As the blog of a libertarian skeptic, one can expect the usual healthy fear of statism, and a frank discussion of the ways and means of resisting it through the free flow of information and the unrestricted private ownership of arms.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Y HALO THAR!

Ahem. I suppose I shouldn't be making 4chan (a link you should not click if you are offended by anything or under the age of 18) jokes as topics/titles, but I'm weak.

I've been thinking a while now about resurrecting my otherwise very infrequently used blog as a secondary forum for discussing things that get shut down elsewhere.

Specifically, the Independence Day thread has made its less than triumphant return, and if anybody wishes to discuss it they may do so in the comments. I would especially like to see if Moriarty has anything to say.

Although it's usually a mistake to attempt to have a collegiate level debate or discussion on the INTERTRON, like I said before, I'm weak, and I'm bored out of my mind. (Right now I'm being paid to do this for chrissake. During this particular contract job I'm working, I literally have HOURS of time to myself on the clock.)

I want to answer Bagheera (which I did in the thread but DT deleted it) even though I know he doesn't talk to me because he's deathly afraid of facts and logic. Bagheera accuses Americans of being big-headed, cocky, and self-important, and because of this other people dislike Americans. These attitudes which are usually considered "negative" are considered to be opposite of the "positive" attitude of humility.

However, I say that humility is only (honestly) virtuous to those who are not smart enough to see it for what it is. It is a means of creating and maintain order in society by creating a "virtue" of self-diminishment. It keeps those weak of will or talent from becoming restless, after all, why be bothered that you have nothing to be proud of if being proud is socially unacceptable anyway?

Humility is demonstrably a negative thing because it can be said to be achieved only after one of two possible conditions has been brought about: ignorance or dishonesty.

In the first instance, a person or group does not know that they are better than they believe themselves to be. Their ignorance prevents them from realizing their full potential and are therefore less valuable to humanity thanks to their being categorically "humble."

In the second instance, a person or group does know that they are better than they portray themselves to be. This allows them to use talents as they see fit so long as they lie about what they can do or are doing. This sort of deception is also categorically "humble."

By this reasoning, America is not only objectively superior in capacity, but morally superior in that it is honest about that capacity. The annoyance of the world is underlain by the fact that not only is America cocky, but deserves to be so.*

*This desert or entitlement and the envy and jealousy that it causes is abstractly discussed (as a sociological element rather than nationalist or culturalist) by Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State, and Utopia pp.239-246. I'd recommend anybody read the whole book. It's The Prince of the 20th century.

19 Comments:

Blogger Blooming thing said...

Useless bloody blogging software. :(
Never had a blog before, and I don't want one either.
Yep Moriarty here. :-)

In response to your post in the 4th july thread - Sure other countries have messed up and I'm not trying to pick on the USA for doing that, what I'm finding ironic is that "we're all so good and free" USA does so much, both now and historically that makes them look very hypocritical.

That and why is this darn textbox so bloomin puny?

See my later post with three links to Dictator Bush's screwing with your constitution. Sure we in the UK are doing just as bad things (you REALLY don't want to know - you'd cry!) but they're not against our law (damn shame too).

17:17

 
Blogger The New Samosatan said...

There are two key elements here, in the first place, let us assume that, for example, the US and the UK are equally flawed. Now let's take into account the fact that the US contributes more public and private aid to more charitable actions than any other single country in the world. So we go from the moral x = y to x + 1 > y.
Flaws are part of the human condition, and mistakes and flaws in government actions are a reflection. I say not that the US is flawless, but that the US is no more than equivalent at worst with the flaws of other significant nations and that the US has done demonstrably more good in the world than any other single nation.

It is from this logic that in the future it would be naturally appreciated as one of if not the most historically important liberating element in "modern" history.

The second key point is the function of law in relation to ethics and morality. You almost reached the conclusion yourself when you mentioned what a shame it was that actions taken in the UK were not against the law. Laws do not magically make things right or wrong. If I run a corrupt government and issue some edict that anybody can rape whoever they want, the act of raping is not suddenly right and good. The fact that in the US those objectionable acts which suppress freedom in this country are (in theory) against standing laws demonstrates that even if key figures in the current administration are ethically bankrupt, the entire government has not been sufficiently affected as to have the power to change those laws. Whereas in your country not only are there ethically bankrupt individuals in your government, but there are so many of them with so much power that they can actually change the law to justify their actions. We at least have the potential to wake up and say, 'What? Oh you bitches are so going to jail.' Is it probable? No, but possible. However, all you can do is hope to vote the bastards out and get the law changed, but you'll never be able to prosecute them because you can't retroactively apply any change in law that you might manage to effect.

You're a lot more screwed than we are.

