Archive through October 8, 2000

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Dec 2000:THE ARENA:Archive through October 8, 2000
By Anatomist1 on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 02:05 am: Edit

Well, somehow I was under the delusional impression that there were certain principles about freedom and justice enshrined in our constitution. The basic idea behind this being, that it doesn't matter if 80% of the people want to "hang all the niggers" or whatever sort of ridiculous breed of fascistic oppression happens to be in fashion this season, we ain't hanging nobody. This should be the overriding principle in the so-called war on drugs. The fact that a whole bunch of numbheads are suceptible to propaganda is no reason to throw large portions of non-violent citizenry in jail, or destroy basic rights to privacy, or due process. And, when it comes to what most people want, what the hell do elected officials have to do with it anyway? When was the last election, on any level of government, where more than half the people even voted? The majority of people always vote against the legitimacy of the officials by not participating. Of course, from your social-darwinian point of view, non-voters are stupid losers that deserve any calamity that befalls them, but I think most don't vote because they know it's a sham -- bought and paid for by people who don't care about their interests at all. If everyone was forced to vote after exposure to an hour worth of facts, there wouldn't be any such thing as Republicans or Democrats anymore. Many people were surprised and horrified at the sinister nature of the raid to take Elian Gonzalez away from his relatives. What they aren't aware of, is the fact that this shit happens day in and day out in the 'War of Drugs'. If they saw where the rubber meets the road, their opinion would change. Of course, they don't see this, because nine giant companies own most of the media resources, and very little gets through that isn't in line with these interests.

People like you are always coming up with some appealingly simplistic take on a complex problem, which conveniently serves the dual purpose of both dispelling uncomfortable uncertainties, and justifying the unjustifiable. I'm not buying it.

K.

P.S., If I tell you I work for IBM, and am on the 401k, what difference will that make?

By Bob_chong on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 12:19 am: Edit

Anatomist,

Question for you: have you ever had a salaried job with benefits?


BC

By Bob_chong on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 12:10 am: Edit

Anatomist:

I wonder, what is public opinion on drugs? Is there a silent, pro-narcotics majority that we haven't heard about that has simply been hijacked by the last 60 years of gov't policy? Or is it the same ol' 10-20% hipster set that feels entitled to drugs?

My point is, prohibition doesn't work/hasn't worked, but if people want it (and I mean the *majority* of people truly want it), then shouldn't our gov't be a reflection of the public desires (except in cases which violate the equal protection clause)?

Anyway, all of this is moot since Vladimir Ilyich Nader is going to win, right?

BC


P.S. when did I ever call Bush a libertarian?

By Anatomist1 on Saturday, October 07, 2000 - 10:11 pm: Edit

Attn: Bob

Gotta love Bush! Whatta Libertarian! Yesterday, he just announced that the War on Drugs was the most successful social policy of the '80s, and unveiled a new 2.8 billion dollar plan to spend way more than that pantywaste Clinton. Damn I love those Republicans! They're so laisssez-faire!

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20001007/pl/campaign_bush_dc_264.html

K.

By Petermarc on Saturday, October 07, 2000 - 12:32 pm: Edit

midas-
actually that line is from an old monty python
record. (if you didn't already know) i live in france and, truth be known, i'd rather have a steady supply of oz-wine than the french stuff...
not that i'm suffering...

By Midas on Saturday, October 07, 2000 - 05:08 am: Edit

Petermarc, mate, struth, I love that wine. Nice drop, eh? But truly, don't worry cobber, I'm just a li'l old sheep dipper from the arse end of Njadumburra. Now I gotta get that blasted roo out of th' kitchen, it's eat'n all me pavlova...

By Don_walsh on Saturday, October 07, 2000 - 04:49 am: Edit

Lord H, you can put away the kevlar knee-pads. While I might not choose you to tutor my putative children in political economics, you are welcome in my home anytime.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, October 07, 2000 - 02:10 am: Edit

Don,

In actual fact I was worried that you might challenge me to "pistols at dawn" duel and as the only I've only ever fired a gun twice, once at a clay pigeon shoot and another time trying, (unsuccessfully) to shoot a tin can off a fence-post with a farmer's shot-gun. In light of these facts I thought it would not be wise to offend you.

Hobgoblin

By Don_walsh on Friday, October 06, 2000 - 04:15 pm: Edit

You be an Irish gentleman and a scholar. :)

And a fine judge of people...

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 06, 2000 - 02:42 pm: Edit

Don,

You're no doubt a man of style and taste and to suggest you would use anything less than the finest cologne or smoke anything but Fidel's finest would be to besmirch you character. I take it all back.

Hobgoblin

By Don_walsh on Friday, October 06, 2000 - 02:02 pm: Edit

When I use cologne it isn't Old Spice, when I smoke cigars they are Cohiba Esplendidos, and it's been a few years since I have fired a gun (about 5-6 years, since the Thai Army rifle and MG trials) so the smell of propellant has receded.

By Petermarc on Friday, October 06, 2000 - 02:01 pm: Edit

...more like the chateau moulin walla walla with
a bouquet like an aborigine's armpit...

By Anatomist1 on Friday, October 06, 2000 - 12:20 pm: Edit

You got a problem with that?!?

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, October 06, 2000 - 10:54 am: Edit

The smell of Old Spice, cheap cigars and gunpowder seems to have disappeared from this thread.

By Midas on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 09:58 pm: Edit

Don, there are two verses, but generally only the first verse is sung.
It goes:
"Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free.
With golden soil,
And wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in natures gifts,
Of beauty rich and rare.
In history's page,
At every stage,
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair."
-Robert.

By Don_walsh on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 02:32 pm: Edit

Midas, thanks for corrections/clarifications. I would like to know the words to Advance Australia Fair, but I guess these can be had from the Net readily...

By Fellraven on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 11:33 am: Edit

Midas

The plague bug is pretty long-lived. It may be simply a precaution but anyone involved in excavating plague pits in the UK is required to be vaccinated and produce a valid vaccination certificate before they are permitted to excavate. There have been a number of instances of viable and still infectious material being recovered from graves dating from the Black Death period (1348-9).

