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[P]
Changing views after September 11th.

By dram in Culture
Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:34:55 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

I was listening to NPR earlier today and it made me start to think how September 11th has changed my outlook on the world and politics. It made me wonder if other have seen similar changes in their views.


First off I should let you know that I am an American college student. This should have a few meaning to you; except for the past year or so I did not think critically about international situations or the US's response to them. Also, I am just maybe starting to learn something now, after being almost halfway done with college.

That being said, this is how the past three months have changed my perspective:
My views have not fundamentally changed since September 11th, the views I held previously have gotten more radical and I wonder if this is normal. I think it is, listening to people talk on the radio and TV, as well as the general folk on the street, it seems as if the same ideas are around and kicking, just polarized.

For a long time now I have agreed with what Peter Singer [pdf] said in his 1971 article Famine, Affluence, and Morality. I think that richer countries should work toward building up the poorer, less developed nations. However, I use to not believe that government should have any role in this process. In the past I thought that orginizations like the Peace Corps. or non-profit orginizations should work to accomplish this task and that people should be generous and give freely to help out other's suffering. At this point, I do not believe this is possible; I believe that government should have a heavy hand in this operation, I think that if need be government should raise taxes to force its citizens into giving money, whether they want to or not.

At the same time I do not think this is just the role of the United States. I think that this is a job for the United Nations and that its powers should be expanded so it can accomplish goals such as these. But I realize that there is not much oversight of the UN by the citizens of its member countries and I think this needs to be changed.

Lastly September 11th has given me real hope for the future. I hope that this will prompt a new globalization, one that is not motivated by capitalism and greed but instead by compassion and humanity.

I wonder, have your views changed as mine have?

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Changing views after September 11th. | 71 comments (63 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
nice in theory but... (4.40 / 5) (#2)
by typhatix on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:19:07 AM EST

I don't think this will work out. And maybe I'm just disillusioned with the world, but I think I'll travel to saturn before I'll see a "a new globalization, one that is not motivated by capitalism and greed but instead by compassion and humanity."

How would the UN decide what to take from rich countries and how to distribute it to poor ones? If power leans too much to each country having equal share, poor countries will completely mooch off of rich ones and hurt them. If the rich countries have more power than poor ones then the poor ones will not get any reasonable amount of help. Rich countries (ala US and Soviet era Russia) don't give a crap about little countries. They prop them up for a particle use, and after they've blown their load they leave without calling unless they need another favor.

Also, ignoring everything else, such radical changes would require support of the larger countries who would be hurt by such acts, and they would never support it. Hell the UN gets blocked on simple things by the big powers.

Humanitarians will continue to work themselves to help people. Big countries will continue to protect the interests of big countries.

Fun idea though.



Of course! (3.50 / 2) (#3)
by dram on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:35:57 AM EST

I completely agree. I don't think my ideas will ever happen, but it is what I would like to see in my perfect world and it is what I would like to work towards in my life. But I agree, it will not happen.

-dram
[grant.henninger.name]

[ Parent ]
Why not mention it then? (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by martman on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:27:40 AM EST

If you completely agree then perhaps it is an issue worth noting in the body of your article. I understand that you might not think of something at the time of writing, but if this was an obvious point perhaps you might have included it in your article. I suppose there is the argument that leaving loose ends fuels discussion, but i tend to think that it just leads discussion to analysing the article rather than the issue. Feel free, of course, to differ.

Nice article though. I agree that individuals re-evaluating their views, politics and awareness has become a pervading theme of late.



"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
The UN as World Saviour? Don't think so. (4.27 / 11) (#5)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:06:49 AM EST

I want to speak to your suggestions about the UN, first. I may post separately to answer your actual question, but I don't want to entwine the two, because this is a view of mine that hasn't changed.

The United Nations was never intended to become a supergovernment. It was intended as a place where otherwise antagonistic governments could talk to each other rather than irradiating each other. It also has developed over the years into an engine whereby those same otherwise-antagonistic governments can cooperate on humanitarian projects that trancend ideology -- feeding the world, that sort of thing. Many people, secure in the belief that it would be a utopian regime, one motivated, as you say, "by compassion and humanity", would like to see it become more than that, would like to see it become a true supergovernment, enforcing a social consciousness on the world.

If the failure of every other attempt at socialism hasn't already proven this to you, I'm not sure what will: power does not attract those who are compassionate and humane. If there are compassionate, humane people in charge at the United Nations today (and I'm willing to believe there are a few, because some of the UN's agencies, bloated bureacracies that they are, do manage to do good work), it's precisely because the United Nations has no real power, because it is not a government.

Give the United Nations teeth, give it power to actually enforce an agenda, and it will become like any other bureaucratic, socalistic government. It will become riddled with corruption, with power-seekers, with greedy bastards, with corporate hacks. It will not feed the world; it will feed itself. It will not equitibly solve the world's problems, distribute the world's wealth. It will solve only those problems which enrich its functionaries, and concentrate the world's wealth in the hands of those who pull its strings.

Every government is like this. Every government is the same in this fundamental way. Every form and style of government is corrputable in one way, shape or form, because even in a democracy, the citizens are never quite vigilant enough to completely erase it. These tendencies in government can be checked, reined in, exposed periodically, but they always recur. Frank Herbert said it best: "Power doesn't corrupt, but it attracts the corruptable."

Trusting in governments, big or small, to solve the world's problems, is folly. More than that, it's buck-passing. If you want to save the world -- if you think it needs saving -- go out and save it. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you.


--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
Interesting assumptions... (3.00 / 2) (#8)
by Electric Angst on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:26:44 AM EST

It's interesting that you believe that increasing the UN's ability to perform humanitarian functions somehow means that the UN would gain more governmental powers. (Kind of like the article's author assuming that the government shouldn't be involved in helping other nations, and that groups like the Peace Corps, a governmental organization, should...) Hell, just giving them the ability to cross borders with greater ease would help them in their task, and it wouldn't lead to some kind of brutal mega-government.
--
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
The Parent ]
EA and his utter lack of historical context (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by trhurler on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:31:20 PM EST

Would you please show one example where any organization of any kind has ever gained any significant amount of power and has not tried to expand it? Just one would do.

