The following quote is a precedes Giorgio Agamben’s study of the Homo Sacer and the state of exception. So timely as protests and increasing government failure abound.
BBC image of the Tahrir Square protest camp (interactive version available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12434787).
Walter Benjamin writes:
The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of exception” [Ausnahmezustand] in which we live is the rule. We must attain a conception of history that accords with this insight. Then we will clearly see that it is our task to bring about a real state of exception, and this will improve our position in the struggle against fascism. One reason fascism has a chance is that, in the name of progress, its opponents treat it as a historical norm. — The astonishment [Das Staunen darüber] that the things we are experiencing are “still” possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. This astonishment is not the beginning of knowledge — unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable (Walter Benjamin, eight thesis from “On the Concept of History”, trans. Harry Zohn (translation slightly modified), written between February and May 1940, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings Volume IV (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003), p 392.