By Bob_chong on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 10:40 am: Edit

Anatomist:

Yes, you are the Don King of The Arena. That means you get to keep 75% of the proceeds of all the posts made here. ;-)

BC

By Anatomist1 on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 10:32 am: Edit

Marc,

Sadly, it appears fighting is more popular than talking about art and stuff. Here I am, like Don King... except without the hair and the money... dohhh!

K.

By Midas on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 07:54 am: Edit

Don, it's true that South Australia was never a penal colony, but our national anthem isn't Waltzing Matilda, neither is it "Aussie, aussie aussie, oi oi oi!" as many may now think, thanks to the vocal spectators at many olympic events. Waltzing Matilda is just a popular folk song. Our national anthem is actually Advance Australia Fair.
As far as Republicanism goes, we had a referendum last year to see if Australia should become a republic. 75% of Australian citizens wanted out of the commonwealth, but most didn't like the model being offered, so it was voted out. Unfortunately, most of the great unwashed didn't think to vote yes, then demand changes to the republic of Australia model (the president would've been voted for by parliament, not the public), instead, they just voted no, and hence, we still have Liz 2, queen of Australia.
On the subject of penal ancestry, my fathers family are descended from scottish immigrants who arrived in 1864, but my mothers family descend from a John Cross, who was transported to Australia/Van Diemensland/Terra Nulius in 1812 for stealing a loaf of bread, a length of rope, and picking up a coin he found in the street. As you say, I'm not embarrassed by this, neither are most people here who are derived in whole or in part from 'criminal' stock. In fact, it's rather fascinating. Recently, I was in a pub with several friends here in Sydney, and we sat there for the better part of an hour discussing whose ancestors got sent here for what. Most tales were of petty theft or self defense, but there was one story of a gambling ring being found, and another of a mugging and assault, but these are uncommon, because most people were hanged for serious crime rather than being transported.
Another interesting bit of Australian history is the outbreak of bubonic plague that hit Sydney in the 20's, due to infected rats coming off ships moored in The Rocks (the old docklands area here). In fact, my grandmothers uncle, who was a dockhand, died from it. most people who died from the disease were buried in mass graves at the quarantine station at North Head, and next to Rookwood cemetry in west Sydney (this paticular spot now has a road laid over it, so that the corpses cannot be excavated. It is actually illegal for any plague bodies to be disinterred 'til 2010, as the are still not sure how long the disease can lay dormant in dead human tissue. I think this is more paranoia than anything scientifically based. Interesting though.
-Robert.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 06:27 am: Edit

I came an interesting little poem today that perhaps has some relevance on this thread, (apologies if you are familiar with it).

It was 6 men from Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And, happening to fall
Against his braod and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl,
"God bless me! but the elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried-"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth, and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see"-quoth he-"the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand
And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain"-quoth he-
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said-"E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Defy the fact you can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see"-quoth he-"the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

John G. Saxe

(As suitable for this thread as it is for 8 year olds)

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, October 05, 2000 - 06:02 am: Edit

Don,

Your decision to work as an entrepreneur would be I suspect to follow an interest or aim you believe in, are inspired by, seek to achieve etc. etc. I suspect that your prime motivation is not solely to get rich but to produce something of Value (not purely monetary value). This scenario would enable a degree of self-fullfilment, (although money helps us all). I could be entirely wrong here as I have never met you and know nothing of your background so if I am wrong then please correct me.

I don't believe that employment always equates to exploitation but employment that treats man as an expendable unit of production whose only value is the profit he generates for his masters directors, shareholders) does exploit and degrade man. This results in alienation of man from his true nature.

Your comments about many Africans going to in South Africa from neighbouring states during the apartheid era is correct. This did happen but unfortunately for these people it was a choice of do this or starve to death and this fact doesn't mean that apartheid state had any merit. A system of government or philosophy which enshrines the supremacy of one race over another is evil to the core. The world stood up to and defeated the Nazis with their similar philosophy (USA, USSR, Britain, India, Australia any many, many more, all united against a common evil), South Africa's apartheid philosphy was no better than the philosophy of Hitler,(the only difference is that they didn't threaten any of our borders). I'm not saying all is perfect with the system that now replaces it but it is better than a sick, evil system that enshrines one race's supremacy over another. There are many corrupt in Africa and I won't defend any corrupt government either "black" or "white", (colour is irrelevant) but I don't include the current government of South Africa as one of these. By the very nature of the previous system of government that existed in South Africa, the task involved in setting up a new system with values totally different to that which existed before involves huge social, cultural, political and economic change. This is not an easy task and will involve much pain. But I have and always have had faith in Mandela and hopefully South Africa's new leaders will stay true to his vision.

By the way I entirely agree with your views on Eugenics, accept the Human Race, warts and all. To do otherwise makes us no better than Hitler.

Hobgoblin

By Marc on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 10:06 pm: Edit

Is this where the real men hangout? I just followed the smell of Old Spice, cheap cigars and gun powder. Has anybody been killed yet?

When are you guys going to start discussing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?

By Marc on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 10:06 pm: Edit

Is this where the real men hangout? I just followed the smell of Old Spice, cheap cigars and gun powder. Has anybody been killed yet?

When are guys going to start discussing the Sports
Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 09:29 pm: Edit

OK Bob, I'll call off the Aussie SAS hit teams.

Just kidding. Really! :)

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 06:25 pm: Edit

Anatomist:

Truth be told, I'm glad you surrender. This has been more pro-wrestling than legitimate mental grappling from the beginning.

You really know nothing about me, nor I you. As for my apparent greed, based on your analysis of my posts: what you don't know is I have given food to beggars, and I give 10% of each paycheck to my church (who, in turn, use it in charitable ways). I am not without good deeds--I was even a public school teacher for five years (and now teach college).

The point of me wanting to keep more of my money is that I doubt your basic assumption that the gov't is capable of responsible stewardship of my (or anyone else's) money. You even said that you wish the monies were put to better use, and I agree. But until someone in DC can prove otherwise, I don't trust liberal spending solutions to every problem. I used to think along the same lines you do--I even thought we should pay higher taxes IF we could actually get something out of them. That welfare number I posted earlier? How much of that goes to the needy vs. how much goes to waste in the distribution chain? I've read that as much as a third is wasted this way.

