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Russia, Gays, Nigeria, Blacks, Moral Infantilism, and the Search for a Cure.

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posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 05:25 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

Dear LesMisanthrope,

I realize that you have high standards, so I'm especially gratified by your approval. I also appreciate your conciseness and brevity, skills which I am nowhere near possessing.

The only way to change culture void of dogmatism and violence is to change our own, and hope that through art, expression or display of personal culture, that it inspires the personal cultures of others, and is absorbed and spread by the greater cultures of societies.
I can find no fault in what you say, every word is correct. But may I offer a thought or two, regardless?

I agree that changing a culture without using dogmatism or violence is difficult at best, and often impossible. Will you settle for changing behavior instead? Countries have different ways to solve their problems. Could we at least say that we will not allow your government to kill all of its political opponents, their friends, families, and anyone who does business with them? Can we say, go a. and hate if you have to, but solve your problems using some other tool? I can live with that for now.

I also agree that the best way to get a culture to change is to persuade its members that they would be better off with a different one. My only concern is the amount of time it might take, and what atrocities might be committed in the meantime. Further, as shown in Egypt, Russia, China, North Korea, and many other countries, if the leaders sense a threatening change in culture they have no hesitation in bringing the military or secret police to bear on those desiring change.

But yes, let's present the West as a good and noble idea that should be emulated. Of course, to do that we have to be a good and noble culture that should be emulated. This thread is only the smallest beginning of addressing one small part of our path back to being good and noble in the eyes of the world.

With respect,
Charles1952




posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 05:42 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 
Fear not dear Charles, I have much different terms for a 350 lb. woman in a thong and green jello than "interesting"- none of which are probably very polite so in such cases I would probably just keep my mouth shut. I speak of the recesses of your brain only in comparison to what tidbits you allow most to know here, and I am happy to be allowed an occasional glimpse of what truly lies behind the persona you wear for the usual member in passing- I count myself among the lucky few who you permit to delve a bit deeper!

It was never my intention to sound completely discouraging but to state the situation as it exists. The reason I don't see much hope for change in the immediate future is because to affect change we would have to be able to pull the upcoming generation's .s out of Facebook and Youtube long enough to pay attention to what is happening in government, and I think it will take something exceedingly drastic for that to happen at this time. The majority of them have absolutely no interest in how their government is run other than posting popular memes on their social media pages. Most do not vote as they have been convinced by popular consensus that their vote will not effect anything, and those that do vote for the most part do not know their chosen candidates platform- only that they are "trending" at the time and may be "for" or "against" something particular to their lifestyles. In my town I know literally hundreds of young people in their 20s and of those my children are the only ones who actually study the candidates and go vote on election day- the rest are apathetic. Heck, the majority of my own peers are apathetic about the process as well- fussing about the officials in office and the legislation they pass but can't be bothered to get involved to vote new blood into office. At the last Presidential election I was at least 10 years younger than the next youngest person there to vote- and I am 46 years old. It is my feeling that until we can get younger people involved in the political process we might just remain in this political purgatory.

Surprisingly I agree with your "ignore" list and could get on board with much of your "to do" list if our financial and political climate were to drastically change.......and I'm not talking about the "hope and change" espoused by our current administration either! I'm referencing a "going back to our roots" sort of change. To do that we need a new generation of morally upright leaders who cannot be corrupted by lobbying corporation's bribery or twisted by "back scratching" politics. Can such a thing happen? We can hope.....



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 05:46 PM
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reply to post by kimish
 

Dear kimish,

I like your suggestions in normal circumstances. Give lots of aid to the countries that are behaving and cut off aid to the countries that aren't.

What happens when we go to extremes? A poster brought up the Rwandan civil war and genocide. Estimates of the deaths range between 500,000 and 1.2 million. The genocide lasted 100 days. First, it would take us at least a little while to cut off aid, you know how Washington likes to talk. (And we still haven't decided to cut off aid to Egypt after the overthrow of Morsi, or deal with the Syrian chemical weapons "Red Line.")

In the face of, well, crazy people, pulling stunts like that, will cutting off our aid stop them? Or will they just brush it off? Half a million machetes were ordered for Rwanda from China because they were cheaper than rifles.

It's in those extreme cases where I think we should consider using force outside of our borders. As you say, Ron Paul took a different position and he gained many supporters. I don't know how to resolve this difference in our opinions, but again, I'm really grateful to you for working so hard and patiently.

With respect,
Charles1952



edit on 31-7-2013 by charles1952 because: missing word



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 06:19 PM
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reply to post by littled16
 

Dear littled16,

I'm grateful to have a friend or two on ATS. I'll let you in on another secret, but you can't let anyone else on ATS know about it. It gets a little dark in my world, and I haven't anyone else to talk to in this way. But really, this isn't about me, it's about you and the other posters. My "personna" to members is to be a logical, polite, respectful guide. I hope to show people the glories of reason, love, and beauty. It's not about winning arguments, but winning people to something much greater than me. Anyway, remember, don't let anyone know.

