Friday, May 9, 2014


The above Red Ice Radio interview with Darrell Hamamoto, published on May 02, 2014, explores some extremely important subjects.

Professor Hamamoto is a full professor at the University of California at Davis (aka "UC Davis"), in the Department of Asian American Studies, and the author of the recently-published book, Servitors of Empire, which relates to the material discussed in the above interview and examines a host of thought-provoking and timely topics.  

One of the most interesting aspects of the interview, and one which could be seen as the thread which runs through the numerous different subjects that Professor Hamamoto and host Henrik Palmgren examine during the course of the discussion, is the concept of "weaponization," which Professor Hamamoto first introduces in the context of his own department.

He notes that, while there are undoubtedly injustices which have been perpetrated in the past against men and women because of their ethnicity and origin (in the case of his particular field of focus, the history of Asian Americans in the United States, who have been discriminated against, exploited, and even physically incarcerated by the state during World War II) aspects of which continue to this day, he draws a clear distinction between the legitimate study of such injustices, study which is intended to prevent injustice and enhance human freedom, and (on the other hand) the weaponization of "ethnic studies" departments in academia, which are not actually intended to prevent injustice but which instead are intended to drive wedges between people, beat down or silence opposition to some particular agenda, and in fact to agitate for the restriction of human freedom instead of for the expansion of human freedom.

This is an incredibly important distinction, and one that Professor Hamamoto then expands upon throughout the rest of his talk.  In outlining this distinction, he says during the first hour of the interview (beginning at approximately 28:20 in the above video):
So I would have to say that I am partly complicit, since I'm in Asian American Studies, in advancing these notions, which are good in and of themselves: they're innocuous, they're harmless -- it's great to be proud to be Swedish, or Japanese, or Canadian, that's fine.  But, as I said, getting back to an earlier insight that I had, the social engineers and the mind managers -- very smart PhD-type people at the high levels of planning -- they figured out how to weaponize this sort of ethnic and national pride.  And they are able to exploit it and use it, against the . . . not just the American people but the people of the world.  
How can we further clarify this concept of "weaponization"?  Clearly, from the above discussion, it has  to do with the exploitation of something that is originally intended for good, concepts or intentions which are good in and of themselves: something intended to increase human freedom, identify and prevent injustice, and generally promote what I would call natural, universal law, which is discussed in numerous previous posts such as this one and this one.  In short, "good" in this sense means "expanding individual freedom, dignity, and enjoyment of the individual's natural-law rights."

Under the cover provided by these commendable ideals, weaponization actually aims to diminish human freedom, dignity, and the enjoyment of natural-law rights.  It takes something good, and twists it into something that is the opposite.

Again, definition of terms is important to examining this topic, and so we can say that by "good" is here meant: "designed to help others be more universally recognized as fully human, and more capable of exercising  their inherent, natural rights as a man or woman."  Discrimination on the basis of national origin or ethnicity obviously opposes the goal of helping others become more universally recognized as fully human, and seeks to inhibit their ability to exercise their inherent, natural rights as men or women -- so opposition to such discrimination is "good," as used here.

Weaponization, on the other hand, takes something that could and should be used for "good" and turns it against individuals, and in doing so tries to make them less fully human, less conscious, and less capable of exercising their rights as free men and women.  When someone seeks to use violence (including the force of artificial law) to prohibit another's ability to speak an opinion in a nonviolent way, that is an opposition to human freedom and the inherent natural rights of others.  To the extent that "gender studies" programs promote the shutting down of someone else's right to express their opinion in a nonviolent manner, they can be described as having been weaponized.

Further, to the extent that such programs promote the objectification of people by their race or national origin (lumping them together on the basis of some categorization or another) and in doing so treat them as an object and not as fully human men or women, then they can be described as having been weaponized.

This concept is very closely related to the vitally important essay by Simone Weil, written during the Second World War and published in 1940, entitled "The Iliad, or the Poem of Force," discussed in this previous post.  In that essay, she argues that the use of violence (describing most specifically the use of physical violence, but which we could expand to encompass all violation of another's natural-law rights) can best be described as "that x that turns anybody that is subjected to it into a thing."  She then goes on to demonstrate, using the poetry of Homer in The Iliad, that the very act of trying to turn someone else into "a thing" (to treat him or her as less than human, and to deny his or her natural, universal, inherent rights as a man or woman) turns the perpetrator of that violence into a thing as well, making the perpetrator less than human at the same time.