Robertson, Falwell, and Helms are idiots: they are the wrong end of the spectrum. They are the authoritarian end of the conservative spectrum, whereas I reject that ideology wholeheartedly. The libertarian side of the spectrum is something completely different. (i.e., likewise, along these same lines, I could say you accept Mussolini and other leftists since you are a leftist yourself; we both know that this is not the case)

FWIW, "Saint Peter" ain't guarding no gate and good deeds mean nothing without faith. But let's not get into the protestant vs. catholic stuff...

BC

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 05:10 pm: Edit

I have to admit, Bob, that you have worn me out. In a sense, you win. You have definitely proved that your lust for cash is more powerful than my altruism. How someone like Nader or Chomsky can fight thousands and thousands of you day after day is beyond me. When the rubber meets the road, I mostly mind my own business, and like I said, I'm no crusader. But even at my meager income level, I don't see what's so excruciating about paying a few taxes. I just wish they were put to slightly better use, and that the commons weren't constantly being doled out to rich pirates. If there WERE any justice in the world, I would think someone who votes for the party of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms just to save money, would be subject to spontaneous combustion upon accusing me of being the world's ultimate hypocrite.

K.

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 04:58 pm: Edit

Unfortunately, people don't complain much about Walmart, or drug-testing, or monolithic media corporations that render the word "news" a joke, or people like you, who spin rationalization after rationalization to justify keeping more of your money. It scares me the lengths you are willing to go to keep x% more of your money. Insidious erosion of privacy by means of fascist style propaganda -- well positioned insiders make millions spawning drug testing oriented corporations? Well, it's "kind of evil" but I think I'll keep voting for these guys if I can keep a few hundred bucks. Streets littered with starving children and rotting corpses? Great! I'll use the money I saved to buy my way into a gated community. Vast numbers of elderly people living on romain noodles and living in tenaments under 15 watt light bulbs, dropping like flies when the temperature hits an extreme? Cool! Think of all that money I'm saving on social security.

A moderate social safety net, protection of individual liberties (from corpororations, especially) and reasonable restrictions on the priviliges of extreme wealth are very little to ask of a government, and worth a few bucks... along with law enforcement, roads, and national defense... but I suppose you don't need those either. I guess if it's all about money, and you think you've got enough, then to hell with eveyone else.

But, to be on the safe side, I think you should give a dime to a beggar once, just in case you find yourself staring up at majestic gates in a cloudy environment and a fellow named St. Peter asks you if you ever did a good deed.

K.

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 04:21 pm: Edit

Anatomist:

You asked how much welfare costs? In FY1998 (according to the pie chart and text in my federal tax return booklet), $303B was spent on welfare. A pretty huge chunk of change, or 17% of gov't spending. If you consider that 48% of money taken in was from personal income taxes...we could eliminate welfare altogther and create an across-the-board 35.4% tax cut.

BC

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 04:17 pm: Edit

Don:

I was just joking about Australia.

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 04:10 pm: Edit

OK, so the pay at Walmart is shitty: $6/hour to start (I just called the one here in town; I suspect pay might be higher in places with higher costs of living). But they do offer health ins., life ins., and 401K. Not exactly a job for a primary breadwinner, but the ins. benefits sound good. Maybe you could work there, Anatomist--at least you could get to the dentist twice a year. j/k

BC

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 03:59 pm: Edit

Anatomist:

Why do I buy my absinthe from SC and not Bettina? We live in a free market: SC offers the same products for 1/5 of Bettina's prices.

The Texas deal is not significantly different. Even if this were 100% accurate:
The city built roads for Walmart, changed zoning regulations to accomodate them, and probably even gave them tax incentives.
is there proof that Walmart in turn used these advantages to lower their prices locally? Where's the data? Let's see some numbers and analysis. Did they churn these gov't incentives into retail pricing, or were they used to offset fixed costs like construction, overhead, depreciation, etc. Besides being allowed to build, how do zoning laws figure in with the bottom line?

The fact is, had these mom&pops stores been given similar incentives (new roads, tax breaks), wouldn't they still be hard pressed to offer the low prices that Walmart offers? Walmart deals with economy of scale with a high-tech worldwide distribution system (e.g., inventory is logged and thereby easily replenished via computer as items are scanned when being sold). The townsfolk may give lip service to how bad Walmart is, but given the choice of saving lots of money or patronizing the mom&pops stores, the people voted with their feet. If they kept shopping at these other places, then Walmart loses and the mom&pops stores stay open. No one forced them to want to save money. The business model of Bettina or the average mom&pops store is not sustainable unless there is an absence of competition or unless a significant portion of the population prefers to be separted from their money at a faster and higher rate than could be found at easily accessible alternatives.

When there are market choices, people tend to choose what is most convenient and/or cheapest.

As for people working there, how many now work at Walmart vs. the stores that went under? What were the wages at the old places versus the wages at Walmart? The drug testing is pretty evil, but I bet that the wages were similar if not better at Walmart. And it's not like the average retail lackey would be drawing a salary at another place. Walmart might even offer things other places don't, like health insurance and stock options. Don't underestimate the value of insurance: my good friend had none when his appendix needed out, and it set him back $12K (this was 10 years ago).

Gee, I am quite the Walmart apologist.

Protectionism is not the answer. Or maybe you will be voting for Buchanan?

BC

By Black_rabbit on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 03:53 pm: Edit

Corporations need not be evil. I work for one that isn't, in fact (I'd rather not say on the board which one.) We have a set of philosophical tenets we go by... things like the golden rule, and that every individual deserves respect. They are written down, and are as much a part of policy as how payroll works. It is a plus that they are policy, but we all *believe* in them. So my company isn't a bunch of corporate bastardheads. Others don't have to be. In fact, one of our stated long term goals is to change the way the world does business. Last time anybody checked, there were about 20 other companies that adopted our rules (some gave us credit and some didn't.) And we make more money than our competitors generally do to boot. Good guys can win.