The truth is, sometimes people make it look like that isn't their goal, because they know they're weak and need more support to do it. But it is always the end result, unless someone replaces them first.

This guy is not talking about letting the UN cross borders freely, although that in itself is a bad idea(ever heard of "national sovereignty"?) He's talking about letting the UN levy taxes. He's talking about a system that would inevitably include a worldwide ID system(to track taxpayers, of course,) a worldwide police force, a worldwide set of courts, a worldwide military(you'd think this would be unnecessary, but they'll find justification - they'll say it is temporary - but it will never go away,) and so on. The key is the tax point, from which all others would flow - and his plan would require that point, whether directly or otherwise(ie, whether the UN collected the money from national governments or from citizens directly, it would still be a power of taxation.)

And the guy you replied to is correct. Add more power to the UN, and whatever good people it presently has would soon be replaced by power mad sociopaths like the Clintons. (If you doubt that the Clintons are power mad sociopaths, look up Bill's reaction to 9/11 when talking to his office secretary.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Look up Clinton's statements to his secretary? (none / 0) (#61)
by Wondertoad on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 10:19:40 AM EST

How precisely are we supposed to do that? If he said something intriguing, especially if it supports your point, just tell us what it was!

[ Parent ]
On the "intent" of supergovernmental org (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by mcherm on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:20:41 AM EST

I would like to pick up on your point and draw an interesting analogy. Take a look at the constitution of the USA.

I know that you'll find constitutional scholars who disagree slightly on this, but if you read through the document you'll see that it clearly envisions a bunch of independent states (the term "state" means a soverign government) who retain their independence and soverinity while banding together for purposes of trade, war, foreign relations, and other such details.

In fact, generations later, some of those states decided that they'd had enough and decided to back out of the deal, and we had a big fight over it.

I guess my point is to agree with you -- once we start giving power to some central govt with authority over supposedly soverign states/nations that there is a strong tendency for that central authority to strengthen, not weaken. In fact, the European Union could be seen as another example, just not so far along in the process.

So, what to make of this? In my opinion, it's both good and bad. If the entire world becomes enmeshed in a single global government there is a loss of diversity which, I think, weakens us. How would democracy ever have developed, for instance, if we'd had a world-wide emperor?

On the other hand, there is something incredibly good about having a single government. Within the USA (except for that brief disagreement previously mentioned which, in one sense, created the nearly-continent-wide government), when we have disagreements we settle them lots of lousey ways. We malign each other in the newspapers. We take each other to court (WAY too often!). A few wackos like Timothy McVeigh (and everyone AGREES that they're wackos) even commit acts of terrorism though they are quite quickly quashed. But no matter how deep the divisions (think of the abortion issue), how important the issue, or how arbitrary the solution (think of the last USA election), there's one thing we don't do. We don't go to war.

And I think that is more broadly true. I think that the stronger the overarching government, the more likely people are to seek some sort of mediation, or even forced solution rather than resorting to war, or large-scale organized terrorism (think northern ireland). The question (in my mind) is not what the UN was intended for, but whether it is worth the cost to allow it to expand beyond that, when the payoff might be the holy grail mankind has sought for so long -- an end to war.



-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]
There's a lot already happening (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by ragnarok on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:11:19 AM EST

And it's usually done by religiously-motivated people. Sad if you've got a downer on religion as big as mine, but there it is.

Mother Teresa's outfit was merely the most prominent in Calcutta during the seventies, for example.

As regards your comment:

But I realize that there is not much oversight of the UN by the citizens of its member countries and I think this needs to be changed.

I personally think that would be a good idea. If we could write to our international representatives, as we do to our parliamentary/congressional/whatever representatives in democracies, then we'd feel we had a bit more of a finger on the pulse, a bit more ownership of what is happening out there. But it isn't that easy to implement - I once tried to write to my nation's representative in NY, and failed miserably.

Such is life!

"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sister's prophecies
Doubt it... (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by Trickster on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:26:24 AM EST

Yeah, I agree w/ you in a way - it would be nice to see altruistic (sp?) support for poor countries from richer ones but i doubt it will ever happen.
(here're couple (1) of groundless points [can't be bothered to find a supporting story from some conspiracy website -- got a final in 5 hours]; oh and it's 3:30am here...)

But anyways...
The main mission of any government (let'ssuppose that it's not even corrupted) is to look out for the interests of its people (that's what one of your government persons said at the beginning of last century, don't remember who, when, exact wording, etc but you get the idea). For example, (i'll pick on US of A here. everyone does, why can't i?) US decided to protect kuwait because kuwait have like 3rd or whatever largest oil reserve and US had to protect thier supplies -- this was thier initial official excuse(well, that's what i've read on the net ... gotta be true) -- the sadam-is-the-new-hitler part came later. If you look kuwait up in cia world book they still have a monarchy with no real elections -- you'd think that US would pressure the government into some reform to make it like uk or something. (and no, i don't have any conspiracy theories yet as to why us went to balkans... except to pollute europe, i guess, or to bomb microwaves). As for afganistan -- there's lot's of oil around caspian sea, US of A wanted to get pipeline to it through afganistan, taliban said hell no... sucks to be them now, doesn't it? And agian, my trusty internet sources were telling me that US was going to kick taliban's butt for that reason before 11-9-2001.
So there...

(yeah, and then that UBL guy was becoming pain in the ass, though i doubt they gonna catch him any time soon, besides he makes a perfect excuse to push through crap-loads of legislation (sp? i have problems with words over 5 letters) to make the work of marketing guys easier, but you've heard this song before, didn't you?)

I think that in order for this scheme to work our attitude gotta change - we (and I mean west, east, south, north, all the world) gotta shift our focus from our personal (individual, community, country, whatever scope you look at, scope < humanity) benefits to the benefits of humanity as a whole -- and that's not gonna happen any time soon.

tst

Why the USA went into the Balkans (none / 0) (#19)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:42:24 AM EST

Because the last time Serb nationalism got out of hand enough to draw other Europeans in, WW1 was the result.

