Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 3 of 11 < 1 2 3 4 5 ... 10 11 >
Topic Options
#76503 - 07/30/02 07:04 AM well.....
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." - Bertrand de Jouvenal


Top
#76504 - 07/31/02 11:08 AM Re: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
Rouspeteur Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 163
This has been quite an interesting thread to follow.

"...and values, are neither good or bad, but rather shared or not..."

I think this expresses one of the great problems we are facing today, relativism. The Taliban's values included such things as:
1. Women should not go to school.
2. Women should not work.
3. Women can only go to female doctors (see points 1 and 2.)

The Ku Klax Klan have interesting values concerning non-whites.
The Nazi's had some values concerning how Jews should be treated.
How about genital mutilation, is that value neither good nor bad, just a society's values that must be respected.

The list could go on and on (and unfortunately does).

"North American and Europeans are aware, and distressed by the fire bombing and fire storm at Dresden.. and but are unaware the same was done to Tokyo.. atrocities occured on both sides. "

True. However, sometimes the means do justify the ends. Sometimes when people are fighting to survive, they lose interest in the rules. When you are watching 10's of thousands of your people being killed you are more concerned with saving them than saving the enemy.

A moral question: What if the Allies had an atomic bomb in 1939. Would incinerating Berlin in order to stop Hitler have been justified. Would saving 30 or 40 million lives have been worth a few hundred thousand Berliners? As a guess I would say the answer of Yugoslavian who had most of his relatives slaughtered, or a Polish Jew, would be, for the most part, quite different from that of a Canadian or American.

A somewhat tangential rant about values: There seems to be a fear of judging anyone today. I get sick of hearing, "he (or she) is really a good person, they just did something bad." Imagine how much less crime there would if "good people" stopped committing them.


Top
#76505 - 07/31/02 07:01 PM Re: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
FishonaBike Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
Greetings Rouspeteur,

The following is a good thought -
A moral question: What if the Allies had an atomic bomb in 1939. Would incinerating Berlin in order to stop Hitler have been justified. Would saving 30 or 40 million lives have been worth a few hundred thousand Berliners? As a guess I would say the answer of Yugoslavian who had most of his relatives slaughtered, or a Polish Jew, would be, for the most part, quite different from that of a Canadian or American.

Now, I'm not Canadian or American - I'm English by birth and Polish by blood. I'd say that in 1939 the UK would have had to have done what it did anyway. The USA wasn't yet involved, and there wasn't much awareness of the Holocaust - we didn't know how far Hitler would go. Unless you're talking about a time-machine scenario, the nuclear option would be far better used (and probably would be successful) as a threat at that stage.

But I'd quite like to present you with a moral question:

Should Stalin have been an essential ally during World War II? Should he have been allowed to get away with his own reign of terror, mass murder, deportation and annexation of land?

This is newly meaningful to me, as - amazingly - I only recently realised that after the war Stalin was given no less than 48% of Poland, which included the towns in which my parents and grandparents lived until 1939. They could never go home. At the start of the war, Stalin invaded Poland from the East (under the pretext of helping the Poles), at the same time as Germany invaded from the West. And after the war Stalin retained that land won by invasion, in complicity with Churchill and Roosevelt; and that land remains Russian.

So - was this justified? Half of a land you are supposedly "saving", land that belongs to a people who were staunch allies in the War, is taken away from those people. Was this the "greater good", as the Nazis may not have been defeated if not for the USSR?

I think that overall it may - just barely - have been the greater good, and that's a very painful realisation. But it's a very close-run thing. In his time Stalin killed tens of millions of innocent people. An Alliance with Stalin was dealing with the Devil, and was turning a blind eye to a great deal of suffering.

But I'm afraid that there really are no simple answers and there never have been. It is very important to realise that fact.

So relativism appears to remove black-and-white certainties?
Good.

Think about it some more before you act.

Consider your enemy's reasons.

Consider the long-term consequences of your intended actions.

Because you can't turn the clock back once you have acted, and the world is a very small place these days.

