Pony Queen Jace

Freedom: What's it worth?

97 posts in this topic

7 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

That’s my concern.  Once you are beating on someone “for their own good” when have you become what you are fighting against?

Word. Democracy and freedom don't come from the outside. They are aspirations to be realized under certain conditions.
It's telling that so many democratic movements emerged in reaction to oppression. I guess sometimes such movements can be nurtured and helped, but I don't think anyone really knows how to successfully do that. It does seem that, for better or worse, each people needs to topple its own tyrant(s). Killing other peoples' tyrants is likely to deprive them of the chance to achieve self-determination, because the process is unique to each society.
At the risk of repeating myself, I think all the West can do is be careful to not help dictators. Except, of course, the West loves dictators, because they're very convenient for its continued economic dominance.

At this point in time, I'm very curious to see how China will develop its influence throughout the world. The West's model is stagnating (or even regressing) because its political system is tied to its socio-economic one. China, on the other hand, has a completely different ideology at its core. It has been careful -I think- not to confront the dominant global structures, preferring to use them for its own ends. Eventually though, it should logically develop some form of cultural and political influence abroad.
It's terrible that Xi has shattered hopes for democracy in China for the time being, but he is not a young man, and I'm still hopeful that after his rule there will be some form of democratic reform, precisely when the country will be in a position to challenge Western ideology. If it does (which is by no means certain), we could once more have two competing models, presumably without as much tension as during the Cold War. In the long-run, this could have positive side-effects.

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Well first let me heavily dissent over the killing of familes or extended familes. I find collective guilt or punishment, for people who did not commit any crime, to be extremely  odious and repugnant.

Secondly, I dislike “regime change” through the use of military force. That’s neocon stuff and I think it’s a mistake. It would be nice if things were that simple. You send in armed forces, they get rid of the bad guys, and everything is just peechy.

But, in the real world that’s not how things work. First, warfighting is chaos. And in the process, you’re likely to get a lot of your own soldiers killed and your likely to get many civilians killed. And there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to build the type of society you deem just within actual realistic constraints.. I don’t think Democratic institutions spring up overnight. It takes time. And in the real world, there is not likely to be the resources, whether military, political or time to make that happen. And often in many failed states or failing states the line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” is often blurry. Given the probable high cost and low chance of success in most cases, I think it’s wise to avoid doing regime change often.

I’m not against the use of military force in all cases. But, I’d rather protect democratic liberal states from aggression by others than get into the whole regime change thing, which usually ends up being an epic cluster because somebody was a little too pie in the sky about realistically pulling regime change off successfully or the amount of carnage that would result in the process.

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1 hour ago, OldGimletEye said:

Well first let me heavily dissent over the killing of familes or extended familes. I find collective guilt or punishment, for people who did not commit any crime, to be extremely  odious and repugnant.

Secondly, I dislike “regime change” through the use of military force. That’s neocon stuff and I think it’s a mistake. It would be nice if things were that simple. You send in armed forces, they get rid of the bad guys, and everything is just peechy.

But, in the real world that’s not how things work. First, warfighting is chaos. And in the process, you’re likely to get a lot of your own soldiers killed and your likely to get many civilians killed. And there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to build the type of society you deem just within actual realistic constraints.. I don’t think Democratic institutions spring up overnight. It takes time. And in the real world, there is not likely to be the resources, whether military, political or time to make that happen. And often in many failed states or failing states the line between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” is often blurry. Given the probable high cost and low chance of success in most cases, I think it’s wise to avoid doing regime change often.

I’m not against the use of military force in all cases. But, I’d rather protect democratic liberal states from aggression by others than get into the whole regime change thing, which usually ends up being an epic cluster because somebody was a little too pie in the sky about realistically pulling regime change off successfully or the amount of carnage that would result in the process.

And you may not be able to defend someone if you are bogged down elsewhere.

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It's times like these when I miss @sologdin -- he had a list of US "interventions" in various states and the consequences thereof. For the most part, the latter were pretty lousy. As many people have already said, the overthrow of tyrants quite often leads to either worse tyrants or the kind of chaos that makes one wish for a tyrant.

In addition, I'd like to point out that we (i.e. the residents of Western nations in general and of the US in particular) are not actually that much more free than the residents of most other places. For example, unless you happen to be very rich, you have to spend on the order of 40 hours per week at work. A significant fraction of your income from the latter goes to what can most closely be described as an oligarchic bureaucracy which claims to act for the common good, but wastes a non-trivial fraction of what they collect and spends another chunk of it on murder (see the above about interventions -- and no, the US is not the only country that does this). Depending on the location, there are things which you will be punished for saying (either by the government or by private actions of the local oligarchs) and make no mistake: if you seriously rock the boat, the presence of various rights and freedoms in the law will not protect you.

