On Mon, 22 Jan 1996, Randy Drabman wrote:

> >On Mon, 22 Jan 1996, Randy Drabman wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>
> >> Lord of the Flies is not my idea of historical justice.
> >
> >Yes, but herein lies the problem with your comparison. Correct me if I'm
> >wrong (read it a long time ago), the Lord of the Flies is a political
> >allegory based on an implicit "state of nature" philosophy. The
> >political violence of the *boys* (in Crusoe like isolation) is meant to
> >show how grown-ups act like children. The novel works as an indictment
> >on HUMANITY'S perpetual immaturity, without, indeed by decidedly erasing,
> >any specific conditions.
> >
> >While there MAY be a place for an existential critique of politics, the
> >conditions of racism in America are, I think, one of the worst places to
> >try it out.
> > > >
> >>
> >> Unfortunately, there is not. Go to local school district. Do an empirical
> >> test, and then let's talk.
> >
> >As Hume pointed out (right?) empiricism and observation cannot do much in
> >the way of understanding causal connections (why do these kids feel the
> >need to arm themselves?). In fact this sort of empirical test is
> >precisely what makes this very questionable comparison between the Nazis
> >and an American underclass possible.
> >
> >Erik> > >
> >
> >Erik D. Lindberg
> >Dept. of English and Comparative Lit.
> >University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
> >Milwaukee, WI 53211
> >email: edl@xxxxxxxxxxx
> My interpretation of Lord of the Flies is not a political allegory. It is
> a terrifying look at the nature of man. This is what I am attempting to
> amend.

Okay, since this is a Foucault list, I'm taking the license, here, to get
a bit more harsh. It is precisely phrases such as "the nature of man"
that Foucault spent his entire life combating. If you can use it that
simply, you simply haven't read Foucault. His arguments, moreover, are
not needless polemics or abstract games. Rather, he attempts to show the
consequences of the kind of thinking that "the nature of man"
indicates--real consequences, as bloody as an what you have seen.

Foucault has shown how medical, psychicatric, and penal reform--practiced
by those with the most well-meaning intentions (as are yours, I am
convinced)--nevertheless went awry. One could easily imagine him, had he
lived, showing how a certain kind of belief and discourse on contemporary
reform has unrecognized consequences. His is not the last word of
course. But at least read his words before you get haughtly dismissive
with us. No ship of fools, here.


> One must understand that Hume enjoyed playing billards, especially with Kant.
One must also understand that you take the billiard game that, say Locke
played, and then treat it as so much more serious and real than some mere

> Thank you for the intelligent response.

Erik D. Lindberg
Dept. of English and Comparative Lit.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53211
email: edl@xxxxxxxxxxx


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