There are still near-certainties to be found, but you have to work them out for yourself, and they may not be what you expect.
The truth is often uncomfortable.


Top
#76506 - 07/31/02 09:08 PM Re: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
Rouspeteur Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 163

" So relativism appears to remove black-and-white certainties? Good."

That right, "appears". Look at how successful Stalin was at killing his own people, or Mao in China, or Kim Il Jong (sp?) in North Korea. Communists have killed many times more people than the Nazi's ever did, but no one bans communist parties. Is it important to understand Stalin's reasons for killing 10's of millions of Ukrainians? Would it have made a difference? (Oh, now I see, that's why he slaughtered millions of people, he had a difficult childhood. I feel so much better now.)

The dealing with Stalin was a very straightforward deal with the Devil. Hitler was, at the time, the bigger threat. I doubt the allies had any illusions about Stalin, they just needed him to keep chewing up German units.

" So - was this justified? Half of a land you are supposedly "saving", land that belongs to a people who were staunch allies in the War, is taken away from those people. Was this the "greater good", as the Nazis may not have been defeated if not for the USSR? "

Justified? No. Never. What was, however, the alternative? Declaring war on Russia and forcing them out? England had been fighting for 6 years and the public wouldn't countenance any more death. Unfortunately, the European's defence plans are the same now as they were then. Don't spend money on defence. Retreat when attacked. Ask for someone to help. Bitch and whine about the person giving the help after you are safe.

"But I'm afraid that there really are no simple answers and there never have been."

I disagree, sometimes there are simple answers, but people are too blind to see them. Ignoring a grave threat to your existance is not a rational choice. Now, there aren't always simple answers, but you can't say there are never simple answers.

"Think about it some more before you act. "

Saying there is a simple answer doesn't imply that no thinking is required.

"Consider your enemy's reasons. "

No thanks. Someone saying they want to kill me because I am a citizen of one of the "Little Satans" that support the "Great Satan" is enough for me. It is enough for me to know that they are backward, misogynist, lunatics who must be stopped.

Would knowing Hitler's reasons for wanting to exterminate Jew and Gypsys change anything?

"Consider the long-term consequences of your intended actions. "

No argument here but sometimes the short-term consequences of inaction will eliminate the existance of a long-term. Case in point. Last year there was a conference in Toronto concerning people who had survived cancer as children. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy have had long-term consequences for them. Not treating the cancer has short-term consequence because the person is not around in the long term.

"Because you can't turn the clock back once you have acted, and the world is a very small place these days. "

Agreed. Just because I think that there are cases where there is a clear line between right and wrong doesn't mean I advocate mindless action. But I don't advocate sitting around analysing things until someone actually does something and then criticising them because you would have done something different (an artform in some parts of the world.) The world is also a pretty small place when you don't take action.

"There are still near-certainties to be found, but you have to work them out for yourself, and they may not be what you expect. The truth is often uncomfortable."

Exactly. That's why many people don't want to recognise right and wrong. It makes them feel uncomfortable.




Top
#76507 - 07/31/02 09:32 PM hate-mongering lacks novelty
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
> It is enough for me to know that they are backward, misogynist, lunatics who must be stopped.

So, he thought big and they called him a phallic.

Perhaps this makes some sense....
"He who joyfully marches to music rank and file,has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake,since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is no different than murder." Albert Einstein


Top
#76508 - 08/01/02 04:53 AM Re: hate-mongering lacks novelty
Rouspeteur Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 163
"So, he thought big and they called him a phallic. "

Very nice quote but typical. Don't respond to the nature of the evil, just insult people who will do not use weasel-words. If you think someone is small-minded to recognise a threat when it is presented to them, fine. You imply from your choice of quote that if a group of people recognise evil and try to do something about it then they are mindless robots.

Did I say anywhere that I was in favour of war and death? No. If you don't think that people blowing up synagogues and flying airplanes into buildings pose a threat that should be responded to, that is your opinion. I view fighting a war to defend yourself from attack as being much different than attacking in the first place.

