The ideal of injustice

Image: Lewis Burrows


Between war and state helplessness, there is some convergence, but also distance: in one case, institutional abandonment is portrayed, in the other there is a war, with the imposition of institutionalized violence

"Fiat pereat mundus” (Kant)

The hooks with reality, macro and micro, are the Israel x Gaza war and the deadly attacks on Brazilian public schools.

We grew up and studied hoping – or to learn – that the State, the Public Power, should make public policies aimed at justice, social pacification, and raising levels of sociability. We study that the appropriate brakes on the State itself, as a privileged institution, the inaugural institution of other institutions, are a result of the Rule of Law – and that this Rule of Law is composed of the separation of powers, fundamental rights and the ideal of the Republic.

However, the reality of everyday life, except for selfless, privileged people spared from the devastating effects of the class struggle, shows that what we describe is a myth – this corresponds to the myth of the State (of law) that has been forming since the end of the XNUMXth century, with the equivalence of a constitutional right that, in the myth's thesis, should be followed by the State itself.

A rule of this secular myth concerns exactly what we are talking about, it comes from an institutional sentence: “you bear the law that you created”. That is, if the State creates a law for citizens, this law must be observed and held accountable by the State, so that it is not a “super citizen” above social interests.

When this rule falls apart, is broken, there are many consequences, such as an increase in crime, challenges to the State's ability to impose general rules, disbelief and distrust towards the State, towards public power. In a few lines, it can be said that the failure of this myth of the State is equivalent to the failure of rationality: helpless, abandoned, the individual begins to act on his own, very close to what Thomas Hobbes called a state of war, of everyone against all, in Leviathan.

And, otherwise, free not to comply with its own rules or indifferent to the rules set by other States, “our” State starts to act without limits, without subsumption to the strings of balance and counterweights; that is, it becomes an arbitrary, authoritarian, dictatorial, monocratic, autocratic or totalitarian State.

The break, the rupture of the myth of the State – which is the myth of justice – causes injustices and these injustices feed another series of reactions of injustice. Rationally, humanity did not give itself a State as a gift to cause severe injustices; however, without belief in fair law (an instrument equivalent to justice), the unjust State feels even more free to act in an increasingly unjust manner.

This ideal of injustice, paradoxically, rises in the contours of rationality – planning and trivialization of evil, as Hannah Arendt said –, as the myth of the rule of law diminishes. Historically, the Greeks defined the state apparatus – in a way greater than the idea of ​​public power (especially because the people were no more than 7% of the population) – as a myth: the one described in the banquet of the gods.

We know that only highly rated people sit with the gods, for the Greeks the exclusivity of participating in politics was male. The idea of Urstaat, as an original, primordial State, would later be discovered, by political anthropology, together with the Sumerian States.

In this sense pointed out in the text, when the State loses the ideal of justice (mythical) it ends up generating a myth or mixture of a totalitarian, authoritarian State, which is still called a State of non-law or non-State.

Without responsibility for justice (or injustice), the State declares war for the purpose of decimation. All war is about power and hate. However, if it is possible to use redundancy between the terms, we would say that the Israel x Gaza war is a “war of hate”, of complete extermination. It reminds us of a “final solution war”. In fact, many actions and strategies date back to the worst human experience in terms of “war of extermination”.

At its extreme, the myth of the State feeds a terrible confusion between “justice” (redemption from the enemy) and planned genocide. Paraphrasing Kant in To perpetual peace, if the consent of citizens is required to make a decision whether or not to start a conflict (in the case of Israel x Gaza, support already becomes consent), then naturally, it is necessary to think a lot about it, because once it starts, everyone will have to deal with the problems arising from the decision, which will make (in case of joining conflicts) the peace that will come later much more bitter. Not to mention that, in the multipolar world, reactions must be much more serious – or they should, if we think that the UN Security Council, under a terrible design of “vetoes”, is incapable of stopping the war of extermination in Gaza.

It is important to be clear that war is not the suspension of peace; war is equivalent to the failure of diplomacy, politics and negotiation. Peace, in turn, can be understood as the preparation for war, while war is equivalent to the denial of life.

Extractors of peace are expositors of war. They are two sides of the same coin, on the same border where life becomes extinct. If war is not the opposite of peace (just an armistice), war is the denial of life. Without this basic understanding, one does not know what humanity is. There is a long philosophy for this, but it starts with Kant, in the book To perpetual peace. And there is no peace when there is an organized fan base around war – it’s obvious.

There are those who like or worship monsters, we don't like monsters, no matter what side they are on. At this threshold, the actions of State Zionism in Gaza are equivalent to the Nazi State – as a State form. In turn, school violence hides (or reveals) the absurdity of public helplessness.

Both completely subverted the mystique that there can be some justice in the repressive and ideological apparatus of the State. Even though, at first glance, it sounds like a complete paradox.

In the absence of the myth of the rule of law, in the belief in law, what is also called reason of state or “last reason of kings”, or the right to kill in the name (in reason) of an absolute truth, predominates. Holy wars or organized crime tribunals have something in common.

Therefore, if we make a connection between the violence practiced in school environments and the war, in Gaza, for example, we still need other guidelines. Therefore, it is worth noting that in occupied Gaza there is a state of exception maintained by state terrorism. And despite this, the violence of Hamas (also terrorist) cannot be confused with the helplessness of the student who shoots his classmates. Remembering that some of these young people are followers of neo-Nazi movements, the paradox increases because many are victims of the absence of the State and the attempt to replace it with a highly disruptive force, disconnected from humanity – which is neo-Nazism.

Therefore, between war and state helplessness, there is some convergence, but also distance: in one case, institutional abandonment is portrayed, in the other there is a war, with the imposition of institutionalized violence. In the case of school violence, the “non-State” prevails, as Norberto Bobbio wanted, at the other extreme, in the Israel x Gaza war, a super State prevails, a State of war under martial law, which only obliges people, not granting limits to the “right to war”.

In this way, violence in schools is for the non-State, just as violence in war is for the super-State, the State of exception and the attempt to legitimize crimes against humanity – the case of war would be exemplary to demonstrate how rational-legal domination became an exception (exception) in the service of a dominus. At one end of the equation, there is a State without any control, at the other (schools) there is a total absence of institutionalities that should be guided by the rationality of social pacification.

In general, the opposite of the myth of the State is its reality, naked and cruel. In common, the two facts still clarify who wins most in the war: the violence that fuels the arms industry[I]. And what is deeply defeated is the culture of peace.

In both cases – school violence and the Israel x Gaza war – injustice prevails, and, as there is no justice for anyone, either due to the absence of the State or due to an excess of exceptions, the unjust State gives citizens a space, a gap, to do their own thing. take justice into your own hands. In the end, violence – unbridled or conditioned – is the only constant.

*Vinicio Carrilho Martinez He is a professor at the Department of Education at UFSCar.

*Lucas Gonçalves da Gama is gstudying Philosophy at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).



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