Native Americans

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AuthorTopic: Native Americans
Apprentice
Member # 7128
Profile #75
All this discussion, especially of the idea of "assimilation" as a solution has got me thinking. Some of the worst effects of colonialism/imperialism go beyond the death tolls. There's also what we could call "cultural genocide": the lasting effects of expansionist policies and empire.

Certainly little attention is paid to the many atrocities Native Americans have been subjected to, but the Trail of Tears is among the better known of these. What fewer people know of is the boarding school system which came into existence around 1890. They didn't start to disappear until 1950 or so, many of the schools existed until the 1970s, and a few even into the 90s.

Here's a link to a page about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the first, prototypal Indian boarding school, and it's founder, Colonel Richard Henry Pratt. I think it provides a lot of insight into the philosophy behind cultural integration/assimiliation/genocide.

Here are a few choice samples of Pratt's own words:

Pratt is often quoted as saying "Kill the Indian, save the man". - Meaning: kill off the "indianness" of the natives, save the part of him which can be like the white man, which Pratt saw as the "human" part.

In an address to a convention of Baptist ministers in 1883 Pratt wrote: "In Indian civilization I am a Baptist, because I believe in immersing the Indians in our civilization and when we get them under holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked." - particularly chilling metaphor, that.

Anyhow, I look forward to seeing how this (refreshingly intelligent and insightful) discussion unfolds, and participating in it.
Posts: 5 | Registered: Sunday, May 14 2006 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #76
I have a basically Darwinist attitude towards cultures, so "cultural genocide" is to me an offensive appropriation of a word whose true meaning should not be trivialized to such an extent. In reality, Western Europe exists as it does primarily because the Romans practiced as much "cultural genocide" as they could and I defy anyone to tell me the continent isn't better for it. I'm sure there's been a similar pattern in China, though, as a student in an American school, no one's taken the trouble to expose me to the relevant history.

Of course, an attitude such as mine is perilous because it ignores the actual fact, namely, that destroying a culture has yet to have been effectively and humanely done. I do think, though, that Western Europeans were not committing some horrible crime against humanity in taking the Native Americans' land. No one would raise an uproar today if developers displaced a hippie commune to build housing, particularly if it were low-income housing or some worthy project of that nature (and America was a social safety net for a lot of Europe's population - "Unemployed? Settle the frontier!").

What makes the Native Americans' situation so unethical was that the actual people comprising the culture were left out in the cold instead of having an open opportunity to join the culture which the environment appeared to be selecting. In any case, I refuse to see destroying a culture as a crime. If a culture can be destroyed, it shouldn't be around anyways, and whining about culture only distracts from real crimes against humanity, instead of their abstract ideals and customs.

With regards to the previous debate, I basically agree with SoT. The New Republic (a pretty liberal periodical, really) ran a great arcticle after 9/11, when the Bush administration was proposing allowing people to buy futures on various things like terrorist actions, etc, such that people could essentially bet on things like whether or when the terrorists would attack. Bush was, of course, massacred and immediately backed off. TNR, though, cited several studies, and the only ones which spring to mind were weight-guessing contests, but there were others, which showed the aggregate guesses of crowds with some interest in getting the right answer often yielded estimates very close to the truth. I feel like the collective wisdom of a populace with more or less identical interests will always trump bureacracy. Where the government needs to step in is where the interests of the powerful and the powerless diverge or, as SoT put it, in prisoner's-dilemma type situations where the most advantageous action for each person in each iteration of a situation will eventually lead to long-term disadvantage for all.
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 3980
Profile Homepage #77
quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I have a basically Darwinist attitude towards cultures
This attitude was pervasive before culminating in WWII when it was found to lead to a lose-lose situation. At latest since the Soviet Union went nuclear, it has been recognized that the various cultural entities are imprisoned in a common dilemma namely that destruction of one's adversary entails the destruction of one's own. We are in a prisoner's dilemma already on a global scale, only not all of us have understood that - in particular the more religiously inclined not to say the fundamentalists, like Islamists, Shas, the Religious Right Crusaders, etc.
quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

Western Europe exists as it does primarily because the Romans practiced as much "cultural genocide" as they could and I defy anyone to tell me the continent isn't better for it.
Just because our world at present is the result of "Evolution of the (cultural) Species" does not mean this will not lead to Armageddon. So how about using our human intelligence to design some forms of cooperation between different cultures?

