Monday, March 19, 2018

"No Realistic Possibility": Nuclear Governmentality and the Contradictions of Liberal Governance

In September I posted on a logic of government that I refer to as "nuclear governmentality" at my blog here:

My academic (but quite applicable) analysis takes the idea of "nuclearity," developed by Gabrielle Hecht, a step further by examining the way biopolitics (the governance of biological life) and state sovereignty (of the Hobbesian sort) are constituted in and by the apparatus I describe as nuclear governmentality.

I shall not rehearse my argument here, but rather encapsulate its conclusion that nuclear governmentality is a logic of government encoded in markets, judicial systems, and other elite institutions (e.g., in medicine and education) that is CLOSED to the biological and social effects of its operations because its extractive, domineering ethos is legitimized by a conception of enlightened technocratic deification.

My work draws upon, synthesizes and extends academic research of the kind illustrated in this study on the atomic priesthood linked here:

What the construct of nuclear governmentality offers to the conversation is a way of tying liberalism to nuclear energy production and of thematizing the contradictions in the government of life that are unfortunately resolved in ways that corrode its most essential biological foundations because extractive and warlike impulses ultimately prevail.

We see the logic of nuclear governmentality illustrated in this news report describing a judicial decision favoring ongoing construction of a nuclear power plant in Japan because there is allegedly "no realistic possibility of a serious accident occurring":
Kazuki Nunota (2018, March 19). Court sides with power company over Oma nuclear plant. The Asahi Shimbun,

HAKODATE, Hokkaido--A court in northern Japan on March 19 dismissed a lawsuit to halt construction of a nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture on grounds there was no realistic possibility of a serious accident occurring.
The failure to learn the lessons of Fukushima, particularly in geologically active areas of the world, can only be understood in relation to a systematic closure to information that is not coded as promoting extractive and sovereign logics.

The vitalities of the population and the eco-system are de-valued, particularly in relation to their futures, which are discounted by a logic of government that fails to imagine any hazards befalling them.

Japan's judicial system is encoded with multiple imperatives but the global logic of nuclear governmentality clearly over-rides other logics of government, such as biopolitical ones of the pastoral form that aim to optimize the health of the populace and the sustainability of our eco-system.

What does nuclear governmentality signal for the viability of liberal governance? It means that the dual operations of sovereignty and biopolitics are ultimately incommensurable and that sovereignty of the brute, Hobbesian sort (not the more ambivalent pastoral sovereignty) is ascendant.

Liberalism will dissolve into a more brutal neo-mercantilism reminiscent (but of course different) from what existed at the turn of the twentieth-century.

The most relevant contemporary difference is that today the warlike, neo-mercantile powers (both liberal and not) have unprecedented technologies of war and policing.


  1. Scientist have discovered that the exorbitant, never before seen, amounts of radionuclides in moat of japan are mutating human dna so rapidly, it cant be kept up with. Two new human blood types, in japan now. 20 years ago autism was 1 in sixty, in the world. Now it is 1 in 20 and it is doubling every 3 to 5 years. Its is simply a silent,death zone there now with little hope of future generations there, to replace old ones. Chronic illness, like.thyroid tumors and thyroid disease has increased dramatically. Chernobyl heart is occuring. Cancer is rampant. Will be hree too soon, unless all the reactors are shut off. The idea that anything is stable in japan and ukraine is a joke. They are not dissolving into neomercantile powers, they are rapidly devolving, mutating and disintigrating into hellholes along the.lines of orly.

  2. Similar to the scenario of Dimitry orlov, only he has been wrong too. Nuclear devastation is one of the worst ecological catastrophes possible. Some of it is happening in slow motion in Japan, because of the nature of their culture. Iraqs infrsrucure was destoyed by an invading army that flooded it with lethal radioactive and caustic chemical. It is quite destabilized, and has liitle hope in the future. Japan is rotting from the inside out. Furthermore, it is worsening the risk of greater catastrophe. It is also relying on absolute denial of reality, and criminal genocide to exist.

  3. Masher1 gave me the complete archive backup of ENENEWS, just FYI ask if you want

    1. Why did you use a private investigator to track down the owner of Enemews Stock?, like you said you did on enenews.

  4. As I read your article I automatically translate it into ordinary language as much as possible as otherwise it will mean almost nothing. I realize that academics have to come across as erudite and writing with a certain abstruseness helps I am sure. But neologisms like governmentality really are ugly especially when linked with nuclear.

    So bad people or, better, people with a lot of ignorance and much of the instinctive in their natures manage to gain control of the levers of power and carry out destructive projects like they always have. And we are stuck with them. So Abel may have reflected seconds before he died from Cain's actions. In fact the problem may be humankind's oldest serious problem.
    Aldous Huxley wrote about "politics from the margin" and being a little kinder to each other. I would go a further step and suggest, first find out who it is that finds the world so off course and then see how the world looks.

