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svensson

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2 hours ago, svensson said:

And yet, the British Empire was one of the bastions of democracy as Western civilization knows it. And they inherited THAT from the Saxons and Vikings.

And they introduced the idea of qualification and promotion without reference to caste in India.

And they suppressed the Thuggee.

And they built the hospitals, schools, railroads, and other infrastructure that underlays Indian independence to this day.

I'm **certainly** not saying that the British were benevolent dictators. They were not, and every single piece of historical evidence proves that. But India and all of the Crown's former domains DID get positives out of the deal. Say what you will, but the gift of English Common Law beats the shit out of tribal traditions and rule of some peacock-feathered rajah all day.

Besides, if you want to discuss who got eff'd over by the British Crown the worst, India is gonna have to long hard talk with Ireland before they figure out who's in line first.

I would like to hear what growing up in Burma was like, though. One of my best friends' father was in the US State Department and he spent part of his childhood in Rangoon. Even had a Boy Scout troop there!

The British Empire was not a bastion of democracy - it was an Empire of 680 million ruled by the votes of approximately 8 million, most of whom neither knew or cared about the lives of the vast majority.  While we introduced the theory of promotion without reference to caste, it was only in theory.

Thugee was a term the East India Company used to apply to a number of distinct sects with very different social and religious practises.  They appear more and more likely to have been largely an invention of minds fearful of the unknown, and were certainly never regarded as a major threat or problem by the local rulers previously.

The hospitals and schools were built to support and produce a class of civil servants to sustain the Raj, not for the vast commonality of the population, and the railways were built for British purposes, not to provide an Indian infrastructure.  Don't buy into the 'White Man's Burden' propaganda of Imperialist self-justification, please!  It really is a racist nonsense.

As for "compare the oppression", it was not I who suggested that Asia suffered less from the epidemic.  I fully agree that the Celtic countries have been ground under the English heel, but that doesn't make the Indian Raj any more acceptable.  

Growing up in Burma?  I was two when my parents left for the UK, but listening to my sisters indicated a life of privilege in a country that had yet to experience the full horrors of SLORC and the 'Burmese Road To Socialism'.  It is worth remembering that their xenophobia struck at both East and West, leaving the nation isolated and decaying.

My sisters played with 'the servants' children', since we had cooks and nannies and house-servants.  What a lovely democratic example for the locals.

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Hmmm.. I should point out that my parents weren't wealthy.  This was all paid for by the missionary society they worked for!  What it is to live in humble Christian simplicity, hey?  Oh yeah, I forgot the gardeners... more servants.

English Common Law has indeed been the foundation for modern Indian jurisprudence, but that isn't why it was introduced.  That was to make matters simpler for the English magistrates who were imposed upon the Indians.

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17 hours ago, svensson said:

Secondly, India provided the Empire with over 30% of her fighting troops, especially infantry. When those troops came home, they brought the disease with them. This made India a locus for infection far outweighing just the colonial [white] presence.

In fact, not. IIRC, the first wave of spanish flu hit India in april or may '18, and the second in september or october '18, far before the colonial troops came home. The spreading of the epidemic in asia seems to have been caused by merchant ships, like the ones that went from Brest (westernmost french harbor where american troops landed) to africa, asia and americas.

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On 10/6/2021 at 5:47 AM, Kloster said:

In fact, not. IIRC, the first wave of spanish flu hit India in april or may '18, and the second in september or october '18, far before the colonial troops came home. The spreading of the epidemic in asia seems to have been caused by merchant ships, like the ones that went from Brest (westernmost french harbor where american troops landed) to africa, asia and americas.

That would make perfect sense, given the amount of traffic between resource supplier and resource consumers. Just as now with COVID, airplanes spread the disease faster than it could be identified as a epidemic. The amazing thing is how fast COVID WAS identified and containment measures began to be taken.

There is no doubt that the Spanish Flu started in the US... USAMRIID [the Army's infectious diseases agency -- the descendants of Walter Reed in a sense] believes it began in one of the huge training camps surrounding Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas. The process of conscription was a major event in America at the time, and the Army felt that men learned better 'under canvas' than someplace where home was just a train ride away. The policy was to move men by rail out into the countryside where they could focus on the training rather than moms and wives. While these camps had good sanitation, FAR better than the camps a generation before in the Spanish American War, packing 8 men into a squad tent is a recipe for respiratory infections.

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I had to take a couple days away from the thread for personal reasons.