Her essay is clearly very pertinent to the discussion of weaponization in general, to the extent that we  can define weaponization as the subversion of something that is originally intended to affirm the humanity of another man or woman, and using it to deny their humanity instead ("turning them into a thing").

Professor Hamamoto provides examples from his own experience, and from his own subject-matter expertise as a professor in the Asian American Studies department of the University of California at Davis, that this weaponization is taking place in ethnic studies departments across the country (and probably in other countries as well).

But the discussion does not stop there, because he then applies the concept of weaponization to other extremely important areas that he has personally observed.  He demonstrates that in some ways, one could describe the entire university experience as having been "weaponized" -- and to the extent that education is clearly intended to be something "good" as defined earlier (intended to help people more fully recognize their own humanity and that of others, and to exercise their own freedom and that of others), if it is being used to diminish the recognition of one's own humanity and that of others, or of one's own rights under natural universal law and those of others, then it is indeed being weaponized.

Professor Hamamoto discusses the ways in which the agricultural science research at UC Davis (California's primary agricultural sciences university) is used to promote the development of genetically-modified crops -- the potential dangers of which are discussed in numerous previous posts on this blog, including this one, this one, this one and this one.  This research can obviously be described as the weaponization of food.

Professor Hamamoto discusses the ways in which the literature and humanities departments have adopted Marxist theory and applied it to the study of great works of literature, often to the exclusion of any other perspectives on those works of art.  To the extent that this practice silences opposition, and subverts the affirming, freeing messages of those works of art, and instead "turns those subjected to it into a thing," this is a weaponization of literature.

Professor Hamamoto discusses the proliferation of psychiatric counseling on campuses, which are overly-eager to prescribe psychotropic drugs to students -- to the extent that an overwhelming majority of his students admit to having been prescribed such medications at some point during their college career.  Again, while such medication may in appropriate situations be beneficial to those who need it, the over-eager prescription of mind-altering drugs to young men and women can be described as the weaponization of medicine.

Professor Hamamoto discusses the technological advances of the information technology revolution, which obviously can have tremendously positive effects when put to peaceful uses, and which can enhance people's lives.  However, to the extent that these technological advances are used to control men and women, rather than to liberate them -- as detailed in this and this and this previous post, for example -- this can only be described as a weaponization of technology.

Professor Hamamoto's definition of the concept of weaponization is obviously incredibly important, and incredibly pertinent to the changes we see taking place around us, and which threaten the exercise of natural-law rights by free men and women.  

And there is another area of human experience which is threatened by what can clearly be seen as the "weaponization" of something that was originally intended for human good, and that is the area that we can call the "weaponization of consciousness."  My most recent book, The Undying Stars, examines extensive evidence that the ancient scriptures of the human race, stretching from ancient Egypt to the Americas, and across the Pacific from Rapa Nui and Hawaii to Aotearoa and Australia, and from ancient China to ancient India, and even to the scriptures that found their way into the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, were all intended to point the way to increased human consciousness and the greater exercise of all the things defined as "good" in the preceding discussion -- especially the awareness of the beauty and dignity of all men and women.

But somewhere along the way -- and the evidence points to a very specific event in the first century which continued to develop over the next three hundred years, in the lands controlled by the Roman Empire -- the ancient scriptures were deliberately subverted, and in fact weaponized.  They have since been used to excuse the suppression of human freedom, and even the wholesale extermination of certain peoples and their way of life.  This weaponization can be shown to continue to this day.

We all owe Professor Hamamoto a debt of gratitude for his courage in exposing the weaponization of the university that he sees taking place, the impact of which is not confined to the university campus.  His decision to speak and write about this subject must certainly expose him to some significant pressure, criticism, and perhaps even professional consequences in his line of work.  His clear articulation of the important concept of weaponization is incredibly helpful, and can help us to identify such weaponization where it is taking place, and to more effectively speak against it (knowing that it often seeks to hide under the cover of a concept which is originally "good").

I will certainly be purchasing his most recent book and reading it with great interest, and encourage others to do so.