- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Amor doctrinae floreat.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 23, 1999 at 16:16:26:

In Reply to: Call it Ego. posted by Frenchy on December 23, 1999 at 10:48:35:

: : Why do you want to go to war in the first place?; it's a waste of money and resources.

: So if you had it your way you would have opted to let Hitler go on murdering Jews?

No. I wouldn't have let Hitler take power in the first place. The heirarchical capitalist nature of the Weimar allowed a small group of extremists to place themselves in a position of power and influence.

: : : The trick that finally did it though, was Reagans threat of starting up 'Star Wars', another fine invention.

: : Actually, Star Wars was junked because the software was deemed too unreliable and unwieldy (at 30 million lines of code) to be totally trustworthy in battle situations.

: You ought to talk to people who have the facts. Tight lipped bunch, but there are ways...

I know someone who was involved in writing the code; if he doesn't have 'the facts', no-one does.

Even after the US spending many billions of dollars ($40 billion) on anti-missile systems, there is no reliable way of stopping an ICBM. Star Wars was a technical failure and an expensive white elephant.

To quote General Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking in February this year:

"The simple fact is that we do not yet have the technology to field a national missile defense. We have, in fact, put some $40 billion into the program over the last 10 years. But today we do not technologically have a bullet that can hit a bullet."

To quote Representative Chet Edwards:

"Star wars is not just fiscally irresponsible though. It presents a false sense of security. It is like putting a $5,000 burglar alarm on the front door of your house, and yet keeping the front windows of your house open and the back door of your house unlocked."

It just isn't feasible, Frenchy; and the US has wasted a great deal of money finding that out the hard way.

(I note Frenchy has now skipped a number of points I raised; I take it you cede them to me, Frenchy, since you don't seem to have an answer...?)

: : None of which resulted in a paradigm shift (with the exception of the printing press);

: Are you saying that the paradigm that we accept today as normal is the same paradigm that was accepted in the 12th century? the 5th? the 18th? There have been no changes?

In patterns of consumption, there have been no serious changes, yes.

The pattern of consumption has been of treating the natural world as something to exploit for useful materials; in the 12th Century, they didn't know about the environment as such, but there were few enough people not to overtax the Earth's self-healing properties.

Now, there are. There are simply not enough natural resources to go around; and our patterns of consumption are predicated on non-renewable resources, just as they were 800 years ago.

Pumping oil from the sea-bed and burning it is little different to cutting down a tree and burning it; you are using the combustion of carbon compounds to provide heat and light; and the waste byproducts are water vapour, carbon dioxide and monoxide and sundry volatile organic compounds.

The one difference is that no new oil is being formed; trees grow back, eventually, if you give them time.

: : they merely led to refinements in the pattern of consumption; the power heirarchy remained unchanged throughout.

: Yeah, Farintia, the people of the 1500's were rabid consumers. And despite the fact that only 5% of the world's population utilized democratic methods of choosing their leaders at the turn of this century, compared to somewhere around 50% today, the heirarchy remains unchanged.

"The rapid growth of the world population is a recent phenomenon in the history of the world. It is estimated that 2000 years ago the population of the world was about 300 million. For a very long time the world population did not grow significantly, with periods of growth followed by periods of decline. It took more than 1600 years for the world population to double to 600 million."

(Taken from the UN 1998 Revision of World Population Estimates).

In other words, there were less than a tenth of the people alive then as there are now.

If the average human requires 1,500 calories per day to survive in reasonable health, then a world population requires 450 gigacalories to survive; obviously a world population ten times that needs ten times as much output to survive. It's simple maths.

As for the democracy bit; the present government has never had less of an influence over peoples' lives; the real bosses are the corporates now; and guess how many of them are democratically elected...?

: : I don't. There are some good things about Cuba; especially when set against other Latin American states; but there is also a great deal wrong with Cuba. I never romanticized anyone in my life.

: I said 'guys like you', Lefties in general, Socailists/Communists, the usual suspects.

In other words, you were making inaccurate generalisations, yes?

