Devotion to political party

I’ve been wondering today why people are so fanatically devoted to their political parties that they accept them without analysis and stick to them regardless of changes in their own beliefs or in the party’s own platform.  When it comes to things that are equally important, such as marriage, people freely admit that they or their spouse have changed and, even when they do it with anguish, they’ll walk away from marriages when the differences because of those changes become too great.  Likewise, when it comes to something that amounts to mere pleasure, such as football or baseball, they study statistics and other information with fanaticism.  However, when it comes to politics, something that will have a lasting effect on their lives, the lives of their children, and the lives of their fellow Americans, they’re woefully uninformed about issues and, more significantly, they refuse to acknowledge change.

I stand as the perfect example of this unthinking affiliation.  Before 9/11 came and knocked my socks off, I was a Democratic because I was, dammit.  I never took the time to look Democratic positions and compare them to my own values, either the ones that were a fixed part of my psyche, or the ones that changed or that I added as time went by.  For reasons I can’t understand now, it was more devastating to change political parties than it was to change boyfriends, friends, jobs, schools, anything.  As to all of those, I could recognize the nature of change and maturity, but I couldn’t do that regarding politics.

Do any of you have ideas as to what inspires this unthinking affiliation?  Even though I lived, I like the insight to get what was going on in my brain, and I certainly lack the ability to understand what motivates others.  As it is, I see so many people who can be made to admit, on a point by point basis that, whether because they changed or because the Democrats changed, their values and beliefs harmonize more closely with the Republican platform than the Democratic platform.  Nevertheless, despite admitting this, they’ll still announce that Democrats are good, Republicans are bad, and resolutely vote a straight Democratic party line.

By the way, I know some of you are going to say that politics is like religion, and I’ll concede that point — but why do they stick with a religion when they no longer believe any of its doctrines?  Is religious belief, whether secular or real, really so much deeper and stronger than marital commitments, personal finances, hobbies, or any of the other engines that drive peoples’ lives and as to which they’re willing to acknowledge and act upon change?

88 Responses

  1. BW, you make the mistake of believing that issues matter to most people as much as they do to you. In truth, most people who grow up strongly affiliated with one party or another grow to believe that leaders from that party will be better (more honest, more effective, whatever) than leaders from the other party. Even if those leaders hold some (or even a lot of) different beliefs, they are better people. These voters (and they are, perhaps, the majority of voters) vote for preceived personality (and not just personality of the person, but personality of the party as a whole), not for specific stands on issues.

  2. The liberals in my family lead w/their feelings. They always say ‘I feel this or that’ not ‘I think . .. ‘ I rarely get anywhere discussing issues because they don’t want clarity (as DP would say) but they just want to feel good about what they think and that they are good people about what they feel. We can’t get past Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh is ‘mean’ to the meat of what they say. I find it more interesting to know why people think as they do than what they actually think. And there is also the pride issue – who wants to admit that their worldview for 20 or 30 or more years has been in error. You yourself, BW, only admit that in the anonymity of the blog, wanting to protect your interests in your community.

  3. I think the educational system very effectively trains young minds that Liberals are”enlightened” etc and that Conservatives are Neanderthal.

    Most youth see themselves as smart, energetic, open-minded and therefore, naturally, Democrats. As we mature, we begin to have some doubts, but we are slow to identify with those intellectually fossilized Republicans.

    When we gain enough age that we are less concerned with what “other people” think and more concerned with what makes sense, what is true and good etc, we switch. Some people never mature enough to make the leap.

  4. The emphasis on emotion is very similar to how the female brain works, as a template that is. Whereas male brains make compartments and then separate those compartments from each other.

    Double think, for example, is a good use of the male side of thinking while emotionalism and appeal to population is a good use of the female side of thinking.

    http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/archives/2008/01/men_vs_women_th.html

    I’ve been wondering today why people are so fanatically devoted to their political parties that they accept them without analysis and stick to them regardless of changes in their own beliefs or in the party’s own platform.

    personally I think it is self-interest. People feel loyalty to individuals or organizations that they think are looking out for the interests of themselves. Thus people are for unions because they think unions protect their jobs and guarantee them raises. Long term thinking is something for leaders, not for the masses. That is just how humanity is structured. If everybody could make good long term as well as short term decisions, we wouldn’t need a hierarchy, we wouldn’t need bosses or laws.

    So Democrats feel loyalty to Democrats because Democrats butter the bread of Democrats.

  5. For reasons I can’t understand now, it was more devastating to change political parties than it was to change boyfriends, friends, jobs, schools, anything.

    That is because people convinced you that you were on “death ground”. That you had no avenue of retreat, that your only option was to fight, on the side of the Democrats. They convinced you that only the Democrats had the interests of humanity and individuals at heart. That it was only the Democrats could promoted liberty, prosperity, and security.

    Refusing to become a Democrat, when you are convinced that you can only be those things if you are a Democrat, is to turn your back on your basic philosophical axioms that powered your entire identity and world view. Your entire conception of what makes you you is centered around your beliefs in individual liberty, prosperity for all, and security for rich and poor. To refuse to believe that liberty is a “good thing” is to essentially take your self-identity matrix and crush it. That is much much harder than crushing your own arm under a car on purpose, Book.

    Once you realized that the Democrats were not the only choice if you wanted the things you wanted, then you became free. Free of the slavery of fear and intimidation.

    Nevertheless, despite admitting this, they’ll still announce that Democrats are good, Republicans are bad, and resolutely vote a straight Democratic party line.

    To get my point about this, let’s go back to the war against Japan in the 1940s. As you know, I think there were a lot of things to admire about the Japanese back then. I admit that. Now that I have admitted, does that mean my loyalty is now transfered from America to Japan of WWII or even Japan of now? No, Book.

    Of course they will announce that Democrats are good and Republicans are bad. Once you have given your loyalty to one faction or sect, most people will maintain that loyalty unless coerced, forced, intimidated, or persuaded out of it. Can they recognize how the other side is more like them? Yes. Will they necessarily change allegiances based upon that? No.

    Once you have taken the salt, payment, your fealty is with your employer now. The problem with factionalism is NOT that people are disloyal, it is that people are loyal to a thousand different factions at each other’s throats, instead of to a United States. Of course, factionalism is what the Left and the Democrats promote just by existing.

    Few people care to remember that Benedict Arnold thought that by giving Britain West Point, he was helping America in a war that America could not win.

    Change the facts, and what would have been patriotism in different circumstances is now treason. Funny how that goes, Book. Which is why this saying is still relevant. “Treason doth never prosper, for when treason prospers, then none dare call it treason”.

    By the way, I know some of you are going to say that politics is like religion, and I’ll concede that point — but why do they stick with a religion when they no longer believe any of its doctrines?

    Remember Desiderius Erasmus. While he criticized the Catholic Church and satirized the Church’s selling of indulgences, he still remained a Catholic devoted to the work of reforming the Catholic Church.

    It is not that they no longer believe any of its doctrines, Book. It is that they still have faith that their church can be saved, regardless of how many wrongs you give examples of.

  6. Good post, YM.

  7. Why did you think it was a good post, Danny?

  8. Like you I was a Democrat because I was… Technically and legally I still am… but I don’t vote like one. Neither am I enthralled with the entirety of the Republican vision and tactics. The Democratic party has lost its way and the situation continues to evolve, and it’s a shame one needs to be affiliated to a party to vote in the Primaries (at least here in Florida.) But in reality the label means little.

    For me it’s not so much an unthinking affiliation as it is a case of there being NO affiliation that really feels comfortable. The Democratic affiliation is more “comfortable” because of birth… no thought of positions on issues anymore. It’s all an individual evaluation of each candidate and weighing the pros and cons of each as I decide who gets my vote.

    I don’t buy your main point… Just because one no longer feels in synch with one party, there is no reason we must, or should, switch sides, only to find yourself in the same situation in the future. What’s the standard? Preponderance of agreement…. Agreement beyond a reasonable hitch?

    In my case, I have a lack of regard for both parties. Maybe I tend to vote for more Republicans, and have for the past 16 years, but that’s not a reason to change skins.

  9. Interesting point, Oceanguy. In fact, when I dumped the Dems, I registered Independent, because I didn’t feel Republican either. Currently, I march in step with the Republicans on a lot of issues, but I no longer want to be tied to a party, even if it means losing the right to vote in the primaries. Of course, I’m not that thrilled with letting Independents vote in primaries either, because they can be mischief makers, not voting for a candidate so much as trying to vote for someone weak to advance their preferred candidate.

  10. Anybody who “thinks” that the Republican Party is better for the vast majority of Americans (as opposed to the super rich to whom that party is slavishly devoted) then they need to think AGAIN! Just Google “Republican corruption” and explore the very first site recommended, (my very own http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/gopcorruption.html ) and you’ll see that the one thing in which that party EXCELS is in SLEAZE !
    Go to the bottom of my http://JesusNoRepublican.Org/graphs.html page and you will see that the vast majority of states that vote Republican are the ones with the fewest educated voters in them, while the vast majority of states that vote Democratic are the ones with the MOST educated voters in them. You’ll also see plenty of evidence on that page of the superiority of Blue over Red states when it comes to all those “MORAL Issues”. For the yakking Conservative Republicans about those issues, it’s Liberal Democratic states that have the better RECORDS on those very issues!!!

  11. >>…it’s a shame one needs to be affiliated to a party to vote in the Primaries>>

    No, it isn’t. If you don’t belong to the club, you don’t get to select it’s officers. If “Independent” is actually a party, then it too should have a candidate, which you, as an Independent, should be able to select, and I, as a Republican, should not. If “Independent:” is just another way of saying that you don’t want to commit to either party, then you _shouldn’t_ have the right to have a voice in who that party chooses as its candidates. Then, in order to have a voice in the choice, you have to _commit_ to one of the parties.

    >>I’m not that thrilled with letting Independents vote in primaries either,…>>

    Obviously, we agree on this. Equally obviously, everyone should have a vote in the final election, but if someone is unwilling to decide which party ideals they want to adhere to, they shouldn’t have a voice in the selection of the candidate to represent those ideals.
    I have no objection to McCain running as an Independent. In that situation, I would think very highly of him. But I have strong feelings about him running as a Republican – because he has chosen to work against the Party too often. How many times can you be a “maverick” before everyone admits that you’re just in the wrong group for your ideals?

  12. YM – your analogies between party affiliation and a church are on point. Also, excellent reference to Benedict Arnold. Are you questioning his patriotism?

    I left the Democrat party toward the end of Reagan’s term, when I realized that it had become a captive creature of the Left and when I realized that Reagan had been right and I had been wrong about many things about what worked and what didn’t work in society. Frankly, my gagging problem got worse and worse with Jimmy Carter, Mondale and Dukakis – Dukakis was the final straw! However, I could not bring myself to declare as a Republican…until Reagan.

