Borradori, G. - Philosophy in a Time of Terror

April 14, 2019 | Author: mrwebker | Category: Jürgen Habermas, Reason, Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, Free Will
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DL DL GU GUS S WH JG HBS D JCQS DD

G io io v a n n a B or or r a d ori





G I0  V A NN A BO R RADO R Iis associate professor of philosophy at Vassa Colege. She is the author of e American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davion, Putnam, Nozick Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, Kuhn, pubished by the Universit of Chicago Press, and the editor of Recoding Metaphysics The New Italian Philosophy.


0-22606664-9 (cloth)

Librar of Congress CataoginginPubication Data Habermas,Jrgen Phiosophy in a time of terror: diaoges with Jrgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida / [interewed by] Giovanna Borradori p. cm Incudes bibiographica references.  ISBN0-22606664-9 (coth ak. paper) 1 September 11 Terrorist Attacks 2001. 2 TerrorismPhiosophy. TerrorismPhiosophy. 3. Poitica sciencePhiosophy 4. Habermas,JrgenInteriews. Habermas,JrgenInteriews. 5. DerridaJacquesInteiews. I. Derrida,acques. I. Borradori Giovanna. II. Tite. 6432·7 .32 2003  3036'25dc2


@ The paper used in this pubication meets the minimum requirements of the American

Nationa Standard for Information SciencesPermanence of Paper for Printed Librar Materas, ANSIZ3948-1992.



M Y P R  V A T E L  T TL E

The University of Chicago Press Chicago 6067 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd, London © 2003 by The University of Chicago Al rights resered Pubished 2003 Printed in the United States of America 12  10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 1 2 3 4 5  ISBN:





Philosophy in a Tme of Terror Terror i A C KN KN O W L E D G E M E N TS


I T  T R O D UC U CT I O N

Terrorism an d the Legacy o f the the Enlightenment Habermas and Derrida PA R T O  E

Fundametalism and Terror A Diaogue with Jrgen Habermas 25 Reconstructing Terrorism-Habermas 45 PAR T TWO

Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Symbolic Suicides A Diaogue with Jacques Derrida 85 Deconstructing Terrorism-Derrida 137 Notes




PF PFA A 

Ph i l so phy  a im e   e e  

Phiosohy Phiosohy books are seldom sel dom conceived at a recise oint oin t in time or in a secic lace. Kant muled over he Citique Citiqu e   Pue Pue Reaso Reas o for eeven years: he called it the  silent s ilent decade." decade. " Sinoza worked most of his life at the Ethics, which was ubished osthumousy. Socrates never wrote a single ine. The case c ase of o f this book is dierent, dierent, for for it was conceived in the san of a few hours, in ew York ity, during the morning of Setember 1, 1 I lived /1 rsthand: I was searated from my children, who were stranded in their schoos at the oosite ends of town, and from from my husband, a reorter, who ran for his ife covering the attack on the Twin Towers. From my ersective, the unthinkabe broke out of a gorious late summer morning, which inexlicaby turned into something cose to aocalyse. Al communication was suddeny cut: the hone and the Internet Intern et were down, no ublic transortation transortation was available, the airports were closed and so were raiway stations and bridges. ike the rest res t of the word, I watched the th e tragedy unfold unfold on television; unlike the rest of the word, I knew that some fty blocks from my



for me a great source sou rce of hilosohical hilosohica l and human insiration insir ation throughout the years. James Traub, whose acute mind and imacable sense of humor made me laugh when laughterwas realy a I needed. need ed. And Brooke Kroeger, the strongest stron gest woman I kow, whose aection and belief bel ief in me I wil simy never forget. Among the eoe to whom I feel most indebted are my editor at the University of hicago hicago Press, David Brent, Bren t, and Giusee aterza from Editori aterza. Their condence in this book as wel as their kndness and friendshi have been recious. At the University of hicago Press I would like to thank aia Melissa Rigas for her excel lent coyediting of the manuscrit under extreme circumstances. owe owe a lot to uis Guzman, who did a wonder wonder job transating transating my dialogue with Habermas, and ichael aas and PascaeAnne Brault, whose rendering of my exchange with Derrida into English isi s nothing short of a work of art. This book made me reaize how imortant it is to feel valued and suorted by ones home institution. I am very grate to Vassar Vassar olege and its resident, resid ent, Francis Fergusson; the chair of my my deartment, Douglas Winblad; and Kathy Magurno, the deartments administrative assistant. I aso wish to thank all my students at Vassar olege, who cheered for me and ket u my sirit. Secial thanks go to ax Shmooer, my marvelous research assistant, and Zachary Allen, whose assion assi on for hiosohy and dedication d edication to my rojec rojectt were really unforunforgettabe. y two chidren, Gerardo and an d ucia Zamagione, Zamagione , have been fabfabulous suorters suorters of this book. They understood that it meant mea nt a lot to me and endured my extended absences from from home and their ives. ves. For this, I wish to thank them. Finay,y, ast on o n this list but bu t rst in my heart is my husband, husba nd, Arturo Zamaglione. As we lived hand in hand through the tragedy and the trauma of, this is his book, too. That day, day, and every other day until today, he has oered me nothing ess than his unconditional love.

INTROUCTION S S M A H LGA Y

F H H


 a b e  m a s a  d D e e  i d a

One might wonder whether the discussion disc ussion of / and global terrorism terrorism needs to reach as far as a critical reassessment reassessm ent of the oitical oitical ideas of the Enlightenment. Enlightenment. The thesis of this this book is that it does. does . Both the at tacks of / and the range of dilomatic dilomatic and miitary reactions they have rovoked rovoked require a reassessmen reas sessmentt of the validity of the Enighten ment roject roject and ideals. Habermas and Derrida agree that thejuridical juridical and olitical system structuring international law and existing multilatera institutions grows out of o f the Western hilosohical heritage grounded in the Enlightenment, lightenment, understood as a general intellectual orientation orientation anchored on a number of key texts. If this this is true, who else but a hilosoher has the tools to critically examine the adequacy of the existing framework


A condton for Russell's oltcal actvsm s that hlosohy be granted the same s ame negatve freedom freedom by hstory hsto ry that the ndvdua ctzen s granted by socety. By bndng knowledge to exerence, emrcsm seemed to hm to be the only orentaton that secures hosohy ts ndeendence from from hstorcal ressures. The only hlosohy that aords aords a theoretcal theo retcal justcaton jus tcaton of democracy n ts temer of mnd s emrcsm." emrc sm." Ths s arty because democracy democ racy and emrcsm (whch are ntmatey nterconnected) do not demand a dstorton d storton of facts n  n the nterest nteres t of theory."6 theory."6 Take Take the contro con tro versy between between Ptolemy's geocentrc and oerncus's heocentrc systems. Through observaton, we smly know that Ptolemy was wrong and oerncus was rght. Phlosohy's resonsblty resons blty,, Russel argued, as ursued n the unverstes of the Western democratc world, s, at least le ast n ntenton, nten ton, art of the ursut of knowledge, amng at the same knd of detachment as s sought n scence, and not requred, by the authortes, to arrve at conclusons convenent to the th e government."7 For a oltcal actvst on the Russelean model, the seccty secc ty of a hosoher's hosoher 's contrbuton es n sharng wth the ublc ublc her anaytcal tools, heng t thnk lucdly about consng and multfaceted ssues, sortng good from from bad arguments, suortng the good ones and com batng the bad ones. In more recent years, Noam homsky's ubc ubc en gagement,whch ncludes a short book on 9/ contnues n ths Russelean tradton of oltcal actvsm. By contrast, the lfe lfe and oltcal commtment of Arendt rovde a derent derent denton of a hlosoher's ublc role. One of the foreforemost oltcal thnkers of the twenteth twentet h century, century, Arendt exerenced exerence d rsthand the uheava of azsm n Germany, from from whch she escaed esca ed to the Unted States States,, never to return as a resdent. resden t. The only chld of a secuarJewsh secuar Jewsh famly, at twentythree she had her dssertaton aready n rnt. After the burnng of the Rechstag n Berln Berln n 1933 she was arrested aong wth her mother, held, and questoned by the olce for over a week. Released, she escaed va zechosovaka and Swtzerland to nally and n Pars, where she sent s ent seven years workng for for Jewsh organzatons that facltated the channelng of chdren to Palestne. In 940 she marred her second seco nd husband, a German eftst eftst Gentle who hadjust hadjus t been released from a twomonth twomonth detenton n an nternment cam. Yet, before before the th e year was over Arendt herself was n

orism and te t e egac egacy o te nligte nment


terned wth her mother n an enemy alen" cam for women, from whch she eventualy escaed. Reunted wth her husband, she boarded a sh from sbon to ew York. York. Whe n the Unted States she became crtcal of the Zonst movement's focus on Paestne rather than Euroe: one of the causes she suorted was the formaton of a Jewsh army to ght aongsde the Ales. From 933 untl obtaned U. S. ctzensh, she soke of herself herself 195 when she naly obtaned as a stateless stat eless erson." She S he ded d ed at age sxtynne, havng havng taught at varvarous U.S. unverstes and contrbutng to the ress as a ublc ntellectua. If for Russel hlosohy's rst commtment s the ursut of knowledge knowledge over and beyond beyon d the mact ma ct of tme, for Arendt, Arend t, hloso hy's rst commtment s to human laws and nsttutons, whch by denton evove over tme. Such laws, for for her, desgnate not only the boundares between rvate rvate and ublc nterest but also the descrton of the reatons between ctzens. ctzens . In her two major major books, The Human Condton (944) and The The Ogns o taltaransm ( 958) Arendt underlnes the need for hosohy to recognze the extreme agty of human laws and nsttutons, whch she sees dramatcaly dramatcaly ncreased by the onset ons et of modernty, modernty, taken as a cultural and hstorcal aradgm. In ths sense, sens e, she understood unde rstood her hosohcal resonsblty resonsblty n terms of a crtque of moderntyan moderntyan evaluaton of the ecular chalenges re sented to thought by modern Euroean hstor. hstor. In t, the concet of totataransm features as the ultmate chalenge. Unlke tyranny, whch romotes lawlessness, the two totaltaran regmes of the mdtwenteth century, century, Stalnsm and azsm, were not awless awless.. Rather, they romoted nexorable laws that were resented as ether laws of nature (the (th e bologcal laws of racal suerorty) or laws of hstory (the economc econo mc aws of cass cass struggle). In I n Arendt's readng, totaltaransm s a dstnctly mode otcal danger, whch whch combnes combn es unrecedented seralzed ser alzed coercon wth a totalzng secular deology deolo gy.. The tota terror" ractced n the extermnaton cams and the gulags s not the means but the essence of totataran government."  In turn, the essence esse nce of terror s not the hyscal elmnaton of whomever s erceved to be derent but the eradcaton of derence n eoe, namey, namey, ofther the r ndvdualty and caacty for for autonomous autono mous acton ac ton.. The monooly of ower sought by totaltaran regmes can be acheved and saf sa feguarded ony n a world of condtoned reexes, of maronettes



without the slightest trace of o f sontanety sontanety Precisely because man's resources are so great, he can be y dominated only when he becomes a secmen of the animaseces man"  The objectcaton Arendt set as the denng core of totaltaranism was not restrcted to the vctims of the mass murders carred out n the concentraton concentr aton cams and the glags but was required of the eretrators, too In 19, 19 , Arendt was asked by the New Yrker Y rker to cover the tral of the fugitve az crimnal Adolf Echmann, catured n Argentina by the Mossad, the Israel secret servce, and brought to stand tral n Jerusalem, where he h e was eventuallyly executed Arendt's corresondence from Jerusaem broke her long selfimosed silence on the J ewsh queston" that dated to the establishment of the state of Israel and the falure ofJudah ofJudah Magnes's eorts to establsh a bnatonal democratc federaton n Palestine ater revsed and ublshed as a book,2 Arendt's reort focused focused on the descrtion of Eichmann as an obtuse obtus e ndvdual who drfted drfted wth the times ti mes and resed re sed to t o crtcally examne any ofhs criminal actons In hs thoughtless ordnarnesshs seaking in clchs, aarent lack of fanatcal fanatcal hatred for for the Jews, and rde in being a lawabidng citizenEichmann aeared to her as the ncar nation of the banalty of evl"3 evl"3 o doubt, dou bt, her belef that hlosohy revolves revolves around the th e cultvacultvaton and rotecton rotect on of a healthy oltcal saceforged out of oular artcation, human dversty, and equaltyreected the urgency of her own ersonal resonse to total terror a resonse that arose out of trauma, trauma, dslacement, loss, loss , and exile Yet, this is also the mark of an ancent orentaton that Arendt nherited from the Greeks Since Socrates, hilosohy has nvolved the unresolvable but roductive tenson between action and seculation, timelness and tmelessness, vta atva and vta ontemplatva. Philosophy and the Traumas of Twentieth-Centu History

Desite their sharly distinct aroaches to hlosohy, Habermas and Derrida seem se em to follow n the Arendtan model ike Arendt and unlke Russell, they do not look at oltcal commtment as a sulement to ther commtment to hiosohy, an otion that can be taken u, ostoned, or even rejected rejected altogether altogether Both of them have have encoun

oism and t e egacy o te nligtenment  nligtenment


tered and embraced hilosohy n the context of the traumas of twentethcentury Euroean hstory: colonalism, totalitariansm, and the Holocaust Their contributions to the subject of 9/1 and global terrorism follow follow n the same sam e ven Habermas and Derrda were born only a year aart, n 199 and 9, resectively, and were adolescents durng World War II Habermas lved n Germany, Germany, under the ominous gri of the Thrd Reich, Reic h, while while Derrida lived n Algeria, Algeria, a French colony at that tha t tme Habermas recalls the dee state of shock that he and hs frends found themselves n as they learned about the azi atrocities at the uremberg trals and, subsequently subs equently,, n a seres s eres of documentary documentary lms We beleved that a sritual and moral renewal was indisensable and nevtable"4 nevtable" 4 The challenge of how to acheve a moral renewal n a country wth an unmasterable ast"5 has been Habermas's lfelong quest, whch he has ursued with excetonal loyalty and asson both as a hilosoher and as a ublic intellectual intellectual The task was so monumental that one cannot avoid onderng how a man of hs great talent, havng been resented many tmes with academic oers oers from around the world, did not decide decid e to leave Germany Germa ny and remove the German question" q uestion" from from the center ce nter stage of his lfe lfe and thought thou ght After After all, t would have made ma de erf e rfect ect sense from the standoint of his cosmoolitan belefs The fact that he never dd d d leave s for for me great cause for admiration The crucal role he layed during the Hstorans' Debate (Hstorkerstret) reresents comellng evdence for the deth of Habermas's Habermas's ublc commtment In the md98s several German hstorans began to question the uniqueness" of o f azi crimes, thereby oenng the way to a revsonst readng amed at equatng them wth other twentethcentury olitcal olitcal tragedes Habermas was artculary outraged at the renowned Berlin historan Est olte, who suggested that a consicuous shortcomng of the literature literature on atonal Socialsm s that t doesn't does n't know, know, or doesdoe sn't want to admt, to what extent everythng everythng that was later done by the azs, wth the sole exceton of the the technical rocedure of gassng, had already been descrbed descr bed n an extensive lterature datng from from the early early 9"6 olte claims that the Holocaust Holocau st was ndamentally ndamentally on a ar wth the Stalnist urges and even wth the Bolshevk uheaval, excet for for the techncal t echncal rocedure roce dure of o fgassng" gassng " Habermas, on that occason, reresented the most eloquent voce



n def  d efeens e of Gera nd i in  p a st and rm an pa the Germa on off th at ion o lizati maliz  n orm the nor inst the against past. He reits past. h the d ark side of its w ith ea l wit ne ed to d eal lute need any'ss absolute many' n een  bee m had  had b azism  of N azis ealityy of  the realit  face the to fa al " to sal" tic re matic re traum  that a trau arked th mark nteed  point lso poi  He also eicch. He rd Rei Third R th e Th  fal of the the fal ince the ion since in thee nation at work in th genge nw n  ow h is o is o f e c tive tiv p e rsp pers pe h e g  th  t ing r ibin ib scr sc D e . n ia. ia d e this he daanger o f this t o the d e of  ose os c he t the t a ho w se t hose ho f n  of  o ren i dre d c h d r and an he  gr  h e wrote, The g tion, he eratio iltt guil gu a s ona on e r  pe ce p i ence en eri xper o  exp  e e  to  t be e  ab  a  be to oo  yooung to b  weree too y  War I I  wer rld Wa World  o n spo r resp re c o e o m eco t  bec  b n o a s ,  ha  h er, ever howev ry, how Me mo ry, up . Me wing up.  grow ready gro  alrea are ar e al t s e , it i ive e ctiv ct s p ers e  per  p t ive iv ect ec  subbj one's su le ss of one's egaardless ," for, eg ted," tiated antia  d istan ty dist de nty p  ramp ding ing ram oad unloa thee unl  ofth es of ages he imag me the im he sam st ill the sa ure is re is sti rtu part depa nt ofde point of ."1 7 itzz."17 schwit  Auschw at Au  only  n ot  on ty doo e s  not ility d sibbili onsi re spon  a nd resp al,, an vi dual ndividu ly in  simply i s no n i o t  si uilt is Guil er-aber  Hab o th H th t  bo  b h a t  th  t int poin po s  a s  is  i his .  Thi  T es. o ices ic c h a l o n so pes pe n g ki h makin w ith come wit st c aust au  o o tHo ostH e  pos  p are ar e y the th t, ndt, rend e  Are  A  ike ik e , u s cau beca be re  s hare rr idaa sha nd Derrid as an mas a


 in ined in engraained  are engr  ityy are ib it nsib espons and respo guit and how guit cuattes how rticua ma s arti ab erm Haber ig w udw  Lud i ng L ng oti quot qu e r: t h no  an h one  one a  with ion wit eraction intera aily int our daily text of our the the context of lifee." orm oflif a fform ext a  is coontext  this c lls th  calls tein, h e ca ittgeenstei Wittg hr is h simpl fac ha sbsqn gnraions also grw p from wihin a form oflif in which ha was possibl . Or ow n lif lif is linkd o h lif conx in which Aschwiz was possibl no by coningn cir cmsanc s b inrin sically Or form form of lif lif is connc d o ha of or parns and grandparns hrogh a wb of familial, local, poliical and inllcal radiions ha is dicl o disnanglha is, hrogh a hisorical mili ha mad s who w ar Non of s can scap his mi li, bcas or idniis, boh as individals and as Grmans, ar in dissolbly inrwovn wih i

However, one shoud not resume that since Habermas foregrounds the constitutive role of history, he either downlays the imortance of individual individual articiation articiation in the oitical arena or believes that oitica identity is automaticaly rovided by a historicaly estab lished tradition tra dition.. On the contrary con trary,, articuary articuary in the context conte xt of German nationa identity, identity, he def d efends ends a notion of constitutiona atriotism. Only such atriotism, which is based on o n the free free alegiance to the constituc onstitution on the art of each individua citizen, can forge a rogressive national aiance. aiance. For Habermas, it is essentia es sentia that Germans understand

orm and te egacy egacy o te t e nligtenment


themselves as a nation soely on their loyalty to the reubican consti tution, without hanging onto what he cals the reolitica reolitica crutches of nationaity and communiy comm uniy of fate. fate."  Derrida exerienced these crutches rsthand when, in October 42 he was exeled from his school, the yce de Ben Aknoun, housed in a former monastery located near EBiar in Ageria where he grew u and lived until he was nineteen years old. The reason reaso n for for the exulsion was not no t rowdy rowdy behavior but the alication of the racia aws in France and its coonial ossessions, incuding Algeria. Identity emerged for for Derrida as a custer cust er ofunstable ofunstable boundaries. As he ainy recolects, the boy who was exeed in 42 was a ittle black and very Arab Jew who understood underst ood nothing nothin g about it, to whom no one ever gave the slightest reason, neither his arents nor his friends."22  Derrida's background highlights highlights the chalenge of existing existing at the boundaries bounda ries of multie territories: Judaism and hristianity, Judaism and Islam, Euroe and Africa, mainand France and its colonies, the sea and the desert. dese rt. This is the same s ame chaenge that Derrida resents resents to hilosohy. The anguage that Derrida recals being used us ed at the time of his exulsion from school highights the olyhony of these voices: In my family family and among h Algrian Jws, on scarcly scarcly vr said cir cmcision b bapism, no Bar Mi zvah b commnion, wih h consqncs of sofning, sofning, dling hrogh farl acclraion, ha I'v always srd srd from from mor or l ss co nscio sly, sly, of navowabl navowabl vns, fl as sc h, no Caholic, violn, barbaros, hard, Arab,circmcisd cir cmcision inriorizd, scrly assmd accsaion of rial mrdr2

