Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The End of Western Hegemony?

Today I came across the following by a very intelligent man who offered a frightening indictment of the Western world. It scared the heck out of me.

Via Dissent Magazine

A Queasy Agnosticism

By Richard Rorty

Fall 2005

Once they could no longer believe in the immortality of the soul, many Westerners substituted the project of improving human life on Earth for that of getting to Heaven. Hoping for the achievement of Enlightenment ideals took the place of yearning to see the face of God. Spiritual life came to center around movements for social change, rather than around prayer or ritual.


Most of those who made that switch took for granted that the West would retain its hegemony long enough to bring liberty, equality, and fraternity to the rest of the planet.
But that hegemony is over.

The West has reached its acme; it is as rich and powerful as it is going to get. Even the United States of America can deploy military power only by risking bankruptcy. The American Century has ended, and the Chinese Century has begun. America, while in the saddle, did more good than harm. Nobody knows what China will do—least of all the Chinese.

The attacks of September 11, 2001, have made us realize how unlikely it is that the West will be able to determine the world’s future. It is dawning on non-Western nations that their fates will rest with Beijing rather than with Washington. How long Europeans and Americans have to stroll the gardens [the gardens of the West] depends upon how long keeping them open remains in the interests of Cathay.

The tragedy of the modern West is that it exhausted its strength before being able to achieve its ideals. The spiritual life of secularist Westerners centered on hope for the realization of those ideals. As that hope diminishes, their life becomes smaller and meaner. Hope is restricted to little, private things—and is increasingly being replaced by fear.
___________________________________________________________________

As I read Rorty's article I began to think of America's Democrats, our Liberals and Progressives, who just can't seem to get things together to present a realistic, positive world view for voters to rally around.


Quoting again from Rorty:


The problem for good-hearted Westerners...is that they seem fated to live out their lives as idiots (in the old sense of “idiot,” in which the term refers to a merely private person, one who has no part in public affairs). They cannot imagine how things could be made better.

But secular Western liberals would still like to think of themselves as brothers to [the rest of the world.] So when... [a liberal well-educated, financially well-off Westerner comes across a poor street-cleaner, he feels uncomfortable, an indictment.] But his only response to this indictment is to think,
How restful it must have been, in another age, to be prosperous and believe that an all-knowing supernatural force had allotted people to their stations in life.
And who believes this way? Republicans, Conservatives, Religious Fundamentalists. And so you have the answer to why such people have been in their ascendancy here in the U.S. and why Democrats and Liberals MUST win in 2008 and put the lie to Rorty's indictment.

But before winning in 2008, Democrats and Liberals and Progressives must come up with new ideas, big ideas, real ideas, sexy ideas for universal education, and health care, for alleviating world poverty and global warming.

theteach

33 comments:

AnimeFreak40K said...

Hmm...

An interesting topic and statement to make all around.

...lets see what damage I can do...
*cracks knucks*

I have noticed a general decline that is being referred to over the years, and through history and such, over the decades as well.

It started with Europe:
- Spainstopped being relevant to the world after the Britsh defeated the Spanish Armada. This is not to say that they actually stopped outright, but that was the beginning of the end of Spain as a world power/leader/force.
- France stopped being relevant...always. Ok, just kidding! Their relevence found itself around Napoleon's military failures and by then end of WWI they were just a bunch of whiners at best who couldn't be trusted to tie their shoes without screwing it up for everyone else.
- I am not sure when Britan lost it's steam. I want to say it was around WWII. They were all but defeated on all fronts, and the only thing that kept Hitler from doing any serious damage was Britan's location. I think Britain started their slippery slope after losing the Reveloutionary War and the War of 1812. Their war-debts with other countries were great and more and more of their colonies were breaking free.

- Germany, Italy and many others were either second-string or were never really relivent. Germany saw it's chances and took them, and out of the second-stringers...Germany had the most potential to break the general decline of Europe in recent years. Italy had their turn with the Roman Empire.

Point is, is that Europe, as a whole, is old and declining. They all had their golden age and now they are simply struggling to hang on.

This is not terribly different in the United States either. We were not considered a country until after the Civil War had ended, and we were not taken seriously until around the early 1900's when we sailed that navy fleet around the world and stopped in every port. After WWI, we were one of the most powerful nations in the world...after WWII we were the most powerful the world has ever seen. Period.

To me, the United States reached its zenith in the 60's or 70's (the star that burns twice as bright lasts half as long and all). I say this, because in the 80's, I stopped hearing about the wonderful inventions and matters of progress the United States have been making to improve the world. Don't get me wrong...they still happen, but they are nowhere near as ground-shaking as they used to be.

Yes. There is an overall decline in the hegemony of the Western world. And part of me is pointing and laughing at it. Europe, I can forgive. No nation lives forever. They progress, reach their golden age and slip into decline. The nations of Europe pulled themselves up over hundreds of years, and their golden ages lasted for just as long, and their decline is slow (but enivitable).

The United States on the other hand...our decline is 1: too soon in coming (and yet it stares at us right in the face) and 2: A matter of our own making (hence my grim amusement and why it is so soon).

I say this is a matter of our own making, because at some point, the United States' mentality shifted from "The American Dream", "Progress for the sake of progress!" and "We have to stay ahead of everyone else in [Insert area here], because we are Americans and we ARE the best!" to something more dark, entropic and self-destructive.

Gone are the days where men of learning get together and revolutionize the world in the United States. Gone are our great thinkers, inventors, innovators and risk-takers. Gone is the "Never Say Die" attitude that allowed the United States to become the most powerful nation this world has ever seen.

It has all been replaced with shrewd (and even dark) business practices. Independant thought is being quashed on a daily basis because it does not meet some obscure "marketing formula" or somebodys political agenda.

I say all of this, because you don't have scientists huddling in a room to work freely upon a project. Oh, you do have scientists working on a project...but it is not free work. You have politicians, investors, etc. guiding and telling the scientists what to do. This is in part because you have a small group of people screaming at the politicians because some form of research and development is "morally unacceptable" or corporations not wishing to take a risk or go outside of their little formulae because "I may not make my money back".

For example, a friend of mine has a GREAT way to solve our current dependancy on oil as a source of fuel: You gather up all of our scientists, techs and such. You put them in a room with a car and a glass of water and then you tell them "Make this [the car] run on this [the water]". Do not limit their funding. Do not inhibit their thought, brainstorming or experimentation. Just let them go to it. I will bet you that within 5-10 years they will have something that WORKS. It will be expensive and will have bugs to work out, but it will work. Give them another 5 years and it will be affordable enough for most people to possess.

This is what was done (bascially) with the Manhattan Project by the way.

However, things like that will NOT happen because you will have varous big businesses (Oil comanies mostly) interfearing in their own ways. Consider the EV1, a great idea that was killed due to businesses. If you want to know a little more about this, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_killed_the_electric_car

There are are many factors in this case, but the point is...is that Corporations and Government bodies restrict far more than they did in days past. That said, it is absolutly no wonder (to me) why China and Japan are making such leaps and bounds now.

They lack these government and corporate restrictions. Yes, they have their critics and laws that hinder things to a degree, but in the case of the Asians the corporations are basically doing what I described above: take a bunch of techs and such, lock them in a project and let them have fun with it. China and Japan do not seem to worry about any returns, because they know that if they at least get *something*, they can market it...or simply have the ability to wave the flag and say "we did it!".

I say this, because I have seen some of the things that Japan has put out in the ways of robotics in the last 2 or 3 years. I saw a video of a guy wearing an exo-skeleton that enhanced the wearer's strenght (and endurance as the wearer is not working so hard) and even let the wearer move a little faster than he normally could. The system worked off of measuring the electrical impulses sent by the nerves along the muscles and such, and reacted to compensate for it. This basically allowed the exoskeleton to move as fast as the wearer could think about making that movement (they pointed out that sometimes the machine reacted before the user activly thought about it because of this). This is a GREAT invention and wonderful progress as such technology has oh, so many peaceful uses.