I forget who was related to who, and in what degree, but several countries on the borders of Yugoslavia had troops moving towards the border in order to protect their relatives. As I recall, Hungary, Greece, and Turkey were getting ready to move. The Russians were supporting the Serbs, and it looked like they would go after anyone who went after the Serbs. The Greeks and Turks don't like each other, the Hungarians don't particularly like either of them.

The US was the closest thing to a neutral country that could intervene without kicking off WW 2.5.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Hubert Humphrey quote (none / 0) (#56)
by dblslash on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:04:57 AM EST

"The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the unemployed."

[ Parent ]
"Old" vs. "New" globalization (4.80 / 5) (#11)
by Ranieri on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:40:10 AM EST

I think that nation-states are an obsolete remnant of 18th century nationalism, and are completely out of scale to deal with pressing issues of modern times. The sheer number of regional and global organizations that pop up to discuss all sorts of issues, together with a strong tendency to de-centralization and federalism provide, in my mind, ample proof of the fact that governments are increasily confronted with problems that are either too big or too small to handle directly.

Globalization provides a natural response to this situation, providing a framework that allows global problems to be dealt with in a global manner. I think this is a positive development.

What i'm not so happy about (and i know that several people, including Nobel laureates agree with me) is that this process appears to have been, so far, largely one-sided.

We, the developed countries, have a history of pushing for "free trade" whenever we have something to gain from it, only to revert back to protectionist schemes (and i'm afraid we Europeans are the worst offenders in this respect) when we feel it would be against our best interest.

A prime example of this would be the admission of former communist block countries into the EU. I understand that the german people are concerned about being flooded with cheap labour from the east. I feel however that freedom to live in whichever country you like is the cornerstone of the EU. If you deny people that right you are not admitting new members, you are simply increasing your consumer base.

I think it's time to bite the bullet and put all our silly western protectionist measures aside. We need to engage in truly honest and "isotropic" globalization. If this means being flooded with cheap labour, so be it. As liberals are so fond of saying: "the market will sort itself out eventually" Our fellow humans in the developing world would finally have a fair shot at the famous "western dream".

Why? (none / 0) (#18)
by czth on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 11:33:03 AM EST

I think it's time to bite the bullet and put all our silly western protectionist measures aside. We need to engage in truly honest and "isotropic" globalization.

Why? Western nations made a lot of good choices (and a lot of bad ones, but we seem to have by and large come out on top), good for us, why should we have to pay to drag nations that couldn't hack it out of the mess they're in?

I'm all for individuals supporting other nations, at their option, but, charity begins at home, folks, and you don't have to go very far to see needy people in most cities (people with real needs, not just the prominent ones begging for money to get a drink or some cigarettes). I'm no raving libertarian, but legislate that I have to support poor Indians or Afghans or Africans or whatever, and you lose my vote.

If this means being flooded with cheap labour, so be it. As liberals are so fond of saying: "the market will sort itself out eventually" Our fellow humans in the developing world would finally have a fair shot at the famous "western dream".

Let's sort out our own problems first, and not bring new ones on ourselves by embracing measures that will turn us into third world nations.

czth

[ Parent ]

Perhaps a bit of clarification is in order... (none / 0) (#50)
by Ranieri on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:20:36 AM EST

I totally agree with you that charity starts at home. However, i was not talking about charity.
What i was trying to advocate, was to treat fairly with our third world business partners. When all is considered, we need them at least as much as they need us. A vast amount of the resource we consume originate in developing countries.

Now i'm not suggesting we give anything away for free. If the steel mill around the corner sells its product for a lower price than the one located in Rwanda, by all means buy from them.
But, by the same token, on a level global playing field (and this is the essence of what is known as globalization), you should buy from the manufacturer in Rwanda if the reverse is true.

In my opinion, if the government steps in and intervenes in this process (either by imposing import taxes or utilising some other policy tool) it's engaging in one-sided "free trade".
It's exactly like saying "We want a level playing field, but it must be sloped downhill in your direction".

-- Ranieri

[ Parent ]

Governments work for their citizens, not the UN (none / 0) (#60)
by czth on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:47:58 AM EST

Now i'm not suggesting we give anything away for free. If the steel mill around the corner sells its product for a lower price than the one located in Rwanda, by all means buy from them. ...

In my opinion, if the government steps in and intervenes in this process (either by imposing import taxes or utilising some other policy tool) it's engaging in one-sided "free trade".

Nothing wrong with that, either. The government is looking out for its own interests (even assuming that the quality of the product is equal at both sites, which it probably isn't, given that the civilized[1] West has more experience at this whole industrialization thing, and likely more regulation). And when it looks out for its interests, it looks out for yours, because the tax it gets from the <currency unit>s spent locally go to improving local facilities.

[1] Sue me, I'm an evil biased closed-minded white male who doesn't mind calling a spade a spade, and some countries are plenty uncivilized. And don't give me any crap about them thinking us uncivilized in return, blah blah yada yada one man's civilization is another man's barbarism, bleat bleat.

A country has the right and even the obligation (to its citizens) to protect its interests. It does not have any obligation or requirement (even moral) to buy from or help anyone else, or even treat them equally. And on the practical side, Rwandans don't vote for Western politicians, nor do those who have lost their jobs due to the government feeling that forever reason (a quick buck, to look kind and loving [not to mention dumb] in the eyes of the world, etc.) they should let foreign business decimate the locals.

If the US followed your policy on (e.g.) automobiles, the Japs would wipe the floor with you, because frankly a lot if not all of the stuff that comes out of Detroit is crap on wheels, while Toyota/Honda/Nissan have proven to be lower maintenance, more durable, better resale value, and cheaper from start to finish.

czth (proud Toyota owner, and no, I'm not Japanese :)

[ Parent ]

government should have a heavy hand (4.28 / 7) (#14)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:06:56 AM EST

The libertarians on this site are going to go totally nonlinear when they see that line.

Must be nice to be a teenager in college. I gave up expecting government to solve all the world's problems after I hit 20 or so and was out in the Real World.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"

Peace Corps? (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by autopr0n on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:38:31 AM EST

Arn't the Peace Corps run by the government?