It's easy for me to complain about the educational system, largely because they've given up on the idea of a traditional education. I see our student's test scores continuing to scrape the bottom of the region's schools, yet they regularly ask for, and get, increased taxes under the banner of "It's for the Children."

So where can they learn? Thankfully, many of them do it on their own. Nowhere near the majority, but some. Candidates like Ron Paul or Ronald Reagan stir interest in the subject, but the various media refuse to enter into meaningful discussions about civic life in our society. There are also a few candidates and outlets that do talk about the nation's principles. They have some effect, but it is limited, often by personal attacks. Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Bachmann, Limbaugh, FOX, etc. I agree that they have personal failings, but by focussing on ridicule, the ideas are ignored. On ATS those attacks would be moderated out under the rule of "Attack the idea, not the poster."


Surprisingly I agree with your "ignore" list and could get on board with much of your "to do" list if our financial and political climate were to drastically change.......and I'm not talking about the "hope and change" espoused by our current administration either! I'm referencing a "going back to our roots" sort of change. To do that we need a new generation of morally upright leaders who cannot be corrupted by lobbying corporation's bribery or twisted by "back scratching" politics. Can such a thing happen? We can hope.....
My ignore list was lengthy because I'm generally not interested in forcing people to do things. It's expensive and damages the soul. May I quote from C.S. Lewis?

“Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters."


Getting back to our roots? Yeah, that's going to be a problem. As for hope, I have a little. Remember the Tea Party? They attracted Republicans and Democrats, anyone who thought that government was too large, expensive, intrusive, and corrupt. If one of our major parties accepted the Tea Party positions and ran a candidate with similar ideas, I could see a real chance for "Hope and Change." Unfortunately, I see the Republicans as weak and cowardly, and the Democrats as evil and corrupt. Either party would benefit by attracting and utilizing the Tea Party.

I prefer honest poverty to corrupt wealth. The US had, and may still have, the chance to enjoy honest wealth. But maybe it is more reasonable to wait for an alien invasion.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 06:33 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 
Don't worry Charles, your secret is safe with me.

I too feel that many candidates were overlooked and run out of their perspective races not because of their ideas but due to the orchestrated bombardment of ridicule by the MSM- and we all know who butters their bread! If something cant be done to change such things we may have to wait for that alien invasion. If that's the case you are welcome to join me for popcorn while we wait for the show to begin, but I am hoping with the recent oppression of certain journalists and the outrage it has sparked may cause the beginning of the change that is needed. Either way I'm stocked up on popcorn and Junior Mints just in case!



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 06:39 PM
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The answer is quite simple. It's none of America's damn business what the Russians are doing. Our business was framed as protecting our borders and does not extend to non humanitarian aid given or implied for anything less then ethnic cleansing, mass killing or outright genocide.

If private citizens have a problem with the way other countries treat their citizenry, start private non profit groups and through that try to raise awareness, funds, etc to try and effect change. Government condemnation of something as trivial as "gay rights" that has been forced by a highly vocal minority of a countries population is counter productive as is relative to the general state of affairs our own nation finds itself at the moment.

I don't agree with the policies Russia has instituted regarding gays and in fact, I find it unsettling but then again, I find much of what the Russian government does, unsettling, I'm not a real big fan of communism or communistic government. That said, I am an American and if the Russian people desire change, they need look no further than at each other for the remedy. It is not for the American government nor I too decide what is good for Russia.



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 07:12 PM
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reply to post by Helious
 

Dear Helious,

Thank you for your measured, middle-of-the-road response.

I agree with you that a government conducting mass killings of innocent citizens should be paid a visit by individuals who have, as their purpose, to "Kill People and Break Things." But a few questions, if I may?

How do you feel about the use of economic or diplomatic sanctions? On one hand, it's outside of our borders, on the other, it is not military. We show no sign of letting up on the embargo of Cuba. Should that go away as well?

The answer is quite simple. It's none of America's damn business what the Russians are doing. Our business was framed as protecting our borders and does not extend to non humanitarian aid given or implied for anything less then ethnic cleansing, mass killing or outright genocide.


Government condemnation of something as trivial as "gay rights" that has been forced by a highly vocal minority of a countries population is counter productive as is relative to the general state of affairs our own nation finds itself at the moment.
I think you're saying that the Gay rights issue in some other country is not sufficiently horrendous to justify our government's shouting about it. If so, I think you're right for two reasons. I don't think it's that important, and I don't think our foreign policy should be decided by groups shouting about the cause du jour, rather it should be decided in accordance with well thought out logical and moral criteria.