    The point is, I have always been virulently anti-socialist and anti-utopian (for many of the reason that Jonah Goldberg lays out in his book, “Liberal Fascism”. I agree with the observation that, “the Republican party may be the stupid party, but the Democrat party is the evil party.”

  13. Independents don’t have a place voting in primaries – whch you’d think would be obvious, it’s amazing how many people don’t get it.

    I suspect, as BW exemplifes (as do I,and the rest of us registered independents), the Republicans are a lot more oriented to ideas than they are to purely the party itself.

    And I think, based on the same thinking, that DQ is also incorrect: issues do matter, far more to those self-selecting as Republicans than they do to those who do the same as Democrats.

    And I’m afraid the proof will be established this fall – if 2006 wasn’t enough for you. I’m afraid the Republicans will not get behind the pseudo-Republican John McCain, even to keep the White House out of the hands of either Obama or Clinton.

    The Democrats, on the other hand, would vote for something that fell out of a tall cow’s butt if it meant keeping power for themselves.

    The Republicans won’t. They have standards – which they demonstrated by staying home and punishing their own party in 2006. The Dems, on theother hand, have repeatedly demonstrated that they don’t.

    And that’s a huge difference.

  14. Jews are often like that with their slavish devotion to Israel. No matter how abominable or belligerent Israel’s conduct is, you can always count on a handful of insane Jews to defend it even though Israel’s conduct puts their faith to shame and exposes its supporters as obvious hypocrites. Point to war crimes or terrorist acts Israel commits against Palestinian children and their response is usually something like “what about the Holocaust” or “what about the Sephardic Jews expelled from Iran.” People like that are incredibly annoying. Their selfishness and narcissism is plainly obvious to everyone except themselves.

  15. Bookworm, I started out as a Democrat, later became a Republican, and then returned to the Democratic Party. I used the same notes form a college course to determine where I should be each time. I pray I’ll stay where I am, because the Democrats want to aid the poor more than the Republicans do. The Democrats value diversity more than Republicans do. The Democrats have values more like I have and want. You may disagree with my views, but that isn’t confusing. My party affiliation is based on what I think is best for the common people of the US

    9/11 was a wake up call: It said the US better act nicer to the rest of the world, or her days are numbered. I think the Democrats will act nicer to the rest of the world and to the poorer of US citizens. The rich already have enough.

  16. It’s a bit hard to separate what we think from how we got to that position. As witnessed by some of these comments, and BW’s original question. There is no question that education, or rather the available information, is a major factor in perception and position. The nub is, is that information accurate? Much of it is not. The actions of the Berkley City council, and the data supplied by the New York Times on the military are just two examples of people acting on and providing inaccurate information.
    I think much of the difficulty in changing a political affiliation is the desire to belong to the “good” side, the “right thinking” people. If the available information is inaccurate propaganda, it’s hard to move to a more accurate position.
    Which is why free speech is so important, even if some are offended by it, or allow themselves to be offended, no matter how obnoxious it may be perceived.

  17. The REPUBLICANS are the party of the super-rich? T Let’s see…the party of the Kennedys, Jean Francois Kerry-Heinz, Warren Buffet, Pelosi, Edwards, the Sulzbergers, Bill Gates, the (very nouveau) Clintons, Hollywood stardom and all those other aristocrat wannabees…you are kidding, right?

    No, HelenL, Democrats don’t want to aid the poor…they want to control the poor by making them ignorant and dependent upon Government . When they are dependent, they are compliant and easily parasitized by the rich. This is one reason why the War on Poverty destroyed so many black families through welfare dependency while also destroying the educational system. It also empowers the rich.

    It is no accident that the most poverty-stricken and dysfunctional cities in the U.S. with the greatest Dickensian gaps between rich and poor have been run-down by Democrats for decades (Detroit, San Francisco, Washington, D.C, Norwalk, Camden, Newark, New Orleans). The greatest gap between rich and poor that I have ever seen in America is not in West Virginia but in the California Bay Area, where Liberal politics have empowered the rich to amass more wealth and squeezed the middle class into poverty (think Palo Alto versus Richmond or Oakland…or, the perfect juxtaposition of both extremes – San Francisco). As I and so many others say, we love California, we just can’t afford to live there (hint: I am not among the super rich). That’s how liberal/left policies work.

    As far as support for “diversity” – Democrats practice tribalism – they divide groups against another so that they can play on carefully nurtured grievances and lucratively position themselves as the arbiters between groups and the system a la Jesse Jackson or Saul Alinsky.

    It’s called “divide and conquer”, on the tribal basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and class envy. In Chicago, we call this “ward politics”. Both Hillary and Obama learned their lessons on the streets of Chicago. They will do to the country what they have done to Chicago and Illinois, which excel in public corruption.

    So, watch the rhetoric closely and don’t take it at face value. Calls for more taxes are really calls to divest more Americans from their disposable income, making them more dependent upon government. Calls for more business regulation empower the large corporations that can hire the lawyers and accountants to comply with the regulations while wiping out the small to medium-sized companies that provide most of the employment (and the small-business class base of the Republican party).

    Liberal/Democrat Chicago is right now in the process of driving out the small businesses, which will eventually turn us into a Detroit or Philadelphia. Calls for more taxes on the “top 1.0%”? Forget it! The super rich Democrat party has that base covered, too – it’s called overseas trust accounts, such as the Kennedy family”s Fiji trusts – they don’t pay taxes! One of the big revelations of the last campaign was how little the Heinz-Kerrys paid in taxes as a percentage of their wealth – even assuming a minimal inflation-rate rate of return.

    No, HelenL, I am afraid that you’ve swallowed their rhetoric hook, line and sinker, which is understandable – most people don’t have the time to dig underneath the veneer of populist rhetoric -they have real lives to pursue. And so, it sounds good and they go along with it. This is how fascists work. It has all been done before (read Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”, if you want a good historical perspective).

    The Democrat party rhetoric is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. The world has heard all this before and suffered the very painful consequences. Unfortunately, people forget.

    Democrats aren’t about “helping” people – they are about turning people into pawns with the siren song of “social justice” (a term coined by fascists, by the way). Need proof? Democrats had a monopoly of power for almost half a century (1930s to 1980s) to “fix” things and they didn’t. Racism and poverty are still with us and thriving. Democrats are not about helping people. Republicans and conservatives are about empowering people to help themselves. They believe in the individual. Welfare reform, job creation, educational choice and letting people control more of their own disposable income as they see fit are great examples of that.

  18. No Danny, I don’t think so. I have studied and formed a learned opinion. It just doesn’t agree with yours. And as to the War on Poverty. When did the government “give” poor people enough to live let alone compete with the rich? The government should be of, by, and for poor people. It should dismantle the false power of the rich and allow all people to live. All people need “help.” Poor people need help getting the necessities. Rich people need help understanding they are not more important than the poor. Too many not really all that rich people buy into the power thing. Each individual must count. You know like in “one man one vote.” Only one man one house, one man one dinner, one man . . . Ah well.

  19. Helen –

    You seem to have an almost mystical faith in the ability of the government to help people.

    Certainly, some government programs are necessary to help people in terrible situations. But do you not see that what you are advocating makes people DEPENDENT ON OTHERS?? That means that whatever some nameless, faceless government official says, goes. They would have the power to dictate what happens to millions and millions of people.

    Where is the compassion in that? I would much, much rather see individuals in charge of their own destiny. I don’t want people saddled with government restrictions that limit their freedom of choice, squelch creativity, and basically dictate how they live.

    Helen, have you ever worked for the federal government? Well, I did. Thousands and thousands of very educated, well-meaning people who are hell-bent in trying to create government programs that “help people.” And yes, some of the programs do indeed help people. Many don’t and in almost every single case, millions upon millions of tax dollars (that, Helen, come from the very people you and so many of us want to help) are wasted. Wasted! Might as well have been thrown down the toilet.

    Look. I’m not arguing that there shouldn’t be some government programs that are designed to help people get back on their feet or take care of those who are physically and mentally unable to take care of themselves. I do believe that I am my brother’s keeper. But I’m not doing my brother any long-term favor if I burden him with being dependent on the government.

    Deana

    P.S. Slightly off topic but you said in an earlier post that “9/11 was a wake up call: It said the US better act nicer to the rest of the world, or her days are numbered.”

    Do you believe that the 99 people who were blown to bits in the two Baghdad pet markets the other day deserved what they got? Do you believe that if the people of Baghdad were simply nicer to Al Qaeda (and it almost assuredly was an Al Qaeda hit), they wouldn’t have to worry about their days being numbered? Isn’t that basically what you are arguing? And if not, please explain how the two situations differ. I’m interested in listening to what you have to say.

  20. Helen, I think you did a great job of expressing your values — which is an important step in examining which political stands will best advance your values. I’m less clear on how you think practical Democratic politics will do the job. Clearing away the rhetoric: Democrats like the poor and Republicans hate them; Democrats like diversity and Republicans hate it; Democrats are nicer and Republicans are meaner, etc, I’m wondering if you can articulate which Democratic policies you think will better advance these values.

    For example, the situation in Europe demonstrates that the socialist state, whether using the mild form practiced in Western Europe or the extreme form that was practiced in Eastern Europe, results in a stagnated economy. Those states that need to give their economy a boost, lower taxes. The high taxes concept is an old idea based on the school of economics that believes there is only so much pie to go around — and the government should control it and dole it out. The lower taxes school believes that government is a poor money manager and and even poorer money generator, and that people can make the economy grow and grow. And while there will be poor people in a growing economy, especially immigrants, they won’t stay that way.

    I also have problems with your whole diversity thing. The Democrats are definitely obsessed with racial and sexual identity, but this obsession, as is always the case with racial and sexual obsession, tends to ghettoize people, not free them. If you’re black, you must vote black; if you’re female, you must vote female; if you’re black and female in this election cycle, you must become schizophrenic. The Republicans look beyond those skin deep concerns and say, if national security matters to you, vote for us; if a humming economy matters to you, vote for us; if less government interference in your personal and economic life matters to you, vote for us. To me, valuing intellectual diversity and taking the focus away from externals such as race, sex, and creed, truly exemplifies King’s wish that people be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

    As for America being nicer to people so they’ll be nice back, that’s naive. Europe has resented American since the cold war — and that despite the fact that American economic support, especially militarily, was what allowed their stunted socialist economies to thrive for a brief while. As for the Muslims, carefully read their rhetoric. They hate everyone who is not Muslim, and they devoutly hope for a new Caliphate. Their bomb attacks take place around the world, in Muslim nations and non-Muslim nations; in nations involved in Iraq and those not involved in Iraq; and against friends and foes of American alike. It’s pretty ecocentric to claim that they hate us because we’re mean Americans, when the mass of evidence, including the words from their own mouths, demonstrates that they hate us because they everyone and truly want world domination in the Sharia mode.

  21. Bookworm,

    To say, “Democrats like the poor and Republicans hate them; Democrats like diversity and Republicans hate it; Democrats are nicer and Republicans are meaner.” is an over-simplification. I think both of us know that.