Of course, for most people, it is still better than most other places, but, from the perspective of somebody who has lived elsewhere, it's not so much better that I would risk war and anarchy except perhaps in the most repressive states. The place I was born overthrew a tyranny, drove out the overwhelming majority of people of certain ethnicities and is now by any objective measure a whole lot worse than it was before despite nominally being a democracy.

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4 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

That’s my concern.  Once you are beating on someone “for their own good” when have you become what you are fighting against?

Just try to be a good parent for 5 minutes, and you will soon realise how easy it is to become a tyrannical oppressor for someone's "own good".

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1 hour ago, Altherion said:

It's times like these when I miss @sologdin -- he had a list of US "interventions" in various states and the consequences thereof. For the most part, the latter were pretty lousy.

Yeah, but in all (or almost all) cases the US was not at all motivated by a desire to make the other country a democratic utopia. It was always about political and economic power / control. "spreading democracy" was just a fig-leaf to make the US people feel better about US foreign intervention.

I'd be interested to know if the US ever engaged in a foreign intervention with a pure motive of helping the local population to establish democracy and freedom. I'm guessing the answer is never. And often the motive in terms of changing the system of government was exactly the opposite.

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1 hour ago, Altherion said:

It's times like these when I miss @sologdin -- he had a list of US "interventions" in various states and the consequences thereof.

The list of US "interventions" and its consequence therein is readily available.  If you need some other poster to fill you in on the details, you're decidedly lacking in any intellectual curiosity.  Use the googles.

1 hour ago, Altherion said:

A significant fraction of your income from the latter goes to what can most closely be described as an oligarchic bureaucracy which claims to act for the common good, but wastes a non-trivial fraction of what they collect and spends another chunk of it on murder (see the above about interventions -- and no, the US is not the only country that does this).

Ha!  Oh my that's rich.  Did you seriously try to bring the term "oligarchic bureaucracy?"  Wow, I can't stop laughing at such a ridiculously stupid take.  LOL, I mean seriously, the bureaucracy is oligarchic?  Oh, man, what a pathetic brainwashed piece of shit argument that is.  Outside of political appointees, the bureaucracy is really the only thing protecting us from Trump.  Fucken A dude, I can't get passed this.  Did you actually say oligarchic bureaucracy?  What are you, twelve - or just readily taken in by bullshitters?  The bureaucracy is decidedly the LEAST elitist aspect of the federal government.  That's not really up for debate.  But I guess I should be on the lookout for decades-long public servants and if they have any spoons in their mouths.  I'd say your claims are farcical, but that degrades the term farce.

1 hour ago, Altherion said:

Depending on the location, there are things which you will be punished for saying (either by the government or by private actions of the local oligarchs) and make no mistake: if you seriously rock the boat, the presence of various rights and freedoms in the law will not protect you.

The hits just keep on coming.  Where?  When?  Why?  Do you have anything to back this up?  Please provide any type of support instead of making shit up.

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10 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

The list of US "interventions" and its consequence therein is readily available.  If you need some other poster to fill you in on the details, you're decidedly lacking in any intellectual curiosity.  Use the googles.

Ha!  Oh my that's rich.  Did you seriously try to bring the term "oligarchic bureaucracy?"  Wow, I can't stop laughing at such a ridiculously stupid take.  LOL, I mean seriously, the bureaucracy is oligarchic?  Oh, man, what a pathetic brainwashed piece of shit argument that is.  Outside of political appointees, the bureaucracy is really the only thing protecting us from Trump.  Fucken A dude, I can't get passed this.  Did you actually say oligarchic bureaucracy?  What are you, twelve - or just readily taken in by bullshitters?  The bureaucracy is decidedly the LEAST elitist aspect of the federal government.  That's not really up for debate.  But I guess I should be on the lookout for decades-long public servants and if they have any spoons in their mouths.  I'd say your claims are farcical, but that degrades the term farce.

The hits just keep on coming.  Where?  When?  Why?  Do you have anything to back this up?  Please provide any type of support instead of making shit up.

Nothing makes a Jace look reasonable like an Altherion claiming the No-Bullshit-Taking lady at the DMV is an Oligarch.

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9 minutes ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

Nothing makes a Jace look reasonable like an Altherion claiming the No-Bullshit-Taking lady at the DMV is an Oligarch.

Kal went after you hard today.  I think it was mostly deserved, but I will say this - which you'll probably disagree with as well.

Last year, I said targeted military strikes in response to the use of chemical weapons is the right move.  Fuck all knows what Trump's gonna do this time, but I stand by that.  A proportional response focused on military targets is something I approve of.  Somebody has to do it.  If you don't get why the proliferation of chemical weapons is different than conventional weapons and thus something that should particularly not be tolerated, that's fine, but also a pretty stupid argument.