I bring this up, because DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has spent millions (if not billions) of dollars on a similar project...but has little to show for it. I am NOT thrashing on DARPA by the way...because despite a lot of the military projects, a lot of those things end up in civillian hands for civillian use too (the Internet, GPS Systems and Cellular Phones are some examples of this).

Anyway, my point is that we, as the United States are slipping. We are allowing ourselves to slip and fall and nobody seems to care one way or the other...yet.

I say 'yet' because the United States that I grew up in would not let itself totally fall. Forget some things, slip a little and then after receiving the subtle reminder of our idiocy (both old and new definitions of it!), pull ourselves up and get back into the race...and stop at nothing to win it. I feel that it is only a matter of time before folks begin to realize that the United States is no longer the center for technology, learning and development. I also fele that when this realization takes place, we will experience a new growth of such developments and (hopefully) enter a new golden age.

If it is a matter of money, then it should be noted that the money flows where the technology goes. If you are constantly inventing, devloping and innovating freely something that is worthwhile, the money will come on its own.

And right now, we are basically handing the Chinese everything that we have worked towards and built...all on a silver platter.

The Americans did not bow to the USSR and, when they wake up, will not bow to the Chinese either. We just need to realize that the Chinese are a threat.

the teach said...

Oh Anime, I have to go and sit down to digest all the info I've learned from your post. I mean it! Fantastic!!

Richard Rorty's indictment of the West is based on faith, belief in God, and Conservative ideals. It is an indictment of LIBERAL idealism and empathy.

He sees the decline in the West as the fault of liberalism which believes in the freedom of the individual, the basic goodness of human beings, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.

He describes those who call themselves liberal, people who no longer have faith in a Supreme Being who knows exactly what He's doing in the world.

He suggests that liberals are fearful after 9/11 because they can't think of how to deal with terrorists...turning the Middle East into a parking lot just doesn't sit right with liberals.

He suggests that liberals believe heartily in diplomacy but how can you "talk" to terrorists? He suggests that China has the balls to bomb the Islamist extremists to kingdom come but the liberal West just doesn't have the stomach for it.

Rorty puts together "liberal" and "West" and finds them lacking so badly that he sees they are declining. Anime, do you see it that way? Is the West essentially liberal AND THEREFORE doomed?

Liberals (and don't jump all over me from characterizing a group this way) don't say a young girl who's gotten pregnant, or a man who's homeless on the streets, "You made your bed, now lay in it." They say "let me help you, let me get the government to help you out of the difficulty you are in." Liberals feel uncomfortable being rich while other people are poor. They believe in welfare.

You say America has mentally shifted from "We have to stay ahead of everyone else in [insert area here], because we are Americans and we ARE the best!" to something more dark, entropic and self-destructive. What do you mean?

What is that something more dark, entropic and self-destructive?

You are right that the Manhattan Project wouldn't happen today...why? It wouldn't be allowed? We wouldn't spend the money?

The name of Richard Rorty's article is "A Queasy Agnosticism." He means to say that that's how the liberal West is feeling today after 9/11 in the face of terrorism and it will the reason for the West's decline.

He means to say that China (while atheistic) believes in central authority, revolution to seize political power, rights of the proletariat not the individual. Of course they don't believe in freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. Although the demise of the CCP (the Communist Party) is probably only a matter of time.

But China is a country whose scale dwarfs the United States—1.3 billion people, four times America's population. When China was terribly poor no one cared about it, now that China is growing rich it's beginning to look ominous.

Via Fareed Zakaria: China is now the world's largest producer of coal, steel and cement, the second largest consumer of energy and the third largest importer of oil, which is why gas prices are soaring. China's exports to the United States have grown by 1,600 percent over the past 15 years, while U.S. exports to China have grown by 415 percent.

It manufactures two thirds of the world's copiers, microwave ovens, DVD players and shoes. Yeah and toys (notwithstanding a problem or two of late).

China's rise is no longer a prediction. It is a fact. It is already the world's fastest-growing large economy, and the second largest holder of foreign-exchange reserves, mainly dollars. It has the world's largest army (2.5 million men) and the fourth largest defense budget, which is rising by more than 10 percent annually.

Now Anime, I'm not saying all this about China because I'm afraid of China -- I am convinced the U.S. has nothing to fear from China but China is probably the next GREAT country, if not ASIA the next GREAT region.

Anime, I've written so much that I want to make this my post for today...I hope you don't mind. I will drop your name out of the post, okay?

I'm looking forward to your response. :)

AnimeFreak40K said...

First off... I think Richard Rorty is a moron.

The decline of the West is not the fault of liberalisim. Not in its entirety anyway (I will get into this a little later). That whole bit about beleiving (or not beleiving whichever the case may be) in a supreme being as being the core reason why a nation rises and falls is a steaping pile of bullpucky!

People, in general, are fearful of terrorists because they do not know how to deal with them. And those people that DO know how to deal with terrorists are not affraid of them. I will tell you how to deal with Terrorists too, and it is NOT Diplomacy...but it is not going all out in war either. The reason for this is that going in either direction will lead to overall failure.

Let me explain this a little:
I am not suggesting that Diplomacy is completely out of the question. However, we need to pick who we speak to very carefully. I say this because SOME groups/factions/cells are reasonable...however, many are not. The groups that can be reasoned with are the ones that we should sit down and talk to. The ones that are not? Well, blowing them up is not the answer either. Even if, just talking about it is amusing or a knee-jerk response to situations (I am guilty of this - I say we should turn the Middle East into 'The Great Glass Desert' but I am not serious about it). The real answer is to jsut buckle down. We do not attack them activly, but we cut off their funding, we increase security and awareness, we track KNOWN and potential threats and generally make it hard for them to continue operations.

The ones we can talk to and reason with usually have fairly reasonable desires (the IRA wanted to be free of British rule and influence for example).

Those that are not reasonable are just bullys. You can't really talk to them, because their demands would be unreasonable (wanting an entire country to submit to a very narrow interpretation of Religious Law for example)...and giving into them at all would only increase their bravery (think how the League of Nations reacted to Hitler). But fighting them activly would only make them angry and draw sympathizers to their cause. You can't ignore them, because they will not go away. But you can make their lives difficult and uncomfortable anyway. Eventually they will either cease their resistance or they will slowly whither and die as they cannot recruit enough new blood.

That is how you deal with Terrorists.

You asked: "Rorty puts together "liberal" and "West" and finds them lacking so badly that he sees they are declining. Anime, do you see it that way? Is the West essentially liberal AND THEREFORE doomed?"

My answer: No. The West IS doomed, but it is doomed for other reasons...and it is not because of us being liberal. It is more along the lines of us being overly capitalistic. Note, I am not saying that capitalisim is not a bad thing...but too much of it does cause problems.

This is what I was talking earlier by the way. China's beliefs have little to do with how their country is run. I will tell you that the Chinese are NOT atheists. They have their spirits and sources of worship just like Westerners do, but it is a level of devotion and worship that Westerners as a whole cannot understand. And if your average Westerner cannot understand the Asian mindset, belief system and religious structure, then it is utterly impossible for a Religious fundementalist to even begin to even THINK about grasping.

China's scale also has little to do with their success. For all that they are doing, a good size of their country is still farmland manned by peasents...some of which live in caves and are not even aware of what is going on in their country (some think that there is still an Emperor). China's military, while vast, is...well...nothing to speak of. They have sheer, raw numbers. And though numbers are a factor, it is not a deciding one...espeically when one considers that most of that military are consripts anyway.