My point is, change must come from individuals who adhere to a set of ethics (whatever ethics they are.) Corporations go by policies, and policies are usually only concerned with profit, the human costs being irrellavant. Governments do that too. And they all use the same piss poor excuse: That is our policy, I have to do it. Or 'I was only following orders.'

If the individuals who work for these organizations refuse to act unethically, positive change will result. It is a hard choice that can leave you without a job, or shot for treason.

Not to make that choice is either cowardice or the act of someone who simply doesn't care. But as there is strength in unity large groups of people who don't care about one another are doomed to be consumed by large groups that do. And large groups of cowards end up in very, very bad situations... 'I said nothing when they came for my neighbor...'

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 03:15 pm: Edit

I wonder if on some social policy debate forum there is a thread about absinthe going on right now. That would be funny.

BC

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 02:32 pm: Edit

Lord H.

I made a conscious decision a long time ago not to work for anyone else. I have paid a price for being an entrepreneur. The price has been a rollercoaster ride of feast and famine...I wouldn't go back and alter that decision even if I could.

On the other hand my businesses have employed few. However I disagree with the premise that employement = exploitation.

In South Africa, arguendo, blacks were oppressed. But they were also employed.

It is a fact of history that even while apartheid was still in effect, untold numbers of Africans were desperately fleeing black ruled neighboring countries because they preferred to live with a full belly under apartheid than to starve under a black government that cared not whether they lived or died.

I have many problems with the policies of the National Party government of the RSA. I have many more problems with the present government which is corrupt, venal, incompetent, Communistic -- and black.

I have even more problems with the governments of virtually every other nation in black Africa. If you wish to see basket cases, you need look nowhere else.

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 02:05 pm: Edit

Don,

No. Grandfather used to live there and other relatives live in the area. Don't know the Leatherwoods.

K.

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 02:03 pm: Edit

Bob,

The coup de grace of your class in irony will be the fact that you are in fact practicing the very point made by the original explanation by presenting them with that very sentence out of context. This irony will be further compounded by the fact that no one in the room will know it.

K.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 01:59 pm: Edit

Hey Anatomist

You live in Stephenville?

Say hello to Jim Leatherwood for me.

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 01:44 pm: Edit

What can I say? Anecdotes about freeloading welfare recipients abound, but how much does it cost totally? Free market disciplines have been increasingly applied to the poor over the past 20 years, on the basis of arguments revolving around incentive destruction and the clear implication that those who accept aid are of inferior moral character and human worth.

Yet these same disciplines are not applied to corporate entities and those who head them, who in turn glory in excessive wealth. This is not an accidental happenstance wrought by natural forces. This is a direct result of government policies. Not every handout looks like a food stamp. Corporate handouts often come in the form of an outright subsidy, a grant, real estate (including pristine national forests and parklands), a low-interest loan or government service. It can also be tax breaks -- credits, exemptions, deferrals, deductions, or lowered tax rates compared to others.

I would personally rank the character of someone who is simply lazy and looking to somehow get by much higher than one who conspires to take excessive amounts to live luxuriously. These are the same people who close and liquidate manufacturing facilities, fire loyal workers by the thousands, and pocket the difference, to the tune of salaries 4 to 20 times that of executives in other countries.

Imposing some government restrictions on this kind of behavior is something I can live with -- as is a certain amount of our collective resources going to help the poor.

As an example, Bob complains about potential policies to rescue small stores from WalMarts being social engineering, but who's engineeering whom? How did the WalMarts get there in the first place? In Stephenville, TX they set their sights on the town and took a huge short term loss to build 2 stores on the edges of town, with the deliberate intent to bankrupt their competitors and monopolize the local market. When it didn't quite work, they built a SuperStore, and the desired effect was acheived: downtown became a ghost town, people went from being owners and workers in unique, personal places with histories, to low-paid, drug-tested worker drones in a giant, variationless, fluorescent-lit box. The residents went from a community to a cluster of isolated units with houses full of cheap crap. To pose this as an issue of government subsidies to the small stores vs. non-intervention is an ahistorical farce. The city built roads for Walmart, changed zoning regulations to accomodate them, and probably even gave them tax incentives. Why? Because the government was for sale, instead of looking after the public good. Walmart came in with their pablum plan of social engineering and imposed it from without: the end results in terms of resident's quality of life was knowingly pursued. The citizens weren't informed about the nature of the plan, and had no chance to counteract it. Better to fight this by means of home-grown, goverment-based social engineering then let Walmart do the engineering.

That's one.

The bottom line is that ever-expanding and merging giant corporations are the truly monolithic force that threatens to obliterate individuality and human freedom in our lives. Government contributes primarily insofar as it does their bidding, and remains unresponsive to its citizens. Putting someone like Nader in office isn't going to turn the USA into the USSR overnight, as Bob so threateningly implies. Instead, it would provide a badly needed counter-force to the unimpeded interests of the powerful and greedy few who have no concern whatsoever for the public good. Publicly funded elections, and restrictions on private campaign spending are the only chance to keep corporate puppets out, and get someone with a soul, like Nader, in.

K.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 01:40 pm: Edit

To revert to music:

Check out the old Aussie ballad:

'The Black Velvet Band' so often sung by Irish groups. Also

'The Wild Colonial Boy'.

Even the national anthem 'Waltzing Matilda' concerns itself with a wandering rogue...at the end when confronted by the police, he shouts "You'll never take me alive!"

And the closing line of the song: "And his ghost may be heard as you pass beside the bilabong..."

Well, says it all.

Many many of the transported convicts were Irish. BTW.

To this day, there is a vocal minority in Australia that wants out of the Commonwealth and wants nothing to do with the Crown and Monarch. They point not only to the penal origins but to the use of Aussies as cannon fodder at Gallipoli etc.

Try Eric Vogel's anti war songs.

"And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda."

"The Green Fields of France."

I'm an American not an Australian yet they tear my heart out.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 01:30 pm: Edit

Dear Bob

FYI not all Australian states were prison colonies. Several were founded by and populated by voluntary, honest colonists, many of whom were Fabian socialists. (In New Zealand ALL were such.)