One of those reasons was me not following one of my own rules. I have a small bit of wisdom that I've developed over my half century of riding this rock around Yelm....

"If someone says something, and whatever it is can be taken two ways, and one of those ways insults you, hurts your feelings or pisses you off, they most likely meant it the other way. Don't take offense where none is meant."

And I found myself getting angry for reasons that I can't quite put a finger on. So to those I was mistakenly angry at, my apologies.

I note that this is the second thread I am involved in where things have gotten slightly sharp. The common denominator is me. So let me clarify some of my principles just to clear the air with some of you.

I consider myself to a 'practical' rather than 'theoretical' egalitarian. If everybody is 'equal' then 'equal' it ought to be.

I firmly believe that every employee should make the same money for the same job. I believe that salaries ought to be public, but bonuses ought to be private.

I believe that each and every single person has the right to try something and either succeed or fail on their own merits based on clear, open, objective criteria. A disabled person has the right to employment they're capable of holding down. A woman has the right to attempt the Ranger RASP selection and placement in the regiment if she qualifies [this is wholly different than simply being a graduate of Ranger School]. Each must meet the acceptance standards of the position they seek. If they can do it, they *deserve* to do it.

I believe that if you have a complaint or accusation, you stand up, point your finger and make that accusation... put your name on it... and let the chips fall where they may. And I support anyone who has the courage to do that and the facts back them up. To put it another way, Frances Haugen [the Facebook whistleblower] has Zuckerburg's ass on a hook and has the proof, chapter and verse. Alex Jones [the gasbag that runs InfoWars] is an idiot and can't prove one tenth of the conspiracy bullshit he panders.

I believe that the US Constitution applies to all Americans and those present within the United States. I took an oath to defend it and that oath never, ever expires. I treat with respect anyone who has taken a similar oath to their founding documents of their people. I may not LIKE some of them, but I respect them. For example, I have a lot of respect for Great Britain, not so much for Russia or North Korea.

I don't care who you love, who you sleep with, or who you marry. I believe in the sanctity of a person's private life. My sole criteria are these: a] everyone is an informed consenting adult and b] nobody is being coerced into something they don't want to do. If those simple criteria are met, your business is your business.

I never claim that I 'understand' when I don't or that I 'empathize' when I don't. I'm a middle-aged heterosexual white male. I will never know what it's like to be a pregnant gay Black woman. That doesn't make that woman any less human or any less worthy of care, concern or courtesy, but I accept that some bridges cannot be crossed as a facet of human nature.

I never hold someone accountable for something they themselves did not do. I hold nations accountable for their policies, for good or ill, but people are to be taken one at a time. And yes, that includes my own United States.

I refuse to be guilted because of crimes my ancestors may or may not have done. If I found out tomorrow that one of my ancestors was the biggest slaver in South Carolina, **I** am still not responsible for that. I have never enslaved anyone, I have Black family members, and I grew up poor and identify more with poor Black folks than I do with upper middle class whites.

This last one might very well be controversial to some. I am a historian. I believe in historical accuracy and I completely reject the 21st Century conceit of molding history to fit a modern social agenda. I refuse to hold people accountable to a modern standard when they had no exposure to that standard. I accept social progress as just that.. *progress* . For example, Benjamin Franklin founded the first abolitionist society in North America. He's widely regarded as 'not being a racist'... but by modern standards he most certainly was! He wasn't about to accept a Black man as a son in law or mixed race child as a grandson, nor would he have had a Black man to dinner. He opposed slavery as a moral and ethical sin, but was not about to accept Blacks as a social equal. This is what social progress means.

Edited by svensson
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Nice recap of progress against Covid

 

It's a twitter thread all by himself.. 😮
Anyway I found it Item 8(?) quite funny (and I know just the type as well!), and I quote

Quote

Most of the US acts like that version of life would be only slightly better than the Gestapo taking your home & imprisoning you.
There being an obvious slippery slope from saving lives to mass murder. 9/

 

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Hi, @svensson!

I like & agree with much of what you said, but want to clarify and/or correct one element...  or maybe it's a closely-connected suite of elements...

On 10/13/2021 at 1:36 PM, svensson said:

I refuse to be guilted because of crimes my ancestors may or may not have done.

 

This is, IMHO, one of the key misunderstandings of some people.
Nobody today needs to (or should) feel "guilty" for actions they haven't committed.

This is, nevertheless, the basis for a persistent pushback against anti-racist reforms.


The issue instead is responsibility.

