Thursday, December 25, 2003

> On 25 Dec 2003, at 13:32, Matus wrote:
> >>
> > CS said:
> >
> >> I'd like to add to that: war seems to me to be about as anti-extropic
> >> as you can get. The triumph of brute force over enlightenment,
> >> destruction, death and despair on a massive scale. An excuse for the
> >> enemies of freedom on every side to chip away at civil rights. The
> >> ascendency of dehumanization is the *opposite* of transhumanism.
> >
> > I would like to disagree with that. War is neither intrinsically
> > extropic nor anti-extropic. If one of the parties at war is less
> > extropic, and it wins, then war is anti-extropic.
> Sorry, I think you're wrong.
> We're talking on two different levels. You're discussing ideology, I'm
> discussing methods.
> I'll grant you that it's necessary to address the problem of
> anti-extropic ideologies, and in some cases their proponents will not
> listen to reason. But ...

Those who do not subscribe to reason can not be conquered by it. So, are you admitting that as a 'method' war can sometimes be extropic?

> > If the other party is
> > more extropic, and it wins, the result is clearly extropic. Would you
> > have been content trying to 'enlighten' Hitler or Hirohito or Stalin
> > about why war was wrong?
> Is this a case of ascribing too much to contingency? Sure. But I feel
> it's important to note that these monsters you point the finger at were
> in every case the outcome of a chain of violent circumstances.

Understandable, but that chain of violent circumstances as far back as history goes can not simply be ignored for want of imagining a world where war is always bad because no one ever behaved in any manner where war was required to stop them. That history is real, and we must deal with its consequences in the best manner we can. Your comment is like saying 'if no one ever behaved in a warlike manner than war would have never been required and thus war is all bad!' Its nice, gives one a happy feeling, but its pure fantasy. If no one ever assaulted another person, police wouldn’t be required either. People DO behave in a warlike manner, how should one who is extropic and values human life deal with them?

> Violence
> begets more violence, and in each case (Hitler, Stalin, Hirohito's war
> cabinet) the monstrous fruit grows from a relatively small seed.

By your thinking, it seems even self defense would be anti-extropic.

> > As I have pointed out many times on this list,
> > there has never been a society more anti-extropic than just about every
> > incarnation of communism on this planet. More people have been killed
> > by communism than all war dead combined,
> Blaah blaah blaah.
> I suppose "every incarnation of communism on this planet" doesn't
> include all those family groups that pool their collective assets and
> resources.

No it doesn’t, I was referring to states that enact communist as a form of political and economic rule that force the people that live under them to abide by it wholly even against their own will, states that have killed 170 million people this century.

> Or the roughly 75% of the planetary population who live in
> dirt-poor peasant communities and are so poor that they're excluded
> from capital-mediated economic interactions, dealing instead on the
> basis of barter and favours. Right?

People who are mostly ruled by corrupt totalitarians or oppressive theocratic regimes.

> The truth is, communism works very well indeed -- at the smallest
> scale. And if you insist that it doesn't, I'm going to have to ask you
> how much your parents charged you for the use of your cot when you were
> a baby.

Im sure it does, if you want to live in a hippy commune, be my guess. Just don’t toss fellow members who change their mind in gulags to work themselves to death.

> But I digress ...
> > And tell me if a war to free them from that particular oppressive
> > murderous regime would not have been extropic. If any part of extropy
> > requires freedoms of any kind, than turning non-free nations free by
> > means of war is by definition extropic.
> Tell that to the corpses.
> Here's a clue: the survivors may (or may not) be better off after a war
> of liberation. But the people who die during such a war are cleary
> *not* better off; they're dead. No amount of "liberation" can help a
> corpse.

Ok, so whether a war was extropic or not is measured by how many people are killed? Is extropy *solely* a measure of intelligent life, and nothing else? If you are going to talk about the results of a war being extropic or not, you must define what is extropic. In some cases it may be reasonable to believe inaction would cause more deaths than action, is action then extropic?

What of other factors, I would be hard pressed to agree that what is extropic is merely a measurement of being alive. As a billion couch potatoes may be alive, but will hardly be as extropic as 10 productive motivated scientists.

To positively assert whether something was extropic or not, you will have to define what criteria makes something extropic, and how much of it was present before and how much present afterward. This would probably be quite an undertaking, yet you are all ready absolutely positive that *all* wars are anti-extropic.

> > Extropic progress requires freedom of information, ideas, thoughts,
> > technology, etc. In most oppressive states, the internet and computers
> > are illegal, non-governmental publications and political disagreement,
> > also are, including property and technology in others.
> Like, oh, cannabis or heroin or cocaine in the USA?

Are either of these requirements for extropy? Hardly, I would argue that they are probably anti-extropic. Will a bunch of cocaine addicts or stoners bring about a singularity? I doubt it. Hey, while were at it, why don’t we force everyone to be scientists and engineers and theoretical physicists and AI programmers. Now that would surely be extropic. Clearly what is extropic is not solely related to everyone being entirely free and everyone being not free at all. Specific freedoms may or may not be extropic, and fighting for extropic freedoms would result in a more extropic society. Defeating a clearly anti-extropic state (say, one that has *no* freedoms, allows no technology, and no free exchange of information) is clearly extropic. But of course, by your comments, if even one person is killed it is not, correct?

> Here's a thought-experiment for you. Clearly the USA is ruled by an
> oppressive regime that refuses to give its citizens the right to
> experience certain states of consciousness or to posess certain types
> of property. Political disagreement with this platform can (as in the
> recent case of Tommy Chong) make you a target for imprisonment on
> trumped-up charges.
> Does this justify carpet-bombing Washington DC and launching a war of
> invasion and subsequent occupation by foreign troops, at a cost of,
> say, 150,000 lives (the equivalent per capita adjusted for the US
> population of the proportion of the Iraqi population killed during this
> years' war) to redress this oppressive situation?

No it does not justify it, but why are you hitting me with thought experiments, you are the one who has made the absolutist assertion that all wars are anti-extropic. You have merely cited a hypothetical example of one that is not. I have not asserted that all wars *are* extropic in no way shape or form. Only that some wars, depending on circumstances, may be considered extropic.

> War as a cure for social evils is almost invariably worse than the
> social evils it is proposed as a solution for. I find it notable that
> the only really enthusiastic proponents of such wars on the planet
> today are barking mad Islamic fundamentalists -- and Americans, who
> haven't actually experienced a war on their home territory for nearly a
> century and a half!

" almost invariably" ? Why the 'almost' qualifier, I thought you said 'all' wars were anti-extropic.

CS said:

> I'd like to add to that: war seems to me to be about as anti-extropic
> as you can get. The triumph of brute force over enlightenment,
> destruction, death and despair on a massive scale. An excuse for the
> enemies of freedom on every side to chip away at civil rights. The
> ascendency of dehumanization is the *opposite* of transhumanism.

I would like to disagree with that. War is neither intrinsically extropic nor anti-extropic. If one of the parties at war is less extropic, and it wins, then war is anti-extropic. If the other party is more extropic, and it wins, the result is clearly extropic. Would you have been content trying to 'enlighten' Hitler or Hirohito or Stalin about why war was wrong? As I have pointed out many times on this list, there has never been a society more anti-extropic than just about every incarnation of communism on this planet. More people have been killed by communism than all war dead combined, add to that any other kind of murderous totalitarian regime, and I am hard pressed to believe that wars enacted to remove such murderous tyrants are *always* anti-extropic. I find you summation simplistic. Take a look at the rights enjoyed by people under the Khmere Rouge

And tell me if a war to free them from that particular oppressive murderous regime would not have been extropic. If any part of extropy requires freedoms of any kind, than turning non-free nations free by means of war is by definition extropic.

Extropic progress requires freedom of information, ideas, thoughts, technology, etc. In most oppressive states, the internet and computers are illegal, non-governmental publications and political disagreement, also are, including property and technology in others. Yet you assert that *any* war, even ones that would bring freedom to these horrifically oppressed peoples are by definition anti-extropic?

You can debate about the specific ways a war might be carried out, and can surely figure some to be anti-extropic, but to absolutely assert that *any* war is automatically anti-extropic is egregious.

> About the only possible exception to this bleak picture is the way
> that in the industrial age war permits the mobilization of vast
> technological and scientific resources and their direction towards
> achieving specific goals, in a manner that is difficult to coordinate
> in peacetime. But those goals are seldom positive, frequently
> destructive, and wouldn't it be better to achieve such mobilization
> for creative and constructive ends instead?

And if a society is ideologically opposed to creativity and construction (as many communist regimes have pretty much been) then going to war with them is still not extropic? Do you consider WWII to have been extropic or anti-extropic?


Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I have read many of the authors cited by the topic originator, and I would have to agree with them. Most skeptics and athiests probably did not undertake a full fledged investigation of religious arguments and then come to a conclusion after carefull consideration. I would tentatively say that I have, as I made a point to learn a lot of the pro-theism arguments, but I did this primarily so that I could have some sincere and thought provoking conversations with my family members, many of whom are born-again christians. I find many pro-theism arguments profound certainly, but more often than not I can think of, or know of, simple logical counter arguments that deflate that particular theological argument. But the fact is, it doenst seem many religious people hold there religious veiwpoint because of cold , objective, calculated indeifferent analysis of all the data. Most are just normal emotional human beings seeking happiness. But those who do not make decisions based on reason can not be conquered by it. I think this is why (justifiably) many skeptics dont undertake a serious examination of pro-theism arguments, because once they embrace the concept of a natural universe that doesnt require divine creation or manipulation, its pretty unlikely some amazing piece of evidence will arise that will get them to change their mind. Its like insisting that round-earthers must undertake an enormous study of all flat earth arguments before being sure of a round earth. I disagree, the probability of the theistic interpretation and the non-theistic interpration of the universe is not equal, it is much more likely, based on reason and science, that no divine being plays or ever played any role in the universe. Consequently, its unreasonable, imho, to devote similiar amounts of time to these assertations. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. THe burden of proof lies on the theist.