: : : All science and technology have the potential to be beneficial.

: : Exhibit A: the IgNobel Prizes; awarded each year to research that is felt to be truly spurious and a waste of funding

(snip my previous examples)

: That's not research

Of course it is. The formula for biscuit-dunking wasn't previously known; now it is. It's certainly research and discovery.

: that's some shill w/ a phd who managed to scam the taxpayers out of some hard earned dough. Blame idiot buereaucrats. Or idiot college administrators.

Actually, if you notice, the biscuit-dunker was sponsored by a company; McVities.

(Another previous IgNobel winner was sponsored by Kellogg's after doing research on how to make flakes stay crunchy after adding milk.)

Will you now admit that not all research is beneficial?

(again, a vast gulf, as Frenchy skips over parts of my response he has no answers to...)

(snip steam engine history)

: Yeah, I figured you'd go back to the Greeks.

Actually, I counted from Worcester's work; which is why I said 175 years, not 2,000.

: I guess you could also say that electricity was a 2,000 year project too since lodestones were known that long ago.

No, because I counted from the first practical application; not the first discovery of the principles involved.

(snip history of plastics)

: : Both of these inventions have been around for some time; they have only been refined into usable forms in the West comparatively recently.

: You show there is still a use for pedants.

You asked; I told you. You can find any of this information yourself; I'm not stopping you; just go to a search engine and look around.

: : : : 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.

: : (cutting out surplus verbiage)

: : Not really; read Jared Diamond's Pulitzer-Prize-winning work Guns, Germs and Steel - the evidence is that the Europeans were the result of a lucky accident of location and environmental factors; not any especial genius on the part of Caucasians.

: Is this a variation on the notion that the populations of Southern nations, Africa, S. America, et al, do not need to be as creative in fighting their environments because so much is supplied via the bounty of the jungles?

Not at all. In fact, the tribes of Papua, New Guinea are every bit as creative as Europeans; but Papua has no metals worth speaking of and very little that could be used as farmland. Consider what happened to the first Europeans that arrived; they died out while the natives continued to prosper. All races are equal in creativity; it's just that the environment shapes the possible responses of the inhabitants.

: How, if humans are essentially equal in all important ways, does location produce such divergent results?

Like I said, read Guns, Germs and Steel.

7 of the world's 8 domesticable animals were indigenous to the Fertile Crescent (the area between North Africa and Greece and India).

Most of the world's large-seeded grasses were native to that area.

The area was spread along a broadly similar band of latitude running east-west; resulting in broadly similar climactic conditions that resulted in easy migration throughout this area - which led to the exchange of ideas and technology.

In contrast, America is angled north-south and its climate varies widely according to latitude; thus preventing easy migration (also preventing the easy spread of technology, since little migration results in little exchange of ideas).

: : : Condidering that those civilizations had lived there for so long I'd have to say they died out from their own ignorance.

: : Not so; see above. They died out mainly from environmental limitations and infighting over environmental resources.

: Environmental limitations? Ever hear of the Imperial Valley? Steppe farming? Crop rotation? Composting? Man has the capacity to kick Mother Natures ass if he uses the old noodle.

You really believe that? - with a repair bill from last year's extreme climate events adding up to $60 billion; and a bigger one on the way from this year?

(extreme climate events; storms, hurricanes, cyclones and the like.)

: : (That, and the fact that the Spanish inflicted genocide on them because they weren't Christians, of course...)

: Just like the Aztecs did to the Mayans, and the Mayans did to the Oltecs, and the Iriquois did to the Hurons etc. The Europeans were just better at it.

Not, however, because of any intrinsic superiority, though; just by accident of geography.

Be careful, Frenchy; are you really trying to say that the white European Caucasian is the highest form of humanity? - because you're edging dangerously close to it.

(I include the population of the USA and Canada in the "European" bracket, in case you're wondering; since the US was built on European lines.)

: : The 'noble savage' idea is bunk; always has been, always will be.

