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The Big War Debate: Can It Ever Be Justified?


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#1 Elfcat

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Posted 14 September 2022 - 12:46 PM

An unusual post I know as we are all engaged in a game based on a war story far into the future, but then as now the question remains: where is the good in this in the long term?

A pacifist group called World Without War is planning a debate next week on the question, an especially ripe one with the goings-on we all know in the current reality. Any who wish to tune in can RSVP here.

https://worldbeyondw...win-this-debate

#2 LordNothing

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 12:11 PM

war ultimately comes down to one thing. money.

war is usually profitable for the victor, regardless of the reasons for committing to it. it requires public support however, or the leaders involved will have a very hard time justifying it to their constituents and could be removed from power if things don't go as planned. one way is to blow a minor transgression way out of proportion. being subject to an attack usually is a freebie, because getting support for preserving the current "way of life" is always a win for would be war mongers.

ultimately the people who decide whether or not to go to war who tend to make the biggest profits. while it does cost money to go to war, one has to ask "who's money". politicians will gleefully send young people into battle at the expensive of the tax payer's money. money which could be used to improve their quality of life in terms of public infrastructure and services. while the leaders may also be subject to taxes, they tend to make way more income from stocks in war contractors, who also turn a profit and also provide some incentive to get involved in a war.

there usually is a post war plan as well. say to milk the defeated nation for additional funds. war reparations and such. and to re-direct their natural resources to your economy, usually for peanuts or nothing at all. this is no doubt what russia planned to do with ukraine. they fight like beasts to preserve their way of life. even for them its about money, they simply dont want russia to have their wealth.

this theory also explains the lack of nuclear war, despite some really unhinged governments having access to warheads. what good is turning a profit if there is nothing left to buy? there is no way to profit in a nuclear war unless you have a near perfect missile shield and homeland security to prevent operatives from planting warheads manually. even then you will cripple the world economy and reduce your overall quality of life greatly or even completely undermine the planet's ability to support life. there's just no money in that.

anyone who actively tries to stop war, will just find themselves very poor and without power. sure things will be better for everyone if we gave up on war today. but it just takes human nature to create one who will try and capitalize on the situation, and here we are at war again. you want to really stop war, make all nuclear weapon designs open source.

#3 ScrapIron Prime

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 01:21 PM

Ultimately, the only way to get humans to coexist nicely is for a central authority to force them to do it under threat of some penalty. Laws, basically. Short of the whole planet being under one government, I'm not sure how you would practically achieve this.

#4 LordNothing

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 04:53 PM

a big monolithic government is likely going to be its own can of worms. there might be no war as we know it. with no outside enemy to focus the frustrations of the population on, you are going to have a world beset by considerable internal strife. especially if the government is intrinsically corrupt. even if it is stable or widely popular, its going to have its fair share of malcontents who simply want to tear it down. you are going to have a lot of terrorism and assassinations of government officials. this may lead to a police state of sorts. if it goes down the path of an orwellian dystopia, you might be better off with war.

#5 ScrapIron Prime

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 06:26 PM

View PostLordNothing, on 15 September 2022 - 04:53 PM, said:

... you might be better off with war.


Most folks who have seen one up close would disagree. I dislike the idea of a dystopia same as the next guy, but the only thing worse than a starving child is a starving child who no longer has all her limbs thanks to an errant explosion. That's... not something you can get out of your brain once you've seen it. Trust me.

#6 The Basilisk

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 06:34 AM

Justification imploys a concept of right and wrong.
Since those concepts are heavily dependant on culture and the concept of acceptable price for a certain gain how ever this gain may be defined the question itself bares all logic and is pointless.

For the sake of discussion...think about how new things are created in the universe and how those powers and the natural laws guiding them can be broken down and down untill they are scaled to how society works and how humans interact.

Its always a sort of conflict and even if we sometimes do not notice it those micro conflicts always destroy something to create something else.

Wars happen when there builds too much potential or when there are factions with a too large bias meet each other so there is no other way to unload this potential than with raw force.

The Question is not how it can be justified but rather how anybody could be stupid enough to think they would be able to opose basic natural forces.

The more you try to opose them the more violent the resulting discharge will be.

#7 LordNothing

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Posted 23 September 2022 - 03:01 PM

sometimes i think that life's ultimate purpose is to create entropy in the local energy gradients in which we occupy. war is a very good source of entropy.