For those keeping scoring, I would probably most accurately be considered a 'weak atheist'

I think a more appropriate question would be 'does everything happen for a purpose?' Instead of leaving open the question with the more broad phrasing of reason. As others rightly responded, everything occured for a reason, as part of an infinitely regressing cause and effect chain. I would however dispute that somewhat since random quantum mechanical fluctations influence the macroscopic world and cause events where the fluctuation itself had no cause.

But does everything happen for a purpose? As in, a direction to achieve a goal? Personally I would say no, no purpose what soever. a predertermined destiny is at odds with the concept of free will, and there is no scientific or rational reason to suspect there is some ultimate path we are destined to follow. Believing this, imho, is humbling, since it implies that every action on your part can have drastic and profound consequences on the entirety of your life. Choose wisely. I do think some things can be predetermined, but they are limited to things that can not be influenced by any being choice or behavior, and remains uninfluenced by random quantum mechanical fluctuations between now and the time you identify the predetermined outcome. But I have no data to base such an opinion on, it only seems reasonable to me.


Thursday, December 11, 2003

Yet there are more democracies than there have ever been before in the world, and more people enjoy freedom in the world than ever before. No democracies have ever started a war, and no two democracies have ever been at war. People work less and live longer than ever before, and fewer people starve than ever before. Population growth rates in all post industrialized nations have fallen and continue to fall, estimates of total world populations after every country industrializes keep going down as well.

Dont believe every doom and gloom scenerio thats touted, People since ancient greece have been insisting that the decline of destruction of society is inevitable very soon. Bad news sells, good news doesnt.

Ill make some comments on this, having worked at Pfizer for nearly 10 years. The US is reluctant to make price controls on medication because its the only place in the world where drug companies can still make any money off of creating drugs. You may think this is bad for US people, but if the drug companies cant make any money off of any drugs, they wont make any drugs. If you think they are too expense, start your own pharmacuetical firm and so how cheaply you can make drugs. I walked nearly every hallway in nearly every building at pfizer's research headquarters in CT, some 2,000,000 sq ft worth of offices and labs. Those drugs may cost a few pennies to manufacture, but the very first one can cost 400 - 500 million dollars. Part of this great expense is the tremendous amount of regulation the FDA puts all medicines through, part of this is the fact that finding medications that work is time consuming and difficult. For every 10,000 potential compounds that enter the drug testing and approval line (before its submitted to the FDA) only two or three make it through. Many drugs which will work for diseases which not a lot of people have are awaiting trials because the FDA demands human trials of minimial sizes. When not enough people have the disease, the drug is never tested, and never released. The FDA would rather have 10 people die from no treatment then one person die from any drug not thoroughly tested.

As for Canada, their heavily socialized government subsidizes the difference in cost from the American outlets compared to the canadian ones, so if you live in the US and you buy 'cheap' canadian drugs, you are sticking it to the tax payers of canada, not the pharmacuetical industry.

As with most issues, this one is complicated, I emplore everyone to reasearch the subject more before forming absolute opinions. For every complicated problem there are a million easy solutions that are completely wrong!

Perhaps a good place to start -

Take the time to read this phenomenal speech given by popular novelist Michael Chricton. I have been a big fan of his for a while, despite the repetitive theme of his books, they tend to get some interesting science in them. In this speech he suggests environmentalism is the new religion of the secular west, complete with its blissful Eden (people in tune with nature, noble savages, etc) Its wanton disregard for facts in the wake of 'True Believers' , Salvation (sustainability) and, of course with any religion, lots of suffering and death (DDT Ban).

Remarks to the Commonwealth Club

by Michael Crichton
San Francisco
September 15, 2003

From -

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we're told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

As an example of this challenge, I want to talk today about environmentalism. And in order not to be misunderstood, I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the environment. I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and should be improved. But I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely difficult, and the consequences of our actions are often difficult to know in advance. I think our past record of environmental action is discouraging, to put it mildly, because even our best intended efforts often go awry. But I think we do not recognize our past failures, and face them squarely. And I think I know why.

[continued at From -]

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Drug produces faster healing and fewer scars

From -

10:56 02 October 03

Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

Initial trials of a drug that reduces scar formation have produced encouraging results. Although the substance still has numerous regulatory hurdles to clear, it is the first of its type to be tested on people. If the drug proves successful, it could routinely be used to prevent scarring after surgery or following serious accidents.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Matus1976's riding corner -

I mentioned in my previous post the possiblity of a cheap, lightweight dual / supermotard style bike to open the motorcycle market in the US up wider. Recently I came across this article Motorcycle Online: The Rise and Fall of the NSU Empire it starts out...

"Lightweight street motorcycles just never caught on in the Americas -- except for a brief time in the late 1960s when you could meet "the nicest people on a Honda." However, in Europe, bikes displacing under 500cc have always been the workhorses, providing economical transportation, serious sport and touring capabilities, and even towing sidecars."

Road bikes under 500cc are few and far between in the US, comprised of the handfull of Dual Sport models under that size. (Including my KLX400), it is a shame that the United States is so motorcycle unfriendly of a culture.

Well, 1 month has gone by, and its getting a little cold to ride now. I have been donning more layers to combat the cold, but its getting tougher. I expect to not be able to ride anymore in a week or two, unfortunately. Either way, I opted for the insurance package where I am uncovered for the coldest months, so come November I will stop riding anyway.

The seat seems more comfortable, but its hard to tell, as the time I am on the bike is much more limited now. I have yet to find anyone who makes aftermarket seats for the KLX 400 specifically, though I have found some custom places. Since I am not sure if I will be keeping the bike next summer, I will hold on off that for now.

My scheduled maintence called for changing the oil and oil filter at 600 miles, I ended up doing it at about 900, but it was hassle-free.

I was playing around more in Lightwave trying to design a good fairing for the bike. First on the right is a famed dustbin fairing on a 1950's v-8 Moto Guzzi racer. These bikes, putting out 50HP, could pull 150mph in straights, while modern races require 150HP to do the same. The difference is in the fairing.

A few spectacular crashes occured, although I am still looking for details on them. This led to their banning in racing, and very stringent requirements being placed on fairings in racing. The motorcycle market is very tuned to the racing circuit, so the fairings present in racing trickled to the mainstream market. There is no reason why dustbin fairings can not be used if proper aerodynamic consideration is taken.

Ill post some design images up with my next update.

- Matus
Well, I just signed up to the Free State Project. This project has me quite excited, living in CT a move to New Hampshire will not be very inconvenient, additionally, I have been working to start my own company and hope to be able to bring jobs to the state, and operate a business in a much more business friendly environment. But most importantly, I want to see some of the libertarian ideals put into action. I am glad that the FSP's goal is a minarchist one, and not an anarcho-cap one, as evident from recent discussions. I am all for a tentative step into the waters, dip my feet in, try it out. If it works out well (and I am confident it will) then perhaps an anarco-cap project might be warranted, perhaps by then one of those floating cities will be started, if not, being annoyed, Ill start my own. I am curious what other members of this mailing list are signed up (I know Mike Lorrey is) and, more importantly, ones that are not signed up, and why they might not be. I am interested in hearing compelling arguments to not sign up to contemplate on my own, not in convincing those not signed up who are sure they do not want to, to change their mind.

The Agreement is pretty reasonable, by signing up you agree to move to New Hampshire within five years of the time that they have 20,000 members sign up. If they never get 20,000 members, then its no skin off your back, and you are not obliged to move. If they do get 20,000, most libertarian minded people will probably be wanting to move there. I am not sure what the repercussions are if you do not move, even though you signed up, I suspect there are not any. Mike?

I would be interested in hearing others thoughts.



Wednesday, August 20, 2003

>BN wrote:
>>matus wrote:
>>> I would genuinely be interested to know how
>>> they determined the incarceration rate in other not so open
>>> like communist ones, or tyranical dictator ones, or oppresive
>>> theocracies. E.g. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea,
>China, Cuba,
>>> Iraq, Iran, etc.
>>A quick Google finds,
>>And here's the report with the 5.6 million figure,
>>Oddly enough, while it has all the data from the body of the CSM
>>article, it doesn't appear to have anything to say about US
>>incarceration rates compared to the rest of the world.
>I don't see why that is odd, it's the *US* department of
>Justice, not the World Department of justice. They put the
>information together, its up to others to compare it. Which
>is exactly what CS Monitor and the 'home office' does, or at
>least superficially did. Interestingly...
>>Google suggests that a common citation for statistics on world
>>incarceration rates is the Home Office's World Prison Population List,
>>In which the USA takes the top spot.
>Interesting that on page 4, at the bottom, it says
>"No information on; Iraq, Afghanastan, Bhutan, Laos, East
>Timor, and North Korea"
>And at the end of the paper
>"The list has a number of weaknesses. Its lacks information
>on 17 independent countries"
>So, in other words, the US has the highest prison population
>in the world, not counting the notoriously worst countries in
>the world, which wont bother telling anyone what their prison
>population is. Not surprisingly, this is not mentioned once
>in the CS Monitor article.
>In doing some googling trying to find info on where some of
>the countries that were listed came from, for example vietnam,
>I came across this
>"But the fact remained that violations of political and civil
>rights, for the most part, were most severe in the countries
>where domestic NGOs were not allowed to operate: China,
>Vietnam, Burma, Bhutan, Brunei and North Korea. Elsewhere,
>there were areas which were also effectively closed to
>domestic and international human rights investigators,
>including East Timor and parts of Irian Jaya, Tibet, and Khmer
>Rouge-held zones of Cambodia."
>So where did the prison population figure for Vietnam come
>from, did they just ask the "Peoples Democratic Republic of
>Vietnam" for a figure, and were provided the figure of 77 in
>100,000! But who cares about accuracy, as long as it makes
>the US look bad, right?
>Of China, it says
>"Wu Shishen, an editor in the domestic news department of
>Xinhua was sentenced to life in prison for selling a Hongkong
>reporter an advance copy of a speech by Party Secretary Jiang Zemin."
>"The Chinese government continued to arrest, detain and
>torture peaceful critics and to interfere with freedom of
>expression, association, assembly and religion. Releases of
>dissidents were carefully timed for political impact, as
>exemplified by the release days before the Olympic decision in
>September of writer and editor Wei Jingsheng after over
>fourteen years of solitary confinement."
>Etc. etc. The stories go on and on, for vietnam, laos, Burma...
>One wonders where they got the figures for Chinese
>imprisonment as well.
>Michael Dickey
[Continuing in that same thread]

> We agree that: Communists are awful. Terrorists are awful.
> Saddam was awful.