China has seriously kicked up in production, imports and...well...just progressing because we Americans are allowing them to do so. When China inherited Hong Kong in 1999, they got a taste of what the West is...and they wanted it. They started making a lot of progress towards that. And we Americans gave it to them on a silver platter.

How did this happen? Why was it allowed? What was the reason?

- It happened because the Chinese had (and continues to have) the raw manpower to provide uber-cheap labor. You can pay a peasent pennies a day and given the economy of these peasants, they would consider that a GOOD wage.
- It was allowed because, in the lustful desire to slash production costs of products in America (and other nations as well), so that profits would increase, corporations began building plants and begin trade with China. Even though shipping would take far longer and over boat, it is cheaper to produce the products in China and bring them to the US instead of making them domestically (this is also why a LOT of "American" cars are made in Mexico by the way =/)
- The reasons are fairly simple: America wants its products on the cheap. China has the cheap labor. End of story.

Take this example: that $500 appliance at Sears that is made in China? Most likely cost in the neighborhood of $50 or so to manufacture because labor is so dirt cheap.

This is where I get into the idea that "too much capitalisim is a bad thing". To the Capitalist they will look at the bottom line and only that. They can make a product in the US for $400 (labor, marketing, packaging, the store's cut, etc.) and make a reasonable profit. OR they can make a product in China for $150 (covering the same costs, due to dirt-cheap labor and materaisl), pay $50 to bring it here and come away with a much wider profit margin...especially if they keep the price at the same level as if it were made domestically.

The problem with this sort of thing, is that if everything is being made overseas...who is making things in the US? We are sending money to this country and what are we getting for it in return?

That said, China's rise to power is only a reality because of the United States.

We are willingly handing our legacy over to China...and htis is why they are growing and we are declining. This has absolutly nothing to do with religion...and I have no bloody clue why anyone would think that.

Hell, if you REALLY want to make it an issue of religion, then I would say that our "Western Religions" have utterly faild then. They are inferior and need to be eradicated outright.

Rorty sounds too much like a typical Religious fundy to me...and religious fundys ARE all about tight control over the people at large (this is why I hate them by the way). A religious fundy will say that they are all about such freedoms (Press, Speach, etc.) but in reality, they are not. I could go into a painfully long list of examples, but I really do not want to do that...and I trust your intellect enough to know what I am talkng about.

The way I see it...the United States has PLENTY to fear of China. The reasons for this are on the wall, and we as a nation are suffering due to our dependance on China. The thing of it is though, is that the fear I am talking about is not the threat of being overrun or destroyed. The threat I am talking about is no longer being realevent in the world. The United States, slowly but surely, is falling by the wayside just like Europe and so many other great nations have in the past. The thing about this, is that it does NOT have to be happening. We are allowing it to happen.

So yes, China...heck Asia in general, is going to be the next great region of power and control in the world. And it will not be because the United States grew old and faltered like Europe, or became so large it collapsed under its own weight of decay and corruption like Rome. It will happen because we slit our wrists and fed it to them willingly.

Ok, that about does it for me there.

Shifting gears a bit. You said: "Liberals (and don't jump all over me from characterizing a group this way) don't say a young girl who's gotten pregnant, or a man who's homeless on the streets, "You made your bed, now lay in it." They say "let me help you, let me get the government to help you out of the difficulty you are in." Liberals feel uncomfortable being rich while other people are poor. They believe in welfare."

You are right...a Liberal does not say those things. But I do. Do not get me wrong, there ARE exceptions to this judgement and statement of mine, but it is on a case-by-case basis. The girl that has gotten pregnant because she was young and stupid deserves some support. The young woman who just can't keep her legs closed (and/or protect themselves or demand their partner(s) do) deserve absolutly NOTHING. The man who is homeless deserves a chance to get back onto his feet...but he must also earn it too. There are a LOT of homeless folks out there who are out of work because they simply refuse to take certain jobs. I'm sorry, but flipping burgers at McDonald's though is not the best (or best paying) job in the world, but it is honest work. Doing cheap construction? Yeah, they can do that too. They simply refuse to do so because they feel it is beneith them. With that attitude, you again deserve nothing.

I do not believe in welfare. Well, I do to an extent. Welfare should be funded by charity and an individual's desire to give freely. I do NOT like the idea that my taxes are going to support someone else's stupidity. Now don't get me wrong here, I don't mind helping people out. I donate to charities when I can afford to. But that is my choice to do it. I should choose to donate money...not have it cut out of my pay outright. Why should I willingly support someone who will not take the benifits offered to them and improve themslves? Why should I pay for someone else's support when they refuse to help themselves. I am generous and giving...but I do have limits.

That said, I have no sympathy for those homeless on the streets who have no jobs. None. There are too many good, honest places of work out there that they could take and they don't. They may not be the best...but it is something.

Ok, shifting off of that subject...mostly because that whole deadbeat thing angers me to no end.

The reason why I say that America has shifted to somehting more dark, entropic and self-destructive is because Greed itself is inherently self-destructive. So is lazyness. The united States, as a whole, is trying to get something for nothing. They do not want to work for and earn what they have anymore. They do not say: "We should go to Mars because nobody has done it! And think of all of the knowledge we can uncover there!" Instead they say "We will only go to Mars if we can make money on it. Screw knowledge. I want my money now...not later. Now."

I do not know about you, but greed is a fairly dark aspect of humanity. Lazyness is just as dark, but it is also a sign of entropy (reducing oneself to minimum energy) and both are self-destructive. Am I wrong in this assessment?

Oh, and to answer your question as to why the Manhattan Project would not go forward today is because you would have varous companies attempting to stop it's resarch (Big Oil seeing Nuclear power a threat to their hold on the Energy Market for example), Politicians whom have been influenced by lobbyists/fundys/a very noisy minoryt to keep it from happening (Nuclear Power is against God's Will, It damages the environment too much, It costs more to produce than we would ever get out of it).

You did not have those factors in the 40's and 50's so much. This is not to say that they did not exist, but they were so minor and they were not generally listened to. Thinkers were allowed to think, experiment and try new things.

To close this monster out; no, I do not mind that this is your only post today. I imagine that all that I have put to text on this matter is very tiresome to go over and think about. It gets to me sometimes even as I write it...so I can imagine how you feel...espeically if we do not exaclty agree on something XD

Anyway, enjoy and I look forward to your thoughts.

the teach said...

You are extremely clear about how to deal with terrorists. But can we talk to the "reasonable" terrorists? And who are the "reasonable" ones anyway? Can we seek them out and get them to cooperate with us? Why aren't any of the Democrats offering some solution to the terrorist problem just as you have?

I agree that China wouldn't be where it is if it weren't for the U.S. But how could the U.S. act any other way but encourage the Chinese. What corporations have to do, though, is make them abide by the rules and regs for manufacture of whatever they manufacture.

I think we are moving into a service economy. I think manufacturing here in the U.S. is past. I do agree that corporations are greedy, real greedy sometimes but what can you do. We do try to regulate capitalistic activity with certain federal and state legislation. In a capitalistic society, though, you can't stop private corporations completely from making money.

Are we handing our legacy over to the Chinese, really? Can't we co-exist with China and India into the forseeable future?

How do you help people on a case by case basis? Maybe you and I can...I can help my neighbor because I know he's in trouble and that he's worthy of my help. But when you talk about nations you can't help on a case by case basis. You have to have helping agencies in place and help everyone (or almost everyone ). You can't make moral judgments about people--oh this one has a right to get help, an abortion, a job, a leg up from homeless--these people don't. There are too many people in a country like ours. Say ing "you made your bed now lay in it" IS a moral judgment.

If you don't want to flip burgers at McD's that's okay - don't have a job, but the helping agency should offer the job to you so you can accept or reject it. How do you know why that guy on the street isn't working? Is he suffering from PTSD? Or is he physically sick? And because we can't know who DESERVES help and who doesn't we help EVERYBODY. Am I repeating myself?

