View Full Version : humans are slowly killing themselves...


korey
08-01-03, 07:38 PM
Is it just me, or does it seem like humans are in a constant race with eachother to ultimately kill themselves(and everything else on the planet) off? I mean, "we" not only destroy everything in sight, but we harvest everything to make way for new forms of pollution. We feed until our bodies become grossly mis-shapen. We've gone from killing for survival to killing just for fun. We inject, pop, smoke, drink, etc. various things to make us feel even more superior and "special". We're all semi-sadomasochistic hedonists. As if that wasn't enough, we convert to killing eachother and we twist thoughts and words around to gain power in the world. This all probably just sounds like ramblings of an idiot, but I think humans need to wake up and stop being so ... so ... blegh ... Does anyone else feel the same way or similar, or do my opinions just seem like overscrutinizations? Thanks in advance for replying!

Shalashaska
08-01-03, 09:10 PM
True, we may not be at the most noble portion of our existence, but really, things are not much worse than they have been for most of history.
Hopefully, we will move out of our immature phase into an enlightened, pure race. However, we probably won't live to see this grand evolution.

Fraggle Rocker
08-01-03, 10:43 PM
My theory is that humans get along with themselves, each other, and their surroundings best when there is a reasonable rate of progress. It gives everyone a feeling of optimism because it looks like the future will be better, and it also fuels enough economic growth to support the existence of stable organizations and to make everyone prosperous enough to not feel hopeless.

When there is no progress humanity and its institutions stagnate. I'm not sure we've really experienced that recently in the Western world, not even in my (creak creak, where's my trifocals, grandma) much more extended residence on this planet. But people in the Second and Third Worlds certainly have, and those in the Third still do.

When progress goes too quickly, it outpaces our ability to keep up. We get anxious and our institutions spin out of control. That's what we call a Paradigm Shift and that's what's been going on for the last couple of decades. If I had to pin it down to a date I would say it started when PC workstations began to turn the workplace upside down and shake it. Or you could say it was launched by the demise of the Second World and the complete reshaping of the global political canvas. Or perhaps it was the 9-11 hijackers' redefinition of the concept of "war" and our government's utter failure to get with the program.

Whichever, or choose one of your own. I'm sure somebody in another part of the world would have a totally different but equally dispiriting perspective on it.

Shala is right. There's a lot to feel hopeless about. And this isn't the first time Homo sapiens has gone through a period like this.

But there are also reasons for hope.

The second derivative of the population curve has gone negative. I.e., the rate of growth is falling and promises to stop and reverse before the turn of the next century.

Since the U.S. left Vietnam to the Vietnamese, and even with the statistical perturbation of the Iran-Iraq war, the percentage of the world's population killed by government violence in an average year is at the lowest point in modern history.

When my generation finally dies off and people who grew up with e-mail as the standard mode of communication take over the management of enterprises, telecommuting will replace 4-hour SUV round trips, America's energy consumption will plummet, and parents will raise their children.

There's just a whole shitload of TV channels.

You can get sushi in Missouri.

America is getting a huge infusion of immigrants from new places. And that is a good thing. It always revitalizes our culture.

And if none of that makes you feel reassured, try this: After 12,000 years, you can still depend on unconditional love from your dog. Humans and dogs were the first multi-species community this planet ever hosted. Our ability to love a "person" of a totally different species gives us hope that we can certainly learn to love people who merely live in a different country.

Seriously, every time I say this on SciForums I get a truly heart-warming thank-you note in my personal mailbox from somebody who really needed to be reminded. So I'll say it again. If you feel bad about people, spend more time with your dog. He will NEVER let you down!

Shalashaska
08-01-03, 10:50 PM
While I agree with the rest of your points, Fraggle, I fail to see what this 'telecommuting' is. The worlds energy consumption will not decline until a new source of energy is found, and as such the earth will continue to be diseased by the cancer of oil.
Let me rephrase that, not until a new source of energy is found, but until the new sources of energy we have are adopted by those with power.
In 1980 one man converted his car to run on methane fuel by himself in his garage. If he can do it, why can't the automobile industry do it?
Simple: they don't want to, because they get money from oil tycoons.

Dr Lou Natic
08-01-03, 11:12 PM
The way humans are killing themselves is overfishing. Energy consumption doesn't really matter, humans will find new ways to get energy.
But overfishing is going to sting. The chain reaction it will cause seems infinite. Infact, I've never been able to finish it in my mind, and I've tried many times. We don't realise how much we still need from nature, and once the fish are gone everything will, it will take time but eventually plants will be effected, and plankton, and we won't have oxygen.
Or I see a big mother of a human erasing disease coming soon. One that simply won't be able to be cured, overpopulation makes diseases all too easy to spread. And if its a fast acting disease we'll be gone before we know whats hit us. The lights from our cities could shine on after we are gone if it was fast enough, that would be amusing.
But its more likely the human species will just be culled drastically by the disease, with only a few hermits in the country remaining.
I'd like to see 5.8 of the 6 billion gone. It would be beneficial in everyway for everything.

Shalashaska
08-02-03, 12:05 AM
Energy consumption isn't the issue. I'd be happy if all the oil was consumed, and then we'd be forced to get a different source of energy. The problem is that the exhaust from the burning of oil is polluting the enviroment, not to mention over fishing, over hunting, and all the forms of enviromental destruction in progress.
As it is, the earth can repair itself if we stop now, however, if we go at this rate for much longer, say, 20 years, the earth will be permanently damaged, and will not be able to heal without foreign intervention.

Clockwood
08-02-03, 12:35 AM
The strongest will survive. Those who do things suicidal in nature will be outcompeted by those with the will not to. I WANT people to be masochistic suicidal junkies. It means less competition for me and my descendants.

Shalashaska
08-02-03, 12:39 AM
A little selfish, don't you think, Clockwood? We're talking about the betterment of all humanity here, if all humanity descends into some dark age, I don't think your descendants would have much of a choice but to follow.

ripleofdeath
08-02-03, 04:48 AM
what hard case responses to the thread
so far
Fraggle Rocker
has defined love as obedience from dependence of less intellegent beings perverted to be dependable on humans by human lazzyness and greed

then

Dr Lou Natic
stating selfishness and mass murder and lack of caring as the only way forward

then

Clockwood
copying Dr Lou Natic


oooookaaayyyyyy

420Joey
08-02-03, 07:08 AM
Ripleofdeath is blantly ignorant to his surroundings dont mind him as he mocks people that are 100 times smarter than him.

Fraggle Rocker
08-02-03, 10:23 AM
I find these doomsday scenarios a bit exaggerated. Perhaps because I grew up with nuclear bomb drills in school and neighbors building fallout shelters. Now that was a doomsday scenario! Things look a whole lot better with that as a reference standard.

The most effective birth control is prosperity. The only reason that the statistics on the percentage of the world's population living "in poverty" are not dropping it the usual one. The doomsday industry keeps redefining "poverty" so they can stay in business. Clean water, access to medical care, and a subsistence diet are more widely available than they were in my childhood. (In fact somebody just invented a solar powered device that produces about two quarts of distilled and purified water in 24 hours, and it's 100% plastic so it can be manufactured cheaply anywhere.) As a result the birthrate even in places like Bangla Desh is dropping.

The world population is now predicted to peak at about ten billion before the end of this century, and then start dropping. I don't know if it will ever again stand at 200 million, but I think you're being more than a little pessimistic to believe that humanity is not steadily becoming more efficient in the exploitation of renewable resources. I'm sure that a population of two or three billion will be able to live in a state of equilibrium that wasn't possible when the figure passed that benchmark going the other way.

Telecommuting will indeed have a profound effect on America's energy consumption. The manufacture, operation, and maintenance of private motor vehicles is a huge energy drain. Why do you think the Busheviks are so determined to keep steel- and petroleum-guzzling SUVs exempt from all the regulations that apply to cars? So they can sell more petroleum to power the vehicles and the steel mills.

Yes the petroleum industry has a stranglehold on the economy. Just like the railroads did a hundred years ago. Does anybody remember railroads? This too shall pass.

I'd quibble that alcohol is a more promising alternate fuel source for autos than methane. It's easier to produce from renewable resources. It requires fewer modifications to car engines. And it doesn't require the storage of billions of cubic feet of an explosive gas. Every day, somewhere in the world, several families are killed by a propane explosion. Methane is no safer. Cars that can burn either pure gasoline or up to a 90 percent methanol mix are already in production. The problem is that methanol itself is not. But it's one of those grass roots industries. People can distill their own alcohol. A village could probably do it cost-effectively. Look for a whole new series of bogus government regulations that effectively prohibit private distillation of fuel-grade alcohol. :)

As for the cheap shot about dogs, it's not dependence, it's interdependence. People have jobs and so do dogs. They provide us with a safe emotional harbor, entertainment, and protection, and we give them food and let them sleep with us. It's called division of labor.

It's worth pointing out that many of the first other species to join us in our multi-species community did so voluntarily because they themselves thought it was a good trade-off. Dogs were eager to benefit from our mastery of fire, our ability to bring down woolly mammoths and later to maintain a supply of fresh meat that didn't even need to be hunted, and the abundance in our camps of loveable, fun-loving pups of our own species that stayed that way for many years.

Cats were delighted to be offered warm homes simply for doing what they were already doing: keeping those homes and their nearby granaries free of rodents.

Pigs just loved the endless supply of free food that we called garbage. The Jews and Arabs let them hang around just to provide janitorial services. Unfortunately somewhere along the way other people decided to eat them. But that seems to be changing back, there are a lot of pet pigs in this country.

Cheer up and have faith. The future isn't what it used to be. It's a hell of a lot rosier than it was when I was your age.

Shalashaska
08-02-03, 11:17 AM
Stop at 10 million? I doubt it. The population will probably continue to double until the earth can no longer sustain it, which is a good thing, because it will force us into space in a way that lecturing politicians and foreign powers never could.

Fraggle Rocker
08-02-03, 06:05 PM
If the earth's population continued to grow at its worst rate -- doubling every thirty years like it did in the middle of the last century -- space travel would not help. Assuming we could find an earthlike planet, develop a transportation system for getting people there alive without having spent ten centuries reproducing themselves into oblivion on a sub-light spaceship, AND build enough of them to take six billion people there within thirty years, what happens next? Now we've got TWO planets, each with six billion people, that are going to double in the next thirty years. Now we have to find TWO earthlike planets and build TWICE as many starships. Then thirty years later, FOUR planets, and so forth.

Space may be the final frontier, but it won't be a safety valve for excess population.

People really do have fewer children as they become more prosperous, for a variety of reasons. This planet's growth rate has dropped markedly since the Fertile Fifties. Places where the average brood used to be twelve kids, it's now eight. Where it used to be eight it's now five. In North America and Europe, it's dropped below replacement level. If it weren't for all those nice immigrants coming in from the Third World, there wouldn't be enough workers here to prop up the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security when you get old enough to start making withdrawals.

Shalashaska
08-02-03, 08:54 PM
I was referring to space-colonies, ring-worlds, Dyson spheres or colonization of the moon or mars. Only once people live in space will space technology really take off.

Pollux V
08-02-03, 09:35 PM
Fraggle is right. Technological advance is definitely the best way to control spiraling bithrates. Compare the annual population growth in the USA to India, or any nation in Africa. Once the third world is neutralized (and assuming we don't nuke ourselves into oblivion it will likely happen!) population growth will taper off. There's a scenario that was feared awhile ago...I think it's called "The Malfusian Scenario," or something like that, however it states that the greatest fear of mankind should be the depletion of resources, that our population will grow to such heights that we will begin to fight over what little food, gas, and whatever is left.

I'm confident that that will never happen. We will either destroy ourselves, be destroyed by something (or someone) else, or, perhaps, billions and billions of years from now, we will witness the end of the universe. Or whatever the hell we are will witness the end of the universe.

This is an awesome thread. I'll be back.

Fraggle Rocker
08-03-03, 10:28 AM
posted by Shalashaska
I was referring to space-colonies, ring-worlds, Dyson spheres or colonization of the moon or Mars. Only once people live in space will space technology really take off.Seems likely. People like the Polynesians who live on islands become the world's best sailors. People who live among the stars will have the best spaceflight.

But still it becomes an issue of capacity. The whole reason for considering off-world migration (at least on this thread) is the fact that an entire planet can barely support six billion people. How could we ever build enough spacecraft to support them?

Throughout history, colonies have been characterized by low populations -- at least of the invading people, not the victims. The same will be true in space.
posted by Pollux
There's a scenario that was feared awhile ago...I think it's called "The Malfusian Scenario," or something like that.It's "Malthusian," named after Thomas Malthus, a serious pessimist of the late 1700s.
It states that the greatest fear of mankind should be the depletion of resources, that our population will grow to such heights that we will begin to fight over what little food, gas, and whatever is left.I read a report about forty years ago -- when Malthus's predictions still seemed valid -- that I've got on a hard copy somewhere. I'll have to find it, scan it, and upload it. Anyway, it dispassionately calculated the carrying capacity of the Earth to be around ten trillion people. That involved:

- Per capita living space quite a bit smaller than a computer programmer's cubicle.

- Several times that much space for pumping food (how yummy), water, air, waste, and information, plus what will seem at the time like adequate room for horizontal travel but very limited vertical travel.

- The entire globe, including what are now oceans, covered with contiguous warrens of these cubicles, about five miles deep.

- The top layer covered with algae (that is what the humans will call "food") factories and the handful of zoos containing the few remaining non-human animals that the few remaining environmental activists manage to preserve.

- Massive solar energy collectors in orbit compressing it into microwaves beamed at a planet-wide network of microwave receivers scattered throughout the algae factories.

As the author put it in one of his many passages of dry wit that I remember clearly, most humans will have virtually no work to do. However, they will be well entertained. At any moment the population will include several million Shakespeares, and rather more Beatles.

The limiting factor will be waste heat. The planet will become one uniform ecosystem that consumes energy in the visible spectrum and releases it as much lower-spectrum heat. Entropy run rampant.

Basic physics limits the rate of the planet's ability to radiate the waste heat. Despite climate control in the warrens, the temperature will rise as the population increases. An ever-increasing portion of the population will not be able to survive the heat. The survivors will adapt and continue to reproduce, but it's unlikely that the human animal will ever be able to live in an ambient temperature much greater than 125 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point the die-off rate will exactly balance the birth rate and the population will stabilize.