: There are many, many who disagree with that. The Wicca people, the New Age guys, the Pagans, a lot of environmentalwackos.

: : That said, the idea that Western society is any less brutal is also bunk.

: As long as millions of peoples from around the world keep applying for visas at American Embassies I'll just have to take that with a grain of salt.

So you refuse to admit that the US Air Force dropped 539,129 tonnes of bombs on Cambodia in the years 1969-1973; that they somehow didn't kill 700,000 civilians in the process?

(The US dropped more bombs on Cambodia in those years than they did on Japan in World War II; and they weren't even legally at war with Cambodia.)

: : : 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.

: : Read Guns, Germs and Steel; it mentions the Philippines, Hawaii and Polynesia specifically, since Jared Diamond did a lot of field work there.

: But the reality is that those islands are successful because they are supplied by external souces. Modern technology, ships, refrigeration, oil tankers, things like that.

For certain specific values of 'success'; and over a timescale of 70 years, not 3000.

(snip yet more stuff that Frenchy has avoided answering. No comment, Frenchy...?)

: : On the contrary; I will defend the right of people to have whatever political beliefs they want; as long as they respect the right of others to hold their beliefs.

: : But when someone tries to argue the political theory that day is night and that the Sun revolves around the Earth, they are a) simply factually incorrect and b) making rash statements in a field I do have some qualification in.

: Free markets, a market economy, all the things that allow people to be free and to do what they want to do is what I'm defending.

Perhaps you'd like to go and tell that to the Nike workforce in Saigon; who provide the West with trainers; or the Keyhinge employees in Da Nang who provide Disney and McDonald's with injection-moulded toys; or any one of a number of people who are not free, because you are defending the right of the rich countries to exploit the poor countries.

The only freedom you are defending is the freedom of the rich to extort money from the poor.

: Sorry about your expertise and qualifications, if it's bs, I'll call you on it. The world is full of genius' who later proved to be wrong.

Of course, you have actually failed to comment on the points I've raised. The argument thus far has run:

Far: There's every reason to be cautious and examine our future; it's not at all rosy.

Fre: Oh yes it is! Everything's fine and we will continue to be rich and free and happy despite all you nasty Greenies! If you're right, explain X, Y and Z...!

Far: X, Y and Z; here are the figures and citations to show that you're wrong; here are the case studies and here are the workings.

Fre: I don't believe you, you're a Leftie; you really want to rule the world and take away my freedom. I know this because you're a Leftie; and it's what all Lefties want to do!

Far: Here are some more figures, links and evidence to refute what you're saying...

(and so on)

I've answered your questions with citations, reasoned explanations and substantiated facts and figures. You have continued to avoid the questions you couldn't answer, but insist that you were right despite your lack of any subtantial evidence to stand on, or your lack of any actual study in the field.

: Remember the guy who predicted that his new invention, TNT, would bring an end to wars because the shit was too destructive? He was an expert in his field too.

Nobel was an expert chemist; after all, he invented dynamite, but he had a decided lack of understanding of the human condition; and the Nobel Peace Prize is his eternal admission of error; 'I was wrong, so here's a prize to the people who make peace'

And he wasn't speaking about his field, Frenchy. The fact that someone is an expert chemist doesn't automatically make them an expert psychologist. Poor old Nobel was naive enough to believe that people wouldn't engage in war because it was horrible; that had never stopped people before Nobel.

: Do you think you might have some kind of a God complex?

No, Frenchy, it's just that I'm arguing on ground I know and you don't. I'm not stopping you from knowing; indeed, I'm trying to explain things as clearly as possible to you, but you are refusing to listen because it represents a point of view you do not want to listen to.

: Your always bringing up this thing about your knowledge, sorta like SDF, who has read Marx's Das Kapital, by the virtue of which we're supposed to, what? Bow and scrape?

You could try providing me with some decent opposition. Doc Cruel and Gee both can - and they at least have the sense to do some background reading before trying to battle me on my own turf.

I don't expect you to bow and scrape; you are a fellow human being; equal to me in absolute stature.