With respect to Europe the lesson was learned when the Morgenthau Plan was rejected in favor of the Marshall plan. However, I am not going to lecture on the consequences - I just draw your attention to the long military experience of George Marshall
quote:
General of the Army George Catlett Marshall, United States Army (Ret.) GCB (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American military leader and Secretary of State best remembered for his leadership in the Allied victory in World War II ...
George C. Marshall was born into a middle-class family in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and was educated at Virginia Military Institute. He entered the US Army after graduation, rising to the position of Army Chief of Staff, and served continuously, including in World War I (on the staff of General John Pershing) and World War II, until his retirement in 1945.
I wonder why nobody appears to have drawn similar lessons from the Vietnam War as George Marshall and collegues did from WWI and WWII. Their reality based politics (Realpolitik) embracing "multicultur" seems to have evaporated. Maybe it takes the distance of 6000km to realize this tragedy that I count as an inadvertant main cause of world terrorism.
quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

"cultural genocide" is to me an offensive appropriation of a word whose true meaning should not be trivialized to such an extent.
The word "genocide" had an intrinsic generic meaning, namely "killing of a genus" before it was used in connection with the Holocaust/Shoah. Using it in whatever other contexts should be as little offensive as mentioning that other victims have been killed because of their race during human history.
quote:
Originally written by C. P.:

Here's a link to a page about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
Where is the link?

[ Monday, May 15, 2006 02:13: Message edited by: too kraut, don't read ]

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The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. (not mine)
Posts: 311 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #78
quote:
Originally written by too kraut, don't read:

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I have a basically Darwinist attitude towards cultures
This attitude was pervasive before culminating in WWII when it was found to lead to a lose-lose situation.

Does anyone else find it ironic that you are using an argument based entirely on survival of the fittest ideas to attack the concept of survival of the fittest cultures? Your whole argument is "this didn't work, so now we know better."

I'm not convinced, either. How the heck was the fact that the Romans fought lots of indigenous peoples and then incorporated them into their empire responsible for WW2? Displacement of Native Americans certainly wasn't responsible for it.

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quote:
Originally written by Slartreuse:

Does anyone else find it ironic that you are using an argument based entirely on survival of the fittest ideas to attack the concept of survival of the fittest cultures? Your whole argument is "this didn't work, so now we know better."
Proof by contradiction is a valid logical technique. If it is in fact true that societies based on the principle of survival of the fittest do not survive, then they are by their own standards unfit.

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Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Shock Trooper
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Profile Homepage #80
quote:
Originally written by Slartreuse:

How the heck was the fact that the Romans fought lots of indigenous peoples and then incorporated them into their empire responsible for WW2? Displacement of Native Americans certainly wasn't responsible for it.
I did not say so.
I referred to Darwinism which I see in WW1, the Versailles Treaty and, caricatured, in Nazi race idiology vs. the prisoners dilemma.
Even before WWII, the fact that General Motors supplied Nazi Germany with a technique deemed necessary to invade Poland showed that the nationalistic categories did no longer apply.
After WWII, WMD have changed everything.

In particular, I object to the claim that because we live in a world resulting from history, "the historic principles" must be adhered to. First we must understand how to translate historic principles to our current situation.

[ Monday, May 15, 2006 04:10: Message edited by: too kraut, don't read ]

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The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. (not mine)
Posts: 311 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 3980
Profile Homepage #81
.

[ Monday, May 15, 2006 04:09: Message edited by: too kraut, don't read ]

--------------------
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. (not mine)
Posts: 311 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #82
quote:
Originally written by too kraut, don't read:

In particular, I object to the claim that because we live in a world resulting from history, "the historic principles" must be adhered to. First we must understand how to translate historic principles to our current situation.
*nod* Definitely.

But this goes both ways. You are making some big leaps if you go from "the Romans did something and it worked" to "the thing the Romans did was good and it always works," but you are also making big leaps if you go from "this happened in Europe and it didn't work" to "the thing that happened in Europe is bad and it never works."