That said, I am an American and if the Russian people desire change, they need look no further than at each other for the remedy. It is not for the American government nor I too decide what is good for Russia.
Again, I agree, but what should be done when the citizenry is completely unable to effect change. My thoughts go again to North Korea. Is that a country we should just write off, and let it's citizens be killed by hunger or bullets?

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 07:57 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 





How do you feel about the use of economic or diplomatic sanctions? On one hand, it's outside of our borders, on the other, it is not military. We show no sign of letting up on the embargo of Cuba. Should that go away as well?


Economic or diplomatic sanctions for what? For outlawing gay propaganda publicly? No, I wouldn't condone or approve of those type of official governmental tools as a remedy to Russia's stance on it's gay citizens. Further, I would condemn it as a waste of time and a blatant mismanagement of American resources and government time. They have much more important things to attend too right here at home. Gay people aren't being executed on the streets of Russia.




I think you're saying that the Gay rights issue in some other country is not sufficiently horrendous to justify our government's shouting about it. If so, I think you're right for two reasons. I don't think it's that important, and I don't think our foreign policy should be decided by groups shouting about the cause du jour, rather it should be decided in accordance with well thought out logical and moral criteria.


I don't think "Gay rights" are that important in THIS country either. I think that civil rights are important to every citizen of the Untied States and I think the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are important. I think the whole agenda of the "gay rights" movement is largely based on falsehoods and entitlement granted by a mostly liberal government and media.

I do feel that gay men and women in the Untied States should be afforded all legal considerations under law as hedrosexual people including those granted by marriage, spousal insurance, etc. I don't however view gay people the same way as real minorities in that a sexual preference is not something that needs to be shared in every situation of a persons life, nor does one person have the right to expect everyone else condone there behavior when it comes to such things and in some cases is in violation of their personal religious views. It's a slippery slope in that regard and while much of America is still confused, my views are pointed and rational, I however, have no intention of turning this thread into a debate of such.





Again, I agree, but what should be done when the citizenry is completely unable to effect change. My thoughts go again to North Korea. Is that a country we should just write off, and let it's citizens be killed by hunger or bullets?


I understand the sentiment and the appeal to morality. With that said, I would urge the citizens to dig a little deeper. The USSR was not broken up by those of shallow and inconsistent will. It takes persistence, courage and dedication to effect direct change, something we as Americans are in my estimation facing now in our own country. Perhaps we can best be of service to our Russian brothers and sisters by setting an example of non compliance in the face of blatant tyranny in our own country?

North Korea? They are a nation and country unto themselves. What should we do? Where will the money come from, the resources, the approval? There is a reason that America was not supposed to be a police force to control the entire world, that reason can be found in the ruins of our financial situation we all face as a nation in the non adherence to those policies.

edit on 31-7-2013 by Helious because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 11:44 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


Thanks for your patience, I hope I won't disappoint you.

You're welcome to my patience, but I wish you wouldn't insist on trying to make my words fit your thesis. I also find the unctious tone of this thread distinctly creepy.


You're absolutely right, I didn't answer your question. At first, I thought that it didn't matter...

It matters because the intent of your thread is to equate liberal activism with conservative support for military intervention on purpotedly moral grounds, and the example of liberal activism on which you have based your arguments appears to be spurious.


The official Nigerian government website was hacked by an Irish homosexual... remarks (made) by President Obama (and) his nomination in June of five openly gay political appointees as ambassadors... David Cameron’s comments last week about his desire to “export” same-sex marriage around the world now that Britain has legalized it.

So a private activist hacks a web site, some diplomatic appointments are made pour encourager les autres, and remarks of a somewhat challenging nature are uttered by two Western leaders. If this is 'pressure by Western countries to impose the perverted culture of legalising homosexual lifestyles in Nigeria', I'd say it was pretty mild. Not exactly Operation Shock and Awe, is it?


I'm talking only about influencing governments.

Which governments? Yours, or the governments of the countries you want to bully?

Influence your own government all you want (and can); it is your democratic right. But trying to impose the morals and values of your culture on another country by force is absurd as well as evil. It is also very different from doing what one can to prevent the abuse of universal human rights, as defined here. Some things transcend local culture.


You next provide two paragraphs of very important and clear thought which might be labelled "The Just Intervention Doctrine," and a new "Geneva Convention" on intervening forces. I like your thinking on how to conduct an ethical and effective intervention. My concern is to determine a way to decide which offenses are worth a particular level of intervention.

You flatter me. I have no doctrine of just intervention. I am not at all sure such a thing is even possible.

I suggested no rules or guidelines for anything. On the contrary, I was trying to make clear just how hard it is to justify any kind of intervention – particularly forceful intervention. I am not sure it is ever justified.


