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The utter hypocrisy of the military industrial complex

By turmeric in Op-Ed
Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 12:37:27 AM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

Or, why I am a pinko liberal when I was raised as an honest red blooded American industrialist technoutopian militarist.

Quite a few people I know work in building big things for big companies and are simultaneously suffused with pro-American rantings about foreigners, communism, and occasionally Martin Luther King and other communist troublemakers.

This is all well and good because I believed it all when I as growing up. Every word. America was the bastion of freedom, against everything evil and wrong in the world. Everyone else was a bully, America was the valiant truth fighter making everything right and proper, defending freedom and democracy.

Now, did I read a bunch of communist crap in college, or fall in love with a communist woman or something like that? No.

I read things like Alexander Solzhenytsin, Harry Wu, Luba Brezhneva, etc. These are books written by people describing what it was actually like to live in tyrranical states like the Soviet Union or China. Now, I don't know why the goddamn hell our schools teach us Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, etc, when these people are all MAKING SHIT UP. We have REAL PEOPLE who lived through things that are LOTS WORSE than these 'dystopian' authors could ever dream up.

Now, I take all this knowledge of why the Soviet system is evil. Communism is evil. (Also, fascism was evil). If that is all true then we, America, must fight this system, as our military and industry has been doing for generations. Except it hasn't. It's all been a lie.

The Industry of America SUPPORTED HITLER. Including Henry Ford. That is OK, that was a long time ago right?

Fine, how about right now, 2003. Surely nowdays American military and industrial might, filled to the brim with the ranks of the '100% americanism' red blooded no-bullshit workers and soldiers and ex-soldiers who will die for the constitution, surely these people will never sell us out, or go against their words, or their ideals which they have pounded into me since I was about 5 years old, telling me why we had to go to war.

In fact, they have. Go into any American store, the bigger and more capitalist and more American, the better. You will see 'Made in China' all over the place. Go talk to people working on big construction projects. Chances are good they are doing it for the Chinese government. A COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP, let me remind you. In China, there are no national elections, there are no labor unions, there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, and there is no right to bear arms either. In China, both wings of our beloved pro-America nutbags would be in jail together. Anti-abortion christians and radical feminists would be sitting in the same cells with gun-nuts and anti-globalization protestors .

And yet, the most gung-ho red blooded John Wayne worshipping segment of our population: The blue collar construction trades, the high tech aerospace, manufacturing, refining, metallurgy, machine tools, plastics manufacturing, chemists, etc, are all working under the control of the Chinese Communist government.

Now I don't mean to red bait. The Chinese government is filled with closet reformists, like the one who leaked much of what became the "Tiananmen Papers". Even the stupidest uptight control-freak zealot like Deng Xiaoping or Li Peng had in their hearts good wishes for the development of the Nation and at least a partial understanding that opening up was a good thing. I doubt the average Chinese person cares much about politics any more than the average American, they just want to raise their kids and do their job and have some fun once in a while.

But Jane Chu is not who the American military industrial elites are helping. These same people who brainwashed us into spending hundreds of billions of dollars on everything from decade-late bombers we almost never use to crouching under our desks during a nuclear holocaust, are now making their living, buying their gazebos and tuxedos and fake leather bomber jackets, by selling themselves out to a communist dictatorship government.

Now of course they will argue, 'well we are helping the Chinese people to liberalize'. Why does that strike me as odd, for a group that made themselves wealthy and powerful during our entire cold war by 'helping' the American People, to now be getting even more wealthy and powerful by 'helping' the Chinese People. If I was sniffing around, like any reasonbly intelligent person will be doing after the Enron/Worldcom/Internet bullshit bubble finally woke people up to how crooked our elites are, (and the savings and loan before that, and etc etc), then I might say to myself "Hey wait a goddamn minute, no matter what happens you scallawags always seem to come out rich, even if you go backwards 100% on your ideals you claim to hold".

And that is why I am a pinko liberal and why I don't work for a big fancy "defense contractor" or "fortune 500 manufacturing firm" or whatever. I just can't stand all those gung ho shit brains telling me how 'brave' and 'honorable' they are and the US military is, when they would sell themselves out for a few thousand bucks to whichever ideology/state is paying them the most money. That is why when liberals say 'womens rights or civil rights movements protect democracy, not the military industrial people' , I listen to them, and I believe them. . . . beacuse the military industrial people never have given a shit about social issues, like spreading democracy within our borders, and they probably never will.

But why is this? Where do these people's actions come from? Their philosophy is simple: They are forced to do everything. Even if they have a million dollars in the bank and own 3 companies, they feel 'forced' to sell themselves out to the highest bidder. Scientists, engineers, business people, even some academics, whatever, they all throw up their arms and say 'I can't do anything, I am forced to capitulate and do what I am told'. And yet these people are the people who raised me to worship some guy in a trench dying for his beliefs in some shit hole 15,000 miles away from home, while his family waited wondering if he were dead or not. And they sell out their ideals for a few thousand dollars and their fancy cars and their job security. Convinced me over and over and over that building guns and bombs and weapons is necessary because we are defending democracy and freedom, and yet they sell it out for a rolex watch in the next heartbeat.

Seems more likely to me that these people get a hard on from technology, and will use whatever excuse they can find to get money from anyone who will let them build it. In one minute they will say 'Technology is neutral and amoral so it is not my fault what it is used for'. In the next minute, they will say 'Technology is positive for society, thats why we need more students in engineering school, that's why we need more funding, etc.' You can't have it both ways. Maybe if you had taken a few philosophy courses instead of making fun of the 'fluffs' and 'zoids' you would realize there is something called 'total and complete logical inconsistency', and that is what your arguments about technology and society are filled with. And that is why you will go to your grave forever hateful and bitter that the world 'didn't understand science/technology': it understood it very damn well, and it realized that the 20th century military/industrial/corporate/statist version of science and technology is completely inconsistent and full of lies and bullshit, and therefore stupid and wrong.

There is this thing called freedom, and it is not about some girl buying candy or tucking kids in at night. It is freedom where you can decide what you do in life, and who you help, and where your work goes, and what it is used for. It is saying you can quit, it is saying no I won't help you do things that are morally wrong. It is having control of your own life, not selling it out to some manager or bureaucrat or whatever because you are 'forced to'. If that is what all those people died for, then why don't you practice it? If you worship bravery and defying death, then what is so scary about telling off some guy in a suit?

And that is why I am a no good pinko liberal.


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The utter hypocrisy of the military industrial complex | 140 comments (105 topical, 35 editorial, 0 hidden)
You make some good points, (3.00 / 2) (#8)
by roam on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:46:37 PM EST


But, what I don't understand is, why you think these people who would "sell their ideals out for a rolex" are any different than anyone else?

