Date: Mon 18 Nov 2002 - 00:31:41 GMT
> You have written many interesting things in the past, but this ain't
> one of them.
I didn't write it; it is an article I posted to the list to make a salient point about memetic motivations for differing opinions.
> The world is not and never has been black and white, good
> and evil etc. I support the right of a woman to an abortion so the
> Fundies would call me evil? Is there a moral system that says what
> EXACTLY is good and evil 'cos I haven't seen it so far.
Murder is evil. Rape is evil. Theft is evil. Lying is evil. There are notable exceptions, of course, but, as Aristotle said, the exception PROBES the rule, since its status as an exception sets the parameters of the rule's scope (it is a common misquote to say that the exception proVes the rule).
> I have not seen any convincing reason to attack Iraq except the one to
> free the Iraqi people which is, to my mind, low on the list of the US.
> Weapons of mass destruction. Don't make me laugh. My guess is that
> on this list could make some nasty shit just by looking in a chemistry
> text book. Look at the Tokyo sarin attack. An Horizon (BBC tv)
> documentary in the seventies got a grad student to use public archives
> to design a nuclear weapon - how many physics grads are around today
> and are any of them muslim.?
But when a nation commanding tens of milllions of people and billions of petrodollars cranks out the shit by the ton, we are talking about an entirely different level of threat.
> Just because people don't toe the Yankee line doesn't make them wrong.
> If we had followed your lead at the start of WWII, Europe language
> would be German. But then America only got its shit together when it
> was attacked at Pearl harbour and realised there was some evil
> bastards about. Took 9/11 to wake you up again.
> No I do not hate America as there is plenty you can teach the world
> about democracy etc, just remember that the USA may not have all the
But the US has some of them, and in some cases can even persuade the UN to consider unpalatable truths.
> I read a report recently that Iraqi oil deposits are the most
> extensive in the world. Or am I being cynical?
You're being cynical. The Saudi reserves are more than twice the Iraqi ones.
> Does GW Bush intend to do anything about the Saudi's promotion of the
> fundamentalist Wahabi (excuse the spelling) interpretation of Islam
> that was responsible for producing Bin Laden? Or for paying for Al
> Queda? - I won't hold my breath.
I' too would like to see remedial action taken there.
> And as some one said earlier, I would prefer to die fighting rather
> than push my head in the dirt to pray to a non existant god.
> > Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 00:32:53 -0600
> > From: email@example.com
> > Subject: Why Europe is so Contrary
> > On the dark side: The fear factor
> > "Strong, the pull of the Dark Side is." -- Yoda
> > Nations once feared to oppose Soviet might. Today they fear
> > opposing Islamic might. They fear opposing terrorism. They fear
> > opposing Iraq. So George W. Bush had to try to shame the United
> > Nations into doing so.
> > Which makes him contemptible to them. For he exposes their
> > cowardice. Every day that he shows no fear, he highlights theirs.
> > Evil always seems more formidable than does good. Some even
> > scoff at the very notion of its existence, subconsciously
> > preempting accusations that they might be enabling or siding with
> > any such thing. If one doesn't delineate the world in terms of good
> > and evil, one never has to admit that he is supporting the wrong
> > camp, or why. Fear is masked, and the hunt to collect moral
> > justification for one's position commences.
> > "We now have a president who thinks in terms of good and evil,"
> > balks actor Sean Penn.
> > Artists. Many of them have been expressing this sentiment in
> > recent months. Evil is such an alien concept to this sensitive sort
> > that when it slaps them across the face, a defense mechanism kicks
> > in and reaches for an explanation, for a rationale to the
> > irrational.
> > To Mr. Penn there is no such thing as clear-cut evil. It's been the
> > foundation of storytelling over the centuries, but the actor has
> > declared the centuries outmoded. Millennia of tales, and none of
> > them rooted in reality. Good guy-bad guy. Hero-villain.
> > These timeless concepts must have originated from thin air, with no
> > real-life models. The one example an artist will have at the ready,
> > as though it's history's first and last, is Adolf Hitler. Yet
> > today's Hitler isn't so easily defined. Political correctness has
> > obscured truth from lie, has made wrong appear right and has
> > justified evil, confusing contemporary generations.
