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Posts posted by Charles

  1. I reckon the final book will see Harry & his allies go after the remaining horcruxes, and having destroyed most of them come face to face with Voldemort and realize he is the last horcrux - the scar and all that, the last remaining bit of Voldemort's essense...and he'll then sacrifice himself for the greater good.

  2. Perhaps we should have a spoiler thread - Im pretty sure how the Harry/Voldemort situation will play out in the final book and I think it involves self-sacrifice. Anyone interested can PM me.

  3. Well thats an interesting theory - the Police have described the CCTV images of the 4 men at Kings Cross station arriving in London that morning - they were apparently just chatting in a fairly relaxed manner. Also - one of these men was a 19 yr old, whilst another was a primary school teacher - of whom pictures of him helping a girl in class have been realeased. Pictures of these men released have not even shown any sign of Islamic clothing or adages. The fourth man was a Jaimaican....though it doesn't say whether he was a convert (BBC is my source for all this). That does raise the question whether they were plants like you say, and in the Jamaicans case - whether he was just a bounty bomber...

    The police have said they believe there is a man behind it all, but they can't find him/or wont tell us - we are told to expect further attacks from this source.

  4. Either way, in the immediate moment, those who pose threats must be eliminated, and those who continue to breed youths that become Islamofacsists can only be fought by providing them with a shinning example of how life should be.  Irrationality, after all, breeds a psychologically suffocating state of mind, and at least at an implicit level, providing a good example, if alluring and strong enough, will make something click and give them a thirst for the good life. 

    With this I could not agree more.

    I have just found out it is now official - the terrorists who hit London were British (of Pakistani ancestry). Apparently these were youths (possibly as young as 19) from West Yorkshire - in Bradford & Leeds. The racial atmosphere is very tense around there and there have been some very violent riots in the last few years (the British National Party is also very active there, white British facists). Its saddening that they should bring their hatred to perhaps one of the world's most racially integrated and culturally diverse cities - London.

    I love London for its sense of purpose - some people criticize what they recognise as a social taboo not to talk on the tube - the truth is everyone is busy getting on with their lives. There is a constant buzz of innovation in the air.

    Last week I went to hear the Conservative Party's new Shadow chancellor deliver his first speech in the Citigate Marketing suite. (The speech was an improvement on previous Conservative policy, but thats another thread!) I got a chance to see this massive architectural layout model of what Londons going to look like in the next 5-10yrs, with over 10 new skyscrapers going up (2 already well under way) and now the Olympic developments in the East end. Four angry teenagers from the darkest corners of British society aren't going to stop 7 million Londoners from going about their daily lives. Its sad to imagine those depraved suidical fools probably never even visited the city they bombed until the day they did it.

  5. I take your point Felipe, but living where I do (London), I know a lot Muslims take offence to the terrorists being identified as Islamist. They would say that to a live a life in good accordance with the word of Mohammed, is to be Islam. However much I may disagree with that word, it alone is no mandate for such a level of violence as has been supported here. I think there needs to be a clearer distinction, and I suggest people look into it to understand what makes a terrorist (of the 911 variety), what makes a Muslim/Islamist, how these differ and what are the nature of the links between the two.

  6. Islamic "values," their "philosophy," are precisely what leads to the destructive, barbaric actions they carry out.  Granted not all Muslims are Islamists, most either are or sympathize with them; this is indisputable.

    It is disputable. The values do not necessarily or inevitably lead to destructive barbaric actions. The majority of Islamic people (known as Muslims) are not interested in violent conquest. Also your using a tautology here - to be a Muslim is to follow Islam. So what you've just said is Most muslims either are or sympathise with terrorists. Think again.

    Either way, I think it would help if you defined what you mean by the word Islamist.  Here's what I say it is:

    -Advocacy of the view that Islam is the only good religion, along with it's Sharia-type views, and all whom don't see this must be either converted or killed.

    I was going to ask you following the first point; needless to say I disagree - Islamist does not mean killing or converting all who don't follow the doctrines, though granted their are sects within that broad category that do believe that. Similar to the fundamentalist Christians who bomb abortion clinics. This really is a debate about terminology - I think pointing the finger at Muslims for terror attacks its counterproductive. I'm not arguing there is no link between Islam and the terrorists - the Islamic teachings may well give the actual terrorists the basis for a warped interpretation underlying these kinds of acts but it doesn't render all Muslims terrorists.

  7. "Islamist" and "white man" are fundamentally different types of terms.  The former denotes someone who, by choice, holds certain views and who claims, by choice, that those views justify his acts.  The latter refers to someone who, without choice, possess a certain characteristic and who does not use that characteristic to justify his acts.