A few calculations involving basic thermodynamics -- all using the most favorable scenarios in deference to the optimists -- and presto, the maximum population figure of ten trillion. If the population continued to double every thirty years, as it was when the article was written, that figure would be reached in just a few centuries. This is just a more generalized and disciplined version of the greenhouse gas scenario.

Nonetheless, it was then considered possible that the technologies needed to support this growth and this transformation of the planet into a giant arcology could be developed and deployed at the rate needed to match the population growth. Nothing in the final scenario was beyond the reach of 1960s science.

There you go. People adapted to tolerate constant temperatures higher than Death Valley at high noon in August, living like hamsters, drinking liquid Soylent Green, never seeing another species of animal larger than a rat (the article didn't count them, but let's face it, they will always be with us), living a meaningless existence sitting at a workstation with no work.

That is the mid-20th Century recalibration of the Malthusian Doctrine.
I'm confident that that will never happen. We will either destroy ourselves, be destroyed by something (or someone) else, or, perhaps, billions and billions of years from now, we will witness the end of the universe. Or whatever the hell we are will witness the end of the universe.Or, as you seem to imply earlier in your posting, prosperity will save us and the population will start shrinking while the rain forests are still salvageable and before too many more species become extinct.
This is an awesome thread. I'll be back."Be back"? You don't have to come back. You're living it! :)

Pollux V
08-03-03, 12:36 PM
TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL
Must Have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.

--Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn

Large amounts of people (compared to the handful of today) living in space won't happen until the people running the US or China see it as not only economically feasible but also as a useful propaganda tool to...incur the populace. I believe China is planning on putting a station in space sooner or later, god knows they have the resources to do it. There needs to be competition, preferrably a bit healthier than the previous Space Race, without the constant threat of nuclear holocaust.


That is the mid-20th Century recalibration of the Malthusian Doctrine.

If that ever came to pass then I would hope that they'd have a damn good VR for me. Judging by the amount of time it would take to get up to ten trillion people I believe that at the very least our virtual lives would hold some kind of appeal to us, because living in a cubicle hardly large enough to lie down in certainly would not.

It won't happen! Not on Earth! The people of the 24th century will say to themselves: "why the hell aren't we arguing about those damn Klingons?"

Seriously though...unless there is a change in the policy of many of the nations on Earth, an earnest desire to save the world, if you will, there will undoubtedly be a nuclear armaggedon. Sooner or later it will happen, the way things are going, unless these ways change course.


I was referring to space-colonies, ring-worlds, Dyson spheres

If nature, the most powerful force in the universe, hasn't made these things, then I doubt that humanity could pull it off. Come on man! Dyson spheres are frickin huge!!


I find these doomsday scenarios a bit exaggerated. Perhaps because I grew up with nuclear bomb drills in school and neighbors building fallout shelters. Now that was a doomsday scenario! Things look a whole lot better with that as a reference standard.

I saw one of the propaganda videos for the same program, I believe. It may have been on an MST3K video I rented...

But in any case, it was total bullsh*t. "Find an older person and ask for directions to the nearest shelter." "Cover your eyes." "Lean against a wall if caught outside."

There's actually a fallout shelter just across the street, I work there doing dishes. They've turned it into an oceanography institute but it still has the sign near the door. While I don't think that they'd nuke the island I live on we are right in the path of whatever fallout a nuclear war would generate.

And finally, on "my generation," I'm not very confident of its integrity. I go to one of the best public schools in the country, mostly because of the small population, but also because of an enormous local tax base that the school can draw upon. Except for a few kids here and there (mostly good friends of mine heheh), there is virtually no inspiration to take an interest in "how things came to be this way," there is virtually no inspiration to take an interest in politics. One of my friends said that the government will just screw you anyway so there's no point in getting involved. I then mentioned that the whole reason most people in America live so well compared to the rest of the world is because of constant resistance to the Establishment, to the Government, over the course of the whole nation's history. He then told me that he was a Taoist...

There are specks of intrigue and hope in my generation's cosmos, however from my experience toward the top it's still just another intellectual vacuum.

Fraggle Rocker
08-03-03, 06:03 PM
Originally posted by Pollux V
Large amounts of people (compared to the handful of today) living in space won't happen until the people running the US or China see it as not only economically feasible but also as a useful propaganda tool to...incur the populace.Sci fi scenarios generally have the ships going through a "wormhole" or "subspace" or "slipstream" or something like that, in order to seed us with the unconscious implication that by cheating on the universe we can travel huge distances really fast without using a lot of energy. Unless something like that turns out to be real, space travel really never will be economicially feasible. The Bussard ramjet, well, sort of gets around that, but not quite. How much conventional fuel to you have to burn before you attain a velocity at which you're sucking in enough interstellar hydrogen to power a starship? And then again on braking?
Seriously though...unless there is a change in the policy of many of the nations on Earth, an earnest desire to save the world, if you will, there will undoubtedly be a nuclear armaggedon. Sooner or later it will happen, the way things are going, unless these ways change course. It didn't happen with the crazy Americans and the crazy Soviets waving ICBM's in each other's face for forty years. It's a whole lot less likely to happen now that the Soviet half of that balancing act has retired.
And finally, on "my generation," I'm not very confident of its integrity. There are specks of intrigue and hope in my generation's cosmos, however from my experience toward the top it's still just another intellectual vacuum. Oh come on. The intelligentsia of every generation feel that way when they finally discover that the average IQ of even their own beknighted age group is still only 100. Exceptional accomplishments are achieved by exceptional people. That's why we call them "exceptional." Figuring out how to do fantastic stuff is only one small part of the responsibility of the great men and women of any generation. The bulk of it is figuring out how to keep the ordinary men and women from fucking things up.

Pollux V
08-03-03, 07:29 PM
Oh come on. The intelligentsia of every generation feel that way when they finally discover that the average IQ of even their own beknighted age group is still only 100. Exceptional accomplishments are achieved by exceptional people. That's why we call them "exceptional." Figuring out how to do fantastic stuff is only one small part of the responsibility of the great men and women of any generation. The bulk of it is figuring out how to keep the ordinary men and women from fucking things up.

Okay...but from your previous post I got the picture that you had a kind of faith in my generation, that possibly we wouldn't be as "bad" as the last one (even though, suffice to say, things could have turned out much worse than they are for the world, and for humanity). I'm not sure your generation had such a problem with overcrowded schools--I spent a small portion of my childhood in one--but that is sure to have some impact on the amount of "exceptional persons" that this generation produces. I've also heard that conservatism is running amok in some (perhaps a majority) of the country's colleges, a staunch difference from the way things were twenty or thirty years ago. Then again, you guys had Vietnam. We got nothing. It must have been easier to be anti-US then than it is now.


It's a whole lot less likely to happen now that the Soviet half of that balancing act has retired

From what I've observed it's become remarkably easy to replace the anti-communist propaganda "filter" of the media with anti-terrorist instead. With Congress backing virtually every word that comes out of the president's mouth (with a few exceptions every now and then) I think that nuclear war is still a threat to the safety of humanity that deserves mention. Plus, there's also Pakistan and India--with hundreds of years of rivalry between the Muslims and the Hindus to help lift their nukes into the sky. The scenario I envision is one of war sooner or later between the two, with India winning eventually (much larger population there, it's an advantage that cannot be ignored). Pakistan becomes desparate, deploys nuclear missiles against major population centers. Millions would die from such an act, not to mention the war itself.

It also seems to me that the US has been playing both sides of that conflict, but, oh well...


Unless something like that turns out to be real, space travel really never will be economicially feasible.

Space is merely the next frontier waiting to be conquered, that's all. The same thing was said about flight (most of all), about the world being round, about so many things, and most of the time by people who had good reason to be skeptical. There is a human solution to every natural problem, so far we have managed to conquer (read: Ishmael) everything or everyone that has opposed us. Space is just another barrier, another challenge. That's all. I'm willing to bet that if I see the day that man conquers space, or the first steps of such an act, it will be through a technology or a means wholly different from the ones imagined today. That's seems to be the pattern of history, in any case.

Fraggle Rocker
08-04-03, 12:15 AM
Originally posted by Pollux V
Okay...but from your previous post I got the picture that you had a kind of faith in my generation, that possibly we wouldn't be as "bad" as the last one (even though, suffice to say, things could have turned out much worse than they are for the world, and for humanity).Your generation is not befuddled by computers. You were born with a mouse in your hand, as it were. You're comfortable communicating with e-mail, despite its inability to convey facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. You don't automatically believe every word that comes off a computer printer or a workstation screen. In other words you have mastered the primary tool of modern life while you were still in high school. That gives you an advantage that doesn't require being less "bad" than your predecessors.
I'm not sure your generation had such a problem with overcrowded schools--I spent a small portion of my childhood in one--but that is sure to have some impact on the amount of "exceptional persons" that this generation produces.My generation was the War Babies and we were already on double sessions and crammed into trailers. But teachers were already complaining about unmanageable class sizes in the mid 1970s when most of the Boomers were still in school -- and leaving the profession in droves to salvage what was left of their mental health. Every profession got a big boost from an influx of ex-teachers, and that exodus did as much damage to the school system as the crowding.
I've also heard that conservatism is running amok in some (perhaps a majority) of the country's colleges, a staunch difference from the way things were twenty or thirty years ago.Politics is not a one-dimensional variable. Left versus right on the X axis ("liberal" vs. "conservative") merely measures whether you want to concentrate on taking away people's money first and rights later, or vice versa. Libertarian versus statist on the Y axis measures whether you think that people are too stupid to run their own lives or that power corrupts and therefore governments are best kept small. The libertarian movement is gaining a lot of momentum, although trying to turn it into a party (like the Greens) instead of leaving it as a movement (like the far more influential Sierra Club, PETA, etc.) lost some ground. I urge all of you young people to check it out. The liberal vs. conservative conflict is as real as TV wrestling!
Then again, you guys had Vietnam. We got nothing. It must have been easier to be anti-US then than it is now.I don't know where you live but I've always lived in America and I've never been "anti-American." I had some big gripes with our government, and also with a certain group of unreconstructed Confederates (to be fair, not all of them are confined to their original eleven states) who didn't believe that the color of a man's skin is as unimportant as the color of his eyes -- my favorite Bob Marley quote. I still have the same gripes. People misstate the libertarian position, in order to discredit us, as, "The solution to bad government is no government." What we actually believe is, "The solution to too much government is less government." We've still got leaders making war for purely economic reasons rather than any concern for the safety of our nation or its people. And we've still got people making decisions about other people based on their color. The particular decisions about the particular colors have turned topsy-turvy since the 1960s and it's surely been enlightening for us contented white folks to suddenly experience discrimination, but perpetuating it in reverse for ten generations in a vain attempt to atone for slavery isn't going to accomplish anything.
From what I've observed it's become remarkably easy to replace the anti-communist propaganda "filter" of the media with anti-terrorist instead. With Congress backing virtually every word that comes out of the president's mouth (with a few exceptions every now and then).I think those exceptions will become louder and more frequent. It took years to notice the horror of Vietnam and more years to mobilize an opposition. This time, every major U.S. newspaper prints several anti-war letters and op-ed pieces every day. People are beginning to feel the personal impact of the war culture and they're changing their loyalties quickly. I've been working in the Washington D.C. area where people can still smell the smoke from the Pentagon. They've been quietly sending their kids off to spend the summer on Uncle Zeke's farm in Nebraska. Bush's popularity drops every day. He will not have such an easy time hijacking the next election, no matter how many brothers he has in the governor's mansions of key states.
I think that nuclear war is still a threat to the safety of humanity that deserves mention.Of course it is and we'd be fools to ignore it. But I stand by my reasoned belief that it is a much smaller threat than it was when I was your age.
Plus, there's also Pakistan and India--with hundreds of years of rivalry between the Muslims and the Hindus to help lift their nukes into the sky. The scenario I envision is one of war sooner or later between the two, with India winning eventually (much larger population there, it's an advantage that cannot be ignored). Pakistan becomes desparate, deploys nuclear missiles against major population centers. Millions would die from such an act, not to mention the war itself. It also seems to me that the US has been playing both sides of that conflict, but, oh well...And there's the key. The legacy of the Cold War. The US and the Soviets kept the Mideastern nations in an unstable equilibrium to prevent the region from becoming a player in world politics. Without that balance, rickety as it was, we now have to back off and let the Mideast find itself. Not giving people a reason to hate us and send their kids off to Osama's terrorist training camps is a high priority. To make that happen we need to dump Bush and his petroleum-addicted puppeteers. And the rest of the West must find its voice and stand up to us. The U.N. needs to grow balls and more countries need to line up behind France instead of the UK. I see the latter happening, and the world can probably muddle through the crisis without a strong U.N., which in any case would offend my libertarian sensibilities.
Space is merely the next frontier waiting to be conquered, that's all. The same thing was said about flight (most of all), about the world being round, about so many things, and most of the time by people who had good reason to be skeptical. There is a human solution to every natural problem, so far we have managed to conquer (read: Ishmael) everything or everyone that has opposed us. Space is just another barrier, another challenge. That's all. I'm willing to bet that if I see the day that man conquers space, or the first steps of such an act, it will be through a technology or a means wholly different from the ones imagined today. That's seems to be the pattern of history, in any case. You have such unbridled youthful optimism on that topic. See if you can carry some of it over into the other one. You'll feel better AND be in a better position to mold a better future. You kids may be right in a sense, that simply establishing some small colonies on Mars or the Moon or other nearby bodies will bring the "frontier effect" back into our unconscious library of archetypes. Knowing if it all goes to hell and we can't stand it any more, that there is at least a small possibility of being able to say fuck it all and go somewhere far away, is a big safety valve in the human soul. For every young man who actually took Horace Greeley's advice and went west (and it is mostly men, women tend to prefer to "bloom where they're planted," it's a Venus/Mars thing) -- there were twenty who didn't follow him, but felt better because he proved it could be done if things got too tough to endure. Right now there's not really any place anybody can go to escape the hell of 21st century Earth. Shit, they're even bombing the poor Australians. Every American male secretly regarded Australia as the Last Frontier. That bomb in Bali caused as much deep emotional damage in our country as the population of the previous frontier, Phoenix, Arizona, reaching one million.

Pollux V
08-04-03, 10:03 PM
Your generation is not befuddled by computers. You were born with a mouse in your hand, as it were. You're comfortable communicating with e-mail, despite its inability to convey facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. You don't automatically believe every word that comes off a computer printer or a workstation screen. In other words you have mastered the primary tool of modern life while you were still in high school. That gives you an advantage that doesn't require being less "bad" than your predecessors.