Originally posted by Astyanax
Many have been the times when I wished some friendly foreign power would intervene to bring the guilty to justice and save my country from itself.


Originally posted by Charles1952
I agree. There are times like that when the UN can't be counted on, and someone must step up in the name of humanity and justice, even at cost to themselves. There are some things which can't be ignored if we want to claim the title of "human."

I am not American. I am a native and citizen of a poor and backward country in Asia that recently endured a crippling, generation-long civil war. And believe me, however desperately I may have wished at times for external intervention to save my country, I never once wished that the intervention would be by Americans. We have all seen what American 'assistance' wrought in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; I have also noted, with disgust, what happens to poor countries like the Philippines or Panama (or rich ones like Saudi Arabia) that are forced into military vassalage by the United States.

In my view, there is no more potent force for evil in international affairs than the USA. This has been true since at least the collapse of the Soviet Union; and if it wasn't true before, it is only because the USA had competition for the title of Nastiest Nation as long as the USSR lasted.


edit on 1/8/13 by Astyanax because: we all come to look for America... or do we?



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 01:03 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 

Dear Astyanax,

First, I must apologise for offending you with my tone. I don't know what to do about it, it's my standard writing style. Feel free to check my other threads (other than rants) and you'll find the same. I'm an old man, and it's tough to change, but in courtesy to you, I'll try. You should know that I don't care for it at all.

By the way, who are you to complain about an unctuous tone when you can't even spell it? I'm not trying to fit your words to my thesis, but if they do fit, whose fault is that? This thread has nothing to do with liberal or conservative positions. You keep insisting on seeing it that way, but it's not what's really here.

Not "purportedly (note the spelling) moral grounds," truly moral grounds. Feel free to offer your own idea of morality. I am not basing my arguments on Gay rights or any other type of "Liberal activism." I'm starting with genocide at the top and continuing through freedom of speech and so on. If you think that's "Liberal activism," you have a different dictionary than mine.

I've told you twice that evidence of the degree of pressure on the Nigerian government is both unknowable and irrelevant to my discussion, but you keep bringing it up like it was some big deal. For the last time, it was used as evidence that there is a strong feeling in Nigeria that their rejection of homosexuality is an ingrained part of their culture. That's it. OK?

Have you not kept up with the thread? I've already said that it is a slow and difficult thing to change a country's culture. I'm dealing with stopping governments which are committing crimes against humanity and the most serious rights violations, not pushing one side or the other in a Coke vs. Pepsi debate.


It is also very different from doing what one can to prevent the abuse of universal human rights, as defined here. Some things transcend local culture.
Finally. What took you so long? Yes, I'm talking about the prevention of universal human rights abuses. I've already said that Gay issues should be ignored. Why did you waste so much time on it?

I have no doctrine of just intervention. I am not at all sure such a thing is even possible.
But you just talked about "doing what one can to prevent the abuse of universal human rights." If that doesn't include intervention, then you offer no tools for preventing those abuses. I suppose we just accept genocide?


Many have been the times when I wished some friendly foreign power would intervene to bring the guilty to justice and save my country from itself.
If you won't accept help from the US, I'll wait here patiently until you call the Ecuadorian embassy for troops and advanced weapons.


I have also noted, with disgust, what happens to poor countries like the Philippines or Panama (or rich ones like Saudi Arabia) that are forced into military vassalage by the United States.
Where on earth did you get the idea that I'm talking about "military vassalage" in this thread? Hello? Remember? I'm talking about stopping serious human rights abuses conducted by governments. When they stop, we're done. Why is this so difficult for you?


In my view, there is no more potent force for evil in international affairs than the USA.
Fine, thank you very much for your extraordinarily useful opinion. A machine gun is a more potent force for anything, than an air pistol. More potent for good, and more potent for evil. On the other hand, the Somalian army is not potent for anything, good or evil. Well, when we dismantle our military, which has begun under our coward of a president, you can check back and tell us how happy you are that we're no longer a potent force. And while you're doing that, tell us how happy you are that the Chinese or Jihadis "liberated" your nation.


Astyanax, I hated writing that. I tried it out of respect for you, but it is foul and ugly. I'm going back to my old tone and see no reason to ever change. Thanks for getting me to try it, but I hated the experience.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 02:08 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


I must apologise for offending you with my tone. I don't know what to do about it...

You're doing fine, now that you've dropped the Pharisaical humility. Did I spell that right?


I've told you twice that evidence of the degree of pressure on the Nigerian government is both unknowable and irrelevant to my discussion, but you keep bringing it up like it was some big deal.

But the whole basis of your attempt to equate liberal activism with military intervention is based on it. If it is irrelevant to the discussion, why did you make so much of it in your opening post? You chose an example that involved homosexuality precisely because it suited your book.