#8 Meep Meep

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Posted 24 September 2022 - 07:05 PM

Humanity is warlike, has always been warlike and will continue to be warlike even after we reach the stars. It's our nature to be combative and competitive and our emotions are wild enough to abandon logic to pursue pride. We LOVE warfare just look at what we do for entertainment and sports? Everything is competition and combat even if its sometimes in the mental realm and not physical. A more passive species would probably be generally peaceful but then its doubtful that species would ever have discovered tools and the pressure cooker of conflict to advance them. Every major advance the human race has done was always due to conflict. Everything we enjoy today was created out of the pressure cooker of ww2 then on to the cold war. World peace and harmony have always been a song the pacifists sing but can you show me a single pacifist culture that survives to this day?

I know this is from a movie but they pulled this almost verbatim from the books and I agree 100%



#9 Void Angel

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Posted 28 September 2022 - 01:44 PM

It's from a terrible travesty of a movie - though I do like the book. But Heinlein isn't advocating warfare as a way of life, or military service as the epitome of civic virtue. The point of this scene in the book is that military service (which in their society is required to vote, but not to exercise the other rights we may associate with citizenship) is that someone who has completed a term of government service (not necessarily the "traditional" military) has demonstrated a basic willingness to sacrifice their own interests for the good of the nation, if only in a token way - which Heinlein proposes as the bare, rock-bottom minimum for suffrage. Heinlein doesn't think that warfare is the font of all human progress; he thinks that in a world where armed conflict happens, force is the ultimate trump card, and any society which tries to do without that force is doomed.

But Heinlein doesn't posit warfare as a way of life. During Rico's childhood, Earth is at peace; there are specific explanations about how the government has to find room for anyone who enlists, no matter what their aptitudes are - even if the only thing available is manual labor or medical testing. Competition and conflict does not have to devolve to violence; nor is conflict the only driving force that advances human knowledge. Cooperation is more central to human interactions than competition, especially at a community level - but of course conflict does occur. And in a world where the immoral use of force is a fact, the moral use of force is the only counter. In a world where evil men go armed, only a fool tries disarmament.

The problem with pacifism is the same problem with communism - I would love to live in either dream world, but they are dream worlds. Their success requires that humanity as a whole behave in ways it never has in all of recorded history - even prehistoric paleo-archaeological records indicate warfare. So while I would love to live in a world where no nation harries another with bombs and bayonets, I have to ask what happens when a non-pacificistic culture comes over the hill armed with guns, germs, and steel. An overwhelmingly powerful central state may seem like a possible solution, but it comes with its own set of evils - and they are not necessarily less than war. Between the last Russian census before the Bolsheviks took power, until the start of Russian involvement in World War 2, an estimated 12.7 and 16 million people were murdered by the Stalinist government via outright murder, social scapegoating, and neglect. That's more civilian casualties in Russia than during World War II.

So to achieve pacifism, you have to get all of mankind's groups to act in a way they have never acted; or else you need a government equipped with both a power and an enduring incurruptibility never before seen on earth. I have no problem with anyone who wants a less violent world, and works toward that end - it's a worthwhile work, but I have my doubts that we'll ever fully get there. I'll only oppose them in one thing; don't try to take away people's weapons. A truly pacifistic society cannot be obtained by banning violence - it will only come about when the tools of violence are still available, but have become unwanted through disuse.

Edited by Void Angel, 28 September 2022 - 05:21 PM.


#10 Rain Dark Sky

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Posted 22 October 2022 - 10:31 AM

Read War is a Racket by Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor winner.

Lots of people die so a few can make money.

#11 Void Angel

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Posted 22 October 2022 - 01:48 PM

"Go read this one book that I liked" followed by a vague yet sweeping generalization? I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make, other than appealing to an authority - whose service, while exemplary, may not qualify him as an expert on all wars ever.

#12 Meep Meep

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Posted 27 October 2022 - 07:33 PM

View PostVoid Angel, on 28 September 2022 - 01:44 PM, said:

It's from a terrible travesty of a movie - though I do like the book. But Heinlein isn't advocating warfare as a way of life,


I suppose by 'warfare' I mean our extremely competitive and combative human nature which plays out in everything we do. The movie's crude presentation of the book was made by a bunch of pacifist ******* who didn't even understand or even read the source material yet the core message of a planet united under the roof of a militaristic but ultimately fair meritocracy certainly took hold. The audiences positive reaction and desire to see such a future become real shocked the producers to no end much to my endless amusement. The public is a lot smarter than these commie intellectuals give them credit for.

Sargon of Akkad nailed it with his explanation if you have the time to give it a watch.



#13 Void Angel

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Posted 27 October 2022 - 09:12 PM

Heheh. I'd heard of the... consternation of the wannabe intellectuals who massacred the book. I missed the movie in theaters, though, and couldn't get past the obvious satirical smear to watch it through when I encountered it in other media. That may be why the implicit indictment of fascism drowned out any sense of virtue in the depicted society...