Well, let me be the first to welcome you to our minority viewpoint. Glad you can admit it. But don't say 'we agree' unless you mean merely you and I, because other members of this list obviously do not agree with that statement. Because members of this list have argued in favor of anarcho socialism, that the 'good guys' won in indochina, that Kuwait wasn't a legit country because Saddam didn't recognize it, etc. etc. I will continue to repeat that communists, terrorists, and saddam are awful and present evidence supporting that statement until I no longer see such odd statements on this mailing list, or until I come across convincing evidence suggesting the none of those things are awful.

I know my anti-communists and terrorists articles are quite distracting to your 'land of lets only talk about whats wrong with the US' possible vision of this mailing list, but I'm sure recent developments in this list will help to bring about such a vision.

> It's also awful that other things in parts of the world where
> we have a direct influence are awful.

Indeed, it is. At least in the US, though, the things that will get you tossed in jail are pretty well established, documented, and supported by the majority. All one need to is not steal, assault, kill, or deal drugs.

And as far as influence, as an American my vote obviously was able to directly influence the continuation of a murderous tyrannical regime. But this begs the question, is there anything we truly do not have *any* influence on?

> >Any link D?
> Sorry, that CSM piece was sent to me by someone else, and I
> didn't wish to repost the whole thing in breach of copyright.

I wasn't asking for the whole article to be reproduced violating
copyright, I would have liked to seen a link to the article to read more
about the study. I would genuinely be interested to know how they
determined the incarceration rate in other not so open societies, like
communist ones, or tyranical dictator ones, or oppresive theocracies.
E.g. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, China, Cuba, Iraq, Iran, etc.

Michael Dickey

[A post made to the extropy list]


IRAQ Has World's Highest Government Sanctioned Mass Murder Rate

By Concerned humanist
Staff writer of The Humanist Science World Monitor


"More than 300,000 Iraqis are buried in mass graves, according to a new report by the Justice for the world Department released Sunday. With a population of 24 million, that's 1 in 80 people who end up in an unmarked mass grave, the highest government sanctioned mass murder rate in the world. If the current trends had continued, then over the life of the Hussien regime it is likely another 300,000 people would have ended up in these mass graves. The average Kurd had a 1 in 20 chance of ending up on the death end of an IRAQ Government action, while the average Shi-ite had a 1 in 10 chance of ending up murdered."

> Uh-oh.
> US Has World's Highest Incarceration Rate
> Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
> More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served
> time there, according to a new report by the Justice
> Department released Sunday. That's 1 in 37 adults living in
> the United States, the highest incarceration level in the world.

One wonders why, even though the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, its still ranked by non-partisan freedom groups as one of the freest countries in the world? Is this report on the entire world, or post industrialized nations? Is this based on official govt released documents, and if so, should we trust the claims made by oppressive communist regimes who routinely incarcerate or murder political

Any link D?

Monday, August 18, 2003

27) Atlas Shrugging in Santa Fe
by Ed Tinsley

"Earlier this year, Santa Fe passed a law imposing an $8.50 minimum
wage on all businesses in the city with 25 or more workers. The hike
takes effect in 2004, with the wage rising to $10.50 -- more than
double the national minimum -- by 2008. Not only is this the highest
living wage in the U.S.; it is also unrivaled in its impact on
private industry, since most of the 90 or so living-wage laws
nationwide apply only to firms that do business with local
government. ... Wiser New Mexico communities are now taking advantage
of Santa Fe’s folly. Albuquerque and Lincoln County, for example,
have basically hung out 'open for business' signs." (08/15/03)

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Who was right? A lament for the Vietnam War protestors.

S said:
> I have justified the comment and said why I made it now. Perhaps you
> have not read it. I beg your pardon? I was not actively rooting
> for the victory of any 'murderous regime'.

In your comment to me, when asked why you hold Fumento morally culpable for
AIDS deaths in Africa, you stated "He was busy insisting that AIDS was a
non-heterosexual problem and thus lending sanction to those who chose to
ignore it as a "gay problem" and even "the wrath of God" instead of doing
very much about it. The result, of course not limited to him, was many
millions of needless deaths..." and "He wrote what he wrote despite the
evidence [to the contrary]...I hold supposed intellectuals who twist the
truth responsible for the consequences of being believed."

Would it be fair to rephrase this contextually to say "He was busy insisting
that being concerned about something [heterosexual AIDS transmission] was
senseless and thus lended sanction to those who chose to ignore that
something instead of doing something about it, resulting in many millions of
deaths and seriously compromised health of millions more" and "He said this
despite evidence to the contrary, and can be held morally culpable for being

Now, given that contextually rephrasing, by your own criteria, you can be
held morally accountable for the deaths in Indochina. Rewording your above
statement with Indochina related events reveals:

"She was busy insisting that something [our involvment] was senselss thus
lended sanction to those who chose to ignore it as something else [colonial
expansionism of the US, a revolution in vietnam, all for tin/oil, etc]
instead of doing very much about it. The result, of course not limited to
her, was many millions of needless deaths..." and "She wrote what he wrote
despite the evidence [to the contrary]...I hold supposed intellectuals who
twist the truth responsible for the consequences of being believed."

And here you say nearly exactly that

I was rooting for the end
> of our senseless and murderous involvment in a pseudo-war we should
> never have entered.

Now clearly, by your own criteria, promoting something that leads to the
death of people means you must bare some of the blame for those deaths.

I certainly take issue with the accuracy of your summation of Fumento's
points, so perhaps you take issue with the accuracy of some of my points,
thus clearing you of any blame for the millions of deaths in Indochina. I
would like to know which points you contest.

The single most important point of contention seems to be that you do not
find the US's involvement in Indochina as a morally valid one in any shape
or form, and I consider it valid. The involvement was certainly handled
poorly in many cases, and outwardly disgustingly in still others, yet the
principle of involvement remained a morally just one. I wonder on what
moral justifcation your assessment that is was not on. To not put the
spotlight solely on you, I will outline the moral justification I feel we
had (actually that morally required us) to get involved in the Indochina

1) South Vietnam requested our assistance in defending their soveriegnty, to
which we agreed
2) North Vietnam, a communist, murderous, dictatorship invaded South
Vietnam, intent on 'unification' or 'liberation' against the will of the
majority in the south
3) It is morally valid to defend people against acts of aggression,
especially when asked and agreed
4) The United States had the military and tactical capability to defeat
North Vietnam
5) The Vietnam war was essentially a proxy war between the US and the Soviet
Union, one which the North could have never hoped to win without the
trmendous Soviet aide.
6) The Soviet Union was a murderous regime, whos empire had expanded a
significant percentage in the previous decade, and was intent on enslaving
the population of South Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia, Laos, and
Thailand. The largest Soviet military installation outside the USSR was in
Cam Rahn Bay, in South Vietnam.
7) The United States had reason to believe that horror would befall the
people of Indochina should this effort fail

These were the essential variables available when reviewing the event in
historical context. Today we have even greater context to judge the
morallity / immorality of involvment. I invite you to dispute any of these

1) The Khmere Rouge could not have taken over Cambodia, and subsequently
slaughtered a third of its population if the now unnoccupied North
Vietnamese Army had not decimated the Pro Western well armed now abandoned
army of Lon Nol.
2) No country has done more to spread democracy and freedom throughout the
World that the United States
3) The united states SAVED the ENTIRE WORLD, TWICE, THIS CENTURY, once
against facism, and subsequently against murderou communism.
4) Communism has killed 150 - 170 million people this century.

We signed a treaty agreeing to protect South Vietnam in the event of an
invasion. An invasion perpetrated by an oppressive murderous tyranical
regime. An invasion supplied and armed by two of the three worst murderous
governments this planet has ever experienced. Fighting the expansion of a
murderous regime bent on world domination was senseless? Fighting the
enslavement of millions of people was senseless? 170 million people, this
century, died from communist regimes. 2 - 3 million died in Cambodia. 1
million died in Vietnam after the US abandonment of the region. Thats a lot
of deaths. Deaths which it can be argued you share some portion of the
moral culpability for since you A)supported the ending of efforts to prevent
said horrors and B)contributed by that support to the end of the efforts to
prevent said horrors. In rooting for the 'end' of our 'involvement' (not a
quickening of a success) you rooted for the abandonment of the people of
Indochina to the worst murderous political system this world has ever seen.
You complain about our loss of freedoms domestically, yet ignore the fact
that the people of Vietnam enjoy fewer freedoms today than they did in 1960,
a situation which you contributed to.

