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Posts posted by fletch

  1. I know that I am capable of anything any of you are.

    Really, are you capable of this?


    How 'bout this?


    Could you have stepped in if Michael Jordan went down and led the Bulls to an NBA Championship?

    If you practiced really, really hard and put your mind to it, could you outplay Tiger Woods at the Masters?

    If you are truly capable of doing whatever anyone else is capable of doing, why are you 'n0b0dy' instead of 's0mb0dy?'

  2. TW,

    It might be a good idea to view some of these so called mid-east experts with the same skepticism as you might view, say, a climate change expert. I havent read any of the books you listed, but the Israeli/Palestinian issue is hardly new. From what I have seen, it is always Israel that is told to sacrifice; it is always Israel that is told to show restraint; it is always Israel that overreacts; it is always Israel who perpetuates the so called 'cycle of violence.' Israels strength, its wealth, its territory, its sovereignty and its liberty must always be sacrificed to the poverty stricken, slum bound refugee. I rarely, if ever, hear an 'expert' stand up and say what is so often said here--that Israel has a moral right to defend itself. Now, I know you agree with that and are only criticizing tactics, but neither you nor these so-called experts have put forth another option other than appeasement and sacrifice to those forces that seek the destruction of Israel.

  3. One rule that we should all agree to is to not apply the concept of values, except in the context of one individual's life, with that context's existence (the survival of that individual) being automatically the primary condition of the existence of the values. In other words, a child is a value to you only if you exist. Once you die, your world of values is over.

    Thanks, Jake, that helps. What I am unclear about might be the linkage of the ideas of value and sacrifice. The notion that I might surrender my life that a stranger might live on would be a sacrifice, but that I would do so for my daughter would not. The sacrifice, in my mind, would be to allow my daughter to perish that I might live on. That would be a sacrifice. It is from there that I derived the notion that I must value the life of my daughter over my own. As bluey noted, Rand did say that her husband was her highest value. Did she mean higher than herself, or something else?


    The context for the marine that Amosknows mentioned is probably Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Jason Dunham. Story here:


  4. I think I know what she means and it leads me to question how you really could decide that someone else's life has a higher value to you than your own, as opposed to valuing them because you value yourself.

    I used to think that...until I had children.

    But at the same time, whatever happens you know "it'll be okay", as long as the world you live in remains the same you'll have all the same, if perhaps "lesser" values that you had before the person was born or you met them and you were happy then, right? I guess my question is, if there was a person who had such a high value to you, how could you possibly decide that you'd rather die than lose that value knowing that, if you did lose them, you'd eventually be okay and life would go on? I mean, wouldn't just the fact that they existed in the world in the first place and that you'll always know it be ... not enough to make up for the loss, of course, but at least enough to tell you that you've grasped that value and that even their death couldn't really take it from you?

    If your child is a lesser value, why would you put your life at risk to save him? That would be a sacrifice--you would be sacrificing your highest value, yourself, for a lesser value, your child. Sure, you value the child, but like you said, life goes on. At least, you are alive. Hell, you could always make more kids, but there is only one you. Unless, of course, you value the life of your child more than your own. In which case you would find the prospect of your child suffering so that you may not a moral abomination.

  5. The Wrath,

    Perhaps it would help if you explain what you mean when you say "THE LONG-TERM SECURITY OF ISRAEL." For me, that means reaching a point where rockets dont rain down upon you, cross boarder kidnappings no longer occur, and people with explosives taped to their chests dont detonate themselves in crowds of women and children. It seems to me that so long as there are people willing, eager and able to do those things living beside you, there are no long term prospects for either peace of security.

    What I find interesting about that reading list you provided, is that it has not given you any sense as to Israel's proper course of action. As Jake Ellison pointed out, you seem convinced almost to the point of an emotional meltdown that Israel is on the wrong path, yet you seem to have no earthly idea as to what the right path would be. Sorry, but that just doesnt make any sense.

  6. Allies who raise an issue every time you defend yourself are not allies. If the defeat of an acknowledged group of militants "alienates moderate Arab allies", what on earth makes them "allies", or even "moderate" if they defend militants?

    That is exactly right. If the simple act of defending oneself or retaliating for an unprovoked attack carried out by a group committed to your destruction causes an ally to turn its back on you, then they are not an ally.

  7. I'm going to divert a little bit and address this issue specifically. Because TW mentioned it in the way he did, I think that illustrates an observation about Objectivist's and their views on foreign policy. I can sum up the thinking of many Objectivist's views on the subject as something like "The rest of the world be damned!" or "world opinion be damned!"
    You have to keep in mind that there are whole sections of the globe whose opinions on virtually any topic are meaningless. There are many nations who not only do not have our interests in mind, but are actually hostile to them. They will oppose anything that benefits us, so there is no need to concern ourselves with most anything they say.