If Versailles was Darwinist, btw, then doesn't pretty much every conflict ever have a Darwinian resolution? "To the victor go the spoils." France, Britain, the US, and Italy each had their own agendas -- recovery and safety, preservation of empire, and so on -- and while there was certainly a lot of dumping on Germany, the treaty doesn't seem to have been motivated by any ideology that the Germans were inferior failures who deserved to be wiped out.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Post Navel Trauma ^_^
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quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I do think, though, that Western Europeans were not committing some horrible crime against humanity in taking the Native Americans' land.
So if you want something someone else has, and you don't like the way they're using it, it's okay to take it for yourself by force?

quote:
No one would raise an uproar today if developers displaced a hippie commune to build housing, particularly if it were low-income housing or some worthy project of that nature
Since it's the same thing, I take it then that you also wouldn't have a problem with a group of hippies knocking down your neighbourhood so they could have a commune there (so long as they give you the option of joining the commune, of course).

quote:
If a culture can be destroyed, it shouldn't be around anyways
Do you mind if I come into your house and smash up your stuff? If you have anything that can be destroyed, it shouldn't be around anyways.

quote:
TNR, though, cited several studies, and the only ones which spring to mind were weight-guessing contests, but there were others, which showed the aggregate guesses of crowds with some interest in getting the right answer often yielded estimates very close to the truth. I feel like the collective wisdom of a populace with more or less identical interests will always trump bureacracy.
Except that weight-guessing is nothing like predicting terrorist attacks. Guessing someone's weight, everyone can judge roughly how heavy someone is relative to others, and people's systematic errors in converting that to an absolute scale can cancel out somewhat when you take an average.

Terrorism is different. Nobody has a clue where terrorists are going to strike next, and taking the average of several million "no ideas" (if you can even meaningfully extract such an average) doesn't help you at all.

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Posts: 1798 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
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quote:
Originally written by Khoth:

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I do think, though, that Western Europeans were not committing some horrible crime against humanity in taking the Native Americans' land.
So if you want something someone else has, and you don't like the way they're using it, it's okay to take it for yourself by force?

Rules that hold for indivduals do not translate that easily to cultures. Insisting on such a translation reminds my of the personification of nature by the greek gods. It is like singing in the dark and covering up what nobody does not know.

The rules that apply to the individual derive from a community that is the basis for survial for the individual. Where is a similar dependence of nations - or even cultures? What does translate is the concept of trust. If the US were seen to make an honest effort to accommodate the Native American culture this would generate trust in fair deals and reduce the clandestine if not the open Anti-Americanism.

The point is that the "problem with the Native Americans" concerns much more "us" and the consistency of our values and our credibility than it is about "them".

[ Monday, May 15, 2006 13:04: Message edited by: too kraut, don't read ]

--------------------
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. (not mine)
Posts: 311 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
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I wouldn't have a problem with people changing culture, if there was no coercion involved. However, taking people's land (you don't take land from a culture) is distinctly coercive, and it's the thing PoD said he had no problem with, and is what I was replying to.

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Barcoorah: I even did it to a big dorset ram.

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Posts: 1798 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #86
quote:
Originally written by Khoth:

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I do think, though, that Western Europeans were not committing some horrible crime against humanity in taking the Native Americans' land.
So if you want something someone else has, and you don't like the way they're using it, it's okay to take it for yourself by force?

Well, yeah. Isn't that the moral principle behind the graduated income tax? Heh, I was waiting to be called on that; however, if it's ethically acceptable to redistribute conspicuously consumed wealth, it's the same to redistribute conspicuously unconsumed wealth.

quote:

quote:
No one would raise an uproar today if developers displaced a hippie commune to build housing, particularly if it were low-income housing or some worthy project of that nature
Since it's the same thing, I take it then that you also wouldn't have a problem with a group of hippies knocking down your neighbourhood so they could have a commune there (so long as they give you the option of joining the commune, of course).

I'm not that attached to my neighborhood. I hope I'd adapt.

quote:
[b]
quote:
If a culture can be destroyed, it shouldn't be around anyways
Do you mind if I come into your house and smash up your stuff? If you have anything that can be destroyed, it shouldn't be around anyways.

[/b]
Yeah, well, this strawman would be great if my stuff could possibly be said to be in a selection paradigm, but it's not like it's competing against anything.

quote:
quote:
TNR, though, cited several studies, and the only ones which spring to mind were weight-guessing contests, but there were others, which showed the aggregate guesses of crowds with some interest in getting the right answer often yielded estimates very close to the truth. I feel like the collective wisdom of a populace with more or less identical interests will always trump bureacracy.
Except that weight-guessing is nothing like predicting terrorist attacks. Guessing someone's weight, everyone can judge roughly how heavy someone is relative to others, and people's systematic errors in converting that to an absolute scale can cancel out somewhat when you take an average.