What happend to them? Lets say they got lucky, got rich, etc.  But they're still human, no different than anyone else...

Lets say somehow everyone was equal, in your perfect society (not that I'm claiming to know what you want)... don't you think there would be people who would want to be more than equal?

I mean throughout history people have been taking advantage of other people, selling themselves out, etc... it's just human nature, no matter what you do someone will want to be better than someone else and do whatever is necessary to get there, and you're back to where we are now.

Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman

they control everyone else (none / 0) (#10)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:53:39 PM EST

and make us do stupid shit like build enough nuclear weapons to kill everyone on the planet, and in gneeral make us feel like shit if we 'go against' what they are doing. and then they tell us they are better than everyone else.

[ Parent ]
My point is (none / 0) (#11)
by roam on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 10:55:47 PM EST

there is no "they" and "us" if you or I were in their shoes we would likely do the same thing. If we wouldn't, then someone else would.

Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman

[ Parent ]
hrmph (none / 0) (#12)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:04:11 PM EST

yeah well, whatever. try putting that in the propaganda posters , maybe its the new 'low key slacker propaganda' , " join the army, be a sellout" ha ha ha ha.

[ Parent ]
Your point is wrong (5.00 / 5) (#40)
by zocky on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 07:05:27 AM EST

There's an old lady in the street. Somebody beats the crap out of her and takes her change away. But hey, that's the way it's gotta be, right? Someone's bound to do it. Better yet, next time you meet her alone, do it yourself, at least you'll get something out of it. If not you, someone else is going to.

Some things are just wrong, or at least feel wrong to the majority of population. The sad fact about liberal societies is that it's exactly people who don't feel such things are wrong (and therefore do them and don't get stopped, because, hey, if you or I were in their shoes we would likely do the same thing, right) that have the greatest chance of furthering their interests.

I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Bad analogy (5.00 / 2) (#47)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 08:14:00 AM EST

There are consequences for mugging that are significant enough to make you pause to consider whether the rewards make it worth it as a career choice.

But let's deal with the situation under discussion: if you can manage to get yourself born into the ruling plutoclass, your actions have no significant consequences.  You can desert from the military, snort coke, pull off crooked business deals, run businesses into the ground with no thought but your own profit, hell, you can even kill people (directly, rather than with a button or a pen), and nothing happens to you.  Charges get dropped, records disappear, events become ancient history (e.g. GWB's mid 30's "youthful folly" drink-driving days), and all is rapidly forgiven.

And why should they think it would be otherwise?  Raised by nannies, privately schooled, taught that nobody but God himself is above them (and that they have plenty of leeway in interpreting His will), when do they get a chance to learn empathy or limits?

The analogy with me and thee doesn't hold up.  When we mug the old lady, we're turning against our own, with all the consequences that brings.  When the likes of GWB screw us over, there's no consequences.  We can't touch them, and they can't see us from their fortified ranches and gated communities.  We could win the lottery and live next to them, but we could never think like them.  That takes generations of breeding in isolation.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Not about getting away with it (none / 0) (#48)
by zocky on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 08:45:55 AM EST

It's not about getting away with it. I can get away with beating up old ladies in back allies, but I still don't do it.

I'm sure that people (at least men) in my family could have gotten away with beating up old ladies in back allies for generations, so I was raised by people who could get away with it who were raised by people who could get away with it. But I don't do it, and to my best knowledge nobody in my family has ever done it. Why? Because I think it's wrong.

But even so, my whole rant isn't about THEM doing it. It's about US saying that it's only natural that THEY do it and furthermore that THEY are allowed to do it (not to mention somebody insulting me by proposing that I would act the same in THEIR place).

I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Don't be insulted, (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by roam on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 10:50:17 AM EST

but in my opinion, you probably would.

Maybe not you... if not you, then enough people would so that we would be back in the same place we are now.

It's not always as blatent as "beating up an old lady" either.  You've never done anything selfish in your life? I hardly believe that.  

Sort of like what Rogerborg was saying, when you're "down here", you do something selfish, no one really cares (most of the time, depending on the act). When you're "up there" and you do something selfish, you become a scum of the earth baby-eating GWB-like dictator.

My opinion is that there is no difference in the people "down here" and "up there"... Just the magnification of their actions.  People are people.

Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman

[ Parent ]
Sorry, I meandered a bit (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 01:05:15 PM EST

The punishment bit was just what got me thinking.  The significant part is the cultural separation.

I mean that speculating if you or I (or anyone we know) would act the same as Bush if we were in his position is a largely pointless question, because even if we found the Treasure of the Sierra Madre tomorrow, we could never be like Bush.  We could never have his upbringing, or his values, or his outlook.  We'd have to leave that inheritance to our kids and grandkids.

Don't get me wrong, I honestly don't think that the ruling class screw us deliberately.  I believe that they're probably quite fond of us, in the detatched way that the benevolent rich have always been fond of their bondsmen.  I just believe that they operate on a completely different set of rules, and that there is very little chance of meaningful negotiation or dialogue.

The closest we can come to grokking them would be by eating them, a strategy of popular oversight that I'd be interested to see tried.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

too true... (4.00 / 1) (#102)
by Baldwin atomic on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 02:55:20 AM EST

Equality of all people is such BS - we may as well be living in feudal Europe in the year 1400. At least back then no-one thought that they could escape the confines of their class and ascend from serfdom to the ruling class. It's exactly the same today, we just tell ourselves that it isn't. Stories like what happens when the POTUS's kids are arrested compared to normal kids makes me glad I don't live in the USA... yet. Australia is just as bad, and is looking more and more like becoming the 52nd state of the USA every day.

Opinions not necessarily those of the author.
[ Parent ]
What is human nature? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by trane on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 07:10:14 AM EST

Your answer seems like such a (common) cop-out to me.

Humans can change their nature. That's one of the reasons we are so successful (?) at evolution. We can change ourselves to fit changing environments. And we can do it within a generation, and transmit how to change (through writing, speech) to future generations or to remote groups.

I think your real answer is something like "It's too hard for me to change. Even if changing would be better, the overwhelming majority of people around me aren't changing (at least not perceptably). How can not going with the flow be better? It might be better in the long run when everyone comes around, but in the short term it would be too painful."

See the very fact that I and perhaps the author of the article disagrees with you should indicate to you that it isn't just "human nature" unless I'm not human.

[ Parent ]

Human nature. (none / 0) (#106)
by I am Jack's username on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:31:40 AM EST

"Genocidal greed and habitat destruction being your nature does not make it human nature." - Jeandré
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
I disagree /nt (none / 0) (#116)
by roam on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:14:30 PM EST

Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman

[ Parent ]
what's so wrong with selling something? (none / 0) (#120)
by mafeesh on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:31:40 PM EST

The human nature thread is just silly.