It was senseless to help defend these people? What is senseless was your
idealogically opposition forged in a geopolical vacuum. Its time to come to
terms with your past, perhaps in your bohemian charged youth, you saw this
as a worthy cause, you no doubt felt our involvement was principally unjust.
Your counterculture hippie social group saw fit to criticize anything and
everything that was immoral in the US, except you only seemed, and still
seem, to care about people in the US, and cared not about the peoples of the
Indochina region of the world.

I recall recently you described your vote in the recent election as the
'Lesser of two evils' The lack of recognition of this concept in regards to
US Foriegh policy post WWII is I believe the primary reason for your near
whole condemnation of US forieng Policy. A while back I invited you to
embark on a detailed examination of US Foriegn policy actions post WWII and
to deem them just or unjust with the information known at that time, I
received no response.

Today the truth is known, The Anti-war protestors of the sixties were
hi-jacked by communists and used as a tool by the North Vietnamese against
the Americans. Protests you took part in. Nearly every single military
conflict was a victory in Vietnam, what was senseless was the wanton and
callous disgregard for human life, freedom, and dignity exhibited by the
anti-war movement of the Vietnam era. While many would reasonably consider
much of Johnson's handling of the war as 'senseless' what was not senseless
was our efforts to prevent a cancerous and despotic regime from forcibly
spreading and enslaving millions.

> And I will
> not once again be dragged into the very imho revisionist views some
> here hold of the Vietnam fiasco.

I suppose you are just unable to come to terms with the fact the your direct
actions helped lead to the murder of millions of people and the enslavement
of 10's of millions. You were too busy opposing the US uncritically to look
at the horrific murderous regimes spreading throughout the world that the US
was fighting.

There is a whole world of difference. If you
> can not see the difference then I don't see we have an basis for
> further dialogue.

I invite you to counter my points made for the US intervention bieng morally
just in principal, or explain how this is revisionist, as opposed to the
fact that the general media and education system dont mention Vietnam from
the moment the US left until clinton 'closed that sad chapter' and re-opened
trade. Ask high school kids how many US soldiers were killed and Vietnam
and they will more than likely know the answer, and then ask them how many
cambodians were killed, or how many South Vietnamese were killed, or how
much aide Russia was pumping into Vietnam, or how many people stalin killed,
or mao... etc. etc. See what answers they give, and then see what history
is 'revionist' and which history is an accurate description of the real
geopolitical climate and motivations involved.

Last question, if the US had won that conflict in a manner similiar to the
Korean Conflict, do you think we would have seen the same massive and
widespread slaughter that we ended up seeing with the US Withdrawel? I know
you have admittedly little to comment on the Korean War (which was nearly
identical in context to the vietnam war) but had the North Korean communists
won the Korean War, would we be seeing a vibrant democratic and economic
powerhouse in a unified and 'liberated' communist Korea, or would Kim Jong
Il merely have a million more postures and statues up of himself with 4
million starving every year instead of 2.

Michael Dickey

> Not recent enough, unfortunately.
> > How lethal is SARS?
> >
> > Globally, it's about seven percent, in the same league as other forms of
> > pneumonia. This is notwithstanding the May 1 Washington Post
> reporting that
> > WHO official Mark Salter said it was 10 percent. A
> article that day
> > was titled: "SARS Death Rate Rising," but it had Salter saying it "could
> > likely reach 10 percent." "Could" and "is" are not the same.
> On this same day this article is dated, WHO raised estimated SARS fatality
> rate to 15% (see
> while
> the Lancet published a paper putting SARS fatality rate in Hong Kong at
> 20%.


Adrian Tymes wrote:
"With an estimated fatality rate of 40% among those over 60 I don't find it
particularly minor. "

The problem with the Lancet data is that it's heavily skewed towards the
elderly and we know the elderly are far more likely to die of any type of
pneumonia, and second it all comes from a single source. Had they done the
study in the US and Europe they would have found a SARS rate of zero
percent. If one is willing to extrapolate from a subset of people in Hong
Kong to all of SARS, they should be willing to extrapolate from ALL US and
EU cases. Obviously the SARS death rate is heavily dependent on the quality
of hospital care. The 20% fatality rate of SARS is 20% *in Hong Kong*. Any
idea what the fatality rate is for post industrialized west nations with
decent health care systems? Answer, 0% See -


Michael Dickey (posted today)

The spread of SARS continues to slow and at less than 7,739 cases and 611
cases it's still just a bit shy of the 1918-1919 flu pandemic (with 40
million deaths) to which the media is wont to compare this new disease. So
it wasn't surprising that they jumped all over a new study published in The
Lancet online indicating that the fatality rate for SARS might be much
higher than would seem by simply dividing deaths by cases. Indeed, said the
study, the death rate could be as high as 20 percent. But there are just a
few minor problems here. First, the subjects in the study were
disproportionately among the elderly. SARS, like all pathogens that kill
primarily through pneumonia, picks on old people. Indeed, The Lancet study
found "The estimated case fatality rate for patients younger than 60 years
was 13.2% and 43.3% for patients aged 60 years and older." Second, not only
did all of these patients come from a single city, a huge percentage came
from a single place in that city - the now-infamous Amoy Gardens apartment
complex. Third, as the study also was careful to note, it could only look at
hospitalized persons. How many times have you had the flu? How many times
have you sought a doctor's care for it? Right. Surely it's the same with
SARS. As with flu, probably the vast majority of people who contract it
never get any medical attention; they simply recover on their own. Taking
that into account, even looking at worldwide cases versus deaths probably
grossly overstates the SARS death rate.

Finally, if the study had instead chosen as its subjects all persons in the
U.S., Europe, and Australia with SARS it would have found 109 cases as of
May 15 with no deaths. For the mathematically challenged, that's a zero
percent death rate. Obviously, the quality of medical care dramatically
impacts the death rate. In any case, it makes no more sense to extrapolate
from a portion of Hong Kong cases to the world as it does to extrapolate
from all U.S., European, and Australian cases to the world. That would be
like basing your odds of contracting malaria in Zaire based on malaria cases
in New York or vice-versa. So the best data remain those WHO posts daily on
its website. Not that the media or public health officials care anything
about all this. They've got sales and budget increases to worry about.

(Posted 05-16-2003)
A more recent skeptical look at SARS by columnist Michael Fumento.

- Michael Dickey

Hysteria, Thy Name is SARS

from -

By Michael Fumento
National Review Online, May 7, 2003
Copyright 2003 National Review Online

The media need a chill pill.
I must say I am surprised, albiet very pleasently, to see an article like
this on Columnist Justin Raimondo blasts the now pro-sanction
Leftists for the absurdity of their position.

Michael Dickey

Why the left turnabout on Iraqi sanctions?
by Justin Raimondo
"Remember how the sanctions were the equivalent of 'genocide'
committed by the Evil American Imperialists against the Oppressed
Peoples of Iraq? Well, that was then, according to Rahul Mahajan,
... but this is now ..." (5/14/03)

from -
A visit to the hospital

What a disgusting, and sad place. The Hospital, people everywhere dying, families fooling themselves that all will be fine, then insisting it was for the best when all is not. Lives unique in all of time and all of the universe withering away. We grow old, and weak, and wither. The machines that house our consciousness fail system by system, collapsing, imploding and erupting. We spend our lives acquiring and embracing knowledge, knowledge of life, love, happiness... Then the nuerons support system fails, cells decay, information is lost. Forever. Favorite songs, soul mates, and secret passions. Stories told and heard, adventures embarked upon, and battles fought, for better or worse. The record of which, gone forever. Whats the point? Better to have lived and died than to have never lived at all. But better by far to live and never die.

I wonder what my father was like when young? I wonder what he would be doing if granted a young healthy body to house his conscioussness. My mother? My grandparents I barely or never knew. What were thier hobbies? Their parents, who grew up in worldwide wretched poverty? Their parents who fled oppressive poor homelands for the hope of a better life? I would like to thank them for taking such an incredible risk.

A cell is damaged, its DNA bombarded by ionizing radiation, genes ripped apart. Its mitochondria machine gunned by free radicals, ripped apart here and there. The cell dies, damage is done to a system. The system recovers when the cell and its functionality are replaced. A cell's genetic structure is damaged, it is either rendered non-functional, taking its purpose with it and away from the system it supports, or it remains functional. If remaining functional, it is either unchanged or changed. If changed, its usually for the worse, changing the function of the cell, producing the wrong enzyme, or producing nothing at all. If it survives and is changed, it eventually copies itself, copying the change along with it. Now two cells in a system are incorrect, their DNA and thus function different from what is necessary to maintain the system they are a part of. Other cells in that system, over time, must undergo changes as well, and more and more cells in a system fail at their intended duty, the original genetic instructions swept spec by spec under the carpet of entropy, forever lost. These cells copy, and build further errors. Some cells have particular parts of their DNA damaged, a part that enables those cells to copy themselves. This damage prevents the cells from copying, leaving a gap in the required cells for the operation of a body. Each cell has a finite potential for copying, and the more than are unable to copy, the fewer cells the body of the future has, and the easier other cell damage and failure can castrostrophically effect a system and subsequently the entire body. The still able to copy cells copy themselves along with their errors, and more and more working cells end up developing errors through radiation, accidents, or interference. The effect, over time, is that more and more cells operate more and more improperly, while the originally DNA sequence is lost to time. Sometimes a cell critical to a system changes, and a castrophic failure ensues, collapsing the functionality of one of the many dependant systems in the body. Sometimes a system requires a certain percentage of its cells to function properly, and when more than that percentage operate inproperly in the pertinent manner, the entire system, or organ, or process can fail nearly instantly.

