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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: foghorn]
    #671462 - 06/10/02 08:40 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

foghorn writes:

if the western world keeps up the amount of resources we're consuming, while at the same time third world countries are becoming industrialized, resources will simply become scarce.

Which resources? Fossil fuels and metal ores are pretty much the only finite resources, and metal is recyclable. As alternative energy sources become more viable (tidal, hydrogen, geothermal, solar, wind power, eventually fusion), the dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source will decrease.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: LOBO]
    #671463 - 06/10/02 08:45 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

LOBO writes:

all the conflict in the Middle East is all about one thing OIL, and acquiring resources.

Nonsense. The conflict in the Middle East (I presume you are referring to the half century of idiocy involving Israel and its neighbours) has exactly ZERO connection with oil. It is a religious conflict.

pinky


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?
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Registered: 11/29/01
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #671572 - 06/10/02 09:57 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

While reading the other's posts, I was crafting my response to their foolishness. Imagine my surprise to see your well crafted responses. You seem to have a talent for well thought out and far more polite responses than I am able to give. I just don't have the patience sometimes.

Bravo!


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You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #674632 - 06/12/02 09:24 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Hi Pinky, nice to see your name again.

Pinky:
"Note that that what is referred to as "capitalism" today is far from it."

What is referred to today as "capitalism" is what we have to work with. If you think that a move toward a purer form of capitalism would be beneficial, let me know more about it.

When I wrote, "... even under the most "ideal" situations, can be reconciled with the facts...", you wrote,

"What 'facts' would those be?"

Obviously, they are the facts "...concerning our continued degradation of the environment" that the rest of that sentence read.

Now, I imagine you still feel that your question is valid. I have to ask you Pinky, are you really unaware of the facts coming out of the scientific community regarding the deforestation/desertification, coral reef destruction, greenhouse gasses/global warming, aquafer contamination, etc.?

I don't want a strawman to get in the way of the discussion, but if you really, at this point in the game, aren't sure what "facts" the people who best understand the workings of the natural world are presenting to us, I'll cite some examples.
For the time, here is just one quick copy and paste from an article I posted here in "Continued from Off-Topic:

"Already one quarter of the world's mammals and 12 percent of birds are under threat of extinction. The animals at risk range from rhinos to tigers and eagles, it added.

"Life-giving forests are being ripped apart, fertile land is disappearing under concrete or into the sea and waterways are drying up or dying of pollution.

"Dire poverty, hunger and sickness are rampant across the planet and the globalization of trade is carrying with it oil spills, litter, persistent organic pollutants and discharges of heavy metals.

"The world's seas, already under attack from pollution, are also being plundered by man to the extent that nearly one-third of the world's stock of fish is now ranked as depleted, overexploited or recovering, the report said."

That isn't a gloss-over and it's not sensationalized--that's an assessment of the marine biologists, botanists, zoologists, agricultural engineers, etc., who are becoming increasingly in agreement about the situation. Granted, there are still plenty of points of difference, but NO ONE is still saying, "What facts?"

Let me account for my wording here:
"...the inevitable damage humans currently inflict on their environment..."
CURRENTLY, the way things function NOW, it is INEVITABLE that we inflict damage on our environment. That's what I meant.

Whether humans inevitably inflict damage, period--"damage" meaning more impact than the environment can sustain--I don't actually believe. There still exist today, though they're an endangered species of sorts, tribes of people who have co-existed in harmony with nature for centuries. If the Western world, with all its technology, is so much more advanced than these people, then we'd better figure out the rules.

I say, "The planet cannot sustain "American-style" prosperity, even at the scale it has been achieved today."

And you say, "Says who?"

Once again, Pinky, we just have to get past the point where we still feel like we can cut a good discussion short by throwing down gauntlets of proof where certain facts should be common knowledge. The U.S., with less than five percent of the world's inhabitants, consumes 25 percent of the resources. Advanced, industrial nations, with the U.S. at the lead, produce from 60-70 percent of the greenhouse emissions--CO2 in particular, despite making up only 20 percent of the world's population. It has been labeled as excessive even by conservatives, and you must know this.

Tell me, what would it be like if everyone started consuming as much and producing as much waste as an average American, or an average Japanese, to name two affuent nations? I've said it before--it is unthinkable. If we hope for greater prosperity world-wide, then we really need to consider that.

And here's another distraction: "...'environmentalism' (whatever that may be)?"

Really, Pinky. It's not like I wrote, "cosmic interconnectionism" or "space-time continuumology." "Environmentalism" is a pretty straightforward, mainstream term so let's move on to the substance.