Terrorism is different. Nobody has a clue where terrorists are going to strike next, and taking the average of several million "no ideas" (if you can even meaningfully extract such an average) doesn't help you at all.

I only explained Bush's policy as background; my point was about the free market, not terrorism. Basically, common-sense things such as the problem with a lack of tradesmen are as likely to be interpreted and corrected as the weight is to be correctly guessed, so long as people have an interest in that happening.

EDIT: For clarity, Western Europe was thoroughly despicable in its treatment of the American natives; I'm not disputing that. Furthermore, my position is maybe a little exaggerated for the purpose of provoking debate.

[ Monday, May 15, 2006 18:48: Message edited by: PoD person ]
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #87
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

The problem is the "in a couple of years" part. The market corrects itself eventually, but how long does it take, and what damage is done in the meantime? That's hard to predict.
But this was the point of my post: I don't think this particular case actually is so hard to predict. A shortage of plumbers would indeed seem to be something that the normal free market operation will simply correct in a few years, and not something that will grow into a major depression because of non-intervention. I pointed out the obvious correcting mechanism, that high school kids will start noticing that they can train for a couple of years in plumbing and then get rich. Unless someone can point out why this won't work, we should stop fussing over the plumber shortage, since nothing else is really going to work any faster than that, anyway.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #88
quote:
Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

[The ideology of the free market is fundamentally opposed to conceptualizing what you refer to as 'damage'. To the free-market economist, the market turning down, people losing their job, and a few hundred thousand more homeless cropping up in the streets is a natural and healthy part of the economy.
You learned this in a recent audience with the Pope of Free Market Economics, perhaps? Sure looks like a straw man to me.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 3980
Profile Homepage #89
quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

quote:
Originally written by Khoth:

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

No one would raise an uproar today if developers displaced a hippie commune to build housing, particularly if it were low-income housing or some worthy project of that nature
Since it's the same thing, I take it then that you also wouldn't have a problem with a group of hippies knocking down your neighbourhood so they could have a commune there (so long as they give you the option of joining the commune, of course).

I'm not that attached to my neighborhood. I hope I'd adapt.

I does not have to be your neighborhood. Are you a lone wolf or do you live in any community?
How much of your identity is related to this community? How much of your identity would be destroyed if the community were dissolved?

Two extremes come to my mind, namely
1.the nearby village that is being resettled as such into new homes paid for by the strip mining company and
2.the Katrina victims - you know more about the "victim"-connotations and racial implications in this context than I do, I presume.
These are not typical spiderwebbers but include less than upward mobile not necessarily independent people. Their loss was not only in quality of life but in the basis of their livelihood that cannot be recompensated.
Take for example the elder members of your or your buddies' families. I guess they cling as much to their living quarters rather than being transplanted to a nursing home as do the elderly in my surround. They do not do so because of phlegm but because they cannot adapt anymore.
Do you imply that their life is not worth living anymore because they can no longer adapt? If so, I invite you to go to the one who is closest to your heart and tell her straight into her face how much you care that she has to leave.

[ Tuesday, May 16, 2006 00:49: Message edited by: too kraut, don't read ]

--------------------
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. (not mine)
Posts: 311 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #90
I guess I am also a Darwinist, but I think one should remember that the reason Darwinism is such a strong idea is that it is only a hairsbreadth from tautology: 'fittest' means 'most likely to survive', and has nothing to do with what would be best from any other point of view.

And even for a strict Darwinist anxious to avoid all other values than Darwinian fitness, there are always other points of view, because there are always longer time scales and larger groupings. The proliferation of one species and extinction of others in its genus is often a Darwinian catastrophe for the genus, which dies out entirely (and that one dominant species dies with it) when conditions change on the longer term.

In other words, cultural diversity would seem to be a valuable survival trait for the human race, and no cultural Darwinist should be calm about cultural extinction.

Having said that, I'm quite happy to let some North American aboriginal cultural traits get baptized into oblivion: for instance, perennial warfare, cannibalism, ritual torturing to death of prisoners of war, harshly enforced arbitrary taboos. And then there are cultural features that are simply doomed by advance of technology. Once you have rifles, you can try to maintain the traditional expertise in hurling harpoons, but now you've made it into an artform. You can't preserve the vital importance of harpooning as the key to survival.