> > The late Russian-American novelist Mark Aldanov had an insight
> > into the subconscious motivation of those who obscure good and
> > bad: Whom would one feel safer having as one's enemy? he asked. The
> > side without standards or scruples, or the side governed by
> > morality, which doesn't kill easily but exercises judiciousness and
> > restraint?
> > Today's cowards, even if they know in their gut that the Islamic
> > world is in the wrong, are scared to oppose it, for they know it has
> > no internal checks on its behavior. So if crossing to the dark side
> > will prolong their lives by a single day, they will buy time on
> > evil's good side.
> > Even from the microcosmic view of a single college campus, a
> > student may fear his Arabic peers and will sooner rail against the
> > campus's pro-Israeli forces, since he is less likely to get beat up
> > by Jewish students
> > The international community adopts a similar approach to the
> > Middle East. After all, who is easier to condemn--Arabs or Jews? And
> > so the pressure always falls on the latter. Especially since
> > everyone knows that their conduct is generally guided by principles
> > of humanity, morality, honesty, compassion and justice.
> > Or else the photojournalism coming from the region would look
> > entirely different from what it has been so far. We wouldn't see
> > pictures of militants captured by the Israeli army being fed water
> > by Israeli soldiers. We wouldn't see photographs of Palestinian
> > schoolgirls chatting carefree as they walk past Israeli soldiers. We
> > wouldn't have seen a photograph of a Palestinian man perched on a
> > low ledge, casually observing machine-gun-wielding Israeli soldiers
> > in the middle of a gun battle with militants as the soldiers
> > practically brush by his dangling legs.
> > Nor would there be PBS footage of Palestinian women coming
> > out from inside militants' homes during a raid, fearlessly mouthing
> > off at the soldiers conducting it. Nor would there be 1.3 million
> > Arab Israelis.
> > But to the UN, charged with promoting world peace, the Middle
> > East serves as a constant reminder of its failed mission. As long as
> > there is fighting, it reflects badly on them. The path of least
> > resistance becomes tempting. If it leads to the extinction of one
> > people over the other, that's one way to solve the problem-- without
> > the UN ever directly involving itself in the bloodshed.
> > The international community doesn't do what's right. It does
> > what's easier. Who has time to actually sift through the facts,
> > especially when that could lead to taking the path of greater
> > resistance?
> > It's far easier to do what is popularly perceived as the right
> > thing. On an individual level, this is driven by a desire for
> > blamelessness and acceptance. One will never have to defend being
> > "for peace" or be asked to explain the statement "the Palestinians
> > are an occupied people." Humanitarianism is a seductive identity to
> > take on, and there's a lot of ego in doing so. If one doesn't
> > understand and doesn't care to understand the complexities--which
> > are often simpler than those he must layer on to justify his
> > position--one appears to be humane and enlightened and can go
> > through life more expediently.
> > It is likewise ego that drives European countries to dissent from
> > major U.S.-led efforts. Europe, itself essentially a Muslim country
> > (yes, country), acts like something between a teenager trying to
> > assert his independence and a wishy-washy third party waiting out
> > the escalating conflict in order to align itself with whichever side
> > seems more likely to win, whether right or wrong. So Europeans stand
> > up to American might rather than Islamic might. What courage, after
> > all, does it take to oppose America? America isn't going to
> > terrorize them.
> > The internationals should note, however, that in traditional story
> > lines good trumps evil. They should also respect history enough to
> > know that committing to the dark side rarely scores any long-term
> > points with it.
> > But the UN just may go along with the U.S. on this one--on Iraq. So
> > that its member states can pretend they're good for something. And,
> > no doubt, so they can later pressure the U.S. to pony up for
> > building renovations. There has to be a payoff, after all. Doing the
> > right thing alone isn't enough.
> > Which is proof that calls for coalitions, resolutions and other
> > forms of international blessings are meant to obscure the obvious
> > fact that America could do a far better job of governing the world
> > single-handedly than in collaboration with the world. So as Bush
> > finishes his father's work in Iraq, moves to undo Carter's handiwork
> > in Iran, digs out from under Clinton's work everywhere and continues
> > Reagan's work everywhere, he proves that getting one's hands dirty
> > pursuing what is right is far less evil than keeping one's hands
> > clean enabling the spread of what is wrong.
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon 18 Nov 2002 - 00:34:36 GMT