[Play Sound Clip…] Given in 1961 at Rice University, this speech by President Kennedy highlighted a shift in United States policy that sought an ‘uncharted and undiscovered frontier’. The romanticized notions of space exploration in Kennedy’s speech established an imagined national identity bolstering America’s prestige and mastery over the public audience and outer space.
Jordan in 3
John W. Jordan “Kennedy’s Romantic Moon and its Rhetorical Legacy for Space Exploration” Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Vol 6 Num 2. Summer 2003. Pg: 209-231 The first component in Kennedy’s strategy of transcendence was a rhetorical cartography designed to bring the moon within the tangible grasp of his audience. In order to do this, Kennedy expanded his “New Frontier”rhetoric and established outer space as a reachable destination. Rhetors have frequently used frontier imagery as a mythic framework for proposed human action,relying on its ability to yield “a clearer conception of how history’s presentation of the past molds myths which are bases of action for the future.”37Rhetoric evoking the mythic frontier has provided Americans with a guiding sense of identity and enabled them to draw “pragmatic conclusions about practical applications.”38It constructed for audiences an adventuring,pioneer ethos that became “a dominant factor in our national her- itage.”39 The frontier imagery of the Rice University address enabled Kennedy to construct a transcendent bridge between the moon and his audience, a rhetorical strategy that allowed him to frame risks as adventures and contemporary Americans as intrepid pioneers.40 Even with the benefits of frontier rhetoric’s mythological framework, Kennedy’s task was still daunting.Getting people to think ofthemselves as pioneers is one thing; convincing them that outer space is a traversable frontier is quite another.Before his audience could cloak themselves in the mythic garb of the American frontiersmen, Kennedy needed to transform the moon and outer space into a tangible setting suit- able for the enactment of the pioneer persona. Kennedy’s approach to the problem was to craft a spatial rhetoric that minimized the distance and obstacles between Earth and the moon, thereby recasting space in terms that connected the moon to Earth in a seemingly reasonable way.Toward this end,Kennedy fashioned the moon as the next landing point on the “new frontier ofscience and space,”41and in so doing provided the people with a destination that stood, literally and figuratively, above their more troubling and politically charged earthly concerns. This approach demanded that he walk a fine line between the practical and the sublime in his characterization ofspace as a frontier.Although the infinity ofspace may have lent more of a sense of awe to the mythic character of Kennedy’s vision, it was not a viable option for his specific task. The sheer immensity ofspace might have left his audience dumbfounded and terrified in the face of their own cosmic insignificance. Scholars have identified this pitfall as the paradox of frontier rhetoric, which “implies unlimited space on the one hand [and] encourages con- quest on the other.”42Space is sublime, in the way Kenneth Burke used the word, confronting us with “some vastness of magnitude, power, or distance, dispropor- tionate to ourselves. . . .We recognize it with awe.”43The larger we understand the universe to be, the smaller and more insignificant we seem. Rhetors typically brace their audiences against this terror by bringing the sublime into symbolic language, thus achieving some measure of control over our fear.Crafting a “poetry ofthe sub- lime,”as Burke might have called it,enabled Kennedy to displace this fear and artic- ulate the enormity of space in a much safer manner. The president’s rhetoric was dependent on a tangible characterization ofthe moon,for “without an identifiable, concrete goal like the moon, the parallel between the western wilderness and outer space seems less believable.”44 At the same time, reducing the moon to an exploratory pit stop likely would not have provided much inspiration to his audi- ence, either.A balance between awe and action needed to be achieved so as to pro- vide an appropriate level ofinspiration and motivation. Kennedy charted his new frontier map by articulating the audience’s worldview as the focal point for a broadening series of imaginary concentric circles that tied together places, people, and personae into one grand terrain. He began by saying, “We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength.”Kennedy paralleled this progression later when he spoke of“this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States.”It is impor- tant to take note of Kennedy’s use of“ we,” which centered “the people” as the con- stant origin of the spatial progression. By starting with the people and then expanding outward, Kennedy drew a connection between the people and a larger beyond, one that transcended immediate geographic boundaries through the knowledge that their immediate surroundings were a part of a larger entity that now reached into outer space. Each new location broadened the audience’s scope in both size and magnitude, an expansion of the core. The progression always began with the audience and pointed to the outer reaches, enthymematically stretching to the moon itself as the symbolic entity large enough to stand as a conclusion for the expansion. Moving through the familiar/immediate to the unfamiliar/remote, Kennedy brought the points together as magnifications ofone another.In this spa- tial argument,the moon seemed less the unfamiliar territory ofspace than the next largest locale toward which “we”must venture. Kennedy furthered this spatial redefinition through the use of familiar naviga- tional terms applied to