    The Democrats want a better distribution of wealth and power. In this country, they walk hand in hand. But should they? That’s more important than any candidate’s plan.

    And to say the Democrats are “obsessed with racial and sexual identity,” is false. A nation where 100% of its presidents have been white and male may talk diversity but doesn’t live it. Talking about race and gender and offering candidates of a race or gender other than the one that always been in power doesn’t make one “obsessed.” That’s rhetoric, too.

    In reality we all use rhetoric a lot but just label it when others use It. We humans are a funny lot.

  22. Excellent response, Book. If I may quibble, however, I would suggest that Europeans have resented the United States since, well…even before its founding.

  23. HelenL, I understand your response. However, I could never accept your vision as articulated of the relationship between individuals and the state (are you English, by the way?). What you articulate for me represents a very European relationship between subject and crown. What I value as an American is a relationship between independent citizen-soldier and republic. One entails obeisance, the other responsibility.

    As far as Republicans/conservatives being “mean” and “selfish”, don’t overlook the classic definition of a Liberal as “someone who claims the moral high ground for being exceedingly generous with other peoples’ money”. Here’s a good read for you (copy/paste)
    http://www.amazon.com/Who-Really-Cares-Compassionate-Conservatism/dp/0465008216

  24. Jews are often like that with their slavish devotion to Israel

    That’s a good example of being unhinged from reality and not knowing it, Danny. It is relevant to the Benedict Arnold situation as well. It is one thing to do damage control for your nation if your nation can’t win a war. It is another thing to make the nation lose when it could have won. The fundamental bifurcation, of course, depends on whether the reality is “can’t win war” or “can win war”.

    In this case, the bifurcation is “Jews predominantly are loyal to Israel” or “Jews are predominantly not loyal to Israel” or even “there are just as many Jews loyal to Israel as are loyal to Socialism, Leftism, and multiculturalism.”

    I pray I’ll stay where I am, because the Democrats want to aid the poor more than the Republicans do. The Democrats value diversity more than Republicans do

    Faith, Danny, can be either mankind’s salvation or the cause of its destruction.

    My party affiliation is based on what I think is best for the common people of the US

    The common folk against the rich and powerful folks. Classwarfare is just a tad bit too obvious given the strife brought on by a factionalism that has broken more nations and civilizations than can be counted.

    The platform is never about a United States, it is about me, amoral familism, and factionalism. My faction against your faction. My common people against your people.

    This is actually the reason why wars continue to exist. Even when the resources and territory you can get via war is now a days pretty meager. Wars continue to exist simply because people do prefer factionalism and strife over harmony and working together. After all, they were given the option of working together, “on a platter”, by the sacrifices of America’s ancestors, but what they did choose of their own free will? They chose class warfare, not living in harmony.

    Humanity will always choose war over peace after a time, probably because peace is too boring and valueless. It is only in war that “values” prove their existence and worth. And it is only after fighting a war that people now value the peace, because the peace has been bought with the lives and existence of people they knew and cared about.

    you are kidding, right?

    Recall what I said about the Church, Danny. They have faith that it can be reformed, regardless of how many incidences of corruption and negligence you bring up.

    All the facts you detail are meaningless. You might as well be trying to convince an Arab that he has to do more than say “Inshallah”.

    No Danny, I don’t think so. -from helen

    In case you might need some aid in reading between the lines, that reads as “No, I don’t feel so”. But I think you already came to that conclusion Danny, but are being too polite to say so.

    A nation where 100% of its presidents have been white and male may talk diversity but doesn’t live it.

    Strife, warfare, suffering, and destruction are always appreciated more than staleness, harmony, and homogeneity.

    To live diversity is to live in an endless clan warfare, reminiscent of the Balkans and Arabia.

    The bottom line comes down to two questions.

    What is your view of human nature and what do you plan to do with it?

    Where do you want humanity to progress?

    My view of human nature is that it is static and unchanged since tens of thousands of years. I have no plans to do anything with that, because it would be pointless to try to change human nature one way or the other.

    I want humanity to progress as far as human beings are capable of progressing. This requires teamwork, harmony, unity of purpose and will, instead of intimidation, extortion, corruption, loyalty to family vs greater good, or anything else smacking of immediate gains over long term gains. As we have seen, humans fighting humans over petty differences distracts us from the creation of something lasting, such as the United States. Europe’s endless wars and the endless strife in the Middle East are just two examples of why the US tradition is so much superior to progressing humanity towards our maximum potential. We cannot avoid wars, but we shouldn’t go out and look for them like Marxists, Socialists, National Socialists, and Europeans do.

    Violence is not the end goal, but simply a means to an end to me. The Democrats, however, are striving for endless violence, due to the fact that there will always be the poor and the rich. The haves and the have nots. Humanity has not progressed to the point, if it ever can, that everybody can have anything he or she wants just by wishing it.

    Thus because of this, the Democrats’ actions will always ensure that humanity is mired in conflict and self-destructive acts. Human nature precludes utopia and the elimination of classes. Human nature requires hierarchies in order to function. There will always be a boss and an underdog. There will always be people making the choices and people suffering the consequences of choices made by others. This is an inequality that cannot be solved without changing the basic nature of human nature. And so when the Democrats try to “balance” and “equalize” wealth and power, the only ultimate conclusion to such actions is that the Democrats become wealthy and powerful over everybody else. And then the cycle of self-destruction starts all over again with some “new faction” wanting to spread the wealth and power around, to the “poor” and “common” folks.

    The Democrats and their Leftist allies seek to change human nature because they see human nature as modifiable. As I said before, I don’t see it that way. What the Democrats seek for humanity is for humanity to progress to the point where human beings are no longer human. That is where the Democrats want humanity to progress. That is not where I see humanity’s optimum destination as, however.

    So, again, the only thing that matters are those two questions.

  25. They have faith that it can be reformed, regardless of how many incidences of corruption and negligence you bring up.

    In fact, I do believe that the more incidents of corruption and malfeasance that was exposed in the Catholic Church, the more the faithful followers of the Catholic Church believed that the Church needed and could be saved. Not even Martin Luther started off wanting to be independent from the Catholic Church. It wasn’t until the Church excommunicated Luther that he really started Lutheranism, as the only way to implement his vision for Christianity.

    So regardless of what bad things happen to other people, Danny, the only thing that will make a Catholic turn away from the Catholic Church is for the Catholic Church to betray or excommunicate the Catholic.

    I am not refering to modern religious sensibilities, of course, given that this is a truly medieval thinking style, applicable to both the Democrats and the corrupt Catholic Church in the middle ages before the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation may be seen as a Loyal Opposition, which the Church needed in order to become better.

    On the note of reforms and excommunication, Joe Lieberman, for example, didn’t want to leave the Party. But he got ejected out of the Party nonetheless, Danny.

    Many people of faith treat trials and tribulations as tests of their faith, to be responded to with more faith. Yes, this is irrational on some levels, but then again humanity never survived to this point by being purely rational.

    While other Democrats may need double think or some kind of extra-judicial justification for their contradictory views and positions, I think helen has no need for all that. Faith is enough, on so many levels.

    Belief is what makes the human world turn round and round. Without it, we are an empty husk. However, that doesn’t mean having an organism being jammed full of parasites and wasp eggs is a good thing.

    The bottomline question always becomes, “what should we believe in”.

  26. As for America being nicer to people so they’ll be nice back, that’s naive.

    I think that’s actually nuanced, and I’m only half kidding. Naive, to me, means that you just haven’t been around the block long enough to get what is up.

    In this situation, helen is not naive, she has seen the elephant at least, I presume. The difference with her concerns the belief of what human nature is. If your belief in human nature changes, then all your other beliefs change as well.

    If you believe the bolded portion, and if you see human nature as you and I do, Book, then that would be naive. Since almost any kind of experience, after 9/11, would have dissolved such views one way or another. However, if your views on human nature is that humans act according to class and social differences, instead of free will, then helen’s statement goes from naive to obviously correct.

    For this particular incident and line, it has to do with helen’s understanding of war. And helen’s understanding of war, as people may have noted from my own comments and hers, are almost diametrically opposite due to helen’s foundation on human behavior.

    Going back to Benedict Arnold as an easy explanation, he believed the US was never going to win and thus that informed his treason. If he had actually believed the US could win, then he probably would not have done what he did, or at least he would have had to find some other justification and rationalization for it.

    What helen sees as the “nice solution” to “nasty violence” is informed by her belief on human nature, American national character, and the character of our enemies. And just like Benedict Arnold’s analysis of America’s chances against Britain, they are fundamentally flawed.

  27. I agree with how you have framed the issue, YM.

    However, underlying that, I worry that many people, like HelenL, don’t really want to be free, anymore. They want a Mommy-state to make things “right” again, as if things have ever been “right”.

    Americans have, for the most part, have no perspective we have never known a state of existence other than freedom. Too many of us do not equate a government that makes demands on the individual with a loss of freedom, perhaps because it is assumed that it will always be someone else’s freedom that is sacrificed on the altar. It’s always the “other” that stands in the way of Utopia.

    To paraphrase Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, that’s why they can spit on freedom. Like John Reid during the Bolshevik days, they can romanticize fascist dictatorships like Lenin’s Russia or Castro’s Cuba as long as they are on the outside looking in. I saw this often when I lived overseas – Americans that couldn’t comprehend why people in Communist nations were terrified of voicing their opinions.

    Will it take our own loss of liberty for them to learn the value of freedom?

  28. However, underlying that, I worry that many people, like HelenL, don’t really want to be free, anymore. They want a Mommy-state to make things “right” again, as if things have ever been “right”.

    People want winners, Danny. They don’t particular care who the winners are.

    This is true because of human nature. We are designed to side with the winning side, since we don’t have a suicide wish as a species.

    If a Mommy State is seen as “doing things”, and it will be, then that is the “winning side” to people.

    If, however, you get the military to go into ghettoes and gang territory, crucify enemies of humanity like cannibals and Tookies, then the military will be seen as the “winning side”.

    It all depends on who is doing the violence to whom. Who is winning. Who looks like they are winning. In the end, people only care about one thing.

    Who looks competent and confident that their actions will turn the world around in their favor?

    The Mommy State has one advantage that free nations don’t, which is that the Mommy State doesn’t need to follow any of those Bill of Rights non-sense when it comes to getting things done.

    You know what a popular complaint from the police is? I often hear that the police get upset that civilians keep complaining about how police doesn’t “prevent crime”. The police responds with we can’t prevent crime, because that would violate your Bill of Rights.

    Do people particularly care, when their entire family has been mass murdered, what restrictions the police needs to operate under? Not particularly, Danny. They want you to do something, anything.

    Money and action talks, bull-scheisse walks. That has always been true.

    Do Iraqis particularly care that Americans are looking out for Iraqi children and civilian casualties by not going out and blowing up terrorists? Not really. Iraqis care about you getting the security. And if you have to use a nuke, they’ll be okay with that. Really.