For Derrida, then and for the rest of his life, each word branches out into a network ofhistorica and textual textua l connections. His oitical interventions are often aimed at throwing ight uon these hidden continents. As long as we use language unreexively, we remain comletely unaware unaware of them; the robem with this bessed bes sed ignorance is that, just by relying relying on them, the m, we iterate a number of o f normative normative assumtions of which we are not even aware. Take the human being as an examle. Most eole would assume that it is a selfevident designation: a human being is a member of the human secies. The robem is that both human" and secies" are



de n b roaaden that bro ct ed ma zes tha tr ucte c onsstru ay con rica  h istoo ric ut in i n hist ch ou ranch o  thaat bran terms ter ms th On e. r ase. as phr ph h is f t  of r um o um e ctr ct spe sp tic antic s eman em h e e  th  t c ate at p ic i te y com denitey and in nd inde  s  in  in s , is i c ies ie pec  spe s t h a a  wi i se w  case  ca the  is ,  as is  as ies, pecies ec  sp uman s th e human nd , th  hand, t h e o ne ha e c ame am b e e w h en w of o n stio q uesti ue the tory: the histor narry his tiona evoutio ibed in evou scr scribe ic h in ad opt, w hich tion we ado catio ssica cassi  of ca ncipee of he  priincip ds u pon the pr ep ends hum hu man depen  adh e ad , th t a nd, nd r  ha  h ot he  O n the oth .2 2  On is .22 at  itt is  what i than wh er ent tha iere be di  coud be theor he oryy co d ivid nd ua ti on of an indivi  no tio the no ith er the ni es either ompanie accomp h ch acc an," whch ctivee   human, j e ctiv ss ue of w hat  the issu ith th ce  to fa ce with face to u s fa pe ciee s, puts us e speci  whoe the who bei being or the  d emar we de do o w H n? man? huma hu s a c t as a o  ac  a n  to  t ean i t mea m e s D o s. e ans. an n" me hum hu man" m ion uest estion s  qu  q this thi ch r oach oa p p o  ap  a i n to t egi n beg b  eve ven ot e a nnot nn e c W o r? vi n beh behaavio human cate huma h u inh in  or ity or anity uman t s hum h e , it i t ure ur nat na a n u m f h n  of  o io  notion t he no ring to th ferring refer ithoutt re withou


 o f nts of to the events sp onse to a' s re spo ri da's ucia to Derrid  c ruci tio n was cr q uesstion This que n  con co i ca ca ogi e oog o  id eat ide h of  o f great ep och  t hat epoc n to to th bution tributio co ntri a's con rida's D errid 8. 2 3 Der 196 19 6 8.2 h e o f th t n ep tion c oncceptio ich con  which ogatee wh terrrogat  to  inter turmoi was to in iti ca tur po itic a nd po ict ct an sques via que te d vi ta rted ions star ra tion nsideerat  consid take. Hi s co  in  faact a t stake.  was in f ng wa n bei bein huma human  n te te h  in  i e nch nc  Fr  F r h e g th t ting inatin ina o m d  saw  s aw h e at "  that  th s m gis oogi r opoo op thr an  the anth ing th tion ioning c is soc so  as a ge a ge rita herit he s tic nis mani huma hu h e d  th  t n ted te ran r gra g  for ok h took fo which ectu ec tuaa s c ene, whic o c e to t a n issa e naiss na  Re i an R an I tai ta h e t r om s . F opo op o h r nt of anth de a of  Greee k i dea th e Gre ated ted w ith the as a h ida errid err t D h a w to y a oy o in ed remaine humanism rem enment, hum ightenm the Enig s" wiithncees" w scienc man scie hum be hu no t be here woud not  of man." Ther it y of the unity e d th caed ich or, av , which  e ndeavor nique iquey human" en  un a nd u tin cty and di stinct  t he dis in th ief in a  beeief out ou t a b ept.  concept. er as a co together n" togeth man" od s ma hods uc h op herrs such o sophe aist phios ste ntiiai ar II, e xistent W r d o f W s s of o n e rkn da I n the dark an-uman a  hum h s ica ic ass as o f c n sion  ver  v ersio e w  ne h a n a nch aunc au  to ed to oped h rtre hop  S artr Pau Sa eanPau as Jean  by  b y t y, " ait  reai an re uman f hum h s  of  o m term ter in an e  man  m   n re de ed  to red posed to p rop  Sa rtree pro i sm .  Sartr p asep se od stood d ersto er  un  u n b e ot d  not  n o ud u c ec t co ubj ect man subj  hum  the he hu that t ant that which he meant a nd c t b je sub su e n w e et encce b etw penden te rdeepend w ord. 2 4 T his interd he r wor y frrom her rate rat ey f reiti ca repoitic  a nd po ra an nd mora oun  grou my gr tre a way to rmy Sa rtre nted Sar grante word gra horingg human A nchorin ec t. An ubj ect.  the subj  of the ion of tution st itut very c onsti ity in the ver onsibbit sponsi antiss ary ant e c essa e  ne  n the th ed emed  seem rd se word wo e's one's on rd ward y  towa  to i ity it s ibi ib o n e spo sp  r  in re it y in rea reaity . ism. r ianism ian  itar ita o ta ta f t t y o ni humanit inhum  the in  fo r the ot e fo dote  rst to re  thee rst  were th ist s we iaists entia istent  exist thee ex en ifth even if d ed, ed , ev nt end  co nten ida co Derrrida Ye t , Der overover in e ed in ed cce t  succ  su n o i d y  di  d h e n , th t n g of m a nin meani th e mea  of the io n  of qu estt ion a sk t he ques e of  of e m the th t he h o ugh ug  tho th  A A an .25   of man.25 unityy of the unit of the ea of idea ica id assica  cass ng thee c coming th e  itt itt i s  sti  st e is i er there eriod,, th the period of the rse of is course  the disc in th re sentt in quitte presen tory is qui his histor n  con co h e historry of t the histo pee, th amp or exam co nc epts. For ex story of con  history the hi ctice of the pra practi

rrorism and te t e egacy o te t e nligtenment


cet of man is never examined. examined . Everything Everything occurs as if the sign man' had no origin no historica cutura or inguistic imit."26 Derrida's osition here is that once the concet of man man is given historica cutura tura and inguistic boundaries it wi be much harder to resort to any essentiaist arguments. The very mutiicity mutiicity of historica narratives wi wi uset any attemt attemt to construe the concet in terms of irreducibe irreducibe airsman versus woman human versus inhuman human versus anima rationaity rationaity versus instinct cuture versus naturewhich in Derrida's oinion roduces dangerous simications. simications. Particuary for for a generaton that had to make sense sens e of the faiure faiure of the humanistic idea to rotect Euroe from from totaitarianism and genocide Derrida's ange adds a whoe new dimension to the concet of socia socia  critique. As for Habermas Haberm as for for Derrida Derri da guit and resonsibiity for the horrors of the twentieth century centu ry cannot be imited imi ted to those tho se who were directy invoved. In the same vein for both of them the oitica commitment of hiosohy is not n ot a matter of ersona choice. By engaging in hiosohy hiosohy one automaticay auto maticay engages in the eort to reckon with its time in this sense neither one of them is a oitica activist whereas both of them if in very dierent dierent ways are socia soc ia critics. For Arendt Habermas and Derrida Derrida  hiosohy's rst commitment is to human aws and institutions as they evove through time. This beief marks them as ostHoocaust hiosohers. Their common chaenge has been necessariy how to give a ositive turn to the inteectua deression into which the generation of their teachers had h ad faen faen after after the exerience exerience of ersona exie and the horrors of the 19 and 19s. On the one on e hand Habermas takes tak es the universa vaue of reubican institutions and democratic articiation articiation as a given assed on to us by the tradition of the Enightenment. Seakng against the normaization of the German ast he wrote After Auschwitz our nationa consciousness can be derived ony om the better traditions in our history tory a history that is not unexamined but instead aroriated criticay."27 The robem for him is not that the Enightenment has faied as an inteectua roject roject but bu t that its origina critica attitude attitud e toward history got ost oening the way for oitica barbarism. On the other hand Derrida beieves that universaism is what reubican institutions and democratic articiation strugge toward in their innite quest for justice. justic e. This quest is ensured ony ifwe are oen to considering the no


Derrda's approach to ethcs and poltcs has an addtonal dmenson: he calls  t a re sponsblty before before alterty and derence, that whch s beyond the boundares of descrpton, excluded , and slent. For hm, ths sense of responsblty artculates the demand for unversalsm assocated wth the Enlghtenment. In lght of the dalogues collected n ths book, one cannot but be persuaded that Habermas and Derrda share an allegance to the Enlghtenment. The derence derence n ther approa ches s no t only of hstorhstorcal nterest (because t casts a new lght on ther relaton) but an llustraton of the rchness and vare that phlosophy s unquely capable of oerng oerng to the nterpretaton of the present moment. The ssue of tolerance, a key concept of both the Enlghtenment and the selfrepresentaton of Western democraces, s a case n pont.34 Derrda s tresses the d stnctly stnctly Chrstan matrx of the noton of tolerance, whch makes t less neutral a poltcal and ethcal concept than t makes tsel f out to be. Th e relgous orgn and focus of the noton of tolerance makes t the r emnant of a paternalstc gesture n whch the other s not accepted as an equal partner but subordnated, perhaps assmlated, and certanly msnterpreted n ts derence. derence. Indeed, tolera nce s rst of all a form form of charty. A Chrstan charty, therefore, therefore, even fJews f Jews and Muslms mght seem to approprat appropratee ths languag languagee as well . . . In ad dton dton to the relgo relgous us meanng meanng of toleranc tolerancee . . . we should also menton ts bologcal, genetc or or organcst connotatons. In France the phrase threshold of tolerance' was used to descrbe the lmt beyond whch t was no longer decent to ask a natonal communty to welcome any more foregne foregne rs, mmgrant workers and the lke." The n oton of tolerance s for Derrda nadequate for for use n secular pol tcs. Its relgous overtone, wth wth deep roots n the Chrstan concepton of charty, charty, defeats an y clam of unversal sm.3 sm. 35 Attentve to all facts facts oflanguag e, Derrda ponts out that t s not a concdence that tolerance tolerance has been ap proprated by the bologcal bologcal dscours e to ndcate the ne lne between ntegraton and rejecton. As s true wth organ transplants and pan management, the threshold of tolerance tolerance desgnates tolerance as the extreme lmt of the organsm's struggle to mantan tself n balance be fore collapse. Tolerance s t hus t he opposte of hosptal, hosptal, whch Derrda oers oers as ts alternatve. Clearly Clearly the dstncton between tolerance and hos ptalty talty s not a sema ntc subtlety but ponts to what s mos t mportant n

Trrorism and the Legac Legacy y of the Enlightenm ent


Derr errida id a's app approach ach to et  e thics ic s and po  p ol itic it icss: the uni unique que obli bligat gation ion th  t hat

eac each o f u s ha has to th the othe ther.

But pure or unconditional hospitality does not consist in such an invitation (I invite you, 1 welcome you into my home, on the condition that you adapt to the laws and norms of my territor, territor, according to my angage, tra dition, memor, and so on") . Pure and unconditiona hospitali t, t, hospitalit itse opens or is in advance open to someone who is neither expected nor invited, to whomever arrives as an absolutely foreign visitor, as a new unforeseeable, in short, wholly other. arrival nonidentiabe and unforeseeable,

Derrda's endorsement of hosptalty n place of tolerance s a sophstcated reworkng of a key text by a key ph losopher of the Enlghtenment, Kant, who rst posed the question ofhosptalty hosptalty n the context of nternatona nternatonall relatons.36 Those who nterpret nterpret Derrida as a certan kind of postmodernsta postmodernsta counterEnlightenment thnker wi a leaning toward toward relatvismwould relatvismwould use hs deconstructon of the unversal reach of tolerance n support of ther argument .37 To the contrary, for Derrda, Derrd a, demarcatng the histor ical and cultural lmits of apparently neutral concepts of the Enlghten ment tradton such as tolerance expands and updates rather than betrays ts agenda.3 8 To To meet the spec cally global global challenges of our tme, socal critque and ethcal responsbilty requre the deconstrcton of falsely neutral and potentaly hegemonic dea ls. Far om curtaing the demand for unversaljustce and  eedom, d econs tructon renews  t nntely. nntely. In contrast, Habermas stands by toerance on both the ethcal and legal front. front. Hs defense of tolerance emerges out of hs concepton of consttutonal consttutonal democracy as the only poltcal stuaton that can accommodate free free and unc oerced communcaton and the formaton of a ratonal consensus. It s true, he says, that the term has a relgous orgn and that t was only subsequently approprated by secular poltcs. Moreover, Moreover, t s true that tolerance s ntrnscally ntrnscally onesded : I t s obvous that the threshold of tolerance, whch separates what s stl acceptable' from from what s not, s arbtrary arbtrary establshed by the exstng authorty. thorty." However, n Habermas s vew, the one sdedne ss of tolerance tolerance s neutralzed f tolerance s practced n the context of a partcpatory poltcal system such as that provded by parlamentary parlamentary democracy. democracy. In a drect response to Derrda, durng our dalogue he claried ths pont:



framework of internatioal reations does not do much in the way of opening up new cha nes. For what is needed is a change in mentaity, mentaity, which happens rather through the improvement ofliving conditions, through a sensi ble relief om oppre ssion and fear. Trst Trst must b e able to be deveoped in communicative communicative everyday everyday practices. Ony then can a broady eective eective enightenment exted into media, sch ools, ad hom es. And it must do so by aecting aecting the premises of its own poitica poitica culture." The remedy against systematic dis tortions of communication eading to c rosscultura rosscultura violence is to rebuid a ndametal lik of trst trst among peope, which cannot take pace whie oppres sion and fear dominate. Su ch a ink depends as much on the improvement improvement of material material conditions as it does on the politica cuture cuture in which individuals nd nd themseves iteracting with each other, for in the absence of either one mutual perspectivetag becomes impossible. While for Habermas reason, understood as the possibility of transparent and nonmaipulative communication, can cure the ills of modernization, fundamentaism and terrorism among them, for Derrida these destructive strains can be detected and amed but not wholy controlled or conquered. Whereas for Habermas the pathological agents cocern the speed at which modernizatio has imposed itself and the defensive reaction that it has eicited on the part of traditional traditional ways of ife, for Derrida the defensive reaction comes from modernity itsef. Terrorism is for him the symptom of an autoimmune disorder that threatens the ife ife of participatory participatory democracy, democracy, the legal system that underwrites underwrites it, and the poss ibiity ibiity of a sharp separation betwee the religious and the secuar dimen sions. Autoimmune conditions imply the spontaneous su icide of the the defensive defensive mechanism suppos ed to protect the organism from externa aggression. From the stadpoit of this somber anaysis, Derrida's exhortation is to proceed slowly and patiently in the search for a cure. Derrida's th esis in the diaogue is that the nd of globa globa terrorism terrorism behind the attacks of / is not the rst symptom of the autoimmune crisis bu t only its most recent manifestation. Throughou t the Cold War, War, Western libera democracies were arming and training their ture enemies in a quas isuicida manner. The Cold War's War's symmetrica dispay of power was undermined by the di ssemination of the nucear arsena as well as of bacteriological and chemical weapo s. Now we are faced faced with

Torism and the Legac Legacy y of the Enlightenment


the reality of an asymmetrical conict, which as such represen ts a rther stage of the the autoimmune crisis. In the age of terror, there is no p os sibility sibility of balance: since incaculabe incaculabe forces forces rath er than soverign states represent the real threat, the very concept of responsibili responsibility ty becomes potentially tentially incaculable. Who is re sponsibe for what, at what stage of planning, in the face o f what juridical body? Like the Cold War, the specter of global terrorism haunts our sense of the ture because it kills the promise upon which a positive relation with our present depends. In al its horror, / has eft us waiting for for the wor st. Th e violec e of the attacks agains t the Twin Towers Towers and the Pentagon has reveaed an abyss of terror terror that is going to haunt our existence and thinking for years and perhaps decades to come. The choice of a date, /, as a name for for the attacks, attacks, has the aim o f attributing tributing to them historica  monumentaity, monumentaity, which is in the interest o f both the Western media and the terrorists. terrorists. For Habermas as well as for Derrid a, globalization globalization plays a big role visvis visvis terrorism. Whie for for Habermas what is at issue is an increase ofinequality inequality due to accelerated modernization, Derrida has a dierendierentiated readig of it depending on the context. Gobalization, for for him, rendered possible the rapid and relatively relatively smooth process of democratization in most Eastern European nations, formerly formerly part of the Soviet Union. There, Derrida beieves that it was a good thing. Recent movement movementss towar toward d democratiz democratization ation .  . owe a great deal, amo st everything perhaps, to televisi on, to the communication of modes, norms, images, informatio informatioal al products, and so on." By contrast, Derrida is extremely tremely worried about the eect eect of gobalization on the dynamics of conict and war. Between the two supposed war leaders, the two metonymies, Bin Laden' and Bush,' the war of images ad of discourses proc eeds at an ever quickeing pace over the airwav airwaves, es, d issimulating ulating and delecting more and more quicy the trth that it reveals." In other cases yet gobalization is nothing more than a rhetorica rhetorica artice, aimed at di ssimulating ssimulating injustic injustic e. This is, in Derrida's view, view, what is happening within Isamic cultures, where gobalization is ony believed to be taking place but i reality it isn't. Here Derrida comes close to Habermas not only by understanding globalization under the rbric of inequaity but also by connecting it with the problem of modernity and of the Eightenment.


Introduction In h cors of h las fw cnris whos hisory wold hav o  carlly carlly rxamind (h asnc of an Enlighnmn ag coloniza ion impriaism and so on svral facors facors hav conrid o h gopoli ical siaion whos cs w ar fling oday ginning wih h para dox of a marginalizaion and an impovrishmn whos rhyhm is pro porional o dmographic growh hs poplaions ar no only dprivd of accss o wha w call dmocracy cas of h hisory I s rily rcalld b ar vn dispossssd of h socald naral richs richs of of h h and and    hs naral richs ar in fac h only nonvr alizal and n ondrrioriaiza goods lf oday oday

The Isamic words osition is unique in two ways: on the one hand it historicay acks acks exosure to the quintessentia quintess entiayy modern exerience of democracy democracy that Derrida with Habermas regards as necessary for a cuture to ostivey face modernization On the other hand many Isamic cutures ourished on soi rich in natura resources ike oi oi which Derrida denes as the ast nonvirtuaizabe nonvirtuaizabe and nondeterritoriaizabe" ritoriaizabe" resource. This situation makes the Isamic bock more vunerabe to the savage modernization brought about by the gobaized markets and dominated by a sma number of states and internationa cororations Whie for Habermas terrorism is the eect of the trauma of modernization ernization which has sread around the word at a athoogica seed Derrida sees see s terrorism terrorism as a symtom of a traumatic traumatic eement intrinsic intrinsic to modern exerience whose focus is aways on the ture somewhat athoogica athoogicay understood as romise hoe and sefarmation sefarmation Both are somber reections on o n the egacy of the Enightenment: the reentess search for a critica ersective that must start with sefexamination

F  AM AM  ALS ALS M A     

A Dia logue with Jrgen Ha be rmas

Do you consider what we now tend to cal  Setember Setember an unrecedented event one that radicaly alters the way way we we see se e ourselves? ourselves ? Allow me to say in advance that I shall be an swering your questions at a distance of three months Therefore it ight be use to mention my ersona exerience in relation to the event At the start of October I was beginning a twomonth stay in Manhattan I must confess I somehow felt more of a stranger this time than I did on revious visits vi sits to the ��caital ��caita l of the twentieth century cent ury" a city that has fascinated me for for more than three decad d ecades es ItI t was not ony the lagwaving and rather deant United We Stand" atriotism that had changed the climate nor was it the eculiar demand for soidarity and the accomanying suscetibiit to any resumed ��antiAmerican B 0







 "

Tanslated fom fom the Genan by Luis Guzman. Revised by Jrgen Habemas in English



Fundamentalism and Trror

threats threats at the NATO NATO coferece coferece i Brussels i mi dDecember [200] : ��Whe we look at the destructio they caused i the U.S .A. , imagie what they could do i ew York, York, or Lodo, or Paris, or Berli with ucear, chemical or biologica weapos."4 Of a wholly dieret kid were the meas ureseces sary ad prudet, but oly eective eective i the log termthe U. S. govermet govermet took after after the attack the creatio of a worldwide worldwide coalitio of coutries agais t terrorism, the e ective co tro over suspicious acial ows ad iteratioal bak associatios, the networkig of relevat iformatio lows amog atioal itelligece agecies, as well as the worldwide worldwide coordiatio of correspodig police ivestigatios. You have caimed that the itellectual is a g B 0 R R A D O R I : ure with historicaly specic characteristics, deeply itertwied with Europea hist ory, ory, the ite eth ce tury, tury, ad the os et of moder ity. Does Doe s he or she play a particular role role i our prese t cotext? I would't say so. The usua suspectswriters, H A B E R M A S : philosophers, artists, scholars worg i the humaities as well as i the social scieceswho scieceswho speak out o other occasios have doe so this time, too. There have bee the usual pros ad cos, the same sarl of voices with the familar atioal diereces i style ad publi c reso aceit has ot bee  much dieret from from the Gulf or Kosovo Wars. Wars. Perhaps the America voices were heard faster faster a d louder tha usual i the ed, also somewhat more devoutly devoutly guberatorial guberatorial ad patriotic. O oe side, eve leftist leftist liberals for for the momet s eem to be i agreemet with Bush's politics. Ricard Rorty's proouced positios are, if I uderstad correctly, correctly, ot completey atypical. O the other s ide, critics of the oper atio i Afghaista Afghaista  started from a false false prog osis i i their pragmatic pragmatic asses smet of its chaces for success . This ti me, what was required was ot oly athropologicahistorical kowledge kowledge of a somewhat speciaized kid but also military ad geopolitical expertise.  am ot subscribig to the atiitelectual prejudice, accordig to which itellectuals itellectuals regularly regularly lack the required expertise. If oe is  ot exactly exactly a ecoo mist, o e refrais refrais fromj fromj udgig complex ecoomic de  velopmets. velopmets. With regard to miitar issues, however, itellectuals itellectuals obviously do ot act dieretly from other armchair strate gist s.  your Pauskrche spee ch (Frakfurt, (Frakfurt, OctoB 0 R R A D O R I : ber 200 1),5 you deed fudametalism fudametalism as a specically moder pheomeo. Why?

