The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

BSG Escapism

July 20, 2006

Current events are depressing.

My book manuscript looks at religious warfare and state collapse in early modern Europe. It is depressing.

So some depressing-but-exciting escapism seems in order. Courtesy of YouTube: the 3rd Season BSG preview:

I could’ve done without the background music.

I’ve actually agonized about whether to pull this. Sometimes current events and the stark reality of actual warfare can make it difficult to enjoy, well, stories about genocide, insurgencies, war crimes, and warfare. It doesn’t seem right. My wife and I haven’t touched any of our more violent video games. We’ve been playing We Love Katamari. Our anime episodes pile up. We watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report for release.

I think of my daughter’s anxiety about moving–the fear that she will lose her place, her stuff, her life as she knows it–and consider how many children in the world experience the full, naked, terror of actually losing those things… and more.

I’m sick of the warhawks. Israel is justified in its desire to destroy Hizbullah, but I find it difficult to rationalize the level of destruction being inflicted on Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

From the sectarian violence in Iraq to the civil conflicts raging in parts of Africa, it seems like the world is doing its best to affirm Hobbes over Locke. I do not wish to accept the implications that follow.

Those of us living the advanced-industrialized world should remember, always, the enormous privileges–in wealth but, more fundamentally, in human security–that we have been born into. I don’t know exactly what that means in terms of international moral duties, but I do think basic human empathy needs to play, in one way or another, a larger role in our political opinions and policies.

Back to work.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.