  29. Btw, crucifixion, for those that don’t know, is a nice form of execution because the target doesn’t immediately die. When the wrists are held up like that, in addition to the feet, the target no longer can breathe if he relaxes. He has to either put his weight on his foot and wrists or he goes slack and suffocates himself to death. A strong man can alternate between those states for a few days even.

    It was a popular form of punishment for rebels, by the Romans, due to the fact that they will stay alive long enough to be an object lesson. For people to come and see and witness what happens when “Rome is doing something” to fix a problem.

    Do people necessarily worry about the ethics and morality of “did they really deserve to be crucified” when they see those lines of crosses on the Roman roads? Not particularly.

    I worry about the ethics and the morality of targeting true enemies of humanity for punishment and execution because I recognize that human nature is better than animal nature… but that just allows humans to be crueler and more effective at organizing tortures than animals.

    Ethics and morality are the only chains that hold back the human desire to kill and exterminate enemies. You can’t remove that basic human desire. So I don’t even bother. People want justice or revenge, or whatever, but that is why we have leaders and laws. You can’t trust people to kill the right targets if the choice was always in their hands.

    Just the same, you can’t say “no revenge for you”, because that is not how human nature is either. One cannot forgive simply because a wrong is now called a right. You have to give a reason to forgive. Arabs don’t have that reason while Christianity does. Which kind of explains why Arab fathers thin it is a good thing to kill their daughters for perceived dishonorable actions.

    No forgiveness! Revenge for all!

    There are two reasons to kill enemies of humanity or make them into object lessons on “what not to do”.

    First, enemies of humanity are better dead than alive. If they are alive, they tend to start killing your wife and your children, just for the heck of it. That is the purpose of their existence. Bomb, poison, etc. doesn’t really matter to them.

    Secondly, enemies of humanity must be killed and made examples of, because if you don’t you are going to get vigilantes and militias and death squads that try to fill the need of the people for revenge and protection. Like revolutions, those things eventually blow themselves and their own up in the end.

    When Iraqis begged and expected the Americans to execute and crush all dissent, and they heard the Americans say “you are free to do what you want now, you are FREE!!”

    Some heard “we’re free to kill now, yipee”. Others heard “we’re free to be terrorized by criminals”.

    Americans thought that if they killed Iraqis and acted like invaders and oppressors, that the Iraqis would go off on them. The truth is, if you “don’t reinstate law like an oppressor would have” the locals will still go off on you. Americans had the power and tradition to be able to judge the guilty from the innocent. Iraqis did not. So when Americans told the Iraqis to “do what you want”, death squads and factionalism naturally came as a consequence.

    Such things happen when you sit back and say “we’re not good enough for the job of killing, let somebody else do it”. That somebody else will be using women to blow up market places, of course.

    In conclusion, people don’t care about excuses or the ethical/legal problems you have. All they care about are results. That is all that matters, because that is all that should matter to a species intent on survival and even prosperity.

    If you don’t give them the results, they are going to find somebody that will. And somebody will probably be National Socialism, Democratic Socialism, or even Communism.

    Or Shariah if they are true masochists.

  30. In relation to Communist stuff you mentioned, it is very important to undercut social revolutions like that by co-opting the cause of the poor. Military recruitment is an excellent means of uplifting people of low social and economic status to higher levels.

    But you don’t need a military for this, you just need anything that can do the job. It just so happens that the US military is perfect for the job precisely because war teaches them that ideological frivolity is a big no no.

    Same can’t be said for Communists or Leftists.

    In war, if you make a mistake, then you or your buddy dies. In politics, if Lenin makes a mistake, you and your entire family dies, Danny, while Lenin’s family gets a million per head.

  31. Will it take our own loss of liberty for them to learn the value of freedom?

    Washington had to convince his army to continue their enlistment, because half of his army was at the end of their 4 year contract.

    If American patriots were a bunch of freedom fighters, why did they need to be convinced to stay on? Because of human nature, because of the human need for leadership, stability, confidence, and yes, hierarchy.

    People already know the value of freedom. What they don’t know is what to do with it. What is what leaders are for. Good leaders will raise up their people. Bad leaders will put their people into shackles enriching the leader and his clique, like Arafat.

  32. This reluctance to change has a lot to do with “confirmation bias,” which is the tendency to seek out information confirming the hypotheses one already holds. Confirmation bias is often found to be a factor in aircraft accidents.

    Why is it harder to change political opinions than to change jobs, homes, girlfriends/boyfriends, etc?…perhaps because there is less feedback.. If you have an obnoxious boyfriend, you are confronted with his obnoxiousness every day. If you have political opinions that don’t make any sense, the consequences are much more indirect, and indeed may be visited on other people rather than on yourself.

  33. David, I think that it is because our political allegiance often reflects our entire perception of how the world is and works.

    When we accept that our premise thereof is wrong, we stare helplessly at the abyss. If our world view has been so wrong, then what else is wrong about us? How do we reinvent ourselves to find a new way of engaging with the world?

    When I finally cast off the blinders (shackles) of my Democrat world view, I had to work very hard to attain a new level of understanding about how the world works. From Bookworm’s and Neo-Neocon’s writings, I suspect that they had the same experience.

    For me, it wasn’t scary, it was exhilarating…a voyage of discovery. However, I can understand how, for many people, it would be a devastatingly scary venture into terra incognita.

  34. Has it occurred to anyone else, or do I just “feel” that ymarsakar is telling me what I believe (or think or . . . )?

  35. Helen –

    I don’t think ymarsakar is trying to tell you what you believe. He is simply discussing his thoughts on various issues related to your posts.

    I noticed that you haven’t yet responded to a question that I posed to you after I read one of your earlier posts.

    You said, “9/11 was a wake up call: It said the US better act nicer to the rest of the world, or her days are numbered.”

    Helen – do you believe that the people who were murdered in the two Baghdad pet markets the other day deserved what they got? Do you believe that if the people of Baghdad were simply nicer to Al Qaeda , they wouldn’t have to worry about their days being numbered?

    That appears to be what you are arguing . . . is it? Because if it is, I would like to understand what you believe the difference is between the Al Qaeda victims in Iraq and the Al Qaeda victims in the U.S.

    Deana

  36. Deana, The only difference between the Al Qaeda victims in Iraq and the ones in the US is that several years have lapsed since 9/11 – several years during which no one has tried to stop Al Qaeda by using anything other than military force, which obviously doesn’t work (or the ones in Iraq would be alive not victims). Duh.

    No one – and I mean no one – deserves to be murdered in any way by anyone. No one has the right to take a life, including soldiers.

    When I said the US days are numbered, I mean military force is not the kind of power that lasts. Empires and nations built on might fall. The US is no different. If all we can do is fight, does it really matter who “hit” first? (That’s rhetorical.) Duh.

  37. several years during which no one has tried to stop Al Qaeda by using anything other than military force

    I get the impression that by “military force” you are talking about sniper rifles, assault rifles, bullets, artillery, tanks, bombs, and attack aircraft.

    I suppose with a limited understanding of war, military tactics, strategy, and logistics, that one cannot help but think “military force” is nothing but the attempt to use technologically manufactured weapons of war to kill people with.

    However, as I see it, that is not what war is about nor is that how wars are fought by professionals. There is a lot more to war than just pushing a button or locating a target for bombing. Much of that “extra”, which is present only when the greatest military commanders in history are around, always trumps your “alternative methods”, helen.

    (or the ones in Iraq would be alive not victims)

    Only the dead have seen the end of war. Neither you nor generals practiced in the craft can prevent people from dying. You are no god. The difference is that military leaders understand that they cannot prevent death, that somebody has to die and they prefer it to be the enemy. You imply that you can “solve” things to such an extent that the ones that are dead in Iraq would now be alive. You can’t do that without ending warfare entirely.

    How does classwarfare guarantee the survival of those that would have died in war? Indeed, how does classwarfare guarantee that wars will end, as opposed to the “military solution” that you see as continuing conflict and death?

    No one has the right to take a life, including soldiers.

    Both Nature and God disagrees with you there. Does everyone have a right to heaven? Does everyone even have a right to life? Not in this world.

    And Nature, red in tooth and claw, has definitely proven that only the strong have the right to mercy, in addition to many other fringe benefits.

    I don’t think attempting to see human nature as fundamentally having a “right” to being immune from certain phenomenon is going to do much to progress humanity to something higher and better. Not even the Bill of Rights guarantee things to citizens. There are always loopholes or extenuating circumstances. One can’t be armed with a nuke cause they have the right bear arms and one can’t use speech to cause stampedes either.

    The natural world has limits, limits that don’t really care about what rights you think people have. People earn and fight for their rights, thus making them into reality.

    No one has a right to take a life, when you can prevent it by taking their life as punishment. Why do people not have a right to murder who they see fit? Because they will be punished, rather than rewarded. That is the way of things in this world. And unless you are a divinity, helen, you’re going to have deal with the world as it currently exists, not the world you hope exists.

    Unfortunately, people have different philosophical beliefs precisely we don’t see the world, the metaphysics, as being the same.

    When I said the US days are numbered, I mean military force is not the kind of power that lasts.

    I think it is rather conceited to believe that either you personally or your faction can construct something that has an infinite number of days: that won’t fall due to human hubris, conceit, and corruption.

    Everything that lives have days that are numbered, counting down to death. Everything that has ever been built, even by the universe, will eventually die and decay.

    To believe that your kind of force is different from military force is to believe in your own divinity, helen.

    Nothing lasts forever. That is not a negative mark on military force. Unless you think you can create something better than military force, that can last forever. Utopia perhaps? The US’s days are numbered, because you have something better in store for us?

  38. Helen – do you believe that the people who were murdered in the two Baghdad pet markets the other day deserved what they got?

    My interpretation of helen’s answer is that the people murdered in Baghdad would have been safer had the US been “nicer”. So while 9/11 and Baghdad may be two different incidents to you, Deana, it is not to helen. Those two incidents are connected directly via causality to helen.

    Do you believe that if the people of Baghdad were simply nicer to Al Qaeda

    I think helen realizes that even if Baghdad folks were nicer to people, that it still wouldn’t trump America’s meaness. The source of the problem is with America, because the chain of causality starts here. Stop it here, stop the military force that is killing people coming from here, right in America, and everything else becomes easier and nicer.

    Maybe this is an unfair characterization and interpretation of helen’s position, but I don’t think so.

  39. Helen,

    It doesn’t matter how nice America is in reality. The average citizen elsewhere will never hear of it. To gain approval in the rest of the world we must never challenge their intellectual elite, never complain about UN corruption, never challenge their grand schemes against CO2-

    There was one TV report in Germany that mentioned the successful US response to the tsunami. Compare that to the 24/7 coverage of the good people who sent their out of style Norwegian sweaters to clothe people in the tropics or to the trauma counsellors bloviating about their latest techniques although they had no idea about the religious or cultural beliefs that give people strength in times of tragedy.

