Re: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Mon 18 Nov 2002 - 01:13:20 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Why Europe is so Contrary"

    Hi Joe
    > Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 18:31:41 -0600
    > From:
    > Subject: Re: Why Europe is so Contrary
    >> Joe,
    >> 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.

    My apologies. Did seem out of character.

    >> 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).

    Agreed, but as you say there are exceptions that probes the rules. If you could have killed Hitler at: 10 years, 20 years, aborted him if you had the knowledge of what was to come. It would be murder.

    Lying I would suggest is not evil as such, but what the lie is hiding. Lying to some one you love, a friend etc, may, in the long term be more beneficial than telling the truth.

    >> 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
    >> people
    >> 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.

    Which is? They can lob a missile a few thousand miles. Al Queda, box cutters and some planning brought down the WTC for a lot less cash.
    >> 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
    >> answers.
    > But the US has some of them, and in some cases can even persuade
    > the UN to consider unpalatable truths.

    Fair enough. But will the US listen also listen when others speak?

    >> 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.

    But oil is oil. And the Saudis are only the US's "bastards" for now
    >> 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.

    Good, so we shall see the US sponsoring a motion in the UN to bring down the Saudi Regime? :-)
    >> 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.
    > Yepperz.
    The meme of religion is not welcome here :-)



    >> Regards
    >> Steve
    >>> Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 00:32:53 -0600
    >>> From:
    >>> 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:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon 18 Nov 2002 - 01:16:57 GMT