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softwareNerd

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Everything posted by softwareNerd

  1. softwareNerd

    Integration?

    You know when people say they "put two and two together"? That's an example.
  2. softwareNerd

    Other forums on the web

    That page isn't found
  3. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Yup, that's the gist of it. One might say, for example, that Elizabeth-I was a great queen. Unlike Bloody Mary who focused a lot on religion, Elizabeth pulled back the dogs and focused on business. Yet, Elizabeth wasn't all milk and honey. She had her spy masters and torturers. She continued some persecution of Catholics. And so on. Historians can and should evaluate rulers of the past, and they should do so using a standard of rights, but this does not make every rights-violator equal. Many rights-violators were really excellent kings, within the context of their times.
  4. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    It was not meant as a rhetorical tool. It was to judge where DA was coming from. If he'd said he wouldn't thank the framers just as he would not thank colonists, that would help me understand where he's coming from.
  5. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Do you have a similar opinion on Americans who say "I thank the framers of my constitution", even though the constitution contained a glaring immorality in condoning and further institutionalizing slavery?
  6. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Hmm... what about this... still contradictory? 1. Capitalism is the only moral political system 2. All other systems are immoral
  7. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    That's a completely different concept though... unless we find Martians and decide they need to be ruled rather than be admitted to our capitalist system.
  8. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    I don;t know what your position is. Maybe I should state the context I was assuming to be obvious: Capitalism is the right/moral system Other system are inferior, and therefore wrong/immoral (monarchy, communism, socialism, fascism, colonialism, plutocracy, theocracy, Plato's rule of the Philosopher) Those two propositions really don't need to be stated in the context of this forum. I assume we all agree. Anything I have posted should be read with that context in mind.
  9. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    No, not really. To be honest, I just want to understand the concept of colonialism that you have in your mind for the duration of this thread. Because if we're talking about different things, then we need to sort that out first. I really don't want a definition as an end in itself, but to understand the concept in your mind. Usually dictionary definitions are too vague for that purpose: they serve someone who does not know what the word means, but do not delve into the concept. My concept of colonialism is either a political or historical concept. As a political concept, it describes the relationship between two countries where the colony is kept as a lesser country than the "mother country". Within that one can have many degrees of "how much lesser"? "how tyrannical?" As a historical concept it refers to the particular practices of European colonialism in the 100-200 years preceding WW-1. So, by my political concept, early American settlers were not colonizers. They were settlers. They themselves were the colonies, with Britain as the colonizer. Settling and pushing existing native people out of their lands is a different thing and deserves a different concept. What the settlers did is different enough from what (say) the French did in Vietnam. It's not about not fitting a definition. It is about two very different set of facts, in reality, that need their own concept (the definition follows, but is less important than the actual differences on the ground). What Europeans did vis-a-vis natives is far more similar to what Europeans did in South Africa. It's a very different type of take-over. A lot of French people settled in Algeria, but if you take a magnifying glass to Algerian cities, countryside and political structures of the early 1900's it's different enough from what one would see in South Africa and even more different from what one sees in North America. So, coming back to colonialism... the political concept in my mind is the one realized in British India, French Vietnam, Italian Ethiopia, etc. It is a concept of an Empire of unequal countries: the concept of one country being the main country, and dictating things to other countries. So, it would include Britain lording it over white-skinned Americans, Turks lording it over so much of the middle-east, Romans lording it over Britain, Venetians lording it over Dalmatia, and so on. By this concept, the Mughals coming to India was not colonialism. They came, and conquered, and became Indian rulers, with no other mother country. Does that make sense? I believe my concept is pretty much the regular concept of "colony" used in History classes. "Colonialism" can be used to name two different concepts. One -- the most popular usage -- describes the modern era where Britain, France, Portugal, etc. had colonies, mostly in Asia. In this concept, the British controlling colonies of caucasian Americans is excluded... because the intent of the concept is to focus on a era. The second, lesser concept of "colonialism" is to describe the practice of having colonies, as such. This one is a concept of political structure that is timeless, and does not focus on an era. So, it would include the Turks, Venetians, Greeks, and lots of others throughout history.