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20 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

Kal went after you hard today.  I think it was mostly deserved, but I will say this - which you'll probably disagree with as well.

Last year, I said targeted military strikes in response to the use of chemical weapons is the right move.  Fuck all knows what Trump's gonna do this time, but I stand by that.  A proportional response focused on military targets is something I approve of.  Somebody has to do it.  If you don't get why the proliferation of chemical weapons is different than conventional weapons and thus something that should particularly not be tolerated, that's fine, but also a pretty stupid argument.

Oh yeah, I definitely deserve the heat. I know that, and I'm not in the least hurt by anything that was expressed today. As I've explained, I'm very well aware of how non-conventional my feelings are, which again goes to the fact that I don't (try to) actually advocate them. I was just curious to get other peoples' perspective.

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6 minutes ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

As I've explained, I'm very well aware of how non-conventional my feelings are, which again goes to the fact that I don't (try to) actually advocate them. I was just curious to get other peoples' perspective.

I don't think the feelings or views you've expressed are non-conventional.  Well, maybe, but that's not the problem.  The problem is the cavalier attitude you seem to have towards those that would be affected by such actions.  Eradicating "tyranny" or dictatorships is really fucking hard, and it seems as if you're glib about it.

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4 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

I don't think the feelings or views you've expressed are non-conventional.  Well, maybe, but that's not the problem.  The problem is the cavalier attitude you seem to have towards those that would be affected by such actions.  Eradicating "tyranny" or dictatorships is really fucking hard, and it seems as if you're glib about it.

Ooh, no. Quite the opposite. I would instead say that I've just accepted the horror and let it make a nice conscious callus. I rationalize my feelings by projecting that with every passing day that we as a species refuse to unite in a proletariat revolution against these creatures increases the certainty that eventually one of them will start using nukes, and once that becomes an accepted practice we're in far more danger than any Russo-American conflict which would see the former effectively eliminated from the face of the earth.

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Uh. As someone from humble origins who had to work hard to become a civil servant, the expression "oligarchic bureaucracy" will make me chuckle at best and get pissed at worst. But that small conservative bullcrap aside, Altherion's post was pretty good.

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13 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Uh. As someone from humble origins who had to work hard to become a civil servant, the expression "oligarchic bureaucracy" will make me chuckle at best and get pissed at worst. But that small conservative bullcrap aside, Altherion's post was pretty good.

No, his post was as idiotic and nonsensical as any of mine. The fact that he has a valid core thesis about how governments work does not validate the rest of his patently absurd claim.

I can do it too, watch.

Cows contribute to global warming, so all livestock should be raised in the Arctic Circle.

See how it fell apart pretty quickly the moment I left the realm of facts? If you want other examples of this phenomenon go look at the rest of my posts on this subject for a similarly incoherent statement.

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5 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

.I'd be interested to know if the US ever engaged in a foreign intervention with a pure motive of helping the local population to establish democracy and freedom. I'm guessing the answer is never. And often the motive in terms of changing the system of government was exactly the opposite.

I'm not sure about this. I think the neocons that pushed Dubya in Iraq actually believed they could transform it into a democracy in a short period of time. I think their mode of thought is an error, but they do believe that installing democracy at the point of a gun is fairly straightforward.

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, dmc515 said:

The list of US "interventions" and its consequence therein is readily available.  If you need some other poster to fill you in on the details, you're decidedly lacking in any intellectual curiosity.  Use the googles.

Ha!  Oh my that's rich.  Did you seriously try to bring the term "oligarchic bureaucracy?"  Wow, I can't stop laughing at such a ridiculously stupid take.  LOL, I mean seriously, the bureaucracy is oligarchic?  Oh, man, what a pathetic brainwashed piece of shit argument that is.  Outside of political appointees, the bureaucracy is really the only thing protecting us from Trump.  Fucken A dude, I can't get passed this.  Did you actually say oligarchic bureaucracy?  What are you, twelve - or just readily taken in by bullshitters?  The bureaucracy is decidedly the LEAST elitist aspect of the federal government.  That's not really up for debate.  But I guess I should be on the lookout for decades-long public servants and if they have any spoons in their mouths.  I'd say your claims are farcical, but that degrades the term farce.

The hits just keep on coming.  Where?  When?  Why?  Do you have anything to back this up?  Please provide any type of support instead of making shit up.

I'm with Altherion on this one.  It's actually pretty easy to argue that many aspects of the bureaucracy are oligarchic in nature especially in the US.  I'm sure Chomsky would agree.  

And just because the National Park's has repeatedly given Trump the finger doesn't mean that the bureaucracy is the only thing saving us from Trump.  At the end of the day the administrative agencies are under the power of the executive branch and they don't change overnight.  But that doesn't mean they weren't built to be tools for the people that run this country.  

