Where I study
Queens University Belfast
Don't believe in it
- About me
- What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat?
The misguided belief that true morality lies in attachment to a set of dogmas - be they religious, political or other - and that these dogmas must be rigidly adhered to, by ignoring evidence that undermines them or changes in the world that render them obsolete
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
The most important change of opinion I've ever had - and the one that required the most agonizing - was realizing that 'anti-imperialism' (or 'opposition on principle to Western military intervention') was something highly negative and reactionary, rather than positive and progressive.
Without getting into their utter hypocracy and cynicism, anti-Western radicalism isn't even a good ideology for liberating peoples under imperialist rule. Let's compare 2 'bourgeois' struggles for freedom, and 2 'revolutionary' struggles for freedom:
Turkey – the Ottoman Empire – was a virtual economic colony of the Western imperialist powers before World War I; foreign control was established over the Ottoman Public Debt, while under the system of the ‘capitulations’, foreign merchants in the Ottoman Empire were exempt from taxation and from the jurisdiction of the Ottoman courts. The economic colonisation of the Ottoman Empire by European imperialism culminated during and after World War I in foreign invasion and the attempt by the victorious British, French and Italians to dismember the Anatolian Turkish heartland and divide it into zones of influence. If there was ever – in the history of the world – a genuinely anti-imperialist movement of national liberation, then it was the movement led by Mustafa Kemal’s Turkish nationalists, which not only saved the Turkish heartland from territorial dismemberment but freed it from foreign economic domination. And this was carried out under a Westernising regime that set Turkey on the path to post-war alliance with the US and NATO membership; today, the Turkey created by this revolution is attempting to complete the process by joining the EU.
We can tell a similar story about Ireland, which was colonised by Britain from the 16th century onwards, and whose people suffered a long history of dispossesion, forceful assimilation as well as ethnic cleansing and genocide under Cromwell. Ireland's liberation from British domination was slow and painful, but it is today a prosperous EU member. We can compare the Turkish and Irish experiences favourably with those countries that liberated themselves from Western domination under the banner of a radically anti-Western or anti-capitalist ideology – China, Cuba, Iran. Their experiences show that the anti-Western, anti-capitalist cure may be worse than the Western neo-colonial disease. For all the qualifications that must be made (Turkey’s oppression of the Kurds; Ireland’s domination by conservative Catholicism; the restriction of personal freedoms in both countries; etc.), the Turkish and Irish experiences show that not only is it entirely possible for colonised countries to achieve genuine national and economic liberation within the global capitalist order, but that this is best achieved under the banner of a Western-style or Westernising nationalist ideology, rather than an anti-capitalist or anti-Western ideology.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world?
The Birth of Fascist Ideology by Zeev Sternhell.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozic.
A Theory of Justice by John Rawls.
The Left Revisionists by Marko Attila Hoare.
Who are your political heroes?
Those with whom I most identify are Tony Blair, Zoran Djindjic, Ivica Racan, Latinka Perovic, Bogic Bogicevic and Stjepan Mesic (my profile picture). Those whose historical contribution to human emancipation I most appreciate are Josip Broz Tito, Lepa Radic, Mosa Pijade, Stjepan Radic, Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Michael Collins.
What Political causes do you support?
If there has been one cause that has long inspired me above all others, it is the cause of small nations struggling to free themselves from oppression or domination by larger ones. Even before I became interested in Yugoslavia and the Balkans, I was greatly moved by the history of the Irish struggle for freedom and independence from Britain (Northern Ireland is another kettle of fish though...). I have long felt that the cause of freedom for oppressed nations has not figured as prominently as it should in progressive political thinking, and have always found national-chauvinistic ideologies that justify the suppression or forced assimilation of subject peoples to be uniquely horrifying.
What would you do with the UN?
Expel Russia and China from the Security Council, and suspend the memberships of all states run by dictatorships, or guilty of genocide, state-sponsored racism or other forms of massive human rights abuse.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world?
The rise of militantly anti-Western ideologies outside the democratic world (whether nationalist, religious-fundamentalist or left-wing or right-wing extremist), occurring in conjunction with the rise of self-hating anti-Western sentiment among the political classes within the Western democratic world.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge?
I loathe and despise the anti-Western, so-called 'radical' left out of all proportion to their actual political significance.
Korak naprijed, puka gotov s', siju pjesmu svi, Za dom braćo, za slobodu, borimo se mi!
- Last Activity 2 Hours Ago
- Join Date 03-07-2012
Join Date 03-07-2012
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