    1. Yes... but add to that the sort of dialectic of destruction as technology becomes ever more powerful in its capacities to extract and destroy. The dialectical element is derived from the recognition that this is happening....with the subsequent "techno-rational" response, which presumes control.

    2. I was working on encapsulating my academic thoughts - that is the reason for the jargon but I do think its helpful for capturing these distinct logics - biopolitics and sovereignty

    3. Oddly enough the traditional family as opposed to the nuclear and now the single adult family acted as a bulwark against the incivilities of progress. But it is gone. As for technology I agree it is a deadly intoxicant. AI can think very well as demonstrated in its playing Go so well; but to have values requires feeling and for AI that is out the question. Pseudo values? Perhaps. What will determine whether this self driving vehicle hits the new Mercedes or the dog? Whose dog?
      This family's dog which values it greatly. Personally I would go for the Mercedes and take some care not to injure the passengers and driver. Or maybe it is just a new BMW parked along the street. I don't drive fast. But the AI vehicle will make a quick financial calculation and hit the dog. Etc. I greatly appreciated the fine book Small Is Beautiful. Could we ever consider that seriously as a society?

  5. Thanks for the heratfelt, eloquent, and honest observations William.

  6. How the mercers helped buy the election for the dictatotr Donald Trump and corrented the stock market in this rigged oligarch economy.

  7. 3.4 milionths of a gram of californium, aborbed into your body, will destroy your ability to make red blood cells.

  8. Criminal, impeachable offense, by Trump
    Typical criminality of trump and miniionsunanswered
    By LORRAINE WOELLERT 03/20/2018 06:00 PM EDT

    "Walmart and other retailers were forced to throw out food in Puerto Rico even as people stood in line outside stores. |

    Walmart and other supermarkets in Puerto Rico were forced to throw out tons of perishable meat and produce after Hurricane Maria when their pleas for emergency fuel were ignored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to congressional investigators.

    The retail giant and others reached out to FEMA officials repeatedly after the storm, seeking fuel to keep food refrigerated. They enlisted the help of Gov. Ricard Rosselló and other island officials, as well as members of Congress, to deliver emails, texts and in-person messages to FEMA. In one instance, a Puerto Rico official received an urgent email from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on Sept. 22 while the official was sitting in a meeting with FEMA.

    “FYI I’m sitting with the FEMA rep right now so we are taking care of this,” the Puerto Rico official wrote minutes after receiving the Gutierrez email.

    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) released details of the emails in a letter to the committee chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), on Tuesday. In the letter, they repeated a longstanding request for a subpoena to force the Department of Homeland Security to produce documents related to FEMA’s disaster response.

    “Senior officials at Walmart took extraordinary measures to try to convey their emergency requests to FEMA,” Cummings and Plaskett wrote. “FEMA did not respond to requests for fuel as tons of desperately needed food went bad.”

    On Sept. 25, a Walmart official said the company had two days’ worth of generator fuel left at its distribution center on the island.

    “It is critical that we keep that going in order to preserve our fresh inventory,” the executive said in a text to a Puerto Rico official. “If that goes down it could take weeks to replenish which would have a big negative impact on the island.”

    “Noted,” the official responded. “I do not know what is going on with communication in FEMA right now.”

    By Sept. 27, a week after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Rossell√≥ personally intervened, asking FEMA Acting Regional Administrator John Rabin to get generator fuel to grocery stores “immediately.” The fuel never arrived.

    Walmart and other retailers were forced to throw out food even as people stood in line outside stores, according to the letter. “It is unclear how many tons of perishable meat, dairy and produce were lost,” the lawmakers wrote.

    In October, Gowdy and Cummings asked DHS and FEMA to produce documents related to the storm response in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The agencies have since been “stonewalling” and have “not produced a single email relating to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico,” Cummings and Plaskett wrote."

    “We reiterate our request that you issue a subpoena to compel DHS to produce all of the documents we originally requested,”

  9. Cancer, George Montbiot, and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout

    Montbiot is an infamous fukushima denier, who went after Dt Busby and Dr Caldicott in the media after their presentations on fukushima. Montbiot was working with hack lady judge who worked for The uk nuclear security state and the nuclear cabal.
    I was in a cancer downwinder cluster area in a small town with just an outragious number of late baby boomers,having prostate cancer. Dr Busby is one of the smartest and most accomplished radionuclide toxicology, and radiation scientists in the world.

  10. Diptheria vases in america on the rise in adults


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