Hart: Are you secure?

Gary Hart has it about right:

…most Americans are not feeling secure. And that is because the realities of the twenty-first century, unlike the twentieth, do not lend themselves to military solution. Security in this new age must be understood much differently than just a few years ago.

While he’s light on the details (so far, anyway, but this might well just be the first salvo in a much larger project), Gary rightly notes that we have to begin thinking about security in different ways than we ever have before.

Yup. But how, precisely? Well, here’s some foundational reading that might suggest possibilities. Think about networks…

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8 thoughts on “Hart: Are you secure?

  1. I completely agree with Hart and completely disagree with Smith. Yes we are not secure by any means, which I believe is mostly anxiety over the 4th Amendment provisions, and not the 1st like it was so often in the 20th century..
    Secondly, postmodern ‘deconstruction’ hasn’t at all died because we are still simply surrounded by mass metanarratives. And, they have power. The church is still there, mass education is still there, pop art, network news, the Big 3 credit score-reporting agencies,
    the list goes on – I think Smith has totally jumped the gun. What does he mean by a ‘network’, really, other than another interpretation of minority power, which doesn’t really mean anything as long as the agents of any particualr minority still have to answer, to some extent, to larger mass forces..

  2. Well, you’re trying to make things a lot more cut and dried than they are. When you’re talking about something as massive as a shift from one age to the next, the cusp is always going to be populated with stragglers, so sure, you still see plenty of the postmodern, and will for some time to come.
    Second, there’s the complicating factor represented by the neocons and their ilk. When 9/11 happened, my first thought was that pomo just died. But what comes next? Obviously pomo, being about the great tearing down, would give rise to some new constructionist age, it seemed, but one of the dangers was that the new age would be a cynical, reactionary neo-Modernism.
    And we are seeing plenty along those lines, too. So right now we haven’t seen a clean overnight break from pomo into the distributed age. We’re in a phase where we see the neocons fighting to restore the monolith.
    If history is any teacher in all this, we’ll see the neocon uprising fade over time – in many ways it’s allied with a neo-Luddite impulse, and those movements can be powerful, exerting an influence, but progress always seems to win out in the end.
    Finally, I’m not sure what you mean by interpreting network as minority power? There are obviously implictions for all kinds of groups in the network, but the metaphor goes well beyond that kind of reading (telemedicine and new urbanism, for instance – do you see those as somehow necessarily about minority power distribution?)

  3. is it about minority power distribution -?
    yes, if the aspect of power distribution isn’t factored into the overall discussion, then what are we talking about besides just another art movement?
    In my view its Smith thats making it cut and dried by saying that a break Exists and that an Age has ended. I need more evidence – I mean: Chomsky said the only thing new about 9/11 was the choice of target, I could agree that the bouyancy of the 90s ended there but 40-50 years of critical tradition-hm? dunno
    To these people who we would think of as ‘conservative’, postmodernism is just another liberal conceit, it doesn’t describe their world. Maybe fragmentation could be further brought to the masses before a liberal minority declares it dead, or do we really wish to leave people behind?

  4. and this too (declaring ages dead and so on)
    is an issue I have had with taking seriously a lot of the avant-garde and ‘language’ poetry – their primary contention is with other poets, not with being understood in society at large, which in turn causes fragmentation and mistrust

  5. >>yes, if the aspect of power distribution isn’t factored into the overall discussion, then what are we talking about besides just another art movement?<<
    I see where you’re coming from. Sure, it’s political – we’re talking artistic, cultural, social, structural, and that’s inherently political.
    >>In my view its Smith thats making it cut and dried by saying that a break Exists and that an Age has ended. I need more evidence – I mean: Chomsky said the only thing new about 9/11 was the choice of target, I could agree that the bouyancy of the 90s ended there but 40-50 years of critical tradition-hm? dunno<<
    Well, like I say, when you’re talking about these kinds of macro breaks, you’re probably never going to arrive at anything that’s as clean as the high school textbooks a hundred years on make it out to be. When I say pomo died on 9/11, I do so knowing full well that I’ll have been dead for a good while before the ultimate truth of that theory is knowable.
    I would argue that the Next Big Thing has been ready for birthing for some time, though. I got my first glimpse of it reading Gibson’s VIRTUAL LIGHT – there was in that vision a profound REbuilding under way, and even though I think Gibson would see it as pomo, I felt something distinctly new at work – a suspicion that was fully vindicated by the conclusion of ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES.
    Humans are builders, and Modernism was as big a building as we ever threw up. Pomo was inherently (and arguably necessarily) corrosive, because in order to move forward the dysfunctional structures of Modernism had to be cleared out of the way. But the tearing down isn’t the end, it’s merely a temporary means. I have felt for some time like pomo has done its work. And the thing about 9/11 was the hellish bender it laid on the possibility of radical relativism (an essential element to the aforementioned corrosion). 9/11 seemed designed to force choices, and the making of choices signals the dawn of the new era.
    But hey, like I say, my descendants might know if I was right in another two or three generations.
    >>To these people who we would think of as ‘conservative’, postmodernism is just another liberal conceit, it doesn’t describe their world. Maybe fragmentation could be further brought to the masses before a liberal minority declares it dead, or do we really wish to leave people behind?<<
    I don’t know that I see where this comes from. I’m surely not offering a vision for leaving people behind. I do see the risk, of course – no matter what the age, power is always about leaving people behind if it can. Instead, I’m more talking about how the terrain of this battle will be different from the present and past terrains. In some senses, the network age represents new possibilities for the underclasses and minorities, especially if they’re quickly able to adapt to the distributed dynamic before the power elites are able to transform their own heft into the language of the new political distribution….

  6. hmm ok – i think the difference of opinion over how much should be torn down is the difference of opinion in the Democratic party as a whole, which won’t be resolved until I’m dead either probably 🙂
    I like the idea of re-construction from an artistic perspective, I haven’t read much Gibson but I have tried to see it from the low-tech end: the French have a folk art called pique assiette which was developed sometime this century, usually you see it in ceramics – which is kind of like the old pomo school of collage, but re-assembly is the driving motif. I think it could have literary applications as well

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