Pinky: "In a true Capitalist system, with 100% ownership of private property, the incentive not to pollute is higher than in any system involving public "ownership" of natural resources. Even evil Capitalists recognize the benefits of not shitting in their own nests."

What capitalists fail to realize, apparently is the boundaries of their own nest. When factories dump toxic wastes into the nearest stream, or in shallow graves, or when fisheries over-fish a region, or when open-ocean vessels dump their waste, from plastic crates to old oil, into the sea, are shitting OUT of their nests? Whose nests are they shitting INTO? And with the oil industry, what is their nest? Their oil comes from underground, it's already there. How can they possibly shit in their nest, right? No, the whole system breeds myopia. It is profit-driven, and not the profits the next generation might enjoy, but the immediate kinds that make today's ledgers and pie-charts look good.

But once again, if you think that the idealistic capitalism you mentioned can better handle these problems, let me hear your case. I'm very skeptical, but my whole point of this thread was that I didn't see our current economic system (and that implies a very entrenched social philosophy) jibing with our need to maintain a healthy, stable environment. And if it doesn't, which one has to go?

Consider this quote from UNEP: "It is now recognized that poverty reduction, economic development and environmental stability should be mutual goals. This breaks with the old thinking prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s which regarded environmental protection and economic development as conflicting aims."

I appreciate your responses Pinky, you force me to really think my positions through. Thanks


Edited by hongomon (07/04/02 07:36 AM)


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #676246 - 06/13/02 07:51 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

LOBO writes:

"All the conflict in the Middle East is all about one thing OIL, and acquiring resources."

Pinky's reply:
"Nonsense. The conflict in the Middle East (I presume you are referring to the half century of idiocy involving Israel and its neighbours) has exactly ZERO connection with oil. It is a religious conflict."

It's not ONLY one thing at all. It's a little bit of this, and a big dallop of that, and a couple of scoops of the other over there.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #724228 - 07/05/02 06:23 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

hongomon writes:

If you think that a move toward a purer form of capitalism would be beneficial, let me know more about it.

I refer you to the thread I call "The Great Debate" -- the thread with both the highest number of replies and the highest number of views in the entire Political Discussion forum. It's title is "The United States is NOT Capitalist, and it currently resides on page eight, presuming you sre displaying twenty threads per page.

Already one quarter of the world's mammals and 12 percent of birds are under threat of extinction. The animals at risk range from rhinos to tigers and eagles, it added.

I am willing to accept this figure. What does it have to do with Capitalism? Note that the poachers of tigers are Chinese, and we are all aware what a bastion of Capitalism China is. As for species extinction in general, that has been occurring since prehistoric times. So has desertification. The Sahara desert is the best-known example, but not the only one.

Dire poverty, hunger and sickness are rampant across the planet...

As has been the case since time immemorial.

... and the globalization of trade is carrying with it oil spills, litter, persistent organic pollutants and discharges of heavy metals.

ALL industrialized nations trade, whether they be Capitalist, Socialist, or Despotic.

CURRENTLY, the way things function NOW, it is INEVITABLE that we inflict damage on our environment. That's what I meant.

HISTORICALLY, the way things functioned THEN, it was INEVITABLE that humans inflicted damage on their environment. It is hard to imagine any instance of modern pollution that can top the Sahara Desert for sheer destructive scale and long-lasting effect. I submit the longterm climactic change caused by the creation of such an enormous blank space was at least as great as any purported projections of change due to greenhouse gases.

Tell me, what would it be like if everyone started consuming as much and producing as much waste as an average American, or an average Japanese, to name two affuent nations? I've said it before--it is unthinkable. If we hope for greater prosperity world-wide, then we really need to consider that.

The vast majority of the pollutants everyone seems to be most concerned with are produced not by the fabrication of consumer products, per se, but by the burning of fossil fuels. Certainly this is the source of the notorious "Greenhouse Gas" problem. What makes you think that by the time the developing nations are as affluent as the West and Japan are today it will still be necessary to burn fossil fuels for energy?

Who is doing the most research into more modern sources of energy (fusion, solar, geo-thermal, tidal, wind, fuel cells etc.)? Is it the industrialized nations such as the U.S., Germany, France, Japan et al, or is it Yemen and Tibet and Haiti?

"Environmentalism" is a pretty straightforward, mainstream term so let's move on to the substance.

