Imperial Agency

Because it offers a window into the philosophy of the current Administration, and I have never written about it, I thought that I should enter into the record this seminal interview prior to the 2004 election with an unnamed senior administration official:
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
That about sums it up. The agency of humans grows ever faster, convincing some naive participants that the current reality is not as important as the reality we create through that agency. To dismiss attempts at reacting to an objective reality is to abandon rational decision making. With this attitude, the neoconservative's stated goal for Iraq - an ally of Israel, base for military operations against Syria and Iran, and guaranteed oil access - not only trumped the reality - sectarian divisions, potential insurgencies and "broke it/bought it" obligations - it removes the requirement to even be aware of reality. It removes the requirement to take reality into account. In other words, it makes the job a lot easier since you don't have to do research to support your reasoning. Magical thinking dominates.

In fact, it was this passage that gave rise to the "reality-based community" meme to which so many of the left blogosphere are adherents. The abandonment of rational thought that it represents guided me to the name of this blog.

The other thing that strikes me about the comment is that it reminds me of the sophomoric application of undergraduate political philosophy. It's got that tinge of undeserved self-seriousness that inexperienced literary theory students espouse. "Let's get together and get heavy on some Derrida, man. And let's not use any Es while we we're at it." Those pompous lightweights make me shudder.

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