A Dialogue with Jrge Jrgen n Haberma s


t depeds, of course, o how oe uses the term. H A B E R M A S : ��Fudametalist" has a pejorative rig to it. We use this predicate to characterize characterize a peculiar midset, a stubbor attitude that that isi sts o the politcal impositio of its ow covictios a d reaso s, eve whe they are far from beig ratioally acceptable. This holds especially for reli gious beiefs. We We should certaily o t co se fudamet fudamet alism with dogmatism ad orthodoxy. Ever religious doctrie is based o a dogmatic kerel ofbeie Sometimes there is a authority such as the pope or the Roma cogregatio, which determies what iterpretatios de viate from from this dogma ad, theefore, theefore, from ortho doxy. doxy. Such or thodoxy rst veers toward dametalism whe the guardias ad represetatives tives of the true faith faith igore the epistemi c situatio  of a pluralistic soci ety ad isisteve to the poit of violeceo the uiversally bid ig character ad political acceptace o f their their doctrie. Util the oset of modernity, the prophetic teachigs were also world religios i the sese that they were were able to expad withi the cogitive horizos of aciet empires perceived from withi as allecompassig worlds. worlds. The uiversalism" of those empires, whose peripheries seemed to blur beyod their boudaries, provided the appropriate backgroud for the exclusive claim to truth by the world religios. However, i the moder coditios of a accelerated growth i complexity, such a exclusive claim to truth y oe faith ca o loger be aively aively maitaied.  Europe, the cofessioal cofessioal s chism ad the secularizatio of society have compelled religious belief to reect o its oexclusive place withi a uiversal discourse shared with other religios ad limited by scietically geerated secular kowl edge. At the same time, the awareess of this double relativizatio of oe's ow positio oviously should ot imply relativizig relativizig oe's ow beliefs. beliefs. This selfreexive achievemet of a religio that leared to s ee itself through through the eyes of othes has had importat political implicatios. The believers could from from the o reaize why they had to re ouce viole ce, i gee ral, ad refrai from from state power, i particular, for the purpose of eforcig religious claims. This cogitive thrust ade religious tolerace, as well as the separatio betwee state ad church, possible for the rst time. Whe a cotemporary regime like ra refuses refuses to carry out this separatio or whe movemets ispired by religio strive for the reestablishme t of a Islamic form of theocracy, theocracy, we coside r that to be


Fundamentalism and Trror

ndamentalism. I woud explain the frozen features of such a mental cognitive dis sonance s. This reity in terms of the repress ion of striing cognitive pression occurs when the innocence of the epistemologica epistemologica situation of an alencompassing world perspective is lost and when, under the cognitive cognitive conditions o f scientic knowledge knowledge and ofreligious of religious pluraism, pluraism, a return to the exclusivity of premodern beief attitudes is propagated. These attitudes cause such striking cognitive dissonances since the compex ife ife circumstances in modern pluralistic societies are norma tivey tivey compatible only with a strict universalism universalism in which the same respect is demanded for everybodyb everybodybee they Cathoic, Protestant, Mus lim,ewish, Hindu, or Buddhist, believers or nonbelievers. nonbelievers. How is the kind ofI slamic ndamentalism ndamentalism we B 0 R R A D O R  : see today dierent dierent from from earier ndamentaist trends and practices, such as the witchhunts of the early early modern age? There is probably a motif that links the two pheH A B E R M A S : nomena you ment ion, namey, the defensive defensive react ion against the fear of a violent uprooting of traditiona traditiona ways of life. life. In th at early modern age, the beginnings of poitical and economic modernization may have given rise to such fears in some regions of Europe. Europe. Of course, course, with the globaization of markets, markets, p articularly articularly the nancia  markets, and with the expansion of foreign foreign direct investments, we nd ourselves ourselves today at a completely dierent dierent stage. Things are dierent dierent ins ofar ofar as world societ y is meanwhie meanwhie split up into winner, beneciary, and oser countries. To the Arab world, the U. S. A. is the driving driving force force of capitaistic capitaistic modernization. With its unapproachable ead in development and with its overwhelming overwhelming technoogical, economic, politica, and military military su periority, ority, the .S .A. appe ars as an insult to their selfcondence while simultaneously providing the secre tly tly admired mode l. The West in its entirety entirety serves as a scapegoat for the Arab word's own, very real experiences of loss, suered suered by populations torn o ut of their cutura cutura traditons during processes of acceerated acceerated modernization. modernization. What was experienced in Europe under more favorabe favorabe circumstances as a process of productive destruction does not hold the promise of compensation for for the pain of the disintegration of customar ways of life life in other countries. They feel this compensation cannot even be achieved within the horizon of the next generations. It is understandabe o n a psychological level for for this defensive defensive reaction to feed feed on spiritual spiritual sources, which set in motion, against the sec

A Dialoe w ith Jrgen Jrgen Habermas


uarizing force of the West, a potential that aready seems to have dis appeared from from it. The rious fundamentaist fundamentaist recourse to a set of be liefs, liefs, om which m odernity has e icited nei ther any sefrelexive sefrelexive earn ing process nor any dierentiation between religion, secuar knowledge, and politics, gains certain plausibility from the fact that it feeds on a substance that apparently disappeared om the West. A materialist West encounters other cultureswhich owe their prole to the imprint of one of the great world religionsony through the pr ovocative tive and trivializing trivializing irresistibility of a leveling consumeris t cutu re. Let 's admit itthe West p resents itself in a form form deprived of any normative kernel as ong as its concern for human rights only concerns the attempt at opening new free free markets and as ong as , at home, it alows free reign to the neoconservative division of labor between religious ndamentalism ndamentalism and a kind of evacuating evacuating depleting secuarization. B 0 R R A D O R I  Philosophicaly Philosophicaly speaking, do you consider terrorism to be a wholy politica act? Not in the subjective subjective sense in which Mohammed H A B E R M A S : Atta, the Egptian citizen who came from from Hamburg and pioted the rst of the two catastrophic airpanes, would oer you a politica answer. swer. No doubt today's Islamic ndamentalism is also a cover for for poitical itical motifs. motifs. Indee d, we sho uld no t overook the politica motifs motifs we encounter in forms of religious religious fanaticism. fanaticism. Th is explains th e fact that some of those drawn into the holy war" had been secular nationalists ony a few few years before. before. I f one ooks at the biographies biographies of these people, remarkable remarkable continuities are reveaed Disappointment over nationaistic authoritarian regimes may have contributed to the fact that today re igion oers a new and subjectively more convincing anguage for od politica orientations. How would you actualy dene terrorism? Can B 0 R R A D O R  : a meaningfu distinction be dawn between national and international or even gobal terrorism? H A B E R M A S : In one respec re spect,t, Pale  Palesstinian terror terrorism sti stil l pos po s sesses a esses a certa  certain in outm  outmoded oded charact characteeristic in that in that it revol it revolv ves arou around mu murder, ar around the ind indiscriminate iscriminate annihila nnihilation of of enemi  enemies , women , and

chidrenlife against life. This is what distinguishes it from the terror that appears in the paramiitay form form of guerilla warfare. warfare. This form of arfare has characterized many nationa liberation movements in the second haf of the twentieth centuryand h as left its mark today on the


Fundamentalism and Trror

Chechnyan struggle for for independen ce, for for example. In c ontrast to thi s, the globa terror that cuminated cuminated in the September 1 attack bears the anarchistic traits of an mpotent revolt directed against an enemy that cannot be defeated in any pragmatic pragmatic sens e. The only possibe eect it can have is to shock and alarm the government and popuati on. TechTechnicaly speaking, since our complex societies are highly susceptibe to interferences interferences and acci dents, they c ertainly oer oer ideal opportunities for a prompt disruption of normal activities. These disruptions can, with minimum expense, have consideraby destructive destructive conse quences. Globa terrorism is extreme both in its ack of realistic goals and in its cynica expoitation of the vunerability of complex complex sys tems. Should terrorism be distinguished from from ordi B 0 R R A D O R  : nary crime and other tyes of violence? Yes a nd no. From a moral poi nt of view, view, there is H A B E R M A S  no excuse for terrorist ac ts, regardless of the motive motive or the situation under which they are carried out. Nothing justies our ��maing al owance for" for" the murder o r suering suering of others for for one 's own purpose s. Each murder is one t oo many. istoric ally, ally, however, however, terrorism falls in a categor dierent from crimes that concern a criminal court judge. It diers from from a private incident in that it des erves public intere st and requires a dierent kind of analysis than murder out of jealousy, for ex ampe. Otherwise, we woud not be having this interview. The dier ence b etween politica politica terror and ordinary ordinary crime become s clear during the change of regimes, in which former terrorists come to power and become wellreg arded repres entatives of their country. country. Cert ainy, ainy, such a poitical transition can be hoped fo ony by terrorists who pursue political goals in a realisti c manner; who are abe to draw, at leas t retrospectively, spectively, a certain legitimat ion for for their crimina ac tions, undertak en to overcome a manifestly unjust situation. owever, today I cannot imagine a context that woud some day, in some manner, make the monstrous monstrous crime of September 1 an understandable understandable or comprehensible political act. Do you think it was good to interpret /1 as a B O R R A D O R I declaration of war? Even if the term war" is ess misleading and, H A B E R M A S : morally morally,, less controvertib controvertibe e than ��crusade," I consider Bush' s decision to call for for a ��war again st terrorism" a ser ious mista ke, both normativey and pragmatically. Normativey, he is eevating these criminals to the

A Dialogue with Jrgen Jrgen Habermas


status of war war enemie s; and pragmatically, one cannot ea d a war against a ��network" if the term ��war" is to retain any denite m eaning. If the West West needs to dev elop greater sen sitivity B 0 R R A D O R I : and adopt more selfcriticism in its dealings with other cutures, how should it go about doing that Phil osophicaly, osophicaly, you have articuated the interrelation between transation" and the search for a common language." guage." Can this be the key to a new politica course? Since September  I have often been asked H A B E R M A S  whether whether or not, in light of this violent phenomenon, the whole conception of communicative action" I developed in my theor has been brought into disre pute. We We in the West do live in peacel and welto  do societie s, and yet they contain a structural violence that, to a certain degree, we have gotten used to, that is, unconscionable social inequaity, ity, degrading discrimination, pauperization, and marginalization. Precisely because our social relations are permeated by violence, strategic action and manipulation, there are two other facts we should not overlook. On the one hand, the praxis o f our daiy living together rests on a soid base of common background convictions, selfevident cultural truths and reciproca expectations. Here the coordination of action runs through the ordinary anguage games, through mutualy mutualy raised and at  east implicitly recognized validity validity caims in the pub lic space of more or less good reasons. On the other hand, due to this, conlicts arise distortion in communication from misunderstanding a nd incomom distortion prehension, from from insincerity and deception. When the consequences of these conicts b ecome painl enough, they and in court or at the therapist's therapist's oce. The spira of violence violence begins as a spiral of distorted communication that leads through the s piral of uncontrolled uncontrolled reciprocal mistrust, to the breakdown of communication. If violence thus begins with a distortion in communica tion, after after it has erupted it is po ssibe to now what has gone wrong and what needs to be re paired. This trivial insight can be applied to the conicts you speak of. The matter is more compica ted here beca use cultures , ways ways ofife, and nations are at a greater di stance from and, thus, are more foreign foreign to one another. another. They do not encounter each other like members of a society ho might become alienated from each other only through systemati cay distorted communication. Furthermore, in inteational relations, the curbing power of the aw plays a comparatively weak role. And in intercultural relations, the legal system achieves at best an insti

Fundamentalism and Trror

tutiona framework framework for for forma meetings , suc h as the Word Word C onference onference on Human Rights hed in Vienna by by the United Nat ions. ions . As important as the mutieveed intercutura intercutura discourse o n the controversia controversia interpretations of human rights may be, such forma encounters cannot by themseves interrupt the spira of stereotyping. The desired transformation of a mentaity happens, rather, through the improvement of iving conditions, through a sensibe reief from oppression and fear. Trust must be abe to deveop in communicative everyday practices. Ony then can a broady eective eective enightenment extend into medi a, schoos, and homes . And it must do so by aecting aecting the premises of its own poitica cuture. In this context, the type of normative sefrepresentation visvis other cutures becomes important for for ourseves, too. In the process of such revi sion of its se fimage, th e West West co ud earn, for exampe, how it woud need to change its poitics if it wants to be perceived as a shap ing power with a civiizing impact. Without the poitica taming of an unbounded capitaism, the devastating stratication of word word society wi remain intractabe. intractabe. The disparities in the dynamic of word economic deveopment woud have to at east b e baanced out regarding their most de structive structive conse quencesthe deprivation and misery of compete regions and continents comes to mind. This does not merey concern the discrimination toward, the humiiation of, or the oense oense to other cutures. The socaed ��cash of civiizations" civiizations" [Kampf der Kuturen] is often the vei masking the vita materia interests of the West (accessibe oieds and a secured energ suppy, for exampe).6 In ight ight of what you are suggesting, we shoud B 0 R R A D O R I : ask ourseves whether the diaogue mode suits the intercutura exchange at a. Is it not aways on our own terms that we swear to the s oidari between cutures? The constant deconstructivist suspicion of our H A B E R M A S : Eurocentric prejudices raises a counterquestion: why shoud the hermeneutic mode of understanding, which nctions in everyday conversations and which since Humbodt has been methodoogicay methodoogicay deveoped from the practice of interpreting interpreting texts, suddeny break down beyond the boundar ies of o f our own cuture, of our own own way way of ife ife and tradition? An interpretation must in each case bridge the gap between the hermeneutic preunderstanding of both sideswhether the cutura and spatiotempora dis tances are shorter or onger, or the semantic dif dif

A Dalogue wth Jrgen Jrgen Habermas


ferences smaer or arger. A nterpretations are transations in nuce. It is not even necessar  to reach back to Donad Davidson in order to understand that the very idea of a conceptual scheme, which constitutes one of severa words, cannot be conceived o f without contradiction. One can aso show with Gadamerian arguments that the idea of a sefcontained universe of meanings , which is incommensurabe with othe r universes universes of this tye, is an inconsistent concept. From this, however, however, a methodica ethnocentrism does not necessariy foow. Rorty and Aasdair MacIntyre defend an assimiation ode of understanding whereby radica interpretation means either the assimiation to one's own standards of rationaity or a conversion and, thus, a kind o f subject subject ion to the rationality of a competey foreign conception of the word. We shoud ony be abe to understand what fas under the dictates of a worddiscosing anguage. That description ts at be st the very beginning of an interpretationa interpretationa troubing troubing sit uation that demands a hermeneutic e ort since it makes participants painy painy aware of the the one sided nature and imitations of their initia conjectures . Strugging Strugging with the dicuties dicuties of understanding, understanding, peope must, step by step, widen their origina perspectives and utimatey bring them together. And they can suc ceed in such a fusion fusion of horizons" by virtue of their pecuiar capacity to take up the roes of speaker" and �� hearer." king up these ro es I  a da  1 ogue, they en gage in a ndamenta symmetry, which, at bottom, a speech situations require. When a native speaker has earned how to use the system of persona pronouns, she has acquired competence in exchanging the perspectives between rst and second person. And in the course of utua erspectivetaking there can deveop a common horizon of background assumptions in which both sides accompish an interpretation that is not ethnocentricay adopted or converted but, rather, intersubjective shared. This mode expains why attempts at understanding have a chance ony under symmetrica conditions of mutual perspectivetaking. ood intentions and the absence of manifest manifest vioence are of course hep, but not sucient. Wihout the structures of a communicative communicative situation ee om distortion the resuts are aways under the suspicion of having having been forced. Naturay, Naturay, most mos t of the time it i s ony the un avoidabe fallibiity fallibiity of the human mind tha t is reveaed by the eection, and the need for revision and expansion of the interpretations ob

Fundamentalism and Trror

tained. However, such norma faiures are often indistinguishable from that peculiar moment o blindness, blindness, which interpretations owe to the trace s of forced assimiation to cons traints impose d by a superior party. party. Due to this, communication is aways aways ambigous, sus pect ofate nt volence. But when communication gets ontologized ontologized under this description, when when  nothing nothing but vioence is seen in it, one misses the essential point: that the critical power to put a stop to violence, without reproducing it in circles o new vioence, can only dwel in the telos of mu mu tual understanding and in our orientation toward this goa. Gobalization has brought us to reconsider the B 0 R R A D O R I : internatonalaw concept of sovereignty. sovereignty. How do you see the role o f internationa organizations organizations in relation to it? Does cosmopolitanism, one of the the central ideals of the Enightenment, stil pay a use role in today's circumstances? I beieve that Carl Schmitt's existentiaist idea, H A B E R M A S : according to which the politica" consists merey in the selfasserton of a colective identity over against other colective identities, is false and dangerous in view of its practical consequenc es. The ontoogization of the friendoe reation suggests that attempts at a cosmopolitan juridication of the relations between the belligerent subjects subjects of interinternational aw are ated to serv e the masking o particular particular interests in universalistic disguise. But how can one, hoding this opinion, ignore the act that the totalitarian regi mes o f the twentieth ce ntury ntury,, wth their po litica litica mass crimes, have repudiated in an unprecedented way the assumption of innocence found in classica international law? For this historical reason we have ong ound ourselves in the transition rom cassical international aw to what Kant had anticipated as a state o world citizenry. citizenry. This i s a act, and rthe rmore, normatively speaking, I do not see any meaningl alternative to such a deveopment. This notwithstanding, there are drawbacks drawbacks that cannot be ignored. Since the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crmes tribunas ater the end o World War II, since the founding o the UN and the UN Decaration o Human Rights, sinc e the more active human rghts policy followng followng the end of the Cod War, since the controversial NATO intervention in Kosovo, and nally, nally, since the declara tion of war against international terror ism, since al of these events, the ambiva lence o this transition has emerged more cleary.