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Broaden your news sources (3.25 / 4) (#20)
by Armin on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:02:20 PM EST

I was listening to NPR earlier today ... the views I held previously have gotten more radical and I wonder if this is normal
This makes sense. NPR is very liberal in their story selection and coverage. They do a great job in covering stories that others neglect. There was a period of time where NPR was my only source of news. After a few months, I noticed that my views were becoming more radical. Most of us humans, have a heart and are moved by others suffering. The world can be quite cruel and some people get dealt crummy hands. Unfortunately, emotions and politics often create a volatile mixture. Solid reasoning and considering all arguments makes for better policy. So, my suggestion is to read some more conservative news sources. The middle ground is usually more prudent. And by middle ground, I don't mean what the politicians call the "center" or "moderate" which usually means not taking a stance at all.



Wait a second! (3.00 / 4) (#21)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:14:23 PM EST

I thought that globalization was evil??!?

Oh, wait, you're talking about "good" compassionate globalism, not "bad" capitalist globalism.

What you say sounds great on the surface, but think about what you are saying.

Civilized society is a framework involving government, economics and other institutions that provide a structure around human behavior. This is the fundamental reason why there is a massive gap between the power nations of the Americas, Europe and Asia and the third world.

If you live in the Congo or Somalia, your property is only yours for as long as someone more powerful then you doesn't want it. In the United States, Germany or England property is protected; it will not be taken away from you without compensation.

Take Mexico as another example. Corruption and cronyism is so rampant it is nearly impossible to conduct business. The bribes & patronage required to run a business is a de facto tax that raises costs for everyone (look at phone rates in Mexico)! Crimes go unreported and unresolved because the people are afraid of the police, most of whom are also on the payroll of organized criminals.

Sending charity or weapons or food to other nations won't help as much as we might think. What we need to do is encourage the formation of strong societies, not necessarily strong government.

Sure (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by PhillipW on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:34:24 PM EST

What we need to do is encourage the formation of strong societies, not necessarily strong government.

I agree that just sending food over is not going to solve the problems of the 3rd world. However, to say that strong government is not needed is somewhat silly. The reason that, in the US, England, and Germany, your property can not be taken from you without compensation is because the government is strong enough to enforce this. A weak government, such as the government in Mexico, simply can not enforce such laws.

Oh, wait, you're talking about "good" compassionate globalism, not "bad" capitalist globalism.

Judging by what you're saying, you as well are for a far more compassionate sort of globalisation than most corporations nowadays are going for. While you advocate strong and well defined, yet fluid societies as a result of globalistation, most companies essentially want a global NAFTA so they can take advantage of poor economies and uneducated citizens in order to skirt such things as minimum wages.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Ok (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:11:46 PM EST

Strong government does not equal a strong system of laws (or justice). For example, during the early 1800's the United States government was extremely weak, both at the State and Federal levels.

Despite this, there was a strong respect for property rights, particularly those of (non-Indian) landowners.

Exerting the power of stronger nations on foreign governments (with the exception of armed conflict and the period following it) does far more bad than good.

Money is the physical manifestation of power, and throwing cash & arms into the hands of foreign governments does nothing more than create dictatorships and strife. Foreign support disrupts the balance of power within a country, and makes the favored party or individual far too powerful.

I am in favor of non-interference. The US workforce was once dominated by mega-corporations like Standard Oil, US Steel and others. Let progressive movements abroad form trade unions and publish newspapers decrying corporate abuse. Don't push our agenda on these people and don't provide gov't funding to corporations.



[ Parent ]
Weak Government (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by PhillipW on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:05:57 PM EST

While I would say the government in the early 1800s certainly didn't do a whole lot legislatively, I would not say that it was weak. Inability to enforce existing law makes a government weak, not unwillingness to make changes. That simply reflects the viewpoint of the time.

As far as non-interference, I would say that it would be great... if people actually cared about corporate abuse. Most people know about companies taking advantage of the lack of labor laws abroad, such as in China, yet still buy the products. It must be kept in mind that it is not possible to form a trade union whever you want. This is why I have no problem with trade regulations.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Re: Wait a second! (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by Wolfkin on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:10:39 AM EST

If you live in the Congo or Somalia, your property is only yours for as long as someone more powerful then you doesn't want it.

That might well be true in the Congo, but it isn't really in much of Somalia, where there is an established legal system which does work (though I don't necessarily agree with all components of it).

In the United States, Germany or England property is protected; it will not be taken away from you without compensation.

We must be talking about different "United States". The US I used to live in is the land of asset forfeiture, taxes (without compensation, no less), and punitive fees on water use, electricity use, etc. Certainly the various levels of government count as "more powerful" than me, and they took more from me than if I were mugged every week.

I was under the impression that things were even worse in England and Germany, but I don't know first or second hand, so I'll take your word for it that those more powerful than you (primarily governments) will not take things from you in those countries without compensation.

As far as people being afraid of the police, that seems to be true in the US as well (and if not, those people are living in fantasyland), since anyone who doesn't like you can make an anonymous phone call to the ATF, FBI or DEA and have your house invaded on the premise that you are a cult member or terrorist or everything you own confiscated on the premise that you are a drug dealer.

Think that that can't happen? Try it. Phone in an anonymous tip from a payphone about yourself to some three letter agency. Say that the person who lives in your house is storing "machine guns", or "funny smelling chemicals", or that there is a lot of the "wrong sort" of people coming and going at all hours of the night. Afterward, go down to the library (you may not have a computer anymore) and post about your experiences here.

They don't confiscate on the basis of every tip, of course, but they do on some, and who knows what your chances are?



[ Parent ]
Put the tinfoil hat back on. (none / 0) (#65)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 11:19:09 AM EST

Wow, you are one paranoid mutha.

The legal system is Somalia is whatever the local warlord thinks that week. There is no courts or laws without government, and Somalia does not posess one.

Name a country without taxation. All governments levy taxes, whether they be excise taxes on electricity and imports or taxes on income. I dislike paying taxes as much as the next guy, but to compare it to asset forfeiture is more than a little extreme.

The 'punitive' fees on water use are there to pay for the infrastructure that forms municipal water systems. If everyone dug their own well at their home, the water table would quickly go dry.

