chapter  4
Cosmopolitanism’s Collateral Damage
ByEric N. Olund
Pages 22

Yet if the state simultaneously ensures the life of its constituent people and ensures its own sovereignty, how can it exercise the right to kill its own members that may pose a threat? How does the government of the United States justify domestic repression, even in wartime? Michel Foucault locates modern racism in this very contradiction between killing and promoting the life of the people. “What in fact is racism?” he asks. “It is primarily a way of introducing a break into the domain of life that is under power’s control: the break between what must live and what must die.”3 He continues, “Racism also has a second function. Its role is, if you like, to allow the establishment of a positive relation of this type: […] ‘e very fact that you let more die will allow you to live more.’”4 He concedes that this is in fact the relation of war itself and that this in itself is not new. What is new is that “racism makes it possible to establish a relationship between my life and the death of the other that is not a military or warlike relationship of confrontation, but a biological-type relationship […] something that will make life in general healthier: healthier and purer.”5