The IRS might not give a fuck if you're super rich or dirt poor (and probably actually is more likely to enforce tax evasion where it's profitable), but that doesn't mean that the entire tax structure that they enforce isn't oligarchic in nature to begin with. 

Same goes for most of the military industrial complex.  Providing tons of middle class jobs to help a few billionaires get better deals on natural resources abroad. 

Our entire financial system is designed to be grossly advantageous to the already super rich.  And those that oversee and manage it are complicit in this by structure.  A bureaucracy can only enforce the laws and regulations it has.  And if those laws and regs protect the 1%, how is a stretch to call them oligarchic?

Try telling a black man in the Jim Crow south that the bureaucracy wasn't keeping him from voting.  

Bureaucracy is just a system, and it's a tool.  What's idiotic is looking at US history and trying to claim that it hasn't been constantly used as such by the elites and power brokers and robber barons.

Sure, at times it serves other (and even opposite) functions and can be an instrument of democracy, individual rights, and protecting those without a voice.  But most of the time, it's not the great unwashed masses wielding that hammer.  

Your response to the term 'oligarchic bureaucracies' is histrionic, and frankly, you're better than that.

Edited by larrytheimp
Clarity and autocorrect

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5 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

Nothing makes a Jace look reasonable like an Altherion claiming the No-Bullshit-Taking lady at the DMV is an Oligarch.

Laugh all you want but DMV and similar administrative fees are extremely regressive.  And taking a half day off to wait in line costs a CEO nothing, whereas for me that's a major budgeting problem.  

 

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15 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

I'm with Altherion on this one.  It's actually pretty easy to argue that many aspects of the bureaucracy are oligarchic in nature especially in the US.  I'm sure Chomsky would agree. 

You can try to argue it, but it's a hard case to make. Bureaucracy tends to dilute power rather than concentrate it ; this is precisely why it is able to resist Trump's administration. To argue that it is "oligarchic" would be similar to arguing that career bureaucrats end up having tremendous amounts of power that they can wield against elected representatives and/or political appointees.
So no, it's a pretty silly thing to say, especially when you know why he says it.

I do agree that his post was very chomsky-esque in nature though (I also thought about Chomsky right after reading it).

OTOH:

3 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

No, his post was as idiotic and nonsensical as any of mine. The fact that he has a valid core thesis about how governments work does not validate the rest of his patently absurd claim.

Did we really read the same thing? His seemed a pretty good answer to your OP:
- Pointing out that the historical record of US interventions is dismal (an easy point to make, but still worth making).
- Pointing out that freedom can be linked with economic power (to be free of "wage slavery" as Chomsky would say), not just political power.
- Pointing out that government decides how it uses a significant portion what might have been your income (on the military, if you're American).
- Pointing out that freedom of speech has limits in the West, even when it is protected by law.
And concluding on a relevant personal anecdote saying there are such things as "nominal" democracies that can be worse than dictatorships.

It seems to me that this was a pretty solid answer to your OP, even if one disagrees with one or several of the points made.

People, I'll always be the first to be merciless agains conservative bullcrap, but in order to do that one needs to be fair and acknowledge when decent points are being made...

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1 minute ago, Rippounet said:

You can try to argue it, but it's a hard case to make. Bureaucracy tends to dilute power rather than concentrate it ; this is precisely why it is able to resist Trump's administration. To argue that it is "oligarchic" would be similar to arguing that career bureaucrats end up having tremendous amounts of power that they can wield against elected representatives and/or political appointees.
So no, it's a pretty silly thing to say, especially when you know why he says it.

I do agree that his post was very chomsky-esque in nature though (I also thought about Chomsky right after reading it).

 

I didn't read it in that the bureaucrats are oligarchs (although I suppose that's a valid interpretation) but rather that the bureaucracies themselves are essentially created by oligarchs with some lip-service paid to addressing concerns of the people.  I don't think this is that controversial, especially in the US.  

Yes, Trump is getting resistance there.  But what would 8 years of Trump and his appointees look like at BLM?  

A bunch of the actual career civil servant at the State Department have retired early rather than be involved.  

We're one year into his administration.  

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, dmc515 said:

Kal went after you hard today.  I think it was mostly deserved, but I will say this - which you'll probably disagree with as well.

Last year, I said targeted military strikes in response to the use of chemical weapons is the right move.  Fuck all knows what Trump's gonna do this time, but I stand by that.  A proportional response focused on military targets is something I approve of.  Somebody has to do it.  If you don't get why the proliferation of chemical weapons is different than conventional weapons and thus something that should particularly not be tolerated, that's fine, but also a pretty stupid argument.

Are we sure it's even Assad?  Haven't the rebels also used chemical attacks in the past?  

Sorry for the double post but I missed this.

Edited by larrytheimp

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