Saturday, June 30, 2012

Quote: State Dependence on Violence

The manufacture, possession, and deployment of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, and nuclear) must be counted as instances of declared governmental readiness to inflict cruel death upon civilian populations even when these weapons are not actually used. In brief, cruel modern technologies of destruction are integral to modern warfare, and modern warfare is an activity essential to the security and power of the modern state, on which the welfare and identity of its citizens depends. In war, the modern state demands from its citizens not only that they kill and maim others but also that they themselves suffer cruel pain and death. Human life is sacred [in modernist discourse], but only in particular contexts that the state defines."

-- Talal Asad (Formations of the Secular p. 117)

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