    This is a fair point in so much as there is a difference between the two terms. If you like, replace white man with 'Christian' - a lot of Christians would be deeply offended to hear themselves implicated in these hypothetical lynchings when it was a radical protestant sect, the KKK. I think you get the point I'm making.

    How will an understanding of "Islamic social infrastructure" prevent terrorist attacks?  And aren't the terrorists already doing a great deal of "urging conflict"?

    What ideas, other than conversion and surrender, will influence terrorists acting from "irrational hatred"?

    Im not even attempting to solve the problem of terrorism in itself - I'm addressing the problem of sympathy with terrorists in some disillusioned Muslim youths and the problems misused terminology causes when people blame all Islam for terrorism. I do however think the US government solutions for dealing with terrorism must be slightly misguided if recent campaigns like Iraq create more terrorists and more sympathy for them.


    So do you think the death of over three thousand innocents, for example, consists of "having a problem with Islamic values and their applications"?

    No - I resent the very notion, and would think you might actually read & understand what I said before replying. Your attempted point is non-sensical anyway, and you misquoted me - I said "If you have philosophical problems with Islamic values and their applications then I suggest you use ideas rather than weapons."

    You evidently believe Islamic values are what killed 3000 people on September 11th and that all Islamic peoples carry the blame.

    And if so, do you not think desiccating Islamists from the air with insane bombing is an appropriate response with ideas (the idea that freedom is worth defending)?

    Not if its a totally useless strategy and is aimed at the wrong people/indiscriminate.

    Are you an Islamist sympathizer, Charles?

    Im not going to dignify the notion that I'm be a terrorist sympathiser with an answer. If your genuinely asking whether I sympathise with actual Islamic values then the answer is a clear no - I have numerous problems with their ethics/philosophy/cultural attitudes, as I do all mainstream religion I've come across. I don't, however, think that gives me the right to kill them, as you seem to.

  8. It is a mistake to think that Islamic terrorism is caused by the "American guilt" that Ariana and others of you seem obsessed with.  Consider the list of Islamic terrorism directed at non-American targets. (my bold)

    For the record I haven't alluded to any 'American Guilt' as the cause of 'Islamic terrorism'. Al Queda is quite clearly carrying these attacks out with a view to their vision of global theocracy and out of irrational hatred.

    Islamists suicide bomber killed 42 on a train in Southern Russia in 2003.

    Islamist suicide bomber killed 41 on Moscow metro February 6, 2004.

    Islamist suicide bomber killed 5 in front of a Moscow hotel in 2003.

    Islamist suicide bomber killed 3 at a market in Cairo on April 7, 2005

    Islamist suicide bomber killed 10 at a subway entrance in Moscow, August 31, 2004.

    etc etc.

    When I see these lists and accusation, as I often do in some papers, I think its like describing a lynching spree in a southern state as 'white people hang to death X number of black Texans on June 17th 1923'. Which is totally offensive to any half reasonable white man. The incident would more accurately be described 'Klu Klux Klan members hung to death X number of black Texans on June 17th 1923'*

    The term Wahabist might be more appropriate for Al Quada Muhajdeen, and more generally just plain 'Fundamentalists' or better still 'Jihadists', although even that term has a much more sanitary use in Islamic texts (simply meaning moral crusade, the emphasis being on winning the Jihad against yourself before turning to others). I think the people here bent on using military force would do well to try and understand Islamic culture, and the social infrastructure of essentially Islamic nations before urging conflict. If you have philosophical problems with Islamic values and their applications then I suggest you use ideas rather than weapons.

    * This is hypothetical, I have no idea what happened on June 17th 1923!

  9. Yes Tommy, but thats like judging the US by its Government, Wackos & religious organizations. (I appreciate those are often synonymous :)!) There's more to people and culture than that, and as Ariana pointed out, its not all fanatical religious hatred amongst the population - alot of its colonial baggage (with a view to Europe) and past misguided interference of our governments in their areas.

  10. Burgess, I agree, and would broaden it further to say that a long-term approach to U.S. foreign policy would begin by laying down principles. Foreign policy has often been tackled pragmatically.

    Well, since Nixon went to China or Krushchev visited the states we have lived increasingly in an age of real politik where leaders with only their power in common have been able to sit on the same couch and drink from the same bottle, rendering the moral and political state of their respective nation states as mere scenery to the perks of statemanship. Foreign policy has long been essentially pragmatic, achieving convenient ends in such a way that one doesn't knock the status quo too much.