    This is why I think it would be best for everyone to just put the guns down and pick up the cranks in a factory or phones in an office. Get them to work together and collaborating and it will be for the best for everyone.
    That works great until you come across the guy who refuses to put down his gun. Unfortunately, there are people who would rather steal than produce, or who have no problem killing others to get what they want. These people have to be dealt with. In the context of this discussion, Israel is faced with exactly that choice. You dont make bargains with Hamas any more than you would with Al Quida. You destroy them before they destroy you.
  8. This post only speaks to your general ignorance of the situation, especially if you think Jordan is providing covert support to Levantine terrorist groups.
    I didnt say that they were.
    Egypt is perhaps best described as non-aggressive, but Jordan is absolutely an ally of Israel. And their efforts have not brought them closer to peace? Are you joking? What do you call their peace treaty with Egypt?
    That was 30 years ago. What have all their concessions, land for peace deals etc., gotten them since. Zero.
    They were damn close to peace with Syria and the PLO, before Arafat fucked it all up.
    A peace agreement signed by Assad and Arafat--now who's being silly?

    Also...you are still ignoring the fact that "what they need to do to survive" is the basis of my argument. How many times to I have to say "I think this is a strategic error" before people will quit accusing me of moral equivocation and favoring appeasement?
    I am not ignoring anything you have said, nor is anyone else. I think it is fair to say that the rest of us believe that the Arabs will be pissed, but we dont feel that their (predictable and irrational) reaction is a basis for setting policy.

    Why can all you people not understand that my concern IS NOT WITH THE OPINIONS OF THE REJECTIONIST ARABS?! My concern is with THE IMPACT THAT OPINION WILL HAVE ON ISRAEL'S SECURITY.
    What Israel is seeking by their current action is security. They can not put at risk something that they do not have.
  9. Will decimating Hamas, at the expense of alienating moderate Arab allies, end up as a net loss for security?

    I dont know that Israel can count Egypt and Jordan as allies. At best ,they are non-aggressive neighbors. If push came to shove and Israel were attacked, neither of those two nations would lift a finger to help. They would probably secretly aid the attacker. It might be that Israel has been following the policy of trying to get along with nice Arabs while trying to get rid of the bad ones. Their efforts have brought them no closer to peace, nor has it lessened their 'most reviled nation on earth' status. Maybe they should stop listening to Mideast 'experts' and do what they need to do to survive. They should pursue what is in their interest and let the chips fall where they may.

  10. Question:

    Is it possible for someone to values another life more than their own. By way of a specific example, their child.

    My life is my standard of value, but I value the lives of my children more than my own. For instance, if there is a bump in the night, I dont send my 10 year old daughter down to investigate while I make my escape through the bedroom window to safety. I dont think that is anyones idea of heroic or moral behavior. I get my children to safety even if that puts my own life at risk.

  11. I am merely questioning whether this is a wise move, strategically.

    That remains to be seen. But Hamas has demonstrated that it has no interest in peace. Israel has to act. It can pursue its own safety and its own interests, or worry about what others might think. Is a long term relationship with neighbors like Egypt and Jordan important? Yes. But is it so important that you allow your citizens to continue to live in constant fear of attack in their own homes? I dont think so.

  12. Once again, you are completely missing the point. It isn't about whether or not Israel has the right to bomb Gaza back into the stone age. It's about whether or not doing so is in Israel's long-term security interests.

    No, what I am saying is that Israels long term security interests depend on Gaza, for one, not being a threat. Gazans want war, they have engaged in acts of war against Israel, Israel should end the conflict once and for all and worry about mending relations later. The Egyptian and Jordanian borders will likely remain quiet regardless of what actions the Israelis take. Your error, I think is in placing too much value on world opinion. A swift, punishing defeat of Hamas will send the message to the world that the days of pandering, appeasement, concessions and withdrawl are over.

    Firstly, suicide bombings are actually pretty rare.

    Why is that, do you think?

    Secondly, I cannot think of a more ridiculous comparison than the one you just made.

    The comparison is valid. The difference, as you point out, is only a matter of scale.

  13. It also has normal diplomatic relations with both Jordan and Egypt, and it is certainly in Israel's interest for those relations not to become sour.
    If that relationship relies upon Israel being an eternal punching bag for Hamas, then the relations with those countries are only of so much value. The people of Gaza have elected to power a group who seeks the destruction of Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself, and annihilate those who seek to destroy it. If suicide bombers and mortars were hitting the US every day from Mexico, I suspect you would be calling for the Marines and not worrying about what the Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans thought about it.
  14. It's not the moral condemnation that matters, but the resulting lack of security.
    What security do they have now? Israel is an armed camp in a perpetual state of war, threatened by its neighbors with annihilation, under constant attack, who have to fear the simple act of going to a nightclub, a café, or boarding a bus, and has to build walls around itself to keep the barbarians out. Is that the security you want to keep as the status quo?

