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Author Topic: UN Peacekeepers to occupy Ferguson Missouri
Fenring
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I'm going to go off on a limb and make a guess about something. I think that deep down a lot of us are feeling the same thing; that there's something wrong, somehow, in the current American system. I think we recognize, each in different ways, that there are some people in America who have an advantage over others, and we each see certain classes of people apparently struggling while others can leverage already-accumulated power to make sure they never lose their advantage.

I think some of us see people in poor black communities as a good example of those who appear to have been shafted by the system. To go along with that observation, since slavery existed in the U.S. not so long ago, we will have a tendency to form a short circuit and so associate any modern problems experienced by black people as probably having been created by the history of slavery; after all, what are the odds that they didn't?

But my guess is that the real thing that gives rise your feeling of wrongness isn't the problem of racism; I think your problem is with capitalism. This is a system, after all, where in theory everyone has an equal chance to succeed and where no law prevents any person from making the attempt. But in practice we know all too well that a capitalist system enables those with large amounts of capital to leverage it in ways that people without it cannot. We know that wealth breeds wealth, and that poverty is incredibly hard to escape from within a given generation. A poor person without technical training (e.g. like a law degree or MBA) might work hard and end up making a decent living, but they won't get rich - there is just no way for that to happen. We know that even the middle-class American Dream, which used to be symbolized by having a family, house and car (a stereotype, to be sure), is more and more unattainable. But since capitalism is supposed to be fair and unbiased, if there are any unfair results the instinct will be to assume that capitalism is working fine but that someone is messing things up. But of course we should know that no one at all needs to mess anything up or be biased in order for the capitalist cards to fall unevenly.

But what about the history of slavery? Racism was behind slavery, and the result of slavery was massive black poverty and having to start from scratch economically. Even if all racism and systemic oppression were to have ended right there and then upon emancipation they would still have been a poor people in a capitalist system up against people of mixed levels of wealth.

And now here's another point: What were to happen if the top 1% of earners were simply removed from all statistics and the remaining white people were compared to the black population; what would the disparity of wealth look like then? I'd be willing to believe that maybe blacks would still be in the minus column by some margin, but I wonder how much. It goes without saying that the wealthiest people in America tend to be white, including the major banking families, oil tycoons, media moguls, and corporate shareholders. Some of this money came from long ago, some was made in the 1800's, some in the early 1900's. But the fact that white men had this much power has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with either connections or having been there first long ago. This is a symptom of great fortunes being accumulated over time and leading to more and more ventures; no one decided that some men should be so powerful, it just works out that way. Real capitalism doesn't make choices, it just generates some kind of results. While the U.S. has never had true capitalism, at the same time the freedom for certain individuals (sometimes with government assistance) to become major powers was a result of the freedom to conduct business and be enterprising. It wasn't because anyone disliked some race or another. It may be unfair, but it's not unfair because of race.

Now, government does make choices about where wealth goes, and as such we could blame the government for playing favorites through history. But I think it's a pretty sure bet that the government plays favorites with whomever is powerful and can lobby them better. Dollars are the chosen people there. The government will therefore have defaulted to helping those who were already powerful before, which were white people; but it's not because they were white, it's because they were rich.

So TL:DR - if what you're going on is a feeling that things are unfair for some at the moment, then you and I are in agreement. But while you may look to words like "racism" to explain it, I would suggest that this is jumping to a conclusion to such an extent that you are resorting to tautology. There is racism in America, as there is everywhere, but I believe it needs to be determined what elements of the U.S. are as they are for systemic and historical reasons, and which might be actually caused by racism in the here and now. I've so far seen no conclusive evidence that racism is necessarily behind many ills we see in various populations (including the black population), with the exception of the War on Drugs which I'm inclined to believe really is a racist policy. Looking at uneven results in an uneven system where people didn't even start in the system on the same footing - that's not racism, it's the result of a largely free-wheeling system producing results that are ungoverned. There may also be racism along with the typical systemic irregularities, but sorting out which problems are purely a result of racism (or at Pyr call it, simply are racism), is a very advanced task and I haven't seen evidence that this kind of analysis has been accomplished yet.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Seneca: Comparing me to a lottery winner because I am black and became successful is a very racist statement. I succeeded because of hard work and perseverance, not luck.
Each of us are the confluence of choice and fortune. If you can't see the good fortune you had to be born as someone who is capable of hard work, who has the ability to do hard work, and smart enough to realize that hard work will give long-term benefits, then you're missing something.

I'm not discounting the part your choices and effort played; I agree in part with your statement.

I'm saying that you're missing half of the picture.

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Seneca
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Half the picture? And what half is that that would or would not be "universal" to the "black community?" And how does my birth and upbringing relate to or divert from it? Oh that's right, you have no idea since you don't have that information, which potentially makes the statement even more racist with context than it already is.

I don't think you get it, there is no way that statement ISN'T racist.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Seneca: Half the picture? And what half is that that would or would not be "universal" to the "black community?"
I didn't say it was universal to the black community; I said it was universal to all people. We are all subject to fortune; those of us who are born with greater virtues or into greater affluence are the more fortunate; those of us who are born with less virtues or into poverty are the less fortunate. It's a benign and (I think) obviously true statement.

You did not make yourself from scratch; no man ever did. The strengths each of us have come from fortune and are forged through effort. We get credit for the effort part, but we should also recognize the portion that comes form fortune.

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PSRT
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There are literally tens of millions of people in this country who worked as hard, and persevered as much as you did, seneca, who are still poor.

Luck plays a ridiculous role in how much our hard work pays off.

And there are millions of people who had to work harder than I did to get to the point where I am, because of the fortunes of how I was born. There's no virtue in who our parents are, or what our genes are, but those too play a ridiculous role in how much our hard work pays off.

When we pretend that we have done something of moral value for our wealth and income that those who do not have the same wealth and income did not do, we are fooling ourselves. And fooling ourselves in that way usually causes us to do harm to others.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
There are literally tens of millions of people in this country who worked as hard, and persevered as much as you did, seneca, who are still poor.

Luck plays a ridiculous role in how much our hard work pays off.

And there are millions of people who had to work harder than I did to get to the point where I am, because of the fortunes of how I was born. There's no virtue in who our parents are, or what our genes are, but those too play a ridiculous role in how much our hard work pays off.

When we pretend that we have done something of moral value for our wealth and income that those who do not have the same wealth and income did not do, we are fooling ourselves. And fooling ourselves in that way usually causes us to do harm to others.

Question: Am I right in inferring from your phrasing and tone that you think the 'ridiculous role' luck plays, the unequal results for equal effort, and the lack of moral value for our wealth and income are all bad things? If so, should it be our objective to change the system so that these bad things are gone?

[ December 14, 2014, 06:28 AM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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D.W.
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I just wanted to float something by you PSRT.
I also agree that luck plays a HUGE part in our success. I've struggled a lot less than some of my friends who work harder or went to school when I did not. They grew up in families similar or in many cases more well off than I.

I'd rather not get into a lot of personal information but it occurs to me that many of the "lucky breaks" that got me where I am now, are a direct result of someone seeing some potential in me, who was in a position to help me out. I was put forward as a good candidate for employment twice without me even looking for that job. I was given a job (not a good one mind you) by my father. Yes, that was mostly to force me to get out and do SOMETHING rather than coast for a bit right after school. I was hired in to another place of work where some of my friends were already employed.

A simple, "You think this guy is a hard worker?" "Ya, he'll do great.", from a friend was an advantage in getting me picked over someone else in a pile of resumes. A cold call from an old teacher who remembered me from like 4 years ago, tracked me down and informed me of a job position being available in something that wasn't just an "unskilled labor" job. Doubled my pay with that seemingly random call even if it was a 1 year time frame only.

This lead me back to my co-op place of employment who I convinced to take me back even though they had no station for me to work at. I brought in my own PC (purchased as a hobby / gaming device). A computer I wouldn't have had without my family's willingness to let me continue to live at home lowering my expenses enough for an expensive "toy".

From there, I went on to another firm, where a former coworker was employed. I was given the chance as a non college grad or student, unusual there, mostly on the word of my coworker friend and the reference of my last boss.

So what's the point? Yes, I worked hard in school and impressed that teacher. But it wasn't luck or even only talent that got me the first co-op job. It was that teacher going out on a limb for me. This to many could be seen as that white privilege we hear about. (though I know that teacher did the same for non-white students)

I may not have appreciated my job working with my dad but had he not been in a position to offer it to me, I may have lounged away many months leaving a gap in my resume which may have been off putting to some potential employer later. (It also helped me save a little cash.)

Then had I not had those friends to help me get the next job I have no idea where I would have ended up next. I without knowing it leveraged their current employment to get myself a job. Even this, is networking.

Then I get the call from that same old teacher. A ridiculous advantage I likely didn't deserve based just on my performance in his class years ago and MAYBE him talking with my co-op employer.

Until just now, reading this page, I always thought of this as "good luck". How else could the only child of 3 who didn't try to go to college (including both parents taking SOME classes) end up better off than his entire family financially? Was it hard work and talent at something? Maybe somewhat, but it was the people who saw something in me giving me and some times forcing me into an opportunity. An advantage many don't have.

When Seneca says he got where he is through hard work, and I say I got where I am through luck, think for a bit on all the "luck" you benefit from. Talent and people skills help you plant the seeds of your own luck, but I needed others to take action to get me where I am today. Those without those people taking action on their behalf don't see "luck" as a significant factor. Some dismiss the notion of luck at all and become self-reliant. Some label it privilege.

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Pyrtolin
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And the thousands of people who, regardless of race, failed, despite hard work and persistence, for each person like you that was lucky enough not to hit enough life destroying bumps on the way to make success impossible?

Hard work and persistence are necessary, but they're not sufficient on their own. Either a lot of luck our a sufficient inheritance of access to enough wealth, be it money, health, connections, education, etc... To allow them to smooith out the bumps instead of being destroyed by them - the sandals that Joshua pointed out are needed to safely walk on the road that society has failed to clear properly for them to be able to walk without shoes.

Race and racism enter the picture because our society has put many more black people, proportional their presence in the population, where they have been actively shut out of such systems of wealth and created a downward spiral due to the inherent bias it has again those who lack such reduces.

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D.W.
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Well, maybe I didn't "need" others to take action, but I most certainly benefited from them doing so.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
What were to happen if the top 1% of earners were simply removed from all statistics and the remaining white people were compared to the black population; what would the disparity of wealth look like then? I'd be willing to believe that maybe blacks would still be in the minus column by some margin, but I wonder how much.
By about 40%. Now when you don't look at percentages, but look at total wealth in dollars, it doesn't seem so bad -- but that's because that top 1% has so much of the pie that there isn't much left for the rest to share. Blacks might have 40% less wealth than the remaining 99% of white people, but that amounts to about $55K per family on average. Not that that's still not significant.
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Seneca
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Sorry but these attempts to generalize and defend that racist statement are ignoring... The statement!

It wasn't "people in general," it was blacks. Obvious some don't think a black can work as hard as they need to succeed on balance because of "x" reasons that makes the ones who succeed, like myself, comparable to "lottery winners."

Again, no one here has any idea how advantaged or disadvantaged my background made me, so it's very likely that even by the standards one could try and trot out to defend that racist statement that it's even more racist than it appears right now.

There is no neighborhood or group in America that hasn't launched at least 1 successful person from nearly every possible background and set of circumstances. This shows how little luck plays a role vs sheer determination and perseverance. Luck CAN, play a role but it is NOT controlling by any means and your suggestion that it must be considered is absurd and offensive.


quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
Exactly. It amuses me and sickens me to hear white people telling me what blacks like myself really need and that we don't know it for ourselves.

Nit blacks like yourself, blacks in general but not you, just like I'd give different advice to the average person than i would to a lottery winner, including reminding them that buying more lottery tickets like lottery winners like you tell them are all they need isn'tgoing to be sufficient to solve their problems.


[ December 14, 2014, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
What were to happen if the top 1% of earners were simply removed from all statistics and the remaining white people were compared to the black population; what would the disparity of wealth look like then? I'd be willing to believe that maybe blacks would still be in the minus column by some margin, but I wonder how much.
By about 40%. Now when you don't look at percentages, but look at total wealth in dollars, it doesn't seem so bad -- but that's because that top 1% has so much of the pie that there isn't much left for the rest to share. Blacks might have 40% less wealth than the remaining 99% of white people, but that amounts to about $55K per family on average. Not that that's still not significant.
Ok thanks for the numbers, although heck if I know how to verify them. What happens to the disparity if you remove the top 2% of earners? I'm assuming the disparity comes even closer to parity. What I'm getting at is I sort of suspect that most white people earn somewhere in the ballpark of what most black people earn on average, but probably a little more. Since there are some ludicrously rich white people out there, and below them some rather well-to-do white people as well, those small numbers of people will skew the averages quite a bit.

That a small percentage of people own most of the wealth isn't an artifact of racism, though, but of capitalism (or more generally of 'wealthism', which can exist in systems other than pure market ones). The reason white people tend to be the ones in this top 1% is because of historical reasons, which include but are not limited to racism. This does not, however, speak to racism within the current system or within the psyche of people at present.

Think of it this way: Two people enter the marketplace, I have one of them $1,000 and the other one $1. I tell them "Go! Make money!" Who's going to make more money? It is not impossible that the poor guy will, but the guy with $1000 might buy a PC to make a nice resume, he might invest the money, etc. Change the numbers to $1,000,000 and $1,000 and now the guy with $1,000,000 can buy a business outright and change his earning potential that way. The only thing unfair about this arrangement is that I gave each of them different starting amounts. Maybe I did this for racist reasons, maybe I had a debt from before and had to pay one of them more. Maybe they just started with that amount from ages ago. Capitalism accepts disparity such as this as normal operating conditions. If, 150 years ago, a racist system was in place to guarantee that the people getting $1 were black, then there's no question that sucks. But fast forward to today - one doesn't need to assert any sort of racism in the here and now to explain how the people back then who were given $1 (and were not involved in certain sectors of the economy to boot) would still be far behind now.

However people in the past came by their money, whoever has it now has an advantage. That monetary advantage isn't racism or anything to do with it. If the current system was 100% 'clean' and free and unbiased those who began with the money would always verge towards better success. Again, there may actually be real racism in America at play too, but I don't see how you can parse that from the natural imbalance you'd see in a totally impartial market economy. Who can say how well everyone 'would do' if here was no racism now?

[ December 14, 2014, 02:43 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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JoshuaD
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Tom: I'd like to hear your thoughts on what I posted above, if you have any to share.
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ScottF
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I like the adage that success is the point where luck and preparation collide.

Pro golfers will tell you that a hole in one ultimately requires luck, but statistically they get a hugely disproportionate amount of aces. They are lucky, but have put in the work to create the "lucky" circumstances surrounding the event.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Seneca:There is no neighborhood or group in America that hasn't launched at least 1 successful person from nearly every possible background and set of circumstances. This shows how little luck plays a role vs sheer determination and perseverance. Luck CAN, play a role but it is NOT controlling by any means and your suggestion that it must be considered is absurd and offensive.
Yea, you and I look at the same thing and draw exactly different conclusions.

Determination and perseverance are not things that one develops solely by himself. Some people are born with stronger or weaker predilections to these virtues.

I am not discounting the role that effort and choice play in our success, I am trying to point out that there is also a significant role of luck in our success.

Here are my logical steps, maybe we can find where we come apart:

1) Due to good fortune, some people are born with better mental facilities than others.

2) Due to good fortune, some people are born with better physical facilities than others.

3) Due to good fortune, some people are born into more nourishing home environments than others.

4) Having better mental facilities, better physical facilities, or a more nourishing environment gives an individual an advantage over those who weren't similarly fortunate.

There are other factors, but these four alone are enough to sustain my point: that fortune plays a role in our success.

Where do we come apart?

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noel c.
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(Noel): "Again, you do not have a clue as to what you are talking about."

(Tom): "Except that I do. I have two cousins who've gone through SERE training, actually."

Two cousins, how can anyone argue with that? [Wink]

Where, and when, in the course of military training did these "two cousins" find themselves subjected to advanced interrogation techniques? I am anxious to run this one to ground, because you are bluffing the wrong guy.

(Noel): "... it is because protocol violations were reported, and disciplinary action taken."

(Tom): "I'd like you to guess what disciplinary actions were taken. Just stop for a second before reading any further, and get to building up a good ol' list of disciplinary possibilities in your mind. Did they include promoting the guy in charge of the facility at the time, as well as the one doing the actual knee-crushing? Because that's what happened."