    I guess my point here is...I don't agree with those loose, glib, cavalier strategies and moral appraisals of Peikoff, Brook and Lewis. They seem to say "slaughter 'em all--let's massacre millions" in a way which lacks the context of very considerable American guilt as outlined above...... I'm not sure if they're mostly guilty or mostly innocent, but they seem to be almost entirerly subject to manipulatuion by the big powers and big ideas. To commit genocide against them--as Peikoff evidently endorses--when their leaders and ours are mostly at fault, seems strongly immoral.

    I agree, its pretty small minded to think nuking Islamic or Arab cities is a way to solve a problem. Are all these people to blame? Iraq was a largerly secular nation fromt the 1970s on, albeit down to a despotic tyrant at the helm. Our problems with Iraq were on a nationalist level - now thanks to the highly uninformed war strategy we're back to the religious mire that is the many shades of Islam. Shias, Sunnis, Kurds etc. But in the greater middle east there are socialist Islamists, 'capitalist' Islamists (witness Dubai), extremist, moderates, luke warm agnostists who've grown up in the culture - Do all these people deserve to loose their lives in a nuclear firestorm? Does that help anyone? Hasn't Iraq only made those desperate & disillusioned Moslem youths give more ear time to those extremist loony elements in their culture? I know many Moslems in London and most of them are more interested in new films, their next holiday or new car, not some 15th century quest for Islamic global dominion! I hasten to point out a few of the London victims were young 20-something moslem girls with ambitious jobs in the city.

    In other words we're looking at a spectrum, where those kind of blanket solutions are so indiscriminate there not even worth air time!

  11. I have been saying for years now (since 9/11) that we should issue ultimatums to the Jihadists: stop the attacks, or we'll drop a nuclear weapon on one of your cities. And after each attack, we annihilate one of their cities.

    The result will be that either the Jihadists will come to their senses, or they will eventually die like the deadly cancer they are, our nukes being the 'chemotherapy'.

    This is a serious situation and the survival of secular western civilization hangs in the balance. These are times requiring strong measures, not just a slap on the wrist.

    Please give an example of a Jihadist city? The London terrorists almost certainly originated from inside the UK, the Midlands they think. Do you suggest we bomb Birmingham?

  12. In terms of a wake up call, I don't think this will have an immediate effect on policy, but it may well change MPs approach to things like the ID cards bill, and influence the Governments reactions in future international incidents. The prime effect will probably be on the population - stopthewar groups possibly losing any widespead public support.

  13. Does anyone believe (or has anyone heard any evidence to the effect) that these bombings were in any way related to the announcement of the location of the 2012 Olympics?

    Speculation:  Were these bad guys ready to go in Singapore, Moscow, New York (i.e., all other candidate cities) as well?

    These attacks were not directly related to the Olympic announcement - they were too well coordinated, and must have been planned well in advance of that announcement. It is more likely that they were timed for the G8 than ready to go off in any Olympic city.

    The aim of these bombings is unclear - casualties are relatively low when compared to US & Spain, the damage to transport infrastructure is also limited - most tubes are up and running (Except the circle line). The only thing they have definetely achieved is new coverage and they've hit us when we're on an Olympic high. In liu of these facts these may well be inexperiened terrorists - i.e. they haven't trained with the Muhajdeen, and what really irks me - homegrown.

  14. Making trade "fair" and making trade free are totally different objectives.

    Well, I am suspicious of the 'fair trade' movement and fully realize it is not acting in a free market capacity, but what I'm criticizing is the huge agricultural subsidies that the US and EU uphold (albeit the latter to a larger extent) to the detriment of African producers - that is not free market economics - in that respect I use the word unfair, meaning unfree. To summarise: There are damaging trade barriers that can't be justified in most African cases.

    I think it is the only relevant Live 8 objective, though it unfortunately will probably not be achieved.

  15. Of the three aims (Wipe Debt/More Aid/Fair Trade) Debt is the one that has been achieved by Live 8 pressure, but it is the most inconsequential of the three. The Aid is the source of the problem I reckon - blank cheques to the aging African despots, and they want to increase it!? Relatively speaking, GWBush actually has the best policy on this - generous aid for strict reform. So this is a widely disputed objective. The latter, Making Trade fair is the truly necessary one - the hundreds of trade barriers in place in the EU and States that impose 30% tarrifs on things like cocoa is insane. It IS about time we practiced this free market we preach about. Sadly, this being the one thorougly decent objective, and will all most certainly not be achieved. Its the only objective that strikes at one of the roots of the problem. The others being aid and bad cultural paradigms.

  16. How does rationality "bind" anyone to anything?

    Bind is just another word for obligation.  You are suggesting that it is inherent in rationality to risk your life to save someone elses.  Is that what you intend to say?

    No, not at all. I said if you can take action without risk to your own life or livelyhood.