the new context of space exploration. At a relatively early moment in the speech, he referred to outer space as a “vista”and promised that its exploration would be “one of the great adventures of all time.”Kennedy further described space as a “new sea”upon which “we set sail,”assuring his audience that “space can be explored and mastered.”He concluded his familiarization with a diminishing progression that funneled attention back onto his audience:“But why, some say,the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?” In equating past achievements—both heroic and comparatively mun- dane—with journeying to the moon, Kennedy circumvented questions about the rational basis behind the lunar mission by appealing to the popular tradition ofself- justifying exploration. We climb mountains simply because “we”pioneers love the challenge,and Rice plays Texas simply because that is what “we”do.This quasi-logic was suggestive of Sir Mallory’s famous justification for climbing Mount Everest— “because it is there”—and Kennedy justified the moon shot by concluding that “Well,space is there,and we’re going to climb it,and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.”The spatial progressions redrew the map ofhuman exploration to include our celestial neighbor and enabled Kennedy to dismiss questions about the practicality of the mission as being con- trary to our national character,ultimately transforming the issue into one ofinitia- tive rather than pragmatism. And, it was this rhetorical moment in history, which anchors our argument. Kennedy established a universal narrative in United States Space Policy through appeals to a nationalistic memory of progress, leadership and optimism. The space frontier is depicted as an International race and the Affirmative has pre-determined the United States as the benevolent winner. Don’t be fooled by their posturing – their optimistic rhetoric only serves to displace the responsibility of plan onto the public
Jordan in 3
John W. Jordan “Kennedy’s Romantic Moon and its Rhetorical Legacy for Space Exploration” Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Vol 6 Num 2. Summer 2003. Pg: 209-231
Kennedy’s sense of determination was buttressed by the inclusion of a national- istic appeal,although a relatively mild one given the expectations the audience may have had at the height ofthe Cold War.The lunar landing was articulated as a stage in the space race,the importance ofwhich was that “no nation which expects to be the leader ofother nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.”Though clearly not the featured persuasive element ofthis particular speech, Kennedy nev- ertheless briefly acknowledged his audience’s geopolitical interests and demon- strated an appreciation for what the lunar mission could mean for his audience with respect to Cold War nationalism.51This foray into “space race”rhetoric also allowed him to reclaim his previous campaign attacks as part of his larger, and now fully realized,rhetorical vision ofthe U.S.space program.The transcendent turn enabled Kennedy to articulate the space race as part ofan overall understanding ofthe long- term importance ofjustly governing space,not simply as a desire to beat the Soviets in this particular instance. This concept emerged as a reworking of the space race metaphor through moral imperatives: We have vowed that we shall not see [space] governed by a hostile flag ofconquest,but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and under- standing. The addition of a sense of just governance was vital to Kennedy’s larger vision for his audience’s identity as pioneers.It must be a “good”people who fulfill the dream ofspace exploration,for “space science,like nuclear science and all technology,has no conscience ofits own.” Kennedy’s rhetoric ofspace exploration,however,could not be contained by the metaphor ofa competitive race,even one between superpowers.In fact,the hostil- ities of war were mentioned as dangers to space objectives and he expressed his hope that “space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.”In order to illustrate the audience’s role in the play of history, Kennedy focused on a goal beyond international competition, something that transformed the space race from an end to a means. He placed the responsibilities ofstewardship in the hands ofhis audience,saying,“whether [space] will become a force for good or ill depends on man,and only ifthe United States occupies a posi- tion of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war.”In the end, the goal was not simply to be the first people on Earth to reach the moon, but to demonstrate their worthiness and shoulder the mantle ofbeing the next great generation in history.This concep- tualization ofthe telos ofthe space race and just governance also created a part for future generations to play, as their task would be to build on the good character of the present audience and secure a peaceful legacy for space exploration. Kennedy’s rhetoric not only gave the space race a more optimistic purpose, it invoked a sense ofstewardship that prepared the audience for a long endeavor. And, Kennedy spoke that day in 1962 saying,
We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war.I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours. But Mr. President you were never so wrong --- Outer Space is just a new stage for American Imperialism to exert notions of manifest destiny unto the ‘unexplored’ and ‘unknown’ frontier. Like Christopher Columbus is seen as a great American Hero for his conquest and slaughter of Natives, United States Space Policy is a dimension of imperialism that attempts to know, control and colonize “New Worlds”. Just as we saw Native lands rich with new resources and land, Eurocentric epistemologies see outer space as new frontier for humanity.
