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05 September 2006

Austerity as Atrocity

Where does, where should one draw the 'line,' if any between 'atrocity' and 'non-atrocity?'
Perhaps the 'term' 'non-atrocity' is overbroad.
An (the?) international legal controversy of late has pertained
to certain questions about where 'non-torture' ends and 'torture' begins.
I tend to concern myself with questions about the shape
of the threshold or 'frontier' between X and NOT-X.

I have been thinking about the subject of atrocities, torture and mistreatment since being a small child.
This is not because I have been mistreated, but because I have been known to watch
the occasional espionage thriller or even daytime soap on the plugindrug, and these art forms
tend to emphasize questions of personal conduct under extreme duress,
especially mental duress. In actual fact, of course, I am an American citizen by birth
and by virtue of (practically) that (alone) I am, I'm sure, well over 80th percentile
when it comes to enjoyment of humyn rights.

Like any NC1965 (NC=natal cohort) unit raised on soap, my youth was peppered with
conversations with peers and others modeled around the proprietary game Scruples®.
There seems to have been a general consensus that fear of intractable pain of
more than momentary duration is feared more than death itself.
Also considered a fate literally worse than death is to allow oneself
under duress to somehow serve causes antithetical to one's personal life
agenda. I may not be 'rugged' but I still identify shamelessly with 'individualism.'
Some call it hypocrisy.
I can't categorically 'demonstrate' that ruggedness isn't an
absolute prerequisite for individualism, but as with M. F. Luder,
there are some things some people simply want to believe.

Speaking of hypocrisy, I myself have been known to self-identify with
scruples, norms; sometimes even 'morals.'
Sometimes I'm in an abstract mood and speak of 'self-imposed constraints.'
I can definitely think of things I've done that I wish I hadn't.
None, of course, fall under my meager 'understanding' of what
torture is, let alone what an atrocity might be.
I could make a list, but I use my real name here at,
and we're living in the age of Total Information Awareness,
which is turning out also to be the age of Managed Migration
(and managerialism in general) so yes, Virginia,
not only is Big Brother watching, but so is the globe's
'collective' 'human resources department.'
The good news is,
the situation hasn't yet degenerated
to one in which I would have to kill you
if I told you.
Perhaps next week there will be a 'confessions' section within 'my' blog.

Austerity as Liberatory Technology

The present blog, in case the present reader didn't already know, was started as a 'containment bucket'.
This means that opinionated content tends to be posted here. This is not done in order to increase
the level of acrimony here at, but simply to serve as some kind of pressure valve
for you and yours, truly. In addition to creating a 'space' where you might be able to vent.
To do so, try clicking on any 'blue' (i.e. 'link-colored') 'underscore' characters you might see.
The present blog allows me
to vent when getting certain things out of my system (specifically my splenetic system)
before I'm OK to write the stuff I post in NPOV spaces such as those of the Wikimedia Foundation
and other NPOV groups.

The present screed is too partisan for the parts of wikiaspace that I sometimes haunt,
so I brought it here instead of to pubwan scratchpad, one of the 'mini-wikia,'
even though it would be considered 'on topic' there.
Good taste, as well as adherence to the neutrality principle of pubwan,
requires that pubwan-relevant screeds go with screeds, not with pubwan content.

Pubwan was originally intended as a liberatory technology.
It will probably be a long time before anyone knows whether
that potential actually exists.
Pubwan is to be configured (we hope)
to be capable of (among other things)
empirical research on the subject of austerity.
The normative question I am struggling with
is whether 'voluntary' austerity is somehow
'better' than 'involuntary' austerity.
I'd like to get some testable answers,
but testable answers to such questions
may in fact be theoretically impossible.
After all, information does not want to
be free, regardless of what I want
to believe.

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