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"We Exist to Fight"

The Killing Elite and Bush II's Iraq War

Steve Reyna

Speaking with unusual candor, Powell reminds people that the US exists “to fight.” The secretary of state is revealing something usually kept secret. The US is an empire, and one of the things empires do is fight to create, maintain, or enlarge themselves. This essay investigates a category of oligarchs or elites—those responsible for the overall management of imperial violence—who in Bush II’s regime came to be known as the Vulcans. In the next section the Vulcans are presented. In the following section, a ‘deadly sirens’ framework is developed for explaining their actions. Then in the third section, this framework is applied to the Vulcans’ activities, showing how they contributed to Gulf War II.

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Steve Reyna

This essay is concerned with where the current of global political and economic events runs. It addresses this concern by erecting an argument in three stages. First, a string being theory (SBT) is outlined. Second, this theory is used to formulate an SBT approach to imperialism, one that might be imagined as Lenin by alternative (theoretical) means, emphasizing the role of violent force. The 'seven deadly sirens'—generalizations that predict the exercise of violent force under different conditions in imperial systems—are introduced. Third, certain post-1945 US government uses of violence are analyzed in terms of their fit with the seven sirens' predictions. Oil depletion is considered as contributing to systemic crisis in capital accumulation, and its role in Gulf War II is explored. It is concluded that US government violence is consistent with the sirens' predictions. The essay terminates with speculation about where the current runs.

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What is interpretation?

A cultural neurohermeneutic account

Steve Reyna

This essay answers the question: what is interpretation? It does so by proposing that interpretation involves certain brain operations. These utilize perceptual and procedural culture stored in neural networks. The parts of the brain performing interpretation are said to constitute a cultural neurohermenetic system, hypothesized to function according to an interpretive hierarchy. It is argued that such an approach has two benefits. The first of these is to provide a non-sociobiological, non-reductionist way of analyzing interactions between culture and biology. The second benefit is to provide conceptual tools for explaining how the micro-realm within individuals (I-space) makes connections in the macro-realm (E-space) of events in social forms. Conceptualization of such connections forms a basis for a variety of social analysis termed complex string being theory.