If people today are suffering because of wrongs done to their ancestors by your ancestors... do you have any responsibility to redress that wrong (even if you aren't "guilty" of doing it)?  If a government entity was involved in doing that wrong, and that same government entity still exists, shouldn't it be acting to redress the wrong?

I too am a middle-aged white dude.  I feel no guilt over that fact.

Instead, I feel a responsibility to act (and speak, and vote) in ways that redress the wrongs (as much as possible, some obviously being beyond redress) done by my nation and by WASP-y sorts of people like me, within this nation, to "BIPOC."

I would only feel "guilty" about it if I did not act responsibly on the matter.

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On 10/20/2021 at 8:31 AM, g33k said:

Hi, @svensson!

I like & agree with much of what you said, but want to clarify and/or correct one element...  or maybe it's a closely-connected suite of elements...

This is, IMHO, one of the key misunderstandings of some people.
Nobody today needs to (or should) feel "guilty" for actions they haven't committed.

This is, nevertheless, the basis for a persistent pushback against anti-racist reforms.


The issue instead is responsibility.

If people today are suffering because of wrongs done to their ancestors by your ancestors... do you have any responsibility to redress that wrong (even if you aren't "guilty" of doing it)?  If a government entity was involved in doing that wrong, and that same government entity still exists, shouldn't it be acting to redress the wrong?

I too am a middle-aged white dude.  I feel no guilt over that fact.

Instead, I feel a responsibility to act (and speak, and vote) in ways that redress the wrongs (as much as possible, some obviously being beyond redress) done by my nation and by WASP-y sorts of people like me, within this nation, to "BIPOC."

I would only feel "guilty" about it if I did not act responsibly on the matter.

 

Firstly, let me thank everyone for being courteous and civil and for having the courage to continue the conversation and exchange of ideas despite me 'putting it all out there'. I realize it's tantamount to throwing a gauntlet to some folks, but everyone is being respectful and thoughtful. If we all wish a more civil society, it starts with us being civil ourselves. You are doing so and deserves an honest 'thank you'.

I completely agree, g33k [and everyone else].

My oath to the Constitution [translate for your nation's basic law] means that NOBODY is free until EVERYBODY is free. That means a lot of things to a lot of different people and agendas, but I'm gonna focus on the most basic thing: free and equal treatment before the law. And perhaps freedom from hypocrisy [although that's the longest of long-term goals].

- Every citizen of every country should be treated tried the same before the bench. A rich white boy peddling drugs ought to get the same sentence as a poor colored kid. A rich white college athlete should not get released after 6 months citing 'future harm to his career' when a poor Black defendant at the same university gets 10 years [a famous and outrageous case here in the US].

- Being held responsible to the same standards of behavior. Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey are reviled while Micheal Jackson gets a pass. Someone kindly explain that one to me. Jackson was a paedophile. Just because he was child-like and released records you loved shouldn't give him a pass on that behavior.

- As for voting, I am not a member of any political party and I'm lucky enough to live in a State where being Independent is a viable choice. And I don't vote down ANYBODY'S party line. I vote for the candidate and their party be damned. If they seek to address the issues I'm concerned about at the capitol, then they get my vote. My issues are not going to be the same as yours, but access to all the freedoms the Constitution provides for is VERY high on my list.

Edited by svensson
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1 hour ago, svensson said:

Firstly, let me thank everyone for being courteous and civil and for having the courage to continue the conversation and exchange of ideas despite me 'putting it all out there'. I realize it's tantamount to throwing a gauntlet to some folks, but everyone is being respectful and thoughtful.

At times I feel we are at opposed poles but thankfully not polarized. Let’s give this as a model that can be achieved (not exactly setting a low or a high bar but one that is certainly achievable). You are unlikely to sway me, but your curtesy is appreciated. I certainly hope I have achieved this standard in these shared fora as well. A lot of my politics is Darwinian. Not the erroneous "Survival of the Fittest” but the correct diversity of species.

 "The more diversified the descendants from any one species become in structure, constitution and habits, by so much will they be better enabled to seize on many and widely diversified places in the polity of nature."

So, I like the absence of echo chambers and am okay with democratically sound differences of opinions. A strong and healthy agora is a marvel to behold.

Cheers

ETA
I truly love how Darwin shaped his argument and wrapped it in political terms!

