Avast! "Talk Like a Pirate Day" is upon us once again. There are activities planned throughout the world to help you unleash your inner buckaneer, but we wanted to draw your attention to Daniel Heller-Roazen, a Princeton professor because he's been thinking about pirates too, albeit from a different, more philosophical, perspective. In The Enemy of All, he looks at the pirate as the original enemy of humankind. As Cicero famously remarked, there are certain enemies with whom one may negotiate and with whom, circumstances permitting, one may establish a truce. But there is also an enemy with whom treaties are in vain and war remains incessant. This is the pirate, considered by ancient jurists to be "the enemy of all." He reconstructs the shifting place of the pirate in legal and political thought from the ancient to the medieval, modern, and present world, outlining the philosophical genealogy of a remarkable antagonist.
Today, Heller-Roazen argues, the pirate furnishes the key to the contemporary paradigm of the universal foe. This is a legal and political person of exception, neither criminal nor enemy, who inhabits an extra-territorial region. Against such a foe, states may wage extraordinary battles, policing politics and justifying military measures in the name of welfare and security.
Shiver me timbers.