And you know we help people every day by paying our taxes...I'd rather have a government that helps people using my taxes and everybody else's rather than rely on private corporations or individuals to donate money as they see fit or on a whim of their own or only when they can afford it. The government helps everyone no matter what.

Here's an example: we have a school system here in NYC and we pay for them in our city and state taxes. Now I don't have any kids in school why should I pay school taxes...why? because my taxes help those parents who have kids pay for their kids schooling. Everybody pays for everything through taxes. If I didn't pay those parents would have to pay a LOT more to send their kids to school. You get what I mean, right?

Oh I'm with you about going to Mars just to go. Not because there's money to make. I'd love to see our space program really up and running again.

Okay so there's two things a really smart Democrat should be talking about...talking to the reasonable terrorists and developing (again) our space program. Wouldn't that turn you on? Aren't you sick and tired of the crap the candidates are talking about? Am I crazy thinking this? Would it work?

Yeah greed and laziness are two bad characteristics. But we learn to be generous and energetic at home from our parents. I think we'll always have greed (that's why we have to regulate somewhat private corporations) and laziness...hmmm

The Mahattan Project went forward because it was SECRET. Nobody knew about it. So no one could complain about it.

the teach said...

Anime, I forgot another thing a smart Democrat could offer is open diplomacy with China to discuss everything and cooperation into the future.:)

AnimeFreak40K said...

Hmm...

There are a lot of things I want to comment on. To keep myself on track, I will copy/paste from your response and post my thoughts/replies to them. This is the sort of stuff I love ^_^

You said: "You are extremely clear about how to deal with terrorists. But can we talk to the "reasonable" terrorists? And who are the "reasonable" ones anyway? Can we seek them out and get them to cooperate with us? Why aren't any of the Democrats offering some solution to the terrorist problem just as you have?"

I think I am fairly clear and straightforward with my thoughts on how to deal with terrorists simply because they invaribly fall into one of two categories: Bullies and the Oppressed.

To determine which group is which is actually fairly simple through even basic intelligence gathering. I mean, look at their goals. What are they trying to accomplish? What exaclty are they wanting? Think about it. The IRA was labeled a terrorist organization...but did they start off that way? Not likely. They wanted religious and national autonomy from Britain. They got part of that territory, but not all of it. They stated their demands, and desires and, most likely, sought a somewhat peaceful resolution that was ignored. The United States started off in a similar situation...and yes, by the deffintion of Terrorisim, our forefathers and those who fought in the Revolutionary War were terrorists. The point is that we attempted diplomacy and negotiations. We stated what we wanted and we were denied...so we fought to take it. The fighting between Pallistine (I think that is the nation) and Israel is not very different either. These people can be reasoned with. You can negotiate with them and try to find some middle ground that would please the majority of the population. They are more common than you would think.

The ones we cannot reason with will sho it by their actions and what they are demanding. Those groups that demand that the nation be ruled by their narrow views and theirs alone such as the Taliban and Al Qaida are prime examples. They do not want peace...they demand everyone kneel to them. They have unreasonable goals and demands and behave unreasonably towards others around them. Casual observation can tell you this.

As far as getting them to cooperate with us...well, that is something different. The Pallistinians have no reason to lash out against us, so they do not. Nor does the IRA. Even if they did though, yes, I do feel that if we are lead by a reasonable and/or responsible government, we COULD negotiate and find some middle-ground.

The problem though, is that the groups that seem to be lashing out at us are NOT the ones that can be reasoned with. Al-Quada is not reasonable. The Taliban are not reasonable. Take a look at the organizations and individuals that have lashed out against the United States and ask yourself if what they are demanding is reasonable? Frankly, I don't think so. I could be wrong...but I doubt it.

Why aren't Democrats offering some solutions? Because those "Democrats" are not really Democrats. I think Stormbear described them best as being "Blue-Dog Democrats". They claim to be liberal, adn they even walk the walk a little too...but when you REALLY look at them, how they work, what they say and how they say it...they really aren't. In addition, I do not think that they even know a real solution or even how to approach such people. The third reason, is that I think they have come to the same conclusion that I have: those that lash out at us are trying to be bullies...and we cannot negotiate with them. When I say we cannot negotiate, remember, I am not suggesting some form of "Final Solution" or anything. Simply that we ignore their ravings and stop them from acting against us. You do not give into bullies, as that will only make matters worse.

...actually...I think it is a combination of all three to be honest.

You Said: "I agree that China wouldn't be where it is if it weren't for the U.S. But how could the U.S. act any other way but encourage the Chinese. What corporations have to do, though, is make them abide by the rules and regs for manufacture of whatever they manufacture."

Right now, we can't act any different. But a few years ago, we could have. We could have decided to not send our jobs, plants, etc. overseas without demanding that those other countries do the same for us. For every corporation that has operations in China, China should match in equal parts the number of corporate support that is being sent to the US. But that is not happening. Could it happen? Yeah...but not with things like NAFTA in effect.

In addition, regulations can (and should) be imposed on these corporations. The problem, of course, is that you can put all the rules and regs you want...but if they are not enforced, then they mean nothing at all.

You Said: "I think we are moving into a service economy. I think manufacturing here in the U.S. is past. I do agree that corporations are greedy, real greedy sometimes but what can you do. We do try to regulate capitalistic activity with certain federal and state legislation. In a capitalistic society, though, you can't stop private corporations completely from making money."

Oh, I do agree with you. We are moving to a service economy more than manufacturing...but you cannot ignore manufacturing outright. Also, moving to a Service Economy is not at all helpful if those services are providd by overseas workers as well. Consider this: If you call Dell Computers' helpline number, you will get someone that is in India...that is a service that is is provided...but they are NOT stationed in the United States.

Yes, corporations are greedy...but again, you can impose rules and regulations on them. This has been done in the past too. The problem is enforcing them. Our government has so many ties with these corporations (that is stocks, bonds, etc.) that it is in their best interest to let things continue as they are. The government officals' personal business and desire for money is making their decisions for them, rather than the needs and desires of the people. Cut out the corruption and enforce laws and impose new restrictions, and you can make things work. It is possible, and may require a heavy hand...but it CAN be done without restricitng the corporation's ability to make money and grow.

You said: "Are we handing our legacy over to the Chinese, really? Can't we co-exist with China and India into the forseeable future?"

I geninuely belive that we are. Like I said, we are hadning them everything that they need while draining ourselves in the process. Why are we giving good, honest jobs to Indians and Chinese when there are Americans who are out of work? I think we CAN live in economic harmony with both India and China...but not as how things are working right now. They have to give something to us in return...and not just lower prices.

You said: "How do you help people on a case by case basis? Maybe you and I can...I can help my neighbor because I know he's in trouble and that he's worthy of my help. But when you talk about nations you can't help on a case by case basis. You have to have helping agencies in place and help everyone (or almost everyone ). You can't make moral judgments about people--oh this one has a right to get help, an abortion, a job, a leg up from homeless--these people don't. There are too many people in a country like ours. Say ing "you made your bed now lay in it" IS a moral judgment."

Oh...I was HOPING you would say something like this. I really and truely was.