A Dialoe with Jrgen Jrgen Habermas


On the one hand, the idea of an international community that eiminates the state o nature between nations by eectively penalizing wars of aggression, genocide, and crime s against humanity and punishing violations o human rights has taken shape in the UN and its branches. The tribuna in The Hague is hearing the the case against Slobodan Milosevic, a former head of state. The top Britishjudges amost prevented the repatriation of Augsto Pinochet, a criminal exdictator. The estab lishment of an international criminal court is unde rway. rway. The principle of nonintervention in the do mesti c aairs aairs of a sovereign state has been undermined. Resoutions of the UN S ecurity Council have have revoked the Iraqi government's free use of its own airspace. UN soldiers are guaranteeing the s aety aety of the p ostTaliban ostTaliban government in Kabul. Macedonia, which stood at the brink of a civil war, has agreed under pressure from the EU t o dema nds from the Albanian minority. minority. On the other hand, the word organization is often nothing more than a paper tiger. It is depe ndent on the wilingness of the great pow ers to cooperate. The Security Counci can provide only very seective observanc e for for the avowed principes of the the internatio nal communi t, t, even after the events of 1989. As the Srebrenica tragedy shows, UN troops are oten oten not in a position to enforce enforce given guarantees. guarantees. If the Se curity curity Council is bocked in its decisions, a s it was in the face of the Kosovo conlict, and if in its place a regiona alliance like NATO acts without a mandate, it reveals t he fatal fatal power dierential dierential that exist s beeen the legitimate bu t weak authori of the international community and the actua strength of nationstates capable of military action but pursuing their own interests. The discrepancy between what should and what can be done, between ustice and power, sheds a negative ight both on the credibility of the UN and on the practice o intervention of unauthorized states that merely usurp a mandateeven for for good reasonsand turn what woud woud be justied as a police action into an a ct of war. war. The supposed police action often becomes indistinguishabe from an al too ordinar ar. This unclear jumble of classica power politics, consideration for regiona aliances, and attempts at a cosmopolitan regime not only strengthens the opposing interests existing between North and South, East and West West within the UN. It aso fosters the superpower's appre hension toward al normative restrictions of its scope of discretion.


undamentalism and or

pose egitimately eached decisions It only imposes the condition that this ulebeaking esistance be pausibly justied in the spiit and woding woding o the constitution and conducted by symbolic means that end the ght the chaacte o a nonviolent appea to the majoity to once again elect on tei decisions In this way, the democatic poj ect othe o the eaization eaization o equal civil ights actually actually eeds eeds o  the esistance o minoities, minoities, which, although appeaing appeaing as enemies o democacy to the majoity today, ould actualy tun out to be thei authentic iends tomoow o etun to you question, this elexive ovestepping o the boundaies o toeance within a ��militant democacy is due to the univesalistic natue o the legal and moa oundation o a ibea ode In the stict sense , �univesaism �univesaism amounts to the egalitaian egalitaian individualism o a moaity that demands mutua ecognition, in the sense o equal espect and ecipoca consideation o eveybody Membeship in this inclusive moa community, which is theeoe open to all, pomises not only solidaity and a nondisciminating nondisciminating in clusion, but at the same time equal ights o the potection o evey bodys individuali individuality ty and otheness Discouses inspied by this idea ae distinguished om om al othe disco uses by two esse ntial eatues eatues  On the one hand, the univesaistic discous es o law and and moality can be abused as a paticulaly insidious om olegitimation sinc e paticula inteests can hide behind the glimmeing aade o easonable univesality This ideological nction, which had aeady been denounced by the young Max, oms the basis o Ca Schmitt's esentment when he thows humanitythe insistence on standads o egaitaian individualismtogethe with �bestiality in one pot What ascists ike Schmitt seem to oveook, and what Max cealy cealy saw, saw, is the othe chaacte istic o this this disc ouse  the peculia sele seleeence eence that makes it the vehicle o secoecting secoecting leaning poces poces ses  Just as evey objection objection aised against the selective o oneeyed application application o univesalistic univesalistic standads must aleady aleady pesuppose these same standads, in the same manne, any deconstuctive deconstuctive unmasking unmasking o  the ideologicaly ideologicaly concealing use o univesalisti univesalisticc dis couses actually pesupposes the citica viewpoints advanced by these same discouses Moa and legal univesalism is, thus, selee seleexivel xivelyy closed in the sense that its impeect pactices can only be citicized on the basis o its own standads

A Dia Diallogue ogue with withJ Jrge rgen n Haber Haberma mass B O R R A D O R 



One last ques questio tion: n: What hat are your your ideas ideas on

he couage, discipline, discipline, and selessness demon H A B E R M A S : stated by the New Yok emen who on Septembe  spontaneousy put put thei lives on the ine to save save oth es is adm iable Bu t why why do they need to be called heoes? Pehaps this wod has dieent dieent connotations in Ameican English than it does in Geman I t seems to me that wheneve ��heoes ae honoed the question aises as to who needs them and why why Even in this loose s ense o the the tem one can undestand Betolt Becht's waning: waning: Pity the land that needs heoes




For over four four decades Habemas's thought has been centeed on the dea that dem ocacy, ocacy, and the publc stggle fo fo ts best fom, s the key to solvng appaently nsumountable poblems. Democacy, n ts strctual perfectbty, s both the means and the end of ndvdual and socal emancpaton. In the eghteenth century, Kant dened emancpaton as the process of cvc matuaton that povdes ndvduals wth the selfcondence to use the own reason and undestand ng. Such matuty  s a pere quste for patcpatng, equally and feely feely,, n a communty poltcally structued as a consttutonal democacy. Habemas grew up n pos tWord War War II Germany, where democracy as not only a ealty but a passonately embraced o ne. Ths poston makes hm hm stress emancpa emancpaton ton as  a very specal knd of selfexpeence, because n t pocesses of selfunderstandng selfunderstandng lnk up th an n cease of autonomy. autonomy." " In o the words, the kind of emancpaton emancpaton that democracy stmulates n ndvduals bngs them to lve rsthand the

Reconstructing Trrorism

phy with with the pos sibility of diagnosing the ils of societ y in terms o f defects in communicatio. Is terrorism a defect defect in communicatio? If so, does it occur at the level of oca communicatiowithin communicatiowithin te bounds of a singe cuture, natio, or reigionor at the level of global communication? Wheter it is local or gobal or both, who i s accountable for for it? My diaogue wit Habermas revolved around these crucial questions. I n it, Haberm as exposed is etire philosophical framewo framework rk to interpret the attacks of /, the most heinous heinous ad gigantic terrorist mission ever perpetrated. As a whole, te dialogue has the structure of a cas e study: te anaysis of this specic occurrence alows for for an iterpretation of gobal terrorism tat heps expose its dangerous conceptual elusiveness. The purpose of my essay is to review the main arguargumets Habermas puts forth and pace tem i the larger context of his phiosop hy. hy. Underst anding how they t ito his philosophica proje project ct will will help the reader walk along te same path that Habermas took to arrive arrive at his judgments on terrorism . It will also highight a number of implicatios that, particuarly for for tos e ew to Ha bermas's berma s's t heory, heory, may easily be overlooked.

First Historic World Event 9/11 T he First

It is a great privilege to have a mind of the the caiber c aiber of Habermas's mas' s apply itself to the reading and interpretation of an event that so powerfully des ed a certa in sens e of safety safety aorded aorded by the end of the the Cod Co d War. War. By coinci dence, e was i  ew York York in te weeks after the terror ist attacks tat destroyed the Twin Towers, a portion of the Pentagon in Washigton, D. C. , ad took down a commercia plane plane full of passengers in western Pennsyvania. The direct experience of tat aftermath gave im a completely dierent dierent pers pective on the degree o f emotional devastation tha t ew Yorkers Yorkers su ered on / . Our dialogue bega om Haberm as's acknowledgment of the irreducibe casm betwee fact and representation, rstperson and tirdperson perspectives. Plainy, e concedes tat only after arriving in New York York did the l emotio nal intensity of this chasm beco me palpa be for him. Even Habermas, a stern defeder of the endess benets of what can be articulated articulated throug speech, admitted the s trength trength of the



unspeakable as he recounted the tae of a friend who watched the tragedy unfod unfod from from the r oof ofhis ho use . As grapic a d sho cking as they were, te images imag es he saw on his TV scr een in Germany were delivered i te breakig news" format, eavig the possibility of a thirdperson perspective. By contrast, New Yorkers ike me were eft i existential and sesory caos: not only did a pervasive smel ang over Manattan for weeks, but the acte scream of the sirens, usualy ost i acoustic polution, kept puncturing the siece eft by te empty airspacethe spacethe great dome of cotrais cotrais ad roars cris scrossig above te city. And And yet, as Habermas points out, never before before did anyone get as muc reaity from from a TV s cree as peope worldwide worldwide got on  /. The footage of / wasn't edited or even produced for its own media coverage, ad this renders it, in is words, the rst historic world event." Perhaps September 11 could be called the rst historc world event in the strctest sense: the impact the explosion the slow collapse-every thing that was not Holywood anymore but rather a gruesome reality, lit erally took place in front of the ��universal eyewitness" of a gobal public .

A compariso with Habermas's reaction to the Guf War rter clari es his take on te uniqueness of /. In tat case, too, he was an active pubic voice. InJanuary , when the GufWar broke out, te world was struck at how staged" the war seemed: it invited, he ater wrote, comparisons wit video games, wit the maddeningly irresistibe playback of an electroic program."4 Nonetheess, we outside ob servers were a too aware that a good port ion of the realityin fact, fact, te warlike warlike dimension of the warwas being thheld, ad this awareness may ave stimulated our ow powers of imaginatio. The censor's black patch patch on te TV s creen sets one's own imaginatio imaginatio in motion."5 The Gulf War exposed the public to a miimal amount of footage of wat happened on the ground. Whie in , proving te old saying tat ��Truth is the rst casuaty of war," the global public was given a media costruction; i 200 that same globa public became a universal eyewitness." This ver fact, for Habermas, makes / te ��rst historic word event." While Habermas underines the absolute uniqueness of / from the standpoint of its communicative communicative modaity, modaity, he prefers prefers to let histor


Reonsuting rrorism

two Grman rpubcs n 1989 spaks rcty to s poston concrnng t s tny of t nato nstat. Kants ong sao w can b foun foun n Habrmass caraton tat t wou b a mstak for Grman ctzns to foun tr ntty n traton. For m, t ony gtmat pot ca artcuaton of t ntty of a naton, wt or wtout an unmastrab past, s ��consttutona patrotsm" n wc oyaty to t const tuton attsts for t consnsua partcpaton of a ctzns. Suc oyaty oyaty aso xprs ss oyaty to t a of unvrsa rgts tat  taks as t conton for t coxstnc of uman bngs, partcuary n a compx an mutcutura so cty c ty.. A fw monts a ftr t fa of t Brn Wa, Wa, wc  to t uncaton o f t two Grman rpubcs , Habrmas wrot t foowng If w do no fr ourslvs from h dis noions aou h naion sa, if w do no  rid ourslvs of h prpoliical crch s of naionaliy and communi of fa fa w will  unal o coninu unurdnd on h vr pah ha w w hav long sinc chosn : h pah o a muliculural soci y h pah o a fdral sa wih wid rgiona dirncs and srong fdral powr, powr, and ao v all h pah o a unid Euro pan sa of many naionaliis A naional idniy which is no asd prdominany on r pulican slf-undrsanding and consiuional parioism ncssarily colids wih h univrsais ruls of muua coxisnc for human  ings

T noton o f consttutona patrotsm s a us pont of partur to arss Habrmass vw concrnng t possbty of a nw cosmopotan orr, wc  rcognzs as t most urgnt cang facng t gopotca scn aftr t trrorst attacks of 9/11• To gt r of a atavsms, potca tougt as to abanon th  a tat potcs s anytng anytng otr tan a communcatv communcatv xcang wos ky rqurmnt s rac ng ratona agrmnt on wat w man wn w tak to ac otr. Spakrs an stnrs mpcty mpcty sgn ts agrmnt vry tm ty communcat on any subjct and n watvr arna, prvat or pubc, tca or potca. Potcs s tus nstngusab from t communcatv moaty propr to vryday xcangs. In potcs as w as n ornary spc, yng an manpuaton, cpton an msunrstanng, cannot omnat, bcaus communcaton wou b prcu. As s t cas wt vryday



spc, our objctv sou b to mak t communcatv cor of potcs mor ctv, for for ts wou automatcay strngtn ac ctzns dntcaton wt r communty communty soy on t bass of ts c on sttutona sttutona rus. Habrmas consdrs t  Grman posopr ofaw Car Car Scmtt to b t mbm of t wrong way of tnkng tnkng about potcs. H s opposton to ts vry controvrsa gur, gur,   s ncatv of ow mpacab Habrmas  s towar t aspct s of Grman an Europan cutur tat  assocats wt natonast pocs an prpotca vaus suc as tncty tncty or communty communty of fat." fat." Habrmas fs tat s rst cvc cvc uty as a Grman ctz n s to rcovr ony wat s ratonay ratonayjust an agr upon. A mmbr of t Naz Party snc 1933, Scmtt was praps t  most promnnt consttutonast of t Tr Rc; a rrst n 19 45, Scmtt was bann from from tac ng an rtrat nto a argy argy sfmsfmpos x. Scmtt bvd tat t ynamc of morn Europan story s rvn by a sarc for a nutra spr fr from vont con ct and ntctua ntctua contstaton. Ts story grows out o f a racton aganst t rgous wars tat crpp Europ  n t sxt nt cntury. Accordng Accordng to S cmtt, a numbr of xpansonst xpansonst trats mnac Europ, mang ts sr for pac unattanab. Snc s ary wrtngs from t 1920 urng t Wmr Rpubc, Scmtt was obsss by t xpanson of Sovt Rus sa, wr cv war a foow foow t ab caton oft tsar n 1917. In s ys, Russa was cat to absorbng a t tcnoogca opportunt s n orr to vop an vr strongr army. In s wrtngs aftr Word War II, Scmtt xtn s obss son to t otr gant on t ntrnatona ntrnatona scn t Unt Stats . In t fac fac of ts trats , Europ rman for for Scmtt t oman of t concpt an t practc o f sovrgn stats, baancng ac otr troug troug ntrnatona ntrnatona aw. aw.  In our aogu, Habrmas arms tat for for Scmtt t bounds of t potca ram ar st by t sfassrton sfassrton of on coctv coctv dntty aganst anotr a sovrgn naton s not bas on t sftrmnasftrmnaton of cvc brts b ut on t unqunss of on tnc natonaty aganst a otrs . To To dn t  potca n ts way mans, for Habrmas, to  ontoogz" t frnf frnfo o raton an turn t nto t sub stanc or t ssnc  of potcs. I t s prcsy n raton raton to ts prms tat Scmtt vops t suspcon tat ntrnatona aw may b at


Reconstructing Trrorism

the service of expansionist interests of stronger actors. Haber mas rejects this ine of reasoning not ony because i t grouns poitics in vaues an assumptions that are prepoitica but aso because it pays own the interna egitimacy o internationa aw, reucing it to the contin gent meiation between nationa poitica poitica actors. But how can one, hodi ng this opin ion, ignore the fact that the totalitarian totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century, century, with their atrocities of poitical ma ss crimes, have repudiated in an unprecedented way the assumption of innocence found in classica international law?

Schmitt's position isavows what Habermas eems to be an obvious fact: namey, that internationa aw is a freey achieve agreement between equa partnersan nees to be unmaske in a its anger. Habermas commen s Europe's overcoming overcoming of nationaism nationaism as evi ence of civic civic maturity an pruenc e. However, even within the Euro pean C ommunity, ommunity, the p oss ibiity of conceiving internationa aw from from a new cosmopoitan ange wi arise ony after nationstates have exited center stage. As that wi happen, other continentwie aiances" cou become the major poitica actors on the internationa scene. ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) an NAFTA (North American Free Trae Agreement) are just two exampes areay in pace. More than two hundre years ago, Kant anticipate anticipate the p ossibiity ossibiity of transforming transforming cassica internationa aw into a new cosmopoitan order. order. With remarkabe remarkabe poitica acumen, Kant specie that only con stitutiona repubican states cou be part of this orer, for for each na tion, for for the sake of its own security, security, can an ought to eman of the others that they shou enter aong with it into a constitution, constitution, simiar to the civi one, within which the rights of each cou be secure. This wou mean estabishing aderation ofpeoples. "1 3 Kant's iea requires requires that civi society coincie with the internationa community; this coin cience wou automaticay eiminate the state of nature between nations, which Schmitt escribes within the frienfoe scheme. In the Kantian cosmopoitan picture, a sense of hospitaity re paces enmity among nations.  Hospitaity means the right of a stranger stranger not to be treate with hostiity hostiity when he arrives arrives on someone



ese's territoy territoy."14 ."14 Preface Preface by the remark remark that the concept of hospita hospita right, Kant goes on to speci ity is not about phianthropy but about right, right of of a guest, for that its meaning. The stranger cannot caim the right wou entai fri frieniness eniness with the hos t. But the guest can caim a right ofresort, for a men are entie to presen t themseves in the society of others by virtue of their right o communa poss ession of the the ea rth's surface. surface. Since the earth is a gobe, they cannot isperse over an innite area, but must neces sariy sariy toerate one another's company."15 Just by virtue of sharing possession of the earth's surface, peope wi thus be come member s of a universa universa an cosmopoitan community community conceive accoring to the principe that a vioation of rights rights in one part of the worl is fet fet eveywhere."1 eveywhere."1 6 This wou give a human beings the status of worl citize ns." Both Habermas an Derria are heaviy inebte to Kant in their construa of cosmopoitanism. Yet, whie Derria expans on Kant's notion of hospitaity as the aternative to the frienfoe frienfoe reation, Habermas insists on the eimination eimination of the state of nature on the basis of mutua respect between constitutiona repubican states. In Habermas's view, view, the institution o f an internationa crimina cour t is the rst st ation on the cosmopoita n ine. Anoth er is the overcoming of the principe of nonintervention in omestic aairs of foreign states. Two exampes of this overcoming overcoming have been the UN ban against Iraq's us e ofits own air space after the Guf War an the controversy surrou ning the extr ai tion of the Chiean ictator, Augusto Pinochet, from Great Britain, where he was etained uner house arrest. 17 However, However, Habermas is convince that what separates the pr esent moment om a  transition to cosmopoitanism is not ony a theoretical matter but a practica one, too , for for the eci sions o f the international communit nee to be respecte. The exampe of the 1995 massacre in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica, whie uner the protection of Dutch Unite Unite Nations peaceke epers, is an exampe of Haberma's Haberma's worr concerning the fata power dieentia that exists between the egitimate but weak authority of the internationa community an the actua strength of nationstates, capabe of miitary action but pursuing their own interests." Unfortunatey the power ierentia between nationa an international authorities threatens to weaken the egitimacy of any miitary miitary intevention an to re too poice ac tion as war.

Reconstructing Trrorism

 pheree ublicc S pher  he P ubli  and t he ism and rrorism Trr The questio n of nationaism nationaism lies at the center of Habermas's discuss ion of terrorism. Today's Today's hoy warriors, he caimed, were yesterday's secu ar nationaists disappointment toward ationalistic authoritarian regimes ike ra, raq, S audi Arabia, and pos sibly even Paistan makes reigion more subjectively convincing" than any secuar politica motivation. Objec Objec tively tively,, however, terrorism can be gra nted poitical c ontent ony if it has poitically poitically realistic goals. Otherwise, it is on a par with ordinary criminal activity. activity. Sin ce only the ture can judge wheth er the goals of terrorism have have been accomp ished, terrorism is a retrospective designation. For Habermas, inking the poitical scope of terrorism terrorism to the ac compishment of its goas oers the pos sibiity sibiity of distinguishing between at least th ree dierent dierent inds o f terrorism i ndiscrim inant guerilla warfare, warfare, paramilitary guerila warfare, and gobal terrorism. IS The rst is epitom ized by Palestinian terrorism, in which murder is o ften carried out by a suicide militant. The model of paramilitary guerila warfare warfare is proper to the national iberation movements and is retrospectivey legitimized by the formation of the state. The third, globa terrorism, does n ot seem to have poiticay poiticay reaistic goals other than expoiting the vulnerabii ofcompex systems . n this sense, gobal terrorism has the smalest chance of being retrospectivey retrospectivey recognized as advancing advancing poitical caims. Unike the global terrorists' mutinational networks, both the indiscriminant mode and the paramilitary mode of terrorist activities share what Habermas cals a partisan" proe, which anchors them to specic ocations. By contrast, elusiveness and intangibility represent the novelty of goba terrorism as we as its greatest destructive potentia that, for for Habermas, has to do with the delegitimation delegitimation of democratic democratic governments. governments. The risk of overreacti overreaction on on the part of the United S tates after g/, and ofany ofany naion under the threat of goba terrorism, ha s for him a paradoxica and ragic implication: in spite of not expressing reaistic political objectives, global terrorism succeeds in the supremely poitical goa of delegitimizing th e authority of the state. Since the beginning of his his career, Habermas has devoted a great deal of attention to the question ofegitimacy, which he sees inextricably reated to the workings of the pubic sphere. In The Structural



ansoation ofthe Public Sphere (g62), Habermas analyzes the key role of the pubic sphere in the formatio formatio of poitica decisions within a democracy. Kant is again Habermas's point of departure. Habermas gets om Kant a view of the public sphere as the denitive institution of democ racy racy,, that without which no theory o f constitutional constitutional republicanism ca exist. Ony an ac tivey tivey involved public sphere o pens the way for for a truly democratic exchange. Whie Habermas admires Kant for having presente d the public sphe re as constitute d around rational argument rather than the identities of the arguers, he is critica of Kant for his elitist and somewhat bourgeois understanding of its dyamics. For Habermas, Kant's d escription escription of the pubic sphere is the expression of a bourgeois ideology that conceives participation as a prerogative prerogative of the upper cass, predominant predominantyy educated, aluent, and male.1 9 Thus Habermas embarks on a critical and historica reconstruction of the deveopment of the public sphere in modern Western democracies. Sice Kant, the advent of mass communication clearly represents the ndamenta change. On the one hand, it has had the positive eect of progressivey expading the pubic sphere, enlarging participation to a much wider spectrum of citizens. On the other hand, the quantitative quantitative expansion of participation participation has meant a dec rease in its quaity. A number of factors have contributed to it the pace at which information is processed by and circuates within the public sphere makes it hard to keep up with the mode of communication communication that Kant has in mind when he discusses the public sphere, namely, the academic exchange. While in the academic exchange the participants in a discussion are given enough time to think and formuate their arguments, the speed invoved in mass communication works in the interest of those who select and distribute the information rather than those who receive it. Habermas sugg ests th at the pressure of thinng and evauating data quicky quicky has a poitica import, becaus e it facilitates an experience of politics based o the persona of the actors rather than the id eas that each of them defends. 20 Th e dicuty in bracketing the dramatic packaging ofpersonal attributes attributes is due to the power of the public reations industry, whose objective is to engineer consent among consumers of mass cuture. For Habermas, mass consumption and its ideology, consumerism, not ony siences rationalcritic rationalcritical al consens us but impose s it


Reonstruting rrorism

ossibe os sibe to te who is maniuating whom who is teing the truth and who is ying. The ossibii os sibiityty of rationa rationayy justied onsensus onsensu s is absoutey crucia from from a oitca ersective: ers ective: for for without it not ony woud hiosohioso hy ose its critica edge but the door woud be eft oen for for a deniden ition of soidarity soidarity either in terms of reoi reoitica tica vaues or in terms of the voatiity ofsubjective subjective feeings of comassion. comassi on. For Habermas H abermas soidarity and the socia bond are a structura function of communication that can be strengthened once we become aware of the vaidity vaidity caims embedded in any ofour statements. statements . As soon so on as we enter into meaning discussions with one another our commitment to redeem such caims wi systematicay roe us to seek rationa soutions that wi be evident to everyone who is not under the se of maniuat maniuation ion or distortion. These kinds of soutions wi aow for the formation of asting and rationay vaidated vaidate d consensus consen sus rather than shifting aances aanc es of convenience venience or utiitarian utiitarian agreements.32 Any discussion of the ubic shere is about abo ut the nature of our in terest in others and the reach of oitica invovement. invovement. Without an in terest in others oth ers and a sense sen se of invovement invovement with the webeing of the coectivity coectivity there is no ubic shere. sh ere. The theory theory of communicative action caims to have found a way to weave together the abstract eve ertaining to the vaidit of mora norms (the (th e demand that beiefs beiefs are not a matter of reference or incination but of vaidity based on rationa argumentation) with the concrete eshandbones dimension of existence. existence . f Habermas is right right the cassic dicuty dicuty of reconciing individua autonomy and socia bond b ond woud be fundamentay soved. Aso stating that interest and motivation toward others is constitutive of who one is rather than the resut of an an intention that th at may at any time be revoked renforces both engagement in the democratic rocess and commitment to socia justice justice  as it imbues these oitica exeriences with sefreection and the romise of seftransformation. This concetion of communication modies the notion of ubic shere in a substantia way. way. Being the arena in which articiants debate their aready formuated formuated ositions the ubic shere becomes the diaogica framework within which the individua and her mora rin cies and beiefs emerge in resonse to a community of feow seak ers. Whie Kants categorica categorica imerative imerative is we iustrated iustrated by a scene of


sol� tary conversation with one se lf ( o r with ith an imaginary liste ne r) in whIch one seeks to ide identi the pr  principe such that the re st of humanty woud ch  choose to act accordingly, ly, the pr  princ inciple o f communicative action c?rresponds to a forum n  n whch a puraty o f spe akers eth ther agree or dsagree b ase d o n the the strength o f their argume nts. Habermas ident i es the fre e do m o f ethe r agreeng o r dsagreeng on the b asi s o f the the str strongest argument a s both the the forma featur ture o f ra  rationaity and the foundng pr  princpe o f demo cracy. Habermas is a is  aw ware that th ths free do m de scr ibe s a theoretca mo  mode not found in the real word, where communicat ion ge  gets distort ed by a   e ngine ineerng o f consensus by �ae � o f fac tors: from the en  by the publc lc relatIon dustry to a sorts o f power games inc ted by  by the sp  s peake r on  on the s  sttener. Ho  However,  t  s the ve  very abstractness of what he cas idea speech sit  situuation" that makes t a regulative princip ip e and a gude de to our conduc t.33 .3 3

Viole olence a ce a s Di st   st orted ted C ommunic ati  atio on

According ing to Ha  H abermas's argument, f gob obal terrorism ism does not ha  have a realisti isticc p �litica ica goa it c it  caan be cate ategorize ized a s reg reguar ar cri  crim mina activ ct iviit t u�awl V  VOlence. So the questons arise: se : What is  is vioen e nce? Why do  d oes VOence oc  o c c ur ? Is  th  the re a wa y  to  to stop it? H a b e r m a s ad  ad m it s tha th a t v ioioence exists n any socie ty. W in th Wst do iv in pac and wl-to-do socitis and yt thy contain a sruul violnc that to a crtan dgr w hav gottn sd to . nconsciona social inqalty dgradng discrimination paprzaton and margnazaton.