: C'mon, get off your horse.

Pull yourself out of the mud, Frenchy. Get some knowledge. Upskill yourself, and maybe you can fight on me on vaguely equal terms.

: I don't know a fcccccking thing about football either. Or baseball. Or basketball. I'm a confirmed organized sports hater.

Mens sana in corpore sano; I rowed and fenced for my University. I don't hate sport; it's just that a lot of sports are basically just distractions for the masses.

: : : 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.

: : Rubbish. Climate science is based just as much on experiment as any other branch of science.

: So why is there so much disagreement by the experts in this feild?

It's called 'scientific debate'; and you get just as much debate in medical research; pace the argument over the transmission mechanism for BSE->CJD transmission in humans.

The problem is that this topic is a hot one; and a big one; and one that oil companies stand to lose a lot of money on; which is why they fund lobbying groups like the GCC.

And free-marketeers like the GCC, because it stands against environmental restrictions on business. Nonetheless, as I've said, the evidence for global warming is now so overwhelming that even the oil companies are starting to drop support for the GCC. Shell stopped supporting the GCC a couple of months ago; Ford stopped supporting them a couple of weeks ago.

The GCC is dying; and when the 5% who are getting funded to make noise finally run out of support, the 95% who believe that the evidence for global warming is compelling will represent a consensus.

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

: : : So your point is what?

: God, I hate it when you guys cut out some of my replies. It's like cheating to me.

Says the guy who ignored large parts of my previous message because he didn't have any answers...

: I alluded to quinine. An invention that helped save the lives of thousands.

Actually, quinine is a natural product; not an invention; it's the ground-up bark of the Chinchona tree; and was first discovered to be anti-malarial by the Incas; the first usage by Westerners was in 1636.

It wasn't invented as such; it was discovered; and probably by accident.

Unfortunately, the malaria parasite is evolving resistance to quinine and chloroquine; and global warming is leading to the mosquito that carries the malaria parasite spreading; currently, about 45% of the world's population lives in malarial zones; by 2100, the Red Cross estimates that 60% of the world's population will be living in malarial zones; including large parts of the southern and central US.

(snip more bits Frenchy didn't respond to...)

: : Which only goes to show how little you know about me and about my political thoughts and beliefs.

: What? Are you that complex that I am incapable of understanding your thoughts?

I didn't say that. I said that you didn't appear to understand my thoughts, not that you were incapable of doing so.

: I've been going back and forth for months with you and the best you can do is say that 'Frenchy, your just not up to snuff in your intellectual development when it comes to political matters'?

No I'm not. I'm saying, "look, I spent four years of my life studying this subject; I have a slightly more in-depth knowledge than you do of this subject; I'm not saying that this makes me a better person per se, but are you really arrogant enough to think you know as much about climate science as I do?"

: Your a Leftie. Am I wrong?

Yes. I'm an anarchist; neither left or right; I don't believe in heirarchical party politics. If that makes me a Leftie in your books, so be it.

: : : If your an anarchist then I'm a full blown Commie.

: : Do you know exactly what an anarchist is, Frenchy?

: : If that statement is anything to go by, no, you don't.

: : It isn't (as you seem to think) a 'halfway-house' between capitalism and Communism. I suggest you read the FAQ before making rash statements about what I am and am not.

: : As for you being a Communist; well, it would be an improvement... especially over your current state of verging-on-fascism.

: I don't know how much clearer I could be about beliveing in free markets.

: That's fascism?

"The Whites must take this as a wake up call and say enough is enough. If we rally together, we can bring this government of depraved Communists to their knees. We should not be intimidated by this self serving, all consuming, government of former terrorists and their corrupt big business partners.

Our forebears went into this uncharted territory and tamed this country of savages and wild animals. How can we fail if we show the same faith and resolution as they did?"

Quoted directly from your post, Frenchy. If you choose Fred Rundle of the Aryan White Brotherhood as your spokesman, why are you surprised if you get labelled as a fascist?

: Snot nosed kid.

Wow, like, mature, man...


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