Here is how you help people on a case-by-case basis:
- Establish an organization that has established standard operating procedures. Yes, this means red tape.
- If a person wants help, then they fill out the necessary paperwork, which, of course, would include their reason for needing help in the first place.
- Based on that application, it will then be reviewed and measured against certain criteria. Some things that may disqualify someone from getting aid would be, for example, a drug addiction. Sorry, no money for you, because we KNOW you will just use that money for more drugs. The monitary awards would be sufficent to not just squeak by every week...no. These would be enough to start making progress to get OFF of the system.
- If the person is able to recieve aid, they will get it. The amount of money they receive will be determined by where they reside and the cost of living in that area as well as their home situation (a homeless man in New York would get a different amount than a single mother in Cleveland due to the cost of living in New York vs. Cleveland and that the mother needs to provide for her child as well). That druggie I gave an example of before? He would not be turned away...instead of getting money, his Rehabilitation would be free of charge. It would ONLY be after sucessful rehab and an assessment of their situation after they are out of rehab that they would be considered getting actual money.
- People who are receiving this money must, on a monthly basis PROVE IN WRITING (notorized if neccary) that they still need this aid. The amount of aid that they recive will be judged on a montly basis.
- If a person is languishing on these handouts (as that is what they are) then they are cut off. Remember, the concept is NOT to keep people on this system, but to get them off of it. Like I said, I am all for helping someone...but there are WAY too many people out there who abuse that aid and never, EVER get out and they have no intention of doing so.

And yes, it is quite easy to assess if someone needs help, is in trouble or could still use assistance. Those people would be given help...but, like I said, there are people who abuse the system and never get off of welfare. Those people are easy to pick out too...and those people get cut off. Fuck them. If they can't help themselves, then they don't deserve help.

A placement agency's purpose is to find a job for their client. If they do not want to flip burgers, they do not have to...there are other jobs out there. The agency MUST find a job for the person...but the person also has to be willing to do the job too. If a person is working, they are making money. If they are making money, then they can have a place to live. It may not be much...but I do not see a reason for an employed individual to be homeless. If a person is sick, that would be addressed in the assessment stuff I gave above. A person applies for aid, and the organization realizes that "OMG, this guy is suffering from [insert ailment here], we shall help him because he CAN'T help himself!" However, their goal would be through that aid that they give the sick person the support they need so that they CAN help themselves. Again, it is easy to tell if someone is genuinely trying to help themselves or if they are just blowing smoke. The smoke blowers get kicked to the curb with no sympathy at all.

My point is, is that yes, everyone DESERVES help. They deserve and need that aid. Life is not fair, and I aknowledge this. However, they can NOT expect a free ride. Those people that expect a free ride get kicked off, while those people who take that help and use it to get on their feet deserve all the assistance they can get. I am willing to help people who are willing to meet me halfway.

"And you know we help people every day by paying our taxes...I'd rather have a government that helps people using my taxes and everybody else's rather than rely on private corporations or individuals to donate money as they see fit or on a whim of their own or only when they can afford it. The government helps everyone no matter what."

I disagree. There are PLENTY of nonprofit organizations that are set up to help people that are in need. The Federal Government does not need to take its tax dollars to help deadbeats. Sorry. I feel that a system can be set up though, that a person can donate a percentage of their earnings to such charities out of their own free will (a simple box that says "Yes, I donate "X" amount to this charity and I get a tax break in return based on my donation amount" would work).

Frankly, I do not like the idea that I am paying Social Security today so that someone else (who, msot likely has not paid into it) can collect it. I do not like the idea that my money is going to support deadbeats and lazy bums. Before you reply, let me ask you this: Would you take a homeless man into your house? You would feed him, make sure he has clothes and shelter and all that stuff. He lives in your house with you. All the time. Forever. How would you feel about that? Would you want him to stay there indefinatly? Or would you rather that you help him out until he got on his own two feet and got a place of his own? If, after a month of him doing nothing but being a drain on you and your household, would you still want him there? How about after 6 months? A year? It doesn't matter this person's situation...how long will it be until you say "Look, I want to help you...but you are not even helping yourself! If you are not willing to help yourself and get out there and get a job and your own place...or at least help pay for the resources you use...then I am going to have to ask you to leave"?

Right now, that is how our Wellfare and Social Security system works. These people are a drain on our society...and they do not have to be. They are becasue we allow them to be. They should not be allowed to be a drain, and there are ways to stop that. One of them is to impose strict rules and then cut them off. In addition, to have their funding come from somewhere OTHER than the US Government.

You said: "Here's an example: we have a school system here in NYC and we pay for them in our city and state taxes. Now I don't have any kids in school why should I pay school taxes...why? because my taxes help those parents who have kids pay for their kids schooling. Everybody pays for everything through taxes. If I didn't pay those parents would have to pay a LOT more to send their kids to school. You get what I mean, right?"

A similar system is in place in Cincinnati (where I was born and raised). Frankly, I am against a "School Tax" as well. City, State, Federal and other public funding for schools should NOT come as a "School Tax". That should ALL come out of the taxes you pay. All the area taxes go into a single budget and is divided accordingly. So your State Taxes would help fund public schools just as much as it does eveything else that a State needs to run things. Sales Taxes would be the same thing for the local area as well. One set of taxes that is used to fund everything.

To put it in a nutshell, your State Taxes would go to help fund public schools throughout the state. Sales Taxes would do the same thing. Federal Taxes? Those schools that get Fedral aid would get that funding from *gasp* Federal Taxes! There would be no need for a "School Tax", as the school would receive it's funding from the state and local sales taxes.

Of course, that is how I see things though. It is fairly simplistic, I know...but in my mind, the simplest solutions are invaribly the best ones. Less chance of getting confused and screwing things up that way.

You said: "Okay so there's two things a really smart Democrat should be talking about...talking to the reasonable terrorists and developing (again) our space program. Wouldn't that turn you on? Aren't you sick and tired of the crap the candidates are talking about? Am I crazy thinking this? Would it work?"

Ehhhh... I will partially agree here. Here is my opinion on where our politicains should be focusing (in no partisular order):
- Health Care (it is broken, horribly. It needs to be fixed)
- Economy (it is broken, it needs to be fixed)
- Scientific Research (we are falling behind, this needs to be fixed. This includes the Space Program as well!)
- Education system (do I really need to go on about this?)
- Protect our borders (from terrorists and illegal immigrants)...note, this does NOT involve us going to another country to stick our noses into it.
- Improve upon and maintain our international relationships. They don't have to like us...but they should accept us.

There are a lot of other areas that I could go into that we need to take care of, but I feel that for the most part, those fall into those categories. If you will take note, there is NOTHING nowhere about "Gay Marriage" or other silly things that politicians are going on about. Those are completley irrelivent to the real issues at hand. If you also notice, I said nothing about international aid as well. My thoughts on International Aid are like this: 1. You remember my thoughts on welfare? Yeah, that applies here too. If you are not willing to help yourself and meet me halfway, then go screw yourself. 2. We have no right, reason or privelage to go around and correcting another nation's problems if we cannot deal with our own. Let's clean up our back yard before we start worrying about someone elses.

I am not suggesting that we recluse ourselves from the rest of the world...but If we fix our own problems and get everything running smoothly, we would go a long way towards remaining ahead and relivent in the world.

Oh, and I do not think it would take a smart Democrat to offer open diplomacy with China...ANY smart politician can do that. Not just Democrats or liberals...remember, we have had some very good Republican/Conservitive presidents and leadership in the past!

And lastly: Yes, I know the Manhattan project was secret. But you know what? It is irrelivent...because I do not think such levels of secret research would be going forward today anyway. Regardless of the subjectmatter...it just would not happen. It would get found out eventually before it was complete (this even happened with the Manhattan Project) and it would be shut down as well due to public outrage (even if it was a minority...they would yell loud enough) or corporate interfearance.

Last thing...about the greed and lazyness: both traits are not inherently evil. Greed, in moderation, encourages a person to take that next step "I want that car...so I will work harder to get that raise!" It can be harnesed and used productivly. It is when it goes too far without restriction that it becomes a problem. Too many corporations (and rich people in general) are hooked on making money for the sake of making money. Nothing more. They already have more money than they, their children, grandchildren or great grandchildren could ever spend...and yet they crave more. That is straight up greed. They can afford a cut in profits...they could live the rest of thier lives in oppulance without making a dime...and yet they DEMAND more. That is greed gone too far. And THAT is what is killing us. Lazyness has it's place too...for you HAVE to take a break, but going to far to where you never want to work or do something productive is also the way towards self-destruction as well.