Finally, the person living in fantasyland vis-a-vis the police is you. If you call in a tip to a police agency, they may begin an investigation or surveillance to see if there is a need to take further action. They may even question you. Your house isn't going to be raided unless there is clear evidence of you having done something, or if there is no other way to determine what you did.

I guess you learned about how the police work from TV.


[ Parent ]
Naw, it's a stylish hat. :) (none / 0) (#67)
by Wolfkin on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:07:02 PM EST

Wow, you are one paranoid mutha.

Well, I read the news, if that's what you mean. Don't you? Even if you thought that the US was a free country before the last coupla months, surely there's no argument that it isn't now?

Name a country without taxation. All governments levy taxes, [...]

Right, but the original poster's point was that the US didn't have theft without compensation, unlike "the Congo or Somalia". My point is not that there is someplace you can escape such barbarism, but that the US isn't much, if any, better.

The 'punitive' fees on water use are there to pay for the infrastructure that forms municipal water systems.

No, I'm not talking about normal market costs for water and power. I'm talking about rate plans that go up with higher use, and extra taxes tacked on simply to inhibit water and power use. Can you imagine a situation in which a single jug of milk costs "x", and buying 10 or more means every one after 10 costs "2x"? That's the mark of politics.

If everyone dug their own well at their home, the water table would quickly go dry.

Oh, yes, and of course the way to make people more likely to want to use piped water is to make it more expensive. Oh, wait...

Your house isn't going to be raided unless there is clear evidence of you having done something [...]

Tell that to Steve Jackson, or Gold-Age. Tell John Adams, too. Google can tell you about lots more, if you're willing to open your eyes and search.



[ Parent ]
The UN can tax my cold, dead body (2.57 / 7) (#24)
by trhurler on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:34:52 PM EST

I think the subject says it all. I'd sooner nuke the third world than become its slave, and I feel the same way towards my next door neighbor, though perhaps a shotgun would suffice to deal with her:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Um... (none / 0) (#43)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:42:48 PM EST

...I think this might be a little bit extreme :-)

[ Parent ]
Myself... (none / 0) (#49)
by Canar on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 12:52:37 AM EST

I wouldn't mind becoming the next-door neighbor's slave... She's pretty hot. I'd definitely avoid the fission approach, as my house is only a few hundred feet away. And, as I don't have registration to own a shotgun, it appears I only have one avenue of recourse.

Ah well... Gotta submit some time.

-=Canar=-

[ Parent ]

"Whether they want to or not..." (4.66 / 9) (#25)
by Wondertoad on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:43:20 PM EST

At this point, I do not believe this is possible; I believe that government should have a heavy hand in this operation, I think that if need be government should raise taxes to force its citizens into giving money, whether they want to or not.

It's not circumstantial that the essay where you take some of your inspiration was written in 1971. Over the last thirty years we have had the opportunity to see how well this kind of idea works.

In 1971, it wasn't clear that the social engineering of the USSR would not work. The biggest concern was still "what if it actually works?" Unbeknownst to the people spreading that fear, the truth about much of the USSR wouldn't come out for years. Its closed society was able to hide the fact that Stalin had killed more of his own citizens than Hitler. That there was a class system. That a large amount of their food was produced and distributed by a street-level free economy, permitted by the government because it prevented the country from starving. From 1989 on, when glasnost started to kick in, we learned that the very worst of the paranoid right's delusions about the Soviets was true.

When studying government, the biggest question should be "How can we prevent the government from going nuts and killing off a tenth of the poopulation?" The answer to this question, in my opinion, is to make government accountable to, and LESS POWERFUL THAN, the citizenry. The government cannot have power. The real power has to be in the hands of the citizens.

The government with the power to tax Peter to help Paul also has the power to enslave or kill either or both of them.

Back to 1971. 1971 was the last year that people had a broad belief that their elected officials were acting selflessly to benefit the country. A year later, Watergate broke; two years later, the Nixon tapes were released; and a country pulled the wool back from its eyes and saw that politicians were in fact politicians, not an elite group to architect solutions that would benefit us all.

But by then the political solutions were in place. A few years earlier, the War on Poverty had been kicked off - which would increase social spending to levels higher than defense, without having much effect on poverty. After two decades of this, people with their eyes open would note that 67% of social spending didn't even make it to the needy; it was eaten up by the government bureaucracies involved. You were saying that the government should take over the roles of private charity?

Look around you. The richest and most powerful nations on earth are the nations that are the most free. Do you think this happened by accident? Because it would be a pretty amazing coincidence.

If you honestly care about the poor, give them freedom. The role of the government is to provide an infrastructure of laws and systems where the free people can work and trade. At first, its goal should be to prevent fraud. Later, if it is powerful enough, the government can consider tighter definitions of fraud including regulatory approaches.

The role of the government is not to use force to coerce the citizens to do things they don't want to do. Government solutions, by their very nature, MUST be political. The power goes where the money flows, and undistributed power is not pretty, and does not worship at the same house of compassion where you worship.

If you are still registering for spring semester classes, I recommend one in 20th century history. I didn't take history when I was in college, and this has been one of my greatest regrets. People who study history have an understanding of the world beyond yours and mine.

Force who to do what in the where now? (3.25 / 4) (#26)
by Whyaduck on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:05:09 PM EST

I think that if need be government should raise taxes to force its citizens into giving money, whether they want to or not.
How exactly does a government "of, by and for the people" force the people (otherwise known as citizens) to do something they don't want to do?


Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
and a torso even more so.

*cough* lol (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by Shovas on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:22:57 PM EST

Greetings,

How exactly does a government "of, by and for the people" force the people (otherwise known as citizens) to do something they don't want to do?


I really hope you're joking. :)

There are so many examples where the government(I'm more familiar with Canada, but I do know examples in the US) has pushed through legislation which, if people actually had power, would not have gone through.

Taxes, "relief" funding for questionable organizations, power grabs by special interest groups, post-Sept 11 terrorist bills without sunrise clauses, etc., etc, etc.

By and large, we have not been greatly, negatively affected by these things which have been pushed through, but you are incorrect in your belief that a democratic or representative government doesn't force things upon its people.