  10. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    I typically skip many posts when I find a particular one of interest, and then ... if I'm in a "dialog" I will typically skip ones that are not from the other person in that dialog (except short ones). Did someone in this thread claim that you can communicate the principles of capitalism (or reason more generally) by enslaving people or otherwise violating their rights? More generally, has someone in this thread actually said that colonialism is a good thing, in the sense of something we should maybe aspire toward, in order to come closer to capitalism?
  11. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    So, if we roll back a few thousand years where there each little village has a chieftain, and one village takes over another village, is that colonialism? When the rulers from the Cairo are take control of the Nile and the cities along its banks and also of the sea-side city of Alexandria, is that colonialism? Or is it colonialism for a few years and then the Egyptian kingdom at some point? Countries have been fighting and taking other countries over for centuries. Is that all colonialism?Or is colonialism only the most recent version, where the one taking over the other was significantly more technologically advanced?
  12. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    "...control by one power over a dependent area or people..." You're willing to use this definition? It has no reality to me...just a floating abstraction. If communist party members ruled USSR and other people obeyed, that too is the rule of one people over another. Is colonialism defined by some type of power structure and lack of certain types of rights, or is is all about race and ethnicity?
  13. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Wow! Did someone make a claim like that somewhere? Not in this thread, unless it was some post I skipped reading.
  14. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Could you define colonialism?
  15. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    There are major differences between Europeans coming to the Americas or to Australia. That was settlement, which was very different from the colonization of a people in the sense of British or French running their colonies. Secondly, you have complications like bringing disease, which were never such a major problem when one was dealing with the known and connected land-masses. mass deaths were going to happen even if the Europeans had remained in a peaceful relationship with the natives. Most importantly, the rule of the British, particularly in India was a continuity rather than a discontinuity. The British did not go in and start talking about rights, nor did they try to start westernizing the locals. they did not colonize "India" as a whole, and did not even have ambitions to do so for the first so many decades. They evolved, from being armed traders sticking enforcing their side of some deal, to mercenaries fighting on the side of local chieftains, to becoming local chieftains themselves. So, let's take the case where the Brits took over some tiny "Indian" kingdom by force. Let's say they were unfair to the masses they ruled, let's say they enforced their monopolies in certain trades. It would be fine to judge them negatively for this, but one should judge the previous ruler the same way too. One will usually find that the previous king was also unfair to his citizens and also enforced monopolies so that he could skim a cut. The Brits were a continuity in that type of rule. A change of local dynasty, with much of the local power structure staying in place.
  16. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Yes. I have no doubt at all. Also, while it is hard to argue counter-factuals, if WW-2 had not speeded up the British withdrawal from India, that might have worked still better for Indians.
  17. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    The historical part is fine (paragraphs 1 and 2). There's a jump in paragraph 3 when it comes to the current day. It really does not follow. Firstly, I'm not sure what it mean to say that Britishers seek to return to a notion of rights. What rights? Do you mean rights that aren't really rights? Where British people have more rights than Kenyans? If so, do you mean more rights within Britain or in the world in general? I don't see it. And terrorists seeking equality... nope, not that either.
  18. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    I assume you do not mean consciously. You won;t have people who think to themselves "I hate the West because they taught me about equal rights, and I cannot experience it". I assume you mean the West taught them about equal rights, but they could not experience it. Do you mean they could not experience it during colonial rule, or later. I guess you could say that they were fine with all sorts of rulers, and then the colonists were similar -- albeit white-skinned. yet, the colonists were telling them that all were equal, while not treating them equally? But, that would explain why they rose up and got their independence. it might even explain residual hatred for the colonists (though -- in fact -- that's not the norm, at least in British colonies). Not sure how that would be an explanation for hatred a few generations later. What's the chain of reasoning there?
  19. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Not sure what being said here? Are we saying some people in the east hate the west because the west colonized them?
  20. softwareNerd