I'm confident that at the speed technology is advancing that us westerners will have plenty of complex gadgetry to contend with. For now, yes, I'd agree, we're naturally good with computers, but it won't always be that way. Something will replace them eventually, and your trump card of this argument will be invalidated.


My generation was the War Babies and we were already on double sessions and crammed into trailers. But teachers were already complaining about unmanageable class sizes in the mid 1970s when most of the Boomers were still in school -- and leaving the profession in droves to salvage what was left of their mental health. Every profession got a big boost from an influx of ex-teachers, and that exodus did as much damage to the school system as the crowding.

I'm going to take your word for it on this--but was it as bad back then as it is now?


Politics is not a one-dimensional variable. Left versus right on the X axis ("liberal" vs. "conservative") merely measures whether you want to concentrate on taking away people's money first and rights later, or vice versa.

No, liberals want change, conservatives want things to be more traditional. Both sides have their place, however at the moment the world is not perfect, therefore it could be better. It can only get better by thinking up new ideas and putting them to use. Thus, while liberalism should not run rampant, and should be gradual instead, it is and should be the prevalent force in modern-day politics. Democracy and freedom of speech has made this easier, although like I mentioned earlier, we have a long way to go. When everyone on Earth is happy, then it'll be time to be conservative.

I tend to think of myself at the moment as a socialist-capitalist hybrid. One poor person is too much, etc. However because I don't know that much about libertarians if you have any websites or information I could look at I would oblige you.


"The solution to too much government is less government."

I disagree. When you have less government you leave more room for the corrupt rich to take over and oppress. It's the same arguments those bastard republicans have been yapping about for as long as I've been interested in politics--that the government should stay out of the way. When that happens in a democratic country the middle and lower classes suffer more. The rich cannot be in charge of the rest of us, they need to be policed. Thus, strong government is the only answer to the world's problems. As long as it is a fair strong government.


I don't know where you live but I've always lived in America and I've never been "anti-American."

Quality of life on Earth now is largely better than it ever has been because of America. I love where I live, who I live near, and the benefits my nation has to offer. But I hate the stupidity, the lies, the huge stockpile of nuclear weapons, and the short-term-economic-solutions to every single goddamn foreign policy problem this nation has been faced with. So much of my happiness has been fueled by the spilt blood of others, of other innocents. My well being is not equal to another person's mere survival, and given a choice, I would give up my life if all of the wrongs committed throughout the nation's history could be righted. It isn't worth it.


I think those exceptions will become louder and more frequent.

The key is the media. AOL Time Warner will have to pass into the hands of someone not in the pocket of either the Democratic or Republican parties for true reform and progression to occur.

This is something I can't quite put my finger on. The American news media is the most powerful political entity on the planet, if it can be called a single entity. Excepting Democracy Now and NPR it is largely held in support of the nation. But I don't know what it has to gain from this. Only the politicians gain power and money through the media's support, the media gets nothing. If the media were to turn on the politicians, turn public opinion around (which, given the right tools, seems remarkably easy), true reform could happen. The rich would stop getting richer. That sort of thing. We'd have people telling the truth in Congress instead of people that lie--no more lesser of two evils. Voices that mean to do good would gain support because they'd actually be heard. The old system would undoubtedly break down in one or two congressional terms.

I see nothing that the media has to gain by support of the country. Absolutely nothing. They could be the power-wielders. The politicians could be their lapdogs, begging for mercy all the time, "please don't release this report, oh please oh please, I'll give you CSPAN-2!"


Bush's popularity drops every day.

I have to give this some more thought, but I believe that Bush will win so wholeheartedly that I will do something incredibly stupid if he does in fact win. Streak through the neighborhood or something. It is impossible. The man cheated before, even in the primaries. He'll do it again, and like before, no one will stop him.


You have such unbridled youthful optimism on that topic.

That's because it's true damnit!!

Do you happen to get Discover? Great magazine. Last month's article was on sending a ship to a nearby star, if we find a habitable planet or moon there. Could be done in twenty years if the right resources were committed.

Fraggle Rocker
08-04-03, 11:53 PM
Originally posted by Pollux V
I'm confident that at the speed technology is advancing that us westerners will have plenty of complex gadgetry to contend with. For now, yes, I'd agree, we're naturally good with computers, but it won't always be that way. Something will replace them eventually, and your trump card of this argument will be invalidated.You're just an irrepressible fountain of pessimism, aren't you? :) Everybody with a little brains was at that age. As you get older it isn't so much that things change, you just do a recount and find that things aren't as hopeless as they looked forty years ago.

But yes, the big problem with the Information Age is that it has destroyed what is arguably the key to Homo sapiens's success. We don't learn and die as individuals. We pass it on to the next generation so they don't have to start from zero. Well guess what, everything we know is useless to the next generation. My dad spent a lot of time teaching me how to keep a car running, but my car might as well have a decal on the hood saying, "Warning, no user serviceable parts inside."

I've been in IT for 35 years but it's difficult to pass my wisdom on to people whose computers broadcast pictures of them going potty and store their files on little cocaine mirrors. If IT keeps advancing as fast as it has, nobody will be able to keep up with it. But wait a minute, that seems like quite a paradox. If nobody understands computers, who the hell is going to keep developing the new hardware and software that makes the next generation even more impossible to understand? Eventually this technology lag is going to catch up with everybody, even the nerdiest of the nerds, and it will have to stagger to a halt while everybody catches up.

It's not possible to have a Paradigm Shift happen in every generation. Humanity cannot continue to survive, much less advance, if nobody can pass on their knowledge to the kids.
I'm going to take your word for it on this [overcrowded schools]--but was it as bad back then as it is now?No it wasn't, but it didn't have to be. There's a certain maximum class size and a certain minimum discipline level and a certain rate of defection of superior teachers, beyond which the government's school systems simply can't operate. We reached that around 1980. What's happened since has made the hours you kids spend in the school building even more unpleasant than ever, but the process of education ground to a halt long ago.
No, liberals want change, conservatives want things to be more traditional. Both sides have their place, however at the moment the world is not perfect, therefore it could be better. It can only get better by thinking up new ideas and putting them to use. Thus, while liberalism should not run rampant, and should be gradual instead, it is and should be the prevalent force in modern-day politics.You're talking about a dictionary defintion of liberal and conservative, not the actual movements in the US today. Liberals advocate censorship of inconvenient ideas in the universities. Conservatives want color-blind admissions policies to those same universities. The two sides flip-flop so often that it's getting really hard to tell them apart. As I said, they're just the two Conferences in the Republocrat League.
Democracy and freedom of speech has made this easier, although like I mentioned earlier, we have a long way to go. When everyone on Earth is happy, then it'll be time to be conservative.When everyone on Earth is happy, the conservatives will be complaining that life has gotten too easy, and the liberals will be looking for a way to tax happiness.
I tend to think of myself at the moment as a socialist-capitalist hybrid.You've certainly become the master of cognitive dissonance. :)
However because I don't know that much about libertarians if you have any websites or information I could look at I would oblige you.Liberty and Reason magazines speak for the movement about as eloquently as anybody. Unfortunately I don't think either of them is available online. Not enough of a subscriber base.

I disagree. When you have less government you leave more room for the corrupt rich to take over and oppress. It's the same arguments those bastard republicans have been yapping about for as long as I've been interested in politics--that the government should stay out of the way. When that happens in a democratic country the middle and lower classes suffer more. The rich cannot be in charge of the rest of us, they need to be policed. Thus, strong government is the only answer to the world's problems. As long as it is a fair strong government.Well you ended that argument with the most blatant oxymoron I've seen in a long time. There's no such thing as a "fair strong government." It's a universal truth that power corrupts. The only way to keep people or institutions from becoming corrupt and unfair is to keep their power limited. Our biggest problem in the West is the rise of the Corporation. Adam Smith would be turning over in his grave watching these scavengers stomping around on his "level playing field" of a free market, pretending to be of roughly equivalent power and influence to all the other players. And the concept of the holding company would make him barf: a corporation that exists for the sole purpose of owning other corporations, that actually produces no goods or services but just skims profits off the top of the economy. And where do you think the Corporation came from? Big Government invented it. With the demise of the aristocracy it became difficult for the government to conceal its own misdeeds, so they created a New Aristocracy. Corporations have all the power and influence of feudal lords, and no accountability. You can't execute one or throw it in jail, and it just laughs off even the largest fines and passes them on to its customers.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Big Government got us where we are today by creating the very institutions that are strangling our economy and taking away our freedom by purely civil means, such as forcing us to drive ever longer distances to work so no one is home when their children are awake.
Quality of life on Earth now is largely better than it ever has been because of America. I love where I live, who I live near, and the benefits my nation has to offer.I feel blessed to have been born here instead of in Azerbaijan also. But America is as much an accident of history as the product of a great and noble people. The Europeans got here before these Indians had found their way out of the Mesolithic Era, so there were a lot more untapped resources than the European settlers of Latin America found to exploit in the wake of the blunders of the Olmec/Maya/Aztec and Inca civilizations.
But I hate the stupidity, the lies, the huge stockpile of nuclear weapons, and the short-term-economic-solutions to every single goddamn foreign policy problem this nation has been faced with.I find it too coincidental that this nadir of public stupidity and gullibility coincides with the Dark Ages of the Paradigm Shift. I think it's just an unfortunate confluence of negative forces that is too much for most mortals to bear. The end of the familiar old Cold War, the fourth awakening of Islam, and everybody's job is being replaced by a workstation that nobody knows how to operate. That's a lot to bear. Especially for a generation that was promised a 30-hour week, flying cars, the demise of the Abrahamic religions, and commercial-free subscription TV featuring an all-Shakespeare channel.
So much of my happiness has been fueled by the spilt blood of others, of other innocents.You've just got to get up off of your knees long enough to get history in perspective. I don't know which particular "innocents" you're talking about, but I'm going to let you in on a little Guild Secret here, and you have to promise not to tell any outsiders or we'll make you go live in the women's teepee. There ain't no innocents!You talking about the American Indians? Which ones? The Na-Dene, the second wave of migration from Siberia that pushed all the Athabascans out of the American West and made them all go live in Mexico and Central America? The Apaches, Blackfoot, Comanche,Navajo, Hopi, Sioux and all the others who chased each other back and forth across the continent, stealing the land back and forth? Or their distant ancestors who managed to hunt the mastodons to extinction? Or maybe you've got roots in Europe. My people, the Czechs, sure got a bad deal from the Russians, Germans, Hungarians, Prussians, and everybody else. Of course, the reason they live in a land we still call "Bohemia" is that when they first got there around 250BCE, they killed off or ran off the "Bohumil," the Celtic people who thought they'd already staked out that piece of territory. The history of the human race is an endless saga of the strong stealing the homes of the weak, the humans defiling the environment, and civilizations using their power to subjugate their pastoral neighbors. This is no excuse to run out and start killing people, but it's a good reason to stop groveling in shame for what your ancestors did to somebody else's ancestors. In a historical context, it's a universal truth that what goes around comes around, usually several times.
My well being is not equal to another person's mere survival, and given a choice, I would give up my life if all of the wrongs committed throughout the nation's history could be righted.Well, lucky for you and for all of us who love you, that choice isn't on today's menu. Another little secret: You can't right past wrongs. All you can do is build a future in which it's easier for everyone to get along without committing so many wrongs. The attempt to right past wrongs merely gets you into an Israel-Palestine thing or a Belfast thing. Not only do two wrongs never make a right, but if one wrong is old enough, it can never be made into anything but what it is. History isn't Right or Wrong, it's Just There. It's a lesson for us to learn from, not Jacob Marley's Chain, dragging us into a useless and powerless life of eternal penance.
The key is the media. AOL Time Warner will have to pass into the hands of someone not in the pocket of either the Democratic or Republican parties for true reform and progression to occur. This is something I can't quite put my finger on. The American news media is the most powerful political entity on the planet, if it can be called a single entity. Excepting Democracy Now and NPR it is largely held in support of the nation. But I don't know what it has to gain from this. Only the politicians gain power and money through the media's support, the media gets nothing. If the media were to turn on the politicians, turn public opinion around (which, given the right tools, seems remarkably easy), true reform could happen. The rich would stop getting richer. That sort of thing. We'd have people telling the truth in Congress instead of people that lie--no more lesser of two evils. Voices that mean to do good would gain support because they'd actually be heard. The old system would undoubtedly break down in one or two congressional terms. I see nothing that the media has to gain by support of the country. Absolutely nothing. They could be the power-wielders. The politicians could be their lapdogs, begging for mercy all the time, "please don't release this report, oh please oh please, I'll give you CSPAN-2!"You've got a very good point there. I'm tempted to write this whole fucked-up media thing as just one more artifact of a poorly timed Paradigm Shift. The populace simply isn't paying attention because it's in a constant state of shock. If this does not change soon, before the Evil People, whoever they are, secure their control over everything, then yes, America is on its way to becoming the next Argentina. Except Argentina with nukes, of course.

But you're wondering how this sycophantic media frenzy is helping anybody? Haven't you noticed that the government has allowed a handful of people to own an increasing share of the media outlets? One guy can now own a hundred TV stations and a thousand radio stations and a zillion newspapers. That makes that one guy awfully indebted to the government who put him in power. You're right that it would be hard for the government to seize control of all media outlets, but they don't have to. All they need is the deed to Ted Turner's ass and a few others.

Once again, the Corporation rears its ugly head. If you want to make a Difference, help me figure out how to rid the world of corporations.
I have to give this some more thought, but I believe that Bush will win so wholeheartedly that I will do something incredibly stupid if he does in fact win. Streak through the neighborhood or something. It is impossible. The man cheated before, even in the primaries. He'll do it again, and like before, no one will stop him.He has a lot more really angry enemies among the general popluation than he did when he was just George Senior's backward little baby boy. I don't think he could pull of a scam in a redneck state a second time. The first time he just caught everyboy flat-footed with surprise that anybody could be that brazen. The second time they'll just lynch him, his brother, and the camel they rode in on.
That's because it's true damnit!! [Space travel is easier to accomplish than Peace On Earth.] Do you happen to get Discover? Great magazine. Last month's article was on sending a ship to a nearby star, if we find a habitable planet or moon there. Could be done in twenty years if the right resources were committed. The operative words being "if" and "could." Those are big impediments. Like I said, you're being optimistic about something that a reasonable man might say has way less than a 50-50 chance of being pulled off. Why not practice some of that optimism-in-the-face-of-discouraging-statistics on some of the earth's other problems?