(M. Jane, Professor of American Studies and Regents Lecturer, both at the University of New Mexico, “Parables of the Space Age-The Ideological Basis of Space Exploration,” Western Folklore, October of 1987,DA:6/25/11, CP) The "mainstream" American view of outer space is a reflection of traditional ideologies, the projection of the past onto the future. The urge toward adventure and exploration-travel into the unknown has been a basic element of folklore and mythology since the early days of Western civilization.One can consider, as Williamson suggests, the Greek myth of Icarus and Daedulus flying through the sky with artificial wings, or the Christian biblical story of the building of the tower of Babel. Both tales describe human attempts to bridge the gap between heaven and earth, both attempts resulted in disaster, and both contain warnings that the gods will punish humans whose hubris (inordinate pride or belief in one's own ability) leads them to overstep their proper place and enter the realm of the gods. Linked with such hubris throughout history has been the Euro-American notion of "manifest destiny," the belief that exploration and consequent exploitation is not only a challenge but a right. Certainly, one outcome of this idea was the European colonization of the "New World," based on the erroneous notion that the land was inhabited only by savage peoples and, therefore, open territory for those from "civilized" nations. The resulting years of struggle and misunderstanding between Western Folklore 46 (October, 1987): 227-233. 227 Euro-Americans and Native Americans arose, in part, because of their differing world views-their conflicting perspectives concerning the relationship between humans and the natural world. Whereas Europeans saw the elements of the cosmos as forces to explore and conquer, the Native Americans regarded them as living beings with whom they attempted to coexist in harmony. For instance, tribes such as the Navajo and Pawnee regarded the sky and earth as beings to whom they were intimately connected; the journey towards understanding these beings was accomplished in the context of ritual activity. Thus, for the Native American, the "real" adventure was internal, an exploration of one's own being in relationship to the cosmos. In contrast, for Euro-Americans the challenge was external. They set out to conquer the wilderness and push the frontier ever westward. Their folk heroes, generally masculine, were those who accomplished this task. Certain characteristics of such folk heroes necessarily changed as the frontier itself changed, but a constant was the image of this hero as a loner, a rugged and aggressive individual who traveled unknown territories, guided always by the spirit of adventure, the thrill of the unknown.' These qualities were embodied in turn by personages such as the woodsman, the pioneer, the cowboy, the oilman, the businessman, and, finally, the spaceman, all characterized as much by their exploitation of the natural environment as by their drive towards exploration. In recent times, as various areas of the earth have been labelled nostalgically as the "last frontier," the need for adventure and for new sources of energy has given rise to the concept of outer space as the "new frontier." Strengthened by representations in the media, the lore of the western frontier has been used to argue for the expanded exploitation and settlement of outer space. The internal/external, Native American/Euro-American contrast mentioned above relates to the way differing peoples regard their bodies as well as to their attitudes toward the relationship between themselves and the cosmos. For example, according to Keith Basso, the Western Apache say that Euro-Americans (or Anglos, whites) are overly concerned with the "surfaces of themselves ... their hair, faces, body, and dress."2 In contrast, the Western Apache are anxious to avoid this form of self-consciousness that pertains only to appearance, rather than to inner reality. Mary Douglas argues similarly that the use of the human body is a significant symbol of social and political order.3Thus, the Anglos, concerned with the outside of their bodies, and hoping to be noticed, are also concerned with extending their domain, first into the frontier of the American West and now into the frontier of outer space. In contrast, Native American groups such as the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, and Western Apache pay little attention to the external body. Examples of this are the healing ceremonies that focus on the mind as much as the body. Nor do individuals from these tribes wish to be seen as different or standing out. Significantly, these Native American groups focus on inner-directed experience. The adventure for them has been to live in balance and harmony with the natural world. Since Native Americans travel to the sky in their minds, they have no need to build space shuttles. Stoeltje emphasizes thatthe metaphor of the frontier as applied to outer space is a false metaphor, a construct that maintains a sense of excitement while obscuring the reality that the endeavor is essentially a materialistic enterprise. Stoeltje adds that the term metaphor implies a similarity between outer space and the western frontier that is lacking; instead, it is the concept of the frontier as entitling myth, as unambiguous justification for an authorative plan of action, which shapes the U.S. space program. Williamson uses his unique position to explore the way in which the concept of outer space as frontier affects the direction of the U.S. space program, suggesting at the same time that the analogy between settling the American West and settling space may be seriously flawed. It has been suggested that the real motivation behind the early Apollo moon shots was political rather than scientific.In fact, a number of the scientists involved have complained that they were not given time between one shot and the next to analyze the material brought back from the moon, nor has such analysis been a major consideration since then.4One needs only to consider the image of big business as a new frontier to realize that the prime aim of space exploration is not so much to obtain knowledge of the unknown as it is to obtain a replacement for earth's dwindling natural resources. It is only a small leap from this to the assertion that humans have begun to look towards outer space for an almost magical solution to the problems we have created here on earth by our excessively materialistic orientation. Thus, not only is outer space the "new frontier" in the sense of physical exploration, it has also become an arena for the projection of fantasies. Mary O'Drain suggests, for