I submit that it's not. EVERYONE in his right mind claims to be in favor of "environmentalism", but there's a vast difference between a soccer mom who won't litter on her way to jazzercise class in her Chevy Suburban and the radical tree-hugger fringe. It's such a nebulous, all-encompassing term that it is has become essentially useless at defining even approximately someone's personal philosophy.

When factories dump toxic wastes into the nearest stream, or in shallow graves...

...they are breaking the law and may be prosecuted for so doing. This has happened in the US and in other countries, and will happen again. It has NEVER happened in a communist country and never will. This is not a CAPITALIST issue, it is an INDUSTRIALIST issue.

...or when fisheries over-fish a region, or when open-ocean vessels dump their waste, from plastic crates to old oil, into the sea...

Again, it is not only Capitalists who do this. This illustrates my point with crystalline clarity. NO ONE owns the seas, so EVERYONE feels free to dump their shit into it.

It is profit-driven, and not the profits the next generation might enjoy, but the immediate kinds that make today's ledgers and pie-charts look good.

ALL human existence is profit-driven. Under ANY political system it is necessary to produce more than is required for day-to-day subsistence, i.e. PROFIT.

my whole point of this thread was that I didn't see our current economic system (and that implies a very entrenched social philosophy) jibing with our need to maintain a healthy, stable environment. And if it doesn't, which one has to go?

I pointed you to the thread where I list the reasons I think laissez-faire Capitalism is the way to go. Now it's your turn. Which economic system do YOU think holds the answer?

It is now recognized that poverty reduction, economic development and environmental stability should be mutual goals.

Unfortunately, given the current limitations of today's energy-producing technology, these goals clash. This will not necessarily always be the case, but it is today.

To summarize, it is apparent your beef is not with CAPITALISM, but with INDUSTRIALIZATION. As I pointed out earlier, the worst offenders in the pollution game are not the relatively free, relatively technologically advanced Western nations, but the relatively unfree (China, USSR), or the relatively backwards (Haiti, South America, Africa) areas of the world.

This isn't just my opinion, by the way. This is easily checked with very little effort.

pinky


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Offlinenugsarenice
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #724387 - 07/05/02 08:51 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

I think hongomon is basically saying that the religious philosphy of capitilism in a non interfering government country kills the environment. A small example, is that a fresh water stream is running. Houses are buildt next to the the stream to increase profits, because the houses are attractive. So next comes all the industrial and commercial to suppor this. No, this capitilistic theory towards housing, created an envrironmental issue, because the common technique of sewage is unregulated sewage dump into local waters. Or a water treatment plant that could'nt even pass an EPA inspection. In a demo/commu community this sort of capitilistic real estate plan would never be honored. In dedication of a pure source of fresh water, to drink, and farm with.


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #730126 - 07/07/02 07:41 PM (21 years, 7 months ago)

To my quote, "Dire poverty, hunger and sickness are rampant across the planet..."

You reply, "As has been the case since time immemorial."

Yes, I remember now you have a problem with the idea of progress. There are over one billion people in the world right now who live in the most abject of poverty. They aren't just poor, they literally die from malnutrition and disease. One-sixth of the entire human race. It flies in the face of "civilization", and in our modern world and our push for globalization, we members of the wealthiest countries are still saying "what does that have to do with me?"

But let me clarify something--I don't think legislation is the best way to go to compensate for our economic systems' inability to truly provide a legitimate opportunity, or a leg up, for all members of the human family. But we're greedy about our greed--we refuse to give it up. I do believe that the have vs. the have-not struggle is as real now as it has always been. And if the insistence that "I got it, it's mine, I'll share if it pleases me" continues, hell, how can we be surprised when very violent things happen to us, or our country?

I know, I know, you've got the ultimate cause for all this violence figured out, and it has nothing to do with the struggle I'm talking about. Or maybe you'll consider a rich tribe and a poor tribe?

By the way, are you a social darwinist?


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Offlinenugsarenice
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #730279 - 07/07/02 08:49 PM (21 years, 7 months ago)

I just have to say the term "immorial" is'nt right to say about starvation. You obviously have general idea of history, going back 2500 years, but our world was'nt always this way.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #732748 - 07/09/02 12:16 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

hongomon writes:

To my quote, "Dire poverty, hunger and sickness are rampant across the planet..."

You reply, "As has been the case since time immemorial."

Yes, I remember now you have a problem with the idea of progress.


I have no problem with progress. Progress is the only thing which will lessen poverty, hunger, and sickness. You and I simply disagree on what "progress" is.

There are over one billion people in the world right now who live in the most abject of poverty. They aren't just poor, they literally die from malnutrition and disease. One-sixth of the entire human race.