#14 Meep Meep

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Posted 27 October 2022 - 11:19 PM

View PostVoid Angel, on 27 October 2022 - 09:12 PM, said:

Heheh. I'd heard of the... consternation of the wannabe intellectuals who massacred the book. I missed the movie in theaters, though, and couldn't get past the obvious satirical smear to watch it through when I encountered it in other media. That may be why the implicit indictment of fascism drowned out any sense of virtue in the depicted society...


Well thats the rub. The only real 'fascist' parts were the black SS clone uniforms for the officers and the way they portrayed a fleeting scene of general officers getting replaced. Otherwise the story is presented in what the producers thought was a satirical play on fascism(they thought any military organization is fascist by default) but was actually a poster movie for meritocracy which is why it resonated with audiences. I highly recommend watching it as its a total hoot and one of the better action movies of that time. Yeah its pure cheese at times but its ~entertaining~ cheese. Plus Michael Ironside as Lt Rasczak is top notch.

If you have a good ad blocker or the brave browser watch it here. Great free site that usually has all the newest movies once they go digital. A few popups every now and then but no malware as long as I have been using it and thats years by now.

https://m4uhd.tv/wat...1997-24058.html

If you also enjoy animation then these are a lot truer to the book and expanded novels.

https://m4uhd.tv/wat...-2012-4105.html

https://m4uhd.tv/wat...2017-14010.html

edit: Oh forgot to add the '#Q-F' or "#F' server choice usually has the 1080p version and also allows for downloading the movie or show too. I have a few terabytes of stuff I've pilfered over the years.

Edited by Meep Meep, 27 October 2022 - 11:22 PM.


#15 ScrapIron Prime

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Posted 28 October 2022 - 03:47 AM

Meep Meep said:

1666941593[/url]' post='6475091']

Well thats the rub. The only real 'fascist' parts were the black SS clone uniforms for the officers and the way they portrayed a fleeting scene of general officers getting replaced.


No, the fascist part was Heinlein’s belief that if you are born to the state you have rights, but if you SERVE the state you have MORE rights. Reference the line in the movie where the one soldier says she enlisted soo she could have a large family. Eugenics.

Edited by ScrapIron Prime, 28 October 2022 - 03:49 AM.


#16 Meep Meep

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Posted 28 October 2022 - 05:27 AM

View PostScrapIron Prime, on 28 October 2022 - 03:47 AM, said:


No, the fascist part was Heinlein’s belief that if you are born to the state you have rights, but if you SERVE the state you have MORE rights. Reference the line in the movie where the one soldier says she enlisted soo she could have a large family. Eugenics.


Thats not in the book and was the producers idea to make it seem like eugenics because the producers equate any society with a militaristic culture to be fascist which means they think any culture with a standing army are fascists which obviously is not true. Again the movie and the book have little to do with each other than the setting and characters and some key moments. As to extra rights they only extra right citizens get over civilians is voting for who runs the show. They can have as many kids as they can afford and civilian life is posh and sheltered. No one is banned from doing near anything they want and all races mix freely.

#17 Void Angel

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Posted 28 October 2022 - 07:04 AM

View PostScrapIron Prime, on 28 October 2022 - 03:47 AM, said:


No, the fascist part was Heinlein’s belief that if you are born to the state you have rights, but if you SERVE the state you have MORE rights. Reference the line in the movie where the one soldier says she enlisted soo she could have a large family. Eugenics.


There was no fascism in Heinlein's universe. It's literally libertarian Star Trek. Everyone in Heinlein's society has the same rights; in any dispute, citizens and civilians are equal under the law - but Heinlein doesn't think that simply existing is enough to qualify someone to exercise power over their fellow citizens. And it's not a "but some are more equal than others" thing: everyone explicitly has the fundamental right to serving that two-year term of government service. As one character in the book explains, if someone were to come enlist in a wheelchair, blind in both eyes, they would have to find something for him to do. This is not fascism. The fundamental difference here is that in fascism, the state is seen as the ultimate base unit of humanity. The State has rights; people enjoy rights and privileges (like life, liberty, and property) only inasmuch and for as long as they serve the State. Heinlein doesn't share this view: as with all other liberal political viewpoints, he sees the individual as the base functional unit of humankind, and his society reflects this. Public and private life is strongly separated: the state doesn't own people, they can do as they like.

You can apply the fundamental principle of human rights to Heinlein's society: no right is absolute. Rights exist only under such restraints as allow for the equal enjoyment of those rights by everyone. And Heinlein thinks that enfranchising the kind of people who won't put the good of everyone above their own wants will destabilize society, and thus destroy the framework protecting everyone's rights.

#18 simon1812

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 11:51 AM

“Life isn’t worth living until you have found something worth dying for.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

#19 Davegt27

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Posted 01 December 2022 - 03:13 AM

lately for some reason everything reminds me of a song







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