    It doesn’t matter what we do. Nothing will be good enough for the world’s utopians. How dare a factory worker from Missouri contradict a great thinker like Marx (and yes, he is still defended by some here)! The tired and poor of Emma Lazarus were ofter enough seen as rubble in their homelands, and no matter what we do we will always be seen as rubble by many of the world’s “elites.”

  40. Helen –

    Thank you for your response.

    If fighting and killing is not acceptable, then what measures would like to have seen the U.S. and others take since 2001 that would have effectively reduced the ability of Al Qaeda to carry out massive attacks anywhere in the world?

    I would argue that the efforts we have taken to date have been effective, not perfect, but effective. We have made it much more difficult and risky for followers of Al Qaeda to carry out attacks here and in Europe.

    And what is Al Qaeda reduced to doing in Iraq? Strapping explosives and ball bearings to innocent women with Down Syndrome, encouraging them to walk among children and families out for a little weekend enjoyment, and then having a couple of their very brave fighting men hide at a safe distance and detonate the bombs strapped to those poor women at the precise moment when it could do the most damage.

    Something tells me those men would not be susceptible to “soft power.”

    It isn’t that I completely disagree with you. Certainly military force is not the ONLY effort that should be employed when battling an ideaology that threatens the well-being of people around the world.

    But Helen, are you saying that you think the U.S. and all of the other allied forces should not have engaged in fighting and killing during WWII? If so, how do you think that Germany and Japan would have been defeated? While it is true that even after all of the death and devastation that occured during that horrible war, there are still many people who sympathize with the Nazis, they no longer have the physical power to cause massive crimes against humanity.

    But look at Darfur. Almost no effective military action has taken place. Sure – lots and lots of “soft power” has been exercised . . . much discussion and pondering at the UN, many big and important words have been thrown about (“genocide, “humanitarian crisis”), resolutions have been passed, inquiries have been made, and arrest warrants have been issued. Nobel prize winners, diplomats, human rights activitists and even George Clooney have been involved. Hundreds of reports have been written. Sudan even has been threatened with boycotts and divestments.

    The result?

    Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed and something like over 1.5 million people have been displaced. There has been starvation and thousands of gang rapes. People are unable to get medical care, they are crowded into camps and the lives they once knew are over.

    So what else do you think could be done to persuade those who are causing the problem to stop persecuting innocent men, women, and children?

    From where I sit, it just seems that many people don’t like to get their hands dirty. Instead, they enjoy making a big show of wringing their hands in the face of difficult problems. They expend much energy showing others how involved they are and how much they care. But what does that achieve other than shining a very flattering light on themselves?

    Deana

  41. I was all ready to add to what Deana said…except, there is nothing to add.

  42. Book was asking about devotion to party, and I think I’ll respond to that. As of about 2001 or 2002, I would have said I was devoted to the Republican Party. I had switched allegiance from Democrat to Republican a few years before, so perhaps my newness explains my fervency.

    Then George W Bush massively expanded federal spending AND cut taxes… since fiscal responsibility is my single most important core value, I found that to be insane. The cutting-taxes part is fine, but a massive increase in federal spending, WHILE cutting taxes, is a pure abomination.

    And he is engaging in more of the same. If 150 billion dollars dropped on us, free money, out of helicopters from the sky… if that’s a good idea, then why not double it to 300 billion? If it’s such a frickin good idea, double that to 600 billion? Why not? If it’s such a good idea? Free money! All around! Spend the free money, and save the world!

    But we all know that it isn’t free money. There is always a price to be paid. Maybe the price for $150 billion of free money isn’t so high, but it’s just another huge chunk added onto the debt. And on we go. Higher and higher and higher.

    I have no political party. They’re both out of control and insane, and dedicated to the ruination of the country. Your kids are facing a more and more difficult future because of the utter fiscal insanity of these generations, and none of you care. Republicans and Democrats both.

  43. Here, here, Mike D. I prefer being IND rather than declare loyalty to Insane Clown Posse-D or Insane Clown Posse-R. Though I must admit I switched to R to vote for Giuliani in a closed primary but now that Rudy is zero and not hero based on putting all his chips on Florida I may nor not switch back to R simply because it’s not very important to me. I get more use and enjoyment from my library card or Sam’s Club card than from my voter’s reg card. But I digress. I cannot see either party lives up to its rhetoric — Obama pours the old wine of liberal piety into the nicest new bottle — or tamps down the innate venality, vanity and profligacy of politicians.

  44. I re-registered as “Unaffiliated” which means that I can “declare” myself for either party at the polls. I can still vote for Rudy (he’s on the ballot) or I can vote for Romney (as the least objectionable candidate in the race) — or I can ask for a D ballot and vote for Billary on the theory that s/he’s the easiest to beat.

    Anybody have a recommendation? (I vote on Tues). I find I don’t care all that much.

  45. That’s a tough one, El. Keep in mind Rudy endorsed McCain, like him or not. I have doubts Romney can seal the deal. Not this year.

  46. Dudes, The Super Bowl is an hour and a half away. Order pizza. Peace.

  47. Helen, we agree on something! Mmmmmm … pizza!

  48. Helen…seems to me that a society which is politically dominated by people who think like you (on these issues, at least) would quickly be destroyed by societies dominated by people who do *not* think like you.

    A moral system that can work only if *everyone* adheres to its principles is “brittle”; it has no chance of working in the actual world.

  49. Your kids are facing a more and more difficult future because of the utter fiscal insanity of these generations

    That was true long before mankind ever had representative democracy. The old generation could always shaft the youngest generation. Vice a versa too.

    Dudes, The Super Bowl is an hour and a half away. Order pizza. Peace.

    I guess that’s helen’s response to Deana’s reasoned arguments about war and suffering. Have a pizza for peace?

    Super Bowl’s on, so just tune out Darfour!

    Ingenious I say.

  50. BW – for your list on the diff between “Conservatives” and “Progressives” :

    Progressives favor of peace and pizza (and Kumbya);

    Conservatives favor liberty and ammunition. Go Giants!

  51. Anybody want my anchovies?

  52. Danny – Thanks for your comment. That certainly is a complement.

    I do hope Helen chooses to further explain her thoughts on how the U.S. should respond to a challenge such as Al Qaeda and Muslim extremists. Making the decision that we should never use military power to fight and kill (if necessary) to protect lives, property, democracy, and liberty, is a big decision and one that should not be dismissed lightly.

    Hope everyone is enjoying the game!

    Deana

  53. I like pizza. I like anchovies. And I like the fifty caliber response to terrorism. Who wants to make nice with men who use mentally defective women to carry bombs to detonate in markets, or shoot down poll workers on a street in Baghdad in front of a camera of a guy who’s a stringer for Western media?

  54. No, ymarsakar, “Dudes, The Super Bowl is an hour and a half away. Order pizza. Peace.” was not my response to Deana’s reasoned arguments about war and suffering. It was suggestion that people lighten up here on this blog. We are not gathered to solve the world’s problems, although we might do a better job than some of the powers that be.

    I think we must work harder for peace than we do for war. This US has a War Department but so far no Peace Department. Does this say we plan for war but hope peace will just happen? I think it does. We have military academies to train young men and women to be officers in the various military branches. What if we trained young diplomats with such vigor. Think about it. This isn’t about Kumbaya, but it is about peace. And pizza is just what we happened to be having for dinner tonight, while we watched the cheaters lose. Good for the Giants. Over and out.

  55. Helen – From what I’ve seen of peace advocates and peace studies folks, I think you could also call your new department the Masochism Department.

  56. Helen –

    What concerns me about your ideas is that you completely disregard the hard experience of millions and millions of people over the centuries who also tried to avoid conflict and war by utilizing soft power.

    Please, Helen, for just a moment, think about what happened in the past century. How many Armenians, Cambodians, Rwandans, Darfurians, and Jews tried to “act nicer” to those who held grievances against them? Do you not know that millions of these people talked, pleaded with their aggressors, appealed to what they hope would be a sense of common humanity? Surely many even knew their aggressors personally, had grown up with them, and based on their shared past, tried to reason with them.

    When they discovered that that did not work, they tried to give their aggressors money and their most prized possessions. That’s a really nice thing to do, you know? But that also didn’t work. Millions and millions of Armenians, Cambodians, Rwandans, Darfurians, and Jews still wound up dead.

    Helen, what makes you think you know something that these millions of people did not know? What makes you think that somehow in the 21st century, the nature of human beings has changed so radically from that of the previous century that we can shut both eyes to historical fact and engage in the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard by relying on a diplomat’s power of reason or persuasion that is backed up with nothing more than . . . more words from more fabulously trained diplomats???

    Helen, in one way, you and I are exactly alike. We both are women, soft, who are fortunate enough to live in a country where we don’t have to worry about marauding bands of thugs coming through our doors to destroy us. We are free to use our minds and talents for whatever we choose because you and I don’t have to spend every ounce of our energy just trying to survive another day.

    But when I read history, I do not disregard what people like the Armenians, Rwandans, and Jews have to say. I do not pretend that I somehow know better than they. It is disrespectful. And it is also disrespectful to the millions of men who have donned a U.S. military uniform and stood between me and those who are not susceptible to reasoning. I owe these men a lot. You do too . . . you just don’t realize it.

    Deana

  57. Bravo, Deana.
    For myself, I’m a former bleeding-heart liberal who is now an evil conservative. And I gotta say, it’s freaking hard WORK to be a conservative! It was so much easier to make the emotional, heated, why-do-you-hate-the-poor type arguments I used to think counted as “debate.” So much harder to actually research what a candidate/party thinks, versus says, versus acts on, and then how those acts play out in the real world. Note to HelenL- that last part (how those acts play out in the real world) was what tipped me out of LiberalLand. I second Deana – the Jews in WWII played as nice as they possibly could, and look what happened. They’d tell you, only most of them were exterminated. And killing is not always evil. If you try to rape my sister, it is the Exact Opposite of evil for me to do my best to take you out first. To say otherwise is to deny that morality exists.

  58. Dang! Once again, Deana leaves me at a loss for words – I really can’t do better than that.

  59. Lissa –

    Welcome to the dark side.

    You are right. It is much more difficult to be conservative. Conservatives are not perfect but one thing I admire about them is that they understand that there are moments in one’s life and indeed, in the life of a nation, when difficult decisions must be made.
    They understand that sometimes, there are no good solutions – just increasingly bad ones. And yet, they are forced to choose one, with imperfect knowledge and no crystal ball, because they know that no amount of wishing others peace or suggesting that they “lighten up” will make that very real problem, with equally real consequences, go away.

    Deana

  60. It was suggestion that people lighten up here on this blog.

    That’s just a bit too institutionally racist for me to agree with.

    Why should people lighten up? Is there something wrong with their natural color and behavior?

    We are not gathered to solve the world’s problems

    Are we then gathered simply to talk and spout off, in order to make ourselves feel better, then? Is that what we are gathered here to do?