Please explain how the fact that some countries have discovered and converted to a socio-economic system capable of lessening the threat of dire poverty, hunger and sickness prevents other countries from doing so?

It flies in the face of "civilization"...

It is debatable whether some of the countries in which these problems are the worst are (speaking politically) in fact "civilized". I doubt many would argue the worst examples of poverty, hunger, and rampant disease are found in African nations run either by despots or torn to shreds by endless tribal pogroms.

... and in our modern world and our push for globalization, we members of the wealthiest countries are still saying "what does that have to do with me?"

Yet if one of those wealthy countries (let's say... oh, I don't know... the US?) tries to support a change of government to one more likely to be consistent with human survival, it is roundly condemned and vilified for "interfering with the internal affairs of a sovereign nation". Such interference is against the laws of the international court, after all. If that same hypothetical nation sends aid instead, it is condemned for supporting terrorism, since inevitably the majority of the aid is intercepted by those already in power.

What should the hypothetical nation do, in your opinion? What is the correct course of action for it to take?

I don't think legislation is the best way to go to compensate for our economic systems' inability to truly provide a legitimate opportunity, or a leg up, for all members of the human family.

The economic system of the US was not designed to support a billion people who don't even live within its borders.

Note that the same technologies which produce prosperity for the free countries of the world are readily available to all. Modern medical, agricultural, and economic advances (discovered pretty much exclusively by the wealthy nations) are what will solve the problems of the developing nations, not boatloads of cash. Throwing money at developing nations doesn't work -- that's been amply demonstrated. I usually avoid cliches like the plague, but there's one which fits here: "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself forever".

But we're greedy about our greed--we refuse to give it up.

How does my desire ("greed", if you must) for a BMW sedan and a four bedroom ranch house prevent a Somali tribesman from attaining a herd of cattle and a farm?

I do believe that the have vs. the have-not struggle is as real now as it has always been.

The problem with perceiving it as a struggle between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is it presumes the amount of wealth in existence is static, that the success of one individual MUST come at the expense of another. Such is not the case. Wealth (items of value to humans) is PRODUCED, not looted. Oh, I can't deny it is sometimes (too often, actually) looted, but before it can be looted it must first be produced.

And if the insistence that "I got it, it's mine, I'll share if it pleases me" continues, hell, how can we be surprised when very violent things happen to us, or our country?

Now THAT statement reveals an interesting morality! Sure you don't want to rephrase it? As it stands, it implies it is okay to initiate violence against someone who acquired something honestly, through peaceful means, simply because you don't have it. I guess that's lets every burglar and mugger off the hook, then.

By the way, are you a social darwinist?

Am I the only one who sees the irony of someone who thinks it's okay for a physically strong "have not" to rob a physically weak "have" asking if I am a Social Darwinist?

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (07/09/02 12:18 AM)


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #732999 - 07/09/02 06:03 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

me: And if the insistence that "I got it, it's mine, I'll share if it pleases me" continues,
hell, how can we be surprised when very violent things happen to us, or our
country?

pinky: Now THAT statement reveals an interesting morality! Sure you don't want to
rephrase it? As it stands, it implies it is okay to initiate violence against someone
who acquired something honestly, through peaceful means, simply because you
don't have it. I guess that's lets every burglar and mugger off the hook, then.

It implies nothing of the sort. I wasn't surprised by terrorists flying planes into the World Trade Center. Were you? I don't condone the action, but it didn't surprise me.

"To live peacefully, we must live with a reasonable degree of equity, or fairness, for it is unrealistic to think that, in a communications-rich world, a billion or more persons will accept living in absolute poverty while another billion live in conspicuous excess." -Duane Elgin

"...who acquired something honestly, through peaceful means...."

How very insular of you, if you actually believe that.

me: By the way, are you a social darwinist?

pinky: Am I the only one who sees the irony of someone who thinks it's okay for a
physically strong "have not" to rob a physically weak "have" asking if I am a Social
Darwinist?

Are you, or aren't you?


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #733792 - 07/09/02 11:17 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

hongomon writes:

It implies nothing of the sort.

Sure it does. When you say, "how can we be surprised when very violent things happen to us," due to this action or that action we take (or don't take) it clearly implies a violent response is unsurprising, natural, to be expected, de rigeur, matter of fact, inevitable, correct, fair, just, deserved, etc.

The implied warning is no different than when your mother phrases her lessons as, "If you won't share your bicycle with Bobby, don't be surprised when he won't share his wagon with you", or "If you punch someone in the nose, don't be surprised if they kick you in the shins."