There are lots of teenagers who actually don't know how Bush stole the last election. Somebody needs to explain it to them.

There are lots of Euro- an Asian-Americans who could easily be talked into checking the "black," "hispanic," or "native American" box on their college applications, forcing the universities to abide by the will of a majority of the population and four Supreme Court justices, and stop noticing the color of people's skins. Somebody needs to encourage them to do that.

There are lots of kids whose parents did a really crappy job of raising them, but miraculously they've stayed on a righeous path. They need Big Brothers and Big Sisters to initiate them into the next phase of their life, whether its high school, college, or getting a job. Somebody needs to volunteer for that.

And no, I don't do any of those particular things, but I help a lot of adults, teaching them English, stuff like that. I try to carry my weight.

I guess I erased your remark about how only the government can take care of the suffering, because without my original quote it didn't make sense. Anyway, you're dead wrong about that. Americans have consistently been the most generous people on Earth. Our poor and lame and even our stupid were once looked after by private charities such as the Salvation Army. It's only since the tax rates got so high that we finally caved in and said OK, they've got so much of our money we've got no choice but to let them take care of the charity sector.

Unfortunately that huge bundle of our money mostly goes into the pockets of bureaucrats and the corporations who got them into power. If the government would just take all the money that goes into its budget for "taking care of the poor" and then vanishes into a black hole, and instead just divided it up and handed it directly over to the poor, every American family now on welfare would have an annual income of $40,000!

Now, once again, what's that you were saying about the power of government? It works for about two generations, then it becomes corrupted. It's been way too long now. Time to take that power back.

Pollux V
08-05-03, 10:24 AM
But yes, the big problem with the Information Age is that it has destroyed what is arguably the key to Homo sapiens's success. We don't learn and die as individuals. We pass it on to the next generation so they don't have to start from zero. Well guess what, everything we know is useless to the next generation. My dad spent a lot of time teaching me how to keep a car running, but my car might as well have a decal on the hood saying, "Warning, no user serviceable parts inside."


I think that this responsibility has been handed over to schools, colleges and the like. There is too much ground to cover for western parents of the modern age. While most are understaffed and underfunded they still do a better job than a pair of parents ever could. For most people homeschooling would be too much of a stretch, too much work to do.


Eventually this technology lag is going to catch up with everybody, even the nerdiest of the nerds, and it will have to stagger to a halt while everybody catches up.

Software doesn't sell unless it's easy to use. I like my GUI, it's way better than DOS. The guys making software know that unless their stuff works and unless it is easy to make work that it won't sell as well as the next product.


What's happened since has made the hours you kids spend in the school building even more unpleasant than ever, but the process of education ground to a halt long ago.

Depends on the school you go to. I'd rather skip the math and science, but who am I to blow against the wind...(Paul Simon)


Liberals advocate censorship of inconvenient ideas in the universities.

Not THIS liberal. I don't know what you're talking about...


As I said, they're just the two Conferences in the Republocrat League.

I think it only appears that way because the general consensus seems to be that democrats are liberal. True, they are more liberal than conservatives, but hardly at all. They're not real liberals.


When everyone on Earth is happy, the conservatives will be complaining that life has gotten too easy, and the liberals will be looking for a way to tax happiness.

Well that scenario isn't likely to happen anyway. All I can do is disagree, and say that when everyone is happy [the dictionary definition of] conservative thought will actually be logical. That's it.


You've certainly become the master of cognitive dissonance

Okay--the rich are too rich, the poor are too poor, and the middle class is the barrier keeping the poor from overthrowing the rich. If you've read any Gustav you know that a revolution generally requires someone from the upper class to start it, however there are exceptions. People should be able to be wealthy but not while other people are poor--even the rare cases when it is in fact due to "laziness" and "inability to contribute to greater Hellenistic society."

I've been reading too much of Jerrek's bullshit


The only way to keep people or institutions from becoming corrupt and unfair is to keep their power limited.

I can't disagree enough. Who keeps their power limited? And how? You need rules, regulations, and police. You need the government to be elected. If strong government has fostered the huge corporations then it simply isn't doing its job, just like every country that has claimed that it is socialist or communist. They aren't. Corporations will thrive and take over if their power isn't checked. That's why the rich have almost always ruled this planet--because there was no one to hold them back and keep them in check.


Especially for a generation that was promised a 30-hour week, flying cars, the demise of the Abrahamic religions, and commercial-free subscription TV featuring an all-Shakespeare channel.

*crosses fingers*


You talking about the American Indians?

It doesn't matter who they are or who they stomped on. They were here before the Europeans, and when the Europeans arrived over the course of the next five hundred years the natives were butchered and enslaved to extinction. I don't think that the natives here did anything to each other on any scale comparable. And even if they did--that does not in any way make the Europeans better or less guilty of their crimes, just because other tribes did it all over the world, just because other warlords stole their enemies fiefs. This does not magically exempt Europeans. I steal a bananna from a store, they yell at me, I say "but everyone else steals banannas!" Does that make it right? Or less wrong?

More later. Have to depart.

Pollux V
08-05-03, 01:38 PM
History isn't Right or Wrong, it's Just There.

I agree. But where is the cutoff point, exactly, for when people don't need to be held accountable for their actions? A child of a man or a grandchild of a man who kills someone should not go to jail unless they were involved, that makes sense to me. If the man dies before he is brought to justice, then that does not mean that the children should shoulder the burden of that justice. I'm saying that although our ancestors did do things that were wrong and awful and vicious and cruel, we had nothing to do with it at all, and most of us, I'm sure, given the chance, would attempt to right those wrongs. The living culprits, however, of every injustice against the innocent, of 9/11 (which is becoming an increasingly obvious government coverup of something deeper), of Enron, of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of East Timor, of so many different things, need to be convicted by a jury and put in jail before they die. Ken Lay hasn't been even whispered about on the news for months. Most Americans have never heard of East Timor, hell, I can't even quite remember exactly what happened there, something about the Indonesians buying American guns and using them to purge the natives.

But where does the justice begin and where does it end? When is someone old enough, dead enough, rich enough, to be exempt from American justice (which, in spite of its flaws, seems to be doing pretty well)? Those at the top are keeping the money from the schools and using it to build more stealth bombers or more nuclear weapons, keeping it from the most important class in any school: history. And even then, the history is biased, outdated, worthless. It's boring, written blandly, just busywork, like Mathematics or Chemistry. I know because I hardly had an interest in history at all until I got to High School, before then I had a mediocre teacher and a mediocre textbook. That's it. It shouldn't be that way for anyone.


Like I said, you're being optimistic about something that a reasonable man might say has way less than a 50-50 chance of being pulled off.

In a few years I believe NASA is planning on putting up a few insanely powerful telescopes that will allow us to see planets and figure out (through the visible light spectrum, they'll only be pinpricks) if they have water, oxygen, etcetera. If they find some methane then that means that there are aliens that fart a lot. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that we live in a small sector of the galaxy that is rich in oxygen from a big supernova or something, so I feel that it is more than likely that a world habitable for human beings will be discovered before I turn thirty. Someone, somewhere, who is rich, will get his rich pals together, get the government to back them (they'll have a whole goddamn planet after all, not just a continent or a piece of a continent), and build an enormous ship that will get them there somehow someway. I'll be middle aged by then, and likely vying to go on the trip if I've managed to gain some status among my fellow Americans.


There are lots of teenagers who actually don't know how Bush stole the last election. Somebody needs to explain it to them.

So far I've encountered several types of teenagers regarding this topic. One type doesn't know, doesn't care, doesn't want to know. Another type knows, but believes that it was still a fair election because Bush won the electoral college. That type has managed to push the fact out of his head, that Bush did not win the majority and nevertheless is still our president. I doubt Gore would be much better but, like I keep saying, lesser of two evils, lesser of two evils. Plus at least the guy actually won.

And then there's the type that is somewhat like me. One that is feverishly anti-government, anti-bush, anti-America, anti-humanity. So much so that the person has focused on the problems more so than the solutions. Most of my better friends are like this. They're also very anti-establishment, and don't believe in attempting to do a good job in school (as I do).

Then there's me. Capitalist-Socialist Catholic-Jewish hybrid. I'm one-of-a-kind. GB-GIL is the closest person with a similar viewpoint to mine (although he seems to be a bit more...aggressive than I am. I'm sure he'll mellow with age), and I am several years his senior. Haven't talked to that fellow in awhile, wonder where he's got to...

So these are the colors of the teenage political spectrum where I live, and of the people that I know. Try educating them traditionally and you'll get nowhere--either they'll go too far, ignore you, or not go far enough. It takes a special mix to get the right idea into their heads. This is assuming that I am one of the better examples of my generation, currently.


and stop noticing the color of people's skins.

A few months ago I would have agreed with you on Affirmative Action. However I learned that my mom actually did her Final Project in college on the very subject (she majored in Political Philosophy, I believe, but hasn't made much of it). Her basic conclusion was that the rich white fat guys who run the colleges will undoubtedly keep the minorities out, regardless of their intelligence, because they favor whites. On top of that, most minorities grow up in inner cities, where schools recieve skeleton funding. On top of that there's the discrimination they will have to endure their entire lives. If minorities aren't given a boost up they will stay exactly where they are, that is, in need of a boost. Until they are truly equal this is the fair thing to do.


Americans have consistently been the most generous people on Earth.

Not the Americans in power. They only do what the masses absolutely demand that they do, by striking (Labor Movement) and by mass protest (Human Rights Movement, Vietnam War). The stronger the middle class, the harder it is to make an effective outcry against the rich.

By taking only a sliver of the money diverted to military spending we could make every school in the country a thriving center of learning and enthrallment (if that is a word). By taking only a sliver of the money diverted to military spending we could give the elderly free insurance to pay for prescriptions, give kids everywhere free health care. As for welfare, while I believe that no one deserves to be poor, it should be only a last resort, should be sufficient but not overdone. It needs to be enough to allow people to get by between jobs--that's it. So much money is there to help people and an amount exponentially larger is being used to build weapons to kill them instead, to build prisons to put them in as a solution to spiraling crimerates.

Gahh...makes me sick.


Time to take that power back

Never. Take the power back and the rich win.

guthrie
08-05-03, 02:09 PM
"Well you ended that argument with the most blatant oxymoron I've seen in a long time. There's no such thing as a "fair strong government." It's a universal truth that power corrupts. The only way to keep people or institutions from becoming corrupt and unfair is to keep their power limited. Our biggest problem in the West is the rise of the Corporation. Adam Smith would be turning over in his grave watching these scavengers stomping around on his "level playing field" of a free market, pretending to be of roughly equivalent power and influence to all the other players. And the concept of the holding company would make him barf: a corporation that exists for the sole purpose of owning other corporations, that actually produces no goods or services but just skims profits off the top of the economy. And where do you think the Corporation came from? Big Government invented it. With the demise of the aristocracy it became difficult for the government to conceal its own misdeeds, so they created a New Aristocracy. Corporations have all the power and influence of feudal lords, and no accountability. You can't execute one or throw it in jail, and it just laughs off even the largest fines and passes them on to its customers.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Big Government got us where we are today by creating the very institutions that are strangling our economy and taking away our freedom by purely civil means, such as forcing us to drive ever longer distances to work so no one is home when their children are awake."

Weeelll, your right about corporations. But have you ever thought about powerful smaller gvt? ir gvt that is directly under the control fo the peopel by whatever means necessary, and i dont mean just by gunpower. I mean referenda, recall of officials, and most importantly, devolution of power etc. But of course devolution of power is hard to do with the current economics, consumerism and corporations. So your half right about the problems.
Moreover, I think in some ways you are being unduly restrictive about gvts and corporations and rich people. here in the UK, until the advent of the mass franchise, gvt very much was by the rich, for the rich, ie the rich and powerful who owned the businesses and the land, the owners absically, were the gvt. I cannot see that much has changed. The gvt and corporations are intricately connected, and its nearly immaterial as to whom started it all. for example, the demise of the aristocracy happened at the same tiem as teh man of business, the self made man started to grow up, which is part of the problem, because in doing what they did, ie get in cahoots with gvt, they merely took over from the aristocracy. Ill come back later and add more to this. Suffice to say I think your nearly right, but also barking up teh wrong tree a little too much.

KitNyx
08-07-03, 11:52 AM
So how do we fix the problem with the American government? I am not sure how many Americans are in here, but as an American I feel as if I am responsible. I also do not always agree with the statement "Power corrupts". There have been many "great" leaders throughout history.

We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I think the problem is this: We vote people into office because we want a tax refund or some other selfish concern. If we are going to do this, why do we expect this official to have higher ideals than just paying off the people? We vote fools into office because we are afraid of change. I feel a pull to politics, not because I want power, but because it is easier to change the system from the inside than from the outside. I know that I would never get elected because I would demand change. I would be for things like union busting and cutting socialistic programs (welfare/ universal healthcare). Yet, even though I know I would never get elected, I still feel a need to try because I feel it is my responsability.

Now, I apologize for that tirade, I am just sick of people not taking responsability for their problems. Is mankind killing itself? We began our decline when we acheived a level where the strong was expected to carry the weak - so much for evolution. I do not necessarily think this is a bad thing, but we are no longer evolving for the better. We cannot breed out malignant genetics if those who carry the genes breed. Of course, now we are entering an age of genetic screening and engineering, so we'll see if we are allowed to take advantage of it.

- KitNyx

Pollux V
08-08-03, 09:58 AM
I am not sure how many Americans are in here

I have seldom left its borders.


I also do not always agree with the statement "Power corrupts".

I do agree with the statement "Power Corrupts." If the power isn't with the government then it's with the rich. It's always been like that in every single nation on Earth.


I would be for things like union busting and cutting socialistic programs (welfare/ universal healthcare).

While I feel doing such things is just criminal and would benefit only the wealthy (after all, they don't belong to unions and don't need welfare or universal healthcare) from the sounds of it you would probably get far in America, today.


We began our decline when we acheived a level where the strong was expected to carry the weak - so much for evolution.

When was this, exactly?


We cannot breed out malignant genetics if those who carry the genes breed. Of course, now we are entering an age of genetic screening and engineering, so we'll see if we are allowed to take advantage of it.

You know, you're right, Adolph. We should get the labor camps ready for the inferiors as soon as possible. Where do you draw the line on strong vs. weak, eh? Start with the poor in the streets, they don't help anyone, hell, they're hardly human at all. Next go for the Arabs, so they stop demolishing our buildings. After that we should probably take care of the minorities, after all, they do poorly in school and only fill janitorial positions throughout their lives. Soon everyone will be strong, white, and handsome. Now that sounds like my type of realistic reality.