Let's get real, shall we? Your basic premise is that the same liberals who defend multiculturalism from those who would impose cultural change by force are keen on cultural change themselves when it suits their book. Well, the premise is correct – but the point you are making is spurious because the issue here is not cultural change itself but its imposition by force. You think that's okay, and you think liberals are hypocrites because they reject it but seek cultural change anyway. You are wrong. Force is not okay. Force is never okay.


I've already said that it is a slow and difficult thing to change a country's culture.

There is no need to state, let alone repeat, the obvious. Instead, try to explain why you think you have a mandate to change other people's behaviour against their will, by force if need be.


I've already said that Gay issues should be ignored. Why did you waste so much time on it?

I spent no time on gay issues whatsoever. I am trying to find out whether the 'Western pressure' you see as 'trying to change Nigerial culture' is real, and exactly how coercive it is. Do not try to muddle the issue.


You just talked about "doing what one can to prevent the abuse of universal human rights." If that doesn't include intervention, then you offer no tools for preventing those abuses. I suppose we just accept genocide?

Look, chum: you're a safe, coddled American sitting in your armchair pontificating about issues that you have never actually had to face in real life. I have lived those very issues for thirty years and more. I have friends who were exiled and tortured because of them. Some were killed.

It's very easy to make out your cut-and-dried prescriptions and moral guidelines with a Big Mac in one hand and a TV remote in the other. Real life is not so easy. Yes, I wish there was a way in which justice and fairness could be made to prevail in my country, and at times, in desperation, I have wished that some foreign authority would step in and impose them. But I am also acutely aware that such a cure is almost always worse than the disease. I do not endorse your self-gratifying doctrine of forceful intervention in the domestic affairs of other nations. Is that clear enough for you?


If you won't accept help from the US, I'll wait here patiently until you call the Ecuadorian embassy for troops and advanced weapons.

What an arrogant, obtuse, morally infantile thing to say, but thank you for saying it. Honesty is always so much more refreshing than cant.



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 05:45 AM
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So I have two questions. How do we move forward from individual opinions of right and wrong determining how we believe the world should be made to behave? And, how do we construct a "schedule of values" that gives us some indication of when it's proper to try to interfere?


the fundamental moral standard is the golden rule, and it is tied to the universal law of karma.

as for when its proper to interfere, you have consider the extent of your personal responsibility.. just by sharing the information in your op, you have contributed to the greater awareness of what is going on, and the more aware people are and thoughtful of such discrimination, the stronger the cumulative force of karma, and the sooner uppance will come.. what form it takes is not up to any individual to decide, it will simply happen..

that's my opinion anyway..

the golden rule stipulates all people must offer each other the same support and understanding they would expect to receive from others, regardless of race, sexuality, religion, or personal morality..

ie. before you judge someone, try walking a mile in their shoes..

(that way, when you do judge them, they wont be able to hear it 'cause you're a mile away, plus you have their shoes..)
edit on 1-8-2013 by tachyonmind because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 09:55 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 





I realize that you have high standards, so I'm especially gratified by your approval.


And I by yours



I can find no fault in what you say, every word is correct. But may I offer a thought or two, regardless?

I agree that changing a culture without using dogmatism or violence is difficult at best, and often impossible. Will you settle for changing behavior instead? Countries have different ways to solve their problems. Could we at least say that we will not allow your government to kill all of its political opponents, their friends, families, and anyone who does business with them? Can we say, go a. and hate if you have to, but solve your problems using some other tool? I can live with that for now.


I don't think we could say that. One day someone is going to step up to us and tell us to stop telling people what to do. If culture is to change, someone must lead by example, not an iron fist. People have to want to change, not be forced to change. People should look at a culture thriving, and want that sort of culture.




I also agree that the best way to get a culture to change is to persuade its members that they would be better off with a different one. My only concern is the amount of time it might take, and what atrocities might be committed in the meantime. Further, as shown in Egypt, Russia, China, North Korea, and many other countries, if the leaders sense a threatening change in culture they have no hesitation in bringing the military or secret police to bear on those desiring change.

But yes, let's present the West as a good and noble idea that should be emulated. Of course, to do that we have to be a good and noble culture that should be emulated. This thread is only the smallest beginning of addressing one small part of our path back to being good and noble in the eyes of the world.


By persuade I mean lead by example—seeing a culture doing good is enough to be inspired by it.

I would argue, however, that there is no great culture yet to emulate. Western culture these days is a display of profit mongering and mediocrity. This is opinion of course.



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 10:36 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


Dear Charles,
This is one of the best threads I've read on here in some time now. Thank you for your thought-provoking OP.