However, note the consistency, the essential morality, of Mom's warnings -- it is unsurprising that hoarding will be met with hoarding and violence with violence. Not only is it unsurprising, it is just, and fair. Yet YOUR statement connects "hoarding" not with hoarding, but with violence. It's the same as saying, "If you have a wallet in your pocket, don't be surprised when you get shot by someone who wants it."

Don't try to slide rhetorical sophistry by me. I have a nose for it.

I wasn't surprised by terrorists flying planes into the World Trade Center. Were you? I don't condone the action, but it didn't surprise me.

Actually, yeah, I was, a bit surprised, at first. I wouldn't have been surprised to hear they had flown an airplane into the house of parliament in Israel, or the Saudi royal palace in Riyadh. But after the initial shock had worn off, I guess I was unsurprised. I had temporarily forgotten just how many irrational people there are out there. Oh, dopey me.

On the other hand, my first thought was that those responsible were not starving "have nots", but professional Muslim terrorists. I would have been astonished to hear it was any other group.

"... it is unrealistic to think that, in a communications-rich world, a billion or more persons will accept living in absolute poverty while another billion live in conspicuous excess."

So the answer is to arrange things so ALL the earth's inhabitants live at the subsistence level? Sure worked well for the USSR, didn't it?

Look, I'm not naive enough to think the "have nots" don't experience envy. However, envy is not a moral justification for the initiation of violence.

How very insular of you, if you actually believe that.

How does that make me insular? By the standards of at least a billion people on this planet, you yourself are astoundingly wealthy. Did you not achieve your prosperity through honest, peaceful means? I'm talking about YOU (hongomon) specifically here, not some hypothetical "you". Or do you really believe you acquired the computer on which you composed your last post through dishonesty and violence, at the expense of some poor bastard in Bangladesh?

If you don't consider yourself prosperous enough, let's choose... ummm... Stephen King, the writer. Did he acquire his prosperity honestly, through peaceful means? How about Michael Jordan? Michelle Pfeiffer? Steve Jobs? The guy who invented whiteout? The guy who invented velcro? Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame?

By the way, are you a social darwinist?

I've spun my wheels here on many an occasion debating a point where the other guy has a different understanding of the meaning of a key word a phrase than I do. To avoid this happening yet again, why don't you supply me with a definition of YOUR understanding of exactly what beliefs a "Social Darwinist" holds and I'll tell you whether or not I hold the same beliefs.

pinky


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #735331 - 07/09/02 11:11 PM (21 years, 7 months ago)

My baloney detector is going full scale right now. Now, my understanding of sociology is very basic, so take my "Radical Sociology 101" with a grain of salt. But there's a sociologist in all of us, right?

Let us consider that my example is sociological in nature--the psychology of large populations, mechanisms of interaction between two or more "societies", where yours has to do with child psychology. At the same time, you know what? There are, in fact, some amazing similarities between the two! Why is it that when you put enough humans together they start to act collectively like a child? I don't know, but I work with children and I watch society, and there are striking commonalities. But this is a whole new topic.

So you were claiming that my suggestion that we shouldn't be surprised that a lot of the world hates us and wants to/does violent things to us, "clearly implies" that that hatred and those violent acts are "fair" or "just." Ha! Like you I've spent a good amount of recent years outside of the U.S. I don't know, maybe you're too busy windsurfing and picking up rich tourist chicks. You ought to go for una caminata larga, lejos de las piscinas de concreta y las bebidas con para-aguas pequnitas. I'm sure you feel like you and your jetsetter guests contribute enough to the DR economy to justify your existence. Maybe you do, maybe you don't, maybe you're legendary because you're such a philanthropist. I doubt it, but I'm only going on what I know about you via your comments here. And by the way, THIS is me making moral statements. I am, I know, so sue me. For my penance I will be extra critical of myself for the entire afternoon.

Tell me, when Aldous Huxley, in A Brave New World Revisited, proposed a relationship between overpopulation and totalitarianism, was he implying that if we overpopulate, the shift toward totalitarian governments was "correct, fair, just, deserved"? By the way, those are moral statements and putting them together with terms of logic such as "natural, to be expected, de rigeur, matter of fact" is like wearing purple pants and an orange shirt.

Does a sociologist make a moral judgement when he or she speculates on what led to the social unrest that led to a riot? Is it clearly, or less-than-clearly, implied that those rioting are within their rights just because an observer feels the outcome wasn't surprising?