The reason why Habermas thnks vioence does not exode in demod emocratic cratic societies stems om his theory of communicativ communicativee action. h praxis of or daiy living togthr togthr rsts on a solid as of common acgrond convictions, slfvidnt cltral trths and rciprocal x pctatons r th coo rdnaton of acton rns throgh th ordnary angag gams throgh mtaly raisd and at last implicity rcog nzd valdity clams in he ubli  ubli sae ofmore ofmore or o r less good good reasons

Reconstructing Trrorism

Our everyday fe, says Habermas, s structured by the commu nicative practices practic es that aow us to unders tand each other. Just by the act of speakng, we we impcy agree o n a set s et of grammatca rues hat w a use truthy, for the sake of communication and not mapuatn. Habermas's pont s that in ths same way we impictly agree on the  rues of the cuture, soci ety, and community within which we nctn. These rues are what he denes as ��a sod base of common back ground convictions, sefevident cutura truths, and r  c�roca exp ctations." The common background background grants us the poss blty blty of puttg puttg ourseves in the other's shoes, which Habermas artcuates as symmetrica condtons of mutual perspectivetakng." perspectivetakng." B ut f the mutua perspectivetaking for some reason cannot occur, speaker and i tener become estranged om each other and indierent indierent to the redemptn of their caims. Ths is the begnnng of a distortion in communication, a misunderstanding or a deception, of which terrorism is the m ost ex treme vern. One o f the centra arguments that emerged from our diaogue is precisey that terrorism is a communicative pathoogy th t feeds i �s own destructive input. He says ��The spir of voence begs as a p ra of distor ted communication t hat eads through the spira of uncontroed reciproca mistrust to the breakdown of communication." In Western ibera democracies there are estabished channes to ease communicative breakdowns. At the indivdua eve, psychotherapy heps recover one's interna moments of sience. In the intersubjectve pubic arena, ega suits sette concts between individuas individuas ? have exhausted a avenues avenues of dscussion. Gobazaton Gobazaton seems to ect ect e into the spiraing spiraing movement of communicative communicative vioence. By intensiing communication, gobaization puts o n stage distrbutive distrbutive injustce, injustce, stary dvidin dvidingg the word into wnners, beneciaries, and os ers. Mu tua perspectivetakng becomes harder and harder in the face of such chaenges. The burden of responsibiity ceary fas on the shouders of the the stronger stronger nations. This is why Habermas cas on ibera Western democracies to rebud channes of communication, for for unbounded capitaism and the rigid strat caton of word socie ty are at the root of the coapse of diaogue. diaogue.   The idea that gobaization may be interpreted as a commu catve pathoogy intersects the debate on the cash of civizations.34 Initiated by poitica scientist Samue Huntington n 199, the year of the rst


terrorist attack on the Word Trade Trade Center Cen ter by an Isamic ndamenta  ist group, this debate revoves around the hypothesis that word word po tics is unde rgoing an important shft. The shift shift is determi ned by a rad ica change n the nature of conlicts, which for Huntington wi be progressivey anchored in cutural and reigous motives rather than in deoogica dierences dierences or economic inequaity. inequaity. In his reading, despite indivdua indivdua desires desi res for power or money, the drivng and mobiizng force in today's concts is cuture. Huntington identes Isamic civization as most key to be the primar chaenger in the twent rst century. Habermas rejects Huntington's hpothess. The cause of the communicatve municatve aiment brought about by gobalzaton is not cutura but economic. To cure it, the Western coaition needs to work on two fronts. On the one hand, on its sefrepresentation: it s mportant for deveoping countries to stop p erceivng the foreign poicy of Western este rn natons as an mperiaist front seekng nancia expanson. On the other hand, what these democraces have to do is not reducibe to a marketng strategy, for t s a sad fact that Western consumerism ex podes ike a and mne in the mdst of the most disadvantaged ayers of the word popuation. popuation. This consum erist bast, Haberm as suggests , eicits the sprtua reaction, which too many peope see as the ony aternative to sience and resignation. Starting n the ate 1970s, as he acheves a systematic articuation of the theor of communicative acton, Habermas begns to refer to the pubc sphere n terms of ifeword." Coined by the phenomenoogca tradition initiated by Edmund Husserl , the noton of ifeword ifeword refers refers to the preinterpreted and pre relective relective background against which our everyday everyday fe fe unfods unfods.. It I t encompass enco mpass es the whoe range of takenfortakenforgranted daiy soca activites, but t aso, and cononty, ndcates the roe of tradton as well as any es tabished m odes of thinkng thinkng and acting on communication. The transition from the pubic sphere to the notion of ifeword marks an important conceptua shift in Habermas's theoretica deve opment. The reference to ife" certainy underines his co mmitment to the concreteness and utter specicity of the subject's subject's pace wthin her community offelow offelow speaker s. The conc ept of word" frees the t he pubic realm from from the mod e of eighteenthcentur European socety n reaton to which the notion of a pubic sphere was rst conceived. Such a notion understands socety as a totaity, neaty dvided into private


Reconstcting orism

Critica Theory and in Marxism the aim of critique was to make explicit the contradictions produced in the world by the socia injustice inherent in capitaism for Habermas te function of critique is to af rm communicative rationality and its potentia for selfrelection and selfexamination. Provided that rationality is not an abstract nction but the conceptual c onceptual underpinning of everyday everyday communicative practice critique becomes the eort to enhance the production of consensus based on free and undistorted discussion among speakers. Critique thus becomes become s the exaination of the conceptua and practical procedures allowing allowing the formation formation of rational consensus. consensu s. The turn toward communicative communicative action causes Habermas's focus to shift from from historicaly ad socioogicaly founded founded anayses to a more formal approach in which the investigation of institutiona processes and argumentative argumentative structures is given more prominence than th an material conditions. The argments through which we we redeem validity caims are units ofwhat Habermas calls discourse." discou rse." The notion of discourse was elaborated by ethnolinguistists such as Emie Benveniste4 Benveniste4  who analyzed anguage wit reference reference to the speaker and her spatiotemporal location including all variables that speci te context of utterance. Habermas makes the term discourse" the cornerstone corner stone of his comu nicative nicative approach to ethics eth ics and political philosophy. philosophy. Since S ince one on e of his most recent books Beween Facs and Norms 2000, he has been stretching it to cover legal theory theory too. Discourse entails en tails a certain suspension of beief in a given norm and indicates ind icates the procedure procedu re through wich one can test tes t its vaidity. vaidity. Once its validity is reassesse reass essedd through rational (discursive) argumentation the norm is presumed to be vaid not only for the idividual who happens to accept it or the rational speakers involved in te discussion but for a possibe rationa speakers involved involved in any feasible feasible discussion. discus sion. The idea of a discoursebased approach to ethics is a moral community whose norms and practices are ful fulyy accepted by those t hose who are subject subject to tem. This community forms a society based on the agreement of al free and equal partners om wich imposition ad manipulation have have been expunged. expunged. The discursive approach to ethics and politica phiosophy phiosophy is less focused on the discussio dis cussionn of te normative normative content conte nt of specic speci c norms or principles and more focused on identiing wich norms can be b e redeemed discursivel discursivelyy and the kind ofrational procedures their redemp



tio tion req re quires ir es.. Ha  Habe rmas's as 's interpr erpret etaatio tion of  of the locus locus cl  clas assic sicus us of Crititica T a Th heory, ry, th the con co ncept and fate at e of  of m oderni rni ty, ty, oc occurs aga  again insst the b he baack groun ound o f is newly forged discu sc ursiv sive or ient ie ntaation. on. For oder odern nity is the the name for  for a way o f thi thinkng ng and and ac ting in g in lin li ne com communicativ cativee ration ionaity ity. D is cuss ing ing in more de  d etai ai  his  his tre tr eatm atment of  o f modern ernity unders dersccores th  t he p remis em ises es of his understand anding o ng off relig ligious ndamentali alism a sm ass a u  a un niqu iquely oder odern n disru isrup ption, on, wh which is  is at  at th  the cor core of his reading o ng off glob lobal te  terror rroris ism m . Also, so, t t e debate o te on n what to at to d  doo wth the inte intellec ectua heri eritage tage o f mo  modern de rnity ity is te axis xis o f  Ha  Ha be r ma s's s' s respo sponse to Derrida, da, wh w hich ich I w  I  wil il artic ticulate ate by  b y add ad dress es sing in g H aberm er m as's s' s and D nd  Der erri rid da's r ead ea dings ng s o f a th  third phil philoosopher, Wate t er  Be  Be nja min. in . B en� ain ain �tands bet  betw ween H en Hab aber erm mas and and Derr rrda in  in aJa  a Janu nus sllike ike pose, cast cast g an  an te  ten nse gaz  gazee up  upon bo th C th Cri rittica ica Theory eory a  an nd de  de construc tructio tion n.

T he Ir  Iron C  a ge  ge o fF  fFund am  amentali tali sm  sm

Habermas's interest inte rest in the concept co ncept of modernity modernity posited as a s the heritage of the Eightenment political egacy comes to him from from his men tors Adorno and Horkheime Ho rkheimer.r. Since te foundation of the Frankrt School Critical Teorists agreed that the Enligtenment was the just jus t and necessar cr against te oppression of unilateral unilateral authorities authorities such as reigion. However in the post n period this nobe a �enda seemed ardly reconciable with wat many German intelectuas' includig Adorno and Horeimer interpreted as the Eightenment's selfdestructive strains: How did it happen that the shared sense of civc responsibility cutivated for two centuries by postKatian En lightenment lightenment thinkng and society so ciety did not prevent two word wars ad the upsurge of totalitara totalitarann regimes? The threat ofglobal ofglobal terrorism tat has inaugurated the start of the third millennium could easiy be used as rter evidence to support tis dark suspicion. In the midst mi dst of the ruins of bombed Germa cities ad a d shattered German culture Adorno and Horheimer ooked back at the work of sociologist Max Weber Weber wo expicitl expicitlyy laid out te hypothesis hypothesis that Enightenment cuture hed sefdestrctive seeds.4 Weber's argument revoves aroud the possibiity that te secuarization ofknowedge ofknowedge mandated by the Enlightenment Enlightenment ignites a  disenchantment of the world" world " whch erodes the foundations of traditiona ways of life. Such dise


Recontructing rrorism

chantment leaves the human subject subject alone: as all ideals of cosmic harmony are dispelled, the world comes to be perceived as an external ob ject to be used us ed for for utilitarian utilitarian ends Disenchantment Di senchantment is thus the breedbree ding ground for an instrumenta ins trumenta conception concept ion of rationality, rationality, which Weber refers to as Zwekrationalitt, whose agenda is the reductive causa terms of means and ends ends  Reason, understood in this way, way, represents the pure and simpe promotion of controlthe contro of human bebe ings over the world and of the individual human being over others othe rs After iving rsthand the unspeakable atrocities of totalitarianism, many German inteectuals and Critical heorists were convinced that history had provided the ultimate corroboration for the worst of Dialect ic of Enlightenment Enlightenment published in 47 by Weber's fears Dialectic Adorno and Horkheime on their return to Germany from a decade of exile in the United States, is the quintessential expression of the the beief that Weber Weber was right ri ght Adorno exerted the greatest inluence on the young Habermas However, theirs is a complicated relation: as Habermas struggled to overcome the pessimism and nihilism of his teacher, he did it using Adorno's own means Rrading Rrading Adorno had givn givn m h corag o ak ak p sysmaically sysmaically .  . h hory of ricaion as a hory of raionalizaion, n M Wr's sns. Alrady a ha im my prolm was a ho ry of modrni, modrni, a h or o f h h paholog o modrniy from from h vwpon o f h h raizaion h dformd ralizaonof rason in his ory. ory. 22

Since his eaiest days, Habermas has been seeing a positive and con structive theory of modernity he pathology of modernity" mentioned in the passage can be read to mean either that there are pathologica strains within modernity or that modernity itsef is the ilness ilnes s Habermas takes the th e atter stance, that e  e pathologica strains existing existing within modernity can be separated out of the heathier whoe Reading Weber's Weber's theory of rationaization in connection with the theory of reication is the rst step Habermas takes in this direction Reication indicates the way in which socia reations have been deformed, and even disgured, by the capitaist mode of production Capitaism, according to the arxist diagnosis, imposes im poses on the work work ing cass the unbearabe weight of ienation, which reduces the abor



force to just jus t another kind of o f commodity commod ity In capitaist modernity moderni ty,, so the argument goes, the life life of the working cass is understo un derstood od as a means to implement prot his mechanism mecha nism impedes imped es the worker from from appropriating the meaning of her own abor a bor Eventually, Eventually, ifaienation is the result res ult of her activity, she is also denied an autonomous reationship with her surroundings In postWorld War II Germany, Habermas combined eber's theoy that modernity carried out a destructi de structive ve kind of o f rationrationaization with the Marxist theory of reication Precisey this combination of rationalization and reication is the pathoogical strain of modernity At the center of Weber's dark scenario is the gure of the iron cage, a prison prison of ecient bureaucratic blindness created by the indisind iscriminate growth of utiitarian or instrumental rationaity Habermas's conception of the twotiered modes of deveopment of complex societies, in which the economy and administrative apparatus are described as selffeeding selffeeding �system �sy stems," s," is clearly inherited inherit ed from from Weber Weber Very much in line with Weber, Habermas sees the danger of the expanding power of impersona economic forces and bureaucratically organized administration processes processe s However, very much unlike Weber, Weber, Habermas does not think that societal rationalization rationalization amounts to the growing growing power of technology and calcuation, organization and administration, and that the triumph of reason is a hindrance to freedom freedom rather rat her than its ultimate chance On the contrary, Habermas endorses unconditionally the political agenda of the Enightenment, which he renames the discourse of modernity modernity" It is this discourse, discour se, which the Enlightenment Enlightenment left left unnished, that today complex complex postindustria societies should s hould devote temselves to completing Habermas's critique of Weber's pessimism toward modernity provides a unique uniqu e key to interpret religious ndamentalism Weber's negative ve description of the eects eects of instrumental rationality rationality and secularization eerily ts the religious ndamentalist perception that Western Western cuture cuture is uprooting traditional forms forms of if ifee Fundamentalism echoes echoe s eber's contention that such su ch uprooting, in homogenizing cutures and estranging individual members from their communities, tends to de stroy stroy the possibiity of spiritua spiritua and a nd mora mora  identity identity Fundamentalism, precisely precisely because of its opposition to t o modernity and modernization, is for Habermas a distinctively and uniquely modern phenomenon Every religion religion entais entai s a dogmatic dogmati c kernel of belief, observed Haber Hab er


Reontruting Trrorim

as, which is the ea so why evey evey eigio needs an authoity etited to disciiate between othodox, o vaid, and uothodox, o ivaid, intepetatios intepetatios of doga Yet, Yet, as h e stated in ou diaogue, such othodoxy st vees towad ndaetais when the guadias and epesentatives epesentatives of the tue faith faith igoe the episte ic situation of a puaistic society ad insisteve to the point of vioeceon the uni vesay bindig chaacte and poitica acceptance of thei doctine" Modeity does not sipy conne eigio wthin the spiitua diesion of ife, ife, pushing it away fo fo the poitica anageent of the pubic sphee it deands that it ebaces, at the co gitive gitive eve, its ocation in a puaistic society n othe wods, eigion has to face the copex chaenge of eativizing eativizing its pos ition visvis othe eigios without eativizing its own dogatic coe This is what Habeas caed ��th e episteic situation" o f eigion eigion in odenity Stating with with the Refoatio, Refoatio, which caused the intena schis of Westen Chistianity into Roan Cathoicis and Potestantis, fo fou fou huded yeas eigion i Euope ha s withstood a situatio of this kind Seeig onesef thoug thoughh the eyes of othes is w hat odeity odeity has asked of eigio The othe in this case is a copeting puaity of othes, icuding dieent dieent eigious faiths, scietic owedge, and poitica poitica institutios Fundaentais is the ejection ejection of this custe of chaenges, which Habeas de scibed as the epession of stikng stikng cognitive cognitive dissoa nces" and the etun to the excusivity excusivity of peode beief attitudes" attitudes" A beief attitude idicates the way in which we beieve athe than what we beieve i Fudaetais has ess to do with any specic text o eigious doga and oe to do with the odaity odaity of beief beief Fo this easo, he added, oden puaistic societies ae noativey copatibe oy with a strict uivesais i which the sae espect is deanded fo eveybodybe they Cathoic, Potestat, Musi,ewish, Hindu, o Buddhist, beieves o nonbeieves" This univesais is  stict" because it appies to the way in which ay eigion eates itsef to othes and to its ow faith A pue univesais is the gound o which Habeas stongy defeds the notio of toeance Toeance descibes the costaint of stict uivesais de anded by ode puaist societies   ou diaogue, Habeas ecaed the Edict of Nates (159 8) , in which Heny V, V, king of Fance, ��peitted the Hugueots, a eigious ioity, to pofess thei beiefs



ad obseve thei ituas unde the condition that they do not uestion the authoity of the kig's thone o the supeacy of Cathoicis" Cathoicis" The Potestant ioity was thus toeated" povided that t e nounced any cai to poitica powe o antagonis towad the Cathoic ajoity Habeas easiy ecognized that these ae patena istic conditions fo fo which acceptance of the othe has the chaacte of a ac t o f ecy" ecy" Whie this is the eason why Deida eects the concept of toe ace, the patenaistic chaacte of toeance does n ot ipede Habeas fo fo defedig it on the bas is of an aguent that he aso uses agast agast the notion that deocacy ay be a cutuay cutuay specic, and thus not univesay pefeabe, fo of govenent n ou diaogue, he tesey expesse d it with the foowig foowig wods: Withn a democratic community whose ctizens recprocally recprocally grant one another equal rights no room is left for an authorty allowed to one-sid ed determine the boundaries of what s to be tolerated. On the basis of the citzens' equal rights and recprocal respect for each other nobody possesses the privlege privlege of setting the boundaries of tolerance from from the viewpoint oftheir oftheir own preferences and value orentatons.