As you might guess, I'm thinking of traditional Inuit culture as an example. This has got to be one of the best cases for indigenous societies, since there were no hordes of white miners or homesteaders stealing the tundra. Even the Inuit language is in fairly healthy shape, at least in eastern Canada. But it's tough.
The average Inuk watches over 3 hours of television a day, and less than half an hour of this is in Inuktitut. High school kids are starting to speak to their friends in English and French. It's really hard to think of ways to preserve traditional Inuit culture that don't amount to forcing modern-day people to live in stone age conditions. Surviving in the stone age was a full-time job, and an awful lot of aboriginal culture is just about surviving in the stone age. Take away the stone age, and you take away a lot right there.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
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I might be flogging a dead horse here, or a point that has already been made, but "survival of the fittest" is a factual statement on a natural process. It is no value judgement in any sense.

Other things being equal, if you do not eat, you die. That is also a completely natural process. As such, it does not involve any judgement: It neither means "you should eat" nor "you should not eat" - that depends completely on whether you think you should die or not.

Bestowing some kind of sanctity on the Darwinian principle, so that any "interference" with it should be avoided, is just as fallacious. As an attitude, it is at best fatalistic and at worst indifferent.

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Lifecrafter
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Profile #92
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

quote:
Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

[The ideology of the free market is fundamentally opposed to conceptualizing what you refer to as 'damage'. To the free-market economist, the market turning down, people losing their job, and a few hundred thousand more homeless cropping up in the streets is a natural and healthy part of the economy.
You learned this in a recent audience with the Pope of Free Market Economics, perhaps? Sure looks like a straw man to me.

It isn't a straw man. Free-marketers are genuine believers in the natural cycle of the economy - as in, they find it desirable.

A straw man would be saying that their ultimate goal was periodically destroying the economy and throwing millions of lives into turmoil. Which it isn't; that's just an unintentional (and, to be quite frank, generally unlamented) consequence of their policies.

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

quote:
Originally written by Khoth:

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I do think, though, that Western Europeans were not committing some horrible crime against humanity in taking the Native Americans' land.
So if you want something someone else has, and you don't like the way they're using it, it's okay to take it for yourself by force?

Well, yeah. Isn't that the moral principle behind the graduated income tax? Heh, I was waiting to be called on that; however, if it's ethically acceptable to redistribute conspicuously consumed wealth, it's the same to redistribute conspicuously unconsumed wealth.

It sure is, if you're paying income tax directly to your neighbor and he gets to spend it as he pleases. If you're paying it to a government which is obligated to provide you certain services - not so much.

[ Tuesday, May 16, 2006 03:36: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
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I would like to mention that the Neonazis in Germany "defend" their racist attacks with "superiority" of the Aryan race. Just last week an 18-year-old Belgian from an ultraright Vlaams extremist background (his aunt is a palamentarian for "Vlaa(sp?)ms Belang") shot 3 immigrants (killing a mother with her 2-year-old) to fight for the prevailance of his ethnic community.

I do confound the individual level with the competition between cultures but we do need some consistency between the values within our culture and how we deal vis-à-vis others be it at whatever level.
In the extreme, the Darwinism among humans is a major point of "Mein Kampf" and I had hoped we had consensus that that was evil.

[ Tuesday, May 16, 2006 04:32: Message edited by: too kraut, don't read ]

--------------------
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. (not mine)
Posts: 311 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #94
quote:
Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:


quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

quote:
Originally written by Khoth:

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

I do think, though, that Western Europeans were not committing some horrible crime against humanity in taking the Native Americans' land.
So if you want something someone else has, and you don't like the way they're using it, it's okay to take it for yourself by force?

Well, yeah. Isn't that the moral principle behind the graduated income tax? Heh, I was waiting to be called on that; however, if it's ethically acceptable to redistribute conspicuously consumed wealth, it's the same to redistribute conspicuously unconsumed wealth.

It sure is, if you're paying income tax directly to your neighbor and he gets to spend it as he pleases. If you're paying it to a government which is obligated to provide you certain services - not so much.

It's not an equivalent trade and you know it. Certainly the way members of this board talk about it, the graduated income tax is the best way to use the wealthy to provide services for someone other than the wealthy, a textbook example of "if you want something someone else has, and you don't like the way they're using it, it's okay to take it for yourself by force." It's the right thing to do, but you should cop to what you're actually saying, ethically.