  17. Substantial risk of what?  Why should I care whether I have a different "outlook" than you do? 

    Substantial risk of physical damage, perhaps even death. My outlook comment serves to say - if you do not think such a situation is an emergency then you are abnormal, i.e. who doesn't consider serious child abuse abnormal?(!!!). You have no reason on earth to care for a difference in our individual outlooks. I replied at 3am last night, so apologies for my bad phrasework.

    What is the principle involved here?  Is it moral to help people sometimes?  Sure.  Are you required or obliged to do so?  No.

    I am not saying you are required by that person or other people too. I am saying that where the sure rational conclusion is *help the child somehow* you are bound by rationality to follow that course of action. Objectivist Ethics is rational self-interest, you can choose to do anything as you recognise your autonomy - but you should do certain things instead of others because they are rational - to not do so would be evasion, a degree of evil. Objectivism does not define good and evil by the standards of a deity or of a society, it does so by observing reality through a rational lens - but that does not change the fact it is your duty to do good where you can and avoid evil.

  18. Unethical by what standard?  Thus far you've asked whether such an obligation exists, redefined obligation, and then stated, circularly, that not fulfilling said obligation would be unethical.  It doesn't add up.

    So obligation may be an inappropriate word, but is not the extent to which your decisions reflect reality the ethical standard of Objectivism? *rational self-interest*? (a rhetorical question). Surely rights arise necessarily out of our observations of our own, and others, volition and the conclusions drawn from that?

    As to your allegeding 'it doesn't add up' because I both ask and draw my own conclusions, that simply doesn't follow. I want forum members reactions, and explanations for their viewpoints as a gauge for my own. Yes, I have been thinking about this issue and have drawn some preliminary conclusions which I put forward here for discussion. So far I have learnt obligation may not be appropriate word for it may connotate agreement between two conscious minds that cannot be forfeit unless extenuating circumstances present themselves.

    First of all, an emergency is an immediate disaster of finite duration that makes life as a human being impossible for everyone involved.  Observing a parent smacking their kid around is not an emergency. 

    I quite intentionally used the word 'seriously' in my child abuse example to distinguish between simple routine smacking by a parent, and a single violent display of volatile behaviour that would indicate such a lack of presence of mind in the parent so as to place the child in a position of substantial risk. If that is not an emergency then we have a very different outlook indeed. Why on earth should an emergency require 'life being impossible for everyone involved'?!?

    Thankyou for your reply.

  19. If the only obligations in one's life, are chosen obligations, then the question is: Why would I choose to help suffering Mr. X, rather than take some action to advance my own selfish personal values?

    But you then justifiably qualify that with:

    (In an emergency, the situation would be different, but you have not specified an emergency.)

    I did in fact have an emergency in mind. Emergencies can be on a small or large scale in terms of people involved. An example of the small being you noticing a young child being seriously abused by a parent, is not the rational decision to take some form of action for the child? I realize the operative word I used was 'obliged' in my opening post, Ill explain what I mean: the decision must be yours, but you are still accountable to reason, you can still make a good decision or a bad decision; a right decision or a wrong decision. So I mean 'Obligated by reason; by reality' NOT by other people. The child's need has no demand over you - you can walk away and in an ideal Objectivist state, perhaps not even be legally accountable for not choosing to help. But morally, you still made an unethical judgement, no*?

    *in terms of specifics - i.e. what action taken, your suddenly in a continuum - it might be wiser to call law enforcement that to get directly involved and put your life at risk - your presence could in fact raise the stakes, where as the presence of the law might have a different effect on the father etc etc. For the purposes of this ethical argument I'm talking about intentions and the raw decision to help or not to help.

    Now, I did have a larger emergency in mind. Though I'll wait for the go ahead in case you want to take issue with anything I've said here. Thankyou for your response.

  20. I assume most if not all people here have heard of the terms 'rational self-interest' and 'enlightened self-interest'. I am asking the members of this forum to explain to what extent they believe compassion is encompassed by these terms. Ayn Rand often spoke of altruism as the great evil, and with this I agree - putting others existence before your own negates the entire point of existing. Compassion is defined as "suffering with another; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another" (from BrainyDictionary.com), or "a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce such suffering." (from Wikipedia).

    Now there is a great deal of suffering in this world for which the sufferers are responsible in some way, shape or form. Then there are those for whom there is no clear cut cause of suffering - born into an abyss of suffering, which is both futile and pointless. Now if there were things each of us could do, out of our own volition, to alleviate these peoples suffering so as to make their fate their own, without any mortal threat to ourselves and the stability of our government (assuming, idealistically, it's only acting in its true role as protector of rights), would an individual not be rationally obliged to offer that help?

    The distinction between those responsible for their suffering and those who are not would therefore equate to the difference between irrational and rational compassion.

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