Judge Gaylord Clarke and State Police Captain Albert French who pursue Williams into his residence. The door is broken down, and the confrontation moved to the street where Williams kills Judge Clarke with a shotgun. Williams was then slain by Captain French who shot him twice.” – Leon Metz, El Paso Chronicles

The skinny on the skinny

“Anorexia expresses in women the same aporia that is manifest in men in the form of the pursuit of power: the will to mastery. It is only that, because of the greater severity of the culture’s patriarchal codification upon women, the anorexic brings the will to mastery to bear upon her body, for she cannot bring it to bear on the rest of the world.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl

You say you want something revolting

“Revolution does not mean red flags and street fighting, it means a fundamental shift of power. Whether it happen with or without bloodshed is largely an accident of time and place. Nor does it mean the dictatorship of a single class.” – George Orwell, “The Lion and the Unicorn”

Hanging the court jester

“Codes of law and morals, or religious systems, never have much room in them for a humorous view of life. Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie, and the reason why so large a proportion of jokes centre round obscenity is simply that all societies, as the price of survival, have to insist on a fairly high standard of sexual morality. A dirty joke is not, of course, a serious attack upon morality, but it is a sort of mental rebellion, a momentary wish that things were otherwise. So also with all other jokes, which always centre round cowardice, laziness, dishonesty or some other quality which society cannot afford to encourage. Society has always to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice. It has to demand faultless discipline and self-sacrifice, it must expect its subjects to work hard, pay their taxes, and be faithful to their wives, it must assume that men think it glorious to die on the battlefield and women want to wear themselves out with child-bearing. The whole of what one may call official literature is founded on such assumptions. I never read the proclamations of generals before battle, the speeches of Fuhrers and prime ministers, the solidarity songs of public schools and left-wing political parties, national anthems, Temperance tracts, papal encyclicals and sermons against gambling and contraception, without seeming to hear in the background a chorus of raspberries from all the millions of common men to whom these high sentiments make no appeal. Nevertheless the high sentiments always win in the end, leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic. Women face childbed and the scrubbing brush, revolutionaries keep their mouths shut in the torture chamber, battleships go down with their guns still firing when their decks are awash. It is only that the other element in man, the lazy, cowardly, debt-bilking adulterer who is inside all of us, can never be suppressed altogether and needs a hearing occasionally.” – George Orwell, “The Art of Donald McGill”

The circuses part

“The preponderance of the entertainment and desire market is one stage in the project of social pacification, in which this market has been given the function of obscuring, provisionally, the living contradictions that traverse every point of the fabric of imperial biopolitics.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl

Feeling free, are we

“As soon as the corporeal presence of the industrial slave has fully entered the composition of the assessable output of what she can produce—her physiognomy being inseparable from her labor—the distinction between the person and the activity of that person becomes specious. The corporeal presence is already a commodity, independently of and in addition to the commodity this presence contributes to producing. Henceforth industrial slaves either establish an intimate relation between their corporeal presence and the money this presence brings in, or else they substitute themselves for the function of money, being money themselves: at once the equivalent of wealth and the wealth itself.” – Pierre Klossowski, Living Currency

Turn-about and fair play

“The rhetoric of the war of the sexes, and thus for now, of women’s revenge, operates as the ultimate ruse through which the logic of virility will have vanquished women without their knowledge: by enclosing them, at the price of a simple role reversal, in the submission/domination alternative, to the exclusion of all else.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl

Farewell, my lovely

“If in a common calamity, two persons are reduced to the dire alternative, that one or the other or both must certainly perish, as, where two shipwrecked persons are on one plank, which will not hold them both, and one thrusts the other from it, so that he is drowned, the survivor is excused.” – Simon Greenleaf, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence

Getting away with murder

Justifiable homicide is that which is committed either, 1st, by unavoidable necessity, without any will, intention or desire, or any inadvertence or negligence in the party killing, and therefore without blame; such as, by an officer, executing a criminal, pursuant to the death-warrant, and in strict conformity to the law, in every particular; or, 2dly, for the advancement of public justice; as, where an officer, in the due execution of his office, kills a person who assaults and resists him; or, where a private person or officer attempts to arrest a man charged with felony and is resisted, and in the endeavor to take him, kills him; or, if a felon flee from justice, and in the pursuit he be killed, where be cannot otherwise be taken; or, if there be a riot, or a rebellious assembly, and the officers or their assistants, in dispersing the mob, kill some of them, where the riot cannot otherwise be suppressed; or, if prisoners, in gaol or going to gaol, assault or resist the officers, while in the necessary discharge of their duty, and the officers or their aids, in repelling force by force, kill the party resisting; or, 3dly, for the prevention of any atrocious crime, attempted to be committed by force; such as, murder, robbery, house-breaking in the night time, rape, mayhem, or any other act of felony against the person. But in such cases, the attempt must be not merely suspected, but apparent, the danger must be imminent, and the opposing force or resistance necessary to avert the danger or defeat the attempt.” – Simon Greenleaf, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (footnotes omitted; emphases in original)

Who’s there by your side

“Any writer who accepts or partially accepts the discipline of a political party is sooner or later faced with the alternative: toe the line, or shut up. It is, of course, possible to toe the line and go on writing—after a fashion. Any Marxist can demonstrate with the greatest of ease that ‘bourgeois’ liberty of thought is an illusion. But when he has finished his demonstration there remains the psychological fact that without this ‘bourgeois’ liberty the creative powers wither away. In the future a totalitarian literature may arise, but it will be quite different from anything we can now imagine. Literature as we know it is an individual thing, demanding mental honesty and a minimum of censorship. And this is even truer of prose than of verse.” – George Orwell, “Inside the Whale”

Let those who have eyes see

“When one looks back at the twenties, nothing is queerer than the way in which every important event in Europe escaped the notice of the English intelligentsia. The Russian Revolution, for instance, all but vanishes from the English consciousness between the death of Lenin and the Ukraine famine—about ten years. Throughout those years Russia means Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, and exiled counts driving taxi-cabs. Italy means picture-galleries, ruins, churches, and museums—but not Black-shirts. Germany means films, nudism, and psychoanalysis—but not Hitler, of whom hardly anyone had heard till 1931. In ‘cultured’ circles art-for-art’s-saking extended practically to a worship of the meaningless. Literature was supposed to consist solely in the manipulation of words. To judge a book by its subject matter was the unforgivable sin, and even to be aware of its subject matter was looked on as a lapse of a taste.” – George Orwell, “Inside the Whale”

Immoral majority rules

“The majority of parents are poor psychologists and give their children the most questionable of moral trainings. It is perhaps in this domain that one realizes most keenly how immoral it can be to believe too much in morality, and how much more precious is a little humanity than all the rules in the world.” – Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (trans. Marjorie Gabain)

Do you call that equitable

“If one man strikes another a blow, that other has a right to defend himself, and to strike a blow in his defence; but he has no right to revenge himself; and if, when all the danger is past, he strikes a blow not necessary for his defence, he commits an assault and a battery. It is a common error to suppose that one person has a right to strike another who has struck him, in order to revenge himself.” – Justice Coleridge, Regina v. Driscoll

The new gods, same as the old gods

“By investing young people and women with an absurd symbolic surplus value, by making them the exclusive carriers of the two new kinds of esoteric knowledge proper to the new social order—consumption and seduction—Spectacle has effectively emancipated the slaves of the past, but it has emancipated them as slaves.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl (emphasis in original)