The fact that I think Fabian socialism was a crock of crap is beside the point.

Some Australians celebrate their transportee ancestry and some cringe at its mention.

It's best, though, not to lump them all together. It's unfair.

The colonai US had its transportees and prison colonies. George started as a prison colony. But if you call an American a descendant of convists he will probably react 'vigorously'.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 01:24 pm: Edit

'Eugenics' is nothing more or less than selective breeding to produce a superior bloodline. Animal husbandry applied to the human race. That way lies nazism and other madnesses. In more modern terms, genetic engineering applies. Forget it. Not for people.

I like the human race just like it is. Warts and all.

Leave the serial killers to the FBI and RCMP. They don't seem to be a very prolific bunch of breeders; they have transmorgrified the act of reproduction into slaughter. For that let us all be grateful.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 01:17 pm: Edit

Ted,

So Madonna chose to fly to the USA to have her baby where no doubt she paid for (out of her considerable fortune) some fine treatment. I have no doubt that the USA has fine doctors.

In Britain we take the view that if someone takes seriously ill, (whether they pay tax in the UK or not) our ambulances will automatically take them immediately for treatment. I have no personal experience of medical treatment in the USA, (having never visited the USA) however a close relative of mine whilst on holiday in Florida had the misfortune of their 2 year old son going into severe breathing difficulties. They called the ambulance and when it arrived the paramedics would not take the boy until my relatives produced proof that they could pay. So they had to dig out their travellers cheques to show the ambulance crew.

This would not happen in Britain where we are proud of our system of free healthcare for all. Let me be clear, I'm not knocking the USA or the American people. Rest assured that if you fall seriously ill whilst visiting the UK we will treat you regardless of the size of your wallet.

Also the reason Madonna wanted to fly back to the USA was that she thought the decor of our hospitals was too dowdy. Personally I'd be more concerned about the standard of medical and nursing care which in the UK is exceptional. It is no surprise that very few people in the UK bother to take out their own private health care, most who have it have been given it as a corporate perk.

As for private hospitals in the UK, most have only 1 qualified specialist on duty at night time so if 2 patients happen to have a cardiac arrest at the same time then I suppose it's best to have a hospital bed nearest the ward door. I suppose one thing in favour of the private hospitals here is that they give you cups of tea in fine quality china cups.

Hobgoblin

By Black_rabbit on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 12:58 pm: Edit

Anatomist, I don't think eugenics is bad if it is indeed the truth (I don't know myself... some of it rings true and some doesn't.)

The question is, how do you apply the knowledge? Personally, I think we need diversity, it being a better bet you will survive as a species if it is maintained. In any case, I would be suprised at any society that used eugenics to 'weed out the weeklings' successfully. Humans and their environment are too complex. For instance, right now, it is bad for men to have bad tempers and violently act them out. But there have been times (and probably will be again) where violent men were very valuable to have around. If we used eugenics to weed all those guys out, our parties would go smoother... but when the barbarians come over the wall, what are we gonna do? You could find almost any characteristic or behavioral tendency and find a good reason to have it around.

Practicality must rule when it comes to behaivior you can't accept. Serial killer moves in down the block? Kill him so you will be safe. No other solution besides imprisonment will work. Talented thief in the neighborhood? Imprison him. But weed them out of the genome? Hell no! Such folks are handy to have around sometimes, and who knows but that the tendency that expressed itself as serial killin might also express as beautiful painting or sculpture sometimes? The origins of behaviour are too complex for simple solutions.

So hopefully the idiots in charge (the american people that is) won't jump back on *that* bandwagon. Because they will misinterperet it just like they did with evolutionary theory.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 11:10 am: Edit

Bob,

As you rightly say some of are fortunate to enjoy the jobs we do. It is not however a coincidence that most of us who do, (I include myself having given up a highly paid job in industry to become a teacher) are not involved in the generation of capial and profit for someone else. If a man works for the love of the activity, (Anatomist is an artist as is Don and we teach) that he carries out then he can achieve some fulfilment and self-realisation. Most however men are not fortunate enough to be in this position. With most people work is a necessary chore to survive, the fruits of their labour are owned by someone else and hence man is alienated from objects he produces. Whilst working, man does not feel at home and as activity is natural for human-kind and this drives a wedge between man and nature, further alienation.

I agree with you that one line of work is not nobler than another, working on an assembly line is just as noble as working as doctor. However the treatment of human beings as disposable units of production with a monetary value ignores the whole person and degrades the person. I would not consider people to be whores if they do layouts for mail-order catalogs or use their keen senses in their work, but a society that sees the value of a person and his senses as monetary is wrong. This approach can never lead to human beings developing as self-fulfilled individuals.

You are correct that this is not purely a "Western" phenomenon. Unfortunately it is a historical stage that we are passing through and it is not only "Western" society that suffers.

Hobgoblin

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 10:03 am: Edit

Ted:

This country wasn't built by slackers, criminals and drug addicts. IOW, this is not Australia. Just kidding to the folks down under.

Gotta a joke for you. Maybe you've heard it in a less savory iteration (usually involving an ethnic group...ugh):
Q: How do you starve a welfare recipient?
A: Hide his food stamps under his work boots.

Liberals, flame away.

BC

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 09:53 am: Edit

Anatomist:

Spare me your pity. I don't need the gov't to take care of me. Ever hear of the grasshopper and the ant?

Again, you are the ultimate hypocrite. If I'd like to teach my students the concept of irony, I will be sure to use this quote:
They traffic primarily in vague, convoluted statements that pack some kind of emotional punch, the truth-value of which is nearly impossible to determine, as they contain hidden or implied assumptions and have unclear objects.

What emotional punch were you pulling by mentioning Limbaugh? I never brought him up, and his show is crap anyway (IMO, he is an entertainer, not a thinker; I pay no more heed to his politics than I do to Susan Sarandon's).

As for the "socialist" countries you mentioned, only one of them is an actual socialist democracy. If a homogenous country of a few million white people believe that "cradle-to-the-grave" is the function of gov't, then so be it.