Imagine a pillar holding a weight. The pillar is made of millions of small balloons. Over time, random damage pops a balloon here or there, or decreases the strength of a balloon. The random damage is representative of the damage cells undergo. The balloon representative of the cells. As more and more of the balloons fail and pop, the balloons find it more difficult to hold up the weight. Sometimes when one ballon pops, it pops a vertial line of 10 balloons adjacent to it. Sometimes one balloon pops and causes five other random ones to pop. Eventually, one too many balloons pop, and the wieght collapses, even though there may be plenty of good balloons left. The weight comes crashing to the ground. That weight is life, the balloons are the cells and their processes supporting life. Eventually, it fails, and all comes crashing down. Sometimes the fall is slow, but when it goes below a certain point, the systems and function in the body are not able to sustain the process needed for life.

How to keep the weight up? Keep adding new balloons...

Matus1976: currently I am writing my cure for aging theory out though
P: lol, Just have him work on our timeline in the interim, then.. Really? You'll have to send me a sample, preferrably in English..
Matus1976: sure, still working on it, but basically...
Matus1976: 1) Life is supported by a system or group of processes
Matus1976: e.g. breathing, eating, sleeping, etc.
P: lol, still with you..
Matus1976: those systems and process are supported by the function of the cells that make them up
Matus1976: that was 2) btw
Matus1976: 3) the functioning of a cell is determined by its internal structure, primarily its DNA
P: mmm hmm..
Matus1976: 4) over time, damage occurs to the cells, sometimes to the dna, and sometimes to the other various components in the cells
Matus1976: 5) if they are damaged, they change functionally, or die all together
P: all right..
Matus1976: 6) if they live, the eventually copy, copying their change in functionality with them
Matus1976: 7) that change function supports some system or another, and the more cells that support that system that change, the more likely that system is to fail
Matus1976: 8)eventually, if one waits long enough, all cells are damaged and function improperly
Matus1976: if enough are damaged, the systems and process that support life are damaged, and the body is unable to sustain itself
P: right..
Matus1976: aging is the cumulutive buildup of all those functional deffiencies
Matus1976: so, to combat aging, one must fight the failures of the proper functioning of cells
Matus1976: the proper functioning of a cell is determined by its proper DNA (your genome) each cell though, eventually, gets a different genome, over time
P: yes..
Matus1976: essentially, take a cell with the correct genome and store it away from radiation (or sequence it)
Matus1976: clone it into a clump of stem cells
Matus1976: stem cells are produced in your bone marrow and enter the blood streem, but the stem cell manufcaturing process are also governed by cells, and can be damaged
P: okay..
Matus1976: so, give yourself periodic injections of stem cells which always contain your original DNA, the body sends them where they need to go, and they continue to allow the body to function properly
Matus1976: thats it
Matus1976: stem cell injections, thats my theory and im sticking to it
P: lol, well, I'm in neither a medical position to debate it or a political position (yet) to approve it, so I'll say it at least seems reasonable enough to me in the form you presented.
Matus1976: indeed... well, it could be entirely off base. Im not sure if the correctly functioning stem cells will actually get where they need to go, say to the end of your finger or something like that
Matus1976: perhaps localized injections in help with that. requires more research
P: lol, doesn't everything though?
Matus1976: indeed, but unfortunately it cuts into everyones tv watching time

Friday, April 11, 2003

From the extropy list -

S writes:
> Are you going to attempt to say that the cost of living in say
> 1970 dollars has not risen and risen dramatically in the last 32
> years?

The issue is not the cost of living by itself, but the cost of living
compared to income. Both have increased due to inflation.

The way to get an objective measure is to use constant dollars.
These are dollars adjusted by the consumer price index, which reflects
price changes in a typical package of consumer expenditures. The CPI
takes into consideration increases in costs of food and housing, as well
as clothing and the other things that people spend money on.

So what your question boils down to is, has per-capita personal income,
measured in constant dollars, increased since 1970? Luckily, the answer
is easy to find. Looking at the Statistical Abstract of the United
States, at,
table 647 shows per capita income in both current (i.e. the currency of
the time) and constant dollars.

In then-current dollars, per capita income rose from $4,101 to $30,069
from 1970 to 2000. Applying the inflation factor vs constant 1996 dollars
(not shown in the table but it can be calculated from other columns as
3.44 for 1970 and 0.94 for 2000) gives a constant-dollar per capita
income increase from $14,114 in 1970 to $28,121 in 2000. Per capita
income has roughly doubled during the time period when inflation is
taken into consideration.

In other words, the cost of living for a typical family is about half
as much today, relative to their income, as it was in 1970, just the
opposite of what you claimed.

First China not only sells Iraq fiber-optic links to improve that country's surface-to-air batteries, but it even provides the workers to install them. The French are caught selling parts to Iraq for F-1 Mirage fighters. Now we've found that the Russians have been selling Saddam anti-tank missiles, night vision equipment, and jamming equipment. What a strange coincidence that these are the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council who threatened to veto a U.S. liberation of Iraq. So what are the messages here? First, none of these countries constitutes a friend or an ally of ours. Second, if there ever was any purpose to the U.N. Security Council it has long since lapsed. We must never again allow American policy to be directed in any way by those who actively seek to profit from killing Americans.
(Posted 03-24-2003)

from -

Thursday, April 10, 2003


> > (SA):> >
> > Are you going to address housing and the other implied
> > necessities or just harp on your understanding of food
> > abundances (but not necessarily food prices). If I have no home
> > or cooking facilities the types of food I can buy are also
> > severely limited and per unit of nutrition much more expensive.
> > Are you going to attempt to say that the cost of living in say
> > 1970 dollars has not risen and risen dramatically in the last 32
> > years?
> If he doesn't, I will. Life is much better and cheaper than it
> was in 1970, by the only measure that matters: amount of labor
> for goods comsumed.

Indeed, it is better today than it has been at *any* time in the past throughout human history. Everyone is living longer, fuller, healthier lives with more free time today than at any point throughout human history. I am sure you know this, but I think it is a point not emphasized enough today as we are overun by doom and gloom naysayers in our culture of fear.

Take my favorate example, for instance, farming. In 1650 some 98% of the worlds entire population farm, making just enough food for themselves. They worked long, back breaking days laboring in the fields from sunrise to sunset. There was no free time for art, poetry, music, science, or progress, let alone any effort to bring about a singularity, you spent your entire existence toiling away just to stay alive, and died around 35 - 40 years old. By 1850, it was some 80% of the population farmed, by 1910, with the advent of nitrogen fertilizers and the recognition of the value of mechnization, rapid changes took place. In that year, probably som 70% of people farmed, but by 1950 it was more like 30%. Today fewer than 2% of the entire world farms, and we produce more food at less cost than ever before. Which means through technology, today your average farmer does the work of some 100+ farmers of a century ago. Amazing. And now that we dont have to toil away in fields all day, we have time for hobbies, for nurturing interests in things that make life better, longer, and more enjoyable. 'Retirement' did not even exist 60 years ago. We now spend more time learning and in retirement than we do working, at least in the post industrialized west, and current trends show this will eventually spread to all people.

Michael Dickey

Monday, April 07, 2003

Excellent site, Starship Scale Reference. Hundreds of vessels from every genre, in IE you can click on and drag them next to faimiliar objects. Very well done.
LC wrote:
> or, taxes amounting to (797 + 186 + 518)/12854 = 11.7 percent.
> Shocking, really. There's no escape even for the poor---this is
> even a little beyond the tithe extracted by theocracies!

> I don't have any direct experience, but I seem to remember that anyone
> earning more than $750 a year had to pay income tax.

I have in front of me the Kiplinger Tax Letter, Dated Nov 8, 2002. It says:

"High Incomers are paying an even larger share of income taxes than in past years, according to the new IRS data from tax returns for 2000, the most recent set it has analyzed.
The top 1% of filers paid 37% percent of all income taxes, up from 36% the year before. But they made just 21% of the total adjusted gross income. An AGI of at least $313,400 was needed to be classified in the top 1%.
The top 5% paid 56% of the total income taxes, and made 35% of all AGI. The each had an income of $128,300 or more. The upper 10% of all filers, those with an AGI of at least $92,100 bore 67% of the income tax burden.
The bottom 50% of filers paid just 4% of income taxes in 2000."

While I am opposed to progressive taxes, (and involuntary taxation for that matter) if we are going to have both, then I have a suggestion. Why not just elimate that bottom 50% of wage earners from the income tax, I mean, c'mon! It would amount to a 4% tax cut to income tax revenue, some of which would be negated by how much would be saved by the IRS only dealing with 140 million people instead of 280 million. Any politician who proposed this on a presidential ticket could get 140 million votes. This would be a particularly wise move for republicans in congress to present, as the overall change in the tax burden is minimal (or nill if a 4% budget cut is associated with the relief for the bottom 50% of wage earners) and Democrats will have a significant thing to whine about wiped off their agenda. Though they still may cry 'those tax cuts only benefit the rich' if any further cuts occur.

