Well sweet jesus I’m tired. It’s 2:45 am and once again I’m coming off a debate high. When the hell am I gonna learn that as a 9-5er working stiff I have to go to bed at a reasonable time? Anyways, what follows is my latest reply in the *best* *debate* *ever*. Well at least for me, at any rate.
This JKS is quite a clever mind, although there have been others as well such as LabRat whom I have enjoyed verbally sparring with. I have the feeling that this discussion is really just getting started, so I encourage everyone to either comment here or over at e..e..e and put in their two cents. If it gets really crazy we can always move it over to the forum. Yeah right.
To JK Saggese:
To my knowledge oil never stopped being denominated in dollars, so to say it’s traded against the dollar “again” isn’t strictly accurate. The bigger question is “so what”? Oil exporting countries want it denominated in the Euro at present because the Euro is strong against the dollar of late, though the dollar has recovered somewhat. The same people arguing that oil should be denominated in Euros also want the “flexibility” to resume denominating in dollars if and when it suits them, the seller.
I’ll be honest – I’m not an economist. I’m not sure if you read this analysis of the oil currency war by W. Clark that I mentioned before, but I did, and it’s enlightening. Unfortunately I read it quite some time ago and the details are hazy. 😉 I’d value your honest opinion on it, because this is what I’m going by. I’d hate to paraphase incorrectly.
I’ve been wondering why removing a brutal thug of a dictator from Serbia was applauded by the Democrats, but removing a brutal thug of a dictator from Iraq (with the added bonus of having it promote US interests to boot) is descried as an atrocity by these same Democrats. What do Democrats have against doing things to benefit the US anyway? Why do Americans elect representatives who find actions in America’s self-interest somehow objectionable?
I can’t tell you why Democrats do what they do – I’m not one of them. I do agree with their more ‘leftist’ tendancies in regards to social welfare but I wonder if their ‘hands off’ approach of firing cruise missles into ‘possible’ enemy holdouts is any better than sending in the tanks. My problem here is your objection to US imperialism when it comes to regime change. That’s how it starts you know. You take over a few rich countries ‘for their own benefit’, and you send a few troops to the war-torn poor countries to help ‘keep the peace’. Eventually those troops get withdrawn because hey, they cost money to support and there’s this other country that’s got lots of potential for being a bright, thriving consuming ‘democracy’, and all of the sudden we need more troops in the middle east anyways because there’s some hostilities escalating. That’s how it starts. Where does it end? That’s up to you.
Can both of these assertions be true? Possibly. I’d be genuinely interested to read an analysis which reconciled the two (LabRat?). At an absolute minimum it suggests the science is currently producing mixed, ambiguous results, which isn’t a convincing enough argument to justify massive economic disruption, in my opinion. Check back when you have something more conclusive and I’ll listen to it, I really will.
I’ve read a theory that agrees with both statistical view points – that both the ozone hole over the arctic is at its largest size since they began recording and that the average temperature is dropping (I don’t have stats for that – ask LabRat). The article is unfortunately missing from their website, but the summary seems to cover the main points – that the ozone hole is melting the the ice caps and desalinizing the ocean around the gulf stream which seems to cause a shutdown of that conveyor of heat to eastern Canada and the US and over to Great Britain. It’s kind of odd that only that one article (Triggering Abrupt Climate Change) is missing from their archives… but I digress.
I don’t really dispute the idea of purposeful sacrifice. But it has to be purposeful, not just sacrifice. Demanding substantial sacrifice from some audience group has to be more persuasively argued than just “but look at all my ambiguous data and conflicting studies!” before I’ll sign up myself. I’m sorry, but before I reduce the expected levels of my family’s future wealth voluntarily, you’ve really got to convince me that you know.
I’m not talking about drastic sacrifice here – just some reduction in the excessive consumption that the West seems to overly induldge in. As for ‘ambiguous data and conflicting studies’ well I don’t really think that there can be any studies in this area… It’s sort of a feeling you can’t ignore, a nagging conscience that’s telling you ‘Did you really need that pimped out SUV? Is this disposable cutting board really necessary, or am I just being lazy?’ That’s the kind of sacrifice I’m talking about.