But indeed, what is wrong with selling something if that something belongs to you?  If I run a business and I create a product that I sell, it seems to me that it's pretty much the same as if I make a clay pot for somebody who needs it, and is willing to give me a wooden spoon for it.  Or whatever.  A fair exchange agreed to by both parties is what I mean to say, pots and spoons notwithstanding.

Understandably the notion of property and ownership is a Capitalist one, but it would seem to me that if I make something it belongs to me - as it would not have existed if not for my action.  This notion of ownership over my produce seems to include the right to sell my property if I so desire.  After all, it is mine.

Is it selfish?  It certainly is.  Is selfishness wrong?  Not in this instance.

I don't think this is really, what tumeric was trying to say though.  It sounds like tumeric meant to inspire us to stand up for our moral convictions, and not to back down whenever anybody tosses us a few dollars.

If that's what was meant, it was a good point.


[ Parent ]

somewhere in this rant... (3.25 / 4) (#13)
by Work on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:07:07 PM EST

theres actually a good point about how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Prior to WWII, Fascism was pretty popular among the power and intellectual elite around the world. And you're right about Henry Ford - he was a rampant anti-semite and Hitler was fond of Ford's personally distributed essays on the filthy jew. Alot of ford's ideas spilled into nazi propaganda.

Other companies did alot of business with the nazis, IBM, all the major auto manufactuers and others... and likewise today, business is interested in making money, no matter how oppressive the regime is.

Like today, many people were against going to war - indeed, the mood among many was identical to those today about war in iraq - "there will be too many casualties", "it's really not that bad", "this can be solved diplomatically" and so on.

So how are things different? They aren't, really. Instead of fascists marching across europe you have terrorists making hidey holes in the middle the east and blowing things up. In the end, most of the discussion and debate will be for naught as its likely that, as in the past, the only solution is going to be to have someone get their ass kicked.

Now who, when, and how, is still shrouded in the fog of future history.

The problem is... (none / 0) (#15)
by krogoth on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:31:04 PM EST

Few people are willing to die for other people's freedom. As long as it doesn't affect you, it's not that hard to live with a less free government. It probably will affect you sooner or later, but when have people cared about long-term gain? What if there won't be a long term unless they co-operate?
"If you've never removed your pants and climbed into a tree to swear drunkenly at stuck-up rich kids, I highly recommend it."
[ Parent ]
Dealings with the Nazi (none / 0) (#16)
by prolixity on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:33:54 PM EST

"Other companies did a lot of business with the nazis, IBM, all the major auto manufactuers and others... and likewise today, business is interested in making money, no matter how oppressive the regime is."

Others being Prescott Bush and friends.

My, my, my, How history repeats itself..
[ Parent ]

see my other article (none / 0) (#20)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:51:13 PM EST

on why today is not like nazi germany. why? back then the industrialists didnt want war. because they were making a profit in nazi germany.

today the industrialists do want war. because they are making a profit off bombing iraq.

except that they arent, some of the newspapers are saying things like 'war is expected to hurt economy'.... so thats why the war is bogged down. the country is not behind it. the bush house has gotten all the world leaders behind it but not the corporations, which is kind of hilarious when you think about it.

[ Parent ]

_All_ the world leaders (none / 0) (#86)
by LaundroMat on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 09:17:16 AM EST

is a slight exaggeration, my friend.

"These innocent fun-games of the hallucination generation"
[ Parent ]

Not the only solution (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by trane on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 07:23:35 AM EST

In the end, most of the discussion and debate will be for naught as its likely that, as in the past, the only solution is going to be to have someone get their ass kicked.

Why is violence the only solution?

Germany elected Hitler. Why? There's a place we could start looking with the goal of preventing future crises before they reach a point where violence is being contemplated as a solution.

In the case of terrorists, why are they mad at the U.S.? Start there, and you can avoid the inevitability of the "ass kickings".

Maybe you secretly enjoy ass kickings and want them to continue.

[ Parent ]

history begs to differ. (2.00 / 1) (#66)
by Work on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 05:53:43 PM EST

the point of the post was, as it said, 'the more things change the more they stay the same'.

I don't like violence. But history has shown us time and time again, that all the debate and discussion prior to the said Ass Kicking are meaningless, and its the Ass Kicking which fixes whatever problem there was beforehand.

And what exactly does anything I said have to do with the US? This is the history of humanity, buddy.

[ Parent ]

"Those who don't study history..." (4.00 / 2) (#89)
by trane on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 12:39:37 PM EST

("...are condemned to repeat it.")

So, if we study history, can we avoid repeating it?

[ Parent ]

how that applies to the USA: (none / 0) (#103)
by Baldwin atomic on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 03:02:00 AM EST

why do the terrorists strike the US instead of say, Great Britain, Australia, or any of the many other western countries of the world?

It's becuase the USA has been bombing their homelands for years, that's why. And then there's the WTO IMF etc.

And the US's brilliant solution to Terrorism? "Bomb them until they like us" - absolutely brilliant, that's bound to work.

And don't even get me started on oil prices...

Opinions not necessarily those of the author.
[ Parent ]
Yeah man. (4.85 / 20) (#14)
by kitten on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:09:39 PM EST

The US Government was better when they were underground. Then they sold out, and now they just suck.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
I Was There Before The Hype (4.77 / 9) (#56)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 10:58:21 AM EST

The US Government was better when they were underground. Then they sold out, and now they just suck.

Dude, I was into them when they were total unknowns! Back when they used to busk the streets and play local bars, passing a hat around for coins and reciting the Declaration of Independence -- totally old school!

Shit, that was fly back in the day. Now it's all MTV-this and UN-that. Like the cat said: sold out, man. Sold fuckin' out.

The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#73)
by dteeuwen on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 09:05:14 PM EST

They used to rock. Literally, they would fom a rock and roll band and proceed rocking. Now they just suck. They should get Chomsky back as their lead singer, and they they would rock again. Rock.


Down the slopes of death he rides
The eight hooves pound like drums
Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
Invasion has begun

[ Parent ]

Excellent Rant (4.83 / 12) (#17)
by iwnbap on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:44:07 PM EST

It just teeters on the edge of coherency.

Let's Bomb China (3.00 / 3) (#19)
by RyoCokey on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:47:27 PM EST

We shouldn't be trading with these communist nuts. We should be liberating their country with those decade-late bombers! Great thinking.

You're not so much a pinko liberal as you're just plain damned incoherent. Just because Pinko Liberal generally implies logically incoherent does not mean you're a pinko liberal just 'cause you're a nutbag.