Fo Fo Habeas , toeance is d efensibe if pacticed in the cotext of a deocatic couity n such a context, given hat citizes gant each othe equa ights, o one has the piviege to set the boundaies of what has to be toeated Whie eny  one sidedy pocaied toeance towad Potestats, in oden Weste deocacies toeance acuies a diaogica po poe What is being toeated is not oesidedy o monological estabished but dialogically achieved though the a tiona tiona exchage aong citizens  a bea deocacy, the ony coo standad euied by to eacethe condition ude which a eigios peson toeates an atheistis oyaty to the constitution The costitution, fo Habeas, is the poitica incanation of the idea of a oa counity whose nos and pactices ae y accepted by its e bes Aegiance to te costitution thus eans aegiace to a society in which the agee ent of a fee fee and eq ua patnes i s achieved in dependenty depe ndenty fo fo i position position ad anipuation  Habe as's account, the constitution of a epubican deocatic state is the uintessentia ode of discusive


Reconstructing rrorism

valiatio. The cas e of colicts regarig the iterpretatio of the co stitutio illustrates this iscursive elemet i it, for the costitutio itsefhas mae e e cessary provisios. There are istitutios a proceures for for settlig set tlig the ues tio of the imits for what might sti, or o loger, loger, be take as beig loyal to the co stitutio." As log as com moy agree upo proce ures are i plac e, the po ssibiity of ratioally articulatig articulatig coicts is also i pace. This possibiity etais two cocurret commitmets: oe is the speakers commitmet to telig the truth a efeig efeig it hrough the reemptio of its valiity caims the other is the listeers commitmet to either accept it or oppose it with a better argumet. If these two commitmets have bee mae, eve beig loyal loyal to the costitutio is subject subject to costat revisio o the pa rt of al ivove ivove agets. The cas e of civil civil isobeiece is iterestig from from the stap oit of Habermass Habermass appreciatio of the costitutios iscursive structure a selfreective selfreective potetia.  the ialogue he uerlie that i its tolerace of civil isobeiece, the costitutio selfreexively stretches to cover eve the coitios for oversteppig its ow bouaries." This is to say that the cos titutio has provisios provisios for the most raical situatio i which a issie t ecies ot to abie by itit aymore. Such provisios maate that the issiets resistace be carrie out accorig to certai proceures. t is the costitutioa proceures that allow he majority majority to remai criticaly egage with their ow ecisios . Formulate i thes thes e terms, the emocra tic projproject fees o the resistace o f miorities, whose h ostility to the wil of the majo majority rity at the pres et mome t may reew the majori majoris s ow se fuerstaig i the ture. Accorig to Habermas, rights are ot features that iiviuas aturally aturally posses s but reatios that have their basis i mutual recogi tio. At the conceptual conceptual level, righs do no immdiay rfr o aomisic and srangd indiiduas who ar possssiy s agains on anohr On h conrary, conrary, as mn s of h ga ordr hy prsuppo s coaboraion among subjcs who rcogniz on anohr, in hir rciprocay rad righs and duis, as fr and qua consocias undr aw This muua rcogniion is consiui for h ga ordr from which acionab



righ ights a ts arre de  d eriv rived ed   In  In th  t his s is see nse  se  s su ubjec je ctiv tive" righ rights emerge rge equipr iprimo imordia iay w y wth  obj object ec tve ve" law law. 43

Iiviuas cofer upo each other rigts as soo as tey agree to regulate their commo life life through law. law.  iberal emocracies , law is ot a shou  ot be iterprete as a iteraly iteraly coheret syste m of abstract orms; rather the ega boy is, a shoul be take to correspo to, subjective liberty. Ueryig tis beief, which is cetral to Habermass more recet cotributios to political a lega theory, theory, is the Katia priciple that guaratees to the iiviual the greatest amout of liberty liberty that ca be grate to al .

T he Unnished nis hed Project Project of o fModei oerity is for Habermas the very emblem of the poitical promise of ratioait ratioaity. y. The problem, as Habermas s ees it , is that this promise has ot bee le. The articulatio of this ufule promise has sharply istiguishe him from the traitio of Germa thikers which iclues Weber, Aoro, a Horkheimerthat mae Elightemet ratioality resposible for ifectig ifectig moerit wth th e virus of selfestructio.  Habermass eyes, te rech thikers associate with the critiue of Eightemet ratioality ratioality a ver oos ely aiate with the labe of pos tmoerism raicaize this posit io a buy ito a aetally etally irratioalist irratioalist claim, which makes us more a ot les s vulerable to the threat of fascism. ascis m.  compex po stiustria so cieties, cieti es, fascis fascism m correspos correspos to the coloiz atio of the ifeworl ifeworl by the systemic pressures of ubrile global markets, wil techological spraw, a  ight a, reigious reigious fuametalism. Habermas simply oes ot see how to couter suc h cooizatio  if ratioaity is ot recogize , i lie with Eightemet teets, as the uiversaly vali political tool. Agaist the egative iterpretatios of moerity, moerity, Habermas a vaces the thesis that moerity has prouce mora progress. Such progress progress rests o the awareess that the process of sociaizatio has to be structure by a system of orms reuirig argumetative argumetative justicatio without ay appea to traitio. As the lifeworl lifeworl is s tructuraly tructuraly

Reontruting orism

of criticay appropriating the present odernity is renewed every time the present is taken as a door opened onto the ture As Haberoftse" mas caims the modern age 'as to create ts normatv ou t oftse" odernity sees s ees itsef i tsef cast back upon itsef without any possibiity of es cape47 Like Hege Habermas thinks that a truy democratic society has to be committed to its norms independent of any externa authority whether it is the past tradition or reigious orthodoxy This impies that modernity is not a historicay bound phenomenon irreduciby determined by the course of European European histor and cuture but rather a project endorsed deiberatey at a certain point n history by whatever community of citizens.4 undamentaism is the vioent reaction against this very project. odernity is thus the name for the possibiity of criticay appropriating any tradition so that individuas and com munities may pursue reey and consensuay consensuay their own deiberations. Giving up modernity for for Habermas Haberm as means to give up the commitment to freedom and socia justice which is the very core of his phio sophica system This expains why he took so much to heart the de bate over the fate of modernity and strongy opposed any suggestion that our epoch may be projected onto a postmodern one Since the 980s 980s  his commitment to modernity ed him to take up the task of unmasking the poitica irresponsibiity irresponsibiity of postmodern phiosophers phiosophers operating under the inuence of Nietzsche Nietzsche and Heidegger Heid egger.. In the preface preface Plosop cal Dscourse ofMode ofMode he decares how this topic to e Plosopcal occupied occupied him amost obsessive obses siveyy since 1980 19 80 the year of his reception of the the prestigious Adorno Prize4 Prize 4 Since S ince that day he writes writes his hm dispud and mulif mulifacd as i is  nvr los is hold on m  Is philosophical aspc s hav movd vn mor sarly ino pulic con sciousnss sciousnss in h wak wak of h h rcpion of Frnch Frnch nosrucura nosrucuralism lism    h challng from from h nosrucuralis nosrucuralis criiqu of rason dns h prsp civ from from which I sk o rcon sruc hr sp y sp h philo sophical discours of modrniy Sinc h la ighnh cnury modrniy has n lvad o a philosophical hm in his discours

Habermass intense invovement with the issue of modernity stems from his anxiety that the postmodern orientation encourages enc ourages poitica responsibiity and the potentia to deveop into a dangerous reac



tionary tionary reviva5 reviva5 Habermas accuses acc uses this breed of thinkers incuding incuding errida of not giving due respect to the poitica underpinning of modernity: a universaist ca for freedom freedom and equaity that cannot be reativized vized in any form form I wi address Habermass critique of errida indirecty by discussing Habermass response to Water Benjamin52 n Habermass view view Benjamin Benjamin is erridas direct antecedent anteced ent for for the messianic m essianic sense that he attributes to the modern moment mome nt Habermass Habermas s opinion of Ben jamin is signicant not ony because he extends ex tends his judgment of Ben jamin to errida but aso because Derrida perhaps in response to abermas uses Benjamin Benjamin as a main source ofone of his crucia text on poitica phiosophy phiosophy The Force ofLaw Law53 Habermas introduces his discussion discuss ion of Benjamins Benjamins theory of modernity by contrasting it with the rench poet hares Baudeaire Whras Baudlair had connd himslfwih himslfwih h ida ha h consl laion of im and rniy coms o pass in h auhnic work of ar Bnamin Bnamin wand o ransla his asic ashic xprinc ack ino a hisorical rlaionship H fashiond for his purpos h concp of a nowim ezzei), which is sho hrough wih wih agmns of mssianic or compl compld d im im    On h on hand h ida of a homognous and mpy im ha is lld in y h suorn lif in progrss of volu ionism and h philosophy o f his ory; on h ohr hand h nu raliza ion of all sandards fosrd y isoricism whn i imprisons hisory in h musum and  l  s h sq unc of vns lik h ads o f a rosary

Baudeaire is an unrestrained defender of aesthetic modernity: for him the unprecedented freedom enjoyed by the modern work of art gives it the opportunity to express the cash between the impermanence of the present and a nd the weight of eternity. In Habermass Habermas s reading rea ding enjamin enjamin is even more exacting in his demands dem ands or him the work of art achieves authentic modernity not just because of its subjective subjective free free dom and deance dean ce of convention convention but as a resut res ut of its productive con nection nection with the present understood understoo d in a messianic vein In Benjamins Benjamins mind modern phiosophy of history history has suocated suocated messianism in two ways: either by ooking at history as a predetermined mined course ofevents of events or by accepting evething historica indiscrim


Reonstruting orism

inately inately and placing it wit the same degree o respect in a museum. mus eum. By contrast Benamins own ca or a new messianism is the ca or a present that is neiter predictabeas tose who view history as a predetermined course o events events woud ie it to benor beno r indierent indierent to its pastas those who revere al that is past to te same degree woud view it. The present needs to be a response to the compete unpredictability dictability o the the ture and a critica assessment assessme nt o te past construed as the horizon o uned uned expectations. expectations. his nd for for rdmpion on h par ofpas of pas pochs who hav dircd hir xpcaions o s is rmi niscn o f h h gr familiar n oh Jw ish and Prosan mysicis m of man's rsponsiili y for for h fa of a God who, n h ac of craion, rlinqishd his omniponc in favor of hman frdom, ping s on an qal fooing wih hmslf. 55

The two conditions that Benamin considers essentia to a meaning connection with the presentthat it be oriented toward an unpredictable ture and that it be seective with respect to the vaue o the past based on its unued expectationsconointy revea the absoute uniqueness uniq ueness o our ocation in history histo ry.. Benamin Benamin cas it messianmess iansm. An attentive ook at Benamins position reveas that it is nda nd a mentay connected with Heges articuation o modernity which  have sowed sowed as being cose to that o Habermass .  tis tis hods true there is an overap between Habermas and Benamin on Hegeian grounds. Athough this is certainy the case case  the ground o overap overap is imited. Hege did conceive the meaning o modernity aong the ines o the the absoute uniqueness o the present with respect to its ocation in history. t is ony in the modern epoch or Hege as we as or Benamin that this uniqueness has come to te ore as an empowering weapon in the hands o individuas individuas and communities. However Hegel was suspicious su spicious o the the pasts pa sts imited vision o the overa traectory traectory o history which which in his mind became visibe ony rom rom the modern standstan dpoint. By contrast Benamin Benamin thought o the past as a range o un un ed expectations or which the modern subect shoud stil ee responsibe because it is ony on the basis o tis tis very cal om the past that the ture can be aced as the wholy new. Benamin and ater on Derrida deveop deveop a strain o Hegels reection on the signicance o



odernity that is precisey what Habermas who aso ooks bac to Hege or or inspiration suppresses suppresses.. This strain concerns a past pa st that can not be articuated discursivey. Tere is nothing more dangerous in Habermass view than the idea o buiding the ture as response to a qasimessianic ca rom rom the past.56 pas t.56


A D i a l o g u e w i t h Ja Ja c q u e s D e r r i d a

September  (Le 11 septembre) gave us the imB 0 R R A D O R  : pression of being a major event,  one of the most important historica events we wil witness in our ifetime, especialy for those of us who never ived through a world war. Do you agree? Le 1  septembre, as you say, or, since we have agreed D E R R I D A : to speak two anguages, anguages, " September  ."2 We w have to return later to this question of language. As wel as to this act of naming: a date and nothing more. When you say "September  " you are aready citing, are you not? You You are inviting inviting me to speak her e by recaling, as if in quotation tion marks a date or a dating that has taken over our pubic space and or private ives for for ve weeks now. Som ethingfait ai t date, I would say in Tanslated fom e Fench by Pascale-Anne Brault and Michae Naas. Revised by Jacques Deida in nch


Atoimmnity Atoimm nity Real and Symboli ymbo li Siides

a French idiom something marks a date a date in history; that that s a ways what's most mos t string the very mpact of o f what is at east eas t in an apparenty immediate way to be an event that truy marks that truy makes its mark a singuar and as they say here unprecedented"3 event  say apparenty mmediate" because this feeing" is actuay ess spontaneous spontaneo us than it appears: t s to a arge arge extent condtioned consttuted if not actuay constructed circuated at any rate through the meda by means of a prodgious technosocopotica machine To mark a date n history" presupposes in any case that something" comes or happens for the rst and ast tme somethng" s omethng" that we do not yet reay reay now how to dent  dent determine recognize or anayze but that shoud remain from here on n unforgettabe: an neaceabe event in the shared archive archive of a universa caendar that is a supposed unversa caendar for these areand  want to insist on ths at the outsetony suppostions and presuppositons Unrened and dogmatic or ese carey carey considered organized cacuated strategicor a of these at once For the index pointing toward this date the bare act the mnima dectic the minimaist aim of ths datng aso marks something ese amey amey the fact that we perhaps have no concept and an d no meaning ava abe to us to t o name n any other way this thing" that has just happened this supposed sup posed event e vent" An act of nternationa nternationa terrorsm" for exampe and we wi return return to ths is anything but a rigorous concept that woud hep us grasp the singuarity of what we  be tryng to discuss Something" took pace we have have the feeing of not having having seen se en t coming and certain consequences cons equences undeniaby foow foow upon the thng" But this very thing the pace and meaning mean ing of this event"  event" remains ineabe ineabe ke an ntution wthout concept conce pt ike a unicity with no generaity on the horizon or with no horizon at a out of range for for a anguage anguage that admits ts powerlessness and so s reduced to pronouncing mechancay a date repeating it endessy as a knd of ritua ncantaton a conjurng poem ajouastic aj ouastic itany or rhetorica refran refran that admits to not knowng what it's tang about abou t We do not in fact fact ow what we are saying or naming in this way: September , le   septembre, September  The   stems not ony from an brevit of the appeation (September   ,  economic or rhetorica necessity The teegram of this metonmya name a numberpoints out the unquaiabe by recognizing that we do not recognize recogni ze or even cognize cogn ize that we do not n ot yet know how to qua i that we do not know what we are takng about

A Dial  Dialog ogee wit wit ae aess De Deida ida

This is the rst indsputabe eect of what occurred (whether it was cacuated we we cacuated or not not  precsey on September Septembe r , not far from here: we repeat ths we must repeat t and it s a the more necessary necessa ry to repeat it insofar as we do not reay know what is beng named n this way as if to exorcse two times at one go: on the one and to conjure away as fby magic the thing" itsef the fear or the terror it nspires (for (for repetition aways aways protects by neutrazng dead ening distancing a traumatsm and ths s true for for the repetition of o f tthe he teevised images we wi speak of ater and on the other hand to deny deny as cose as possbe pos sbe to ths act of anguage anguage and ths enunciation enu nciation our poweressnes poweressnesss to name in a appropriate fashion fashion to characterize to thnk the thing in question to get beyond the mere deictc of the date: something s omething terribe terribe took pace on September , and n the end we don't know what For however outraged we might be at the vioence however much we mght genuiney deporeas depo reas  do aong with everyone esethe number of dead dea d no one w reay be convinced convince d that this is in the end what t's a about  wi come back to ths ater; for the moment we are smpy preparing ourseves to say something about it 've been be en in ew e w ork ork for for three weeks now now ot ony is it mpossi be not to speak sp eak on this thi s subject subject but you fee fee or are made mad e to fee that it s forbidden, actuay that you do not have the right to begn speakng of anythng anythng especay n pubic without ceding to this obigation withwithout makng an aways somewhat bnd reference to ths date (and this was was aready the case n hina where  was on September , and then n Frankrt on September   4  gave n reguary to ths injuncti injunction on  admit; and n a certan sense  am doing so again by taking part in ths iendy nterview with with you though trying aways aways beyond the commocom motion and and the most sincere compassion to appea to questions and to a thought" (among other things a rea poitca thought of what t seems has just jus t taken pace on September Septe mber ju  justst a few few steps from from here in anhattan or ot too far away away in Washingto Washingtonn D D   beeve aways aways in the necessty nec essty of being attentive attentive rst of alto this this penomenon penomenon ofanguage of anguage namng and dating to this repetition compsion psion (at once rhetorica magica and poetic To what ths compuson signes transates or betrays betrays ot in order to isoate ourseves n angage as peope in too much of a rush woud ike us to beeve be eve but on te contrary contrary in order to try to understand unde rstand what is going on precisey eond anguage anguage and what is pushng us to repeat endessy and with


Autoimmunity Real and Symbolic Suicides

e concetua concetu a or discursive disc ursive activity, activity, a question quest ion of knowedge; it is as a s if  were in act act content to say that what what is terribe terribe about  Setember Setem ber " what remains innite" in this wound, is that we do not know what it is and so do not know how to describe, des cribe, identi, or even even name it. And that is, in fact, what m saying. But in order to show that this horizon of nonknowedge, nonknowedge, this nonhorizon of knowedge knowedge (the oweressn oweressness ess to comrehend, recognize, cognize, identi id enti,, name, describe, describe , foresee) foresee) , is anything anything but abstract and ideaist,  wi need to say more. And, re cisey, in a more concre co ncretete way. way.  sha do this in tee moments twice by reerence to what has been caed ca ed the Cod War," the end en d of the Cod War," War," or the baance ofterror." These three moments momen ts or series s eries of arguments a aea to the same ogic. The same ogic that esewhere  roosed we extend without imit in the orm o an imacabe aw the one that reguates ever autommunta pocess7 As we know, an autoimmunitary rocess is that strange behavior where a iving being, in sucdal ashion, itsef" works works to destroy its own rotection, to immunize itse aganst its own" immunity. 

First moment,jrst autoimmuni. Rex and rection. Te Cod War in te ead.

We beyond the United States, the whoe word fees obscurey affected by a transgression that is not ony resented as a transgression transgress ion without recedent in history (the rst vioation of U.S. U. S. nationa territory in amost two centuries, or at east thats the hantasm that has revaied revaied for for so ong) but as a transgression of a new tpe. But what Before answering answering this question, et me reca once more the obvitpe? Before ous this transgression vioates the territor territor of a country that, even in the eyes of itsits enemies enem ies and esecia es eciayy since the socaed end en d of the the Cod War," War," ays a vrtuay sovereign roe among sovereign state s tates.s. And thus the roe oguarantor or guardian of the entire word order, the one that, in rincie rincie and in the ast resort, is suosed to assure credit in genera, genera, credit in the sense s ense of nancia transactions but aso the credit granted to anguages, aws, oitica or diomatic transactions. The United States hods hod s this credit, for for which everyoneincuding everyoneincuding those who are trying to ruin itee the need, and it shows it not ony

A Dialoue it acques acques Deida


through through its weath and its technoscientic and miitary miitary ower but aso, at the same time, through its roe as arbitrator in a conicts, through its dominant resence on the Security Counci and in so many other internationa internationa institutions. institutions . ven whenand with imunityit imunityit resects neither the sirit nor the etter o these institutions and their resoutions. The Th e United States sti retains the ower o accrediting before before the word a certain seresentation it reresents the utimate resumed unity un ity o force and an d aw, aw, o the greatest force and the th e discourse dis course of aw. But here is the rst symtom o suicida autoimmunity not ony is the ground, that is, the itera gure o the founding founding or foundation of this force force oaw o aw,"," seen to be exposed to aggression, but the aggression of which it is the object (the object exposed, recisey, recisey, to vioence, vio ence, but aso, in a ," to its own cameras in its own interests) comes, as fom te nsde, rom forces that are aarenty without any orce of their own own but that are abe to nd  nd the means, mea ns, through ruse and the th e imementation of gtec owedge, to get hod of an American weaon in an American city on the ground of o fan Amercan airort. ImI mmigrated, trained, reared or their act in the United States by the United States, these ackes incororate, so to seak, two suicides in one: their own (and one o ne w remain orever orever deenseess deensee ss in the ace o a suicida, autoimmunitar aggressionand that is what terrorizes most) but aso the suicide of those who wecomed, armed, and trained them. For et us not n ot orget orget that the United States had in eect aved the way for and consoidated the orces of the adversar" by training eoe ike bin Laden," who woud woud here be the th e most strikng exame, and by rsts t ofa creating the oiticomitary circumstances circu mstances that woud favor favor their emergence and their shif sh iftsts in aegiance (( or exame, the aiance with Saudi Arabia and other Arab Musim countries in its war against the Soviet Union or Russia in Aghanistanthough one coud endessy mutiy mutiy exames of these suicida aradoxes) aradoxes).. have been be en adjusted wth an extraorDoub sucdal, this force wi have dinary econom (the maximu amount o security, o rearation, of technica rociency rocien cy,, of destructive caabiity, with a minimum ofbor o fbor-rowed means!). t wi have targeted and hit the heart or, rather, the symboic symboic head hea d of o f the revaiing revaiing word order. Right at the eve of the head (cap, caput, captal, Captol) this doube suicide wi have touched two aces at once symboicay and oerationay essentia to