SoT - Good point about the interests of the species versus the interests of the genus. You pretty much crushed my devil's-advocate position.

[ Tuesday, May 16, 2006 06:45: Message edited by: PoD person ]
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #95
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

I pointed out the obvious correcting mechanism, that high school kids will start noticing that they can train for a couple of years in plumbing and then get rich.
That's already the case, though, and they're already not doing it.

Being a plumber is already better-paid than working in fast food, but people are applying to the latter jobs in vastly higher numbers than the former. (And here I mean for full-time work, as an actual job, not just a temporary thing, and higher numbers in terms of number of people applying per job opening.)

quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

Certainly the way members of this board talk about it, the graduated income tax is the best way to use the wealthy to provide services for someone other than the wealthy, a textbook example of "if you want something someone else has, and you don't like the way they're using it, it's okay to take it for yourself by force."
The government is supposed to provide certain services that benefit everyone (roads, schools, etc.). These services cost money. That money has to come from somewhere, and there literally is not enough money among the lower-income earners to pay for all of it. Therefore, progressive taxation.

There's no need to resort to the argument that you've stuffed in my and others' mouths.

[ Tuesday, May 16, 2006 08:41: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

The government is supposed to provide certain services that benefit everyone (roads, schools, etc.). These services cost money. That money has to come from somewhere, and there literally is not enough money among the lower-income earners to pay for all of it. Therefore, progressive taxation.

You have neither refuted that wealth is being forcibly redistributed nor addressed the most obvious holes in your argument, welfare and public housing.
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #97
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

[QUOTE]That's already the case, though, and they're already not doing it.

Care to cite some data? But even if we accept your claim about numbers of job applicants, it is not obviously a relevant comparison. There are rewards and obstacles for any career, and the number of people seeking each career depends on both factors. Suppose that the current disproportion between plumbing and burger-flipping represents the current balance between rewards and obstacles. Crank the reward for plumbing higher than it is now, while leaving the obstacles the same, and more young people will go into plumbing than they do now (not necessarily all of them being people whose other choice would have been fast food, of course).

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #98
quote:
Originally written by PoD person:

You have neither refuted that wealth is being forcibly redistributed nor addressed the most obvious holes in your argument, welfare and public housing.
Wealth is being collected, yes, but I take issue with the idea that wealth is being collected as forcibly from the wealthy class now as it was from the Native Americans. It's being redistributed with the consent of the people from whom it is being taken — rich people have a vote, too, you know, which the Native Americans didn't.

And that fact that some of the money does not directly benefit the rich isn't relevant. Some of the money does, which means that everyone who pays taxes gets something in return. Many of the Native Americans didn't get much in return for the vast quantities of land and resources taken.

quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

Care to cite some data?
No. :P

In all seriousness, I don't have the data at hand, but I've read a few articles about this, and I have no doubt that someone who knew where to look could pull up the relevant figures. I just don't know where to look.

quote:
Crank the reward for plumbing higher than it is now, while leaving the obstacles the same, and more young people will go into plumbing than they do now
You're assuming that everyone knows exactly what the "rewards" of all jobs are and can make reasonable comparisons, which I think can be demonstrated to be flawed right now: people make uninformed career choices all the time.

You're also assuming that the primary "reward" for a job is monetary compensation, which is potentially flawed, but I'm not sure that we need to go there.

[ Tuesday, May 16, 2006 11:55: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #99
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

You're assuming that everyone knows exactly what the "rewards" of all jobs are and can make reasonable comparisons, which I think can be demonstrated to be flawed right now: people make uninformed career choices all the time.

You're also assuming that the primary "reward" for a job is monetary compensation, which is potentially flawed, but I'm not sure that we need to go there.

Not at all. Ignorance or folly that make some people choose burger flipping instead would simply be one of the obstacles to plumbing careers. As long as the coming dearth of plumbers doesn't make people steadily more ignorant and foolish, higher income for plumbers will bring more plumbers than we are getting now. Perhaps lower ignorance and folly would also give us more plumbers, even at today's wages; this is not a contradiction. Reducing ignorance and folly would be a great idea, if we could do it. While we're working on that, rising plumber income under the free market will be helping, too.

And money only has to be a significant reward component, which it is.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00

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