    Do we have a "primitive mind"?

    Instincts is a pretty nebulous concept: perhaps it means something like "pre-programmed and choice less". The extent to which is true of non-human animals is debatable. Once we take evolution as factual, a good going-in assumption is that there is something closer to a continuum in animal kingdom, ... or at least that there once was, even if there are many missing links if we only consider current species.
  21. softwareNerd

    Do we have a "primitive mind"?

    Human beings do not always apply their full mental focus to everything they do. In fact, many tasks that we have to focus on and prctice very consciously become increasingly automated over time, so that we can drive 100 miles on a daily commute and hardly know how we got to our destination. This clearly has many advantages, and yet the risks are also pretty clear. That's just automated tasks. There are also "automated judgments and decisions" which follow the same theme of economizing the need to spend time thinking everything through. Sales people take advantage of this "thinking" that people do based on a quick pattern recognition, and without spending the time needed for a good decision. The conscious mind is always there to be awakened. This allows for a "meta" approach: after an experience where we did something unthinkingly, we can analyse it, and fit that into the same pattern-recognition machinery. So, the next time, it can be a reminder to wake up and start to think more critically about something. Or, one could decide that when one recognizes the same pattern one will not make a decision without sleeping over it. One can go beyond one's own experiences and learn from the experience of others. Books like Cialdini's "Influence" and Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" have many such examples. They can be tools to prepare oneself for such situations. Yes, this is not about chemicals that "pre-exist". But, I think it is analogous. In the sense that after some experiences, a thoughtful person might decide not to make a major decision if he's feeling particularly unwell.... or some such thing. The classical example is PMS. At least one woman has told me that there are some times in some months where she (paraphrasing) puts her conscious mind on high-alert for a few days, and also tries to avoid certain situations where she thinks she might react in a way that she will later regret. Does this contradict "blank slate". It really depends what exactly one means by a blank slate. Every time the topic comes up, people argue about what it really means. I'll suggest that the way to clarity is to replace the term with something more descriptive, for the duration of this topic.
  22. softwareNerd

    Do we have a "primitive mind"?

    I assume that's basically true: i.e. that physical conditions -- illness or something else -- can impact "mood", which -- in turn -- can impact thinking. At least that's what layperson experience would indicate.
  23. softwareNerd

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    It is a bit of a paradox: that we want certain values and the easier they come, the more of them we'll be able to achieve, yet if everything is super-easy where's the mental satisfaction to come from? Evolution "made" us feel positive about the work that goes into creating/achieving value. The stoic who achieves value too easily keeps piling on more "to-dos" on his list. This is a good approach, but must be done consciously and by questioning whether one really wants to achieve that value and why. There's a yarn about a young, ambitious MBA vacationing on a small island, chatting with a local fisherman about his life-plan. "I'll join a great company"... "And then what, senor?" ... "I'll form my own company" ... "And then what, senor?"... "I'll go global"... "And then what, senor?" ... and it ends with "And then, I'll buy a plot on this far-away island and retire here to fish for the rest of my life". The epicurean, on the other hand, tells people to chill out and enjoy life. Don't be lazy, he says, but don't be in the rat-race for fame or fortune either. True laziness, in this perspective, is to work so little that you cannot provide for a comfortable life: a nice home, nice food, ample wine, time to relax, and throw in a good bunch of close friends. This approach too makes sense, but can leave the stoic feeling unsatisfied: will I die having done nothing to be super-proud of? The point that's missed in the fisherman's yarn is that the young MBA has a lot of fun (or at least he ought to) through the process of his achievement. Chances are, he'll never even retire the way he dreams of. He'll have the means, but it'll just seem too boring. As an individual, one has to think this through, and make the choice that suits you.
  24. softwareNerd

    Ukraine

    The current revolution in Ukraine has taken a turn away from Russia and toward Europe, with the President fleeing the capital and being voted out by parliament. Russia could still use its army to squash the rebels, but with much less legitimacy, except by claiming to protect the ethnic Russians in eastern half of Ukraine. The President did come to power via a democratic election, but the political split of the country is pretty obvious in this map showing which parties won in different areas. So, perhaps the most practical resolution is for the country to split into two, while allowing free movement of citizens and property across the two newly-formed countries. I'd be happy to see the whole country spin out of Putin's grasp, but if a split will save lives that's better. perhaps Russia will keep its army out if it can retain a buffer-state, albeit a thinner one, between it and Europe.
  25. softwareNerd

    Colonialism/imperialism

    Based on your counter-examples, I should clarify that I'm not saying the British empire was an ideal government. Far from it. The question isn't whether a particular white-skinned monarch was good, but whether the average brown-skinned monarch was better. And yes, there were some very progressive, modernizing rulers in some of the princely states.
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