Michael Dickey
An additional conversation from a 'warmonger' perspective

by Mike Lorrey

WM: Why is it that you are protesting against the war?
PN: Because war is wrong.
WM: War is always wrong?
PN: Some think so, but I think there might be some wars that were and
are just.
WM: What sort of wars would you say are just?
PN: Wars to oust unelected tyrants who invade their neighbors and
commit mass murder and genocide, like Hitler.
WM: Really? What other reasons might be just?
PN: If such a leader used chemical or biological weapons on enemies or
on his own people, and tortures and murders political opponents.
WM: But isn't Saddam guilty of all of these things?
PN: Maybe, but you can't take the word of what exiles say, they are
WM: Why would they be prejudiced?
PN: Because they have been tortured and had their families gassed and
murdered by Saddam, so their opinions are obviously unobjective.
WM: If War on Saddam is so wrong, why did you not protest how the
Clinton administration attacked Iraq, at the height of the Lewinski
PN: Because Clinton feels the pain of women and minorities and fuzzy
bunnies and anti-gunners.
WM: That doesn't sound very consistent or principled.
PN: Our principle is that war is wrong unless it is condoned by the
United Nations.
WM: Wasn't WWII not condoned?
PN: The UN didn't exist then, which is why we had to have a war.
WM: But the League of Nations did exist, and specifically passed
resolutions outlawing war, and limiting the weapons nations could
build, among many other things that were not obeyed by Germany and
Japan, who acted much like France, Germany, and Russia have acted today
in preventing the UN or League of Nations from doing anything to avoid
PN: But they did do something, they signed the Munich Pact.
WM: And how well did Germany abide by that?
PN: This is beside the issue. War is still wrong unless it is condoned
by the UN.
WM: So nations do not have any sovereign rights anymore?
PN: They have rights, but only to defend themselves if attacked
WM: So what is it you don't like about war?
PN: Silly, its because so many people die.
WM: But you say that in order for a nation to defend itself justly,
they must first submit to being attacked directly?
PN: That is right.
WM: So, you are saying that a lot of people, and generally people who
are innocent civilians, must die before a nation can defend itself.
PN: Correct.
WM: So if a criminal comes after you with a weapon, do you have to let
him stab you or shoot you dead before you are justified in defending
PN: We don't believe you should defend yourself. Police are there to
protect you.
WM: But in the case of nations, where are the world's policemen, and
how do they decide when to protect someone?
PN: The UN votes, and member nations are then justified in acting.
WM: What happens when some nations with veto power have a vested
commercial interest in vetoing a resolution to do so?
PN: National governments do not act on crass commercial interests.
WM: So the 300 companies that have done business with Saddam's regime
have absolutely no influence in the governments that vetoed Bush's
second resolution?
PN: That is correct.
WM: But don't you claim that Bush is only going to war for oil
PN: Yes, the Bush administration is controlled by US oil company
interests, and is going to war only to increase their profits.
WM: But the Chirac administration is not controlled by French oil
company interests who actually have contracts in Iraq?
PN: That is correct. France is a far more civilized country.
WM: Now, please tell me how these US oil interests are going to
increase profits from the war.
PN: When the US oil industry controlls Iraq's oil, they will increase
WM: But if the sanctions against Iraq are lifted, won't they be able to
sell far more oil than they currently are?
PN: Yes, and this will increase US oil company profits.
WM: But if they sell more oil, won't world oil prices go down at a time
when the costs (repairing sabotaged facilities) are going up? Won't
this lead to decreasing profits and cheap oil?
PN: We are never surprised at how oil companies are able to fix prices
to earn more profits and hide income. Just look at Enron.
WM: Hmmm, so the French oil companies would never do such things?
PN: The French are so much more civilized, just look at how they
distain country music.
WM: So, tell me, what are Russias altruistic interests in opposing war.
Are you telling me that it isn't just to hide the fact that they've
been selling night vision technologies, GPS jamming technologies, and
new anti-tank missile technologies, all in violation of UN resolutions?
PN: We accept Russias statements that those were sold before the first
Gulf War.
WM: Despite the fact that the products in question did not even exist
PN: Look, the basic fact is that the US is trying to use its position
as the dominant power in the world to establish an American empire
around the world.
WM: Really, when was the last time we added any territory to the US or
accepted a new state?
PN: The 1940's.
WM: And when the Archbishop of Canterbury accused Colin Powell of such
things at a London news conference, didn't Sec'ty Powell respond, "We
have sent many of our best young men and women around the world over
the years to fight for freedom, and the only land we have ever asked
for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."
PN: The US is the preeminent agressor in the world today, that is a
fact, and has been since the Reagan administration.
WM: Really, just what countries have we agressed against?
PN: Thats easy: Grenada...
WM: Who we freed from a communist coup and Cuban invaders.
PN: Nicaragua...
WM: Where we funded Nicaraguans to fight to demand the communist
Sandinistas honor their commitment to the OAS to establish a
constitution and a pluralistic multi-party electoral system.
PN: Afghanistan...
WM: Where we funded the native people to fight against communist Soviet
PN: Panama....
WM: Where we arrested a drug smuggling thug who killed President
Trujillo and refused to recognise the election of his opponent.
PN: Libya...
WM: Whose government was funding and training airline hijackings and
terrorist attacks all over europe and the Mediterranean.
PN: You placed nuclear tipped Pershing II and Tomahawk missiles in
WM: Which helped win the cold war and freed eastern europe from Soviet
PN: Somalia...
WM: Under UN auspices, at the request of Somalis, and only to protect
aid workers.
PN: Bosnia...
WM: Uh, there had been a civil war going for several years before we
stepped in and ended the war.
PN: Kosovo...
WM: To end the genocide of albanian Kosovars by the Milosevic
PN: This doesn't prove anything.
WM: Actually, it does prove something. Peaceniks, like yourself, never,
it seems, protest against the unjust acts of fascist tyrants. You
always protest against the just acts of free nations to spread freedom
around the world into areas that are under the iron fisted control of
fascist tyrants. You are the best friend of fascists. You might release
statements about what disagreeable individuals they might be toward
their own people (unless they are good socialist tyrants) but you
never, ever, ever do anything to change the world for the better. You
never take action to free anybody.
You condemn and act against anybody who takes a stand against tyrants.
Whether those tyrants are the tyrannies of foreign governments, or the
domestic tyrannies of paternalistic bureaucracies, excessive taxation,
gun control, luddism and restrictions on technological progress, it is
you who are the opponents of progress.
This is the true irony. Those who most widely claim the title of
"Progressives" act the most against real progress in the world, whether
it is making more of the worlds people free or increasing the quality
and quantity of freedom through technology that people already have.
You are not progressives, you are regressives.

Mike Lorrey
"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
- Gen. John Stark
"Pacifists are Objectively Pro-Fascist." - George Orwell
"Treason doth never Prosper. What is the Reason?
For if it Prosper, none Dare call it Treason..." - Ovid

Saturday, April 05, 2003

WAR Conversations.

A thread going around is a fictitious conversation between a 'peacenik' and a 'warmonger' told form the obvious side of the 'peacenik' here is that conversation and another one, this time reversed, to tell it from the side of the 'warmonger' Provided from a member of the extropy list.


At 05:08 PM 4/1/2003 +0200, you wrote:
>PN: Why did you say we are we invading Iraq?
>WM: We are invading Iraq because it is in
> violation of security council resolution 1441.
> A country cannot be allowed to violate security
> council resolutions.
>PN: But I thought any of our allies, including Israel,
> were in violation of more security council
> resolutions than Iraq.
>WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point
> is that Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction,
> and the first sign of a smoking gun could well be
> a mushroom cloud over NY.
>PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors
> said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.
>WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.
>PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range
> missiles for attacking us or our allies with such
> weapons.
>WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather
> terrorists networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.
>PN: But couldn't virtually any country sell chemical or
> biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the
> eighties ourselves, didn't we?
>WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil
> man that has an undeniable track record of repressing
> his own people since the early eighties. He gasses his
> enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry
> lunatic murderer.
>PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a
> power-hungry lunatic murderer?
>WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam
> did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first
> strike on Kuwait.
>PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't
> our ambassador to Iraq, Gillespie, know about and
> green-light the invasion of Kuwait?
>WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today,
> Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to
> Al Qaida. Osama BinLaden himself released an audio
> tape calling on Iraqis to suicide attack us, proving
> a partnership between the two.
>PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading
> Afghanistan to kill him?
>WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama
> Bin Laden on the tapes. But the lesson from the tape
> is the same: there could easily be a partnership
> between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein unless we act.
>PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels
> Saddam a secular infidel?
>WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape.
> Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.
>PN: He did?
>WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Qaeda
> poison factory in Iraq.
>PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the
> part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?
>WM: And a British intelligence report...
>PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date
> graduate student paper?
>WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...
>PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?
>WM: And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding evidence
> from inspectors...
>PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons
> inspector, Hans Blix?
>WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence that
> cannot be revealed because it would compromise our
> security.
>PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons
> of mass destruction in Iraq?
>WM: The inspectors are not detectives, it's not their JOB
> to find evidence. You're missing the point.
>PN: So what is the point?
>WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because
> resolution 1441 threatened "severe consequences." If we
> do not act, the security council will become an
> irrelevant debating society.
>PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the
> security council?
>WM: Absolutely. ...unless it rules against us.
>PN: And what if it does rule against us?
>WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to
> invade Iraq.
>PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?
>WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for
> starters.
>PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave
> them tens of billions of dollars
>WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.
>PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries
> was against war.
>WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority
> expresses its will by electing leaders to make
> decisions.
>PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the
> majority that is important?
>WM: Yes.
>PN: But George B-
>WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders,
> however they were elected, because they are acting in
> our best interest. This is about being a patriot.
> That's the bottom line.
>PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president,
> we are not patriotic?
>WM: I never said that.
>PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?
>WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have
> weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our
> allies.
>PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any
> such weapons.
>WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.
>PN: You know this? How?
>WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago,
> and they are still unaccounted for.
>PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?
>WM: Precisely.
>PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons
> would degrade to an unusable state over ten years.
>WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.
>PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that
> such weapons exist, we must invade?
>WM: Exactly.
>PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of
> usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons,
> AND long range missiles that can reach the west
> coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors,
> AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.
>WM: That's a diplomatic issue.
>PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using
> diplomacy?
>WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because
> we cannot allow the inspections to drag on
> indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying, deceiving,
> and denying for over ten years, and inspections
> cost us tens of millions.
>PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.
>WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about
> security.
>PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite
> radical Muslim sentiments against us, and decrease our
> security?
>WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to
> change the way we live. Once we do that, the
> terrorists have already won.
>PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland
> Security, color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot
> Act? Don't these change the way we live?
>WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.
>PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?
>WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the
> world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he
> has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.
>PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do
> something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would
> have an obligation to listen?
>WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.
>PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United
> Nations?
>WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.
>PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security
> Council?
>WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.
>PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of
> the Security Council?
>WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.
>PN: In which case?
>WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.
>PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not
> support us at all?
>WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security
> Council.
>PN: That makes no sense:
>WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there.
> Or maybe France, with the all the other cheese-eating
> surrender monkeys. It's time to boycott their wine and
> cheese, no doubt about that.
>PN: I give up.

