Re: Evolution and stuff (was: Re: HTML: woes)

Dwayne (
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 17:13:14 +1100

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Take Cuba for example. Its economy is now open to most of Europe and Canada, and
> all the rest of the world who doesn't necessarily cowtow to US policies.

Well, gee, this leaves, um, Benin and Uzbekistan.

You and I both know that the rest of the world DOES kowtow to US

> Yet it
> is still a shithole. The claims of high life expectancy are totally false, as
> the government continues to repress and mismanage the economy which is now
> dollar driven, not peso driven, and malnutirtion is still rampant, as the
> pathetic agricultural sector has all but collapsed (with absolutely no help or
> hindrance from the US),

I have heard that an awful lot of effort is put in by the US to
try to either destroy the Cuban agricultural system or to
destabilise the govt. If the US were so wonderful, why don't
they trade with Cuba? Why force cuba to trade with nations far
away, and to punish companies who DO trade with Cuba?

> for it is still centrally driven by a bureaucracy that
> still thinks along the lines of producing the maximum amount of sugar for export
> to a now non-existent Soviet Union.

????? Are you saying that this is the prime focus of cuban
agriculture? Really?

> > The best definition of freedom probably comes from the anarcho-socialists.
> > Not being oppressed by power structures while, at the same time, helping to
> > advance evolution. Such a freedom is entirely impossible in a "free market".
> Evolution of what? And how? You cannot create change without force and the use
> of power.

This is bullshit.

> > There are clues that the Phoenicians have reached America. The Romans
> > circumvented Africa. They built better ships, had generally higher
> > technology (besides the steam engine, electricity and their consequences,
> > there's little they didn't have) , more social and economic freedom and a
> > much higher standard of living than the Middle (AKA Dark) Ages could ever
> ROTFL to you. Having 30% of the population in slavery is NOT 'more social and
> economic freedom' (although to an avowed socialist, I can see why one might
> think so). The Roman ships were decidedly NOT better built than the Caravels and
> Galleons of the Middle ages, or of even the Viking ships. A Roman boat was
> barely able to navigate the Mediterranean,

And yet they circumnavigated Africa.

> and piracy was a scourge throughout
> the empire that little was done to suppress, as pirates provided the main slave
> supply.

Well, aside from the almost-irrelevant example of naval
technology, the fact still remains that life during the Pax
Romana was far superior to life during the so-called Dark Ages.

> >attain. On the other hand, the welfare of the empire was guaranteed by the
> > emperors. If the money concentration got too big, they probably tried to
> > redistribute it. Too bad they couldn't prevent it.
> In the empire, 'bread and cicuses' were the only thing that kept the plebes in
> check from revolting against the government.

And the Praetorian guard. And the legions.

> By 300 AD, 95% of the Roman legions
> were not Citizens of Rome, but Barbarian conscripts.

This is also not true. The Romans used barbarian auxiliaries in
certain roles, but the legions were, on the whole, Roman. Or are
you referring to the empire outside of the City of Rome as

> > The Christians murdered millions, buried the knowledge of the Romans and
> > maintained power (and stagnation) for nearly one millenium. The Dark Ages
> > were the worst time this planet has ever gone through.
> On the contrary, the Church was the only thing that preserved the knowledge of
> the Romans.

The Church preserved -some- knowledge of it. But they vigorously
suppressed any memes they disagreed with. I refer you to the
Albigensian Crusade as an example. Most of the knowledge was
preserved by the Arabs, actually, and filtered back into europe
from the middle east.

> While the Empire was stagnant, the middle ages was not caused by
> the church, but by the pillaging and destruction of the Mongol Hordes, the
> Viking incursions, and the general migratory habits of the various tribes of
> 'barbarians' such as the Vandals, the Visigoths, the Angles, the Franks, etc.

Sigh. Look, if you're ignorant of history, don't parade it.
The mongols never made it past Vienna. In fact I don't think they
made it *to* Vienna. The Vikings never went much further than up
rivers, unless they came to settle, and even then they did not
penetrate very far inland. The "barbarians" you refer to were
responsible for the destruction of Rome, and the chaos of what is
referred to as the "Dark Ages". By the mediaeval period these
barbarian hordes had happily settled down and become good little
europeans, and were known as the English, the French etc.

> Oh, so you are a spiritualist. Sorry, wrong list for you. A Transhuman is an
> individual who decides to and undertakes the individual work necessary to move
> beyond the common human state.

Well, this is your description, at any rate. i'd simply say it
is someone who has progressed beyond being merely human, and
leave it at that. What if someone rocks up who has become a
"transhuman" via military research? Are they not transhuman
because they didn't do it themselves? People work best when they
work in groups.

> There is no fixed 'goalpost' to define a human vs. transhuman state.

then why attempt to label it above?

> > That's the failure, you know. The Americans didn't become a superpower
> > because they were so clever. They've earned a golden nose with both World
> > Wars, whereas the British Empire was eliminated as a superpower already
> > after WW I. The German economy didn't fare so well after WW II because the
> > politicians were so intelligent, but because it was greatly funded by the
> > US.
> Which, you must admit, is a far far different thing than winning a war, n'est
> pas? When ever in human history has a victor so completely rebuilt a former
> enemy (nay, three former enemies, Germany, Italy, and Japan) so that they become
> less than 40 years after the war, economic rivals once again?

This was not done out of altruism, but to defeat the Soviets.

> This is the genius
> of the generosity and magnanimity of what you call 'selfish, greedy, capitalist
> Amerika'. Winning a mere war was not the trick. Winning the peace was.

Ah. Um. generosity and magnanimity. right. If this was the case,
then we wouldn't see examples of american bastardry against other
states would we? But we do. It was, as we all know, an entirely
selfish exercise to contain the soviet threat in eastern Europe,
in much the same manner as the unnecessary nuking of Japan was a
warning to the soviets.

> > History could also look completely different, if, after WW I, Germany had
> > decided to cooperate with Russia. Such a plan was made, by Weimar state
> > secretary Rathenau. Remember the contract of Rapallo? It allowed the Germans
> > to quit reparation payments and to build and test weapons in the SU.
> > Unfortunately (probably), Rathenau was assassinated in 1922.
> All that would have meant would be that the US would have come into the war
> earlier on the side of Britain, and when we won, we would have also been able to
> get the damn Soviet Union out of the way then rather than 50 years later.

Why would the US have come in earlier? Because it would have lost
the Soviet weapons market?

> > Evolution is the survival of the lifeform which fits itself best into the
> > environment. In cultural evolution, the environment is information,
> > memetics, an ever-changing flux. Neither the better one nor the more
> > unscrupulous one will win in the end -- the end is open. Makes things a
> > little more exciting, doesn't it?
> So you admit that cultural evolution is "a long row of bad coincidences,
> backstabbings, and battle for power"? If this is so, why do you say that "power
> structures need to end" for human evolution to occur?

Because without this scrabbling for power we'd have evolved a lot
further than we have to date. Look at how long it took Europe to
climb back up after the fall of Rome.