Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Civil Society and its Evil Twin

There is nothing more convenient than polarity; by simply having a position, the other can be taken simply for granted. Yet there is significant difficulty, or dare I say logical inconsistency, in comparing something with the lack of it. Nothing is simply nothing, so you can not say that it is merely something else; a case in point deals with our understanding of what it means to have a civil society. "They", of course, don't have it, but we certainly do. We therefore have Justice, their streets are riddled with crime. And this is how the basic conception of the issue is framed, beginning from something that is lacking, and henceforth commencing into diametrically opposed configurations. Justice - Crime. Of course, these are all heuristic tools to discuss how one side is superior to the other, and to think for a moment that we have advanced from the days when the Greeks would call their linguistically variant neighbors 'Barbarians', we would certainly be mistaken. All that has changed is the terms, the logic (or lack thereof) remains the same.