There is one kind of overconsumption that I can advocate. People should buy more computers. People should be buying the best they can afford and as soon as they start degrading in performance, they should just buy a new one. Send that old clunky POS overseas. Give them away to as many people as we can possibly can and lets try and get them wired too while we’re at it. That is the answer, there’s the key. Communication, communication, communication.
>> The problem is that I only see debate on one side of the conflict – where are the voices of the others? How can we impose this right to freedom of communication on countries that have authoritarian regimes? I truly wish that violence was not the only answer – to me it seems like the quick and dirty short term gain, long term loss solution.<< (Chefquix) Bill's voice, and GHS, and LabRat, and many other astute voices are on one side in this. And you, and ICD, and bucketspoon, and Tom Daschle, and the New York Times, are on the other side. John Ashcroft hasn't silenced them all yet, and no one seems to be stopping you from adding your voice to the debate. I must disagree with your analysis of "imposing" the freedom of speech onto an authoritarian regime by force. If the force lasts a little while but the freedom of speech lasts forever, is gain really short term as you say? And is the loss really the permanent result?
Well I think that was my point, I probably should have worded it more clearly. I think you thought I was asking a metaphorical question, but that was really a “How can we do this, what’s the best way to get it done” sort of how. This is my quest in the world, my deepest philosophy. The key to peace is communication. All the world should have a voice – the inequities and horrors become more visceral if you’re hearing it directly from a person instead of from a 30 second soundbite.
As for the ‘voice of the others’ I guess you understand now I meant the ‘East’, if we are the ‘West’. We should strive to wire the world, because in the end it will only do us good. It will probably be hard, it will probably hurt, but in the end it will be best for ALL of us.
You see I really do think that there is something to this global consciousness that most people disregard outright as ‘hippy bullshit’. To give a brief synopsis of the work being done at princeton: servers around the world are generating random numbers which have been shown to generate non-random information during events when many minds are focused on events – for example a few minutes around New Years Eve and 9/11. They’ve been recording data from these EGGS around the world since 1998 and I believe they’ve found statistically relevant data to support their claims. It’s a bit of a mind bender, but it also seems to fit as well. Well at least for me it does.
Again with the philosophy in a policy discussion. Go ahead and advocate a course of action which you yourself admit won’t work (or at least you don’t care whether it will work, which sentiment would not much comfort the mothers and fathers of Iraqi passive resisters after the consequences of futile protest in Saddam’s Iraq had been made clear). If you think it’s noble, or honorable, or logically consistent, fine. But in a policydiscussion, don’t urge an action from your countrymen or your fellow man if you don’t think it will accomplish anything beyond making you feel better about what you’re advocating.
But you see here is the crux of the problem because it is a philosophy issue. International conflict is always about philosophy. It’s fundamental belief that is in conflict, and it festers and festers until it pops, and then we have wars. Philosophy has to change (as I mentioned before) before we can have any resolution. I was once told that the key to good diplomacy is to leave both sides wanting, both views unhappy with the current proposal. Not only does it provide balance (‘at least they’re not getting such and such’) but it promotes change in both sides. The nature of humanity and our interactions is to guide that shape of change along a convergent path.
A philsophy that promotes the idea that we are all connected, that our actions have ramifications for people we will never meet makes one more self conscious of ones actions and thoughts. And consciousness is key, you see, as that is the one thing that we all share in common. It’s a starting point, at any rate.
I want to apologize for my previous outburst, but I feel very strongly about our pollution of the earth. It is such a self-centered, short-sited mentality that I can’t help being passionate about condemning it. I know a lot of people don’t agree with me, but at the same time I fell that probably more see it the same way as I do.
I will have to get back to you on the rest of your arguments. It is quite late and I’ve had a couple of late nights recently. It’s been a pleasure debating this with all of you.