KitNyx
08-08-03, 04:28 PM
Thank you for putting all of those words "into my mouth". I do not think what I wrote pointed to the conclusions you drew, but just in case let me clarify - Malignant genes - diabetes, color blindedness, etc. Genetic Screening of fetuses and genetic manipulation/ gene therapy to fix these. I am a Darwinist, not a supremist.

- KitNyx

invisibleone
08-09-03, 09:33 AM
"In wildness is the preservation of the world."-Thoreau

korey
08-09-03, 03:15 PM
I agree with invisibleone...we need to pay more attention to nature...its what got us here, afterall...

Fraggle Rocker
08-09-03, 05:55 PM
Originally posted by guthrie
"It's a universal truth that power corrupts."

Weeelll, your right about corporations. But have you ever thought about powerful smaller govt?Yes of course. That's what libertarianism is all about. Shrink the government and you automatically shrink the limits of the power it can acheive. With modern communications and technology a small government can do a lot more damage than it could have done a thousand years ago, but we'd still be a whole lot better off than having one government controlling an area and population the size of the USA, Russia, China, India, or Brazil.

As I've said many times, small cities actually work, even when their populace has socialist leanings. The nearest city to us, a university town often called Hippie Heaven by the surrounding redneck lumberjack families that are more representative of the rest of the county, has a population of about 16,000. They have a Green Party majority on the city council and the mayor is one of the ten or twenty black women in the city. A real hotbed of old fashioned liberalism. But it works. Humans are capable of feeling a sense of community at that level. They don't cheat each other or try too hard to overpower each other. You can let them try any damn kind of political experiment they want, from the Hare Krishna communes in New Mexico to Ayn Rand's fictional capitalist anarchy in Colorado. Even if it doesn't work, the people who don't like it only have to drive for a few hours to resettle themselves in a place more to their liking. They don't have to learn a new language, abandon all their friends and family, and spend their life savings on a five day trip locked in a semi-trailer.


Moreover, I think in some ways you are being unduly restrictive about govts and corporations and rich people. Here in the UK, until the advent of the mass franchise, govt very much was by the rich, for the rich, ie the rich and powerful who owned the businesses and the land. The owners basically were the govt. I cannot see that much has changed. The govt and corporations are intricately connected, and it's nearly immaterial as to who started it all. For example, the demise of the aristocracy happened at the same time as the man of business, the self made man, started to grow up, which is part of the problem, because in doing what they did, ie get in cahoots with govt, they merely took over from the aristocracy.Universal suffrage is not a sufficient condition for effective democracy. The party system, especially the two-party variety that our countries have, limits the voter's choices to candidates that have already been approved by the people who wield power behind the scenes. I'm sure to you foreigners the differences between our Democrats and Republicans appear trivial, and we laugh at the idea of a "representative" government that still has an influential institution named "The House of Lords."

An aristocracy is an aristocracy, regardless of how one qualifies for membership. These days it's generally by wielding economic power, whether by birthright, mobster violence, or running a profitable business.

Americans think they have economic power because we all own stock, either directly or through our retirement associations. And we do to a small extent. We actually share in the corporations' profits. That keeps us happy enough that we don't ask a lot of questions. The corporations can easily afford the tiny bite out of the pie, and for their trouble they get an acquiescent public who never stops to realize that all of us put together don't own quite enough stock to have any influence at board meetings. Somebody that arrives in a private jet always owns 51 percent.
posted by Pollux
A few months ago I would have agreed with you on Affirmative Action. However I learned that my mom actually did her Final Project in college on the very subject (she majored in Political Philosophy, I believe, but hasn't made much of it). Her basic conclusion was that the rich white fat guys who run the colleges will undoubtedly keep the minorities out, regardless of their intelligence, because they favor whites. On top of that, most minorities grow up in inner cities, where schools recieve skeleton funding. On top of that there's the discrimination they will have to endure their entire lives. If minorities aren't given a boost up they will stay exactly where they are, that is, in need of a boost. Until they are truly equal this is the fair thing to do.I haven't logged in on this one until now because I've learned that there's not much point. After all, my entire generation and your parent's entire generation agreed with you for twenty or thirty years. It wasn't until our friends in the minority communities started explaining the pitfalls of affirmative action that we began to question its wisdom.

For starters, we solved the problem of the inequities of inner city schools by this outrageous but successful experiment called "busing." Kids were schlepped huge distances back and forth every day, passing each other going the opposite direction, even traveling to other cities if necessary, to ensure that inner city schools and suburban schools had a good mix of all races. It really worked. Whoever the troublemakers happened to be, there were enough kids from outside the local community whose parents didn't put up with no shit, that classrooms became safer, quieter, less dominated by cliques, and more focused on learning. The Crips and Bloods found themselves surrounded by Jewish kids who wondered why a mere three hundred years of discrimination should entitle anybody to behave like a fool, and the acid-licking blond surf punks found themselves surrounded by Latino kids who did not think that acting like a drunken seven year old every day was a leadership quality.

Personally I thought busing had an ulterior motive: it got a whole generation of kids accustomed to spending two or three hours every day on the freeway, so when they grew up they wouldn't mind having long drives to work.

The schools that were integrated this way actually worked. The teachers I knew all raved about it. Parents from every community felt that the benefits proved to be worth the colossal inconvenience. And even the kids, for the most part, adapted to being part of an experiment. They sure as hell learned more.

The problem was that all the other educational experiments that started after WWII were still going strong. Social promotions, Transactional Analysis, the New Math, throwing out Shakespeare in favor of Zora Neale Hurston. No amount of enforced diversity could make that kind of educational system work. By around 1980 this all came to a head and the performance of the government school system took a nose dive.

And of course the teacher's union became one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the nation, and we all know what power does. They passed all kinds of crazy rules. Days off for retreats that left parents desperately looking for day care. The most powerful people in the educational establishment were of course the administrators, not the teachers. I swear the average public school now has one bureaucrat for every teacher. (Catholic schools get by just fine with 80 percent fewer administrators.)

The cost of the government educational system mushroomed out of control yet the results were getting worse. Kids were taught that "getting along" was more important than knowing how to read. Kids who couldn't make change for a dollar were being promoted into high school. The way things stand now, the average reading level for high school graduates is fifth grade. And for college graduates it's seventh grade. Colleges had to start offering classes in remedial English for freshmen about ten years ago.

The taxpayers got fed up with getting so little for their money. Cutting school budgets hasn't improved the educational process, but it can't get any worse than zero. The classrooms are now more crowded and the kids feel like cattle, but they're learning just as much as they were in 1985, which is just about zero.

Busing was one of the first casualties of shrunken school budgets. We gotta have entire buildings full of people with master's degrees in educational administration earning as much money as registered nurses, but we can't afford to pay the salaries of hundreds of bus drivers.

But it doesn't matter. According to the scores they publish every year on the standardized tests that all schools give, kids in the inner city schools are stupider than kids in the suburban schools. But that's like saying that a Trabant is slower than a Zhiguli. (A Fiat built in Soviet Ukraine.) It's true but irrelevant.

There are other downsides to affirmative action, but I get the impression that you don't dispute them. You just felt that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.

I hope you can see that Equal Opportunity was all that was necessary to level the playing field, when accompanied by outrageous social experiments like busing. The real problem we're facing is the breakdown of the American public educational system. And that's not a racial issue.

As for the "rich fat white guys," a lot of them are second-generation liberals. It's the administrators of the universities who are so desperate to hang onto mandated "diversity" even if it means discriminating against some of the few academically qualified applicants they get. The kind of "diversity" they end up with is a mixture of thinking people and morons in the same classroom. College is being ruined just like grade school and high school aready have been. Pretty soon an American university degree won't mean shit. That is, if that hasn't already happened. You've got to wonder about a system that granted Bush an MBA.

moementum7
08-09-03, 09:02 PM
Do you always refer to yourself in such a collectivist way?
Do you not make up your own decisions and take resposibility for your own actions.
It seems a lot of people do this.
If you yourself are making the decision to do whats right for yourself or for nature then you cannot say that humanity as a whole is disintegrating.
Your main concern should be are you disintegrating or not.

cthulhus slave
08-10-03, 04:09 PM
"The populace simply isn't paying attention because it's in a constant state of shock. If this does not change soon, before the Evil People, whoever they are, secure their control over everything, then yes, America is on its way to becoming the next Argentina. Except Argentina with nukes, of course."

exactly. we "evil people" are just the onse who do not get shocked by the headlights of the terrible futer coming. were all deer in the raod geting blinded by mini-vans of doom! yet we evil onse are the moose in the road who gets hit by the car, turns around, tramples the car into oblivian, and out of sheer rage kills everything eles in sight too. including other deer and moose!
oh yah, and moose have guns!

so stop fuckin siting there going "omg! omg! omg! bush was elected unfairly!? why didnt i figure it out! aaahg! WTF!?!?! lifes unfair and people are taking advantage of me?! oh no!"

get over it. enjoy it. get on the train to hell and crush the lesser beings, even tho u too were one onse, and use the goo u get from crushing them to drown puppies then sell the puppies corpses to third world children as lunch meat!


~ajab cthulhU! may you be wicked, unmercifull, and let me kill and sin and teach me new ways to enjoy myself~

korey
08-10-03, 11:15 PM
moementum7: no, yes, yes it does, if the destruction humans have caused to nature isn't obvious then i don't know what to say, and Im pretty sure that Im not disintegrating...Im just thinking :-P

Pollux V
08-12-03, 05:12 PM
For starters, we solved the problem of the inequities of inner city schools by this outrageous but successful experiment called "busing."

Okay, in theory it sounds good. But I lived in New York until I was six, I went to a crappy, overcrowded school, and to the best of my recollection, I was never bused to a better school somewhere in suburbia. I never really cared about the racial differences, but let me tell you, there were plenty of them. I remember just as many Arabs, Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, as I do whites--while where I live now, in Suburban Paradise, there are three or four black kids out of a total of about six hundred. Other than that I'm not quite sure as to the numbers. So it is a racial thing for as long as the minorities are confined to the inner cities. And while I could be wrong, the best solution I can think of for the problem would be a huge increase in Federal funding that would have otherwise been spent to build MOABs or something. Because they sure as hell aren't going to get the money from the local population, who, if they had any, would move to a better school district.

Chomsky Chomsky Chomsky....

As for power, not everyone who has had it has been evil. The best examples I can think of are Lincoln and FDR, two men who arguably kept the country from falling apart, even though neither of them were saints by any stretch of the imagination, I think for the most part what they did led to benefiting those that were not at the top of the social heirarchy. Whatever FDR constructed, however, I have decided that Reagan tore down. The people either loved him for it or forgot about it completely.

But your case is one that is hard to refute--that (to overgeneralize) concentrated power leads to suffering, correct? I think that it just depends on who wields the power, and that, more often than not, the people who traditionally have wielded the power (those various evil bastards) will continue to do so, with rare bouts of hope here and there. Because that is the pattern of history, of civilization, and it has, to the best of my knowledge, never been interrupted before, or changed, for that matter.

So then I would say that there does need to be a police force separate from the wealthy to keep the wealthy in line. Sadly this is currently not the case, nor has it ever been the case, for the United States of America.

The people do have the power, the problem is that most of them are either corrupted, brainwashed, or just stupid (http://freeconservatives.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=201826&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=all&vc=1). Floyd says it best--"it could be made into a monster if we all pull together as a team." The wealthy will bend to whatever we demand as long as we demand in force, together.

moementum7
08-12-03, 07:44 PM
Note taken.

and2000x
08-14-03, 06:13 PM
SOLUTION: Stop moralizing. Spread new values that encourage strength, obedience, and personal success through hierarchy. Encourage naturalism, nationalism, and loyalty to family. Preserve and restore nature. Create a strong totalitarian government to cleanse the filth. Get rid of most modern technology and put it in the hands of the elite. Give guns to the citizens so that it is not unfair (or so they think). Kill all ingrates. Increase punishment. Make ugly, fat, and stupid people feel unwelcome so that they are forced to change. Deny work to mothers of children under 15. Get rid of free market, outlaw advertising. Outlaw modern music. Produce efficient products that will last 100s of years. Find new power source. Let young kids play and learn outside instead of sitting in classrooms. Kill all metrosexuals. Colonize Mars.

guthrie
08-14-03, 07:26 PM
ahhh, it was this thread i posted on a few days ago. id forgotten.

"Yes of course. That's what libertarianism is all about. Shrink the government and you automatically shrink the limits of the power it can acheive. With modern communications and technology a small government can do a lot more damage than it could have done a thousand years ago, but we'd still be a whole lot better off than having one government controlling an area and population the size of the USA, Russia, China, India, or Brazil."

Id disagree, becasue of the general libertarian tendency towards worship of private propoerty, including natural resources etc. Its all very well getting rid of gvt, and saying that big corporations suck, but you have to have "the people" capable of exercising restrinat on both the gvt and the companies, something that an emphasis on libertarianism doensst do. So a gvt that is directly democratic yet interferes in private business etc, almost certainly counts as too big a gvt.
Then the other difficulty is gaining consensus on bigger issues, but ill have to leave that one, its hard to demonstrate one way or another.
Then theres the point that the society we have today is a product of hte tehcnological advances and the larger scale advances i business and gvt, in efficiency etc etc, so we shall have to sacrifice some of them in order to have a fairer society more like what we want.


"Universal suffrage is not a sufficient condition for effective democracy. The party system, especially the two-party variety that our countries have, limits the voter's choices to candidates that have already been approved by the people who wield power behind the scenes. I'm sure to you foreigners the differences between our Democrats and Republicans appear trivial, and we laugh at the idea of a "representative" government that still has an influential institution named "The House of Lords."

An aristocracy is an aristocracy, regardless of how one qualifies for membership. These days it's generally by wielding economic power, whether by birthright, mobster violence, or running a profitable business.

Americans think they have economic power because we all own stock, either directly or through our retirement associations. And we do to a small extent. We actually share in the corporations' profits. That keeps us happy enough that we don't ask a lot of questions. The corporations can easily afford the tiny bite out of the pie, and for their trouble they get an acquiescent public who never stops to realize that all of us put together don't own quite enough stock to have any influence at board meetings. Somebody that arrives in a private jet always owns 51 percent."