Go deny the whole Operation Barbarossa invasion with tiger, why don't you?

"Like all important issues, gun control is an emotional issue that will be resolved by politics, belief, and conviction, not by a resort to "facts'." -
good enuff for panama, ussr, chile, iran, etc, (none / 0) (#21)
by turmeric on Wed Jan 08, 2003 at 11:52:19 PM EST

good enough for china? i dont want to bomb china. i just want the elites to shut up.

[ Parent ]
Elites (none / 0) (#69)
by ender81b on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 06:35:44 PM EST

Excellent rant and, as an aside:

i just want the elites to shut up

You do understand that you are an elite? According to Political Scientists a political elite is anyone educated, moderatly wealthy (you own a computer, that's good enough), and follows politics. Basically if you are posting on Kuro5hin you are an elite.

Shrug, semantics. Just thought I would point it out though

[ Parent ]
doesn't 'elite' imply some measure of control? (none / 0) (#125)
by ethereal on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:10:42 PM EST

Normally, the 'elite' are those running things, are they not? I would guess from turmeric's rant that he doesn't feel that he's a part of that class...


Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

that's military-industrial-academic complex (4.57 / 7) (#22)
by Lode Runner on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 12:00:05 AM EST

Though the last group much prefers Ike's original terminology so they can complain about the boot without acknowledging that their foot is in it too.

oooh good one (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by turmeric on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 12:43:49 AM EST

i missed a wonderful opportunity to bash academics! crap. they have brainwashed me!

[ Parent ]
AND filthy socialist hippies (none / 0) (#45)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 07:56:16 AM EST

i.e. Linux lusers.  I have a theory that capitalised words are like kryptonite to you.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

I think you mean (5.00 / 3) (#44)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 07:54:51 AM EST

GNU/military-industrial-academic complex.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Rich people. (3.00 / 7) (#25)
by zvpunry on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 12:44:11 AM EST

So what you're saying is that wealthy people got wealthier during WWI.

And they got wealthier still during WWII.

And even wealthier during Korea, and probably split even during Vietnam.

And their collective net worth soared during the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union.

And now they're making even more money by advocating a war on Iraq.

Seems to me these guys know something the rest of us don't. Count me in on this "war with Iraq" thing.

Do you think it's a coincidence that wealth and power have fought against tyrannical regimes?


P.S. Can I have my money now? I want to be rich, too.

for example? (none / 0) (#117)
by radish on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:15:44 PM EST

I mean wealth and power have certainly always fought against any regime that interferes with their continued accumulation of wealth and power - that's only natural - but when has this ever had anything more than a coincidental connection with fighting against tyranny?

uh-oh.  I just got trolled didn't I?  here's your ten bucks ;-)

[ Parent ]

Hey, power corrupts ! (none / 0) (#138)
by drquick on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 01:22:02 PM EST

Do you think it's a coincidence that wealth and power have fought against tyrannical regimes?
Wealth and power is tyranny! Why? Because wealth and power will make anyone who has it fond of having it. Benign or good intentions mean nothing when your family's wealth is at stake.

To quote John Locke: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

[ Parent ]

Welcome to Montana! (4.00 / 8) (#30)
by egg troll on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 02:45:28 AM EST

Tumeric, when do you plan to move to Montana and work on your Manifesto? I for one look forward to the day you start mailing letter bombs to both The Man and emo musicians!

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

Ah Montana.... (none / 0) (#105)
by Joe Tie on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 05:32:25 AM EST

The only place I've ever lived where you can bring up random crazy people in conversation, and have the other person remark that you used to be able to see them walking around over here.

[ Parent ]
Hypocrisy (4.87 / 8) (#32)
by Quila on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 03:41:07 AM EST

Everyone does business with China.

Even the "anti-abortion Christian" Pat Robertson was there making telekom deals at the same time the government was persecuting his very own.

Entrepeneurs see 1.3 billion potential customers and just turn off all other thought.  Cisco even whored themselves out to China to build their Internet version of the Great Wall.

It's hard not to (5.00 / 2) (#53)
by Korashime on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 09:55:57 AM EST

The average human being on this planet is a Chineese Rice Farmer. Seriously.

Now, how do you fight a nation that large, and try and get them to see your point of view, and not kill billions of people? Simple, you have your British friends, live up to their treaty and hand over the most commercially succesffull city the world has ever known.

After taste of capitalist success, you'll soon see them come around to your way of thinking.

All without having fired a single shot.

"Every day, Americans are confronted with the news of horrors throughout the world which seem both vividly intimate and impossibly distant; helpless outrage is a characteristic emotion of the global age" - George Packer"
[ Parent ]

-1 because (2.80 / 5) (#33)
by Meatbomb on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 04:15:26 AM EST

you called your strawmen "stupid bastards" in paragraph 15.

Take out this unnecessary ad hominem attack and it +1 section from me.


Good News for Liberal Democracy!

+1 FP (3.66 / 3) (#38)
by Haelyn on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 06:52:12 AM EST

A little on the rant side, yet a good article. Liked it
"Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
utter hypocrisy of author (2.33 / 6) (#50)
by kennon on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 09:28:26 AM EST

>There is this thing called freedom, and it is
>not about some girl buying candy or tucking kids
>in at night. It is freedom where you can decide
>what you do in life, and who you help, and where
>your work goes, and what it is used for

As long as it doesn't include letting someone buy/sell products to whom they choose, eh?

Why? (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by zocky on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 12:50:28 PM EST

Is freedom of commerce a basic human right somehow?

Businesses can not be run without a state and its enforcement of property laws. They are a CREATION of the state. Therefore the state (= the people) can put any demands it wants on business. Including limitations on who trades where and with whom.

Of course, if they demand too much, their businesses won't work and they won't eat much, but that's no carte blanche for "freedom of commerce".

I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Influence vs. Coercion (none / 0) (#63)
by tudlio on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 04:32:39 PM EST

There's no hypocrisy involved. Turmeric is asking you, of your own free will, not to work for the military-industrial complex, because it undermines freedom elsewhere. He's not telling you that it's illegal to do so, nor is he recommending that laws be passed to make it illegal to do so.

There's a difference between persuasion and coercion. Look it up sometime.

insert self-deprecatory humor here
[ Parent ]
not exactly, (none / 0) (#114)
by mikelist on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 12:30:43 PM EST

more like being aware of some of the more obvious ramifications of your actions.

[ Parent ]
So, you believe in freedom (3.50 / 2) (#54)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 10:43:48 AM EST

But not for people who disagree with you?

Still, a good piece of writing.