I've read the entire thing through -

And if dissidents are arrested, ballot boxes are stuffed, and our diplomats are snubbed (Russia again, among others), then we stop sending them free money and ask the UN to punish them? What do we do to the country after we've cut off their aid and we find that they're still managing to get by?

This was quite early in the thread, but was not in the OP - after I copied it, I continued reading, and I think I'm prepared to contribute, if you're still keeping up with the thread. (Sorry I'm late.)

You said at some point that the UN is useless, and I respectfully disagree with that. Also, I honestly don't think that "force" or "coercion" is a truly effective mode of inspiring change. While I disagree ENTIRELY with Astyanax's style as evidence of his "firmly closed mind" (which I find as offensive as "imposed" cultural change - BOTH are prickly and oppositional) - I do agree with the point that using violence is counterproductive.

I agree 100% with Les Mis (and both of you are very respected by me) - the only way to encourage 'positive change' is by example. Like littled said also - we should be cleaning up our own act before imposing a judgmental review of someone else's.

I have recently been humiliated by a few members for suggesting the UN would do well to address the 'atrocities' committed by our own government forces - Guantanamo Bay, for example, and the Administration's treatment of Snowden. The U.S. is in the spotlight right now - and becoming less and less exemplary of "honesty", but instead is using it's "wealth" (whose wealth is it, anyhow? Certainly not mine - mine seems to have sent to Egypt and other ports of call - and used to bail out banks
) to effectively BRIBE other governments into compliance.

We cannot treat other peoples, other nations, as our 'employees', which is what happens when we send "aid" - and in my opinion, using "financial aid" to encourage different behavior will ALWAYS backfire. Using force and sending troops ALWAYS results in MORE death, no matter whether it's considered a "just war" or a "military overthrow".

You know (I think) that I am a pacificist - but I AM capable of anger - and I am furious with our government right now - with very few exceptions, I would rout out the lot of the people "running things" in D.C. if I were to wake up and find myself Queen of the World.

Our country is is NO POSITION to be claiming the "moral high ground" at the moment - and has not been for decades now. On alternet this morning I saw a .line that said

Planet Earth Is a U.S. Military Base
The U.S. military has failed to win a single one of its numerous wars in our time. But hey, who has to win a specific war when it’s“wartime” all the time?


What I've recently learned about the Military Industrial Complex/Joint Special Ops Command in Jeremy Scahill's absolutely brilliant book Dirty Wars (I highly recommend you at least look at the website there) - has made me utterly enraged and disabused of thinking of my own country as "noble" or "great." This, frankly, breaks my heart. I literally feel numb, completely powerless, impotent, and demoralized entirely.

So, thusly have I determined that my stance is final - going abroad and invading countries, or giving them 'money' or 'arms' is blatant superiority and arrogance, and ineffective.

I agree with littled's "parenting" analogy. So, let's look at it, if you'll indulge me, from that perspective (being as my expertise is in relational communication, group dynamics, family systems, and behavioral intervention). I'm going to address these hard issues from a female point of view. I am not a politician, nor a military woman - but I am a parent, and also a daughter, and sibling.

That said, the U.N. is our ONLY HOPE to truly build world peace.

But again, which of our cultural values are we willing to ask the UN to impose on other countries by punishment? How much good does that do? Especially with China and Russia on the Security Council, and nearly a third of the votes in the General Assembly going to Islamic nations. And how big of an offense do we need to take this route? Do we go to the UN for every country that declares homosexuality to be a crime? Every country that has only state sponsored news sources? Every country that encourages GMO food production?


But now, I've run out of room - so, I will address this last set of questions in a follow-up post.
(And you think you're verbose!
)



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 10:57 AM
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So, here we go. (And I've challenged myself to be succinct here - as Mark Twain reminds us when he wrote to a friend: "Please excuse the length of this letter - I did not have time to make it shorter.")

But again, which of our cultural values are we willing to ask the UN to impose on other countries by punishment?
"Reward" works far better than punishment.

How much good does that do?
None, in my opinion. It only makes the U.S. look like whiners and bribers.

Especially with China and Russia on the Security Council, and nearly a third of the votes in the General Assembly going to Islamic nations.
I feel that, as I said earlier, the ONLY WAY to achieve world-wide peace is by TALKING. Not by bombing, starving, or threatening. Failing TALKING, then the next effective means would be complete ignoring. Global ostracization.


And how big of an offense do we need to take this route? Do we go to the UN for every country that declares homosexuality to be a crime? Every country that has only state sponsored news sources? Every country that encourages GMO food production?


And this is where the rubber meets the road. If I make the acquaintance of someone, and later discover them to be "non-compliant" to my "moral compass", or a danger to myself, I put as much distance between us as possible. No help will come from me, nor any communication. It is like they simply don't exist (at least, I try to make it seem that way - truth be told, they'd still niggle at the back of my mind, probably forever). If, however, that person comes to me willing to discuss the problems, and own their own part in the conflict, I will generally give them at least one opportunity to state their case.