Auoimmuni Rea l and Symbolic Suicides Suicides


 T hird moment, third autoimmuni

Rex and rection T he vicious circle of repression repression

t cannot be sad that huanty s defenseess aganst the threat of ths ev. But we ust recognze that defenses and a the fors of what s caed wth two equay probeatc words the war on terrors"   work work to regenerate n the short or o r ong ter the causes of o f the ev they ca to eradcate. Whether we are takng about raq Afghanstan or even Paestne the  bobs" w never never be sart" enough to prevet the vcts (tary ador cvan another dstncton that has becoe ess and ess reabe fro respondng ether n perso or by proxy proxy wth what t w w then be easy ea sy for for the to present prese nt as egtate reprsa reprsass or as counterter counterterrors rors. . And so on ad nntu nntu . . . For the sake of carty carty ad because the anayss requred t  have dstngushed three autountary terrors. But  reaty these three resources of terror terror cannot be b e dstngushed they feed feed nto and overde terne one another. They are at botto the sae n perceptua re aty" aty" and especay  the unconscouswhch s not the east rea of reates. Whether or not Septeber  s a event of ajor ajor portance what roe do you see s ee for phosophy? Can phoso pho so phy hep us to understand understan d what has happened? Such a event" surey cas for for a phosophca response. Better a response that cas cas to queston at ther ost ndaenta eve the ost deepseated conceptua presuppostons n phosophca dscourse. The concepts wth whch ths event" has ost ofte been descrbed descrbe d naed categorzed ae the products product s of a dogatc suber" fro whch ony a new phosophca reecto can awaken us a reecton o phosophy phosophy ost notaby on potca phosophy and ts hertage. The prevang dscourse that of the eda and of the oca rhetorc rees too ready on receved co cepts ke war" or terros" (natona or nternatoa. A critical readng of Schtt for exape woud thus prove vey use. On the one hand ha nd so as to foow foow Schtt as far asas possbe n dstngushg cassca war (a drect and decared confrontaton confrontaton be tween two two eney states st ates accordng to the og tradto of Europea aw fro fro cv war" and partsan war" (n ts odern fors even though t appears Schtt acknowedges acknowedges as eary as the begng of B





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the nneteenth century. But B ut on the th e other hand we woud aso have have to recognze agaist Schtt Schtt that the voence voence that has now been uneashed s not n ot the resut of war" (the expresson war on terrors" thus beng one of the ost confused confused and we ust anayze ths conson and the terests such a abuse of rhetorc actuay serve. Bush speaks of war" war" but he s n fact ncapabe of dentng the eney aganst who he decares that he has decared war. t s sad over and over that ether the cvan popuaton of Afghanstan Afghanstan nor ts ares are the enees of the Unted States. Assung that bn aden" s here the sovereg decsonaker everyone knows that he s ot Afgha that he has been dsavowed by hs own country (by every country" and state n fact aost wthout excepton excepton  that hs trang owes uch to the Unted States ad that of course he s not aoe. The states that hep h ndrecty do not do so as states. o state as such supports h pubcy pubcy.. As for states state s that harbor" harbo r" terrorst networks t s dcut to dent the as such. The Unted States and Europe ondo and Ber are aso sanctuares sanctua res paces of trang or foraton and nforato for a the terrorsts" of the word. o geography ography no terrtora" deternaton deternat on s thus th us pertnent pertnen t any oger for for ocatng ng the seat of these new echooges of o f transsson or aggresson. To say t a too qucky and n passng to ap and car just jus t a bt what  sad earer about a absoute threat whose org org s anoyous and not reated reated to any state such terrorst" attacks aready no oger eed panes bobs or kakazes: t s eough to ntrate a strategcay portant coputer syste and ntroduce a vrus or soe other dsruptve eeent ee ent to parayze the econo e conocc tay tay and potca resources of a entre coutry or contnent. And ths can be attepted fro fro just just about anywhere o earth at very tte expense and wth a a eas. The reatonshp between earth terra, terrtoy and terror has changed and t s necessary nec essary to know that ths s because ofknowedge knowedge that s because becau se of technoscence. t s technoscence technoscence that burs the dstncto betwee war and terrors.  ths regard whe copared to the possbtes for destructon and chaotc dsorder that are i reserve, for the futre n the coputerzed networks of the word Septeber  " s st part of the archac theater of voence aed at strkng the agnato. agnato. One  be abe to do eve worse toorrow orrow nvsby nvsby n sence sen ce ore qucky and wthout any boodshed boods hed by attackng the coputer and nforatona nforatona etworks etworks on whch the

Auimmuniy Auimmuniy Real an d Symblic Symblic Suicides


etire ife ife (soia, (so ia, eoomi eo omi,, miitary, miitary, ad so o) of a great atio," of the greatest power power o earth, depeds Oe day it might might be said: ep eptember "those were the (good") (goo d") od days of o f the ast war Thigs Thigs were sti ofthe order of the gigati: visible visible ad eormous! e ormous! What size, s ize, what height! There Ther e has bee b ee worse sie  aotehoogies aotehoogies of a sorts are so muh more power ad ivisibe, uotroabe, apabe apabe of reepig i everywhere everywhere They are the miroogia rivas rivas of mirobes ad bateria Yet our uosious is aready aware aware of this; it aready ows it, ad that's what's sary If this vioee is ot a war" betwee state s tates,s, it is ot a ivi war" either, either, or a partisa war,"  hmitt's sese, isofar isofar as it does ot i vove, ike most suh wars, a atioa isurretio or iberatio movemet aimed at takig power o the groud of a atiostate (eve if oe of the aims, whether wheth er seodary or primary, primary, of the bi Lade" etwork etwork is to destabiize de stabiize audi Arabia, a ambiguous ambiguous ay ofthe Uited tates,  tates, ad put a ew state power i pae) Eve if oe were to isist o speakig here of terrorism," terrorism," this appeatio ow overs a ew e w oept ad ew distitios Do you thik that these distitios a be safey draw? It's more diut tha ever If oe is ot to trust bidy i the prevaiig aguage, whih remais most ofte sub serviet to the rhetori of the media ad to the bater of the poitia powers, we must be very are usig the term terrorism" ad espe es pe iay iay iteratioa iteratioa terrorism" I the rst pae, what is terror? What distiguishes distigu ishes it om fear, fear, axiety, axiety, ad pai? Whe I suggested su ggested earier earie r that the evet of eptember  was major" oy oy to the extet that the traumatism traumatism it iited upo osiousess ad upo the uosious had to do ot with what happeed but with the udetermied threat of a ture more dagerous tha the Cod War, was I speakig of terror, fear, pai, or axiety? How does a terror that is orgaized, provoked, ad istrumetaized dier from thatar that a etire traditio, trad itio, from from Hobbes to hmitt ad eve to e  ejami, jami, hods to be the very oditio of the authority authority of aw ad of the sovereig exerise of power, power, the very oditio of the poitia ad of the state? sta te? I I  Leviathan Hobbes speaks ot oy of fear" fear" but of terror" terror"  ejami ejami speaks ofhow the state stat e teds to appropriate for itsef, itsef, ad preisey through threat, threat , a moopoy o vioee (Critiue (C ritiue ofVioee")  It wi o doubt be said B





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A Dialgue wi Jacques Deida

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that ot every experiee of terror is eessariy ees sariy the eet eet of some terrorism To be sure, but the poitia history of the word terrorism" is derived i arge part from a referee to the Reig of Terror Terror durig the th e Freh Revolutio, a terror that was arried out i the ame of the state ad that i fat presuppose presupposedd a ega moopoy o vioee Ad what do we d i urret deitios or expiity expiity ega deitios of terrorism? I I  eah ase,  ase, a referee to a rime rim e agaist huma ife i vioatio of atioa or iteratioal aws etais at oe the distitio betwee iviia iviia ad miitary (the vitims of terrorism are assumed to be iviias) ad a politia ed (to iuee or hage the politis of a outry by terrorizig its iviia popuatio) These deitios do ot therefore exude state terrorism" Every terrorist i the word aims to be respodig i sefdefese to a prior terrorism o the part of the state, oe that simpy wet by other ames ad overed itsef with a sorts of more or ess redibejustiatios justiat ios You You kow about the au satios eveed agaist, for for exampe, ad espeia es peiayy, the Uited tates, t ates, suspeted suspet ed of pratiig or eouragig eouragig state terrorism 3 I additio, eve durig deared wars betwee states, i aordae with the og traditio of Europea aw, aw, there were equety eque ty terrorist terror ist exesses exess es We before the massive bombig ampaigs of the ast two word wars, the itimidatio of iviia popuatios was ommoy resorted to For eturies A word must aso be said aout the expressio iteratioa ter rorism," whih has beome be ome a stape of oia poitia poitia disourse the word word over over IItt is aso beig used i umerous oia odematios o the part of the Uited atios ati os After eptember , a overwhemig overwhemig majority majority of states represeted represet ed i the U (it may have atualy atualy bee uaimous, uaimous, I woud have to hek) odemed, as has happeed more tha oe i the past pas t few few deades, dead es, what it als iteratioa iteratioa terror ism" Durig a teevised sessio of the U, eretaryGeera Ko Aa had to real i passig some of their previous previous debates debate s Forjust For just as they were preparig to odem o dem iteratioa terrorism," ertai states expressed reservatios about the arity arity of the the oept ad the riteria used to ideti it As with so may other ruia juridial o tios, what remais obsure, dogmati, or preritia does ot prevet the powers that be, the soaed so aed egitimate powers, from from makig use of these otios whe it seems opportue O the otrary, the more o sed the oept the more it eds itsef to a opportuisti appropri


Auoimmuniy: Auoimmuniy: Real and Symbolic Suicides Suicides

 If �il re erves itory. If territory. need f o r terr inimal ne but a minimal hat has bu trol  that control t litical con politica zable rtua zable onvrtua last nonv  th e last n  amon mongg the eft, a tories ries l left,  terri rrito are te  the rare ong the r a mong rema remain am own a ights to lay down th e rights secure the imply secu ac es, one c an simply stria ria p ace terre terrest tech  t he whoe w hoe tech ent , the mo m ent, th e mom true th t hat, f o r the ugh itt is also true  Thoough i eline. Th pip pi peline.  reethese th ese r o n e nds depe dep t ries  coun ount o nic c nic egem emo o f heg h ture re struc st ructu ial dus trial noin noi ndustr ,  the y be, be it may ma i ned termi erdeterm d overde ov ex and an o mpex mp c howevver co th at, howe sources, sou rces, so that, remain�  about remain spokenn about just spoke have ju erything we have ility of everyth ossibility of possib hes e ces,, t hese places ceabble pla replacea  nonnrepla  these no eak, k, in in these to spea so to sp solid  still solid in the the still  aw, in by aw elonng, by to belo tinue to b co ntinu itoriess con se ter  terrritorie hese ies. The erritorries. T territo states.s. ationnstate ign  natio vereeign n to sover law, to so ational law internnation dition of inter tra traditio What you are suggesting cals for profound B 0 R R A D O R I  changes at the e ve of international international institutions and internation internationl la. Such a mutation wll have to take pace. But t  mD E R R I D A  possible to predict at what pace. In all the transformations we have been discussing, what remains incalcuable is rst of al the pace or rhythm, the time of acceleration and the acceleration of time. And this is for for ess ential reasons that have to d o with the very speed of technoscientic advances or shifts in spee d. Just like like the shifts shifts in size or scale that nanotechnoogies have introduced into our evaluations and our measures. Such radical changes in international international law are neces sary, sary, but they might take place in on e generation or in twenty. twenty. Who can say? Though I am incapabe of knowing who today deserves the name philosopher (I would not simpy accept certain professional professional or organi organi zationa zationa criteria), I would be tempted to cal philosophers those who, in the ture, reect in a responsible fashion on these questions and demand accountability from from those in charge of public public discour se, those responsible for the language and institutions of internationa law. A ��philosopher" (actually I woud prefer to say ��philosopherdeco structor") would be someone who analyzes analyzes and then draws draws the pract ca and eective eective conseq uences of the relationship between our philo sophical heritage and the structure of the stil dominant juridico political system that is so clearly undergoing mutation A ��philosopher" would be one who seeks a new criteriology to distin uish between ��comprehending" and ��justiing." For one can descbe , com prehend, and explain explain a certain chain of events or series of associations that lead to war" or to ��terrorism" without withoutjustiing justiing them in the least, while in fact condemning them and attempting to invent other associations. One can condemn unconditionaly certain acts of terrorism

A Dialoe w ih Jacques Deida

O 7

(whether of the state or not) without having to ignore the situation that might have brought them about or even legitimated them. To provide examples it would be necessary to conduct long analyses, in principle interminaby long. One can thus condemn uncondtonally, as I do here, the attack of September 1 without having to ignore the real or alleged conditions that made it possible. Anyone in the world who either organized or tried to justi this attack saw it as a response to the state terrorism of the United States and its allies. This was the case , for for exampleand I cite this ony as an examplein the Middle East, even though Yasir Yasir Arafat Arafat also condemned  Septem ber 11 " and resed bin Laden the right to speak in the name of the Paestinian Paestinian people. If the distinction between war and terrorism is B 0 R R A D O R I : probematic probematic and we accept the notion of state terrorism, then the ques tion tion stl remains who is the most terrorist? The most terrorist? terrorist? This question is at once n ecesD E R R I D A  sary and destined to remain without any answer. answer. Necessary becaus e it takes into account an e ssen tia fact: fact: a ll terrorism presents tse as a respons e in a situation that continues to escalate. It amounts to saying, I am resorting to terrorism as a last resort, becaus e the other is mo re ter rorist than I am; I am defending myself, counterattacking; the rea terrorist, the worst, is the one who wi have deprived me of every every other means o fresponding be fore pres enting himself, himself, the rst aggressor, as a victim." It is in this way that the United States, Israel, wealthy nations, and colonial or imperialist powers are accus ed of practicing practicing state terrorism and thus of being more terrorist" than the terrorists of whom they say they are the victims. The pattern is well known, so I wont belabor it. Bu t it is dicut to write it o purely and simply, simply, even if it is sometimes applied in a simpistic and abusive fashion. Yet the question you are asking, that ofa more or ess" in terrorism, shoud aso not be settled through a purely and objectivey quanttatve logic. For this question can give rise to no such suc h forma forma evaluation. Terrorist" acts try to produce psychic eects (conscious or unconscious) and symboic or symptomatic reactions that might take numerous detours, an incalcuable number of them, in truth. he qual or ntensty of the emotions provoked (whether conscious or unconscious) is not always proportionate to the number ofvictims of victims or the amount of damage. In situations and cutures where the media do not spectacularize the event, the killing killing of thousands o f peope in a very short p eriod of time might pro

Auimmuni Real and Symblic Suicides


ess loca icidet ic idet ut u t this ogaized itepetatio infomed infomed by the cuent state of SChia eations (dipomatic tesios and icidets of vaious sots) sots)  ended up having to yield to othe exgecies CNN and othe inteatioa media outets have penetated Chiese space and Chia too afte afte al has its ow  Musim" Musim" pobem It thus became ecessay to join in some way way the atiteoist" atiteoist" coaitio" It woud be necessay to aayze i the same vei the motivatios and iteests itees ts behid al the deent deent geopoitica geopoitica o stategicodipomatic stategicodipomatic shifts shifts that have ivested" so to speak Septembe   (Fo exampe the wamg i eatios betwee ush ad Puti who has been give a fee fee hand i Chechnya C hechnya ad the vey use but vey hasty ideticaidetic atio of Palestiia teoism wth iteationa teosm which ow cals fo fo a uivesal espose I both cases cases  ceta paties have a iteest in pesenting thei advesaes ot oy as teoistswhch they in fact ae to a cetai extentbut only as teoists ideed as international teoists" who shae the same ogic o ae pat of the same etwok ad who must thus be opposed t s claimed ot though coutetesm  but though a wa" meag f couse a ce clean" wa The facts" cealy show that these distinctios ae ackig i igo mpossbe to maitai and easy manipulated fo ceta ends  A adica decostucto deco stucto of the the dstictio between wa ad teoism as a s we as betwee dieet dieet types of teoism (such as atioa ad teatoa) makes t vey dicut to coceive of politics i a stategic sese sese  Who ae the actos o the wod stage? How many ofthem ae thee? the e? Isnt Is nt thee hee h ee the isk of tota aachy?     The wod aac aachy" hy" isks isks making making us abado abado too too quicky quicky the aaysis aaysis ad itepetatio of what ideed looks like pue chaos We must do a that we ca to account fo this appeaance appeaa nce We We must do eveything possible possib le to make this ew dsode" dsod e" as iteigibe as possibe possibe  The anayss we sketched out eaie tied to move i that dection a ed of the Cod C od Wa" Wa" that eavesjust oe camp a coatio actuay actuay of states caiming caimin g soveeigty soveeigty ffaced aced with aoymous a oymous and a nd os tate tate oganizations oganizations amed and vituay vituay nucea powes Ad these powes can aso without ams and without exposios without any attacks  peso pes o ava themseves of ncediby ncediby destuctive compute technoogies technologes capabe of opeatios that i fact have o ame (eithe wa no teoism) ad that ae o oge caed out n 0




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A Di  Dialgu alguee wih wihJa Jacq cques ues D  Der erida ida


the ame of a atiostate ad whose cause" i a seses of ths wod is dicut to dene (thees the theoogica cause the ethnic cause the socioecoomc cause ca use ad so o) o)  On o side is the ogic of soveeignty eve put ito questio qu estio (poitica soveeigty o that of the the atiostatetsef of ototheoogica oigi though moe o ess secuaized i oe pace ad puey theoogica and nosecuaized i anothe) ot o the side s ide of the atiostates and the geat powes that sit o the Secuty Couci ad ot o the othe side o othe sides side s sice thee is pecisey an idetemiate id etemiate umbe of them Eveoe wi o doubt pot to existig iteatioa aw (the foudatos foudatos of which emai I beeve pefectbe evisable i need of ecastig both coceptuay and isttutioay) ut this iteatioa aw is owhee espected And as soo as oe paty does not espect it the othes o oge coside it espectabe ad begi to betay it i the tu The ted States ad Isae ae ot the oly ones who have become accustomed to takg a the the ibeties they deem ecessa ec essa with UN esoutios To aswe you questio moe specicay I woud say that the ited States is pehaps not the soe taget taget pehaps not eve the ceta o utmate taget of the opeatio with which the ame bi Lade" is associated at east by metoym m etoymyy The pont may be to povoke a mitay mitay ad dpomatic situato that destabiizes de stabiizes cetain Aab couties couties to betwee a powe pubic opiion (which s atiAmeatiAmeican if ot atiWeste atiWeste fo coutess easos stemmig stemmig fom fom a compex cetues old histoy histoy but the also in the aftemath aftemath of a ea of coloaism o mpeiasm fom povety oppessio ad ideoogcoeigous idoctiatio) ad the ecessty ec essty of basig thei nodemocatic authoty o dplomatic ecoomc ad mtay ties with the ited States Sta tes Fist on the ist hee woud be Saudi Aabia which which e mais the pivieged pivieged eemy of evething evething that might be epeseted by a bi Lade" (a ame I use aways as a syecdoche) o a Saddam Hussen Yet Saud Aabia (a mpotant family family and a impotat oipoducing powe) whie whie maitaiig its ties with ts Ameica potecto" cet" ad boss" fues a the hotbeds of Aab Isamic fanaticism if ot teoism" i the wod This is oe of the paadoxica situatios oce agai autoimmunitay of what you caled tota anachy" the movemets and shifts in the stategic oi aiaces betwee the nited States (sefstyed champio of the democatic idea of

Auimmuniy Auimmuniy Real and Symblic Suicides


human ights, and so on) and egimes e gimes about which the east that can be said is that they do not coespond to this mode. Such egimes ( used the exampe of Saudi Aabia, though though it woud be necessay to speak of the equay seious seiou s case of Pakistan) Pakistan) ae aso the th e enemies o tagets of those who oganize socaed  intenationa intenationa teoism" teoism" against against the .S. .S . and, at east ea st vitua vituay,y, thei aies. hat makes fo fo moe than one tiange. And with a the anging going on between these tianges, it is difcut to disentange the ea fom the aeged motivation, oi fom eigion, poitics fom economcs o miitay stategy. he bin Laden" type of diatibe diatibe against the Ameican devi thus combines such themes as the pevesion of faith and nonbeief, the vioation of the saced paces ofsam, of sam, the mitay mitay pesence pesence nea Mecca, Mecca , the suppot ofsae, and the oppession of Aab Musim popuations. But if this hetoic ceay ceay esonates with the popuations and even the media of the Aab and Musim wod, the govenments of o f Aab Musim states st ates (the majo majo ity of which cae about as much fo human ights and democacy d emocacy as bin Laden does) ae a e amost a hostie in pincipe, as  govenments," to the bin Laden" netwo and its discouse. One thus has to con cude cude that bin Laden" Laden" is aso woki woking ng to destabii destabiizeze them . . . Which woud be the standad objective of teoists, to ovetun but not take ove, to destabiize des tabiize the cuent situa tion. he most common stategy consists aways in destabiizing not ony the pincipa, decaed enemy but aso, at the same time, in a kind of quasidomestic confontation, those much cose. cose. Sometimes even one's own aies. his is anothe necessay consequence of the same autoimmunitay pocess. n a was, a civi was, a patisan was o was fo ibeation, the inevitabe escaation eads one to go afte ones iva patnes no ess than one's socaed pincipa advesay. Duing the Ageian Wa, between 19 and 19, what sometimes s ometimes ooked oo ked ike faticida faticida"" acts of vioence vioence between dif dif feent insuectiona foces poved sometimes just as exteme as those between these goups and the ench coonia foces. foces. This is yet one moe eason eas on not to conside eveything eveything that has to do with Isam o with the Aab usim us im wod" wod" as a wod," wod," o at east eas t as one homogeneous homoge neous whoe. And wanting to take a these divisions, dieences, dieences, and dieends dieends into account does do es not necessai nece ssaiy constitute an act of wa wa no does tying to do eveything possibe to ensue that B