Wouldn't it be a victory for the oppressed people of Iraq, of North Korea, of Iran, if their police-state regimes were overthrown? Even by a cowbo

Get real (2.75 / 4) (#60)
by trhurler on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 01:09:16 PM EST

Two or three big companies supported the Nazis(which, before the war, was a fairly "normal" thing to do.) That's true. However, most of the older generation of liberals in the US were once Chairman Mao lovers too; does that mean all of liberalism then and now is Evil[tm]? This would put you in something of a bind...

As for China, you can thank your liberal buddies for that. It certainly wasn't conservatives, libertarians, or your beloved fascists who gave China twenty years worth of missile research.

There are some decent critiques of the "military industrial complex," but this story isn't one of them.

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

Hmm (pickiness in lieu of a proper comment -sorry) (none / 0) (#61)
by idiot boy on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 03:37:22 PM EST

The subject refers to me not you :). See below.

But it could be argued that fascists gave us China. After all, would Mao have been able to take over if it hadn't been for occupation by a fascist imperialist (Japan).

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself
[ Parent ]

haha you're still stuck on wen ho lee? (none / 0) (#62)
by sayke on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 04:09:15 PM EST

you are aware that he was completely aquitted of all espionage charges after the FBI admitted that they never had any evidence against him, right?

many scientists took their work home, and worked on it there. wen ho lee was one of them. what the liberals (OH GNO ITS THE LIBERALS!!!!)(@#$ - whoever they are) had to do with that, i have noooo idea... but lets hear your side of the story.

whatever your actual position is, surely its more coherent then blaming an impossible-to-define-or-even-characterize social movement for a fascist-capitalist state's sudden advancement in weapons technology...

sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]

No, dumbass (3.75 / 4) (#64)
by trhurler on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 05:30:39 PM EST

Wen Ho Lee was accused of stealing nuclear secrets, and rightly let go when it became clear he was nothing but a politically persecuted patsy to distract attention from something a bit more serious. Namely, Bill Clinton told his cabinet to force approvals of export requests for missile technology from Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, and other companies to China. This is not in doubt, and wasn't ever the subject of any investigation - it is a matter of public record. As a result, China now has the ability to produce modern(by US standards) ICBMs, surface to air missiles, and several other types of missiles.

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

[ Parent ]
I don't believe (none / 0) (#68)
by karb on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 06:26:21 PM EST

you are aware that he was completely aquitted of all espionage charges after the FBI admitted that they never had any evidence against him, right?

Wen Ho Lee plea bargained to one count of mishandling classified data, IIRC. So, not only did the FBI have evidence that he was guilty, Wen Ho Lee admitted as much himself.

As for espionage charges, I don't believe any were ever pressed against him. There should have been ... that's what the FBI botched. But he was quite guilty of the crime for which he was charged, and he was definitely not acquitted.
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

yes, he pleaded guilty to taking his work home... (none / 0) (#136)
by sayke on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 11:04:43 PM EST

which many other scientists in similar positions did regularly - but they didn't get charged with mishandling classified data for doing so, although he did. weird, huh?

no espionage charges should have been pressed against wen ho lee, because he did nothing unusual, let alone indicitive of illicit collusion with a foreign power.

there should not have been any charges pressed against him. he, and the rest of the scientists he worked with, should have been told not work on their research at home, and it should have ended there.

nothing else should have been done. as it was, an innocent man was made to suffer for nothing.

sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]

Anti-Americanism (3.75 / 4) (#71)
by ComradeFork on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 08:25:59 PM EST

Many people from outside of the USA have been, or are Anti-American. I am occasionally too.

Firstly I would like to say that America is pretty much the same as any other country. One thing that bothers me, is that some Americans think they are better. America to them is some "bastion of hope" in the world. Land of the free, etc etc.

America is not a leader in free trade, promotion of peace, standard of living, health care. However, they do have the biggest GDP, and are the largest exporter of Military Equipment.

So please don't try and pretend that America should be some special country, because Australia has already taken that niche.

Haha. Just Serious.

Largest exporter of military equipment, yes, but (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by sonovel on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 12:17:37 AM EST

Not on a per GDP basis, at least two nations beat us at that. And it hasn't been that long since USSR was #1.

[ Parent ]
Dead wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by bjlhct on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 07:00:13 PM EST

GDP = gross domestic product. All the stuff made. You are thinking of per capita GDP. Completely different. And the US if pretty up there with that too....just not #1.

And the USSR was never really ahead of the US GDP wise. People made up all sorts of figures though as is was hard to tell what it really was, many for gov't (band together or the enemy will win, see it is very powerful, do what we say!) propaganda.

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Nope. (none / 0) (#127)
by sonovel on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:26:16 PM EST

Divide military exports by GDP. This gives a number that represents what part of the economy is dependent on these sales.

At least two (that I know of, off the top of my head) major nations "beat" the U.S. by this metric. This metric is better than the raw number in indicating what kind of power and influence this kind of behavior has over the nation.

The often repeated thing is about how the U.S. needs war because it is so dependent on these sales to keep the economy going. However, the per GDP number really indicates that this is more slander than truth. If it is true of the U.S., it is more true of France.

See how that works? Going to admit your "Dead wrong" statement is "dead wrong"?

[ Parent ]

So what? (none / 0) (#135)
by Innocent Bystander on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:45:07 PM EST

Saying "he sells more guns to murderers than I do" doesn't mean that you're not arming murderers.

Oh, and saying that state-sanctioned murder is war doesn't make the dead stand up and dance.

[ Parent ]

Ooops too quick to hit post. (none / 0) (#128)
by sonovel on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:28:45 PM EST

And read carefully. I never said the USSR GDP was greater than the U.S. The military exports of the USSR were greater than the U.S., even though the USSR GDP was far less than the U.S.

Russia's military exports are far lower than the USSR's were, but its GDP is much much smaller. So they also beat the U.S. in exports per GDP.

[ Parent ]

I used to agree with you (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by jman11 on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 09:49:41 AM EST

A while ago I used to thinkthe the USoA was like any other country in the world.  It's people, system, everything was pretty much like it was at home (Australia) and I'd get on just fine.

Then I tried living here: holy fuck, was I wrong.  Of course I live in heartland America, not a big city in the northeast.  This means my opinion is very different from most people who have been here.

[ Parent ]

Australian Powder Keg (none / 0) (#113)
by cam on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:29:00 AM EST

because Australia has already taken that niche.

Australia is coming to cultural, economic and political maturity at about the same time which should make for a nice powder keg of change sometime this century. America was in the same situation in the 1770's and successfully incorporated the enlightenment into American political, cultural and economic thought.

America has dropped the idealogical ball recently so the time is also ripe for a nation coming to maturity to redefine the dialogue on freedom, liberty, equity, politic, economy and culture. I would say the two nations most likely of doing that in the near future are Australia and Iran for totally different reasons.