What a pathetic breakdown this is: "It's the same as saying, 'If you have a wallet in your pocket, don't be surprised when you get shot by someone who wants it.'" My goodness, that is the most fallacious hodgepodge of pseudo-logic I've read in a long time. How you arrived at your if-then from my if-then is what I'd like to know. Show your work.

Pinky: "Or do you really believe you acquired the computer on which you composed your last post through dishonesty and violence, at the expense of some poor bastard in Bangladesh?"

I shot a Bangladese man and took his computer. What, you really wanted a serious answer to that? Your question is a simple appeal to ignorance and doesn't warrant a serious answer, except for the one you're reading right now.

Hongomon

*****
"A Reflexive Sociology is and would need to be radical sociology. Radical, because it would recognize that knowledge of the world cannot be advanced apart from the sociologist's knowledge of himself and his position in the social world, or apart from his efforts to change these. Radical, because it seeks to transform as well as to know the alien world inside him. Radical, because it would accept the fact that the roots of sociology pass through the sociologist as a total man, and that the question he must confront, therefore, is not merely how to work, but how to live... The historical mission of a Reflexive Sociology is to transcend sociology as it now exists. In deepening our understanding of our own sociological selves and of our position in the world, we can, I believe, simultaneously help to produce a new breed of sociologists who can also better understand other men and their social worlds. A Reflexive Sociology means that we sociologists must - at the very least - acquire the ingrained habit of viewing our own beliefs as we now view those held by others." Harold Garfinkel has also approached this idea in an interesting manner with his contention that sociologists are like goldfish swimming in a bowl, confidently analyzing other goldfish, without having ever stopped to recognize the bowl and the water they have in common with the fish they study.

- Alvin Gouldner, The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology (New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1970).


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #735639 - 07/10/02 04:54 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

hongomon writes:

How you arrived at your if-then from my if-then is what I'd like to know. Show your work.

Okay. Here's the offending sentence, and those immediately before it so I won't be accused of taking it out of context.

But we're greedy about our greed--we refuse to give it up. I do believe that the have vs. the have-not struggle is as real now as it has always been. And if the insistence that "I got it, it's mine, I'll share if it pleases me" continues, hell, how can we be surprised when very violent things happen to us, or our country?

What's the implication of this passage? What is the essential point you are trying to express? My interpretation is that you believe that "greed" is wrong (although your definition of greed is more all-encompassing than mine) -- so wrong, in fact, that those groups who have less than us feel justified in attacking us.

By posing the rhetorical question "how can we be surprised", you are saying, in so many words, that OF COURSE the "have nots" will feel this way. Not only do they FEEL this way, but they will go so far as to act out their feelings by initiating violence against honest, peaceful (albeit "greedy") people, people who in most cases probably couldn't find the "have not" country on a map. WHY do you believe this?

The only conclusion I can draw is that you hold a "relative" morality. Your belief is that those less fortunate than ourselves (the "have nots") do not follow the same moral code as we do. Do you believe that OF COURSE any group of average middle class American living in the suburbs would firebomb the house of a rich lottery-winner up the hill, simply because the lottery-winner is a greedy bastard who drives a Ferrari and guzzles champagne and declines to buy his neighbors Ferraris and champagne too, even though he could clearly afford to do so? No, I doubt you believe that. Why not? Because you recognize it's against the average suburbanite's moral code. He may be jealous, and whine about how HIS lottery number never comes up, but he won't initiate VIOLENCE against the rich dude. Not only won't the individual surbubanites initiate violence, neither will a mob of them. Their innate morality prohibits it.

Yet you apparently DO believe a group of average subsistence level Rwandan goatherds would OF COURSE firebomb the rich dude's house, given the means and opportunity. Why do you believe this? Because you assume it is NOT against their moral code. You assume that the destitute have no morals, or at least hold a radically different set of moral rules than the rest of us, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE DESTITUTE.

I concluded the reason for your acceptance of this "relative morality", the reason YOU find it unsurprising that a mob of destitute Third Worlders should discard moral behavior, is that you could envision yourself doing the same thing in their shoes. What you wouldn't do in your current situation, you would do if your situation were desperate enough.

Note the real situation here. The "have nots" aren't trying to REGAIN what was once theirs by violent methods, or trying to repel invaders by violent methods, or trying to overthrow an opressive internal regime by violent methods. No, they are quite literally trying to extort wealth (items of value to humans) by violent methods. "Give us a bunch of your stuff or we'll blow up ANOTHER building!"

How is that any different from a mugger pointing a gun in your face and saying, "Give me your wallet or I'll blow your face off?"