Is there any case where you would say: "This must stop. These people must be stopped."

"> It is enough for me to know that they are backward, misogynist, lunatics who must be stopped."

Which part of the above quote is it that offends you so? Which part is untrue? How were women treated? Are they not lunatics? "I must kill in the name of my merciful god." sounded as crazy coming from people fighting in Northern Ireland as from these terrorists. Sort of like the old Monty Python bit (done from memory so I might have a few of the words wrong): "Bless this oh Lord, our holy hand grenade that we might blow our enemies to little bits in thine divine mercy."

As to Einstein's quote, what a load of crap. This comes from a man who knew the power an atomic bomb would have and yet worked diligently helped develop it. A man who escaped the Nazis and then says, "killing under the cloak of war is no different than murder" about the people who fought evil. It's very easy to be a pacifist when you can rely on someone else to save your ass.

Finally, why is it hate-mongering to call an enemy an enemy? Not just an enemy, but an enemy that has clearly said he wants to kill you.

P.S.
If you want to issue more petty insults because my views differ from yours, go ahead. I will attack someone's opinions but not insult them and imply that they aren't too bright for having them.


Top
#76509 - 08/01/02 05:41 AM Re: hate-mongering lacks novelty
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
Well actually Rous, you've already done something remarkably similar:

Unfortunately, the European's defence plans are the same now as they were then. Don't spend money on defence. Retreat when attacked. Ask for someone to help. Bitch and whine about the person giving the help after you are safe.


That sweeping generalisation emphatically does not hold true of the teeming millions within the UK's borders , let alone the wider diversity to be found amongst the whole of Europe's citizens. It doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.

This level of generalisation and insult of those who hold a contrary view is why, I am afraid TEd, that I cannot take up your suggestion here. If we have learned a few things on this site perhaps one is that international politics seems hard to confine within the bounds of reasonable language.


Top
#76510 - 08/01/02 08:44 AM My appreciation
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I would like to thank all of you for remaining civil. I can sense the underlying depths of feelings. I was so afraid, when I saw the beginning of this thread, that we would have a reprise of the post 9/11 ugliness. I very much appreciate your-all's restraint.
(I realize that "your-all's" probably sounds VERY strange to just about all of you {'cept maybe Keith and Alex}. But mercy, it sure can be a time-saver: the only other way I can think of to express that last sentence would be "...the restraint that all of you are using". Ah, colloquialisms!)


Top
#76511 - 08/01/02 08:57 AM Re: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
RE:from Rouspeteur comment "The truth is often uncomfortable. "

THE WAYFARER,  
Perceiving the pathway to truth,
Was struck with astonishment.
It was thickly grown with weeds.
“Ha,” he said, 5
“I see that none has passed here
In a long time.”
Later he saw that each weed
Was a singular knife.
“Well,” he mumbled at last, 10
“Doubtless there are other roads.”

Steven Crane--

one of my favorites..

_________________________
my other obsession

Top
#76512 - 08/01/02 09:24 AM Re: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
it is incredibly difficult to have a discussion about topics such as these when you can't look into each other's eyes, and offer to get them a cup of coffee, and hold hands and cry together. we all want the best for each other, and there are really very few people that will kill; we can't really know how we will react in any given situation, we can only rely on our best hopes and beliefs, and hope they are strong enough.

_________________________
formerly known as etaoin...

Top
Page 3 of 11 < 1 2 3 4 5 ... 10 11 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8729 Members
16 Forums
13805 Topics
214957 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
BILLH, GrandmaCoo, ShellsnBells, charmingthemuse, toddster
8729 Registered Users
Who's Online
1 registered (wsieber), 37 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
LukeJavan8 119
endymion6 108
wofahulicodoc 91
A C Bowden 48
jenny jenny 42
Tromboniator 8
tsuwm 7
FoFong 4
Bazr 3
meliza 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10521
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
AnnaStrophic 6511
LukeJavan8 6437
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith