Re: Solidarity with Peruvian Guerrilla!

Chris Rapier (rapier@psc.edu)
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 23:55:53 -0500 (EST)


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On Fri, 27 Dec 1996, Charles J. Reid wrote:

> > And thats part of life. Do what you can to alleviate the suffering of
> > those around you but take care not to become that which you hate in the
> > process.
> [snip...]
>
> way they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why
> not?'" Chris, you see things the way they are and say, 'Tough.' This is
> immoral. And there's a contradiction in your statement. Can you find it?

Immoral? How so? Pain, misery and suffering are a basic part of reality. No way around it really. The question you have to ask yourself is what you are going to do about it?

> If it's "part of life" globally, why ought such injustice require action
> locally? Only because you see it? Any you disregard it otherwise, even

One of he inherent foundations of my way of looking at the universe is an acceptance of paradox. Pain is here to stay. Injustice is here to stay. Nothing is going to make them disappear aside from universal lobotomies. Thus taking action to stop them from happening is pointless... except that taking action might temporarily alleviate someones suffering and maybe even make you feel a bit better about being alive. In the big picture it doesn't make a bit of difference. Yer not gonna save the world and people are going to continue suffering... but hey you helped someone or maybe even many someones and thats enough... don't you think?

> though you know it's there? (If the Freedom Riders would have stayed
> home, think what kind of a conservative congress we'd have today!)
>
> We can list an entire set of historical events that required vision and
> moral courage to make the world better. This is everything from the
> American Revolution to Freedom Riders fighting for Civil Rights to doctors
> fighting hemmoragic fevers in tropical jungles.

mmmmm... hemmoragic fevers... I love them... prolly why i'm going into field epidemiology and dropping the computer biz altogether. Now, I just need to suck at the public teat and get a fellowship to grad school. Then off to a life of sucking at the public teat at the CDC or WHO.

>
> Olof Palme, Sweden's assassinated Prime Minister, said shortly before he
> died, "Our dissatisfaction with the present is the driving force of the
> future." We cannot accept the injustices of our time. This consciousness
> is what makes it possible for human beings to work toward better worlds.

But the world isn't getting better. On the other hand it isn't getting much worse. Maybe there are the various blips of one group or another having a slightly better time of it but eventually they'll sink back into the morass as well. but like I said... what the hell? Why not?

I don't really think we disagree that people can make a difference. I just have a bit of a darker view of the whole thing.

> We cannot today accept have a global system that allows 358 people to have
> more wealth than 2.5 billion people, all who live in poverty, most
> without the basic necessities. Half of these are children.

uh huh... nice numbers. How many of the 328 people are really responsible for the welfare of these 2.5 billion people in poverty? Maybe, instead of going for the high profile hostage taking thing they could have intimidated a few magistrates into jumping into land reform! OOOOOooooo what a concept! However, since they have already taken these people hostage I guess thats a moot point. But boy they sure are doing a lot of good by taking this time to demand the release of their friends. Wouldn't want to make some real demands now would ya?

> All the problems associated with the immoral distribution of wealth in
> the world are solvable. Of course, it involves strong political will. (By

How so? And would would redistribution of wealth (I assume you are not just talking about fungible assets) be accomplished? I can think of a few ways (I am big fan of pollutant credits myself) but most are a top down slow moving thing.

> the way, the 1963 Vienna Convention changed the way embassies are
> regarded in international law. Their invasion certainly do not now
> constitute a causus belli, especially after Tehran in 1979.)

I was not aware of this. However, I would have to think that the legitimacy of it being or not being causus belli would be up to the state invaded.

> Policies like full employment, income equalization fiscal policy
> ('inkomstjaemkningpolitiken,' they call it in Sweden), free education,
> universal health care, unionization of the work force, and respect for
> human rights and requiring "law enforcement" accountability: with
> policies like these, immoral disparities of wealth will disappear.

Full employment actually tend to lead to more stagnant economies but thats enither here nor there. I am interested in the mechanisms that would actually make this come about? I am more interested in where the motivation for much of this is going to come from. The barrel of a gun or a pax romana would be the most effective but... not sure I could agree with that... you know that free will thing and all.

> This does not mean we have to get rid of "The Market Place." We must get
> rid of governments that blindly serve the market place. We must have a
> market place that serves the community: politics must control the market
> place in the interests of the General Welfare, and the market place must
> not be allowed to control politics in the interests of a few wealth owners.

Again, HOW? You want to control the market place to serve the community but how is it going to be controlled? Once you start developing a merchant class you are going to need some sort of overriding control structure to keep them in place. At least, thats what a few thousand years of history has shown.

> In short, Chris, History will never be kind to those who turn their backs
> on injustice, especially when the injustice is so obvious. ANd your
> position is morally indefensible.

Here is the really nasty part of my position (just to keep ya going!):

there are too many people in this world too many of them are living in ways that are inherently destructive its in the long term best interest of humanity to reduce the number of people on this planet, especially those who end up being the most destructive to the resources we all depend on.

I have a modest proposal...

Chris Rapier Systems Programmer/Cabin Boy 2nd Class Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 11EE

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