I spent a very long time in political trenches balancing the fine art of morality and workable, contemporary politics. I (then) proudly attended the
largest rally in the world against the Iraqi war in Rome. I ran philosophical and moral laps around those I considered to be prey from knee-jerk
nationalism and 101 mediatic brainwashing. I considered myself educated, intelligent and ultimately right.
Do you now consider your action to visibly oppose the Iraq war to be 'wrong' morally, or just ineffective?
I recall being a "frequent flyer" in Gaeta's (a small Town near Naples dominated by a large U.S Naval base) Vic's pub, attempting to debate the
so-called virtues of unilateral politics with navy conscripts and just about anyone who'd lend me their ear.
So you immersed yourself behind enemy lines and engaged, with reason as your weapon, those who you realize to be indoctrinated in irrationality?
Again, were your actions wrong, or simply ineffective?
I preached tolerance, the expansion of cultural norms and attempted to emanate a worldliness that I hoped permeated the superficial propaganda that I
assumed shrouded "their" reasoning.
Your basic assumtion is that those you were trying to enlighten were indeed open to reason. You also assume that 'cultural norms' (a nebulous and
frankly dangerous term) of the day are indeed worth spreading.
Superficial is in the eye of the beholder - many consider the tens of thousands of hours of indocrination and countless memories of artificial
patriotism to be anything but superficial - it is their very identity.
In short, I was at the crest of what I believed to be contemporary European wisdom. After-all, how could one not learn from an area of the world that
still rocked and cracked from a distant and tragic war (my family too, were involved)? Surely, they (we) had the the authority to teach the world
about the civil reality of war!
When you falter in my eyes is when you uphold European wisdom (which of course has its many virtues as well as faults) as authorotative and thus
enforcable. The highest virtue attained by humans thus far, in my mind, is that of rationality. Rationality is in no way enforcable.
If you mean by 'teach' a voluntary exchange of ideas, then I would certainly agree that one who speaks with rationality is indeed authoritative, in
the non physically binding sense. If you speak of authority in the neo-con sense, (which you proclaim to be a convert of) I must assume you mean
authority in the physically binding sense that is violence. Im not sure, if the latter is the case, that you have anything to teach to anyone.
I'm not quite sure when it happened or how. But as a fledgling opinionist and writer, I was asked to write an article on Lars Vilks (the Danish
"comic" who had dared portray the Prophet Mohammed in several not-quite-so-funny and degrading ways) and discuss the debate which surrounded it. It
was an incredible turning point in my life and perhaps that was a beginning.
If you are unsure of why or how you were converted to an ideology that embraces violence, I respectfully implore you to check you premises for
wrote an article that in hindsight was uncharacteristic (Thomas Payne would be have been proud). I ardently defended the principle of freedom of
expression and speech and concluded that "being offended" was no reason for political privilege. The article's feedback was boisterous to say the
least -- and as expected. But what struck me the most was the sheer apathy of those who -- by all rights -- should be the first to defend this right.
Im not sure your previous conclusions (freedom) contradict your experience in any way. (apathy) If one is free, he is free to be apathetic. That
what you considered to be virtuous (freedom) did not meet with your expectations of the effects of your beliefs should be (rituous action) should not
necessarliy invalidate the virtue of freedom.
Again, is what is right what you seek to know and live by, or what you percieve to be effective? Do the ends justify the means? (while not self
detonating in internal contradictions?)
When prompted with, "Is Lars a monster, and if so why?" The general risposte was:
"No, but he should have known better". I was flabbergasted. And my own personal transformation began.
I have to chuckle a here, not in condescension, but instead in comradary towards a fellow thinker who fell into the same contradictary traps that I
was enmeshing in. (and still am)
I would ask you: was your action to protest that which is certainly evil, wrong? and if not, should you have "known better"?'
Would "knowing better" change the moral content of your courageous actions? Or the actions themselves?
- Political tolerance must draw the line at some point to preserve certain crucial rights. Tolerance promotes moral equivalency. And while I once
thought this was a virtue, I now find it is not. I cannot and will not accept, for instance, that the repression of women in many third-world
countries is somehow secondary to the much agitated concept of western imperialism in contributing to poverty. In short, blowback exists, but many
third-world countries (principally north African and East Asian) have their own leaders to blame.
First, I would have to know what you mean by 'tolerance'. If by 'tolerance' you mean the Non Aggression Principal (foundation of all morality), I
would say the opposite - clear moral certainty reveals a sharp demarcation between good and evil, drawn deeply in the sand between those who aggress
on others, and those who do not, with a grey area being occupied in gradations between more and less violence. Ex. Im completely intolerant of moral
If you promote violence as a solution to moral equivalency, I think you will have achieved your goal, except it would not be you who would be judged
as virtuous. An aggressor is clearly known as the evil one, and no complex philosophy is required to know this insight. As an attacker, you
certainly would not be morally equal to one who engages peacefully.
- Much of the tiresome Neo-Con rhetoric was far deeper than I had anticipated in terms of philosophy and political consciousness. The realization
that ultimately an individual's will to act is immensely important. More important perhaps than working towards a national or global cultural
I wonder, not so passively, on what principal you judge the virtue of either of these aims. What Neo-con 'rhetoric' (ie not philosophy) could have
swayed your previously reasonable mind?
What broke inside of you that allowed your rationality to be overwhelmed by the madness of violence?
Playing devil's advocate not only contributes nothing, but leads to apathy which is far more dangerous than interventionism. Picture England, whose
drive to balance and respect all forms of tradition has lead to the erection of Sharia courts that are now legally binding. Ask yourself if this is
something you really want, not if this is right!
Have you personally been subject to Sharia law? If not, have you personally been contacted by one who is, asking for assistance in self defense?
If violence is the cure-all, how much of it, in your 'enlightened' opinion (with intended condensation) would solve the problem of irrationality?
(sharia law, religion, statism, ect) How many soldiers, how many bombs, how much treasure, in your opinion, would sufficiently convert the believing
non believers? Can you provide philisophical grounds, other than bloodlust, for the effectivity of your plan?
I would seem to me that your final solution would be just that.
I differ from 90% of my acquaintences on these issues (so I'm used to friendly, if heated confrontation -- bring it!), but I seem to be one of few of
who transformed from a political left, to a political right. I would be curious to know whether any of you feel differently, disagree or agree with
If you indeed propose violence as your ultimate solution and trump card, I wont validate your response any further than this post by pretending this
is a debate and exchange between minds, just as I wouldnt pretend a mugger with a gun to my head who politely asks for my wallet is in any way
negotiating with me. Since neo-con ideology rests on the bedrock of overhwelming violence, and you declare yourself to be a neo-con, I may be kidding
myself by spending my precious time writing this lengthy response. Agreement and disagreement are meaningless terms under your belief system. The
only terms of any currency when violence is threatened is obedience or defiance. To give the pretence of civility under such terms only gives
sanction to evil.
Is your goal to be virtuous, or to win?
edit on 10-4-2011 by Neo_Serf because: (no reason given)
edit on 10-4-2011 by Neo_Serf because: (no reason