[extropy-chat] Rational force?

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Dec 11 18:40:34 UTC 2006

On Dec 10, 2006, at 10:59 PM, Lee Corbin wrote:

> Samantha writes
>> On Sun, 2006-12-10 at 20:33 -0800, Lee Corbin wrote:
>>> The Geneva Convention, for example, was expressedly designed to
>>> rely upon the civilized conventions of modern advanced nations. It's
>>> the ultimate in foolhardiness for highly civilized nations to  
>>> abide by it
>>> when the brutes are cutting people's heads off in the most painful,
>>> barbaric, and horrific manner that they can devise.
>> Do you then find common cause with those in the US who justify  
>> torture,
>> detention without charges, arraignment or trial of all we simply call
>> "enemy combatant" or "suspected terrorist" with no burden of proof
>> required?
> No, in general:  I agree with you that we must abhor torture, keep it
> illegal, and abstain from detaining our citizens without charges. But
> those caught on the battlefield under the flag of no country have, in
> my opinion, none of the legal rights of American civilians.

They have all the rights of human beings since that is what they are.   
Our founding documents make explicit that rights are not a matter of  
citizenship in this or that country.  There are also international  
conventions on such matters that we are signatories to despite this  
administration's insistence it can ignore such at its sole discretion.

>>> This has always been a fatal flaw in the Western psyche and in  
>>> Western
>>> traditions. Barbaric mobsters were able to take over many  
>>> neighborhoods
>>> in Chicago and New York in the 1920s and 30s simply because the
>>> civilized law-abiding people of Illinois and New York State could  
>>> not
>>> understand that the circumstances were no longer as the American  
>>> founders
>>> assumed.
>> You mean back when the government was so barbaric as to foist the
>> Prohibition on the people?
> That's the time period in question, yes.  "Barbaric"?  Prohibition  
> was "barbaric"?
> Shortsighted it was, but enacted in the most civilized way realistic.

It was a barbaric blow against liberty in a supposedly free country.   
It was barbaric just as the War on Some Drugs is.

>>  This notion that liberty and rights should disappear because somehow
>> things are like in the times of the founders shows a singular lack of
>> understanding of liberty imho.
> Yes, there are risks whenever orderly due process is suspended. But if
> the alternative is to be ruled by gangsters and criminals---well,  
> then, you
> see you've lost your exalted controls anyway, haven't you?

That is not the alternative.  It is a false dichotomy.  What 'exalted  
controls' are you speaking of?

> Think of it as a revolution.  After the criminals have taken over  
> San Francisco
> (say it's 1850), or Al Capone's and rival mobs have taken over  
> Chicago,
> think of it as revolutionary activity against an illegal  
> government:  and, as you
> know, as as the founders knew, you cannot hope to win in the King's  
> courts
> or depend upon a syndicate meeting of gangsters to redress your  
> grievances.

A revolution today to lynch many in our government might be  
worthwhile.  :-)

>> Stop the War on some drugs and much of the problem will lessen
>> considerably.
> Quite true.  But there is no guarantee that south central LA will be  
> reclaimed
> to civilization simply by outlawing drugs. The National Guard needs  
> to surround
> the entire area, and drive all suspected gang members into  
> concentration camps
> and restore order.  Then one by one, those found not guilty of  
> belonging to
> gangs can be released.

A good start would be getting government out of the business of  
determining what people consume and out of the racket of running up  
drug prices and profitability.

You want to put people in concentration camps on mere suspicion?   You  
may find yourself on the end of the rope you brandish if you implement  
such a thing.

> The alternative is to wait until slowly all of society looks the way  
> it does there.

Another false dichotomy and scare-mongering.

>>> All that seems to matter to some people is that their own  
>>> government play
>>> by all the niceties, no matter what ultimate loathsome  
>>> consequences obtain,
>>> and that their own hands remain lily-white.
>> It is our own freedoms from unfettered government evils that we  
>> protect
>> not the lily whiteness of our hands.  Do you not understand that?
> I do understand that government poses a spectacular threat, don't  
> misunderstand
> me.  Indeed, the people must occasionally rise up by force every  
> once in a while
> (Thomas Jefferson recommended every fifty years or so.)
> Meanwhile, we *must* recognize an even greater evil that the probably
> (but not certainly!) temporary suspension of a few civil rights for  
> some
> people;  Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt understood this---
> why can't you?

Gangs are a greater evil than what our government has become?  No way.

>>> Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.
>> Evil triumphs when people forget about freedom from fear of  
>> government
>> power and consider freedom and civil rights as optional niceties.
> Yes, I agree totally.  But not all evils are "government power",  
> Samantha.
> You have to keep the other evils also from triumphing.

Not by forgetting about liberty and human rights in order to fight  
over-inflated bogeymen.

- samantha

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