I asked you for a citation of CIA personnel involved in your last hit-and-run anecdote. All I got back was the chirping of crickets. Do you have a reference for me now?

(Noel): "Does it bother you at all that you have to equivocate to make your point?"

(Tom): "Which bit of language did you find ambiguous, noel? One of us is equivocating on this topic, Mr. 'Are not all products of human society 'artificial,' but it isn't me."

Try this: Make your case for CIA abuse, under the executive authorization for enhanced interrogation techniques, as briefed to democrats like Pelosi, and Feinstein.

Resist your tendency to cite actions (anecdotal, or otherwise) that clearly fall outside the scope of the Senate report. After all, it is the "institutionally authorized" torture that you are sermonizing over, correct?

Only one democrat on the House Intelligence Committee expressed even conditional caution over EITs, over precisely your brand of ex post facto hand-wringing, and that was the now retired Jane Harman.

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PSRT
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quote:
Talent and people skills help you plant the seeds of your own luck, but I needed others to take action to get me where I am today. Those without those people taking action on their behalf don't see "luck" as a significant factor. Some dismiss the notion of luck at all and become self-reliant. Some label it privilege.
I was mostly with you up until this false dichotomy at the end. Also, what we "See," isn't really an accurate reflection of reality.

"Privilege," means, approximately, being born into a situation where you have significantly higher odds of the dice rolling favorably for you. Whether we acknowledge that the dice have to roll favorably for us to be successful, or not, we can become self reliant. And everyone has people taking action on their behalf, whether they are willing to recognize it or not.

I hold the political positions I do largely because I recognize that, had I been born into different circumstances, I wouldn't have come through my teens and twenties as successfully as I did, because of the support that I had, because of the quality of people who worked at the schools I attended and who assisted me, because of the family resources that were used to help me, because of the people I connected with because of who my family was friends with, because of the safety and health I experienced because of where my family lived, because of the roads that I traveled due to where I lived, because the problems I had were ones that are more or less socially acceptable to have, and so could be assisted in overcoming them, and on and on and on.

Someone born in different economic, racial, or social circles could very easily have had worse outcomes, through no fault of their own. And yet, now, I am self reliant to a larger extent than many of my peers. Probably because of the support that I had when I was younger that got me to where I am now.

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PSRT
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quote:
Question: Am I right in inferring from your phrasing and tone that you think the 'ridiculous role' luck plays, the unequal results for equal effort, and the lack of moral value for our wealth and income are all bad things? If so, should it be our objective to change the system so that these bad things are gone?
To mitigate the differences between bad luck and good luck.
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PSRT
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quote:
. If, 150 years ago, a racist system was in place to guarantee that the people getting $1 were black, then there's no question that sucks
The problem is that racist systems of redistribution of wealth didn't end 150 years ago. I'm not sure they have ended, but at the very least, they were in place throughout most of the country 30 years ago. I don't really have much sympathy with people who think systematic racism (in the sense of directly targeted at blacks) ended with either slavery or the civil rights act. The primary mechanism of holding wealth (property) has been systematically and intentionally racist for most of our nation's history.
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noel c.
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JoshuaD,

"Each of us are the confluence of choice and fortune. If you can't see the good fortune you had to be born as someone who is capable of hard work, who has the ability to do hard work, and smart enough to realize that hard work will give long-term benefits, then you're missing something.

I'm not discounting the part your choices and effort played; I agree in part with your statement.

I'm saying that you're missing half of the picture. "...

It was not too many posts ago that I read you making value judgements regarding Seneca's empathic capacity, and your intent to bring him up to your level of enlightenment. Now you want to clarify what he should understand about the "other half" of the presidentially aggravated race divide?

Does it cause you pause at all that you are lecturing a retired black law enforcement officer?

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TomDavidson
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quote:

Resist your tendency to cite actions (anecdotal, or otherwise) that clearly fall outside the scope of the Senate report. After all, it is the "institutionally authorized" torture that you are sermonizing over, correct?

I am sermonizing over torture, you drooling nincompoop. The authorization is your obsession.
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noel c.
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Really, without distinction as to motive, means, or result?

My mistake, you have been debating all this time with yourself.