Farewell
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[ Parent ]
Thank you for laughing at me.... (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by Whyaduck on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:23:50 PM EST

...and now I'll laugh at you. My comment was a reaction to the obvious contradiction in the article between a desire for peace and justice, and a willingness to force people to do things for their own good. If I had had more time perhaps I would have made the point more clearly. I didn't, so I didn't. So, no, elected governments are still far from perfect. I probably should have said something like, "Should a government 'of, by and for the people' be forcing them to do something they clearly don't agree with?" Better?

Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
and a torso even more so.

[ Parent ]
Wanted: Tougher skin and Cleaner Specs (none / 0) (#39)
by Shovas on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:13:15 PM EST

Greetings,

Take'er easy there son. Nobody's laughing _at_ you, else I would've put *cough* lol@u or something l33tly stupid like that. :)

I agree, perhaps you should have made yourself a little more clear. I'm sure I would've have certainly understood your tone much better.

However, when someone posts something that concise and pointed, I really do have to laugh at the "apparent" ignorance. No personal offence, just doing my little bit to ensure everybody's got both sides of the story. :)

Farewell,
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[ Parent ]
Oh... (none / 0) (#42)
by Whyaduck on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:38:28 PM EST

So, rather than laughing at me, you were laughing at my "apparent ignorance?" Wow, even with the jaunty emoticons, that doesn't make me feel any better. :) In any case, I thought your first post was obnoxious, and I think your reply to my reaction to your post is obnoxious. :)

Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
and a torso even more so.

[ Parent ]
[See fist reply subject, minus '*ough*'] (none / 0) (#48)
by Shovas on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:03:37 PM EST

Greetings,

You take things way to seriously! This thread is so utterly ludicrous I can't stop laughing(Lawyer's note: Any and all laughing contained in this thread, on this domain, or in any archives containing this text, now or in the future, shall hereafter refer to laughing in the benevolent context).

Let's all have a coke and teach each other to sing!

I understand what you were trying to get at, after you explained your first post. It's all good! Now let's get back to our socio-political, kuro5hin mongering, normal debating selves, shall we?

Farewell,
PS. lol! *duck*
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[ Parent ]
Good article (2.20 / 5) (#28)
by losang on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:39:34 PM EST

Once again all the experts have made their comments. Congradulations on being a student and still keeping a realistic percpective on things. What is refered to as the real world is really a change of thinking due to indoctrination and propaganda. If one is strong in their beliefs there is no conflict after college.

Today, more then anytime in history, there is a great maldistribution of resources between the few and many. This is quite clear. The question of how to correct this is complex. What is not complex is how to start. First off, the wealthy nations should cease policies that produce these unfair conditions. This is also quite clear.

In genearl, if ones belief is becomming more radical this is a good thing. What is termed radical is usually a view that opposes the unfair and unballanced policies of the elite. In places where there is free speech people who speak out against power can not be silenced through more aggressive tactics so they must be dicredited. Think about terms like freedom fighter/terrorist or radical/original thinker. If we look at the objects in which both are applied they are indistinguishable. The distinction only appears when personal interest comes into play.

My views have also changed a lot. In fact, I have become more cynical of America's foreign policy and the American people. Why people can not make the connection between the deaths of innocent civilians here and abroad is an indication of Americas morality. This is a good example of what was said at the end of the previous paragraph.

The reality, although this may meet opposition for the experts at kuro5hin, is that questions such as yours are not simple. The only people who can propose complete solutions in a web forum are those who are arrogant and who want to hear the sound of their own voice. This is not the place for any serious discussion.

Perhaps so. (none / 0) (#31)
by dram on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:13:12 PM EST

This is not the place for any serious discussion.
It is sad, but after writing this story and reading peoples responses I agree with you on this. Serious discussion cannot take place on a web log or anything like it. It makes me doubt if a site like Quorum.org really will be successful. I fear not.

It seems as if people are more inclined to attack my views than share their own. It is reactions like this that attract trolls. I was being honest in what I said, I was not trying to troll k5, but it seems as if I did a good job at it. Maybe this Internet thing isn't such a great medium to communicate and discuss. And that is unfortunate.

-dram
[grant.henninger.name]

[ Parent ]

Serious discussion. (none / 0) (#53)
by FredBloggs on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:27:56 AM EST

People WILL attack anything thats posted, because people dont generally try and read and learn from discussions on the net - they just post their positition. I dont get the impression many people actually chew things over. Post your position, mod up/down people you do/dont agree with, then move onto the next story. If you DO want to learn/change, then you should stick exclusively to reading points you DONT agree with, follow up leads/links/books etc and get into it. Dont expect to have your opinions changed for you.

[ Parent ]
Please give the martyrdom thing a quick rest ... (none / 0) (#35)
by joegee on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:32:25 PM EST

... you are not the first person to have their feelings hurt in the discussion section of their submission, nor will you be the last. K5 is a community of different individuals that is structured to encourage dissention, even argument. Some participants stray beyond civility, that's one of the drawbacks of participating in a faceless online community.

Around K5 if you play Joan of Arc long enough someone will probably hand you matches and kindling to shut you up. You're better off to enjoy what appears to be your story's success in the queue, accept it for face value, and realize that basically in here everyone is equal. If you cannot handle having a submission dissected in a hundred different (sometimes cruel) ways you need to find another venue, because the nature of K5 discussions is unlikely to change regardless of how frequently you express your offense.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
You misunderstood what I was saying. (none / 0) (#36)
by dram on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:47:25 PM EST

I think you meant to reply to my comment, but anyways, the comment clearly was directed towards me. And I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I do not care that people attack my views, that makes me happy. I like to be challenged in my thinking and to have new ideas brought to my attention. I was just making the statement that people are not discussing the question that I asked in the article. I have a think enough skin to deal with people bringing up points against what I have said, its when they start to attack me that I get uncomfertable. But people did not do that in this story, and it is something that is seen much more over at that other site. So I was just commenting, not complaining.