As for Nader's postions, they were cut and pasted from issues2000.org

Point is, we have fundamental differences on what we think the purpose of gov't is. Believe it or not, I actually respect your opinions about this stuff and have enjoyed reading them. I have often laid out extreme positions on this thread (incl. the old thread) in an attempt to find out what you really think. I have never been angered, just a little disappoined, I guess. If this were in person over a few glasses of the fairy, it would be a real discussion. As it stands, there are too many dead-ends and unanswered questions. You are too quick to label me and my posts as this or that; I am guilty of this, too, but at least I have provided specific examples in my last several posts. A quick content analysis of our last few posts would show this to be true. If/when you have some examples of specific policies or ideas, please post them and I will read them with great interest.

I still stand by my dentist argument from before. If you want to use that as an example, I'd love to dissect it. It's as good as any starting point (unless it was off the mark to begin with and you really aren't in favor of nationalized dentistry).

BC

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 09:37 am: Edit

Since my firm has an office in Canada, I can tell you that I'd much rather live in the U.S (and so would many of my Canadian associates). The economy in Canada isn't so good (they don't make equivalent money), taxes are very high (they pay more than I do), and socialized medicine is an absolute failure. You'd want private medical care for anything serious or for anything you don't want to wait six months to address (and I have some horror stories regarding that). Madonna didn't fly to the U.S. to have her baby because she likes plain rides at 9-mths pregnant.

The U.S. wasn't founded as a socialist state, and I for one do not care to make it one. This country didn't become what it is via socialism, and it is no wonder why wherever you go abroad, you'll never find a shortage of persons in socialist countries who want to come here.

Yes, being on the bottom is no fun, but that is part of life, and is usually a temporary situation. It is not the job of the government to promise an easy, comfortable life for everyone, whether they work or not. In a country with opportunity and jobs, there are always ways out. Unfortunately, make it attractive to sit at the bottom (as some mismanaged gov't programs has done so well), and too many people in the boat aren't rowing. Just the other day, while sitting in the DMV office, I overheard two female Welfare recipients discussing how they were going to have more babies to get more government money. This made me sick. Clearly, this faulty reasoning is the spawning ground for future criminals. Shortly thereafter, I saw a woman buy a load of food, steaks, and what-not with a book of food stamps. She then whipped out a $100 bill to buy an equal load of liquor and cigarettes. She also drove a nicer car than I have, and I am a taxpayer. Funny how where I live, so many of these people are severely overweight. They don't work, but they do eat well. If you can't figure out the problems with these scenarios, your head is in your ass.

If humans were completely honest and had no selfishness, some things would work as theorized. You can't remove the human element, especially the persistently abusive element. As someone who has always worked and paid taxes, you think I want a government which cultivates voters who intend to do nothing but sit back, eat and breed? This country wasn't built by slackers, criminals and drug addicts.

I don't agree with the religious right, and I am certainly liberal when it comes to some social issues, but sorry, I have to vote Republican because I prefer to have a larger voice in what happens to MY money when it goes to bloated government bureaus.

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 09:14 am: Edit

Don,

The Salem Witch trials are one of the most misinterpreted american historical events. Usually trotted out to make the Puritans appear to be the quintessence of intolerance. If you look at the relative numbers of such occurrances between the colonies and Europe, I think you'll be in for a surprise. The difference is literally orders of magnitude. While it's true that one burning is too many, I think the context makes it hard to display these few instances as conclusive evidence of the Puritans as bloodthirstily intolerant. In their day, they were remarkably concerned with the cultivation of compassion, an interior life, and generally minding their own business. I wouldn't want to crawl into a time machine and go live with them, but I'm not willing to dismiss them as having nothing to teach me. If you are interested in the source of my willingness to cut them an unusual amount of slack, check the book of essays THE DEATH OF ADAM, by Marilynne Robinson, who also wrote one of my favorite novels: HOUSEKEEPING.

Both you and Rabbit bring up the same spectre in the context of the nature/nurture argument: doctrines of eugenics. The question is, do we dismiss the truth because it may lead to socially undesirable conclusions? I'm the first to stand up against the purgation of the different, but do we really have to let serial killers run loose?

K.

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 08:51 am: Edit

Bob,

Your point by point as well as your Sowell quotes are exactly the kind of hysterical demagoguery I was referring to earlier.

Here's a good example: "socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it." Failure at what? Failed whom? What socialist countries is he talking about? The Netherlands? Sweeden? Canada? Gosh, people really have it tough in those failed hellholes.

Honest discourse is about laying out your assumptions and explaining your conclusions clearly. In countering contrary points of view, one explains the weaknesses of THE IDEA in contention... preferably from the sharpest, most well-argued source to be found. This is how science and philosophy proceed.

The political demogogues like Sowell and Limbaugh -- to whom you are apparently so attracted -- proceed in an entirely different fashion. They traffic primarily in vague, convoluted statements that pack some kind of emotional punch, the truth-value of which is nearly impossible to determine, as they contain hidden or implied assumptions and have unclear objects. Also, they tend to find the WORST proponents of contrary points of view, and then attack the PERSON, going on to dissect particularly dumb things this weak proponent has said.

This is why I dropped out of political discourse and news research for many years: it's an arena where thinking is relatively unimportant. It would take me several paragraphs each to adequately rebut each one of your absurd replies to your own formulations of Nader's positions, which to me are the rhetorical equivalent of running around waving your index finger and shouting "We're #1!". Of course, public discourse being what it is, even if I went to all this trouble, many would prefer the pithy, anger-filled, assumption-laden hyperboles.

In general, however, I find the doctrine of unabashed selfishness and social Darwinism that you expound to be quite chilling, and regrettably popular. For your sake, I hope others with more compassion are making decisions if you ever happen to find yourself on the bottom.

K.

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 08:26 am: Edit

Anatomist:

I don't think that I am necessarily the "ultra-capitalist," but it seems the difference of our opinions could be exemplified by one instance in our last exchange:

You seem prefer a free, gov't sponsored trip to the dentist.

I prefer to keep more of the money I earned in the first place; if I want to spend that "extra" money on the dentist or Deva is my choice, not the choice of some elected official or bureaucrat.