It is all a matter of moderation and knowing when to say "enough is enough."

the teach said...

I lost everything I wrote because Blogger screwed up when I tried to publish. That really makes me spittin' mad!! So now an abbreviated version of what I wanted to say to you...

I think this topic has been beaten to death...Also when we write such long comments I know I forget what you've said at the beginning by the time I get to the end. So we're going to try to shorten our comments (as we said in our IMs). :)

Also maybe there'll be something to say about what Petraeus has to say tomorrow in his report on the surge. If that's something you want to talk about...

And here's a quote from a book I've recently finished reading: (Man does this annoy me that I have to type it all again :-|

"Empathy, once granted admission, has a way of multiplying its demands. This is the growing complication of the modern condition, the expanding circle of sympathy. Not only distant peoples are our brothers and sisters, but foxes too, and laboratory mice, and now the fish. (I don't go so far as being an animal activist) If empathy is the antidote to cruelty, the essence of what it is to be human, how far to extend it? To fish? To foxes? To jihadists who wish you dead?

Don't think I don't have some idea about what you might say to this quote...I haven't been reading your comments here and on Dobson for nothing. ;)

AnimeFreak40K said...

Heh...

Ok, sorry about the delay in getting back to this...

Umm...my thoughts on this:

- Blogger is evil and should be set on fire.

- I like flagellating deceised equines though! Ok, seriously now, I do agree that this has been kicked around pretty hard and it doesn't need to be kicked anymore.

- A friend of mine took a note of how Petraeus pronounces his name in that it sounds like "Betray Us" XD

- My response to the quote and your add-ons are going to be kept simple:

I feel that all beings deserve a degree of empathy and sympathy. I am willing to extend a hand in equal measure to all people...but they must also be willing to meet me halfway. Some folks I am more sympathetic towards than others...and I have a low tolerance for stupidity.

And I disagree that empathy is the essance of what it is to be human. For me it is the consiousness and self-awareness that we posess. I say this because there are so many people who are cruel and malicious simply for the sake of being cruel or malicious (take any serial killer or people like Vick as an example). Humans, all humans, possess some level of an ability to be cruel to others (this is as easily observable as opening up the newspaper). Just some are better at curbing, ignoring or simply avoid doing such things.

Now...onto other post! AF40K...AWAY!

the teach said...

Yes, Anime, consciousness and self-awareness are definitely characteristics of being human. But the ability to sympathize with another is also human.

On Star Trek, you might remember reruns, there was an Empath. Her name is Gem and she transfers a wound that Kirk has on his forehead to her own forehead (a physical manifestation of what empaths do)

Why some people don't sympathize with others is a complex matter, psychologically speaking.

Anime, are people basically good or basically bad? Just a question...:)

AnimeFreak40K said...

See...now you went and drug Star Trek into this. I used to LOVE me some Star Trek XD

I do not agree completly that the abiliyt to sympathize and emptathize with others (especially of the same species) is a factor that makes humans...well...human. Similar activity can (and has been) observed in animals of all sorts: dolphins, apes, dogs, cats and many other mammles and some birds.

The difference to me is, that we have that consiousnss awareness of it.

"...are people basically good or basically bad?..."

And a very good question that is. My opinion, is that people are neutral. "Good" or "Bad" is a matter of moral and ethical judgement that the individual makes for themselves that is influenced by their society.

People will generally do what they must to survive and get along with others. Things such as "Good" and "
Bad" are things that we have decided are that way for whatever reason.

To get an idea of where I am coming from, take a look at a totally different culture...especially ones that are very old. Their definition of morals and ethics were different then. Some things were accepted while others were not. Some cultures found it perfectly morally and ethically (evin spiritually) acceptable to eat the bodies of their dead...while those of a different culture found it abhorrent.

"Good"..."Bad"... it is all in the eye of the beholder really. Who are we to judge?

the teach said...

Well, I believe people are basically good but I'll accept your point of "neutral." You know Christianity for 2000 years has believed that people are basically "bad." That's why there is baptism (cleans away original sin) and Jesus Christ (he died for our sins). I just can't understand that...

But you make a good point about "good" and "bad" being "in the eye of the beholder." However there are some things that are BAD no matter what like MURDER, right? Except of course in self-defense or in the case of war. Then exceptions are made for killing.

China is an old culture and up til recently female babies were put out in the wilderness unattended to die. Today, because there is a one-child-one-family rule, women abort their female babies. I don't judge the Chinese in this case. Although human rights orgs would. How about female genital mutilation? How about apartheid?

So are there things that are INTRINSICALLY wrong? And if they are and other cultures do them, should we stop them?

Our comments are getting long again -sigh-

AnimeFreak40K said...

I will TRY to make the reply short...though no promises.

I know Christianity preaches that all people are basically bad. However, there are religions that preach that people are basically good too. And many others that do not have a view of one or the other (Hindu or Buhdism preaches that people are bascially ignorant...not good or evil...just unenlightened).

The reason why the Christians believe what they do is because they got some parts of the Bible wrong...or rather screwed up the interpretation. In the Bible, it states that NO man (or woman!) is without sin...and before anybody can go face God, they must be free of sin. The Lake of Fire (it became Hell...but was actually more of a transitional place) was not so much punishment, but a way to be cleanesd of ones sins. You could not avoid the lake of fire...but you could shorten your time spent in it by living a Sin-Free life and/or becomming baptized so that all earlier sins were washed away and blah, blah blah.

They took all that to believe that ALL humans are inherently Evil. That is their interpretation. I think it is messed up...but then I have a very, VERY dim view of religion in general anyway.

"...However there are some things that are BAD no matter what like MURDER, right? Except of course in self-defense or in the case of war. Then exceptions are made for killing." Exaclty. If your moral beliefs state that killing another human is wrong and unacceptable...then you state that 'Self-Defense and War is alright', then you are making exceptions to that belief. All those exceptions do is serve to legitimize the act of killing.

For me, killing another human is, neither right nor wrong. It is not good, nor is it bad. People die all the time, whether it is from natural causes, accident or at the hands of another human. If it is at the hands of another human, what comes into question is the reasons for the death. So (in my opinon) it is not the act of killing another human that is wrong, rather it is the reasons behind the act in the first place.

"China is an old culture and up til recently female babies were put out in the wilderness unattended to die. Today, because there is a one-child-one-family rule, women abort their female babies. I don't judge the Chinese in this case. Although human rights orgs would. How about female genital mutilation? How about apartheid?"

Mary, this all falls under personal opinon and morals. In the case of the Chinese, the Chinese have ALWAYS held men in a higher regard than women. A girl was (and still is) viewed as worthless in comparison to a man. That is how the Chinese are, and how they have always been. Does that make their views inherently wrong? Does that make them evil? To the eyes of Human Rights orgs and outsiders...sure it does. But to the Chinese, we are viewed in the same way. In fact, I am sure that many Chinese view some of the stances by Human Rights orgs as wrong/evil or simply too alien to understand. That said, neither is right or wong, good or evil. It depends on what side of the fence you want to sit on. The side you are on is "Good" and the other side is "Bad".

My thoughts on apartheid is similar in fact. My personal views on segrigation is that it is wrong. Period...with only minor exceptions for medical reasons (you want to keep the folks that have Plague seperated from those that do not in hopes to keep it from spreading for example). However, by the definition of the word 'apartheid', we have it and it is readily accepted. Again, it all depends on your own personal perspective on whether it is right or wrong.