example, that the gods of early Western mythology have given rise to the extraterrestrials of today, those benevolent beings who will have the knowledge and resources to repair the mistakes we have made.5 The answers are located "out there," rather than within ourselves. Another example of this reliance on a "fantastic" solution to earth's dilemma is the tendency in recent times to translate faith in a myth sequence or the tenets of religion into overweening faith in "the wonders of Science." Among modern,technologically-oriented Americans, not only has the belief in UFOs and extraterrestrial beings become the folkloric expression of traditional ideologies, but science has replaced myth as the sacred charter, the system of beliefs that mediate between the known and the unknown. It is for reasons such as these that Williamson advises us to explore the expressive behavior embodied in space exploration. The scientists, engineers, technicians, astronauts and others involved can be regarded as constituting a folk group whose behavior reflects the human role in outer space.This professional "new class" has its own mythologies-systems of signs and signification that serve them in reaching goals consonant with their own particular worldview.6 These myths, in turn, shape reality so that these people are bound to view certain aspects of experience, such as the meaning of outer space and space exploration, from a limited perspective. Although they rationalize this perspective by asserting that it is informed by science rather than myth, and therefore objective, in reality what we callscience is just another word for a contemporary, subjective mythology.7 In relating the exploration of outer space to the Euro-American exploration of the frontier, replete with its pioneers, Conestoga wagons, frontiersmen, and so on, this professional new class is appropriating a myth that justifies their activity. The result is a distortion of the frontier experience, the creation of an artificial myth based on an experience that is no longer viable. However, according to Barthes, this "re- constituted myth will in fact be a mythology."8 Furthermore, as Stoeltje points out, the frontier myth itself was from the beginning an artificial myth, created and disseminated largely by members of the Eastern elite who "nurtured a myth that validated the social structure as they preferred it." She describes the frontier of space as a "sociopolitical process ... designed to validate a specific social structure and development during a time of change and upheaval." As Farrer, too, points out, "our stories influence our science which influences our stories." Her conclusion, consonant with all the essays in this section, is that we cannot predicate the future upon the past, that we need a new mythology for a new age. Indeed, it has been argued that we need a new science as well, one that recognizes the subjective nature of all human endeavor and encompasses feeling and intuition as well as logical thought.9 One might question Williamson's labeling the group of professionals directly involved inthe U.S. space program as a "folk group." This hinges, of course, on the definition of the folk adopted by contemporary folklorists.One of the most radical definitions is offered by Michael Owen Jones, who suggests that we replace the word "folklore" with the term "human behavior."'0 In such a conceptualization there is little distinction between the elite, popular (mass-mediated), and folk cultural expressions of the mythologies discussed above. Indeed, as early as 1972, Henry Glassie stated that the terms folk, popular, and elite referred not to separate socio-economic classes of people but to opposing mental constructs of the individual. Thus one person could, in different situations, express concepts that were folk, popular, or elite." Similarly, Stoeltje suggests that the folklore process in a complex society "thrives in a web of forces directly connected to the larger world as well as to the intimate relations of the family and tribe." All of these scholars imply, then, thatthe mythologies of folk, popular, and elite groups operate in a similar manner-as sociocultural processes that serve to validate culture, that create an image of the world particular groups prefer to see, and that justify certain actions and behaviors that are regarded as desirable. Furthermore, many contemporary scholars perceive little real distinction between these groups, other than one based on the idiosyncratic intuition of the folklorist. The proponents of the U.S. space program have consciously constructed the Myth of Space as the New Frontier to justify a materialistic rather than ideological enterprise. And, indeed, the myth has served them well in creating around the astronaut and other professionals involved with the exploration of space, an image of heroes and frontiersmen who venture into the great unknown of space for the good of all humankind. Although this myth has gone largely unchallenged, perhaps because there have been so few tragedies (at least few that the general public has known about) linked with the space program, the recent explosion of the Challenger and deaths of its crew-men and women who could have stepped right out of the pages of Tom Wolfe's The Right Stufjf2-has served to shock many people into wondering if the adventure is worth such loss. Others say that we owe it to the noble crew to continue the program. One newspaper editorial cartoon shows a mourning cowboy leaning against his Conestoga wagon (complete with oxen) as he looks towards seven crosses-the entire scene is set in a star- and planet-studded "frame" of outer space.13 In addition, the awareness of this tragedy, the "very thought of unnecessary loss of life," led to the series of Challengerjokes that rapidly swept the country, a series of "sickjokes" whose underlying motive was the impulse to ward off threats of personal death and global disaster.'4 Not merely examples of extreme tastelessness, what these jokes are really "about" are some crucially serious issues in American culture; they serve as social commentary and critique.15
These notions of Frontierism aren’t new – History proves the violent and imperial power of such epistemologies. Space is just a new arena for a cycle of massacre and extermination. Universal historical narratives of conquest, progress and modernization will lead to inevitable forms of violence through a re-emerging sense of manifest destiny. The collective memory of National Identity will master outer space for its productivity, resources and physical space. We’d be fools to believe their lies – The frontier myth creates imperial wars and genocide by enacting violence that is beyond the laws of nature.