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #735667 - 07/10/02 05:13 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

hongomon writes:

I don't know, maybe you're too busy windsurfing and... (section of rambling, irrelevant personal judgement snipped in order to save space)

When a debating opponent resorts to personal judgements rather than addressing the issue at hand, it invariably means he has conceded defeat on the issue.

I'm only going on what I know about you via your comments here.

You don't need to know anything about me to address the ideas I espouse. What does my personal history have to do with the validity of my position on the topic at hand? Am I correct or am I not? If not, why not?

And by the way, THIS is me making moral statements.

Please explain what relevance your moral judgements on what you believe I am or do is relevant to the topic at hand.

Your question is a simple appeal to ignorance and doesn't warrant a serious answer, except for the one you're reading right now.

Your dodge (not an answer) is yet another tacit admission you've been stymied. In my decades of debate, I have noted that without exception when an opponent responds with, "That doesn't deserve an honest answer," it really means "I prefer not to answer honestly, since doing so would blow my argument right out of the water."

"A Reflexive Sociology is and would need to be radical sociology. Radical, because..."

What is the relevance of this excerpt?

pinky


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #735864 - 07/10/02 06:57 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

Keep spreading it on thick, pinky.

So you're claiming that my if-then--if wealth (and power) distribution are allowed to become more and more disproportionate, then social disruption, often with violence, is likely--

is akin to your if-then--if I have a wallet in my pocket, then I am likely to be shot by someone who wants it. Absurd.

You're a joke. Your insistence on using the "poor guy in the brush will rise up against the rich guy in the ranch house" lameness, over and over again as if it has any relevence to a matter of broad sociological nature, is a joke.

Once again: I wasn't surprised by the WTC attack. Disturbed, yes. I had my share of nightmares. A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE NOT SURPRISED. They need make no moral judgements one way or another to say so.

Remember the French Revolution? What did that lady say that sparked it off?



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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: hongomon]
    #738321 - 07/11/02 05:10 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

hongomon writes:

So you're claiming that my if-then--if wealth (and power) distribution are allowed to become more and more disproportionate, then social disruption, often with violence, is likely--
is akin to your if-then--if I have a wallet in my pocket, then I am likely to be shot by someone who wants it. Absurd.


Yes, I am. What's the difference? A rich guy with a fat wallet is attacked by a poor guy "in need" (even if his need is his next fix) or a rich country is attacked by a poor country in need of food? It's merely a matter of scale. Microcosm vs macrocosm. The moral principles involved in each example are identical.

But, to me it's all irrelevant anyway. I don't agree with your statement that Terrorism is a can of worms opened by, in great part, the global power play, the grossly unbalanced distribution of wealth, and the high consumption rate of such Western societies as the U.S.

I can't think of a single case of terrorism where the stated motive for the terrorist operation was any of those three things. Apparently, neither can you.

So yeah, I WOULD be surprised to hear that the WTC attacks were engineered by some poor "have not" country, a group of one of the "one billion" starving people you mention in some of your previous posts. But it wasn't.

The violent are NOT the destitute, but the dispossessed. Or those holding a religious or tribal grudge. Or simply those hungry for power.

Are the Palestinian homicide bombers motivated by hunger? Nope. They want to kick Israel out of what they consider to be their land.

Are the members of Al-Quaeda motivated by hunger? Nope. They want the infidels to stop defiling the Holy places. As almost an afterthought, they also want the US to stop supporting the Jews who are defiling other Holy places.

Are the Bosnian and Serb terrorists motivated by hunger? Nope. They're carrying on a tribal blood feud that's lasted for literally a thousand years.

Were the numerous factions in Lebanon motivated by hunger? Nope, they were embroiled in a religious power struggle.

I can't think of a single terrorist demand that reads, "We demand America cut back their consumption of frivolous junk, ship a million tons of wheat for free each year to Somalia, and give all annual income over $20,000 per capita to a worldwide redistribution network".

Your insistence on using the "poor guy in the brush will rise up against the rich guy in the ranch house" lameness, over and over again as if it has any relevence to a matter of broad sociological nature, is a joke.

I'm not the one who believes the poor bushman blames American yuppies for his cruddy life, you are. I don't think the poor guy in the brush feels his misfortune is caused by America at all. He knows full well it is the fault of whichever pissant warlord holds the reins of power in his unfortunate country this week.

Remember the French Revolution? What did that lady say that sparked it off?

