Monday, December 13, 2004

Camp as Nomos

Giorgio Agamben writes, "Today it is not the city but rather the [death] camp that is the fundamental biopolitical paradigm of the West." Heideggerian positions such as this which purport to reveal the nihilism lurking at the heart of modern life can sometimes seem far-fetched, but then one reads what Ron Jacobs reports in Counterpunch on the plans for Fallujah:
Retina scans to get into your own home. Work details under armed guard. No cars. Military armor on every corner. All men to be shot on sight after curfew. No freedom of movement. These are just some of the details of the new order in Fallujah (and one assumes any other Iraqi city that the US destroys in the future).
Leo Strauss has said, "The contemporary rejection of natural right leads to nihilism, nay, it is identical with nihilism." In one sense, this may seem true because natural right at least provides a system of norms by which to order the facts of experience. However, it is Agamben's Heideggerian position that it is precisely the indistinguishability of law and fact that marks the essence of the death camp. As such the tradition of natural right is as much the source of nihilism as our contemporary loss of it.


Post a Comment

<< Home