-dram
[grant.henninger.name]

[ Parent ]
It wasn't directed to you, Dram ... (none / 0) (#37)
by joegee on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:54:52 PM EST

... not at all. :)

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
The comment was directed at Losang ... (none / 0) (#40)
by joegee on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:16:03 PM EST

... because of this comment he/she placed in response to discussions occuring about his current queue submission. When I went to view your submission I noticed his sarcastic comment, and I wanted to give him a bit of a heads-up before someone with some excess anger to vent decided to verbally eviscerate him.

Take care -- I noncomittaly hope whatever holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year is decent. Peace. :)))

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Sometimes entangled... (none / 0) (#41)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:38:06 PM EST

Dram -- the problem, IMO, is one of entanglement. You asked a question, but then you also provided your answer to that question as part of the base article. In doing so, you invited the discussion to follow either course -- presenting our own stories on how our views are changed, or merely discussing yours.

I got caught by this on my India article as well -- I entangled my confusion at having not seen the story until it was five days old (which seems to be largely my own fault) with the story itself. In the process, I was reminded of a valuable lesson about how Murphy's Law applies to electronic fora (and I've been doing this kind of thing since 1984 or so on old dial-up BBSs): if any given post contains two possible themes to respond to, most people will respond to the one you were least interested in hearing about :-)

I encourage you to keep posting here; but next time you want honest answers to a question, *as well* as discussion of your own views, I suggest you post the question as the article, and post your own views as a comment.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

I relized this... (none / 0) (#45)
by dram on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:02:08 PM EST

but not till after I post the story and people started to post comments on it. I was going to do just what you suggested had the story been voted off the queue into oblivian (sp). I guess this is still a learning experience even though its not the first story I have gotten posted and nowhere near the first one I have submitted.

And just a note on the "I encourage you to keep posting here" line; I think I have been around a while longer than you. Unless of course you have changed your name on here for some reason. It's just that when you said that it sounded a tad arrogent. However you have gotten a few stories posted to the front page recently, so maybe you should be arrogent. :) Anyways...Thank you for your advice.

-dram
[grant.henninger.name]

[ Parent ]

Arrogance... (none / 0) (#47)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:15:11 PM EST

...is an old flaw of mine, yes :-) And I can easliy believe you've been active here longer than I have, since I only really took up the habit in-depth when K5 came back from it's suspended animation. I've been lurking for a while, but only recently has the writing bug caught me again.

The tone of your responses in this sub-thread made it sound like you were newer to K5 than you are, that's all. And, of course, the entanglement mistake is one that anyone can make. As I said, I may be new to K5, but I'm not an online newbie by any stretch, and I made the same error just yesterday :-)

So, apologies for the arrogance, especially since it seems like you got my real intention, which was encouragement.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

MLP, why terrorists keep terrorizing (5.00 / 3) (#33)
by I am Jack's username on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 05:10:19 PM EST

"made me start to think how September 11th has changed my outlook on the world and politics."
Tools for political action: a guide
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
Re: Changing Views (2.33 / 3) (#44)
by odin on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:47:37 PM EST

Nope. Hasn't changed my views one solitary bit. Bin Laden has been in the news for years now. From the first time I read an interview with him, I kept an eye open for his name as he moved up the list to public enemy #1. So, I was not one of those Americans surprised that anyone in the world could possibly hate us. I'm also not over-awed by the sudden unity this country has possessed since the attack. It's simple playground politics. If somebody attacks you, you go hang out with others like yourself for protection. It won't last. At least, I really hope it won't, cause I'm kind of keen on the whole notion of having rights. In fact, there is a whole ton of things I'm not surprised about, that have only deepened my usual feelings. That given any crisis, crass consumerism is the answer. That those who dislike irony will once again claim irony is dead. That the government will take any excuse to deny us our rights. That George W. Bush would recycle Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech. I'd maybe make the claim that this whole thing has made me even more cynical, but it really hasn't, it just gives me better material to rant on.

re: hasn't changed my views (none / 0) (#59)
by kubalaa on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:28:47 AM EST

but rather has "only deepened my usual feelings."

?

[ Parent ]

Getting back to the point Dram *wanted* discussed (4.00 / 3) (#46)
by UncleMikey on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 09:08:09 PM EST

How have my views changed since 11 September?

On a personal level, I've become a bit more concerned about the health of my family and my friends. I'm also paying a bit more close attention to both world affairs and national ones, after a period of ignoring them, believing that nothing George W. Bush did would ever be of lasting significance, anyway.

There was a time -- maybe 15 years ago -- when I held more 'globally compassionate' views such as the ones Dram has put forth. I wanted a single, benificent world government in which all human beings were entirely equal regardless of race, creed, colour, etc. But I have become much more cynical over the years, and 11 September just reinforced that cynicism.

I have become a bit conservative when it comes to my view of how America faces the world. That is, I consciously look to the past for models of what worked rather than to experimentation. This is the source of my rebuttal of your (Dram's) answer to your own question.

These views have been strengthened by 11 September, not weakened. To my mind, the role of government is to protect its citizens and work to improve their lives. History has demonstrated that insular regimes don't really do this very well -- North Korea being a stunning, ongoing example of failure. The best way to develop America's interests is to be a player on a wider stage.

This, in turn, means that America must remind the world that it is fundamentally strong. That, despite the various issues which divide us, we are capable of teaching our enemies unforgettable lessons. I could wish that we had found more surgical methods to teach the Taliban and al-Qaeda those lessons, but the lesson itself needed to be taught.

I have not become any more enamoured of this administration, but I agree with the basic aims of their policy: crush terrorists, crush governments that support terrorists. Destroy America's enemies, reward America's friends. A very old, very basic formula.

I hope, despite the clear disagreement with your own views, that this answers your question adequately.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]

proven methods? war? (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by boxed on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:57:44 AM EST

Waging for is a provem method alright but not in the way you seem to think. Has Israel increased the security of it's citizens by oppressing and killing palestinians? Has the US increased the security of it's citizens by slaughtering vietnamese people? Etc, etc, etc.

[ Parent ]
err.. I must be way more tired than I thought (none / 0) (#52)
by boxed on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 06:00:16 AM EST

"Waging war is a proven method alright, but not in the way you seem to think" was what I tried to write.

[ Parent ]
The answer. (1.00 / 1) (#54)
by i on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 07:05:38 AM EST

Has Israel increased the security of it's citizens by oppressing and killing palestinians?