(Richard Slotkin a cultural critic and historian. He is the Olin Professor of English and American Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and in 2010 was elected a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences wrote award winning trilogy, Regeneration Through Violence, The Fatal Environment, and Gunfighter Nation , 1992, Gunfighter Nation, The Myth of the Frontier in 20th century America, pg 112-114 E169.12 .S57 1992, DA: 6/24/11, CP) By the terms of the Frontier Myth, once imperial war was conflated with savage war both sides become subject to the logic of massacre. The savage enemy kills and terrorizes without limit or discrimination in order to exterminate or drive out the civilized race. The civilized race learns to respond in kind partly from outrage at the atrocities it has suffered, partly from a recognition that imitation and mastery of the savages’ methods are the best way to defeat them. A cycle of massacre and revenge is thus inaugurated that drives both sides toward a war of extermination. Only an American victory can prevent actual genocide; the savage enemy would indeed exterminate all of the civilized race, but the civilized carry massacre only as far as necessary to subjugate the savage. To achieve victory in such a war, Americans are entitled and indeed required to use any and all means, including massacre, terrorism, and torture. This is the argument implicit in war correspondent Henry Loomis Nelsons account of soldiers thinking about the course of war. The soldier reasoned that, as the United States have imposed upon them the duty of putting down the insurrection, these brown men must be overcome at all hazards; while the war against them must be conducted upon the principals of savage warfare, since most of those who are fighting against us are classed as barbarians. …there are but two possible conclusions to the matter. We must conquer the islands or get out. .. If we decide t stay we must bury all qualms and scruples about Weilerian cruelty, the consent of the governed, ect., and stay.We exterminated the American Indians, and I guess most of us are proud of it, or at least, believe the end justify the means; and that we must have no scruples about exterminating this other race standing in the way of progress and exterminating this other race standing in the way of progress and enlightenment if it is necessary. The use of extermonationist rhetoric by American commanders are correspondents was not intended as the lateral promulgation of a policy of genocide. Rather, it was a polemical device by which to accept the new political measures and changes in our ideological tradition that imperialism would require. The commission of atrocities by American troops was admitted by both pro imperialists and anti imperialists. Indeed, some of the most effective propaganda of the anti imperialists consist of quotations from journalists who cite such incidents with approval. The correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger offered graphic descriptions of American atrocities but cited them as the inevitable and appropriate methods for prosecuting a savage war. The present war is no bloodless, fake, opera bouffe engagement.Our men have been relentless; have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people, from labs of ten and up, an idea prevailing that the Fillipino, as such, was little better then a dog, a noisome reptile in some instances, who’s best disposition was in the rubbish heap.Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to “make them walk”, have taken prisoner people who… peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrections, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to… float down as an example to those who found their bullet-ridden corpses… It is not civilized warfare, but we are not dealing with civilized people. The only thing they know and fear is force, violence, and brutality, and we give it to them. This sort of frank avowal, not only of the fact but of the logical necessity of atrocious behavior by American troops, ran the risk of providing ammunition for the anti-imperialists. Advocates of the war ran that risk in order to bring the American public to something like an informed consent to the principle of imperialism; the necessity for a superior people to impose its will on a weaker race or nation.The psychological basis for public acceptance of the logic of massacre is the expectation, born of continual cultural reinforcement, that a people defined as savage will inevitably commit atrocities; acts of violence so extreme that they seem to violate the laws of nature. By defining the extreme limit of permissible uses of human power, a culture’s way of defining and responding to atrocity reveals a good deal about the concerns that shape its value system. The recurring themes in accounts of savage war atrocities are those of massacre and torture, particularly by rape and/or sexual mutilation. What rape is in the myth of the “White woman’s captivity, torture and mutilation are to the story of the White males potential victimization by his ”blood enemy.” In these acts, the White victim is held powerless, while his/her body is cruelly manipulated, invaded, and destroyed by a race that-according to “natural law” – ought to be subordinate to the White. The White woman’s body and blood are polluted by the sexual invasion of her genitals and womb; the White man is emasculated, deprived of his manhood through figurative or literal castration. The politics of torture/rape/mutilation are also a parody of revolution in which a natural and legitimate order of subordination is violently and (from the White Man’s perspective) inappropriately reversed. To prevent or avenge such an atrocity, to restore the social balance in which the hegemony of Whites could be taken for granted, the White man must respond with a similarity extraordinary level of violence; for only such a reciprocal atrocity can balance the shame of the original rape. Hence the prevalence of sexual mutilation and rape of Indians when Whites succeededin suprising a major village, as happened at Sand Creek (1864), the Washita (1869), and White Mountain (1870). But the same rationale and the same propensity for mirror-image atrocities, characterizes American behavior in those struggles we define as similar to savage warefare, particularly in southern lynching campaigns since 1865; and in extreme circumstances, in vilante attacks on labor organizers, like those on IWW agitators. These rhetorical constructions of memory have created themselves as self-evident and true. Kennedy’s frontierism has crafted a temporary logic found in status quo space policy. Responsibility to human progress and future populations were put into the hands of the audience and therefore sustaining a national collective narrative removing individual agency and responsibility from decision making.