09:24

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US contributes the most aid? Hmmm
This agrees.
BUT it's not that simple. The US also has the worlds largest economy.
12.36 trillion - US GDP. So they're giving away 12.9 Bil in aid which is 0.1% of their GDP.
Sweden has a GDP of $268 billion yet is givin $1.8 bil. That's 0.6% of their GDP.
Suddenly the USA is giving SIX TIMES less than Sweden as a factor of their GDP. Seems the Swedes have a lot more morality than you :-)
Funny how statistics work. ;-)

UK GDP 1.83 trillion - Donating 4.8 bil. That's 0.2%. Seems we're doing double you (though the Swedes are easily beating us both).

(GDPs from CIA world fact book).


"Laws do not magically make things right or wrong"
That depends on the definition of right and wrong. Unfortunately we civilised socieities have two definitions. One of which involves those lawyer types.

" 'What? Oh you bitches are "/* going to jail."
Like hell. That's why the presidents already pardon their predecessor. Which moron decided to give the president that power?


"You're a lot more screwed than we are."
Are we though? Whereas we are led in kicking and screaming (at least some of the media is), most of the US populace (and associated brought-out media) seems rather apathetic about all those laws your boss people are breaking.

10:44

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And that was me - Moriarty.
Forgot my account details alread and figured out the power of Anonymous. ;-D

10:45

 
Blogger The New Samosatan said...

Do you really think that the nations on the receiving end of aid care what percentage of GDP is being given compared to an absolute value? Remember this is ultimately about the perception of the US by humanity in the future, and if the average people out there remember that their grandparents or whoever got $13k from the US and $2k from Sweden, they are going to think, wow, the US was the greatest force for good in the world back then. They're not going to think that Sweden was superior just because of some obscure percentage that they probably won't even know. This is also only one dimension which I selected as an example to show that the multidimensional benefits of the US outweigh (absolutely or otherwise) those of other nations in the last century especially.

You are incorrect in saying that there are two forms of right and wrong. From my previous example, if the law of some crazy dictator says rape is legal, that does not make rape "right." Right and wrong are moral or ethical qualities of actions. Legal and illegal are the political qualities of actions. These are completely separate things, although in just and equitable states they mostly overlap. You must not fall into the legalistic trap of developing the mindset that this overlap means equivalency.

I also already said that prosecution was not probable, but possible. That's better than the UK, even if only marginally, where no possibility exists.

Yeah, you are. You know why the US citizenry is so patient? You Brits still haven't figured that out after the decades of increasing greivance leading up to the Revolutionary War? We all have guns. We all know how to use them. If the citizrenry of the US were ever really, really pissed, an overthrow of the government would be almost automatic, especially since the military is mostly loyal to the people and the Constitution (one of the last significant organizations to actually take their oaths seriously) and not whichever current government.

Not only is your military a solid tool of state with no separate loyalty, the vast majority of you lot are completely disarmed. You could be jackbooted overnight, so I don't blame the media over there for going into panic mode when they see serious, unethical changes in the law, because the only thing they have to hope for is that they can use the political process to fix the problem. How's that working for ya? The problem with that is that representative government doesn't work when the people have no real, physical power. Government is ultimately about the implied power of physical force. Obey the law or we'll lock you up, resist and you will be harmed or killed. A disarmed people is living under an illusion of rule of law, an illusion that can be broken at any time by whichever entity wields actual, physical power.

15:26

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the "/* for?

I would have thought most places don't bother asking where the money comes from anyway. Certainly outside of the governmental level all you care about is that you're getting aid, not it's source.

I'm going to there being two types of "right and wrong". The Ethical, which you cover, but also the legal. Sure a dictator can make rape legal in which case it is legally right and so the government will allow you to do it. But it remains morally wrong, though if the entire society is morally bankrupt no-one will care anyway.

"If the citizrenry of the US were ever really, really pissed, an overthrow of the government would be almost automatic,"
Yea right. You with your pop-gun versus the military with their apache's and hell-fires? Suuuuure.
But as you said, the military would likely rebel too / not fight against the civvies - in which case, what's the point in the second ammendment seeing as if the military side with you then the populace has no need of guns, and if the military sides against you you don't have anything that can really stand up to them. Your only option would be guerilla warfare.

I have no idea what the UK military swears an oath to (probably the queen), but just like your military, it's made up of human beings, many of whom would probably have some ethical disagreements with killing their own populace.

Unrelated
Interesting how someone locked your topic pointed here with no comment. Can't think of a good reason to do that.
Oh and nicely spotted on the Korea front.

-Moriarty

08:07

 
Blogger The New Samosatan said...

Formatting error probably.

You'll find that people care rather much about where money comes from as soon as it stops coming. Once again, remember we are talking about the historical impact of the US in the future. Assuming that the US ever falls or diminishes to some point where offering aid is a luxury it can no longer afford, all those who were getting it will be forced to consider the change and its source.

