Saturday, May 4, 2024

Michael Hastings and Myths


Michael Hastings and Myths

Peter Schultz


                  Michael Hastings in his book The Operators points out that he was criticized because he refused to play along with the myth that Generals McCrystal and Petraeus were potentially saviors of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hastings subverted these myths by exposing the generals’ limitations, which eventually became visible in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


                  But there is another myth, viz., that there are political saviors. There are no such saviors, not because of the limitations of the likes of McCrystal and Petraeus, but because political salvation is an illusion. Political life does not allow for or admit of salvation. At its best, political life allows for ruling and being ruled in turn – that is, it allows for shared rule or rule based on consent. Obviously, such rule would be based on compromise and negotiation, i.e., on constant compromising and negotiating as those ruling and those being ruled would need to work out their differences.


                  Some questions and considerations: What role would philosophy or philosophers play in this best political arrangement? Or: what role would monarchy play in it? To what extent is monarchy consistent with shared rule? To what extent is slavery consistent with shared rule?


                  Which characteristic personality type, the thumotic or the erotic, is more consistent with, more compatible with shared rule? Take note of the prevalence of “more or less questions” when thinking about politics, about political life, revealing that compromises and negotiations characterize political life at its best, not impositions. In fact, not even impositions by allegedly superior human beings are best. There may be such human beings, but their rule is or should be suspect. And, perhaps, these superior human beings would recognize this themselves and act – or not act – accordingly.

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