Jordan in 3
John W. Jordan “Kennedy’s Romantic Moon and its Rhetorical Legacy for Space Exploration” Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Vol 6 Num 2. Summer 2003. Pg: 209-231 A second strategy evinced in Kennedy’s transcendent appeal was the rhetorical appropriation and manipulation of time to generate a sense of both urgency and perseverance. Crafting a temporal rhetoric that defines the present moment as the precipice before the next stage of human enterprise, Kennedy compelled his audi- ence to realize and make good on their ancestral heritage by embarking toward the moon. Kennedy not only sought to convince his audience that the moon could be grasped, but that history was waiting for them to do so. This strategy was compli- cated,however,by the fact that the urgency needed to garner support for the mission would have to be sustained over several years and with questionable chances for suc- cess.Therefore, his construction of time needed to speak both to an immediate urgency and to a sustained effort over a decade’s worth ofstruggle and innovation. His strategy for navigating through these concerns was a historical vision that moti- vated his audience, not because of any immediate circumstances but because the history ofhumanity necessitated that that generation move forward at that time. Strategic chronologies had, in fact, been part of Kennedy’s lunar rhetoric from its first mention in the “Special Message to Congress,”where the time frame for landing on the moon was cagily defined as “before this decade is out.”46He did lit- tle to narrow this broad target in the Rice University address,merely rephrasing the deadline as “the decade of the Sixties” and “before the end of this decade.” Kennedy’s ambiguous time frame worked toward dual purposes, giving him room to maneuver while simultaneously providing the audience with a sense of finitude necessary for transforming an abstract idea into a specific task. The present moment of the speech could extend throughout “this decade,”making the goal of landing on the moon appear imminent without requiring it to be immediate. The audience was relieved from the burden of haste, making it easier for them to take the first in a series of steps over a reasonable period of time rather than an all-or- nothing shot. Kennedy’s time-based strategy contextualized the rhetorical moment within a larger, transcendent chronology. Early in the address he stated that “we meet in an hour of change and challenge,in a decade of hope and fear,in an age of both knowl- edge and ignorance.”Just as his spatial rhetoric connected the audience’s immedi- ate surroundings to a universal perspective while simultaneously reassuring them that they were the center of the new universe, so his reworked chronology tran- scended the immediate moment by placing his audience in the ambiguous time frame ofan “age.”The concentric circles oftime and space allowed Kennedy to draw connections not only between Americans in different locales, but across time itself. His rhetoric established a diachronic perspective on time that connected the past and the present as chronological points within a broader calendar of human pio- neering and technological achievement. Within this age, however, he was quick to point out that it was the audience’s present circumstances that were significant and served as the focal point for this broader history. His message to his audience was that the key to their future lay in their ability to realize the immediate opportunity and to take the next great step forward.
Therefore, we offer the following alternative to the Status Quo narrative - “Vote Negative to reject the American frontier myth” – our critique serves as a process of counter-memory, a forgetting of the frontier myth in favor of an open investigation of identity itself – this examination reveals identity as contingent and arbitrary, opening up the possibility for genuine freedom. By understanding the history of United States space exploration and development as inherently fluid, never ending and open to alternative truths the collective national narrative is deconstructed thus preventing the inevitable violence of space frontierism.
[Michael, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Mississippi State University, Political Genealogy After Foucault: Savage Identities, p. 134-137]
“Whenever man has thought it necessary to create a memory for himself, his effort has been attended with torture, blood, sacrifice,” observes Friedrich Nietzsche. Memory, for Nietzsche, refers to the more or less violent imposition of values that become fixed, obligatory, “unforgettable.” Memory is the first condition for the establishment of conscience, which consists in the recognition of a moral constraint. Through memory we are bound to a set of moral obligations, the “forgetting” of which sanctions a possible punishment. Memory is a form of confinement, a subtle but incarcerating restriction on our freedom – which is not a right, but simply our freedom to be otherwise.
Foucault’s counter-memory is very close to the Nietzschean idea of “active forgetfulness” (aktive Vergesslichkeit). Counter-memory consists of essentially forgetting who we are. It is a forgetfulness of essence, of necessity, of the moral and ontological obligations that bind us to an identity. There is freedom in forgetfulness. Counter-memory holds us at a remove, a distance, from ourselves, not in the tradition sense of self-reflection, but of wrenching the self – this identity – apart, through an incision, a cutting that makes the self stand naked and strange before us across an unbridgeable divide, a gap of difference. Counter-memory dislodges the propriety of our-selves. The self, as a coherent identity, becomes foreign through counter-memory. We cannot remember what it was that compelled us to act, believe, bea given way. Counter-memory dissolves this compulsion, this determination, this subjection. The power of identity is suspended through a forgetfulness of its necessity – a freedom is opened within the space of a difference that no identity can constrain. This difference always plays outside the limits, outside any delimitation of being. Counter-memory thrusts us into this uncharted world, where a memory makes no sense, where play is the order of the day, where lightening and chance disintegrate the heavy and solid, the identical.
Counter-memory bears directly on processes of subjectivation, on the techniques of the self through which we constitute ourselves an identity. “Counter-discourses” anticipate a subjectival freedom of open possibilities by opposing themselves to the discourses of truth through which we recognize ourselves as subjects. These counter-discourses, the discourses of genealogy, lift the burdensome obligation imposed on us by such a recognition. As a forgetfulness of these obligations, counter-memory always takes the form of a transgression. It invites condemnation even as it refuses to be held accountable. Yet there is freedom in this refusal, in this transgression – for those who have the stomach for it. There is always an essential risk involved in refusing, in forgetting, one’s identity.