Yes.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

oh really? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by boxed on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:01:23 AM EST

Suicide bombings increase the security of your people does it? The only way to make it more safe would be to kill ALL palestinians and defeat ALL the arabic military powers in the region. Oh wait, don't I recognize this? Yea, that's what Hitler tried to do.

[ Parent ]
Facts. (none / 0) (#63)
by i on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 11:07:19 AM EST

When Israeli tanks are in Jenin and Ramallah, there are fewer suicide bombings. When they are out, there are more. So your original assertion (formulated as a rhetorical question) is factually incorrect. There's really nothing more into it.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
short term != long term (none / 0) (#68)
by boxed on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 03:52:42 AM EST

When Israeli tanks are in Jenin and Ramallah, there are fewer suicide bombings. When they are out, there are more.
Probably because the suicide bombers are busy trying to keep Israeli troops from killing their families. This creates more suicide bombings in the long run (a year, probably less).

If there was no Israel there would be no palestinian suicide bombimgs in the area, so you assertion is factually incorrect.

[ Parent ]

Incorrect. (none / 0) (#69)
by i on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 08:36:29 AM EST

Probably because the suicide bombers are busy trying to keep Israeli troops from killing their families.

Do you think you know what are you talking about?

If there was no Israel there would be no palestinian suicide bombimgs in the area

If there was no USA there would be no 9/11. So?

Don't bother to respond.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

Singer's aiiiight, but.... (none / 0) (#57)
by derek3000 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 09:06:27 AM EST

"For a long time now I have agreed with what Peter Singer [pdf] said in his 1971 article Famine, Affluence, and Morality. I think that richer countries should work toward building up the poorer, less developed nations."

While Singer is a smart guy who has some well-written essays under his belt, I would ask this: What is going to be more help to these countries? If we constantly funnel money in without changing the things keeping them poor, then we will forever be supporting them. Wouldn't you want self-sufficience?

Anytime someone proposes a plan that would give these people the tools they need to live without our help, we are automatically undermining their culture. So what position are we in?

Singers position, if I remember correctly, is this: If you see someone drowning in a pond, you have a moral responsibility to help them. If you don't, you kill them. I say fine. But after dragging them out of the pond, wouldn't you teach them how to swim?

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars

Re: Singer's aiiiight, but.... (none / 0) (#62)
by dram on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 10:59:19 AM EST

I believe what we should do is build up countries infrastructure and give them ways of fending for themselves. And this does not necessitate destroying their culture. All that we, as the rich countries, need to do is industrialize their farming, and build roads, school, and hospitals. Most people would say that western schools would destroy the culture but I don't think we should mandate what is taught to a large degree. However, I do think we should ensure that math and the sciences are taught. Let them choose what language(s) or histories they want to teach, that's where culture comes from.

-dram
[grant.henninger.name]

[ Parent ]
well... (none / 0) (#64)
by derek3000 on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 11:16:02 AM EST

Your intentions are good, but let me give you a very timely example.

We give about $3 million USD to Palestine for educational children's TV. The stuff looks just like Sesame Street, with sing-alongs and whatnot. But then you translate the words, and they kids are singing about becoming suicide bombers, reclaiming land that is theirs, acheiving martyrdom.

I shit you not.

Look at the Taliban. We thought that they were doing a good thing when they decided to ban all drugs in their country, so we gave them $48 million USD. Of course, the only banned consumption from their subjects, not trafficking from their friends.

Still think that we can actually pull this off? My suggestion: establish a free market (first in this country, then in theirs) and then let their economies take care of it, hopefully. More money == better education == better life == more to lose by becoming a suicide bomber. Maybe that's flawed logic, but you can't say that good economic conditions wouldn't help.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

Money for the Taliban (none / 0) (#70)
by vectro on Fri Dec 28, 2001 at 04:03:26 PM EST

Do you have any source that shows we gave cash to the taliban? I've seen numbers from 40 to 100 million bandied about, but no proof. The only thing I can find is a (rebutted) article in the LA times.

The US did give Afganistan about $50 million of humanitarian aid, but that was in the form of food, medical supplies, and other necessities, and was delivered to the people of afghanistan -- not the taliban.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
But that *will* destroy their culture! (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by UncleMikey on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:39:45 PM EST

All that we, as the rich countries, need to do is industrialize their farming, and build roads, school, and hospitals.

At the risk of sounding patronizing: I think you need to read up on how Western Culture got where it is today, and how all of those things you describe 'destroyed' (transformed) Western Culture of the past into Western Culture of the present. Granted, the innovations came more slowly, more gradually. But most of the time, there was some set of 'traditionalists' who saw what was happening and decried the change it was bringing. The change happened anyway. When you change the way people live their lives, you change their culture, and all these things would introduce just such a change.

Does that mean that the result would be identical to Western Culture? Not necessarily. But it wouldn't be what they had before, any more, either.


--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
Apathy (none / 0) (#71)
by danohuiginn on Fri Jan 11, 2002 at 05:36:07 AM EST

except for the past year or so I did not think critically about international situations or the US's response to them

And there's the problem. We in the West tend to forget that our governments are constantly taking action across the world, and we don't give them the scrutiny they deserve.
Terrorists see the US intervening in their countries, and they get angry. Bin Laden is encouraged and, in the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims, excused by his claims to be fighting an imperialist, anti-muslim policy in its support of Israel. In the same way Castro got a lot of support in Cuba by pointing to US support of Batista's corrupt Cuban government in the 50s.
I'm not saying that our government's actions abroad are necessarily bad: personally I think we're being pretty reasonable about Israel, but were downright wrong in Cuba. But we need to have this debate in the open. We need to behave internationally as a democracy. What generally happened before 9/11 was that few people took much interest in US foreign policy. So US actions were controlled (and seen to be controlled) by a small group of military advisors, CIA spooks, and big lobbyists. Now America has seen it is part of the world, and it might determine foreign policy democratically (and so rationally and compassionately). And that might mean we'll encourage less terrorists.
Just a pity it takes 4000 corpses to get us to look at the rest of the world

Changing views after September 11th. | 71 comments (63 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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