Well, yeah. How many times have you been called a commie?
There is an interesting idea towards more universal ownership that doesnt appear to infringe the free market capitalist ideal, based on Louis Kelos's idea of universal capital ownership.
And yes, we have the same problems over here, but gripe at the USA because by and large fewer USA'ians seem to think there is a problem with their gvt.

"You got me there. The inner cities are deserts of poverty that seem to be inescapable. Of course I could get on my soapbox about how the War on Drugs targets black people, puts their husbands and fathers in prison, while white men who commit the same offenses get to go to college. But I've been getting too much flack for inserting political commentary into the social and philosophical threads."

No no, its alright, the topics are all related. I could relate just about any topic to any other quite easily. And what your saying is fairly true. It does take a long time for a class of people to climb out of poverty that occurs beyond their control. However it woudl happen faster in a better society.

Pollux, remember its that power tends to attract corrupt personalities. I read that in a frank herbert book i think.

"Or perhaps disllusioned? I've been looking for a way to right this wrong since before your parents were born (I think) and I haven't found one."

Ever read "Island" by Aldous Huxley? It suggests one way. Otherwise, there isnt really any aprticular way, perhaps if we all converted to Buddhism....

and2000x
08-15-03, 08:43 AM
damn, never mind, wrong topic.

Pollux V
08-15-03, 09:38 PM
Interesting. Most of the suburban areas around Los Angeles and San Francisco are very multiracial. Not that there aren't still some white enclaves, but suburban Californians for the most part seem to have become accustomed to integration. I give a lot of the credit for that to busing. They got used to mutiracial communities when they were kids.

I'm actually not sure exactly why there is such a lack of nonwhites where I live. The amount of racism here doesn't seem to be more than other places, even New York City. I could be wrong though, being white and not seeing it firsthand. Maine has a very small population, only a few million permanent residents or so. And I think most of them are second or third generation Mainers, or more simply put--rednecks.


Or we could all rise up in protest against the War on Drugs the way my parents rose up against Prohibition when they saw what it was doing to the country

Well--we can't give up on the war, we can't just surrender. Drugs hurt people, that's why they're illegal. It's not like I'm all for frying the black guys and ignoring the white ones, but there is a poison being circulated around the country, and that circulation needs to be cut off.


He was a power tripper whose less than complimentary opinions of black people are well documented

I know. Absolutely. Apparently he could never fully see them as equals.


The Civil War was about economics and he only raised slavery as an issue when it seemed the North was losing and he needed a cause to rally Northern support for more bloodshed.

I thought it was originally about the South not having any political power vs. the North in Congress. I guess that could translate to economics--but remember, in the South, a huge portion of their economics was based on slavery and forced, unpaid labor. They must have known for awhile that the tide was turning against slavery, it had been or was being outlawed left and right outside the States.


As for restoring the Union, that's been a mixed blessing at best

I don't think so. The South probably wouldn't have lasted for long, since a lot of their economy (even their currency) was based on agriculture, a few bad seasons would have forced them to crawl back to the Union. If not then, skipping ahead a few decades, we would have easily had the strength to defeat the Germans in WW1, putting Europe on its course toward even greater catastrophe, but it's likely that the more conservative south would have had objections to entering the war against Hitler. We may not have annexed Hawaii, and the Japanese may never have attacked us. Hitler declared war on us at that time, and he may never have done so. Things could have been significantly different for us in the Modern Age had the South been victorious. I might not even be alive.

As for Texas, I thought that war was all about annexing another half of the country, manifest destiny, etcetera. The Spanish were completely outgunned and outclassed anyway, their Empire had been in a state of decline for some time since the Armada was destroyed a few hundred years earlier.


we wouldn't have had to suffer the presidencies of Johnson and two Bushes and the wars they waged to benefit their rich buddies

Hasn't every president done that?


I've been looking for a way to right this wrong since before your parents were born (I think) and I haven't found one.

The answer lies in the television. Become a media mogul, you'll have more power than any president or legislator has had. Maybe more powerful than anyone ever has been. Because you can sway the masses with a snap of your fingers, use people in your departments who know how to lie or to blur the facts. This is what the current moguls and past moguls have done. If you were to rise to the top, you'd just have to start telling the truth, that's all. I find it hard to believe that there is only fifteen minutes of newsworthy material happening around the world in a day.


There is a point at which the wealthy become unassailable

Possibly. It is possible, however I would like to try to sally them out when I'm older. Or maybe just become one of them. I can feel the ring calling for me...


Pollux, remember its that power tends to attract corrupt personalities

Power is very attractive to me, and unless I have a change of heart, I am going to "do it." However I have trouble killing insects, and I am still just an adolescent. Am I corrupt? Or will I be?

If the world is still around in forty years, and I'm at or near its top, we'll check back on that question. Until then....

Fraggle Rocker
08-16-03, 04:48 PM
Originally posted by Pollux V
I'm actually not sure exactly why there is such a lack of nonwhites where I live. The amount of racism here doesn't seem to be more than other places, even New York City. I could be wrong though, being white and not seeing it firsthand. Maine has a very small population, only a few million permanent residents or so. And I think most of them are second or third generation Mainers, or more simply put--rednecks.Legal or openly tolerated racism is not the only reason that members of minorities don't settle in particular places. One of the strongest reasons is that years of segregation create distinct communities which people have ties to and don't always want to leave. That's why minorities are bigger (if that sentence makes any sense) in larger population centers. There are enough to reach critical mass so they maintain an echo of the community they used to belong to. No matter what the law says and how sincerely the majority welcomes people, it's not easy to make the transition. It's even more obvious with immigrant communities who bring languages and cuisines from another country. How many of us are adventurous enough to settle in a place where we'll never hear our native language or eat the food our mother cooked again? (Well with my mother's cooking that would be real easy.)
Well--we can't give up on the War [on Drugs], we can't just surrender. Drugs hurt people, that's why they're illegal.No, you've got it exactly backwards. The main reason drugs hurt people is that they're illegal. Most "drug-related deaths" are: People caught in the crossfire of the War on Drugs or in battles between mobsters who only exist because there's a black market to support them; People who get the wrong dose because their drugs don't come with labels telling them how much is in them; People who get drugs they're not expecting because dealers cut them with cheaper but more dangerous stuff like amphetamine or methamphetamine; People who find it difficult to get the drug they want because it's too hard to conceal, like smelly, bulky, urine-tainting marijuana, so somebody sells them something that they hope will give approximately the same high but is more dangerous like meth; People who have the similar experience of finding their drug of choice more concentrated because it's less risky to transport, e.g., crack instead of powder cocaine; People who learn that the entire world has been lying to them about marijuana so they figure they're probably lying about all the other drugs too and they try one.

Deliberate and accidental misuse of legal prescription and OTC drugs kill about ten times as many Americans as all illegal drugs combined. No one has ever been killed directly by marijuana. I'd rather share the freeway with a million paranoid, right-lane hugging, slow-moving pot-heads, than the usual assortment of finger-stabbing, tailgating, horn-blowing caffeine junkies that are out there every single goddamn morning.

When L.A. police chief Darryl Gates said about fifteen years ago that he wished he had the legal authority to shoot marijuana smokers, a letter from one of his desired victims was widely published. The point was, "Of course you do. That's the only way you old farts can make the drugs WE use as deadly as the alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine that YOU use!"
It's not like I'm all for frying the black guys and ignoring the white ones, but there is a poison being circulated around the country, and that circulation needs to be cut off.The poison is lies. I'm sad to learn that you've been infected. My mother watched Prohibition destroy America. Women started going to bars. Children were recruited as moonshine runners because the cops would go easy on them. Gangsters were more prosperous than honest businessmen and became more attractive role models. People were being killed by contaminated hooch produced by amateurs. And more people drank during Prohibition than before it. She was a knee-jerk Republican who hated FDR, but till her dying day about five years ago she said she forgave him for all of his "liberal mistakes" because he got Prohibition repealed. And she didn't even like booze. Even she, at a cranky 87, saw that the War on Drugs was just Prohibition II, and it made her cry.
In the South, a huge portion of their economics was based on slavery and forced, unpaid labor. They must have known for awhile that the tide was turning against slavery, it had been or was being outlawed left and right outside the States. The South probably wouldn't have lasted for long, since a lot of their economy (even their currency) was based on agriculture, a few bad seasons would have forced them to crawl back to the Union.Exactly. England was eyeing the Confederacy jealously, wanting their cotton. They would have re-annexed them in a second. And the slaves would have been freed instantly because it was already illegal in the British Empire. Lincoln caused Americans to come out of the Civil War believing that it was fought over slavery. The half million dead created an unconscious rift between the black citizens who were presented as the winners and the white citizens who had to bury their dead and began to wonder if it was all worth it. A rift that to this day has not healed. Especially when Brazil, the last holdout and the land of the cruelest slaveholders in the world, abolished it peacefully within thirty years and now they don't even have white people and black people.
If not then, skipping ahead a few decades, we would have easily had the strength to defeat the Germans in WW1, putting Europe on its course toward even greater catastrophe, but it's likely that the more conservative south would have had objections to entering the war against Hitler. We may not have annexed Hawaii, and the Japanese may never have attacked us. Hitler declared war on us at that time, and he may never have done so. Things could have been significantly different for us in the Modern Age had the South been victorious. I might not even be alive.Alternate histories make great stories. Personally I think the entire 20th Century would have been different if Woodrow Wilson had had the strength of character to allow the people to speak out against the US entering WWI. They probably would have prevailed, since A) they were still strongly isolationist and B) there was a still lot of enmity between the US and Britain, half the citizenry would have wanted us to enter on the German side. Instead he jailed the protesters, pulled off the Lusitania scam, and tried to go down in history as the man who united the world, instead of one of the most deceitful megalomanic assholes in the history of our country. If Germany had won WWI, there would have been no humiliation at Versailles, no Third Reich, no paranoid Stalin feeling the need to waste half his nation's GDP on a war machine, no French Indochina ready to fall under the spell of Ho Chi Minh, and China would have remained under the domination of the Japanese, which could hardly have been any worse for them than Mao, and a whole lot better for the rest of us.

But at the very least, if we had let the eleven southern states have their way, we would not today be continually having the Union flag waved in our faces by people who still fly the Confederate battle flag over their own statehouses but pretend to be more patriotic than we are.
As for Texas, I thought that war was all about annexing another half of the country, manifest destiny, etcetera. The Spanish were completely outgunned and outclassed anyway, their Empire had been in a state of decline for some time since the Armada was destroyed a few hundred years earlier.Who can figure out the Texans. Suffice it to say that they have managed to maintain an isolated power grid. The rest of us could have a blackout that would knock out the entire continent north of the Rio Grande... except Texas would still have air conditioning.
Power is very attractive to me, and unless I have a change of heart, I am going to "do it." However I have trouble killing insects, and I am still just an adolescent. Am I corrupt? Or will I be?Most people find it becomes more difficult to commit violence as they age. You'll probably be a vegetarian in ten years if you're not already. And when President Jenna Bush tries to invade France, you'll be carrying a picket sign with the rest of us.

guthrie
08-18-03, 01:43 PM
"Power is very attractive to me, and unless I have a change of heart, I am going to "do it." However I have trouble killing insects, and I am still just an adolescent. Am I corrupt? Or will I be?

If the world is still around in forty years, and I'm at or near its top, we'll check back on that question. Until then...."

OK, if you get near the top and start taking power too much for its own sake, can we look you up and shoot you? Or just kidnap you and take you for a ride like Scrooge got?
The major corruptor of young adults is called "reality", also known as a reality check. Its when you realise you arent going to change the world by yourself, and that half the ideas youve had and things youve done dont count for anything. Then its very easy to say "fuck everyone else, I'm looking after number one" forgeting the importance of society to your continued well being. And then you end up believing that people shoudl only be as selfish as htey can, and everything will be OK. But also remember that there has been a lot of damage by people who say they are doing good, but actually doing things for themselves, and those who feel the need to get into other peoples lives and sort them out. Many people like that get into Gvt, and so bring it all into disrepute. Many of the latter go into business, and mess everythign else up for us average joes.

So what do you want to be?

(but read some Aldous Huxley if you want stuff to read.)


"There is a point at which the wealthy become unassailable
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Possibly. It is possible, however I would like to try to sally them out when I'm older. Or maybe just become one of them. I can feel the ring calling for me...
"

Yup- Fraggle rocker is right. One of my friends is a communist who is scared the rich are now getting ready to pull the ladder up behind htemselves and basically take over part of the world for themselves, ro merely more nakedly run it all for their own benefit. And remember, sallying them out is very hard by yourself, if not impossible, theres plenty of ocean or desert to lose a body in. And you can see how important co-option is to prevent people getting in the way, after all, there is a great deal of attraction in having a nice job, stable set up etc, rather than always being on the edge and uncertain about your next job because your on a blacklist, etc etc.

"I find it hard to believe that there is only fifteen minutes of newsworthy material happening around the world in a day."

Your dead right. Ive been noticing it more recently. I want to know whats actually going on around the world, in Iraq, Afghanistan, the economic and social stuations in my country and otehrs. Instead we get five minutes on celebrities, or three minutes shot of burning oil wells, without much actual background.

"How many of us are adventurous enough to settle in a place where we'll never hear our native language or eat the food our mother cooked again? (Well with my mother's cooking that would be real easy.)"

Quite a few. And in many more cases, its do it or die slowly.

And fragglerocker is right about the drugs. pot is to a large extent safer than alcohol, how many die from that each year, how many fights, etc, whereas pot heads just sit there and dont bother anyone. My dad would like to legalise cannabis, after 30 years in the police hes had his share of drunks to deal with.
oh aye, and allegedly it was all banned in part from the fear of competition of hemp fibre to the already established monopolies in the USA.

and2000x
08-18-03, 04:04 PM
Alternate histories make great stories. Personally I think the entire 20th Century would have been different if Woodrow Wilson had had the strength of character to allow the people to whole lot better for the rest of us.

I think you would enjoy Harry Turtledove, the world's best alternate history writer, he writes all sorts of crazy scenarios, like what if the Confederacy allied with the Germans in WWII? I think there was one were Gandhi became a fascist dictator. It's very fun stuff: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/002-8982671-6788820

Pollux V
08-18-03, 10:04 PM
Legal or openly tolerated racism is not the only reason that members of minorities don't settle in particular places. One of the strongest reasons is that years of segregation create distinct communities which people have ties to and don't always want to leave. That's why minorities are bigger (if that sentence makes any sense) in larger population centers. There are enough to reach critical mass so they maintain an echo of the community they used to belong to. No matter what the law says and how sincerely the majority welcomes people, it's not easy to make the transition. It's even more obvious with immigrant communities who bring languages and cuisines from another country. How many of us are adventurous enough to settle in a place where we'll never hear our native language or eat the food our mother cooked again? (Well with my mother's cooking that would be real easy.)