Counter-memory is not a form of consciousness. It is nothing, really, except the effect of a certain kind of description of ourselves; a description of the historical ontology of ourselves as subjects. This description has been closed off and denied by power/knowledge relations, excluded and made peripheral by certain dominant discourses and entrenched scientific-philosophical enterprises that bind us to a conception of what we are in truth. Counter-memory counters, or suspends, the power of identity through genealogical accounts of its constitution. Genealogy effects “the systematic dissociation of identity” by revealing its radical contingency, its historicality and utter lack of essentiality. The purpose of genealogy, says Foucault, “is not to discover the roots of our identity, but to commit itself to its dissipation.” Genealogical critique is an exposition of our history as subjects that has the effect of dis-posing subjectival constraints by ex-posing the contingency of their imposition. Genealogy turns the firm posture of the self-identical subject into the mere posing of a pretentious display.
Genealogy proceeds through “dissension” and “disparity.” Wherever “the self fabricates a coherent identity,” genealogy puts into play a subversive counter-analysis that “permits the dissociation of the self, its recognition and displacement as an empty synthesis.” Genealogy disturbs, fragments, displaces the unity of subjectivity. It cuts through the oppressive, assimilating density of Truth and discovers in this beguiling haze that subjectivity is nothing more than a colorful mask. Who we are, what we are, is a mask displayed for public viewing and examination, for personal-al subjection and ethical subjugation. Genealogy cuts through this mask, only to make another discovery. Behind it there is no essential identity, no unified spirit or will, no naked subject stripped of its colorful dress. Rather, there is only a matrix of intersecting lines and heterogeneous congruities, an arbitrary and historically contingent complex of discursive and nondiscursive practices. Asserts Foucault, “If the genealogist refuses to extend his faith in metaphysics, if he listens to history, he finds that there is ‘something altogether different’ behind things; not a timeless and essential secret, but the secret that they have no essence or or that their essence was fabricated in a piecemeal fashion from alien forms.” Contrary to what René Descartes or John Locke would contend, unity (whether of consciousness proper or the continuity of personal experience) is not the essence of subjectivity. Unity is a mask for an interplay of anonymous forces and historical accidents that permits us to identify subjects, to identify ourselves, as specific human beings. Unity – identity – is imposed on subjects as the mask of their fabrication. Subjectivity is the carceral and incarcerating expression of this imposition, of the limitations drawn around us by discourses of truth and practices of individualization; but seen through the “differential knowledge” of genealogy, the identity of subjectivity collapses.Counter-memory through genealogical critique is a transgression of limits. As such, it opens onto a possibility of freedom. Genealogy permits us “to separate out, from the contingency that has made us what we are, the possibility of no longer being, doing, thinking what we are, do, or think.” In this sense, genealogy gives “new impetus, as far and wide as possible, to the undefined work of freedom.” The freedom offered by counter-memory is a kind of parodic reversal of negative freedom: it is not a freedom from interference, but for it –
for disruption, for displacement, for violating those inviolable spheres of liberty that serve as the limits of our subjection. It is not a freedom for individuality, but from it – a freedom from individualization, from the practices and discourses which bind us to our own identity as individuals. It is not a freedom against the office of government, but against governmentality – against a rationality that imprisons us in the cellular space of our own self-government. At the same time, the freedom of/through counter-memory is a form of mimetic play with the notion of positive freedom whereby citizenship is unwrapped like a cloak from the politicized body.
In simple terms, it can be said that genealogy “enables one to get free of oneself.” That is, by exposing the nonessentiality of the limits imposed on us through the constitution of a self, it opens the possibility of going beyond those limits. This opening is a kind of fracture, at once an open space and a breaking free of the constraining power inherent in identity and identification. In this sense, genealogy opens up “a space of concrete freedom, i.e., of possible transformation.” This notion of fracture allows us to define freedom more precisely, to gauge whether or not a genuine space of freedom has been opened for us. Freedom, concrete freedom, is a space of possible transformation. Unless we are free to transform ourselves, to be other than the identity dictated for us by some extraneous rationality, we have no freedom. Even the most violent forms of resistance against subjection accomplish nothing if they do not gain this freedom, do not open a space of possible transformation – which means nothing more, and nothing less, than the possibility of being otherwise. Something very like this point is made by Dennis Altman with regard to the Stonewall riots of 1969 and the militant Gay Liberation Front that emerged from them in the early 1970s. In one of the seminal texts of what would later become known as Queer Theory, Altman rails against the limited vision of a political movement that sough for gay and lesbian people little more than an expansion of rights and the “liberal tolerance” of the homophile community: “Homosexuals can win acceptance as distinct from tolerance only by a transformation of society, one that is based on a ‘new human’ who is able to accept the multifaceted and varied nature of his or her sexual identity. That such a society can be founded is the gamble upon which gay and women’s liberation are based; like all radical movements they hold to an optimistic view of human nature, above all to its mutability.”This requirement that we are only genuinely free if we are able to transform ourselves is recalcitrant. It is crucial to understand, however, that what is being required here is not a freedom to transform ourselves in accordance with some global or teleological model of a more “genuine” form of subjectivity. This freedom does not consist (as it does in On Liberty) in replacing one form of subjectivity for another that is supposedly “truer” or more fulfilling to human nature. Not only is this illusory and unobtainable, it would also amount to a cancellation of freedom, a reimposition of subjectival limitations and expectations. Rather, the freedom opened by counter-memory is a freedom of permanent transformation, of always being able to become other than what we are. This debate is all about methodology – There is no opportunity for a permutation because the 1AC has already done harm. Its advancement of the frontier myth has constructed a universal narrative of violence that has subjected bodies to nationalism, imperialism and epistemological violence. A debate about methods allows us to determine the most education and productive forum for politics because it not just what you have done but what you have justified. Questioning history is critical to challenge exclusion and imperialism – this evidence is specific to high school students and colonial nation state histories
