Wednesday, March 30, 2005

that old trick

But justice, however unpresentable it may be, doesn't wait. It is that
which must not wait. To be direct, simple, and brief, let us say this: a just
decision is always required *immediately*, "right away." It cannot furnish
itself with infinite information and the unlimited knowledge of conditions,
rules or hypothetical imperatives that could justify it. And even if it did
have all of that at its disposal, even if it did give itself the time, all the
time and the necessary facts about the matter, the moment of *decision,* *as
such,* always remains a finite moment of urgency and precipitation, since it
must not be the consequence or effect of this theoretical or historical
knowledge, of this reflection or deliberation, since it always marks the
interruption of the juridico- or ethico- or politico-cognitive deliberation that
precedes it, that *must* precede it. The instant of decision is a madness, says
Kierkegaard. This is particularly true of the instant of the just decision that
must rend time and defy dialectics. It is a madness.


Politicization, for example, is interminable even if it cannot and
should not ever be total. To keep this from being a truism or a triviality, we
must recognize in it the following consequence: each advance in politicization
obliges one to reconsider, and so to reinterpret, the very foundations of law
such as they had been previously calculated or delimited. This was true for
example in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, in the abolition of slavery, in
all the emancipatory battles that remain and will have to remain in progress,
everywhere in the world, for men and for women. Nothing to me seems more
outdated than the classical emancipatory ideal. We cannot attempt to disqualify
it today, whether crudely or with sophistication, at least not without treating
it too lightly and forming the worst complicities. But beyond these identified
territories of juridico-politicization on the grand geo-political scale, beyond
all self-serving interpretations, beyond all determined and particular
reappropriations of international law, other areas must constantly open up that
at first can only seem like secondary or marginal areas. This marginality also
signifies that a violence, indeed a terrorism and a hostage-taking are at work
(the examples closest to us would be found in the are of laws on the teaching
and practise of languages, the legitimization of canons, the military use of
scientific research, abortion, euthanasia, problems of organ transplant,
extra-uterine conception, bio-engineering, medical experimentation, the social
treatment of AIDS, the macro- or micro-politics of drugs, the homeless, and so
on, without forgetting, of course, the treatment of what we call animal life,


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