True. Although it is barbaric, and virtually every facet of our culture believes it is barbaric, racism is still legal, and rightfully so. People have a right to dislike someone for a stupid reason. I'm not sure exactly how to eradicate racism in the US, but I do know that in most cases, except for perhaps Arab-Americans, it is in the decline, and will likely remain that way.

Making a transition from culture to culture, language to language, is hard enough, but I think it becomes a bit easier when you're moving into the United States from somewhere else, legally or illegally. Some of the shit I see on conservative forums, about how evil illegal aliens are, how much they're out to steal our welfare, just makes me sick. I'm not sure of the facts, and I don't want to generalize like they do, but I doubt that when an alien moves into the US the first thing on his to-do list is to sign up for welfare. Is there any way of measuring that? Any census'?


No, you've got it exactly backwards. The main reason drugs hurt people is that they're illegal. Most "drug-related deaths" are: People caught in the crossfire of the War on Drugs or in battles between mobsters who only exist because there's a black market to support them; People who get the wrong dose because their drugs don't come with labels telling them how much is in them; People who get drugs they're not expecting because dealers cut them with cheaper but more dangerous stuff like amphetamine or methamphetamine; People who find it difficult to get the drug they want because it's too hard to conceal, like smelly, bulky, urine-tainting marijuana, so somebody sells them something that they hope will give approximately the same high but is more dangerous like meth; People who have the similar experience of finding their drug of choice more concentrated because it's less risky to transport, e.g., crack instead of powder cocaine; People who learn that the entire world has been lying to them about marijuana so they figure they're probably lying about all the other drugs too and they try one.

Okay, fine. What happens when you legalize all drugs?

I've never been against marijuana because, to me, it seems more harmless than tobacco. However crack, heroine, LSD, and many other drugs are extremely addictive and dangerous. They're much worse than cigarrettes. If you start using heroine your life expectancy drops to two years.

So, look. I'm ready to learn, but I need some numbers and citations if you're going to convince me. How many people are killed by overdosing on drugs as opposed to the other ways that you have described?


The half million dead created an unconscious rift between the black citizens who were presented as the winners and the white citizens who had to bury their dead and began to wonder if it was all worth it.

I'm not sure that this is the reason that there is such a cultural difference between some (but not all) blacks and some (but not all) whites. Slavery was different in America from slavery elsewhere in that the blacks were seen as less than human, no better than the muck on your feet, whereas elsewhere, correct me if I am wrong, slaves were seen as equals, albeit unfortunate equals who were at the very least human. They were spoils of war, tributes paid to keep away invaders, while the blacks were abducted from their homes.


Alternate histories make great stories....etc etc

It's possible. But there are far too many variables. If the south had won, everything is automatically immensely different. The future is changed forever, and probably by a great deal. For one, if Stalin hadn't wasted so much money, resources, and good men in WW2, Russian might be the language of science instead of English. He might never have come to power in the first place, WW1 was one of the reasons for the Bolshevik revolution, after all.


Who can figure out the Texans. Suffice it to say that they have managed to maintain an isolated power grid. The rest of us could have a blackout that would knock out the entire continent north of the Rio Grande... except Texas would still have air conditioning.

One of Goofyfish's old quotes went something like "there are no warlike people, only warlike leaders." I've met plenty of nice Texans before. It's just the rich guys there that are asswipes, but that's the same anywhere you go on the planet.


Most people find it becomes more difficult to commit violence as they age. You'll probably be a vegetarian in ten years if you're not already. And when President Jenna Bush tries to invade France, you'll be carrying a picket sign with the rest of us.

I try to avoid conflict whenever I can. But as for being a vegetarian, mark my words, that's not going to happen. I've considered it before, but I just enjoy the taste of meat far too much. Red meat, chicken, lamb....*drools*...I've grown up in a household that has not only a phenomenal, professional chef as its cook but one that has meat almost every night for dinner. I couldn't live without it, eating meat is almost a part of me. Honestly, it's more of an addiction, and I would rather not be eating animals that were once alive and conscious, but I can't help it, and I don't really want to. If I gave up meat then I would change more than anything else, become a completely different person. Unless, of course, they could actually substitute it with something that tastes exactly the same, and has the same kind of value. They'll probably do it sooner or later. But until then...

More later. Time to depart.

Pollux V
08-19-03, 11:21 AM
I think you would enjoy Harry Turtledove

I've already read a little of his stuff. Suffice to say, I think it's ooookay. My friends made fun of him because they felt that he had a stupid name, so naturally that's been engrained into my psyche.


OK, if you get near the top and start taking power too much for its own sake, can we look you up and shoot you? Or just kidnap you and take you for a ride like Scrooge got?

Second option, please!


The major corruptor of young adults is called "reality", also known as a reality check. Its when you realise you arent going to change the world by yourself, and that half the ideas youve had and things youve done dont count for anything. Then its very easy to say "fuck everyone else, I'm looking after number one" forgeting the importance of society to your continued well being. And then you end up believing that people shoudl only be as selfish as htey can, and everything will be OK.

True. Hasn't quite hit me yet. I'd still like to try. But it's very possible that my thoughts will have changed several years down the line. One year from now I'll do an update on this very thread and see if I'm still as young and brighteyed as I am today.


but read some Aldous Huxley if you want stuff to read

I'll look into it. Heard about him.

guthrie
08-19-03, 01:54 PM
"Second option, please!"

OK.

"True. Hasn't quite hit me yet. I'd still like to try. But it's very possible that my thoughts will have changed several years down the line. One year from now I'll do an update on this very thread and see if I'm still as young and brighteyed as I am today."

That would be interesting. I'm predicting you'll change most in the couple of years after you leave school and are at college.

"I'll look into it. Heard about him."

He was looking at the same sort of problems that I and others now are, except 60 and more years ago. The perennial problems that afflict mankind.

"Okay, fine. What happens when you legalize all drugs?

I've never been against marijuana because, to me, it seems more harmless than tobacco. However crack, heroine, LSD, and many other drugs are extremely addictive and dangerous. They're much worse than cigarrettes. If you start using heroine your life expectancy drops to two years.

So, look. I'm ready to learn, but I need some numbers and citations if you're going to convince me. How many people are killed by overdosing on drugs as opposed to the other ways that you have described?"

Its at this point that it gets complicated. Your htinking clearly, but from now on it depends on your basic assumptions, ie are you for maixumum personal freedom even at the expense of killing yourself, ie with drugs? Or so you think of them more in an economic fashion, ie a market exists?
The basic point is that people have been taking narcotic substances for millenia, the problems come when doing so directly affects other people, and in a close knit society it does, whether you being stoned means you arent grinding corn, or you being on crack means you beat up old ladies for money. Therefore, many societies evolve rituals to help contain the problem, or else prohibitions to prevent it. Eg. goign down the pub on a friday or saturday night, or drinking cocoa like the Aztecs, or something. Either way, you end up questioning how much rights "society" has to restrict what someone does because it harms and costs society, compared to the individuals right to do as they pelase with themselves, and to hang with the consequences. Or do you have mercy upon them and want to help rehabilitate them? It is a demonstrable point that more peopel turn to drugs when their life is pointless and dull and dangerous, eg in inner cities, or when destitute and poverty stricken, ie with gin a few hundred years ago.

Then theres stuff like heroin, which is so clearly a bad thing, that nobody in their right mind would take it. So you need to start creating a society of people in their right minds. Of course, you could argue that these druggies are ruling themselves out the gene pool, but really, genetics doesnt work that simply. Think how many creative people have been on drugs, and think also of whether everyone has the right it life or not.

damn, am i getting preachy. i need to work on overall comprehendability though.

some urls, i am having trouble finding all the stuff ive read about this topic over the years:
http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/drugs.htm
on social breakdown etc in south wales: http://society.guardian.co.uk/drugsandalcohol/story/0,8150,467009,00.html

I think the Dutch have tried more leagalised approach to heroin as well as cannabis, and not had much trouble. People have to want to take drugs, have the low self esteem and lesser self control that leaves them vulnerable to pushers.

useful websites:
http://society.guardian.co.uk/drugsandalcohol/page/0,8149,728603,00.html

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/focus/story/0,6903,521967,00.html

Fraggle Rocker
08-19-03, 06:16 PM
Originally posted by Pollux V
True. Although it is barbaric, and virtually every facet of our culture believes it is barbaric, racism is still legal, and rightfully so. People have a right to dislike someone for a stupid reason. I'm not sure exactly how to eradicate racism in the US, but I do know that in most cases, except for perhaps Arab-Americans, it is in the decline, and will likely remain that way.Actually racism is in many important ways illegal in the US today. It's illegal to discriminate against someone in employment, housing, education, business. You can dislike somebody for being of a different race but there are very few legal ways to express that dislike. As Hank Hill said on "King of the Hill," "What kind of a country is this where I can only hate a man if he's white?"

But yes, racism is clearly on the decline. Most people have gotten accustomed to bumping into each other at the office and the supermarket. "Familiarity breeds content." Arab immigrants are going through a bad patch now, just as all foreign-looking people do when our country decides to make war against theirs, but it will pass. Nobody's getting it worse than the French.:)
Making a transition from culture to culture, language to language, is hard enough, but I think it becomes a bit easier when you're moving into the United States from somewhere else, legally or illegally. Some of the shit I see on conservative forums, about how evil illegal aliens are, how much they're out to steal our welfare, just makes me sick. I'm not sure of the facts, and I don't want to generalize like they do, but I doubt that when an alien moves into the US the first thing on his to-do list is to sign up for welfare. Is there any way of measuring that? Any census?How about personal experience? My wife was a social worker for half her life. The poorest immigrants, the ones against which the redneck hatred is focused, come from countries where there is no welfare and very little private charity. They don't even understand the concept. They come here to get jobs, which is something they do understand. A few of them hear stories about Americans being paid not to work, but they think those are just fairy tales, they can't imagine anything so preposterous.

Eventually a portion of every demographic group falls on hard times and they discover the welfare system. But immigrant families from poor countries are not disproportionately represented. Her experience was that the biggest welfare cheats were immigrants from prosperous countries who had practiced beating the bureaucracy over there, and thought they'd come try their skill against the big casino. She'd see women stuff $5,000 worth of gold and jade jewelry in their purses in the elevator, and then go apply for free medical care.

One thing about our welfare system, just like all of our bureaucracies, they reward the clever, the people who know how to fill out the forms just right. There was a question on the medical eligibility form, "Do you own a chicken?" Of course half the Latino families in Los Angeles have chickens, it's just part of the culture. So they'd answer "yes" and disqualify themselves. They thought they were demonstrating a willingness to help themselves by at least producing their own eggs. The government saw them as retards who didn't know when to lie.
Okay, fine. What happens when you legalize all drugs?Pretty much what happens now. Millions of people will be killed by tobacco and alcohol, a hundred thousand or so by legal pharmaceuticals, and a few thousand by recreational drugs except marijuana. At the height of the hippie era something like sixty million Americans were regular users of recreational drugs. Now it's about twenty million. That's forty million people who simply grew up, got jobs, had children, went to PTA meetings, and didn't find a place or a need in their life for the drugs any more. Compare that to the recovery rate from alcoholism or smoking. The "addictiveness" of even the worst of the recreational drugs is just one more government lie.
I've never been against marijuana because, to me, it seems more harmless than tobacco. However crack, heroine, LSD, and many other drugs are extremely addictive and dangerous. They're much worse than cigarettes. If you start using heroin your life expectancy drops to two years.Bullshit. Before they cracked down on the opiates in the 1930s, lots of middle- and upper-class people were heroin users. Doctors shot heroin and then went in and performed brilliant surgery. Today's "heroin deaths" are 99 percent due to dirty needles and unreliable dosages -- both due to heroin's illicit status, not its inherent properties. LSD is barely a blip on the radar any more, another once popular drug whose users simply quit. I lived in Hollywood during the 1960s and 1970s and saw it all. I never knew or knew of anybody who had one of those ridiculous "bad trips" on acid that the Drug Warriors lie about. Yeah some people had a really bad time and wished they hadn't done it, but after several hours of looking pissed off it wore off. I know there are a few documented cases of bad LSD trips but they have been vastly overblown. Prozac is far more dangerous, I've seen a person have a suicidal reaction with my own eyes.

You have to put this shit in perspective. You're absolutely wrong in your comparison of illicit drugs to tobacco. None of them, not even meth, which as far as I can tell is flat out the worst of the lot, is as dangerous as tobacco.
So, look. I'm ready to learn, but I need some numbers and citations if you're going to convince me. How many people are killed by overdosing on drugs as opposed to the other ways that you have described?USA 1998 figures:

Tobacco: 400,000
Alcohol: 116,000
Legal pharmaceuticals: 106,000
Illegal drugs: 19,000
Marijuana: -0-

That illegal drug figure does not include gunshots from the War on Drugs. But it does include deaths due to unreliable street dosage and poorly administered syringes. It also includes a lot of people who were found dead with a mix of alcohol and other drugs in their blood. Most jurisdictions put that in the other drug column, not the alcohol. Every high-profile drug death all the way back to Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix was a combination of drugs and alcohol. Here's the website:

http://bbsnews.net/drug-deaths.html

It cites reliable sources but you may doubt its credibility, so feel free to surf for another. I have been an anti-drug war activist for years and keep up with the stats. These are in line with all the other sources I've seen. I saw one issued by the DEA itself a few years ago that was very similar, but I can't put my hands on it.
I'm not sure that [the Civil War] is the reason that there is such a cultural difference between some (but not all) blacks and some (but not all) whites. Slavery was different in America from slavery elsewhere in that the blacks were seen as less than human, no better than the muck on your feet, whereas elsewhere, correct me if I am wrong, slaves were seen as equals, albeit unfortunate equals who were at the very least human. They were spoils of war, tributes paid to keep away invaders, while the blacks were abducted from their homes.Speaking of slavery throughout history, sure. But if you're talking about slavery in the New World, you're talking strictly about kidnapped Africans. If you're interested, check out the history of slavery in Brazil. The accounts I've seen say that nowhere on Earth were slaves treated as badly and considered more as beasts of burden than in Brazil. The bastards even hung onto the institution until something like 1896. Yet it was abolished peacefully and today Brazil is one of the most thoroughly integrated countries you can find.