Australia stands a good chance of becoming the next transcendant nation that creates a post-Washington and post-American world in the same manner that America created a post-Westminster and post-Britian world. It will be up to Australians to see if Australia achieves that.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Wahahhahaha (none / 0) (#129)
by axxeman on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 03:00:26 AM EST

You used "Australia" and "archives" in the same sentence.

Being or not being married isn't going to stop bestiality or incest. --- FlightTest
[ Parent ]

heh (2.00 / 2) (#72)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 08:39:19 PM EST

If we look hard enough, we can find a turmeric complaint that the trade embargo against Cuba is hurting the people of Cuba but not doing anything to change the regime(it could have been someone else, it was a few months back; if so, sorry for the straw man, t). Meanwhile, he's effectively calling for an embargo against China out of a sense of humanitarianism. Which is it, is an embargo good or evil?

I drank what?

yeah and then i derived pi? (none / 0) (#79)
by turmeric on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 12:27:05 AM EST

where the hell do you read this shit into my articles?

[ Parent ]
Indeed (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 04:28:57 AM EST

The U.S. government embargoes one communist nation and gives trade advantages to another. The U.S. government should end its hypocracy.

Well, the most favored nation status isn't working to make China humanitarian so we should take it away and only give it back for real progress.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]

And now for a word from the opposition (5.00 / 2) (#75)
by pyro9 on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 10:38:23 PM EST

I have heard from a number of Chinese businessmen that today, China is more capitalistic, in all but name, than the U.S. We (in the U.S.) must remember that everything we hear about China passes through propoganda filters first. We may not have a 'great firewall' here, but we certainly have a pattern of 'editorial decisions' in our media.

I am not about to claim that China is some sort of workers paradise or a great bastion of human rights, but the rest of the world isn't either. It's not really all that black and white. If you want to avoid supporting militarily agressive governments, I'd suggest avoiding NATO countries.

The future isn't what it used to be
Captitalism!=Freedom (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by Captain Segfault on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 12:01:26 AM EST

[ Parent ]
However... (1.33 / 3) (#82)
by leviramsey on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 02:15:56 AM EST

freedom => capitalism (or at least a free market, but it's impossible to have a full free market without having a free market in the capital markets... that particular free market is capitalism).

Of course, it is true that in some sense, the United States is the closest economy to realizing the Marxist dream (specifically worker control of the means of production), though it is doing it through means that are capitalistic, specifically through the proportion of the population that owns stock in corporations.

[ Parent ]
freedom != property => capitalism (5.00 / 3) (#99)
by martingale on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 09:23:58 PM EST

I think you've got your Das Kapital backwards. Freedom is completely unrelated to capitalism, which is implied only by strong property laws.

Freedom are things like the Universal Human Rights and other ideas, many discovered around the century of enlightenment. That's before the capitalist/industrial revolution!

Capitalism depends only on the notion that an individual can own, and therefore control what happens with, property. The fact that you are "free" to do as you please with your own property is a consequence of it being your property.

In a communist state, you wouldn't have private property, and you could do whatever you wanted with the common property, including things like taking your neighbour's TV set. Of course, he could take it back anytime and if the both of you fight it out, you might get in trouble with the Law, so it might be best to ask nicely before taking the TV.

I fail to see how the US is close to a system where workers control the means of production. Quite the opposite, I would suggest it is perhaps the most extreme example where workers do *not*. In any other social democratic state say, some property is kept available for all, things like health care, information broadcasting channels, etc. by being managed by the state. In the US, these things are typically owned by corporations, which means the workers own zilch. For example, health care, being owned by all, means everyone is entitled to it. Health care, being owned by a private corporation, means no-one is entitled to it unless they can pay for it.

There is one example where workers do own the means of production: information technology creators. In the internet bubble, programmers commanded high salaries because they owned the means of producing the code. They still do, and it can't be easily taken away from them. However, "users" do not own anything, especially with draconian licenses.

[ Parent ]

freedom includes property rights (1.00 / 1) (#139)
by Godel on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 03:48:20 PM EST

Without the right to property, none of your other rights really matter. We enjoy our rights to free speech here on kuro5hin, but it wouldn't be worth a hill of beans if someone was free to break into your home and bash your PC into rubble, or steal your car so you cant even drive to a protest. All other rights depend upon our right to have sovereign control of the property we earn.

[ Parent ]
re:Captitalism!=Freedom (none / 0) (#115)
by pyro9 on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 01:23:16 PM EST

That is true, but is tied up in the whole 'American Dream', and the 'John Wayne' arguments against China and (when it existed) the Soviet Union.

Capitalism DOES represent government relaxing or losing absolute control over the populace.

The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
military/industrial (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by chale on Thu Jan 09, 2003 at 10:55:12 PM EST

many of the corporations of the military/industrial complex were forged solely through feeding at the public trough. they were given contracts by the gov't to build weapons/systems, which included the budgets for the research and development. after selling these systems to the gov't, they became favored for additional contracts by the people they influenced who controlled the procurement process for the military. later, when the gov't started arming the world, they were encouraged to sell the weapons they produced for the gov't to countries that were identified as "friendly". the gov't also subsidized these sales and sometimes even negotiated the contracts and brokered the payments. therefore, it is, in their view, in their own interests to encourage the brinksmanship and violence that occurs around the world. if the world suddenly was at peace, these corporations would no longer be necessary and would not be able to support themselves.


Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as though nothing had happened.--Winston Churchill

Though not the best or brightest, (none / 0) (#81)
by la princesa on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 01:35:45 AM EST

I feel compelled to actually vote on this article, because it is just beautiful to see my beloved five year old turning six in such a delightful fashion.  +1FP, kitten, and it will be a tragedy indeed if the dimmer lights send this into hidden article oblivion.  But I nourish hope as I move to cast my vote.  

<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
uh. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by kitten on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 05:45:29 PM EST

. +1FP, kitten, and it

Check your bylines real carefully.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
lol (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by turmeric on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 06:58:57 PM EST

no really. kitten quit stealing my account you bastard. i am a goddamn trusted user for chrissake you are @#$@#$ ruining my reputation with this identify theft.

[ Parent ]
Yes, yes. (none / 0) (#98)
by kitten on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 09:02:32 PM EST

My most sincere and humble apologies.

Well, not really.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
a wee clarification on one word. (none / 0) (#100)
by la princesa on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 09:48:24 PM EST

i see that my use of an endearment was mistaken for a reference to a k5 user.  i should have perhaps appended one of the modifiers i often add when using it offline, but i were in a hurry at the time of the post and figured it would just be taken in proper spirit.  and this thing seems glued to the queue.  how strange.