LOL. The French revolution wasn't triggered by Marie Antoinette's remark, though it does make a good sound bite.

pinky


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: Phred]
    #742586 - 07/12/02 06:36 PM (21 years, 7 months ago)

I have no desire to get embroiled in yet another of these endlessly circular threads, but I do feel compelled to point out that the actions of the United States are not comparable to some rich guy who mulls around minding his own business and makes all of his money through honest means. The United States is more like the rich guy on the hill who keeps armed thugs on every street corner, not only to protect himself and his wealth, but also in order to engage in various forms of coercion, some subtle and some not so subtle, to ensure that his mechanisms of wealth generation remain intact, even at the expense of fair opportunity or justice for others. Even if it means killing innocent men, women, and children. There is no "national security" rationale for maintaining troops in the Persian Gulf, for example, only an "economic security" rationale. Similarly, a Chinese attack on Taiwan has no bearing whatsoever on American sovereignty or territorial integrity, but would have a devastating effect on the US economy (given that most US electronics and computer "manufacturers"--they should actually be called "marketers"-- in the US have their goods manufactured in Taiwan). So the US keeps its carrier groups stationed nearby just in case. These examples are not as egregious as others in the past--Vietnam, for example--but they demonstrate that the United States HAS resorted to initiation of force when its own economic interests were threatened, and will invariably do so in the future. Now, it is true that the terrorists who attacked the United States did not do so in the hopes that the US would redistribute its wealth. Nobody could be stupid enough to imagine that the US would ever do such a thing. They did it because they, like the rest of the world, know that the US uses violence to secure not only its safety but also its prosperity, and they were inclined to exact revenge and give the US a taste of its own medicine. Were they morally justified in doing so? Of course not. Revenge is not justice. It simply leads to never-ending spirals of reprisal, which is a lesson that both the Israelis and Palestinians, for example, seem unable to learn. However, if the United States resorts to violence to achieve its political and economic aims--and there can be no debating that it does, unless one is a completely brainwashed nationalistic imbecile--it is emphatically NOT surprising that others, whether they be states or terrorist organizations, would decide to accept the same logic and play by the same rules. The key point is that no state could hope to win a direct military confrontation with the United States, so enemies of the US must therefore resort to backdoor methods. In the final analysis, most of the players on the world stage subscribe to a philosophy of "Realpolitik" or, if you will, "might makes right." Different nations and ethnic groups will dress up that philosophy in different rhetorical garb--the US will go on about "freedom" and "democracy" ad nauseam (even though they'll take a sympathetic dictator to a freely elected socialist any day), the Muslims have their "holy war," the communists squeal about "class struggle," and so on and so forth, but politics as it is actually practiced is thoroughly immoral.

Anyway, as I said before I'm not here to pick an argument, just to clarify what I think to be the exact nature of US foreign policy. I'm sure pinky agrees with most of what I have said above, since he has written here before that he believes initation of force is the root of all evil and is also against US adventurism abroad.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: EchoVortex]
    #742760 - 07/12/02 07:56 PM (21 years, 7 months ago)

EchoVortex writes:

I'm sure pinky agrees with most of what I have said above, since he has written here before that he believes initation of force is the root of all evil and is also against US adventurism abroad.

Correct. I agree with just about everything in that post.

pinky


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Irreconciable differences? [Re: EchoVortex]
    #743038 - 07/13/02 12:56 AM (21 years, 7 months ago)

Echo, I want to thank for mediating with your fine post. I must say pinky's response to your post surprised me, considering the arguments he's raised in this thread.

For example, to my statemtent that we shouldn't be surprised about the anti-American violence, he writes, "As it stands, it implies it is okay to initiate violence against someone who acquired something honestly, through peaceful means, simply because you don't have it."

I don't know where he got the "honestly, through peaceful means" part here, certainly not from me. I've been explicit that I am making macro observations, juxtaposing a) the often very dishonest and often very violent practices of big businesses and their (our) governments, and b) an insular disassociation of the general public from those actions, to suggest a major factor in what causes, or exacerbates the violence we're seeing directed at us. Were you surprised when someone finally made a big hit, on our soil? Were you surprised to see jubilant reactions by citizens of the Arab world? Not me. It made me really sad. It made me shake my head and say, "It was only a matter of time," To think that by saying that I would get accused of defending it is flat-out bullshit.

To whittle down that observation so that it involves a wealthy man, and a bushman or a Bangladeshi, to say, "Your observation is nonsense," is, like I said, a joke. Yes, that simplified version is nonsense, but it is a mutant inbreed cousin of what I am driving at.

I don't blame you for not wanting to be pulled in. I think it's a shame that pinky and I have hit this communication break-down, since if he agrees with your post, apparently we could see more eye-to-eye than we've managed.


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