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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Bill, 'polar' opinions are an artificial construct created by political parties to make voters think in terms of 'us and them'. They WANT us polarized, they WANT us divisive between ourselves, they WANT us to sweep them into power and refuse power to the other guy. And they DON'T WANT any gray areas to confuse the agenda of them and their donors.

You and I agree on many things, disagree on many things, and have nuanced view on other things. Opinion should not be viewed as 'left' or 'right', 'whig or tory', 'Republicrat or Democlican'. We all bring our life experiences and observations to the table in a discussion like this and there's a whole lot more gray area than definitive 'ne plus ultra' stances in any honest discussion.

And any sane human being with a basic education is going to have opinions influenced by outside sources, opinions they hold from their own experiences, and at least one opinion that's controversial to somebody. That's what 'Free Speech' is.

 

Edited by svensson
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1 hour ago, svensson said:

Bill, 'polar' opinions are an artificial construct created by political parties to make voters think in terms of 'us and them'. They WANT us polarized, they WANT us divisive between ourselves, they WANT us to sweep them into power and refuse power to the other guy. And they DON'T WANT any gray areas to confuse the agenda of them and their donors.

Let's not overlook the role of entertainment news media, and their vested interest in generating sensation and outrage.  There is no Left or Right in consumer mass media, only audience demographics.  That applies to algorithm-targeted, echo chamber online media at least as much so.

!i!

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carbon copy logo smallest.jpg  ...developer of White Rabbit Green

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46 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Let's not overlook the role of entertainment news media, and their vested interest in generating sensation and outrage.  There is no Left or Right in consumer mass media, only audience demographics.  That applies to algorithm-targeted, echo chamber online media at least as much so.

!i!

ABSOLUTELY.

We should also not overlook foreign actors [nation states and others] who've intentionally spread lies, deep fakes, and disruptions on the social media of the free democratic world. Nations like Russia and China profit from our divisiveness, as does 'non-state' actors like international jihadism [Sunni, Shia and otherwise] and so on.

There's a GREAT documentary on HBOMax called "15 Minutes of Shame" that exposes just how much Facebook, Google, and major news organizations literally profit in a monetary sense from generating outrage. It's produced by, of all people, Moncia Lewinsky... But fair being fair, she'd know a little something about it, wouldn't she?

Another source is an excellent book written by a retired US general that I have a lot of respect for, HR McMaster. It's called Battleground and it illustrates my top point about foreign states intentionally trying to destabilize democracies around the world.

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4 hours ago, svensson said:

Bill, 'polar' opinions are an artificial construct created by political parties to make voters think in terms of 'us and them'. They WANT us polarized, they WANT us divisive between ourselves, they WANT us to sweep them into power and refuse power to the other guy. And they DON'T WANT any gray areas to confuse the agenda of them and their donors.

2 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Let's not overlook the role of entertainment news media, and their vested interest in generating sensation and outrage.  There is no Left or Right in consumer mass media, only audience demographics.  That applies to algorithm-targeted, echo chamber online media at least as much so.

!i!

It's hardly new news that "sensationalism sells."  Early journalism-magnate Hearst famously said, "You provide the pictures, and I'll provide the war," and around 1700's/1800's, the single-page "broadsheet" format was widely used for sensational and propaganda purposes.

Still, I don't think many of us credit how potent this effect is; and we should realize that EVERYONE has hot-button topics (even our own selves) that short-circuit rational processes... and I guarantee you, someone (likely several someones) are working hard to press those buttons.   🤯

Almost certainly, you (the general "everyone," not any particular person in this thread (but, including everyone in this thread (yes, me too))) have some form of media "bubble."  

Almost certainly, your (our (my)) bubble includes such button-pushing sources; this notion may make you acutely uncomfortable (that's a good thing) and want to deny it (that'd be a bad thing).   🤬

As JonL says, the media has their profit-driven motive, and svensson notes how much politicians like/need to throw fresh meat to their respective bases.

*** 
But there's an issue in this vein I've puzzled over for YEARS, and haven't found a good solid answer:
   What split the "sportsmen" from the "environmentalists"?

The hunters and fishers were foundational to the environmental movement, and to this day most of what "envirosportsmentalists" BOTH want is essentially the same thing -- a healthy & robust natural world.  They are natural allies <heh>.  But, so often, they are at odds...  🤔

Did "someone" do that, intentionally?  Did "someone" apply a divide-and-conquer strategy to prevent two such potent groups from being too hard to face down?   Or was it simply a mutual case of "just being human" foolishness?   😳

Edited by g33k
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2 hours ago, svensson said:

We should also not overlook foreign actors [nation states and others] who've intentionally spread lies, deep fakes, and disruptions on the social media of the free democratic world ...
Battleground ... illustrates my top point about foreign states intentionally trying to destabilize democracies around the world.