    I think we must work harder for peace than we do for war.

    As the Ancients once said, if you wish for peace, prepare for war. That’s one philosophy you don’t agree with, helen. And there is nothing people can do with lightening up that will change that disagreement on your or our part, helen.

    This US has a War Department but so far no Peace Department.

    The War Department should be DoD and the Peace Department is de facto, if not de jure, the Department of State.

    Does this say we plan for war but hope peace will just happen?

    Peace only happens when people have prepared for war. If you don’t prepare for war, you also get peace, but peace of the graves as the Jews found out.

    This isn’t about Kumbaya, but it is about peace.

    When people say “Kumbaya” what they mean is “fake peace”. Peace that is called peace but has nothing to do with life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness peace.

    Most of us here tend to believe in Peace Through Superior Firepower in one way or another. For various reasons, some of us care too much for the plight of foreign indigs. For other reasons, some of us care too much for this country not to approve the use of America’s power.

    What makes you think that somehow in the 21st century, the nature of human beings has changed so radically from that of the previous century that we can shut both eyes to historical fact

    The nature of human beings is different to you than it is to helen, Deana. That is one of the key differences I illustrated.

    Why is it different? Who knows. Might as well appeal to God concerning why war is cruelty.

    And yet, they are forced to choose one, with imperfect knowledge and no crystal ball, because they know that no amount of wishing others peace or suggesting that they “lighten up” will make that very real problem, with equally real consequences, go away.

    Coincidentally, that is exactly what you need for a command mentality in the US military. A commanding officer cannot wait for his butt to be buttered by reassurances from On High. He has to make choices now, in the fire, and risk being second guessed by people sitting safely back at HQ. He has to make decisions based upon what he knows now, but indecision will cost far more lives than a flawed decision made. This is based upon their honor, their sense of responsibility to their men, women, and their nation. They have an intense sense of responsibility. They can’t lighten up and say “those indigs deserved what they got”. They care, and that is both their strength as well as an exploitable weakness.

    Look at Berkeley’s treatment of the Marines for an example.

    And killing is not always evil. If you try to rape my sister, it is the Exact Opposite of evil for me to do my best to take you out first. To say otherwise is to deny that morality exists.

    To say otherwise is to admit that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not our rights, but the privileges given to us by the strong, the cruel, the government, or somebody else higher up in the chain of hierarchy. I don’t tend to think humanity’s potential can be unlocked by shackling individuals under a “weakness makes right” moral imperative.

    Why is being weak or being a victim, such a state of grace that humanity should work towards? Why is trying to be better at peace than those who dislike peace, a goal worthy of hard work? How hard is it to be better at peace than those that were never interested in peace to begin with?

    It is much harder to be better at war than warriors. It is much harder to be more effective at killing than natural killers. Those are the hard things in humanity’s destiny, and the ones that are worthwhile precisely because they are hard, not easy. Peace is easy to acquire. Human rights, however, are not.

  61. It is a simple thing in the end. If helen thinks we should work harder for peace, then let her become the example. Is writing and arguing for the cause of peace too troublesome for helen?

    Or is arguing for the cause of peace nothing but an empty and false slogan that “peace” is better than “war”? Is that all it takes to work harder for peace?

    War wasn’t ever that easy.

  62. ymarsakar, When I went to your blog, I saw Donald Duck. Have you visited mine?

  63. I made that crack about institutional racism because I know that’s something you find important. If you have a message for me on your blog, then I suppose I will go see it.

    But the greater arching point is that you made quite a lot of claims, helen, that you don’t seem to feel needs defending or justification. It is as if a person claimed the sun rose in the east and set in the west. Such a thing should need no explanation for why it is true, but your claims cannot be accepted at face value the same way we would accept the rising sun.

    History is all nice and good, but we’re talking about the now. What people should do in the present and the future. What government policies should leaders undertake for the good of us all.

    If you are not interested in dissecting the weaknesses of your claims and working on figuring out some solutions, even theoretically, then why should the government do that either? Is the United States not ruled by Americans, instead are we ruled by an elite few that are the only ones responsible for working hard towards peace? Why should our leaders fight harder for peace, when you won’t even justify why your kind of peace deserves defending?

    Such things are questions of logic and substance, connected directly with what you wrote, helen. Not just stuff I made up on the fly.

  64. I made that remark about institutional racism because I know that’s something you find important. If you have a message for me on your blog, then I suppose I will go see it.

    But the greater arching point is that you made quite a lot of claims, helen, that you don’t seem to feel needs defending or justification. It is as if a person claimed the sun rose in the east and set in the west. Such a thing should need no explanation for why it is true, but your claims cannot be accepted at face value the same way we would accept the rising sun.

    History is all nice and good, but we’re talking about the now. What people should do in the present and the future. What government policies should leaders undertake for the good of us all.

    If you are not interested in dissecting the weaknesses of your claims and working on figuring out some solutions, even theoretically, then why should the government do that either? Is the United States not ruled by Americans, instead are we ruled by an elite few that are the only ones responsible for working hard towards peace? Why should our leaders fight harder for peace, when you won’t even justify why your kind of peace deserves defending?

    Such things are questions of logic and substance, connected directly with what you wrote, helen. Not just stuff I made up on the fly.

  65. Ymarsakar, you are so busy making “cracks” and questioning “arching points” that you don’t seem to realize that discussion with you is impossible. You don’t discuss; you highlight and nitpick.

    You don’t believe in feeling as a means whereby one can know and don’t recognize that two people can witness the same event and learn different things from a shared experience. You seem to be saying that your way of seeing things is the right way. All of history, especially the history of wars, leads us to Ymarsakar and his wisdom. You are a big part of why I tire of Bookworm’s site. You say the same thing over and over again like my small brain just can’t get it but your saying it again makes it fact not opinion.

    My blog is about what I believe. It is about my opinion based on the facts that I know to date. I don’t post things there that I don’t agree with. I don’t have a message special for you on my blog. I don’t think you are that important. What I do have is entry after entry about the (oh, horror of horrors!!) progressive view, as I see it. And so far, I haven’t had to put up with what goes on here every time I show my face on this blog.

    Bookworm asked about blind loyalty to a political party. I explained that I had made a change from Democrat to Republican and back again. That I am a Democrat because I agree with party values is not a good enough answer, because—it seems—conservatives have defined Democrats as having no values or decided we are all socialist hippies. What a way to stop dialogue! Tell someone he/she doesn’t know his/her own mind and is all about feeling. The courses I took don’t count because they don’t promote war.

    Well, bring it to my blog, Y-man, because I know how to delete you there. Nothing to do with feeling; it’s all about hitting the right button. Being non-violent doesn’t mean having no opinion or backbone. It means you fight with words not guns. Nonviolence allows enemies to become friends. Violence allows enemies to become dead. Dead is dead; that’s a fact not a feeling.

  66. Hi Helen,
    I have been following the discourse here and need to ask you something. It’s something I have asked you before, but I don’t believe I ever gotten an answer. You said “nonviolence allows enemies to become friends.” Yes, I agree that can happen when both parties are interested in becoming friends. They will listen to each other and look for common ground. But what do you do when the other party has no interest in being your friend, but is instead only interested in obliterating you? I am not making this up. There are actually people out there who have said in public (and by their acts) that they want to wipe us (Americans) out. What would you say to them? How would you use nonviolence to make them your friends? The last time I asked you this question you said that you are not one of our country’s leaders and that it is up to wiser people than you to formulate the policies that would bring about peace. But surely you must have some idea. Otherwise, such a statement, in the face of the particular enemy I’m thinking of, is just a childish fantasy that comes from the same impulse that makes little kids clap their hands to bring Tinkerbell back to life. I am not denigrating your faith, your ideals, or your choices. I just want to know what you think would work. I’m just asking you to support your position that fighting with words would bring about the result you desire. Please tell me.

  67. Judy, You have to risk everything including your life. It takes courage to stand your ground in the face of an attack that is violent. You must prepare what you plan to say ahead of time and if the “other” (person, group, whatever) won’t listen you, don’t back down.

    Unlike here, where – if I don’t get it right – the consequences are someone asks me again, you may die being non-violent in a violent world. Dead is dead, whether it is through war or violence in the face of non-violence. The question is, is what I am saying or doing worth dying for? As King said, “a man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” Yes, the crazed and violent can defeat the non-violent but not forever. The good will win, but for now we live in a violent world.

    Okay, send peaceful people – people who can learn as well as teach, people who are smart enough to know how little they do know. Send, (oh, no no no) Jimmie Carter. He will mend fences. Send young people and diplomats. Build up the Peace Corps. Put real money into this. Use what Bush would give back. Have more exchange students at all levels. Love as you would be loved. Forgive as you would be forgiven. Trust as you would trust.

    Start with you. (You means Judy only because she asked the question.) Prepare your own heart so that if you die, you will have died for a reason and have left others to carry on in peace.

    Also, remember being a pacifist means disagreeing with the death penalty, but it doesn’t mean failing to recognize that some people just behave violently. Those who fail to cooperate with peace should be jailed permanently.

    Judy, please realize that I have no idea who this enemy you speak of is. And If I were in a position to do something other than talk, I would know his/her name and many other facts that would figure in to how to deal with a particular individual (or group). But I don’t so much of this hypothetical.

    This I know, it may cost more lives to fight with non-violence than with violence, but no one has ever really tried to find out the practicality of it.

  68. Hi HelenL:

    Can you give us one example of a country that averted war by following your proposed policy?

    YM – I fault you for describing the State Department as the Department of Peace. I believe that you meant “Department of A-peace-ment”.🙂

  69. Helen,
    Thank you for explaining what you believe in. I understand you better now. I still don’t agree, but I appreciate that you answered me honestly.

    I just don’t see it working. If all the nonviolent people stand their ground with words and peaceful acts, while all the violent people keep shooting, then what will you have? A world inhabited by violent people. All the talkers will be dead.

    To my way of thinking, when someone is shooting at you (or flying planes into your buildings) you can just keep talking, but it’s stupid. I’d rather have the other guy be dead. It doesn’t sound like such a bad thing to me.

  70. I should amend that. All the talkers might not be dead. They might be slaves. Death or slavery – not a good choice.

  71. Judy, If someone shoots at me, I won’t keep talking. I’m heading for a tree. Pacifism is not synonymous with stupidity. Let ’em run out of bullets, then talk again.

  72. No Danny. No country has ever tried this. I can’t give examples of something people won’t do.

  73. Helen, They’ll never run out of bullets. And there won’t always be a convenient tree. I meant “keep talking” in the sense that it remains your approach to dealing with an enemy even after he has made a violent attack. Do you believe in the concept of self defense? Do you believe it is moral to hold your own life in higher regard than the life of your attacker? Do you believe you have a moral right to defend and protect your children from a violent attack, even if it means you have no choice but to kill the attacker? These are very basic principles that are at the root of one’s value system. I understand you would always rather find an alternative to violence, but do you think it is ever justified?