The way I see it, the sooner people in general realize that many beliefs are neither right or wrong, simply a difference of culture or belief structure, the sooner people will be willing to accept that people ARE in fact different. The sooner that people look past a particular act and more at the *reason* that the act was committed, we will a long way towards settling old grievences and start taking steps towards world peace. Anything less (and how things are right now), and you have the "MY culture/morals is better than YOUR culture/morals! You need to change to become like me because I am better than you."

Think about that for a minute. Think about what is being (and has been) said and how it is (and has been) interpreted by others. I want to hear your thoughts on that.

the teach said...

So Anime, there's no OBJECTIVE right and wrong, right and wrong is RELATIVE to the culture in which it is perceived, eh? Lots of people don't believe that...I tend to relativism and I find telling other countries what to do with regard to ethics and morality a difficult thing.

Believing in OBJECTIVE right and wrong though makes things easier to decide or judge. As a matter of fact individual societies have to agree on what's right and wrong by means of law in order for that society to function well. Polygamy in this country is against the law. But there's nothing wrong with trying to change laws... and making certain things legal that are not legal at the moment.

You're absolutely right that we have to look at the reason why an act is committed. That's what our justice system does and prosecutors decide whether the person will be charged with homicide or manslaughter, etc. Then juries decide of the person is guilty. Pretty good system, eh?

Okay that's all for now I have to go to work today...won't be back til later on this afternoon.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Right and wrong being realitive to the culture (or even individual person) is how I believe things to be. In fact, if you really think about it everything is realitive (damn that Einstein guy XD)!

It is always difficult to impose, inform or otherwise try to get others to see your perspective...but it is even more difficult to TELL them what to do. And that is a major source of problems throughout the world.

Think about it for a moment - religious wars would not have taken place (and a LOT less religous tension) if one group did not try to impose their beliefs on another.

Objective right and wrong only makes things easy if you are mentally lazy. You do not have to think about someone else's culture, beliefs or thoughts. You do not even have to take them into account. They are different than yours, therefore they are wrong. Makes it very easy to pass judgement (and perhaps take action) doesn't it?

The concept of Law is basicly what you have said though: Individuals collectivly decide what they, as individuals, find acceptable.

To better explain where I am comming from, I will take your example of polygomy. The vast majority of the United States has accepted that polygomy is unacceptable for various reasons, and laws making it illegal have been passed in most states (it is not against Federal Law...only state laws). Does that mean that there is something inherently wrong with polygomy? Not really...no. I mean, many animals have multiple partners at a time or even "harems" of a sort (one male many females, or vice-verse) and there are animals that mate for life. Both have their beniefits and pitfalls. But there is nothing inherently wrong with either route. If there is something wrong with polygomy (or monogomy depending on your point of view), then the individual has chosen to decide that there is something wrong. If it is a collective thing, then that collective has chosen to decide that there is something wrong.

Frankly, I am against such laws myself. What I mean is, taking your example of polygomy, I think that it is wrong...but just because my views state that it is wrong, does not make it wrong on a whole. For soemone else, it could be perfectly acceptable. That said, who am I to tell someone that their views are wrong and attempt to impose my morals, views and such upon them?

Now this does not mean that we cannot exchange ideas mind you. Nor does it mean that I cannot express my opinons to them (and their opinons to me). I only have issue when they try to impose their views on me.

You are correct, there is also nothing wrong with changing the laws either...but this is also something that should be done carefully and by the vote of the people as a whole.


Anyway, have fun at work doing whatever it is that you do. I look forward to hearing from you about this (or anything else you want to send my way)

the teach said...

It used to be wrong for homosexuals to have sex. It used to be wrong to have an abortion. It used to be wrong for a white person to marry a black person. Now today we've changed those laws and that's good. Like I said in a society or any single entity (a home, an institution) there have to be laws of some sort. Mind you I'm not for a lot of laws but just enough to keep the society peaceful.

I am a teacher in the Continuing Ed department of a community college. I teach literature classics and contemporary, all ethnic groups.

AnimeFreak40K said...

"It used to be wrong for homosexuals to have sex. It used to be wrong to have an abortion. It used to be wrong for a white person to marry a black person."

From whos perspective? In mine, it was never wrong. Some people (ok...a LOT of people) felt such things were wrong, but there were always those that were accepting of certain things.

The United States is gradually becomming more accepting of various activities, but lack of acceptance does not mean that the acts in question are inherently bad (even if they do not make sense!).

I guess since you told me what you do, it is only fair that I tell you what I do: I am an IT technician for the Department of State. I am also a wannabe artist (my website is liked on all my posts), and I am fairly opinonated on a select number of subjects.

the teach said...

When I said it used to be wrong I meant the US has laws against homosexual sex, abortion and biracial marriage. So the society said it was wrong and it didn't matter what people thought privately. If you committed any of the acts above, you'd go to jail.

I'm impressed that you're an IT technician for the Department of State...nice job! I've seen your stuff on Deviant Art (I guessed from your avatar) Impressive!

"...and I am fairly opinonated on a select number of subjects." NO, NO I can't believe that!!! :)

AnimeFreak40K said...

"When I said it used to be wrong I meant the US had laws against homosexual sex, abortion and biracial marriage. So the society said it was wrong and it didn't matter what people thought privately. If you committed any of the acts above, you'd go to jail."

I have no doubt about this fact. I just have not heard of it ever being the case except in states firmly established in the Bible Belt, the UCMJ and local laws...all except for the UCMJ (which states it is illegal to commit Sodomy) I have had little contact with, so I just do not know. However, I will take your word for it.

I have been doing the IT thing for the Army since 2000, when I got out in 05, it was easy to get a contract-job with the government...it just happened that the contracting company has one with DoS ^_^

Glad you like my work...though the AOL/AIM Avatar is not mine (Stupid AOL won't let me use mine >:P), so I picked one from a Webcomic that I read that was fairly close to my DA Avatar XD

the teach said...

Roe v. Wade which was decided in 1973, made abortion legal in the US.

Biracial marriage was allowed after Loving v. Virginia was decided in 1967.

BTW the Supreme Court said marriage is a "fundamental human right." So why can't gays marry I want to know...

There are some state sodomy laws still on the books I think but the Supreme Court in a recent ruling (2003) struck down a Texas sodomy law.

AnimeFreak40K said...

"Roe v. Wade which was decided in 1973, made abortion legal in the US."

Yes it did...however, before Roe vs. Wade, there were no FEDERAL Laws that made Abortion illegal. Only State, City and other local laws. The Roe vs. Wade decision basically made most Anti-Abortion laws moot, and given the 14th Amendment, unconstitutional.

The same is for Loving vs. Virginia. It made any City, State or other local laws that forbade interracial marriage unconstitutional. Again, I do not recall any Federal laws that forbade interracial marriages.

"BTW the Supreme Court said marriage is a "fundamental human right." So why can't gays marry I want to know..."

The Supreme Court made that ruling, but that does not mean it necessarily falls down to the individual States and such. HOWEVER, I do feel that all lower courts should look to the Supreme Court for guidance on any given matter. If the Supreme Court makes a decision on a particular matter, then it should not make any difference what the local and State opinons are - the Supreme Court is right and they rule just as the Supreme Court did.

Frankly I do not understand why homosexuals marrying is even an issue to be honest. I mean, seriously... Let them do what they want. Their marriage (and subsequent happiness) is not hurting you or anyone else.

You mentioned Texas...have you ever been to Texas? I have. And I swear Texas is like it's own seperate country. You have the United States of America...plus Texas. That may explain a whole hell of a lot about our current president =/

As far as the Army having anti-Sodomy regs, many of the regulations in on the book are old...and when I say old, I am talking 1790's type old. Most of them are not used anymore, but they still exist. *shrug* Go figure.

the teach said...

You say: "Frankly I do not understand why homosexuals marrying is even an issue to be honest. I mean, seriously... Let them do what they want. Their marriage (and subsequent happiness) is not hurting you or anyone else."

