Re: The IFG - Still don't think.....

From: Neal Blaikie (
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 21:05:41 MST

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> > As far as I'm concerned, James Corbally's excellent response to the imperialism issue is pretty much
> > the final word. Since neither you nor I have experienced colonization, we're both being pompous and
> > arrogant to think we can say anything valuable on the subject. Since you continue to try to speak for
> > at least one group of conquered people, I can only assume you don't agree with this.
> This is so much crap, like 'only us black people can use the 'n' word'.

Well, we obviously disagree on this.

> Depends on who you are accusing me of being bigoted against. Its funny
> how you agreed entirely with Greg's commentary on the contrast between
> low-trust and high-trust societies, but you can't accept what I am
> saying despite it being the same thing.

I guess he just used a more reasonable, less inflammatory approach. As you may have noticed from my posts,
I have much more of a problem with your style than your content.

> Now, are you claiming that I am making a blanket statement about all
> immigrants?

No, I said it could appear that way.

> This low-trust/high-trust dichotomy is the primary reason why many rural
> people distrust immigrants and city dwellers: said immigrants and city
> dwellers are, by continuous example, posessed of low-trust mindsets, and
> therefore are treated as the low-trustworthy individuals that they are.
> While this is stereotyping it is nevertheless real. Ever notice how city
> people portray country people as gullible naive bumpkins? Its because
> those country people are high-trust types who haven't had their bubbles
> burst yet by big city cynicism and con games.

As someone who lives in a small country town, I understand this completely.

> A 'balanced approach' won't cut it, as I've shown. They are not interested
> in compromise, in cutting a deal, in being 'balanced'. He who sits on a
> fence winds up nailed to a cross of fenceposts.

Well, again we simply disagree.

> If we are to take a
> 'balanced approach' as you claim, how can you justify the decimation of
> the South and the killing of 300,000 people in a war to forcibly end a
> cultural practice that was perfectly legal in the states which legally
> and Constitutionally chose to secede from the Union? Far more people
> were killed or disabled in the War than were freed by the Emancipation
> Proclamation, and Lincoln's goal of bringing the South back into the
> Union was in contravention to the US Constitution's own basis. If you
> are going to condemn imperialism, then what do you have to say about
> this?

I say that I can't speak for people from 150 years ago, but only for myself in the world in which I live.
It's fruitless to speculate about what could have happened (unless you have a time machine!). As for your
last question, I have and always will condemn this imperialism, not because I support slavery, but because
there is compelling evidence that the war took place for reasons other than to abolish slavery. I think
there were already forces at work in the south that would have ended slavery anyway. Again, though,
there's no way we can ever know.

> > Oh please, give me a break. This is just more rationalization through hindsight. Why can't you, a
> > self-proclaimed advocate of liberty and self-determination, see how specious an argument this is?
> It worked in the Civil War, the Spanish American War, WWII, and the Cold
> War.

How exactly is this an answer to my question? This just supports my claim that you're rationalilizing.

> > > Sometimes that involved conflict and
> > > violence dealing with adherents of the old order who wanted to retain
> > > their 'right' to continue to oppress their people. If you insist that
> > > they have the right to oppress and be oppressed, then you must also
> > > accept the idea that some cultures cannot become libertarian or
> > > democratic, and that some people cannot appreciate individual liberty.
> >
> > Again (yawn), I'm not saying this. Please don't put words in my mouth.
> Its a rational logical extension of your claims. Explain yourself or
> concede the point.

Again, this is just your own interpretation. I concede nothing, because there is nothing to concede. I
have and continue to explain myself in clear, non-inflammatory language, which is enough. If you insist on
not hearing me, or in misinterpreting what I say, there's nothing more I can do. It's obvious that your
mind is already made up and you aren't willing to listen to anyone who sees things differently than you.
This is a sad way to go through life.