  74. Helen–I don’t think you realize the psychopathology of the jihadis. Atta was a middle class exchange student in Germany who had been raised in a society where men are little gods and where seeking scapegoats is the preferred method of dealing with personal crises. One of the Morrocans who blew up the Madrid trains got into the islamist movement because his family wouldn’t let him marry the girl he wanted. These guys get involved with groups of clever evil recruiters and enter a circle they cannot escape.

    I am all for trying to understand the problems they have in order to prevent their recruitment, but once they are committed, they cannot be reasoned with.

  75. All –

    In light of Helen’s statement: “If someone shoots at me, I won’t keep talking. I’m heading for a tree. Pacifism is not synonymous with stupidity. Let ‘em run out of bullets, then talk again”, I would like to take this opportunity to recommend a couple of books about those who survived or perished in some recent wars. They are:

    “The Lost – A Search for Six of the Six Million” by Daniel Mendelsohn
    “Left to Tell” by the amazing Immaculee Ilibagiza

    People can read these and many other similar books and come away with different lessons. But I do not believe that one can read these types of books and then go on and make light of the desperate attempts at hiding that so many made during these horrible wars, only to be found by aggressors who hadn’t quite run out of bullets.

    Deana

  76. Taking the risk, our ancestors came out of trees. Now pacifists would have us climb them again to escape trouble. Talk about devolution.

  77. Helen, Earlier today, between around 3:00 and 4:30 California time, we were in a pretty good conversation. But as soon as I asked whether you believe in the morality of self defense and whether violence is ever justified — silence. Surely these are things you’ve thought about. I’d really like to have the discussion continue if you’re willing to take on those questions.

  78. Judy, I enjoy conversation with you. We don’t always agree, but I feel like we go somewhere. I am just busy. After 3:00 and 4:00 came dinner, a movie, and a basketball game. But if you mean what you say, come on over to my blog. I’m there a lot. Right now I’m posting a series on Black History Month and getting ready for Lenten devotions with Henri Nouwen.

    I like the idea of multiple blog entries and think Bookworm has a great blog that suits her time constraints and personality. I visit lots of blogs and don’t have any desire to comment here full time. And part of the problem is I don’t see why Bookworm should have all the good conversation on her blog and why my conversation becomes her property. Yes, she holds the copy right to my comments here. On my blog, I hold them. Stupid but true. I’d hate to have to sue Bookworm for the right to my own words, if, by chance, I said something brilliant. LOL

    I always get back with people who comment on my blog. But that’s my responsibility. This one is Bookworm’s. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but it is. Blogging is luxury. Maybe I’ll take on these questions. There is a difference between thinking about something and organizing one’s thoughts to write. My being absent from this blog had nothing to do with not wanting to answer your questions and everything to do with having a life beyond the Bookworm Room.

    I reiterate: If you really want to talk to me, come to my blog, because that’s where I am.

  79. Helen,
    I thought that such basic questions, the answers to which reflect core values, would be something you could address without having to do much further organizing. It seems from your previous answers that you have thought long and hard about the issues. So if you do choose to answer at some point, I’ll be very interested to read what you write. But from your most recent response, I’m not expecting to see the response any time soon.

    By the way, what movie did you see tonight?

  80. Thanks for understanding, Judy. That’s the real problem I’ve faced when coming here. Most of the people who comment are on the same page and can make a simple comment and leave to do whatever they do. I make what looks simple to me and have it dissected for two days (literally). I do a million things (figuratively) other than comment on one person’s blog. We watched 3:10 To Yuma.

  81. I find the cries for “diversity” to be phony. I am bilingual. I worked overseas with multinational and multiracial fellow employees. I lived overseas in staff houses that were multinational and multiracial- and I am not talking about the help. We did not talk about “diversity,” we simply focused on getting along and getting the job done.

    I was born and raised in a small town, with 27 in my elementary school class. Among my classmates were the daughter of a Tuskogee airman and the Eurasian offspring of a WASP father and a Chinese mother. We didn’t cry “diversity,” we just evaluated people as people, not as ethnic entities, and got along The Eurasian was elected President of our 8th grade class. The Eurasian did not get elected class President because we wanted “diversity,” she was elected President because she was bright, pretty, and nice to everyone: a winning ticket in 8th grade politics. As the daughter of the Tuskogee airman and I are still friends, decades after elementary school, that approach must have worked.

    When I was a grad student, I had roommates from all over the world: China, Bhutan, India, Germany.

    Here are some of the ethnic origins of my nearby neighbors with whom I regularly converse.Moroccan Jewish, Moroccan Christian (no relation and 40 years younger to the previous), Lebanese Christian, Panamanian, Ukrainian, Panamanian-Ukrainian, Norwegian-Irish, Mexican-Turkish-English-French-Irish, English-Scots-Irish, African-American, Irish-English, French, English-Scots-Irish- German-Dutch, Mexican, Korean. Some are immigrants who became citizens, some were born here. All Americans.

    I live diversity, have all my life. It goes with living in America, always has. Being the offspring of a northern father and a southern mother, diversity was inside my household.
    At the same time, the people such as Helen who cry “diversity” drive me up the wall. Rice and Powell did not become Secretaries of State because we wanted “diversity,” but because they were competent.

    “Diversity” is one reason why I left the Democratic Party. As Martin Luther King said, you should evaluate people not by the color of their skins, but by what kind of person they are.

    I suspect that the people who cry “diversity” have guilty consciences, and fear that they are not evaluating people on the basis of their content , but on the color of their skin. To compensate, they say, “Let’s put a diverse person in this slot.” Sorta like the balanced ticket. Here is Bob Dylan, from “I Shall Be Free.”

    Now, the man on the stand he wants my vote,
    He’s a-runnin’ for office on the ballot note.
    He’s out there preachin’ in front of the steeple,
    Tellin’ me he loves all kinds-a people.
    (He’s eatin’ bagels
    He’s eatin’ pizza
    He’s eatin’ chitlins
    He’s eatin’ bullshit!)

    We shall be free, when we stop praising “diversity” and start evaluating people on their content.

  82. I reiterate: If you really want to talk to me, come to my blog, because that’s where I am.

    Oh, is that what you meant.

    Since I don’t read your blog regularly, I don’t actively seek to talk about all the positions you may or may not have, helen. I am only addressing the things you have written about… here. Which is where I tend to visit.

    Because you came here, to make a comment and make some claims about humanity, that means I should go where you want me to go in order to hear your… “explanations” about your claims?

    That might make sense to you, but it is invalid to me. If you can’t justify your claims here, where you made them, then why would I believe you could justify them at your blog, where you didn’t make them?

    Write up a blog post about your positions, if you wish for a more friendly and non-challenging environment to write in, helen. I am not as accommodating as most people who believe in making nice for peace. Probably has to do with listening to too many conservatives hating on the poor and the colored. Presumably.

    Ymarsakar, you are so busy making “cracks” and questioning “arching points” that you don’t seem to realize that discussion with you is impossible. You don’t discuss; you highlight and nitpick.

    I highlight weaknesses in your arguments, because I disagree with them. I nitpick because there is no way either of us can spell out all of our differences and attempt to hammer them out, not in this lifetime.

    I suppose I could write to you concerning institutional racism, peace, war, and government, but why do that when we can talk about human nature and our capacity for violence?

    It is not as if you want me to hammer all of your points, helen. So why do you complain about my “nitpicking”?

    I reiterate: If you really want to talk to me, come to my blog, because that’s where I am.

    Oh, is that what you meant.

    Since I don’t read your blog regularly, I don’t actively seek to talk about all the positions you may or may not have, helen. I am only addressing the things you have written about… here. Which is where I tend to visit.

    Because you came here, to make a comment and make some claims about humanity, that means I should go where you want me to go in order to hear your… “explanations” about your claims?

    That might make sense to you, but it is invalid to me. If you can’t justify your claims here, where you made them, then why would I believe you could justify them at your blog, where you didn’t make them?

    Write up a blog post about your positions, if you wish for a more friendly and non-challenging environment to write in, helen. I am not as accommodating as most people who believe in making nice for peace. Probably has to do with listening to too many conservatives hating on the poor and the colored. Presumably.

    Ymarsakar, you are so busy making “cracks” and questioning “arching points” that you don’t seem to realize that discussion with you is impossible. You don’t discuss; you highlight and nitpick.

    I highlight weaknesses in your arguments, because I disagree with them. I nitpick because there is no way either of us can spell out all of our differences and attempt to hammer them out, not in this lifetime.

    I suppose I could write to you concerning institutional racism, peace, war, and government, but why do that when we can talk about human nature and our capacity for violence?

    It is not as if you want me to hammer all of your points, helen. So why do you complain about my “nitpicking”?

    You don’t believe in feeling as a means whereby one can know

    I felt anger at injustices before. Does that mean I “know” that it was an injustice just because I became angry? No, I could have been wrong. Feelings aren’t really a reliable method of determining objective reality, helen. This ain’t poetry we are discussing here.

    that two people can witness the same event and learn different things from a shared experience

    Since you deny that Palestinians and Jews, in the same situation, would have the Palestinians trying to exterminate the Jews and the Jews trying to cooperate and co-exist with Palestinians, who indeed is the one that is denying the fact that “two people can witness the same event and learn different things from a shared experience”, helen? Tell me who.

    You seem to be saying that your way of seeing things is the right way.

    As opposed to what, your view on things? Are you admitting that you are saying that you way of viewing things is… not right?

    All of history, especially the history of wars, leads us to Ymarsakar and his wisdom.

    If you don’t like my interpretations of historical fact, then argue it. It ain’t like you are physically or mentally incapable of writing here, given your comments here. And the energy you put into talking about my “wisdom” can be easily put into arguing the actual merits of my case, helen. Or is that too… logical and unfeeling for you to accept?

    You say the same thing over and over again like my small brain just can’t get it but your saying it again makes it fact not opinion.

    So that’s all the reasons you can give for why you are right and I am wrong? Well, that didn’t take long, did it.

    I explained that I had made a change from Democrat to Republican and back again.

    I don’t really care about what party you switched to or from, helen. That’s not where I chose to focus my energies.

    What a way to stop dialogue!

    You can’t be serious. We didn’t stop the dialogue. We didn’t characterize you as someone who hated Jews, poor people, or as someone who didn’t have the capacity to feel empathy and compassion.

    Put away the mirror, helen. It’s not a good thing to use in arguments.

    Well, bring it to my blog, Y-man, because I know how to delete you there.

    With that kind of invitation, why wouldn’t I accept? Get real, helen. That may be your best attempt at “tactics” in warfare, but I know it as well as you do. Better, if I may say so myself.

    It means you fight with words not guns.

    Which is why you told me you were going to push a button to delete my post that was fighting you with my words. Words not acceptable to you, I see.

    It takes courage to stand your ground in the face of an attack that is violent.

    People here already know what my response is to violence. So I won’t bore them with a recap.