You didn't mention foreign businesses and oligarchs; they've been in the "influence" game longer than most!

Of course, there's more than a little bit of karmic justice in some of these cases.  The USA has been using "strategic de-stabilization" for DECADES (arguably, centuries... if you count things like how CA left Mexico and joined the USA, or how HI stopped being a soverign Kingdom and became a US Territory).

Sometimes, when the US did it, it was a genuine humanitarian good-willed desire for a democracy instead of a dictatorship ("but it just so happened" that the US could be fairly sure the democracy would be pro-US, and the dictator was not (because pragmatism))... but all too often it was a cynical power-play, sometimes of the most venal and morally-bankrupt sort (q.v. "banana republics," Hawaiian "sugar barons," etc).

Notwithstanding those examples, however, I agree that it's an IMMENSE problem to have foreign actors -- of ANY dimension -- active in US politics; the past wrongs of the USA do not justify the (similar) current wrongs against it.
 

 

2 hours ago, svensson said:

... 'non-state' actors like international jihadism [Sunni, Shia and otherwise] and so on.

Here's a 'charming' little nugget I heard on the road, a little while back, in an interview with a leading authority studying violent extremism:  there appears to be a non-trivial and intentional crossover between Islamic jihadi, Christian-extremist, and neo-Nazi methods.  It's not that they are "giving" one another pointers, but that they are studying one anothers' (already similar) recruitment & radicalizations methods, and when either introduces a new wrinkle that gets results, it's quickly copied by the other side.  😖
 

Edited by g33k
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3 hours ago, g33k said:

But there's an issue in this vein I've puzzled over for YEARS, and haven't found a good solid answer:
   What split the "sportsmen" from the "environmentalists"?

Interesting question indeed!

I will have a go, here are some uninformed stab at possible ideas...

- sporstmen will be gun wielding hunting enthusiast, whereas modern day environmentalist will be city dweller, enjoying the greenery on the weekend. Also, they don't like to be shot accidentally

- what happen to the sustainable huntsmen? too much work for our consumerist society, there ain't as many of those as they said, now they just want the prey and not worry about the detail...

- the supermarket killed the sustainable huntsman

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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18 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Interesting question indeed!

I will have a go, here are some uninformed stab at possible ideas...

- sporstmen will be gun wielding hunting enthusiast, whereas modern day environmentalist will be city dweller, enjoying the greenery on the weekend. Also, they don't like to be shot accidentally

- what happen to the sustainable huntsmen? too much work for our consumerist society, there ain't as many of those as they said, now they just want the prey and not worry about the detail...

- the supermarket killed the sustainable huntsman

An awful lot of it is people who have very little connection with the land and how food gets to one's table sitting in moral high judgement over people that do have that connection and knowledge.

To put it another way 'hipster environmentalists', the kind of people who become vegan to make themselves feel morally and ethically superior. The kind of people that drive 10-penny nails into harvestable Douglas Fir trees to kill loggers, not realizing that Douglas Fir is a crop tree [about two steps up from poplar], not an old growth forest. The kind of people that start get all hacktivist when a hunter pays a large sum of money to cull a given wild animal.

For example, in Africa an older male lion who had bred three or four times and was now stalking lion cubs sired by other males was slated for culling by the Okavango Nature Preserve. At the time, culling was a major portion of the Preserve's funding, Botswana not having a lot of money to dedicate to anti-poaching measures. The way this happened was that an auction is held, and the license to hunt the lion is won in open bid. This is not a license to 'lions'... it's just that one animal. And, it should be clearly noted, that a game warden accompanies the hunt to ensure that that one animal and no other gets taken. Also, the only souvenir from the purchaser's hunt is a photo and lock of hair from the mane. No other animal part is taken. But Reddit and EnviroWatch lost their Goddamn minds and decided that it was the Holocaust all over again. Naturally without checking on the facts.

I fully agree that the availability of farm raised beef is a limiting factor to hunting, but the only place left on Earth with enough wilderness to sustain a large population's need for red meat protein is in Siberia. The US could not support 330 million people by hunting for protein alone. Well, we could, but nearly every grazer species would be hunted to extinction with in 75 years. So farm-raised cattle, pork, and chicken is a reasonable alternative.

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