<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
Translation: (none / 0) (#112)
by kitten on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 11:08:16 AM EST

i see that my use of an endearment was mistaken for a reference to a k5 user.

In other words, you couldn't hold your metaphorical wad long enough to figure out who you were "insulting", pointed your impotent ire at the wrong person, and came up with this utterly vapid defense after the fact.

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
huh (none / 0) (#132)
by turmeric on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 10:25:49 AM EST

'check your byline' which of these is endearment

[ Parent ]
I used the endearment, not the other user. (none / 0) (#134)
by la princesa on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:33:05 PM EST

And the endearment was the word 'kitten'.  I use such endearments fairly often offline, and sometimes they slip into emails and posts online.  Again, sorry if there was any confusion.  You are a dear thing though I disagreed utterly with your last MLP.    

<qpt> Disprove people? <qpt> What happens when you disprove them? Do they disappear in a flash of logic?
[ Parent ]
oh ok (none / 0) (#137)
by turmeric on Mon Jan 13, 2003 at 12:51:13 AM EST

yes i actually didnt quite understand your response to that dudes comment. perhaps you could write an article about it. 'quasi-victorian feminism' whatever does that mean? comfy quilt of victimization?

[ Parent ]
depth through ambiguity (none / 0) (#95)
by tebrow on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 07:52:10 PM EST

Though not the best or brightest, I feel compelled to actually vote on this article...

Dangling modifier or insightful self-deprecation? I tingle as I speculate.

[ Parent ]
+1FP, however... (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by phybre187 on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 02:41:23 AM EST

I would consider this Humour before You Know....

As far as my personal thoughts... I got the same feeling when reading this that I got when reading Howard Bloom's The Lucifer Principle insofar as the author often comes close to a profoundly good point, and right at the last minute, steers away and misses it. This isn't an editorial comment because despite that it could have been much better if it had been done differently, I think it's a great debate magnet exactly the way it is.

Respect, tumeric. (2.00 / 1) (#93)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 07:32:28 PM EST

However as many people have already stated, -1 cuz it's just too damn simple.. black and white.


Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think

Thank you. (2.00 / 2) (#94)
by opendna on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 07:43:44 PM EST

As many of you are aware, opendna is a liberal pinko. I would like to applaud tumeric for putting to text what so many of us experience as the urge to vomit all over an Armani suit.

+1 FP, this is funny :) (none / 0) (#96)
by olethros on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 08:47:08 PM EST

perhaps not intentionally..
-- Homepage| Music
I miss my rubber keyboard.
oh and (none / 0) (#97)
by olethros on Fri Jan 10, 2003 at 08:48:13 PM EST

amidst the ranting there are some good points raised. :)

-- Homepage| Music
I miss my rubber keyboard.
[ Parent ]
Selling out to the highest bidder (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by Baldwin atomic on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 02:27:10 AM EST

seems to be what everyone has to do to get money so they can eat / have a home etc.

I totally agree that we should not do this, but is there really that much of a choice in our capitalist societies?

As far as I can see, the only way to stop people from 'selling out' is to remove all incentive to, but I think that the total abolishment of our economic systems (ie money) is too extreme for most (ok, practically all) people to even consider.

Just think about it for a minute - if there was no money, would people sell out their ideals as easly? Probably not.

Of course, it would only be a matter of time (and it wouldn't take long) before there were other reasons to sell out - peer pressure for example. And of course, money would return in some form or another given time...

Anyway, that's my evil communist rant for the day...

Opinions not necessarily those of the author.
Science for Freedom (3.50 / 2) (#107)
by idiot boy on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 08:20:22 AM EST

Regarding the supposed logical inconsistancy you write of. I would argue that you have actually twisted the argument to make it inconsitant (though it is arguable that even in its twisted form, it is inconsistant).

You state that those you critise say:

"*Technology* is neutral and amoral"

While some may have used this particular construction, the more usual argument is actually:

"*SCIENCE* is neutral and amoral".

Which is not actually inconsistant with technology being beneficial to society. The point to remember is that technology is the result of the application of the knowledge aquired through the application of scientific principles to understanding the universe around us.

Science produces only this knowledge. Certainly, the sort of research that is performed can be pushed in directions preferred by those in power through patronage and control of government funds (in which case you have reduced the neutrality of the choice of research but not that of the knowledge gained). But it is by no means the case that all science is geared to producing better and more effective weaponry and means of subjugation.

Einstein was a scientist who worried that the knowledge that he had given to the world had allowed the creation of an appalling weapon. He was wrong to worry. That knowledge by itself did not necessitate the creation of atomic weapons, rather, the political and military will of governments (and individuals) around the world did that. This turning of scientifically acquired knowledge into technology would be the better target of your ire.

But to take on your point in the construction that you employ. It should be said that even technology itself is indeed neutral and amoral. A nuclear weapon does not posess any intrinsic opinions or have a specific quanitity of morality contained within it. Only it's use by human beings with aims and morals of their own has those qualities.

Thus, there is no inconsistancy.

There are other things I disagree with in the article in terms of content if not necessarily sentiment but I've written a shed load already and think it best to leave it at that :).

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself

thank you president clinton (1.25 / 4) (#108)
by turmeric on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:08:59 AM EST

go tell hillary

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the insightful reply (none / 0) (#110)
by idiot boy on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:25:30 AM EST

So much for the phylosophy major. I take it from this that the position is inconsitent because Clinton said something similar. Great argument.

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself
[ Parent ]
Agreed (none / 0) (#118)
by mafeesh on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:12:13 PM EST

I would like to hear an intelligent response to this.


[ Parent ]

you are just redefining terms (none / 0) (#123)
by turmeric on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:35:45 PM EST

i meant science and technology and engineering all in roughly the same vein of htought. yeah you can say science is 'more objective and unrelated to actual things' but that in truth is misleading: science is funded by for and about certain things by certain people, typically the ones who are interested in pushing the boundaries of the weapons they can build. yes some scientists could care less, but quite a lot more will do whatever they get payed for and shut up about it. that is why you dont have billions of dollars of government money going to improve internationalization, usability, blind-user access, etc, to computers, rather you have it going to 15 way symmetric multiprocessing , and that is simply because the govt/industrial/military complex has alot more use for massive paralell processing than it does helping poor people/disabled get on the internet.

[ Parent ]
Are you applying too high a standard? (none / 0) (#131)
by idiot boy on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 07:00:00 AM EST

The vast majority of scientists are workers like anyone else. Most labour for very low wages in universities, grinding out research papers in an effort to build a reputation.

In most cases, scientists have little choice in the research that they pursue. Like anyone else in the world, they are assigned tasks (by a manager, who will likely claim some if not all the credit for their work) which they then perform.