    This I know, it may cost more lives to fight with non-violence than with violence, but no one has ever really tried to find out the practicality of it.

    You do what you think is right, helen, so long as it is your life you are sacrificing and not anyone else’s. Me, I’m bringing out the Joint Breaking knowledge and the Nuclear Weapons to fight violence with. I’m not willing to sacrifice others, unknown others even, simply because of a hope that violent killers will run out of ammo and start talking to me.

    Can you give us one example of a country that averted war by following your proposed policy?-Danny

    Ghandi of course. Don’t bother talking about facts or knowledge though, given what helen said about knowing through feeling. If you can’t make her feel certain things, like guilt, it is not going to do much.

    It is true, Ghandi believed the same as Helen. That if the Jews were to sacrifice and immolate themselves upon the Nazis, that the Nazis would face backlash and have to stop killing Jews. Doesn’t work, but tell that to the Marxists.

    I believe that you meant “Department of A-peace-ment”.🙂

    They are so incompetent that peace is about the only thing we can entrust to them. We certainly can’t entrust war or anything that matters to them.

    If all the nonviolent people stand their ground with words and peaceful acts, while all the violent people keep shooting, then what will you have?

    A lot of factually dead non-violent people, with a lot of victorious and alive violent people. Helen is right, death is objective and factual. Which is why violence is so effective.

    All the talkers will be dead.

    Some will be alive as sex slaves and slave labor, I suspect. Even Shariah needs women, if only to hurt them.

    Death or slavery – not a good choice.

    Exactly what I was thinking.

    Let ‘em run out of bullets, then talk again.

    That worked real well for Columbine and Virginia Tech students.

    Yes, she holds the copy right to my comments here. On my blog, I hold them. Stupid but true.

    You can copy your comments to your blog, helen…. what exactly is the problem here?

    The copy right? You write something on a public domain, or semi public-domain, blog, and Book has the copyright to it?

    Not sure what law that is.

  83. I hear you, Gringo. Whenever I hear Lefties spout on about “diversity” and “we need to be a salad bowl, not a melting pot”, I want to hurl. What they really mean is they want to celebrate tribalism.

    I used to live in Belgium, a dysfunctional country now being torn apart by tribalism. Look anywhere around the world and ask where tribalism has every worked out as well as our melting pot culture.

  84. Helen, I think you misinterpreted my last comment. I didn’t mean to imply that I understand why you can’t answer the questions I asked. If your thinking isn’t already organized, then what’s the basis for your opinions? I was actually surprised to learn that you are not prepared to answer something as basic as whether self defense is moral.

    I do understand that you have many things to do, and don’t spend your days sitting at the computer discussing issues on BW’s blog. But you did join the discussion, and you know how these discussions go – especially here. I agree with Y that when you make statements here on this blog, people are expecting to see your replies here as well.

    But back to those questions I asked (I’m stubborn that way), since you have told us about your many years of education in subjects related to these issues, I still don’t understand why you can’t (won’t?) make a simple statement of principle about the morality of violence in certain circumstances. If you said you believed that violence (including self defense) is never justified, then I would stop asking. But we have had similar discussions before where I posed what I thought were fundamental questions to you, and got no straight answers. So when I said, “I don’t expect to see the response any time soon,” I didn’t mean that I understand it takes time for you to organize your thoughts so that you can write it up clearly. I meant that I don’t think you will answer at all.

  85. I was actually surprised to learn that you are not prepared to answer something as basic as whether self defense is moral.

    helen is feeling defensive, so she wants you to meet her on the territory of her choosing, which is the comment section of helen’s blog. This is so that if she doesn’t like you or what you said, she can grab support from her commenters for whatever action she deems you deserving of.

    It is simply another way of avoiding the need to justify her positions through logic and discussion, rather than feeling and taking things on faith alone.

    There is no reason why helen should refuse to recognize that just as she is more comfortable at her blog of choice, so are we. We should not move just because of a choice helen made. Her views are, frankly, not important for that.

    Our time is not unlimited either, and we can’t spend it going to “foreign indian country” all the time.

    I have nothing against reading helen’s response at her blog, but there’s no reason why I should post my comments here, there. It is just not that important.

  86. In order to prevent distortions of history, here is helen’s first comment directed towards me in this thread.

    helenl, on February 2nd, 2008 at 11:03 pm Said:
    Has it occurred to anyone else, or do I just “feel” that ymarsakar is telling me what I believe (or think or . . . )?

    My first comments are available to everyone to read. And they can clearly see that I was speaking more about the issues to Danny and Book, then I was about characterizing helen’s position one way or another.

    Most of the people who comment are on the same page and can make a simple comment and leave to do whatever they do. I make what looks simple to me and have it dissected for two days (literally). -helen

    So I was not one of those that tried to “nitpick”, as helen calls it, her initial posts here.

    But helen chose to engage with Book and Danny’s comments of disagreement. Now she is complaining about her comments being dissected? As if that was mine or Danny’s or Book’s or Deana’s fault? As if.

    I responded to Danny and Book first because I assumed helen had no interest in arguing here. When helen came back with responses, she communicated that she was interested, if only somewhat, in defending her claims or answering questions about them.

    Now it is mine or our fault that people kept challenging her successive comments?

    Who is not understand whom? And it’s not us refusing to understand helen, in my view.

    A sizable percentage of my comments here were directed towards people other than helen. So folks can’t blame me for helen’s fatigue. Nor can people at Bookworm be expected to do what helen wants, when helen does not communicate her desires.

    And so far, I haven’t had to put up with what goes on here every time I show my face on this blog.

    That’s because you don’t get challenged at your blog, helen. For good reason given what you said to me.

    Tell someone he/she doesn’t know his/her own mind and is all about feeling.

    That’s someone else’s topic. As for the second point, you yourself said that I don’t believe that one can know through feeling. Maybe thati s not all about feeling, but it is certainly more about feeling than knowledge.

    You don’t believe in feeling as a means whereby one can know -helen to ymar

    That’s your quote, not my accussation.

    All of history, especially the history of wars, leads us to Ymarsakar and his wisdom. You are a big part of why I tire of Bookworm’s site.

    Why thank you. Now Danny, Deana, and Bookworm won’t feel so bad about dissecting your comments for two whole days, helen, given that most of your fatigue comes from my presence.

  87. Danny, you wouldn’t believe some of what I heard from my contemporaries in the engineering field.

    It impacted on what I spoke of before to you. That people care only for results. One guy, former enlisted in the Navy, said something to the effect that Bush waited 9 days until sending federal aid to New Orleans because Bush just didn’t give a damn.

    I asked him if he was okay with sending the military, like the National GUard, and he said that that should have been the first thing or natural thing to be done. He didn’t particularly like people sitting on their arse waiting for orders, as he termed it.

    Bush’s explanation, which the folks I talked to neither accepted nor knew about, is that it would be a tad unConstitutional to take the National Guard away from the Governor of Louisiana, in order for the President to give direct orders to. America is still a nation with state’s rights, after all. And the President can only override the Governor of a State concerning the National Guard, by nationalizing the National Guard. THe former Navy enlisted also expected Bush to send in the Marines and the Army, like Kennedy did back when the South was trying to resist desegregation.

    The media, the Democrats, and the Governor of Louisiana all played a part in kicking the buck upstairs. And the COnstitution does not protect or justify the President’s decision to these folks. ALl these folks care about is action, Danny. Action is what speaks loudly, and excuses might as well just walk out the door.

    Of course the folks I listened to are biased. THey believe in controlled demolitions, even though they are engineers. That just means they can hold more boxes in their heads that don’t touch.

    But the core is the same. They see Bush not being on the problem off the dot, as confirmation that Bush is a rich white boy that couldn’t care less if black folks died.

    Nothing you can “say” will convince them otherwise. The only thing that will convince them, like what convinced Iraqis, is you cutting the orders to have the military “do something”, even if that meant taking care of the Democrat party, the media, the governor of Louisiana, and the Mayor of New Orleans with military and federal force.

    That’s ALL people care about in the end. Sure you have a rare few interested in “principles” and “fairness”, but if those folks were the majority, our wars wouldn’t be as horrendous as they are. And we would have far longer periods of peace.

    It is, of course, also a bit of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” syndrome. If Bush does do something effective, like invading Iraq, while ignoring Congress and the Constitution, then Bush will be called the destroyer of the US Constitution and profiting himself through warfare.

    But that’s not the point. THe point is that while people believe in propaganda often and always, it is results in reality that has a chance of convincing some that they shouldn’t believe in propaganda.

    And the ironic thing is that these folks are neither dumb nor naive. They are not fake liberals in ivory towers. They know, to a certain extent, the ruthless fear monger tactics that could be used to sway the majority. THey just think Republicans and conservatives are the cause of it, and the Democrats the solution to it. Not so much idealistic as reasoning based upon deductive logic. Which is a big thing to engineers working with electricity.

    They aren’t non-violent either, since the former Navy enlisted was calling for revolution and blood in the street if the government keeps taking advantage of folks. Which kind of contradicts the belief of the former Navy enlisted that all guns should be outlawed, and only police should have them. He prefers police to only have tazers as well. Contradictory yes, but that’s human psychology for you.

    Cynical to a certain extent, but not as cynical as people that believe Democrats and Republicans are the same and both bad. THose people tend to be narcissists that focus on their own importance. Since if both parties are wrong, this single individual must be superior eh.

    So the folks I talked to still believe. But with the media as it is and the propaganda that gets out, their information is pretty inaccurate to say the least. Ironic also is that the “controlled demolitions” guy also believed the government or industry controlled all the media. Yet he likes youtube and google. THe idea that google is a big business is… in another mental box presumably.

    That’s the same way we think about the media, except we don’t see the fake liberals as controlling the media so much as dominating its policy and editor slots.

    The dichotomy is an interesting commentary on the arguments about Leftist bias vs Rightist bias in the media. THe people making claims that the media is owned by the Right, have gotten economic information from the media. For example, one guy answered that the media reported the economy as bad. Then changed his story to “good” when it was the wealth boy media.

    As I said at the top of this thread, men have boxes that don’t touch. Nice in learning skills, but not so nice when figuring out propaganda and psychological warfare tactics. Which is why men find conversations with women oftentimes frustrating. Boxes ain’t touching you see.

    In conclusion, Danny, it is interesting hearing engineers talk conspiracy, assassination, and politics. You either get the real conservatives or you get a Leftist that can explain his thinking. That thinking might not make sense to us, but it is better than what Neo got in response to her comments about Bush. I don’t know if you were that way, Danny, but maturity and wisdom were never gifts lavishly given out to folks in my view. It takes age and experience to have a chance at wisdom. All of this makes it very important concerning what policies should be adopted or not. We know that people want a winner, but convincing people that you are winning for them and not an enemy, is very hard in today’s factionalistic and politically torn battlefield of lies, internet, google, youtube, wars, and so such. War, of course, makes this all moot. Since whoever wins, was right. And whoever loses, was wrong.

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