I see you're trying to cling to an improper understanding of terms in the English language. You should look up "legal" in a dictionary, wherein you would notice that it will say nothing about it being equivalent or dependent on being "right", but let me try again. Right and wrong refer only to moral or ethical qualities. Legal and illegal refer only to permission and prohibition granted or levied by the state, and these are political qualities. Something does not become right because it is legal, it becomes permissible because it is legal, and nobody has recourse through channels of state-administered justice to seek compensation for any harm "legally" done. It's still wrong, but it is legally permissible.

You might do well to remember that Great Britain had one of the most powerful militaries in the world in 1776 with far more artillery, naval support, better supplies and training, and our "pop-guns" worked well enough. You also need to know that training does not substitute well for experience. Soldiers are put through basic training and "qualify" on a weapon. Qualifying does not mean that they are best in the world, or even by some standards "good," it just means they have reached an average or "good enough" threshold determined by the service. At regular intervals they must meet this standard again. Compare this to those private persons who own weapons for their own enjoyment. They go to the range frequently, and they usually work at trying to improve their performance year after year. Watching a group of old gunnies is really quite amazing, it's like some of them cannot miss, having worked at it all their lives.

With regard to Switzerland, where all military-age citizens are armed and meet regularly in shooting matches across the country, a German during WWII once asked a Swiss what they would do if the Germans invaded Switzerland with an army of more than twice their population. The Swiss replied, "We'll shoot twice and go home."

The military, in my opinion, can be counted on to side with the Constitution (and by extension the people) at this time. The second amendment exists just in case that condition changes in the future.

By the way, it would be a good idea to know the exact allegiances of the military of the country you live in. As for loyalty to the monarch and still being human, the German armed forces during WWII swore allegiance to one person too, and they were still human. Humanity is not a guarantee of goodness, it's a guarantee of fault, flaw, and limitation. Some people work at overcoming the negative aspects of humanity, some people don't, but you don't want to roll those dice when your life depends on it unless you absolutely must.

Thanks for backing me up on these cartographical travesties. It's like they don't care.

10:10

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the difference metween moral and legal and my definitions are indeed pretty much the same as yours. I'm guessing I wasn't clear (nothing new there :-) ).

The point of civilisation is that you have two sets of "right" and "wrong". The one set that is morals which are with you all the time (and is entirely subjective), and the other set which is the law which tells you what the rest of society (or the dictator at the top) has told you is right / wrong.

In fact it's from the disparity of these that revolutions come. The gov says X is right (legally) but you think it's wrong (morally) and because you're too cheap to pay your tea bill ( ;-p ) you rebel.

--

I still don't believe that an armed populace would be a match for a military. Yes in Switzerland because of the way they're structured, but not in the USA (plus switzerland is a much more stable country IMHO). Sure you might go out a-shooting regularly, but I'd bet that most of the armed populace doesn't, and that will make them a liability not an asset.

- Also remember that the populace will likely be split in two on whatever issue causes revolt (they were before). So being armed and having the military PLUS half (or whatever percent) of the populace against you isn't going to be fun (seeing as any benefit your side has, the other will have too).

--

-"Thanks for backing me up on these cartographical travesties. It's like they don't care."-
On that matter or the one about screen-resolution on their website, no it doesn't seem like they care as they repeat-offend.
Admittedly those screw-ups are all web-based, but it could also represent the state of error-control within the game.

12:53

 
Blogger The New Samosatan said...

I'm going to consider the issue of right and wrong resolved. The minor difference in interpretation is not important enough to keep going back and forth on.

As for the Swiss/American analogue, you might do well to read The Militia Act of 1792 (Section I of the second bill). This nation was founded on the principal of every man being required to be armed and to render service when necessary. This principal was undermined and eventually scuttled by the establishment of the National Guard, mostly because we're too lazy and whiny to handle mandatory much of anything. As for Switzerland being more stable, they are also several centuries older as a nation, and it was completely overthrown at one point by the French and did have something of a small civil war in the 19th century.

As for frequency of shooting, I have no absolute or even reasonable estimate to give you, but I will say that there are a lot of gun clubs and shooting ranges in this country, and they like all businesses would not continue to exist if they were not patronized. There are plenty of people who shoot much more frequently and competitively than the police or armed forces, and unlike the latter, the former also build their own ammunition.

14:10

 
Blogger A Good Man said...

Haha! I knew you were a /b/tard.

That's all I have to say. I'm not going to step between an ET/Moriarity argument. :P

-KK

14:06

 
Blogger The New Samosatan said...

/b/ is like a combat zone of potential enjoyment and potential insanity.

23:26

 
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