But stalking them and forcing them to talk to me would not work (I used to try that when I was younger) - just as stomping out of the room, slamming the door, and expecting them to come after me to wherever I'm sulking and tell me they're "sorry" doesn't work (after it's been tried a few times).

Peace talks, diplomacy (REAL diplomacy, not spies posing as diplomats), and a hand-shake are FAR better tools for promoting cooperation.

Now, if that acquaintance becomes a danger to my loved ones, I am certainly willing to confront the offender - but that doesn't mean they will listen. Throwing money at them will not really change their behavior. It will only "buy" compliance until such time as they no longer need it.

So, my perspective is that violence and bribery are useless, and wrong. "Sanctions" such as starving the North Koreans is also wrong. They have "made do", but at the expense of civilian well-being.

In any case, it has occurred to me lately that there is really NOTHING to be done. That all of my efforts (writing being my only real talent for activism) are for naught. When attitudes such as that displayed by Astyanax above are bent on condemning us, the U.S. can only "own it's own poo" and correct it's own foreign policies. Until that is done, there is no forward movement possible. We aren't the "model nation" any more - that is a matter of fact.

Is there a "model nation"? I don't know. Canada and Iceland seem to come close, though. I think.



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 11:11 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 
Wildtimes I wish I wasn't so busy today. I'd love to make a long and verbose reply applauding your observations and perspective but unfortunately I'm running in and out today- so I'm hoping this will temporarily suffice: Bravo!



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 12:33 PM
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reply to post by tachyonmind
 

Dear tachyonmind,

I note that you are a relatively recent addition to the ATS (Family? Community? Mob?) and I'm glad you're here. Yours was a very solid contribution and really expanded my thinking.


the fundamental moral standard is the golden rule, and it is tied to the universal law of karma.
I wouldn't dare quibble, it would get in the way of your introduction of the golden rule. Let's consider that for just a moment.

I know a man who was married, since divorced, who struggled with depression. His wife offered no understanding or assistance of any kind, even when he was performing self-destructive acts which could have easily resulted in his death and that of innocent others. He lived in a state which allowed for 72-hour psychiatric holds in the case of someone who was a danger to himself or others. In that case, wouldn't you want to be locked up for three days while an attempt was made to look for a solution to your madness?

In that case, I believe the golden rule would have allowed for, nay, required the use of force for the protection of his life and others'. Yet his wife mentioned the situation to no one, but failed to intervene to control his madness.

I suspect the international situation may be similar. An individual government may appear which threatens suicide to the country and death to many innocents. Shall not force be applied to prevent that? Such application of force would be based on the idea that any government, when sane, would want to be stopped in those circumstances, an example of the golden rule.


the golden rule stipulates all people must offer each other the same support and understanding they would expect to receive from others, regardless of race, sexuality, religion, or personal morality..
I almost completely agree with this. I would modify it slightly by saying we should all work for the betterment and advancement of others, as we hope they would work to help us. I think love is the desire, and help to achieve, the very highest good for someone else.

Again, fine post, and I hope to see more of you.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

Dear LesMisanthrope,

I'm delighted to see you still here and contributing. A thread is only as good as its posters, and you are among those who are treating this subject with a seriousness and thoughtfulness that is a joy to behold.


Can we say, go a. and hate if you have to, but solve your problems using some other tool? I can live with that for now.


I don't think we could say that. One day someone is going to step up to us and tell us to stop telling people what to do. If culture is to change, someone must lead by example, not an iron fist. People have to want to change, not be forced to change. People should look at a culture thriving, and want that sort of culture.

I agree with you on the question of culture change. I think it's important that we have that firmly in place, I agree with you.

Might I ask about something a little different? I have no problem telling a country, "Have any culture you want. Put up Wal-marts, or handcraft shops in huts. Watch television or not. Wear what you want to wear, marry who you want to marry, it's all good. However, there are certain things you will not do, such as spraying nerve gas over the parts of the country that voted for your opponent." I'm more interested in stopping some criminal and universally condemned acts by a government than changing a culture. Do you think this is also too intrusive?


I would argue, however, that there is no great culture yet to emulate. Western culture these days is a display of profit mongering and mediocrity. This is opinion of course.
I agree with your opinion. There is no great culture. The West, I believe, has a better culture than others', but it has serious flaws. I wish that other countries could see our example and history and modify it to fit their people, while avoiding our weaknesses and errors.