I do not want the gov't to be my nanny, and I don't want to pay for it to be yours.

And I still await some counterarguments about why we need SS, gov't health care, greater regulation in business, etc.--something a little more meaty than "I don't have time to read the Am. Spectator." FWIW, I've never read the thing in my life. Why is it that you assume all of my beliefs are derivative and that I am incapable of arriving at conclusions on my own? Surely, no one but a puppet of the right could think the way I do? I have the knowledge and cognitive ability to think and write for myself: Sowell and George Will are not here now typing these words.

And as far as George Will goes, he is definitely my favorite sportswriter. Anyone follow baseball?

BC

By Bob_chong on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 08:11 am: Edit

Hobgoblin:

Rather than encouraging individualism, Western Society stifles individualism. It forces most of us out of necessity to spend long hours in mundane jobs, earning money for those that exploit us.

I believe there is great individualism in the jobs many of us do. Some of even do things we enjoy (e.g., Don makes booze, I teach, Anatomist sculpts et al.) as our work. But even so, what is the alternative? Farming? I don't know about you, but I'd rather work with my mind than my back.

I think your notion of exploitation may be a bit overstated (or at the very least, the connotation is a loaded one).

It puts a monetary value on the relationships between human beings and turns our very senses into commodities that can be bought or sold.

If someone has a good eye for visual design, are they a whore if they do layouts for mail-order catalogs? I don't think one line of work is necessarily nobler than another (except maybe for purely altrustic professions like teaching and absinthe making...j/k), but how one feels about his work is what is important.

I guess I mostly disagree that this is a "Western" phenomenon. I'm sure Atlantis or even El Dorado had their share of lackeys.

BC

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 07:37 am: Edit

Anatomist, the Puritans had it wrong.

The crux of the problem is and has always been:

The group starts out removing the obvious deviants: The serial killers you cite would be a good start. However, before long society is removing the left handed, the red headed, the couple who prefer to have sex in the afternoon, those not quite orthodox enough in their relgious tenets -- and for the leaders of such groups no one is ever quite orthodox enough.

That's the road map not to liberty and utopia but to Reverend Cotton Mather and the Salem witch trials.

Even staid old Rhode Island was a haven for those who preferred not to live in the Colony of the Massechusets-Bay.

NOT a time to turn back the clock to...

By Black_rabbit on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 06:39 am: Edit

Any organization that is in charge will eventually (at least they all have so far) become corrupt and sell out it's original principles. Governments and most corporations start out as cults of personality- individuals with ideas getting things done and attracting people to their cause. But eventually those individuals are gone and you end up with some fathead in charge. Entropy at work. Even the ones that started out as groups of absolute bastardhead rape-your-women-and-burn-your-house-down barbarian raiders eventually became the guys with houses and women bemoaning the impending barbarian attack.

Voting is pissing in the wind... 'From time to time, the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots.' Patrick Henry, I think. He was dead on. If only there were a way to keep a society in perpetual 'revolution,' a constant state of idealistic refreshment. If the established power structure wasn't afraid of change and wasn't trying to hold onto that power. And of course the people of that society would have to be all about doing good for their neighbors. There have been people like that. The Anishnabe peoples of the American Great Lakes come to mind, but of course, there ain't many of them left now. And mostly they live in trailers and work at casinos.

On the nature/nurture argument: This is kinda funny. I have a big, thick book from the late 1800s that's all about Eugenics. That 'hair trigger' thing could have come *straight* out of that. Eugenics is coming back into fashion. Who'da thunk it?

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 04:44 am: Edit

Bob,

Wow. I can see now that your thinking is so convoluted that it may be beyond my capacity to help straighten you out. This could be a big time commitment. Let's see, you're the ultra-capitalist... I'll cut you a bargain: I'll do it for minimum wage, no benefits -- except for research time spent reading the American Spectator, that'll cost you extra.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, October 04, 2000 - 04:01 am: Edit

Anatomist says "..There's an incredibly narrow mindset... It equates life with money, and stuff with freedom, and a roster of posessions with personal value. Liberty isn't getting more stuff, especially when it comes at the price of longer and longer workweeks and less vacation..."

I entirely agree with this, neither Democrats or Republicans are worthy of your vote.

Rather than encouraging individualism, Western Society stiffles individualism. It forces most of us out of necessity to spend long hours in mundane jobs, earning money for those that exploit us. It puts a monetary value on the relationships between human beings and turns our very senses into commodities that can be bought or sold. How can we be free self-fashioned individuals under these conditions?

We can only be true, free individuals if, (like artists") we choose to work without the goads of physical necessity. A system which commoditises our very senses and places a monetary value on our relationships with each other can never permit us to become true individuals.

Don't waste your time voting for either Republicans or Democrats. Voting for either is like a slave voting for one owner rather than another.

Hobgoblin

(This is a copy of the post I've just left on the "After Hours" thread as I didn't notice this, more suitable thread. We should keep such discussions to 1 designated thread on the forum rather than chat rooms etc. as this would result in posters from the UK etc. being left out :-( , I think (I know sod all about computers so I could well be wrong))

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 11:39 pm: Edit

Regarding Sowell, you wrote:
People that smart don't practice selective character assasination, and trot out red-herring arguments that they damn well know are laughably flawed unless their dick is in someone's pocket, or somewhere else it shouldn't be.

Got any examples of his victims of "selective character assassination"? How about some "red-herring arguments"? I'm interested in knowing what heroes of yours have been so ungraciously treated and your counterarguments on their behalf.

Or maybe it was simply when Sowell asserted that "socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it." That must have cut to the core.

Or maybe when he said: "What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long." ...Whose pocket is his dick in there? Absinthe drinkers?


BC

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 11:25 pm: Edit

Well, Anatomist. Your libertarian mask has been pulled from your face. I don't read the Wash. Post, but it is more than obvious that you have been devouring the Daily Worker.

Universal health care presents some definite problems, but for me it would mean the difference between some and none. I just inhereted some money, and I'll soon be going to the dentist for the first time in ten years.