> > Hmmm. Where did this come from? Since I have neither claimed to be a leftist, or mentioned ancient
> > Athens, I'm wondering why you threw this in. By the way, I agree with your assessment.
> Well thats a switch. Not going to become an Athenian apologist?

It's not a switch at all, and I 'm not an apologist for anyone. This is just more cheap tactics on your

> > Oh, I see. I'm a communist because you say I am, even though I repeatedly tell you I'm not.
> If you are really not I apologize, however you are being way too much of
> an apologist for their standpoints and propaganda memes for me to not
> consider the issue.

Again, I'm not an apologist for any one position. I just to prefer to keep an open mind. This is not the
same thing as support.

> I suppose zyklon B, in the hands of a responsible exterminator, is just
> dandy for termites, it's just an abused, misunderstood poison that
> suffers from the revisionistic cultural imperialism of the Allies.... I
> hope you are intelligent enough to comprehend irony...

Well, I would never say that, but it's a nice irony.

> > it doesn't mean that anyone who uses them
> > AT ALL is somehow (unknown to themselves) a member of said group. This is ridiculous, and is the kind
> > of useless labeling I will continue to call you on. Oh, and I'm not interested in "taking power" over
> > anything except my own life.
> Then stop making excuses for them.

I'm not making excuses for anyone. You are.

> Then why have you been continually bringing up corporations?

Because I was trying to show how you seemed to be an apologist for their actions.

> > > You regularly claim that abuses
> > > committed by governments are actually just the governments being the
> > > lackeys of corporations. This focus on corporations as if they are the
> > > primary source of power is indicative of your primary orientation (and
> > > that of 'anarchist' socialists in general).
> >
> > Again, I have never said this. Why do you feel the need to make me into something I'm not? If you
> > need an enemy that fits this description, look elsewhere. All I have ever claimed in regard to this
> > matter is that corporations have and do commit acts of oppression, but ALWAYS in collusion with
> > governments. And I have repeatedly said that I am interested in looking at all factors, not just
> > blaming one group or another. Again, is this too subtle?
> You have, at best, now that you have been called out, trying to portray
> corporations and governments as equally evil.

Still you don't hear what I am saying. Let me try one last time: I am not saying governments and
corporations are equally evil, I'm just saying that sometimes corporations commit evil acts and we should
not excuse their behavior because other groups (namely, governments) commit more and worse evils. Why is
this too subtle a distinction for you to grasp?

> History demonstrates that
> corporations are a speck of a pustule on the back of the history of
> government oppression of the individual. Ok, who is more evil: a person
> who kills one person so he can feed his family, or a person who kills
> 1000 people just because its fun (especially when they beg)? Time to
> make actual DECISIONS here Neal. Pick a side.

See, Michael, that's the problem. I'm not a side picker. That is too simplistic a view of life for me. I
just don't see things that way. I want a limitless future, not one locked into rigid ways of looking at
things. This seems counter-extropian to me.

> Thinking is fine, Neal. At some point you have to make a decision,
> though, or your thinking isn't worth spit.

I make plenty of decisions every day. Just because I don't make the decision you want me to make doesn't
make my thinking worthless.

> Deciding then that all decisions are
> equally bad is wrong.

I definitely never advocated this. Again, you're misinterpreting me.

It's become painfully obvious to me that while you and I have some common ground, we diverge widely on
such things as appropriateness of rhetorical style, interpretation of history, and political persuasion.
You seem convinced that I'm a leftist, as if that label really contains any useful information, and I
continue to insist that while I may agree with some leftist positions some of the time, it in no way
defines or limits me. I like to use an eclectic approach to life and its problems, and to keep an open and
flexible mind. I refuse to be pigeonholed, and I won't do it to someone else in order to make my argument
easier. Reason and respect are much more useful tools to me.

So I think we should just agree to disagree, and let this go. If you want to continue our "debate"
offlist, I welcome it. Otherwise, I think we should stop bombarding everyone else with our rhetoric. I'm
sure it's becoming tiresome to someone other than me.


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