By persuade I mean lead by example—seeing a culture doing good is enough to be inspired by it.
I'm reluctant to keep using North Korea as an example, but because they are so extreme it makes the point clearer. The leadership there has an enviable life, at least as far as possessions are considered. They have no need to change. The people could be living next door to a Utopia and would never know it because of the censorship and total control of the media. Whatever miniscule effect some great culture might have on them, it is easily cancelled by government forces.

To a more limited extent that also applies to the Islamic countries. By branding things and ideas Western as part of a "Satanic culture," they slow the flow of knowledge to the people.

I'm pleased at the breadth of our fundamental agreement. It tells me that, if I'm wrong, I'm not wildly, insanely wrong.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 01:47 PM
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Flip it around and how would you feel if another country came to your aid bearing in mind unless you are of the persecuted minority you may be unaware of the issue until you wake up to foreign troops on your street or their bombs falling from the sky.
Because if the USA thinks its the world police it's unlikely to be so for much longer given it and most western countries current fiscal positions.
So in 'x' years when China or India are the major forces in the world how would you feel if they came to rescue you from the evils of capitalism, sexual depravity, over the counter drug dependencies........

-----------------------------------------------------------

What you are really talking about here is surely a world police force or such which surely the U.N is supposed to be so are you really asking how the U.N. should be reformed and how that could be achieved?



posted on Aug, 1 2013 @ 02:26 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

Dear Wildtimes,

Of course I'm keeping up with thread. I was just waiting until you came by. Thank you. We disagree on many things, but I'd be a fool to ignore any of your thoughtful and appropriate ideas. I'm very flattered that you like the thread, but still, it's a good thread because of the really top-shelf contributions by people such as yourself. (I still have the fantasy of being rich enough to travel all over the world to spend a day or two with each of the brilliant posters here.)

I hope it's not disrespectful to your points, but I'd like to try to combine them into broad issues and consider them.

The UN is Vital, Not Useless.
I agree that communication and talk is always the best and most important first step. But it seems to have no purpose other than to have a place for the world as a whole to sit, distribute money, and to provide press releases. Anything that it suggests or commands can be, and has been, laughed at and ignored by nearly any country which cares to. It is unable to serve as an effective peace-keeping force, which might be considered to be it's second most important mission, after preventing war in the first place. The UN has been singularly ineffective in that most important mission as well.

The US Has Lost the Moral Authority to Use Force.
And here also, I agree with you, with a couple of expansions to your idea.

The world's perception of our moral authority is shaped by the press of the world. Unfortunately, they are rarely neutral, objective, or in possession of all the facts. I was surprised to learn, after all this time, that Iraq actually did have WMDs which it shipped out of country before our troops arrived. Bush's intelligence turned out to be right, but almost everyone in the world believes that the invasion was based on intentional lies. But this belief weakens our moral authority.

What I want to do is strengthen our moral authority. First, by declaring, honestly, our reasons for any interference, and second, by having a morally established set of conditions under which we will interfere while claiming a humanitarian purpose. If that is prepared a. of time and announced to the world, it will have a deterrent effect as well as repairing our reputation. It will also set the stage for a discussion of what real "atrocities" are. Our treatment of Snowden is not an atrocity. If you use the word for that, what is left to describe things like death for anyone who decides to leave their religion?

Using Force is Useless or Counter-Productive.

I do agree with the point that using violence is counterproductive. . . . Using force and sending troops ALWAYS results in MORE death, no matter whether it's considered a "just war" or a "military overthrow".
I'm not sure I can completely agree with you right now. Only considering US history, the US exists as an independent country because of the Revolutionary War. Lincoln thought the Civil War was a just war. We lost about 600,000 lives, which is possibly more lives than we would have lost under slavery, but the country is one today, and not two, because of the war. It also provided a foundation on which a no-slavery culture could be built.

World War II cost the lives of millions, but had we not fought in it, the death toll would have been higher still as undesirables were eliminated world-wide. The East would belong to Japan, and the West would belong to Germany, if the US declared its neutrality throughout the war.

You Can't Use Force to Change a Culture.
I basically agree. It is the slowest, most expensive, and least humane way to do it. China and North Korea have done it, just as obvious examples.

But, I'm not as interested in changing cultures as I am in preventing goverment from committing serious crimes against humanity. If a country has a problem with a portion of it's population, machine gunning them all is not an acceptable solution. In the United States, we are allowed to use deadly force to prevent another from being killed or threatened with grave bodily injury. I'm just asking that we apply that to the governments of the world on a much larger scale.

The Parenting Analogy
I understand the attraction of the parenting analogy, but that does give the parent authority over the child, which I don't think you or littled16 accept at the national level. Bribes are bad? Have you never given a child an ice cream cone because he came home with a good test score? And aren't parents advised, under the proper circumstances, to kick a child out of the house because of the damage and disruption he's causing? Letting the child alone is bad parenting.

And now I'm out of space.

With respect,
Charles1952



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