T Nation

On the Iraq War and Reality


Take this one slow, Republicans. You may actually explode when you read this. But, if you can read through this, and post something that doesn't turn into a pissing match (I won't, I promise), then we could actually have an intelligent one here.



A Frenchman opposed to globalization, how novel. Fail to see in any way how he's a latter-day Cathar too.


The premise is based on the neoMarxist view that global violence is a reaction to somebody somewhere being unfair to them.

But I doubt Baudrillard would suggest that the aggressive colonialism of the Western world would fall under the catrgory of 'reactionary' violence - I am quiet sure he thinks it original violence.

And these intellectuals drunk on the rewarmed Marxist view can never fully explain why every non-Western act of violence against the West is the result of our crimes against these poor, innocent victims.

After all, what is Baudrillard's explanation when the kind of violence we see in Islamism predates even modern capitalism and globalization?

Moreover, the radicals doing the violence aren't the poor and oppressed - most often they are the affluent sons of a Western education. They have no plight of economic distress that the West exacerbates - so the Marxist materialism rant falls short here. Globlization has improved these radicals' lives.

So what explains it? Pathology and mania. They want Sharia and they want a world where it dominates. It's not because Arabs are poor, because Sharia law would make Arabs more poor than they would be under a democratic capitalist regime. It's no about being oppressed, because Arabs would be insanely oppressed under the harsh Sharia of the Islamists.

It is about dominance of people under ideology. It is about control, conquest. Same as every totalitarianism we have seen before, different flavor.

Marxist explanations have shown to fall short - even the huffing and puffing of a French academic to try and breathe life back into a dying theory. Wrong again.


I think you'll find he's actually from the Annales school of thought. What it does have in common with Marxism is a consideration of the common man, as opposed to the classical 'history of events', but Annales scholars are on a quest for 'total history', not economic determinism. Baudrillard is a cultural thoerist and concluded that when boiled down to basics Marx was from the same mindset as capitalists- lets face it both aspire to material utopia. Instead Baudrillard upholds the the idea of cultural diversity, and I don't think you can logically justify current globalisation trends if you value cultural diversity. Baudrillard's work on 'hyperreality' appeals to me personally, but I know if I expand on that the neo-cons will begin dick-waving.


Because he rejects materialism as the ultimate aspiration, that is why he tends to criticise America. The Cathars equated the material with evil. Its not exactly a tough comparison!


I was referring more to the Manichaeanism side of it. Maybe I read the text too quickly, but he sure as hell didn't sound like a guy who saw things in black and white.


I guess the duelist light vs darkness side of Manichaeanism is fairly black and white, but I think Baudrillard's interpretation of good and evil HAVING to exist is fairly complicated, and especially challenging to Anglo-Protestant thinking. My understanding of the article was that economically motivated neo-colonialism of the West basically creates resentment, and at its most extreme the reduction of cultural diversity, which it entails, will end in terrorism.

Not black and white, but also incredibly unpopular view in the States, after all, nobody wants to believe they brought something like 9/11 on themselves.