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TomDavidson
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Joshua, I agree with you in large part. That said, I had the roughly same reaction to "properly" that PSRT did, and I think the reason for it might be informative.

By "properly," you appear to mean "most effectively" -- i.e. "the most likely to produce the desired result." Where privilege comes in is that the "proper" behavior or appearance or form of presentation is, for the majority group, generally their default behavior; maybe it requires a little conscious effort, but rarely more than that. To dress "properly," to speak "properly," to act "properly," at least in America, is to act like the idealized average white guy. In the Deep South, white men still struggle with the perception that their accent means they're somehow "stupider" than faster-speaking Chicagoans; this is much, much worse for a Black or Hispanic man who grew up in inner-city Atlanta, no matter how intelligent they are.

And while it's one thing to say "yeah, you got a raw deal when you started, and our capitalist systems mean you're going to need to work a little harder just to catch up, and that is an injustice," people also rightly point out that non-capitalist systems often require people to learn how to talk, dress, and carry themselves like white men from Chicago or Seattle before they can become really prosperous or appear trustworthy. And those people may indignantly say "Hey, why do we have to change? Can't we change expectations instead?"

I think that's often a nice ideal, but I think it very rarely ever works out that way. On the other hand, I think a lot of the studies we've been doing lately to examine our unconscious biases -- like the way we tend to make tall, non-balding, thin white men into CEOs, because we perceive them as possessing more authority and "leadership potential" regardless of their actual personalities or abilities -- are valuable for us to keep in mind. Part of being a responsible member of a privileged class is to examine our reactions to people and events and ask whether those reactions are rooted in our own cultural expectations.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Really, without distinction as to motive, means, or result?
Yes.
As I said repeatedly, in fact. Nor do I think it makes any sense to attempt to validate torture as a policy based on result; you don't, either, but you're still comfortable authorizing it based on notional results, which is something that I consider stupidly naive at best and evil at worst.

"Means" would be relevant, except that we're explicitly talking about means that meet the legal criteria of "torture." So I don't care whether that involves forcing someone to sit in a tub full of stinging worms or poisonous snakes for an hour or dig open graves, over and over again over 40 hours without sleep, while listening to Barry Manilow.

"Motive" is interesting, of course, because the "ticking time bomb" saw that people put forward -- and that you have, yourself, used as justification here -- is something that actual trained torturers never really consider. Because they all admit that torture is terrible for that sort of thing, and that generally the point of torture is long-term indoctrination; the goal is to turn someone, not get codes for the nuclear device, and the benefits are consequently much murkier.

But, hey, you're welcome to pretend that you know everything there is to know on this topic, as well, and I'll just write you off as a man who's willing to brag excessively about being a monster.

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noel c.
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Tom,

"I am sermonizing over torture, you drooling nincompoop. The authorization is your obsession. "...

For clarity of thought:

(Noel): "Dianne Feinstein actually coordinated release of alleged 'torture' by the CIA inspite of warnings that military personnel would be put at risk."

(Tom): Hey, look, everyone! Noel is whining about the details of our highly immoral and illegal torture program being leaked! Noel, are you willing to go on the record as a big fan of torture, or just not knowing when the CIA is lying to us about torture?"

(Noel): "And where do you find that the CIA did this?"

(Tom): "Have you read the public summary of the report? Try Googling some of the names in it. In particular, you might find this one informative: ..."

- You entered the discussion knowing the senate CIA report was at issue.

- You responded with an inapplicable link to which you *added* details which you left unsupported following a request to do so.

- You now claim that you were pursuing another line of argument altogether. (And a rather self-contradictory one at that)

An inability on your part to sustain a defensible position, does not render my response a target for play-ground style rebuttal. You have made repeated claims that you are right because a multiciicity of Defense Secretaries, CIA Directors, and Deputy CIA Directors are "liars". The basis for their "lying", insofar as you have made any proffer, is that they differ from your pre-assumed conclusion that they are "lying". That is the essence of tautology.