I say: Agreed!!

You say:"You mentioned Texas...have you ever been to Texas? I have. And I swear Texas is like it's own seperate country. You have the United States of America...plus Texas. That may explain a whole hell of a lot about our current president =/"

I say: LOL! I've been in the airport in Texas that's it!

AnimeFreak40K said...

Heh...

It's true! It seems that Texas just does whatever they want...it's like Texas is the Quebec of the United States.

This does not make it a bad place...just very different.

...on the other hand, whenever I go home to Ohio, it feels like I've gone to another country altogether too...maybe that is just a Cincinnati thing XD

the teach said...

I don't know if it's a Cincinnati thing...I've always lived just where I live now. Different house, different area, same city.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Ahhh....see, that is the difference between you and I then.

In my 28 years of life, I have lived in the following areas:
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Donguchon, Korea
- Fort Knox, Kentucky
- Fort Gordon, Georgia
- Fort Hood, Texas
- al Taji, Iraq
- Germantown, Maryland

I have visited a lot of other places, but the above are places that I actually lived at for more than a couple of months.

I am fairly certain that if you moved to, say, Cincinnati for a year or two you would find that while folks there are American, you may as well be in another country...and when you go back to New York, that you would get the same feeling.

the teach said...

I have only visited other places on the globe: Hong Kong, Sydney and Cairns, Australia (I snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef.) St. Thomas, Cancun, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Paris, London, St Martin.

All vacations, Saved all year to go to these places for a week. Big deal...:)

I'm sure if I moved to the Mid West I would suffer for a time from culture shock. But because we're all American I think ultimately I'd adjust. Ya think I would?

Where is al Taji in Iraq?

AnimeFreak40K said...

I have visited a few places myself...though most of them were due to my deployments overseas (went to Seoul for a day and Qatar for about a week for example). I have travled to other states too...most of this was during the Army, but other stuff was due to family vactions. Most of it was pretty fun and cool too.

A friend of mine had just recently gotten back from a 2 week trip to Australia himself. He said it was great. And to be honest, a week is a lot better than not going at all, and even though you went on vacations, you have done more travelling than most Americans have too!

Yeah, going to the midwest would be a bit of a shock...but it would not be as drastic, as say...going to another country. A friend of mine's husband is in the Marines and she told me that they don't like soldiers staying overseas for too long due to the "Culture Shock" of returning to the US. Funny eh?

Taji is about 15 miles (closer to 30 kilometers) to the north of Baghdad. It was the second largest military base under Saddam's regeime, the largest military airbase and where Chemical Ali did a lot of his work.

Somewhat current information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taji%2C_Iraq

And as an FYI, I was there with 1st Cavalry - specifically the 4th Aviation Brigade.

the teach said...

You said: A friend of mine had just recently gotten back from a 2 week trip to Australia himself. He said it was great.

Yes I really liked Australia at least Sydney and Cairns up north. It's like America in many ways. They haven't though worked out their problem with the Aborigines. You hardly ever see an Aboriginal walking the streets of Sydney. They live in groups in poor settlements...they haven't been assimilated into the greater society.

You say: A friend of mine's husband is in the Marines and she told me that they don't like soldiers staying overseas for too long due to the "Culture Shock" of returning to the US. Funny eh?

Yeah, that is strange. How could soldiers have a problem with returning to the US?

Went to the 1st Cavalry 4th Aviation Brigade web site...very impressive! The Valkyries and the song from Apocalypse Now...Wow! You must have been proud to belong.

AnimeFreak40K said...

I'd like to go to Australia...that would be full of win and awesome ^_^

I can understand why they still have issues with the Aboriginies, they are not really any different than the problems the US had in the late 1800s and early 1900s (even now to a certian degree). It is sad...but it is as much of the fault of the Aboriginies as it is the Australian government. I will not pretend to know all about what is going on, but I predict it is a situation where both groups "want their cake and eat it too" and are not as willing to compromise as they should be.

"Yeah, that is strange. How could soldiers have a problem with returning to the US?"

The Japanese/Aisan mentality is a LOT different than that of the United States. The Marine bases are set in Okinawa, and by the culture shok thing, it is a matter of living there for more than 3 years. A lot changes in the US in 3 years...or it can, depending on where you go. I dunno...it is a Marine thing. I will not pretend I understand... silly Jarheads XD

My time at the 4th Avation Brigade was most likely the best time I had in the Army (other than Korea). If I had been placed there first instead of some of the other units, I do not think I would have been so quick to get out. I just grew tired of the Army BS that had been handed to me over the years...and Iraq just pissed me off even more.

the teach said...

The Aborigines are like our American Indians here. They live in settlements and are not assimilated. It's a shame. It's a shame about our American Indians too. Except those tribes that run casinos...I think they are doing okay...

Hey watch it! Remember my nephew is a Jarhead!! :)

You said:
I just grew tired of the Army BS that had been handed to me over the years...and Iraq just pissed me off even more.

You know my nephew came back pissed off too...He doesn't talk about it. Could you speculate what pissed him (and you) off. And what is "the Army BS?"

AnimeFreak40K said...

Unfortunatly, a good portion of those who do not run casinos have as much to blame for their current situation as the others - they do not have to stay on the reservations, they can integrate themselves into modern society, etc., etc., etc. They just simply choose not to.

Nothing against Marines on my end...well...only the typical inter-service friendly rivalry that is. Marines deserve nothing but respect...I could never be a Marine ^_^

Before I answer your questions about "Army BS" and being angry about Iraq... I have one question for you: I thought you wanted responses to be short. Change your mind? XD

the teach said...

American Indians on the reservations I don't think have much choice about their lives. Apparently alcohol has a lot to do with there failure to get ahead. Also education is lacking.

Spoke to my nephew yesterday. He can't wait to get out of the Marines in Sept 2008 (he's saving his furlough time so he can get out 60 days earlier) There's a possibility that he'll have one more tour in Iraq. I really hope not. He doesn't care which way. He never finished his college degree before he went into the Marines. When he comes out he's thinking of starting a whole new degree program: Arabic. What do you think about that? What would you tell him to do when he comes out?

In this case you can let loose about the Army (but maybe you don't want to put negative stuff down on paper, metaphorically speaking.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Whoo....where to begin...

Alright. My reasons for being angry about Iraq are, quite simply, a matter of trust between my superiors and myself. You see, I was told a set, specific series of reasons of why we were going over there. I believed in those reasons. While I was there a lot of things happened, and I learned about some things as well...for example: Al Gahrib.

That violated almost 8 years of training, understanding and trust with the US Army and my superiors (generals on up).

I found that while I could support and defend the United States and the Constitution, I could not do the same for my superiors...nor could I continue to follow their orders.

I dont know if you nephew has the same feelings or not.

As far as BS goes...when you are in the military, your life is regulated. It is not necessairly bad, but it can be depending on your superiors, the mission at the time, etc. I do not like being told whom I can be friends with, nor do I like being told what I can and cannot do with my free time.

Other problems I had were the constantly broken promises. I would be told things such as "If we bust our asses, we can get off of work early!" Yeah...we always got work done, but the going home early? Did not happen as often as it should have given how much such promises were handed out.

It gets old after awhile...and when you go to a new unit/post, they do the same things and then look at you stupid when you tell them you know the game.

I could go a lot deeper into this, and provide better examples...but right now, I do not feel like writing too much...

Perhaps I should have written my thougths down somewhere else when I DID feel like it.

the teach said...

You say: I dont know if you nephew has the same feelings or not.

I think my nephew was disillusioned by the Marines. He isn't very forthcoming about it but that's my guess. Maybe just like you. I know he went into the Marines after 9/11, a very idealistic reason. So when reality dawned he was disappointed.

You don't have to write anymore about the Army and how you feel about it...I understand (as best I can not having served)