    The only Israelis who think this is a reasonable strategy are the religious nutjobs that kind of resemble a Jewish Taliban. Once again, if you think Israel's security is precarious now, just wait until you see what happens after they carry out this strategy. Whatever support Israel has will vanish and hostility towards it will increase tenfold.
    How will that hostility manifest itself? Will the Arabs be pissed? Sure, but what the hell are they going to do about it? It reminds me of some of the arguments made against the US going into Afghanistan and Iraq--"The Arabs will hate us even more than they do now." "It was the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia that made Bin Laden attack us in the first place." If we go into Iraq, they are really going to be mad." Well, it didnt happen. If Israel wipes out the Palestinians, the Arabs will march in the street, chant death to America and Israel, burn a bunch of flags, then go back to their routine of bowing to Mecca fifty times a day. If these irrational, stone-aged mystics had any real love for the Palestinians, they would welcome them into their own Arab land as brothers. They do not. Theirs is not a love of Palestinians, but a hatred for Israel.
  15. Since 1967, the strategy of the rejectionist Arabs has been to win over world opinion by causing Israel to overreact. It works. It is in the interests of Palestinian terrorist groups to provoke Israel into killing scores of Palestinians. This sort of operation simply causes more moral condemnation of Israel and more support of Palestinian groups. Hamas will not be defeated by this strategy, unless Israel is willing to exterminate the majority of Gaza's population.
    I am not sure that moral condemnation by ones enemies is a good reason to avoid the actions necessary here, or anywhere. Can Israel really be more reviled in the Arab world than it already is? It is Hamas in Gaza that wants war with Israel, Israel should give it to them. It should lay siege to the entire area, tightening the noose street by street. Unarmed civilians should be allowed to gather their possessions and flee across Israel to be relocated permanently in the West Bank. Those loyal to Hamas who do not surrender will be killed. When Gaza falls to the Israeli army, they bulldoze it, fumigate it, and make it a permanent part of the Israeli state. The Palestinians can live behind the walls in the West Bank.

    While it is unrealistic to expect Israel to keep offering olive branches to Hamas, it is equally unrealistic to expect it to wage an all-out war in Gaza, since doing so is a good way to ensure decades more of conflict with the Arab world.
    Their current stance has done nothing but bring them decades of conflict with the Arab world. Any attempt to appease the Arab world will only lengthen the conflict. The only avenue to peace is through victory.
  16. Fletch, take a look at this article by Walter Williams: http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/tsowell/2008/ts_12231.shtml

    "If Barack Obama wants political success, following in the footsteps of FDR looks like the way to go. But people who are concerned about the economy need to take a closer look at history. We deserve something better than repeating the 1930s disasters."

    Barack Obama seems to want to emulate the uplifting rhetoric of Reagan, the Camelot of JFK, the cabinet of Lincoln and the New Deal of FDR. He seems to think that if he can personify the best qualities of these four great presidents, he can achieve Uber-presidential historical status. But his second hand mentality is bound to leave him wandering through the halls of the White House muttering: "What would FDR do?" "How would Reagan say it?" "What swim suit would JFK wear?" "What play would Lincoln see?" As to what actual policies this guy will pursue, who the hell knows. But the degree of government involvement in the market is much greater today than it was in the 1930's, so theoretically, Obama can do a great deal more damage.

  17. enact Protectionist policies such as raising tariffs

    Speaking of protectionism and tariffs, wasnt that part of what caused the Great Depression? And isnt the FED basically doing the same thing by other means today? A plummeting dollar has the same basic effect as a tariff--causing the rise in the cost of imported goods.

  18. So, would it be fair to say then that you support the following idea; if the government has institutionalized one form of rights violation, it should also institutionalize another form of rights violation to minimize the damage of the first one? It seems to me that would be penalizing the innocent here for the sins of the guilty. Yea, that's justice.
    I came late to this conversation, so if this isnt your position feel free to correct me. Are you saying that a restrictive immigration policy, or our current immigration policy is a violation of individual rights? Does a non-citizen have a right to emigrate to this country? It seems to me that they do not.
  19. How much exactly are you paying in taxes? From the tone of this conversation, you better be making at least a million a year. I very rarely have to pay much taxes.
    Well that helps explain your attitude. Someone has to pay for all the government freebies. You do get that, right? The general idea here is that bestowing an unearned benefit upon one man at the expense of another is immoral and a violation of rights. Just because it is costing you next to nothing, does not make it a moral neutral. There are people who, unlike yourself, do have to shoulder a large tax burden so that others can have a free ride. It is perfectly reasonable for them to desire that their burden not be increased. You want open boarders, eliminate the social safety net....first.

    That would be a blessing.


  20. Economically: Right

    Socially: Largely indifferent, but sided mainly with the right because I so detested the left.

    As an aside, it seems that President Bush has revealed himself to be an economic liberal and a social conservative. Not sure how many people fall into that odd category, but it might explain his poll numbers.

  21. It seems to me that there is no better way to serve the "public good" than by having store shelves filled with plentiful, low cost goods. This new law will have the opposite effect. Not only that, it will favor large companies who can afford a $12,000 per truck unnecessary maintenance bill over small companies who cannot. Plus, as with any emission device, fuel economy will decrease, thus adding an even bigger burden upon the backs of cash-strapped truckers.

    So any claim that this is being done in furtherance of the public good is a fraud. It is just another nail in the coffin of industry and capitalism hammered home by environmentalists.

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