Would you like to reassess your concession that not all "torture" is equal, or is that slip also up for revision?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You entered the discussion knowing the senate CIA report was at issue.
Rather, I entered the discussion pointing out that you were, of all things, claiming to be concerned by public acknowledgement of our torture program.

quote:
You now claim that you were pursuing another line of argument altogether.
What line of argument did you think I was pursuing, noel?

quote:
You have made repeated claims that you are right because a multiciicity of Defense Secretaries, CIA Directors, and Deputy CIA Directors are "liars".
No. I am right because every fact known supports my position. They say otherwise, but their claims are, IMO, less strong precisely because we know them to be liars, and as a result do little to counterbalance the actual assertions of fact put forward from other sources.

quote:
Would you like to reassess your concession that not all "torture" is equal...
Dude, I would actually like you to reassess your depiction of this as a "concession." It has been ridiculous from the beginning that you felt you had to somehow wring this from me, as it's completely irrelevant to anything I've been saying.

Of course there are degrees of torture. And of course the torture of someone who knows the codes to an armed nuclear bomb in Manhattan is arguably more justifiable than the torture of an innocent cab driver. That has never actually been in question, and I have mocked you every time you've acted like it is. What you don't seem to understand -- and why Joshua is patiently asking you questions that have you terrified -- is that it manifestly does not matter. We're not dealing with ticking time bombs and scenarios of certainty, here. We're talking about agents of the state using torture as a policy, and whether this is practical or moral (and noting, much to your apparent dismay, that the two are not identical questions.)

[ December 14, 2014, 09:50 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
quote:
JoshuaD to Seneca:Each of us are the confluence of choice and fortune. If you can't see the good fortune you had to be born as someone who is capable of hard work, who has the ability to do hard work, and smart enough to realize that hard work will give long-term benefits, then you're missing something.

I'm not discounting the part your choices and effort played; I agree in part with your statement.

I'm saying that you're missing half of the picture

Noel:It was not too many posts ago that I read you making value judgements regarding Seneca's empathic capacity, and your intent to bring him up to your level of enlightenment. Now you want to clarify what he should understand about the "other half" of the presidentially aggravated race divide?
My intent wasn't to make a value judgment of Seneca. I was trying to point out that I believed that the arguments he had made were missing an important component of compassion. (In hindsight, I do owe Seneca an apology for the words I chose to express that idea: sorry Seneca.)

I have never made any claim to any level of enlightenment, or try to "bring Seneca up to my level of enlightenment". I'm not sure why you decided to drag my Buddhist practice into this discussion in a negative way, but please don't. I was pointing at something I believed to be a deficiency in Seneca's position. I think that deficiency is universally visible to Christians, Buddhists, Atheists, and Muslims alike.

quote:
Noel c.Does it cause you pause at all that you are lecturing a retired black law enforcement officer?
No. Please see my post on the previous page where I talk about this exact type of question.
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JoshuaD
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As a small said, I don't imagine I'm lecturing Seneca. Not sure why you chose to frame it that way. I think I'm having a conversation with him (and with many others).
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TomDavidson
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FWIW, noel, you may want to read this:
http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/12/14/the-depravity-of-dick-cheney/

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noel c.
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Tom,

"Rather, I entered the discussion pointing out that you were, of all things, claiming to be concerned by public acknowledgement of our torture program. "...

... Where to begin:

- Did you not know about enhanced interrogation prior to the partisan Feinstein report?

- Did you not read that my "concern" was for the welfare of military personnel?

- Did you forget that you claimed not to be talking about "torture as a policy based on result", but "notional" "torture"?

"What line of argument did you think I was pursuing, noel? "...

The one that was responsive to my original statement.

"No. I am right because every fact known supports my position. They say otherwise, but their claims are, IMO, less strong precisely because we know them to be liars, and as a result do little to counterbalance the actual assertions of fact put forward from other sources. "...

Hmmm, "every fact known".

- Is it a fact that that the House, and Senate chairs, and senior members, of the respective intelligence committees were appraised of fourteen specific enhanced interrogation tools?

- Is it a fact that president Bush approved twelve of the methods, and the committees either explicitly, or implicitly. concurred?

- Is it a fact that some democrats complained that the tactics were not "aggressive" enough?

- Is it a fact that multiple sources, who were witness to the interrogation of three terrorists, insist cumulative information confirming the identity of Bin Laden's currier came as a direct consequence of enhanced interrogation methods... and that this followed the unsuccessful application of more passive alternatives?