Only a small minority actually have the choice to pursue the work that they belive to be most beneficial.

In this respect then, are you not applying too high a standard to scientists? Like any other group in the world, the majority are not politically aware and see their work in isolation from the rest of the world. Just as the worker in the bolt factory does not necessarily see the link to the tank that the bolt gets used in; the scientist may not see the link between fundamental material science and the manufacture of more effective armour.

Bear in mind also that things such as MPP are useful in areas other than weapons research. Weather forcasting and predictive climage modeling are both peaceful uses of such power as is research into protien folding.

Of course, it's possible that the lessons learned can be applied to less beneficial uses but again, should that stop scientists doing them?

Finally, you're absolutely right that truly useful research fails to get finance. AIDS vaccines (vaccines in general actually) don't get the money they need because vaccines aren't profitable (the drug companies much prefer to sell shed loads of pills to keep people ticking over). Many people fight for them though and those efforts are laudable surely.

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself
[ Parent ]

and about einstein (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by turmeric on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:38:22 PM EST

einstein did not just 'worry'. einstein was at the forefront of a lot of left wing political movements. you need to read up on him. and i find it rather silly that the establishment would tell people to go to hell if they challenge einsteins scientific theories, but when it comes to einsteins opinions on politics they are quick to throw it out the window, so they can make a buck. if you leave guns and bombs around, and know that people will use them, and you make money off of it, you have no excuse. it is like leaving knives around children. you KNOW kids are going to use them. governments are not like responsible adults, they are like children, and immoral people are also like children. you cannot sell them a bunch of crap knowing what they will do with it and think to yourself 'not my problem'. unless you are a jerk.

[ Parent ]
I don't disagree (none / 0) (#130)
by idiot boy on Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 06:46:41 AM EST

I actually agree completely that governments and corporations that manufacture and use such weapons are duplicitous and nasty.

I also agree that many scientists and engineers are compromised in their research by patronage (a recent example was the - I think - MIT professor whose paper on GM products was savaged by another department at MIT who just happen to suckle at the teat of monsanto).

The reason for my original post though was that your story seemed to me to widen its net to attack science and scientists in general. My point was and is that those things are not fundamentally compromised and that there are many (if not most) scientists and engineers who uphold extrememly high moral (from the perspective of liberals) standards.

Further, many of those involved in research direcly associated with the arms industry and indirectly (such as space research) also truely believe that what they are doing is good. It's simply that we disagree with their outlook on the world. Of these indirect links, should a scientist working on the fundamental characteristics of steel have to worry that at some point in the future, someone may find a means to leverage that work to build a better tank? Would they as a result of such a tangential link be compromised? I think not.

To take that point further, were that research to bring great benefits to humanity in general in enabling stronger and cheaper bridges for example, would we not be happy?

Alfred Nobel for example thought when he invented TNT that he was creating something that would end wars. He believed that the weapons that could be created would be too horrible to use and that as a result, war would become an impossiblity. He was wrong, as were many of those who worked on the Manhatten project who held similar beliefs.

Bottom line: I agree absolutely that many people in life are absolutely compromised and or hold views significantly different to mine but that doesn't make science or technology a necessarily bad thing.

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself
[ Parent ]

anarchism for me.. (4.00 / 3) (#109)
by postindustrialist on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:10:12 AM EST

hmmmmm... looks like a perfect tie to hold up my "anarchism anyone???? " sign. all governments have their flaws like this. not only that but it's not the goverments themselves that you should have a problem with. quite frankly, in an ideal situation, they all work perfectly fine./ the biggest flaw to any sort of social order is the people themselves. PEOPLE ARE STUPID. REALLY STUPID.REALLY REALLY REALLY STUPID. why would you want them to have control over you in any way? i say every man should be his own government. but then again, funny as it is, although anarchis is the absence of a governmental superstructure guiding over society, it still falls to the same flaws. people are people and they want to be led and lied to and just in general not responsible for themselves.
oooh.. looks likes somebody has anger problems.
question everything.
this sig is only one hundred and fifty characters long and it's still not eno
Hey! Hey! Look at me! (3.50 / 4) (#111)
by needless on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:37:40 AM EST

I'm a liberal and I read some Chomsky!

Now everyone is going to tell me what good points I make, regardless of whether or not those points have been made by far better scholars than those who end their essays with such bastions of teenage angst as "And that is why I am a no good pinko liberal."

Too bad you couldn't specify a notebook paper background for this article - would've worked perfectly.

Dude, it's fucking turmeric (none / 0) (#119)
by JChen on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 06:27:42 PM EST

How could you not love it?

Let us do as we say.
[ Parent ]
i challenge chomsky to get voted up here (5.00 / 4) (#122)
by turmeric on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 09:30:54 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Military-Industrial complex? (4.00 / 6) (#126)
by epepke on Sat Jan 11, 2003 at 10:58:56 PM EST

That is just sooo 1972. Short history of the Baby Boomers:

  1. We invented sex and color and good music and expanded consciousness through chemicals, for the first time in history!
  2. Look, somebody's being bad to Negroes. Let's protest by getting Daddy to pay for some torn jeans and a guitar.
  3. Down with the fascist military-industrial complex! Hell no, we won't go.
  4. Oh, look. Here's some white powder we can stick up our noses. How are we going to pay for it? I know! Let's dismantle the manufacturing sector for cash.
  5. No blood for oil! Give economic sanctions time to work.
  6. We've won! One of us is President. Let's shake our booties on the White House lawn. Whoopi Goldberg, too.
  7. Damn Gen-Xers. They don't have any real principles, like we did.
  8. Oh, look. Somebody's making money on the Internet. Let's do it, too. More white powder!
  9. Damn economic sanctions, killing all those Iraqi children. Must have been someone else's idea.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

ME (none / 0) (#140)
by Cackmobile on Fri Aug 01, 2003 at 11:19:09 AM EST

If I had to classify myself I would probably be a socialist but I don't want to be. I believe in everyone getting along and having a good time. The cold war etc was just a big ego trip for those in power. The regular joes/ivans didn't want it. The problem with politics is that we need some one to run the place but the people who go into it are the worst--doesn't matter left or right. I think government should somehow be like jury duty. Everyone has ago. I relise u can't make the whole government like this but maybe in a 2 chambered system make one of them like that. Dunno I know I am an idealist(and a wanker) but I do hope the world wakes and thinks like me cause then everyone would have enough to eat, good health, no wars etc.

You're a crackpot NT (none / 0) (#141)
by omghax on Sun Aug 03, 2003 at 11:58:22 AM EST

The utter hypocrisy of the military industrial complex | 140 comments (105 topical, 35 editorial, 0 hidden)
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