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign
to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume you
opponent is the ignorant one-until you can show it isn't you.
-M.N. Plano

A wandering, mischievous, and distinctly unFriendly AI sees these two, and
decides that it would be fun if he switched their opinions. Suddenly the
intelligent peacnick sees why the invasion is necessary, and the straw
warmonger has an attack of conscience. They become, respectively, WM' and
PN', and continue their debate, now on opposite sides.

PN': I was so wrong, this war it totally illegal! Its against the UN charter!
WM': How so? We have resolution 1441 saying that we can invade.
PN': Nonsense! Serious consequences doesn't mean *war*! It means... well
France definitely wouldn't have voted for it if it meant war! And besides,
now the Security Council is "seized of the matter" and so invading is illegal.
WM': And I suppose that the US voted for resolution 1441 thinking
that it would legally prevent them from going to war? Anyway, how is the
Security Council "seized of the matter" now that they are no longer even
planning a vote related toe Iraq, much less demanding any action of any party?
PN': Never mind! The point is that one country can't invade another just
like that! We were at peace with Iraq, we can't just suddenly declare war!
WM': And how did we achieve peace, given that we never signed a peace treaty?
PN': So what! We have a cease fire!
WM': Whose terms resolution 1441 says that Iraq has broken.
PN': Even so, we have no evidence that Iraq has any of those weapons.
WM': So why won't Iraq offer anything but the most token assistance, and
defectors form Iraq consistently say that Iraq is hiding more weapons?
PN': Even if they have weapons in violation of the cease fire, we can get
rid of them with inspections.
WM': And if he just kicks out the inspectors again?
PN': Well he let them back in didn't he? He must have turned over a new leaf.
WM': Or maybe it was just the threat of war?
PN': In any event he is cooperating now.
WM': Will he continue to cooperate when he realizes that we aren't willing
to go to war?
PN': Moving on, those are all just excuses to go to war, we don't have any
good reasons though.
WM': Iraq's support of international terrorism?
PN': What evidence do we have of that? None.
WM': There is that mockup of a 747 that for terrorists to practice
hijacking, and the fact that they give money to the families of suicide
PN': But that isn't necessarily related to Osoma Bin Ladin, who doesn't
seem to be showing his face anymore anyway, so that doesn't matter.
WM': Even if Saddam can supply nuclear weapons to terrorists?
PN': There hasn't ever been any nuclear terrorism yet, so there never will be.
WM': And then there is freeing the Iraqi's from a brutal dictatorship.
PN': Whoever we put in will be worse, just look at those guys we supported
during the Cold War.
WM': None were worse than Saddam, and why would we continue to do the same
now that the Cold War is over?
PN': Even putting in a democracy will be antidemocratic, since the Iraqi's
won't have chosen that government.
WM': Even if they can change their constitution?
PN': Countries are supposed to have revolutions and achieve democracy
without any outside help.
WM': Like the US did?
PN': I still have objections!
WM': Go ahead.
PN': The US is a bad country and has no right to impose its will abroad.
WM': Would you say that bad people shouldn't be allowed to do good deeds?
PN': Moving on, we put Saddam where he is now.
WM': No we didn't, and even if we did wouldn't that make him our
responsibility to remove.
PN': But we gave him permission to invade Kuwait!
WM': How is telling him that he can solve the problem himself the same as
telling him to invade?
PN': We should adjudicate all disputes between all other countries just to
make sure that this doesn't happen. And we did sell him weapons.
WM': But didn't we sell him less weapons than France or Russia?
PN': Doesn't matter, and there are lots of worse countries out there that
we should get first, like North Korea.
WM': Do you think that China would agree to that?
PN': They might but...Our sanctions on Iraq are heartless and cost the
lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis each year.
WM': If Iraq used the money for food instead of weapons that wouldn't
happen, and besides, isn't that an argument *against* the status quo?
PN': But people will be killed if we invade Iraq.
WM': Yes, but far less than will be killed if we don't.
PN': It doesn't matter, if we do something the blood will be on our hands,
while if we do nothing we won't be to blame.
WM': But any action can unintentionally cause someone's death, so if you
believe that, isn't your only moral choice to never take any action?
PN': Well, there will be too many civilian deaths.
WM': The top of the range of the largest independent count is 724 so
far. Even assuming that 7000 civilians die in this war, it will be less
than Iraq's police kill in an average year.
PN': We should have offered Saddam a peaceful way out.
WM': Like our offer to let him leave?
PN': But we'll get Iraq's oil if we win!
WM': Won't being able to sell their oil help the Iraqis just as much as us?
PN': But that's *why* we're invading!
WM': Couldn't we get Iraq's oil by just supporting Saddam? Why go through
this whole "war" thing just to get something Saddam seems perfectly willing
to sell?
PN': But Bush and Cheney are oilmen!
WM': How does that effect the above?
PN': But we don't have international support!
WM': Have you heard the phrase "coalition of the willing?"
PN': But that doesn't include the US's traditional rivals like France or
WM': Doesn't it have most of Europe though?
PN': I know, wasn't it horrid how they just stabbed France in the
back. Europe should be unified.
WM': But didn't the majority of European countries vote to support the US?
PN': They should be unified behind what France wants! You're just a
bloodthirsty lunatic; I just hope Iraq defeats the US just to take them
down a notch.
WM': I give up.
MaxPlumm Said:
>> All of these accusations are to some degrees true. However, I do not see any perspective given to >> any of these judgments you have passed. For instance, the United States "propped up" the regime of >> Syngman Rhee in South Korea in 1950. Rhee was certainly an authoritarian and a thug.

To which DS responded:
> And in 1950 we couldn't know how bad North Korea would turn out to be. So we accepted mass murder
> by our ally

You miss the point entirely. 1st off, at no point in history do we know exactly how the future would turn out, however, everyone was pretty confident that communism sucked and democratic capitalism did not. Whether history would prove them to be true was yet unknown, but it did in fact prove them so. Considering more than 30 million chinese died in the cultural revolutions there, the fewer cultural revolutions the better. 2nd, as Max is trying to emphasize, it was not a choice between mass murder of 2,000 people and NO mass murder, it was a choice between mass murder of 2,000 people and mass murder of 2 MILLION people. To criticize the US for supporting a thug but not appluaud it at preventing the enslavement and murder of millions of people is rediculous.

I invite you to read Christopher Hitchens description of North Korea.

Liberal Author Christopher Hitchens calls North Korea 'The Worst of the Worst', it is the worst possible combination of absolute despotism, totalitarianism, and state failure. It is a living example of the nightmare portrayed in Orwells 1984 and predicted result of runaway nationalization in Rand's Atlas Shrugged, he says of North Korea -

"All films, all books, all newspapers and all radio and television broadcasts are about either the Father or the Son[Kim Jong Il]. Everybody is a soldier. Everybody is an informer. Everybody is a unit. Everything is propaganda...Children are drilled to think of Japanese and Americans, in particular, as monstrous...The old justification for the Stalinist forced-march system was that at least it led to development. But even in Pyongyang, the capital city which is reserved for approved citizens, one can see that this excuse doesn't work. Neither does anything else; the place is stalled and hungry and subject to constant blackouts. There are no cars on the streets; there is no construction except of tawdry shrines to the Holy Family. A very small window of dollar bribery has opened up in recent years, but there's nothing to buy and no black market. Corruption at the leadership level is exorbitant, with palaces and limos and (a special obsession of Kim Jong Il's) megalomaniacal movie projects...I saw people scavenging individual grains from the fields and washing themselves in open sewers. On the almost deserted roads, animals do a good deal of the hauling. Domestic pets are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps most have been eaten, for the fact is that North Korea is a famine stat...Nobody knows the death toll-the best guess is between 1.5 and 2 million-but in addition a generation of physically and mentally stunted children has been "fathered" by the "Dear Leader." Well-attested rumors of cannibalism have filtered across the border to China, where a Korean-speaking minority has lately been augmented by refugees so desperate that they will risk shooting in order to brave the river. A system where you can't live but you can't leave is the definition of hell...deserted towns, empty factories, wandering and neglected children and untilled fields...the country's once productive coal mines have been allowed to flood, and that there are no pumps that can be brought to bear" (from -

The latest estimates are that the state has killed 2 million people in the recent famine. This would make it the worst state killing since Cambodia in the 1970s. It would push the total killing by the communist regime since its origin to about 4 million people, making communist North Korea the 6th greatest killer since 1900.

Now compare North Korea with South Korea, which started with similiar populations nearly identical climates, land area, people, and culture. Yet South Korea, which embraced capitalism and democracy at the end of the Korean War is now the 11th largest economy in the world, a bustling hub of progress and growth which recently hosted the Olympics. North Korea, on the other hand, embraced massive statism, it is the only full fledged communist state intact, its people are desperately poor and millions have starved to death, while factories and fields remain unused and empty it receives billions in international aide while maintaining a standing army of 1 million with artillary constantly aimed at South Korea's capital. A truly sad state of affiars.