[Brenda, Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois, The Social Studies, Sept/Oct]
The debates about the overwhelming problems, limitations, and disadvantages of social studies education noted in the Fordham report attempts to reconcile and advance the idea of nation through a collective history. Our morepressing role as educators, in light of the Fordham report, is to discuss a more nuanced understanding of the U.S. history. This would advance, as noted in La Pietra Report, an understanding about “the complexity and the contexts of relations and interactions, including the ways in which they are infused with a variety of forms of power that define and result from the interconnections of distinct but related histories” (OAH 2000, 1). Taking the U.S. nation as only one example of social analysis involves recognizing the meanings and conditions out of which nations are formed. There is no one experience of belonging to a nation, no single understanding or enactment of sovereignty, and certainly no one meaning or experience of colonization or being colonized. There is, then, a need for these issues to be realized and to be a part of the questioning occurring within our classrooms.That would allow for the substantial reframing of the basic narrative of U.S. history(OAH 2000, 2).Toward a More Global Sense of the NationKnowing how history is a site of political struggle, how we engage in social studies education means emphasizing how power, processes, and practiced bear tangible effects on forging a national (and common) history by reproducing and vindicating inclusions and exclusions. Such a critique requires questioning how a singular, fixed, and statichistory celebrates the U.S. nation and its place in the world as that “common base of factual information about the American historical and contemporary experience” (27) argues for in the Fordham report. Our world history courses are central to defining, understanding, and knowing not only other nations but also the position of each nation in relation to the United States.The centrality that the west holds (notably the United States as an imperial power) is ingrained and willful in framing specific representations of the west that normalize the imperial practices that established this nation. The role that the United States holds on the world stage frequently remains unquestioned in social studies classrooms. Certainly, we engage with various images and tropes to continue to advance how the colonialist past continues to remain present in our historical sensibilities. Moreover, the increasing number and choices of archival sources function as a complement to further understanding the nation. If students are left to rely on the variety of historical resources rather than question the uses of such resources, then the most likely outcome of their learning will be the reflection on the past with nostalgia that continues to celebrate myths and colonial sensibility. To evaluate the history narrative now is to reconsider what it means and to develop a historical consciousness in our students that goes beyond archival and nostalgic impulses associated with the formation of the nation and U.S. nation building. We need to insist that the nation, and the past that has contributed to its present day understanding, is simultaneously material and symbolic.The nation as advanced in our histories cannot be taken as the foundational grounds. The means by which the nation is fashioned calls for examining the history through which nations are made and unmade. To admit the participatory nature of knowledge and to invite an active and critical engagement with the world so that students can come to question the authority of historical texts will, I hope, result in students’ realizing that the classroom is not solely a place to learn about the nation and being a national, but rather a place to develop a common understanding of how a nation is often formed through sameness. We need to continue to question how a particular national history is necessary as an educational function, but especially how that element has been, and remains, useful at specific times.My hope is to extend the current critique of history within social studies, to move toward understanding why history and nation still needs a place in social studies education. In understanding how the historicity of nation serves as “the ideological alibi of the territorial state” (Appadurai 1996, 159) offers us a starting point. The challenge facing social studies educators is how we can succeed in questioning nation, not by displacing it from center stage but by considering how it is central. That means understanding how powerfully engrained the history of a nation is within education and how a significant amount of learning is centered around the nation and its history. History is a forum for assessing and understanding the study of change over time, which shapes the possibilities of knowledge itself. We need to reconsider the mechanisms used in our teaching, which need to be more than considering history as a nostalgic reminiscence of the time when the nation was formed. We need to be questioning the contexts for learning that can no longer be normalized through history’s constituted purpose. The changing political and social contexts of public history have brought new opportunities for educators to work through the tensions facing social studies education and its educational value to teachers and students. Increasing concerns with issues of racism, equality, and the plurality of identities and histories mean there is no unified knowledge as the result of history, only contested subjects whose multilayered and often contradictory voices and experiences intermingle with partial histories that are presented as unified. This does not represent a problem, but rather an opportunity for genuine productive study, discussion, and learning.