Now if only the Latin American nations could be as nice to their native peoples.
But as for being a vegetarian, mark my words, that's not going to happen. Unless, of course, they could actually substitute it with something that tastes exactly the same, and has the same kind of value. They'll probably do it sooner or later. But until then...So you're waiting for Star Trek's replicators like the rest of us.:)

Unregistered
08-24-03, 08:56 AM
Originally posted by korey
Is it just me, or does it seem like humans are in a constant race with eachother to ultimately kill themselves(and everything else on the planet) off? I mean, "we" not only destroy everything in sight, but we harvest everything to make way for new forms of pollution. We feed until our bodies become grossly mis-shapen. We've gone from killing for survival to killing just for fun. We inject, pop, smoke, drink, etc. various things to make us feel even more superior and "special". We're all semi-sadomasochistic hedonists. As if that wasn't enough, we convert to killing eachother and we twist thoughts and words around to gain power in the world. This all probably just sounds like ramblings of an idiot, but I think humans need to wake up and stop being so ... so ... blegh ... Does anyone else feel the same way or similar, or do my opinions just seem like overscrutinizations? Thanks in advance for replying!


We can harvest and eat and kill and destroy just because it can and it satsifies us..and since what makes us happy is things like that..wealth, sex, power..then it cant be wrong and whatever dies in the process is entriely irrelevant. We are only slaves to our human desires, we can't be guilty of our own nature.

korey
08-24-03, 10:15 AM
lol, yes, it "can't be wrong" can it? Hmmmmmmm.....humans are morons...I can't wait til we are all gone...and it is so amazing how we actually CAN control ourselves, but we all would rather be animalistic whores...oh well :-/

kazakhan
08-24-03, 10:48 AM
Today's "heroin deaths" are 99 percent due to dirty needles and unreliable dosages -- both due to heroin's illicit status, not its inherent properties.
Dirty needles generally spread disease, dirty heroin etc (dealers cutting it with other crap) more often than not is the killer for experienced users.

I never knew or knew of anybody who had one of those ridiculous "bad trips" on acid that the Drug Warriors lie about. Yeah some people had a really bad time and wished they hadn't done it, but after several hours of looking pissed off it wore off. I know there are a few documented cases of bad LSD trips but they have been vastly overblown.
You have not had much experience with LSD then i gather. The "Drug Warriors" are not lying. Other than having a bad trip myself, a friend died directly from LSD, he walked straight off the top of a 22 storey building while "day-trippin" and there is nothing overblown about that. I don't know if a certain dosage of LSD can kill but the hallucinations certainly can when taken as real. Of course a lot of people don't have any problems but as with most drugs you can never be sure of exactly what your getting or how much to take particulary for new users.

guthrie
08-24-03, 02:42 PM
"We can harvest and eat and kill and destroy just because it can and it satsifies us..and since what makes us happy is things like that..wealth, sex, power..then it cant be wrong and whatever dies in the process is entriely irrelevant. We are only slaves to our human desires, we can't be guilty of our own nature."

You know, such a statement completely ignores the experiences and desires of most of the people on the globe, who would rather not be killing and destroying. So why pretend its so good?

As for LSD, I have no personal experience, but I htink the point is that it can get like prescription drugs. youve noticed the hoo haa about seroxat- well, compare that to illicit drugs.

SergejVictorov
08-27-03, 02:51 PM
Recent events prove that men are out of control. Take Iraq for example. I've been thinking a lot on this topic and I just can't understand why the US can "play police" and bother with other countries' affairs.

I don't live in the US so what I'm saying might be wrong. Please correct me in that case.

I would say that something like the War Against Terror is absolute bullshit. Everyone knows that Iraq is no threat to the US in any case, so why is it possible that Bush can enforce a war without anyone really trying to stop him? Yeah probably the Iraqi suffered of the dictatorship, but I don't believe bombing the whole country is the right way to get rid of a dictator. Everything we got is a lot of innocent victims.

Just think of the huge expenses that war has caused. It would be enough to feed whole Africa for some time I think.

Instead of building better power plants and improving electricity in the US, huge amounts of money are put into military research, weapons and stuff like that.

Why the hell would a man build a hundred times as much nukes as he needs to destroy the whole world? What is it for? Can anyone explain it to me?

It's a natural phenomenon of intelligent beings that they tend to destroy themselves. That's what scientists say. So why bother when we know it won't change anything? Everything is exactly pre-programmed...

Men have developed the a-bomb. No mouse would ever build a mouse trap.

So much about my thoughts. Seems nothing new to you, right? I'm absolutely aware of that. But maybe it's necessary that someone writes down the trivial problems we have right now.
I think Bush doesn't understand those trivialities. But he should.

The thread was "humans are slowly killing themselves". And I ask you:
Can we do anything about it?

korey
08-30-03, 10:39 PM
probably not...but oh well..

Agent Smith
09-01-03, 02:58 PM
How about we go, break up the cities, and start farming. Everyone would grow food for them selves and becme self sustaining. People coudl grow vast fields of weeds (for fuel). People living in unarable land would be more like industrial workers. Scrap money and trade food, products etc. 20-10% of harvests would be required to go giant silo's incase of famine and other calamities. Their would be a few trains here or their but we would go back to using horses. If family gets large, just build "up" and even start growing things "up" its possible. Also, people could utilize aquaculture and grow fish and other animals if their climate is sutible for this.

SergejVictorov
09-01-03, 05:13 PM
It's a good idea, but how are we going to manage it? You can't persuade a prosperous businessman to stop making money and go living on a farm in nowhere. And even if he does, he would probably start to establish alliances between farms after a while. Give 'em some property and they start thinking about money. If we weren't so intelligent we wouldn't have to worry about money.

I'm not sure I wouldn't act the same way under certain circumstances... capitalism pays, but what else do we have??

Vortexx
09-18-03, 07:24 AM
Ask the Amish... You need a big boss up there in the sky to keep you in line

Quasi
09-18-03, 11:46 AM
A lot of segregation is also tied to economics, and minorities attitudes towards education. Just look at various african americans who are upper middle class to wealthy- you won't catch them living in the ghetto. Unfortunately, poverty feeds on itself. So now we have the MCAS test for school kids, but school funding is based on property taxes in Massachusetts, so poor communities have worse schools. Poverty leads to crime, ill health and every plague of mankind. So to overcome these problems, we need to develop these areas and re-adjust our government spending. The same is true of the environment, the more economic development and free market capitalization, the better we are at protecting the environment. This is why Kyoto is such a total failure, it is counter to what works. As for racism? Give me a break, if it came to me (white male,) and an african american woman, even if she had less experience, most companies would hire her in a heartbeat over me- I probably would not even interview. The same applies to graduate school- the minority will win virtually every time. So in my perspective, we are doing a lot of good things, but nothing is perfect. I feel we have lost perspective- pot is not so evil we have to imprison every smoker. Poverty is not so insurmountable that it cannot be beaten.

and2000x
09-22-03, 05:33 PM
The same is true of the environment, the more economic development and free market capitalization, the better we are at protecting the environment.

That is the most retarded thing I have heard in a long time. How does free market ensure a better environment in any sense?

BigBlueHead
09-23-03, 10:44 AM
If American Justice is so great, why didn't the US agree to the international criminal court? I thought that sounded pretty fair and egalitarian to me.

The US actually has a long history of resisting any globalization of power; when they helped to create the League of Nations (if anyone remembers that disaster) they didn't even join it.

and2000x
09-23-03, 05:49 PM
The US actually has a long history of resisting any globalization of power; when they helped to create the League of Nations (if anyone remembers that disaster) they didn't even join it.

Because up front globalization of the USA would be a disaster, as history has shown for all global powers. Thus the US must do it indirectly through organizations like the UN.

BigBlueHead
09-24-03, 08:36 AM
I was talking about the globalization of an institution, not the entire country. In any case, the US would still have had its own criminal court, so I'm not sure what you mean.

Besides, even the US's approach to the UN process has been done with bad faith, as recent events have illustrated.

and2000x
09-27-03, 07:15 PM
All I see is crying and whining without fixing. This thread reminds me of Jesus, the weakest man on the planet.

BigBlueHead
09-29-03, 08:23 AM
Woh, you're right and2000x...

All anyone ever does on this discussion board is TALK!

Why do you suppose that is?

C'mon Sciforums! Less talk, more action! Uh... as soon as we get an action board.

(BTW... I'm getting tired of your religious references... weird how you're always accusing everyone of being a Christian though)

and2000x
09-29-03, 04:56 PM
Because I'm a lunatic. I couldn't open my car door this morning because of the Christians! My mom just broke her spine because of the zionists at the ice rink!

But in reality, I'm working on a philosophy book and eating healthy, just to make myself and example of good human stock.

BigBlueHead
09-30-03, 11:55 AM
Aah! You seek to offend me with your religious references!:mad:
But, that one was kinda funny...:D

Kunax
10-01-03, 11:24 AM
regarding topic title:
Dont worry we a getting better, sometime out in the future, we migth be able to blast away entire continents

MISSunderstanding@
12-08-03, 06:49 AM
HI:
THIS IS A VERY SADDENING NEWS. THEY SHOULD SPEED IT UP. WE MUST DELIVER THIS WORLD TO THE ANIMALS AND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE WE must SAY ...GOOD-BYE thanks:)

BigBlueHead
12-08-03, 09:28 AM
Those four-legged punks? Why should they have my world?

Hevene
12-10-03, 04:17 AM
There is a book that talked about our current sitation as a species destroying ourselves and how to change that to create a better world. I urge everyone to read it, it is truly life changing and we need more people to be aware of the things that we can do to achieve a better world. It is called "The New Revelations" by Neale Donald Walsch.

Craig Smith
12-11-03, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by korey
I mean, "we" not only destroy everything in sight, but we harvest everything to make way for new forms of pollution.

Maybe our individual self-destructiveness is linked to this problem?

spidergoat
12-15-03, 07:11 PM
Humans have been changing the world for 8,000 years. New evidence suggests that human-induced climate change began with the dawn of agriculture. Perhaps it is our fate to go extinct like the dinasaurs. This would make way for the octopus to evolve into a space-faring species. Come on, they are more suited to space than us, and they communicate using visual patterns on their skin. I am certain that's what will happen. So, enjoy life while you can, burn all the gas you can, we will never get another chance.

BigBlueHead
12-17-03, 01:41 PM
What we need is an octopus-human hybrid! Unfortunately, all of my research in this area has been fruitless. Except for some very happy octopus.

Pollux V
12-17-03, 01:58 PM
Read This (http://www.sf.indymedia.org/news/2003/12/1665564.php)

It's long, but don't worry. It'll suck you right in.

guthrie
12-17-03, 05:43 PM
"There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism. "

Ahh, suicidal humans. I have this urge to go smack mr chrichton in the mouth. This religion is less harmful in some ways than the one devoted to money, or the ones debvoted to god, or the others based on country, or ethnicity, or free markets, etc.

"between 10-30 million people since the 1970s."

Well, that might be right, but then starvation, capitalism, war, etc etc have directly killed many more. There is no panacea, we are not omnipotent, anything you want to do will have unforeseen side effects, but I'd rather have an orientation that values us and the environment and encourages its preservation, than one which blindly accepts the status quo and thinks technology solves problems.

Pollux V
12-17-03, 06:08 PM
He's an advocate of environmentalism, just not in the extreme religious sense. We should be wary of our actions and know that they carry reactions but we shouldn't go crazy. There was no Eden of nonindustrialism and the Hell of depleted ozone layers and dried oil reserves is farther off than we all think.

guthrie
12-18-03, 05:17 AM
Is he? the way that read he sounded like a carry on as normal, tehnology will sort everything out kind of person. There was indeed no non industrialism, except there was, because it wasnt industry they had more than 300 years ago, and their environmental impacts were negligible compared to ours.

AS for the ozone and the oil, depends who you talk to. YOuve heard of the hubber peak? I think thats what its called. Due around 5 years time. AS for the ozone, its not getting better very much faster. You might like to look up that aquifer in the midwest that is being depleted far far faster than its filling.

Actually this brings me to the same old point, which is that straight line extrapolation is silly, because technology changes. But also, expecting that technology to change advantageously is also a silly move.

Thinking back, it seems that Crichtons books have always to smoe extent been more about the technological wizardry and things science can do, rather than the human and non human side of things. Which makes them sf in my opinion, although where to draw the line between hard and soft is a problem.

"The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn't give a damn about your expectations comes as a massive shock."

hehehe, he got that bit right. Of course, the whole undercurrent of technology is that you try and make the natural world obey your rules.

guthrie
12-18-03, 05:24 AM
Upon further reflection, what needles me about the article is that it reads more like all environmentlaists are nutters.

"But this time around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead. "

And i'm thinking, yeah, well, theres hordes of real scientists doing real research out there, backed up by proper, intelligent supporters and lobbys etc, and you just lumped them all together with the religious fundamentalist variety. Thats like me comparing all technology lovers to the people who think we should all encode our brains in digital and nanotech will solve all our problems, or the ones who never make any noises about the environemnt and only talk about money. And of course he is correct about apolitical stuff, except that you cant separate the environment from politics, because the environment is politics, about resources and who uses them in what way and who gets damaged by their use, etc. All you can do is use the ebst science and try and work out least cost courses.

oh well, at least he makes good sense in the last couple of paragraphs.

David Mayes
01-02-04, 12:10 AM
Originally posted by KitNyx
[]Thank you for putting all of those words "into my mouth". I do not think what I wrote pointed to the conclusions you drew, but just in case let me clarify - Malignant genes - diabetes, color blindedness, etc. Genetic Screening of fetuses and genetic manipulation/ gene therapy to fix these. I am a Darwinist, not a supremist.



Through genetic counseling, carriers and those afflicted can be advised of the potential risk of passing the disease on to their offspring and then make an educated decision about whether to reproduce or not. Using the scientific tools at hand voluntarily and choosing freely whether to act on that information or not, we, now, more than any other time, have an opportunityto change nature as we see fit.

This paragraph from this link (http://www.msu.edu/~rober270/eugenics/poseug.html)

22 000 hits on google, re: positive eugenics (http://www.google.com.au/search?q=positive+eugenics&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&meta=)

Btw, I support the eradication of undesirable genes, but don't believe that there are genes for poverty and other conditions of mans laziness/apathy.