If the United States had not supported a 'totalarian thug' which murdered 2000 of his own people, All the people of South Korea, which numbers 48 million today, would be living under the same horrific hellish conditions, where every year is 1984, that the people of North Korea live under.

Michael Dickey

Wednesday, April 02, 2003


We all ready know that you dont like the war, so perhaps instead of posting these long diatrabes and desciptions of your previous days lunch's you could just say 'I dont like the war'. When you realize that you would end up with multiple posts each day that simple say 'I dont like the war' you will see why your arguments are getting your opinion no where. We know you dont like the war.

> If you cannot understand that I am against the US/UK troops *and* against
> Saddam Hussein at the same time

You pay lip service to disliking Saddam, but have presented no evidence indicating as much. If you dislike him so much, then why the concentrated effort to dissuade people from voluntarily choosing to oust him?

> but what can be more tasteless than
> this current war on Iraq?

Here you find an essential dividing point between you and us. Those who support this war see it as more tasteless to leave a murderous dictator in power than it would be to remove him. As Robert Bradbury pointed out, leaving Saddam in power will cause more deaths of Iraqi people then taking him out of power. He asked anyone to present a reasonable challenge to that notion, and received no responses as of yet. A few months back another poster presented an eloquent list of the reasons why extropians should want Saddam removed.

We do not support war because we like to see people die, or get our jollies off of watching bombs fall in Iraq, and until you understand the reasons *why* those of us who actually support this effort support it, and address those points, your comments will not persuade anyone.

For starters, in no particular order

1) Saddam is a murderous tyrant dictator, his Anfal campaign was a systemetic attempt to wipe out the Kurdish population (aka genocide) conservative estimates has him responsible for 200,000 murders, 50,000 of which were perpetrated when he squashed the Shiite majority uprising post Gulf War I

2) UN Security resolution 1441, signed as a unanimous vote in the UN, dictates that he should disarm peacefully and immediately and expose all previously discovered chemical, biological weapons and delivery systems. If he did not, he would face 'serious consequences'

3) From an American perspective, Saddam poses a threat to the American People. 9/11 demonstrated the domestic American vunlerabilities, that small parties can inflict large casualties. We need not see an IRAQI battleship cruising up the Hudson to consider Saddam an immediate and direct threat, which leads into the next one

4) Saddam is a despotic west hating tyrant, and it is reasonable to suspect that if he gets the capability to attack the US, he will. He has been actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons, attempted to build an artillery cannon capable of launching projectiles into orbit.

5) Saddam controls the worlds second largest energy supply, and as a murderous tyrant, uses it for, surprise, murder and tyranny.

6) There are no Arab Democracies, and a democratic IRAQ could potentially become a 'shinning beacon of democracy in an arab sea of tyranny, oppresion, and despair' When arab peoples see the life that can be lived in a free Arab nation, it can help to diffuse the anti-west hatred and anti-progress attitude that many arab theocracies, monarchies, and dictators have imposed upon their people. (Optimistic admittedly, but everyone is so pessimestic, its nice to have a little optimism)

There are many other reasons to support the effort to remove Saddam Hussain from power, but unless you address and/or invalidate these points (or whatever other ones other supporters have) you will not change any ones minds. So I guess it boils down to what your goal is, reminding everyone that you dont like the war, or trying to change other peoples minds about it. We know you dont like the war, so dispense with your creative efforts at saying as much, and just post 'I dont like the war' Pointing out to supporters the dismay that the Iraqi people undergo dissuades no supports because they believe, legitamtely, the more suffering will be caused by inaction than by action.

Additionally, no one has a *right* to be a Dictator, and that is what Saddam was. He could have walked away and saved all of the causalties and deaths now caused. He is morally culpable now for each and every death this War causes, simply because he wanted to remain a murderous dictator.

Michael Dickey

> -----Original Message-----
> From: RJB

> On Sat, 29 Mar 2003, matus wrote:
> > As RJB pointed out, leaving Saddam in power will cause more
> > deaths of Iraqi people then taking him out of power. He asked anyone
> > to present a reasonable challenge to that notion, and received no
> > responses as of yet.
> Actually Michael I did receive a couple of offlist posts questioning
> (validly I think) some of my assumptions.

Sorry, I should have specified no *public* responses as of yet.

> The most significant of
> which (IMO) is the question of whether the U.S./U.K./Au will have
> to completely eliminate the Republican Guard (probably 100K+ individuals,
> similar to the casulties in Gulf War I) in order to take out Saddam
> and the ~100 top level individuals that constitute his "regime"...
> If that turns out to be necessary then my calculations may be
> somewhat more questionable from a utilitarian perspective.

That seems a good point, if the justification of this war relied on a dead through action vs. dead through inaction comparison based on drawing out rates of dead in the past linearly into the future, this would definately deserve some deep consideration. Note my qualifier of drawing out past rates linearly.

> > We do not support war because we like to see people die, or get
> our jollies
> > off of watching bombs fall in Iraq, and until you understand the reasons
> > *why* those of us who actually support this effort support it,
> and address
> > those points, your comments will not persuade anyone.
> I think this the key point that Hubert, Max and others need to understand.
> I refused to return my draft card during the Vietnam war until my father
> (who had served in WWII) made it clear he would throw me out of the house
> if I did not do so. I am *NOT* a "fan" of war. *But* I am very aware
> (much more aware than most people on the list) of how the technologies
> for developing/producing WMD are becoming increasingly available to
> both rogue nation-states as well as terrorist organizations.

I guess it should not surprise me that you received very little response to this concern. You hit the nail on the head. This is, indeed, the primary reason why I support this in addition to the previous ones mentioned. There is nothing that scares me more than realizing that in the future fewer and fewer people will be able to committ mass tragedies easier and easier. We need, ASAP, to remove the primary cuases of all this animosity. Giving everybody in the world an avenue to better themselves will remove a LOT of the animosity that breeds terrorists, hatred, and intollerence. Nothing would benefit the Arab community more than a wealthy free democracy in IRAQ. While in the short term, this will cause more animosity, in the long term, it will open up the Arab world to freedom and democracy, which will stem animosity.

This whole scenerio scares me honestly, as there are a lot more 'tribes' who animosity could wipe out life on earth. The greens, for example, may one day see it better to wipe off all humans on this planet, we are just raping and pillaging it, after all. And what does a 'reasonable' person do to someone who is raping and pillaging? *shudder* I can not think of a way to work to diminish the animosity of some of these groups, which is why I am involved in and support the lifeboat foundation (

For starters though, lets try to bring the arab nations out of the corrupt, oppressed middle ages their murderous dictators and theocracies keep them in. Right now one must be a motivated billionaire or have connections to one to really wreak mass havoc and thousands of deaths. In 10 years, one may need only be a millionaire, 10 years after that, a moderately intelligent well motivated individual could wipe out thousands to millions of people. I see it in my head as a graph, the resources (intellect, money, time) etc needed to commit massive tragedies continues to decline, while an opposing line, how many people one can kill, rises. Linearly? Exponentially? Logorithmically? Scary stuff. This was the reason why I added my optimistic outcome in my list

6) There are no Arab Democracies, and a democratic IRAQ could potentially become a 'shinning beacon of democracy in an arab sea of tyranny, oppresion, and despair' When arab peoples see the life that can be lived in a free Arab nation, it can help to diffuse the anti-west hatred and anti-progress attitude that many arab theocracies, monarchies, and dictators have imposed upon their people.

> People who promote "peace at all costs" simply do not recognize
> that these technologies have the capacity for eliminating civilization
> as we know it (note my recent posts on SARS -- and that is probably
> a natural situation).
> I'll make an assertion to people who object to my position (or the
> activities of the U.S./U.K./Au) -- *you* are *clueless* with respect
> to how bad it could get and how close people who have virtually
> no respect for "human dignity" are to bridging the gap to the point
> where they are executing your worst nightmare. How long do you need
> to watch Al-Jazeera before you figure out that they are promoting
> the "unextropic" concept that they want you ("us") dead?

Well said.

And this leads of course back to the question of assessing the causalties of inaction vs. action, and why a linear projection of current rates isnt valid. In the future, a pissed of terrorist could wipe out *the entire human population* Yeah, some Iraqi civilians will be killed in this attempt to overthrow a murderous dictatorial regime, but if we dont provide a democratic peacefull aveneue for arabs and middle easterners to grow, they may very well wipe humanity off the face of the earth. The most clinching moment for this was probably reading Robert Wrights "A Real War On Terrorism" ( which some list members have cited to support an stance against this war. I found it the opposite, especially Wrights description of what Mohommad Atta went through in various Arab countries trying to find a positive productive outlet for his efforts and intellect, and was blocked every step of the way, eventually finding the only avenue offered, terrorism. In fact, Wright recommends democraticization in authoratarian Arab regimes to stem this tide of growing animosity, along with globalization. Basically acknowledging that these efforts will lead to resentment among arabs, Wright still recommends to 'Take your bitter medicine early' saying "But in the case of terrorism, I have a decided preference because in 10 or 20 years, terrorism will have much more lethal potential than it has now. So, if there are burdens we can bear now—in money, even in lives—that will dampen future terrorism, they're probably worth it." While some or much of this essay to some will lead them to not support the current war, I found it a more compelling argument to support it, although critical of particulars of some of Bush's actions.

> And thank you Michael for detailing points that need to responded
> to (i.e. the rationale behind a pro-war position) much better than
> I might have done.

Thank you for the positive comments RJB. I am not surprised that no one has yet respoded to these points with anything except "I dont like this war"


Michael Dickey