The sooner gov't is out of health care completely, the sooner the costs will plummet. The world does not owe me health care. Congrats on the dentist appt., though.


>>Make medicines affordable in Third World.
You like the idea of preventable diseases ravaging vast majorities of the world's population? Who do you think is next?


And who pays for this? Why do we need to send Ritalin to Botswana? Making medicine "affordable": do you think this can be done w/o gov't subsidies to pharm. cos.? You are quite the corporate champion!

>>Social insurance is government at its noblest.
I agree. Cripples and old geezers should be left to their own devices.


Let's marginalize them by making them dependent on the gov't. They're already less than human, right? How patronizing: the world owes them a paycheck.

>>Social Security privatization replaces certainty with risk.
Yeah. Let congress play the stock market. Good idea.


No. We need to end SS now. And if I am forced to save money for my retirement, I know I can do better than the 2% return the gov't gets on SS. Of course, in Anatomistland, the gov't is better equipped to make these decisions for us.

>>Limit executive salaries & perks.
CEO's are the biggest criminals around.


Aye aye, comrade. Let me know when you and Snowball have finished "redistributing" the wealth and have written several dozen new laws and regulations. Four legs good, two legs bad.

>>Retail malls siphon off business from central cities.
Malls and Walmarts make me believe in the existence of evil.


Hmmm. What better justification for social engineering? Let's subsidize mom&pops stores. Look at the success farm subsidies have brought us!

>>Public election financing, with free TV & radio time/No private money in public campaigns.
Without publicly funded elections, democracy is a farce. Until we do this, politics is ridiculous puppet show.


Sure, government-run elections are all the rage. If you are so against the gov't, why would you want the gov't to control election financing? They should be removed completely from the funding process.


BC

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 10:46 pm: Edit

Bob,

Most of those Nader positions you listed sound right on to me.

>>Health care is a universal human right.
>>Recast health care in a non-profit mode.

Universal health care presents some definite problems, but for me it would mean the difference between some and none. I just inhereted some money, and I'll soon be going to the dentist for the first time in ten years.

>>Make medicines affordable in Third World.

You like the idea of preventable diseases ravaging vast majorities of the world's population? Who do you think is next?

>>Social insurance is government at its noblest.

I agree. Cripples and old geezers should be left to their own devices. Maybe we should just round 'em up and rend them into fertilizer.

>>Social Security privatization replaces certainty with risk.

Yeah. Let congress play the stock market. Good idea.

>>Limit executive salaries & perks.

CEO's are the biggest criminals around. Al Capone would feel guilty if he had it so easy.

>>Retail malls siphon off business from central cities.

Malls and Wallmarts make me believe in the existence of evil. I personally witnessed the soul being ripped out of my grandfather's hometown.

>>Role of government is to counteract power of corporations.

No, the role of government isn't to counteract the power of big corporations, but it should be. Who else can do it? Abe Lincoln, the Republican, said himself that the purpose of government is for people to come together and do collectively what they cannot, or will not do individually.

>>Public election financing, with free TV & radio time/No private money in public campaigns.

Without publicly funded elections, democracy is a farce. Until we do this, politics is ridiculous puppet show.

>>Lawyers & victims need unlimited contingency fees.

OK. If your representation of Nader's position here were correct, I couldn't go along with it, but this sounds like an exaggeration. Litigiousness is out of control, but right now corporations have more privilges and less responsibilities than individuals, which is absurd.

>>Regulatory agencies are needed to fight corporate crime.

Well, I'd like them to use SWAT teams like they do on small time marijuana growers. You know, kick in doors, slam people face down on the ground, put a knee in their back, call 'em 'fucking scumbags', threaten to blow their heads off... but regulatory agencies are a start.

>>Spend surplus on public works & infrastructure.

Actually, I think the military should be doing this.

I think it's time to pull your head out of the Washington Times, man. It's owned by the Reverend Moon, after all.

K.

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 10:08 pm: Edit

Hobgoblin wrote:

"Anatomist you imply that human nature is not malleable. Rather than look at human nature as being malleable or not I would argue that human nature, rather than being set in stone is forged by the circumstances, social conditions and system of government/control that people live under. Change these factors and human nature will
also change."

While it would be silly to argue that environment and circumstances play no role in the resulting character of people, mountains of evidence are piling up in favor of sort of genetic determinism that has been out of favor at the universities.

I heard a man on an NPR program who has dedicated his life to the study of child abusers. He notes that he hasn't encountered one case of a sociopath who wasn't abused as a child. On the other hand, only a tiny percentage of those abused as children go on to perpetrate similar crimes. This seems to indicate that some people have a "hair-trigger": if the circumstances are at all favorable, they're going to be torturers for fun and profit. Conversely, adverse circumstances will almost never turn a genetically ordinary person into a serial killer... hmmm. You might argue that this indicates and even greater need for properly engineered social circumstances, but how far should we go to cheat fate?

Another interesting group of studies has been accumulating regarding identical twins separated at an extremely early age. They are finding remarkable similarities in the behavior of twins who have had no contact... down to the selection of strange off-brands of toothpaste, in one case. Similar studies have revealed astounding similarities between nuances of behavior between fathers and sons who have spent no time together. The evidence keeps piling up: fighting your genes is futile.

Although Bob thinks it's a sham, the Puritans had it right: instead of busying ourselves with coercive schemes designed to change people, we should look within, and carefully cultivate what is already there. The Bundy's and the Dahmer's must simply be removed as cheaply as practical: game over.

K.

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 10:02 pm: Edit

OK. I'll look for replies from the other thread here.

BC

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, October 03, 2000 - 09:36 pm: Edit

OK. This is THE ARENA. I think we need a place for knock-down, drag-out verbal slug-fests. Since everyone has to register now, there shouldn't be much in the way of "Antomitst, your a dik;" I'm thinking more in terms of hardcore argument that tests the limits of 'taking it personally' without ever really exceeding them. If you are fundamentally against "off-topic" posts, or "socio-political crap", don't even look at this thread. This is the place to come instead of mucking up someone else's thread with messy arguments... Desptie the mess, I believe that ircumscribed battle leads to clear thought, and it's fun.

K.

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