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A Dialgue wi wi  Jacques Deida

13 13

in this Aab Musim wod," whch is not a world and not a wod that is one, cetain cuents do not take ove, namey, those that ead to fanaticism, to an obscuantism amed to the teeth with moden techno science, to the vioation of evey juidicopoitica pincipe, to the cue disegad fo human ights and democacy, to a nonespect fo ife. ife. We must hep what is caed c aed Isam Is am and what is caed Aab" to fee fee themseves om such vioent dogmatism. We must hep those who ae ghtng heoicay in this diection on e nsde, whethe we ae taking about poitics in the naow sense sen se of the tem o ese about abo ut an intepetation of the Koan. When  say that we must do this fo what is caed sam and what is caed Aab," I obviousy mean that we must not do any ess when it comes to Euope, the Ameicas, Afica, and Asia! Eaie you emphasized the essentia es sentia oe of intenationa oganizations and the need to cutivate a espect fo intenationa aw. Do you think that the kind of teoism inked to the a Qaeda oganization and to bin Laden habos intenationa poitica ambitions? What appeas to me unacceptabe in the stategy"  stategy" (in tems of weapons, pactices, ideoogy, ideoogy, hetoic, discouse, discous e, and so on) of the bin Laden eect" is not ony the cuety, the disegad fo human ife, ife, the disespe dis espectct fo fo aw, fo women, the use of what is wost wo st in technocapitaist modenity mod enity fo fo the puposes of eigious eigious fanaticism. No, it is, above a, the fact fact that such actions action s and such discouse open ono noure noure and, n my vew, ave noure noure If we ae to put p ut any faith in the pefectibiity of pubic pubic space spa ce and an d of the wod juidicopoitica juidi copoitica scene, of the wod" wod" itsef, itsef, then thee is, it seems to me, nong good to be hoped fo fom fom that quate. What is being poposed, popo sed, at east eas t im picity, is that a capitaist and moden techno scientic foces be put in the seice of an intepetation, itsef dogmatic, dogmatic, of the samic eveaeveation of the One. One . Nothing of what has been so aboiousy secuaized in the foms foms of the poitica," of democacy democ acy  of intenationa aw," aw," and even in the nontheoogica fom of soveeignty (assuming, again, that the vaue of soveeignty can be competey secuaized o detheoogized, a hypothesis about which  have my doubts), none of this seems se ems to have any pace whatsoeve in the discouse bin Laden." hat is hy, hy, in this uneashing uneashin g of vioence without with out name, if  had to take tak e one of the two sides and choose in a binay situation, we,  woud. Despite my vey vey stong eseations about the Ameican, indeed Euopean, po B





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11 4

Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides

itica itica po stue, about the intenationa antiteoist" antiteoist" coaition, despite a the de facto betayas, al the faiues to ive up to democacy, intenationa aw, aw, and the vey intenational institutions that the states of this coaition" themselves founded and suppoted up to a cetain point, I woud take the side of the the camp that, in pincipe, by ight ight of aw, aw, eaves a pespe ctive ctive op en to pefectibiit pefectibiityy in the n ame o f the p oitica," democacy, intenationa aw, intenationa institutions, and so on Even Even if this in the name of" is sti meey an assetion and a puey veba veba commitment Even in its mo st cynica cynica mode , such an ass etion stil ets esonate within it an invincibe invincibe pomise. I do n't hea any such pomise coming fom fom bin Laden," at east not one fo this worl. It seems that you you pace you hopes in the au B 0 R R A D O R   thoity of intenationa aw. Yes In the st pace, as impefect as they may be, D E R R I D A  these intenational institutions shoud be espected in thei deibeations and thei esoutions by the soveeign states who ae membes of them and who have have thus subscibed to thei chates I mentioned just a moment ago t he seio us faiings faiings of cetain cetain ��Westen" states wth egad to thes e commitments. Such faiings faiings woud stem fom fom at eas t two seies of causes . Fist, they woud have to do with the vey stuctue of the axioms and pincipes pincipes of these systems ofaw and thus of the chates and conventions that institutionaize them Reection (of what I woud ca a ��decons tuctive" tuctive" type) shoud thus, it seem s to me, without without diminishing o des toying toying these axioms and pincipes, question and efound efound them, endessy ene and univesaize them, without becoming discouaged by the apoias such wo k must neces saiy saiy encounte. But secon d, such faings, faings, in the case of states as powe as the United States and Isae (which is suppoted by the U.S .) , ae not sub ject to any dissuasive sanctions. The United Nations has neithe the foce no the means fo such sanctions It is thus necessary to do eveything possibe (a fomidabe and imposing task fo the vey ong tem) to ensue that these cuent faiings in the pesent state of these institutions ae eectivey eectivey sanctioned an d, in tuth, discouaged in advance by a new oganization. This woud mean that an institution such as the UN (once modied in its stuctue and chateand I'm thinking hee paticuay of the Secuity Counci) woud have to have at its disposa an eective intevening foce and thus no onge have to depend in

A Dialoge w ith Jacques Derida

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ode to cay out its decisions on ich and powel, actuay o vituay hegemonic, nationsta tes, which bend the aw in accodance wit thei foce and accoding to thei inteests. Sometimes quite cynicay. I'm no t unawae unawae o f the the appaenty utopic chaacte of the hoizon I'm sketching out hee, that of an intenational intenational institution institution of law and an intenationa cout of ustice with the i own autonomous foce. Though I do not hold aw to be the ast wod in ethics, politics, o any thing ese, though this unity of foce foce and aw (which is equied by the vey concept of aw, as Kant expains so we) is not only utopic but aporetic (since it impies that beyond the soveeignty of the nation state, indeed beyond democa tic soveeigntywhose soveeigntywhose ontothe oogical foundations must be deconstuctedwe woud nonetheess b e econstituting stituting a new gue, though not ne cessaiy stateelated, of univesa univesa soveeignty, of absoute law with an eective autonomous foce at its disposa ), I continue to beieve that it is faith in in the po ssibiity of this impossible and, in tuth, undecidabe thing fom fom the point of view of knowedge, science, and conscience that must goven a ou deci sions  4 It might be said that this teoist attack was, in B 0 R R A D O R I : one sen se, an attack against the pincipe of soveeignty that the the nite d States has ove its own and, yet also an attack on the soveeign ole the United States pays visvis th e Weste Weste n wod, at once poiticaly, poiticaly, economicay, and cutuay Have these two attacks destabiized the concept of soveeignty soveeignty as it has been deveoped by Westen Westen mo denity? denity? Those caed teoists" ae not, in this context, D E R R I D A : othes," absoute othes whom we, as Westenes," Westenes," can no onge un destand We mus t not foget that they wee often often ecuited, tained, and even amed, and fo a ong time, in vaious Westen ways by a Weste n wod that itsef, in the couse of its ancient a s wel as vey e cent history, invented the wod, the techniques, and the poitics" of teoism." Next, one has to divide, o at least dieentiate, a the whoes" o goups" to which we might be tempted to attibute esponsibiity fo this teoism. It's not the Aabs" in genea, no Isam, no the Aab Isamic Midde East Each of these goups is het eogeneous, eogeneous, ed with tensions, conlicts, and essentia contadictions, with, in tuth, what we have been caing sefdes sefdes tuctive, tuctive, quasisuici da, autoimmunitay pocesses The same goes fo the West." What is, to my eyes, very impo tant fo fo the tu e, and I wi etun to th is late,


Auimmuniy Real and Symblic Suicides

epicenter at least metonymically of all these wars" is the confrontation between between the state ofsrael of srael (another  democracy" that has not cut the umbilical cord wth reigious reigious indeed ind eed wt ethnoreligious authority and that is strongly supported though in a complicated way by the United States) and a virtual Palestinian state (one that in preparing its constitution has not yet given up on declaring slam the ocial state religion and that is strongy supported though in a compicated and often pererse way by Arab Muslim state s tates)s)  would like to hope that tha t there wil wil be in Europe" Eu rope" or in a certain modern tradition of Europe at the cost of a deconstruction that is stil nding its way way the possibility of another discourse and another politics a way out of this double theologicopoitica program September S eptember  whatever is ultimately ultimately put under this titewil titewil thus have been at once a sign and a price to pay pay a ver high price to be sure without withou t any possibe redemption or savation on for the victims but an important stage in the process S you see se e an important important roe for Europe?  hope for it but  do not see it  have not n ot seen any thing in the facts that wold give rise to any certainty or knowledge Ony a few signs to interpret f there are responsibilities to be taken and decisions to be made responsibilities and decisions worthy of these names they belong to the time of a risk and of an act of faith faith Beyond knowledge For if  decide because I know, within the limits of what I know and know I must do, then  am simpy deploying a fores foreseeeeable program and there is no decision decis ion no responsibility responsibility no event As for what  have ust risked on the subect of Europe" let's say that 'm raising a few few questions in the midst of a certain night and on the basis of a certain number of signs  decipher dec ipher  wager wager  hope hope  f  put so so many cautionary cautionary quotation marks around these the se proper names beginning with with Europe" it is because  am not sure about anything Especialy not about Europe Euro pe or the European community commu nity suc as it exists or announces itsef de facto facto t is a matter of thinking the perhaps" of which  spoke at such length in Politics ofFriendsip on the subect of the democracy to come. Sticng for a moment with Europe in its cur rent state how do you see Europe's political role role and the possibilities pos sibilities for it to exercise a real inluence? Right ow the French and German governments B

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A Diale wi Jacques Derrida

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are tring timidly to slow down or temper the hastiness or overzealousness of the United States at least with respect to certain forms forms this war on terrorism" might take But little heed is taken here to voices coming from from Europe Europ e The mao maorr television televisi on networks speak spe ak only of te unconditional uncondition al and enthusiastic enthu siastic support s upport of Engand and Tony Tony Blair be side the United States State s France should do more and do better it seems to me to make mak e an original voice heard But it's a small country country even if it has nucear weapons and a vote on the Security Se curity Counci Counci  As long as Europe does doe s not have a unied miitary force force sucien su cientt for for autonomous autonomou s interventions interventions interventions that would be motivated calcuated discussed and deiberated in Europe the ndamenta premises of the current situation wil not change and we wil not get any coser co ser to the transformation transformation  aluded alu ded to earlier ear lier (a new international internationa l law law a new internationa force force in the service of new international international institutions a new concept and a new concrete gure of sovereignty as well as other names no doubt for for all these things to come)  do not wish to grant too great a privilege privilege to the th e uridical sphere to international international aw and its institutions even if if  believe more than ever eve r in their importance Among the international institutions that matter most today there's not only the UN but the nternationa onetary Fund and the G8 to name ust wo Reca what happened recently in Genoa  for for example Some have said sa id not without exaggeratio exaggerationn but also not without some plausibiity that between the forces that are being mobilized today against globalization and those of o f international international terrorism (in two words words September S eptember   there is a common cause a de facto facto aliance aliance or colusion if not an intentional conspiracy conspiracy Enor mous eort eort wi bebe required to introduce here al the necessar distinctions (both conceptua and practical) which wil have to take into account the contradictions that is the autoimmunitary overdeterminations on which 've been insisting Despite their apparently biological genetic or zooogical zooogical provenance these contradictions a concern as you can see what is beyond be yond living being pure and simple f fonly because they bear death in ife ife The question q uestion of internationa internationa sovereignty appears to me extremey compicated When the role of international organizations ganizations and of international international law is pushed to its extreme don't we end back up with a state mode a metastate a metaaw? This is an enormous problem to be sure The B




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maor reerences to discuss here woud be or me Kant and Hannah Arendt. Both o these thinkers caed or an internationa aw and yet excuded excuded indeed reecte reectedd the hypothesis o a superstate or word govgovernment It is not a question o going through as is the case today more or ess temporary crises o sovereignty sovereignty to end up at a word state. This absoutey new and unprecedented orm o destateication woud aow us to think thin k beyond what Kant and Arendt Are ndt ormuated ormuated in a determined way the new gure to come o an utimate recourse o a sovereignty (or rather and more simpy simpy since this term sovereignty s overeignty"" is sti too equivoca sti too theoogicopoitica a orce or power a cracy o a cracy aied to or even one with not ony aw but ustice. That is what I wished to bring out in the phrase democracy  democracy to come (la dmocratie a venir Democracy to come" does not mean a ture democracy that wi one day be present." Democracy wi never exist in the present it is not presentabe and it is not a reguative idea in the Kantian sense But there is the impossible whose promise democracy inscribesa promise that risks and must aways aways risk being perverted into a threat. There is the impossibe and the impossibe remains impossibe because becau se o the the aporia o the demos the demos is at once the incacuabe singuarity singuarity o anyone beore any subect" the possibe undoing o the the socia bond by a secret to be respected beyond a citi zenship beyond ever state" indeed every peope" indeed even be yond the current state o the denition o a iving being as iving human" being and the universaity o rationa cacuation o the equaity o citizens beore the aw the socia bond o being together with or without contract and so on. And this impossibe that there is remains ineaceab ineaceabe.e. It is as irreducibe as our exposure to what comes or happens. It is the exposure (the desire the openness but aso the ear) that opens that opens itse that opens us to time to what comes upon us to what arrives or happens to the event. To history i you wi a histor to be thought thou ght competey competey otherwise than rom rom a teeoog ica horizon indeed rom any horizon at a. When I say the impossibe that there is" I am pointing to this other regime o the the possibeim possibe" that I try to think by questioning in a sorts o ways (or exampe around questions o the git orgiveness hospitaity and so on) on)  by trying to decons d econstruct" truct" iyou wi the heritage o such concepts as possi  possibiity biity"" power" impossibiity impos sibiity"" and so on But I cannot ca nnot deveop this this any rther rther here here  

A Diale wi Jacques Jacques Deida


Oa O a the names grouped grouped a bit too quicky quicky under the categor po itica itica regimes" (and I do not beieve that democracy demo cracy"" utimatey des ignates a poitica regime") regime") the th e inherited concept o democracy is the ony ony one that wecomes the possibiity possibiity o being contested o contesting contesting itse o criticizing and indenitey improving itse. I it were sti the name o a regime it woud be the name o the ony regime" that pre supposes its own perectibiity perectibiity and thus its own historicityand that th at is responsive in as responsibe a ashion ashion as possibe I woud say say to the aporia or the undecidabiity on the basis o whicha basis without basisthis regime gets decided Im quite aware that such ormuations remain remain obscure but bu t i democracy is aso a thing o the the reason to come this reason can present itse today today it seems se ems to me ony in this penum bra. Yet I can aready hear in it so many intractabe inunc inunctions tions What is your position concerning the concept o gobaization and what is the reationship between gobaization and cosmopoitanism? As or gobaization or what I preer to reer o in French or or reasons I give esewhere as mondialisation the vioence o September   seems once again to attest to a series o contradictions. tions.  Contradictions that are in act destined to remain or or they are aporias that have to do once again it seems to me with that autoimmunitary inevitabiity inevitabiity whose eects we are constanty registering. First Firs t gobaization gobaization does not take pace in the paces and at the moment it is said to take pace Second everhere it takes pace without taking pace it is or better and or worse. et me try to cari these two points.  I does does n ot take place In an age o socaed gobaization an age where it is in the interest o some to speak about gobaization and ceebrate its benets the disparities between human societies the socia and economic inequaities have probaby never been greater and more spectacuar (or the spectace is in act more easiy gobaizabe ") in the history o humanity. humanity. Though the discour di scoursese in avor avor o gobaization insists on the transparency made possibe by teetechnoogies the opening o borders borders and o markets markets the eveing eveing o paying paying eds and the equaity o opportunity there have never been in the history h istory ohuo humanity in absoute numbers so many inequaities so many cases o manutrition ecoogica disaster or rampant epidemic (think or exampe o AIDS AI DS in Arica Arica and o the miions o peope we aow to die B



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Auimmuniy Real and Symblic Suicides

and, thus, ki!). As A s for technoogica inequaities, inequaities, think think of the fact fact that ess tan 5 percent of humanity as access to the nternet, though in 1999 af of a American househods did, and that the majority of servers are in Engish. At the very moment wen the end of work" is being touted, unprecedented numbers number s of peope are being oppressed by work conditions or, inversey inversey, are unabe to nd te work they desire.2 Ony certain countries, and in these countries ony certain casses, benet fuy from gobaization. Weaty, northern countries od the capita and contro the instruments of economic decisions (G8, MF, Word Word Bank, and so on). f te organized perpetrators perpetrators of the September n" attack are themseves among those who benet from from tis socaed s ocaed gobaization (capitaist (capitais t power, power, teecommunication, advanced technoogy, technoogy, the openness open ness of borders, and so s o on), on) , they nonetheess caimed (unfairy, no doubt, though to great eect) to be acting in the name of tose doomed by gobaization, a tose who fee fee excuded or rejected, disenfranchised, eft by the wayside, who have ony the means of the poor in this age of gobaization (which is, today, teevision, an instrument that is never neutra) neutra) to witness the spectace of the oensive prosperity of oters. A specia specia  pace pac e woud have to be reserved here for samic cutures and popuations in this context. n the course of the ast few centuries, whose istory woud have to be carefuy carefuy reexamined (the absence of an Enightenment age, cooniaization, imperiaism, and so on), severa factors have contributed to the geopoitica situation whose eects we are feeing today, today, beginning with the t he paradox of a marginaization and a nd an impoverishment whose rhythm is proportiona to demographic growt. These popuations are not ony deprived of access to what we ca democracy (because of te history  just briey recaed) but are even dispossessed of the socaed natura riches of the and, oi in Saudi Arabia, for for exampe, or in raq, or even in Ageria, Ageria, god in South Africa, Africa, and so many other natura resources esewhere. es ewhere. They are dispossessed at once by te owners, that is, te seers, and by the ex poiters and cients, in truth, by the nature of the game whereby the two parties engage in these more or ess peacefu aiances aiances or transactions. transactions . These natura" riches are in fact the ony nonvirtuaizabe and nondeteritoriaizab teritoriaizabee goods eft eft today they are the cause cau se of many of the phe nomena we have been discussing. discuss ing. With a these victims of supposed gobaization, diaogue (at once verba and peace) is not taking pace.

A Dialgue wi w i Jacques Deida

23 23

Recourse to the worst vioence is thus often presented as te ony response" to a deaf ear." ear." There are countess cou ntess exampes of tis in recent history, we before before September S eptember  This is the ogic put forard by al terrorisms invoved in a strugge for freedom. Mandea expains quite we how his party, after years of nonvioent strugge and faced with a compete resa of diaogue, resigned itsef to having to take up arms. The distinction between civiian, miitary, and poice is thus no onger pertinent. From this point of view, view, gobaization is not taking pace. t is a simuacrum, a rhetorica artice or weapon that dissimuates dissimu ates a growing imbaance, a new opacity, opacity, a garruous and hypermediatized noncommunication, a tremendous tremend ous accumuation of weath, means of production, teetechnoogies, and sopisticated miitary miitary weapons, and the appropriation of a these powers by a sma number of states or internationa corporations. And contro over these is becoming at once easier and more dicut. The power to appropriate has such a structure (most (mos t often deterritoriaizae, virtuaizabe, virtuaizabe, capitaizabe) capitaizabe) that, at the very moment wen it seems controabe by a sma number (of states, for exampe), it escapes right into the hands of internationa nonstate nonstate structures and so tends toward dissemination in the very movement of its concentration. Terrorism Terrorism of the September n " sort (weathy, hypersophisticated, teecommunicative, anonymous, and without an assignabe state) stat e) stems ste ms in part from from tis apparent contradiction. 2 And yet wherever it is beieved globalzaton s takngplace, t s For better discourses, owedge, and modes for better b etter and a ndfor for worse For are transmitted better and faster. faster. Democratization Dem ocratization thus has more of a cance. Recent movements toward democratization in Eastern Europe owe a great dea, amost everything perhaps, to teevision, to the communication of modes, norms, images, informationa informationa products, and so on. Nongovernmenta institutions are more numerous and better known known or recognized. recogn ized. Look at the eorts eorts to institute institu te the nternationa Crimina Tribuna. You spoke of cosmopoitanism"a cosmopoitanism"a formidabe question, to be sure. Progress of cosmopoitansm, yes. We can ceebrate it, as we do any any access to citizenship, in this case, to word citizenship. But citizenship is aso a imit, that of te nationstate and we have aready ex pressed our reservations res ervations with with regard to the word state .  beieve we

Auoimmuniy Real and Symbolic Suicides

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should hus, beyod he old GrecoChrisia cosmopoliical cosmopoliical ideal (he Soics, Sai Paul, Ka), see he comig o a uiversal uiversal alliace alliace or solidariy ha exeds beyod he ieraioaliy o aiosaes ad hus beyod ciizeship. This was oe o he m
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