The National Security State and Dystopian Narcissism

Today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison has provoked considerable outrage. Birgitta Jónsdóttir addresses this nicely in her piece for The Guardian, “Bradley Manning’s Sentence: 35 Years for Exposing the Truth.”

And Rob Goodman has a very compelling piece on “dystopian narcissism” for The Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “The Comforts of the Apocalypse.” Dystopian narcissism is the selfish belief that your time, your civilization, your world is somehow unique in its proximity to the end times, to the disaster, to the apocalypse. As Goodman writes: “We’re virtually guaranteed to witness the end of nothing except our lives, and the present, far from fulfilling anything, is mainly distinguished by being the one piece of time with us in it.” I’ve been saying this for years. (Though perhaps the Doomsday Argument would disagree, as perhaps would Nick Bostrom [here and here and here and here] .)

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