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I hate cyclists

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

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"When a stave obeys his masters’ orders, this does not in any way mean that he regards them as legitimate. Neither, of course, does it mean, a priori, that he denies their legitimacy: the relation is in fact quite indeterminate. A given slave may be reconciled to his fate; he may be privileged in relation to the other slaves, born in the domus, etc., and, especially if he has personal relations with the master, he may regard the master’s authority as legitimate, that is to say, he may almost unconsciously betray his fellow-slaves. But another, who is deeply rebel lious, and conscious of the injustice of his condition, may obey either cynically and out of mere prudence or, possibly, in the expectation of a revolt which he will join. If one sets out from this absolute indeterminacy it will be impossible to comprehend why obedience, as a simple fact (a surrender to constraint) may sometimes appear as pledged faith, as a permanent legitimation of authority, etc. The rational order is in fact quite strict: authority, as a complex relation between an untranscendable third party and the common individuals who legitimate his powers by obeying him — this is what is given in the first instance. And the violent integration of new individuals into the group (for example, the slaves in familial exploitation) takes place in the name of this legitimate authority. Obviously the mystification is complete. But it results precisely from the juridical structure of the community: newcomers are introduced into it with a certain statute, certain functions, etc., and the sovereign (for example, the pater familias) demands their obedience in the name of a pledge which they never made but which they accept in spite of themsdves, (or the other members of the group, because it is the synthetic basis of all common relations and because they are in fact (through either capture or birth) integrated into the community. On the other hand, when the historical development of the oppressed class is just beginning, while it is paralysed by impotence and seriality, while individual antagonisms make any common action impossible, and, above all, when individuals are placed (by birth, for example) into a juridical group which exercises ‘fraternity-terror’ on itself through the mediation of a leader, obedience legitimates the sovereignty of the exploiters in the eyes of the exploited."

--- Critique of Dialectical Reason / Jean-Paul Sartre
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