- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I've been chastised, and rightfully so, by our duty anarchist.

Posted by: Frenchy on December 22, 1999 at 18:08:25:

In Reply to: Try picking your examples more carefully, Frenchy. posted by Farinata on December 22, 1999 at 13:32:10:

: : : You can't predict the course of invention; merely lying back and saying "someone will work it all out somehow" is pure Pangloss. And continuing to consume ever-greater amounts whilst leaving the cleanup and hangover to the next generations is rather irresponsible, to say the least.

: : $$$$$$$$$$$$$$You say Pangloss despite tons upon tons of evidence that show it's true.

: No, Frenchy. You fail to understand the difference between mere 'invention' and beneficial invention.

: Are the machine gun and the neutron bomb beneficial inventions?

Absolutely; I certainly wouldn't want to go to war without lots of machine guns and the nuetron bomb became part of the US's inventory to help defeat the Commies. The trick that finally did it though, was Reagans threat of starting up 'Star Wars', another fine invention. I hope your not thinking of responding with the whine 'If we can send a man to the moon, why can't we give everybody government cheese'.

: : I've brought up a couple of simple examples in the past.

: You've tried to cite a few examples which I refuted; I notice you still haven't followed up to my last message on the subject.

$$$$$$$$$not yet, but now I suppose I'll have to.

: The simple fact of the matter is that the global mess we are requires more than a simple quick-fix; it requires a paradigm shift in our patterns of consumption.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Then start. Get the hell off the web and go live in the woods.

: : Inventions will occur. You can look down your nose all you want, but inventions will occur that will change the way we live.

: Like I said, c.f. nerve gas, atomic bombs, machine guns, biological weapons and the like.

And we can forget aspirin, polio vaccine, computers, air travel, the invention of the 'free market', the increase in the living standards of those who are blessed to live under that system, the printing press was a pretty good invention, antibiotics, the salad shooter.

Apparently the best you can do is to observe that sometimes man lives uses his genius to go to war. Besides, aren't there some things worth standing up for, even if it does mean going to war? Don't forget, it's guys like you who romanticize Che and Fidel.

: It's unrealistic to expect that all technology is beneficial or necessary and it's unrealistic to predict that the Holy Grail that will save mankind is just around the corner; you simply cannot predict when inventions will occur; or if they will occur.

All science and technology have the potential to be beneficial. Depends on the folks who are using it, no? And necessary? Well, I can just imagine what you would abandon if you had the power. God, what a thought.
I'd feel a lot safer predicting the occurance of inventions then stating none will occur.

: As I've also pointed out, many 'inventions' were the result of long and patient work (e.g. the steam engine, which took ~175 years to develop into its useful form, or plastics; which are the result of 2,000 years study).

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Now I'm really curious, and I go to you for enlightment. Please explicate further on the last two statements, about the steam engine and plastics.

: There are no such plans in place; because the oil companies and corporate lobbies are sticking their heads in the sand and refusing to believe that the problem even exists.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Is it possible that's the appearance they want to give?

: : $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Yeah, I read that peice too. It didn't impress me in the least, not as a way of persuading me to believe that what you and SDF are talking about anyhow.

: : The Pueblo indians of the SW disappeared too, and they were surrounded by land. Ditto the Mayans, the Aztec, the Oltecs, probably lots of others.

: In case you haven't noticed, it was political and environmental causes that finished off the Mayans, Aztecs and Toltecs

: The Mayans rendered their civilisation unsustainable by a combination of war with the Toltecs and unsustainable agriculture to support a growing civilisation; they indulged in slash-and-burn forest clearance; which destroyed the empire's long-term sustainability.

: The Toltec and Aztec empires both ended in warfare; the Toltec caused by the migration caused by the collapse of the Mayan empire, the Aztec empire caused by Cortez and cavalry; there were also an unfortunate number of natural disasters around the period.

: As for the Pueblo, the thing that caused them to leave their cities was environmental change; long-term rains failure in their homeland.

: Nice examples, Frenchy; whilst trying to refute the idea that environmental destruction can cause the collapse of civilisations, you've cited two civilisations that were wiped out by environmental destruction and two in which environmental destruction played a part.

Actually, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that if each of those civilizations had what I'll call the spirit of European Renaissance they could have developed their own technology to create other methods of farming? Why didn't they grow beyond the slash and burn method of farming? Why didn't they discover crop rotation? Or maybe even another method best suited for those climes?

Condidering that those civilizations had lived there for so long I'd have to say they died out from their own ignorance.
I read somewhere not long ago that there was evidence that the Pueblo engaged in cannabalism routinely. I had to laugh because some tribes wanted this information suppressed, the 'noble savage' thing loses it's patina, you know, living at one with the Great Spirit.

: : The Easter Island thing serves as good propaganda; "The sky is falling!"

: Check the facts. They're there, regardless of what you think of them.

I have, I read that link about Easter Island. Nice propaganda.
I'd simply counter with the example of present day Hawaii. Or Guam. Or Japan.

: Tell me, Frenchy, do you go to your doctor and start arguing medicine with him, too?

: If you can accept the fact that a trained professional can know more about the subject about you, then why do you have such difficulty accepting it when the person in question holds different political views to you?

But the same question can be turned around. If it's a matter of degree, so to speak, then the guy with the most letters after his name is the guy who is always right, right? That is what your saying, isn't it? The other thing it sounds like your saying is that the belief you have in equality doesn't extend to allowing others to have their own political beliefs.

Besides, medicine is predicated on science in the traditional sense of the word; labs, experiments, predictions, repeatability, etc. The science that you allude to is science in the service of political goals.

: Would you go to your doctor and say that bad humours caused malaria, not anopheles aegypti?

So your point is what? That the discovery of quinine was a worthwhile invention? That science, real science, has a place and benefits mankind?? Penicillin? Antibiotics?

: Farinata.

: (Of course, it goes without saying that, if past behaviour is anything to go by, Frenchy will react to this by saying that I want to be obeyed and have everyone recognize me as the supreme authority on everything.

: Untrue; I'm perfectly willing to cede points to anyone; but would prefer that they actually did some reading and studying on the subject first.

: And the idea of an anarchist wanting to have power over others is somewhat absurd...)

Acutually, yes, I would say something like that. I see you as an educated person who would not hesitate a moment to lord it over others. Yes, that would be an accurate statement.
If your an anarchist then I'm a full blown Commie.

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