"Dude, I would actually like you to reassess your depiction of this as a 'concession.' It has been ridiculous from the beginning that you felt you had to somehow wring this from me, as it's completely irrelevant to anything I've been saying. "...

It it relevant that you endorse "torture" while at the same you reject, it in total, as the act of a "monster"... Dude?

"Of course there are degrees of torture. And of course the torture of someone who knows the codes to an armed nuclear bomb in Manhattan is arguably more justifiable than the torture of an innocent cab driver. That has never actually been in question, and I have mocked you every time you've acted like it is. "...

Why, then, do you not have a problem with Feinstein endangering the welfare those tasked with preventing a repeat of 911? (Try to use factual "facts" please, if they are at all critical to your thought processes.)

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noel c.
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Josh,

"I have never made any claim to any level of enlightenment, or try to 'bring Seneca up to my level of enlightenment' "...

Perhaps I misunderstood this statement. :

"But still, I notice that compassion is lacking in the positions Seneca has taken on this board, and so I'm trying to encourage him to let some into his worldview. This isn't an argumentative position concerning the tragedy in Ferguson. 💥It's a general recommendation to Seneca specifically💥."

How was Seneca supposed to have interpreted you?

"No. Please see my post on the previous page where I talk about this exact type of question. "...

Will you do me the favor of quoting yourself if it is not too much trouble?

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TomDavidson
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quote:

- Did you not know about enhanced interrogation prior to the partisan Feinstein report?

- Did you not read that my "concern" was for the welfare of military personnel?

- Did you forget that you claimed not to be talking about "torture as a policy based on result", but "notional" "torture"?

1) No, I knew.
2) I was aware that this was your claimed motivation, yes.
3) No, I didn't forget.

I'm curious why you think any one of those three points actually matters, noel.

quote:
The one that was responsive to my original statement.
Your original statement was an empty, trumped-up whine of "concern" about how publicly acknowledging our systematic torture program was worse than, y'know, actually having a systematic torture program. What argument do you think I made against that position?

quote:
Is it a fact that that the House, and Senate chairs, and senior members, of the respective intelligence committees were appraised of fourteen specific enhanced interrogation tools?

- Is it a fact that president Bush approved twelve of the methods, and the committees either explicitly, or implicitly. concurred?

- Is it a fact that some democrats complained that the tactics were not "aggressive" enough?

Sure. I don't, again, understand why you think that's remotely relevant.

quote:
- Is it a fact that multiple sources, who were witness to the interrogation of three terrorists, insist cumulative information confirming the identity of Bin Laden's currier came as a direct consequence of enhanced interrogation methods... and that this followed the unsuccessful application of more passive alternatives?
Well, sort of. It's a fact that a handful of sources say this. It's also a fact that we have internal CIA documents which identify Bin Laden's courier from other sources. The idea that our torture of a single guy produced a Bin Laden lead is a trumped-up bit of propaganda meant to justify the program, as you put it, post-facto.

quote:
It it relevant that you endorse "torture" while at the same you reject, it in total, as the act of a "monster"
I fail to see where I have even once endorsed torture. Acknowledging that some tortures are worse than others does not constitute endorsement; I would argue that the Bears are a marginally better team than the Titans this year, but I wouldn't "endorse" either of them.

quote:
Why, then, do you not have a problem with Feinstein endangering the welfare those tasked with preventing a repeat of 911?
Heh. You have a few too many embedded assumptions in there to address, noel. Nor, I should add, do I think that "preventing 9/11" is really all that important a goal.
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JoshuaD
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quote:
Noel: Perhaps I misunderstood this statement.
Yes, you did.

quote:
JoshuaD:I have never made any claim to any level of enlightenment, or try to 'bring Seneca up to my level of enlightenment'

Noel: How was Seneca supposed to have interpreted you?

The same way anyone interprets any criticism of their positions on this forum. I think he was missing part of the picture and I think that part of the picture is often missing in the positions he outlines here. So I pointed at it and said "hey, as a friend, I think you should think about that some more."

quote:
Noel:Will you do me the favor of quoting yourself if it is not too much trouble?
[LOL] . Despite the fact that you have repeatedly refused to answer even the most basic question I asked you over 8 pages ago, sure, it's not too much trouble:

quote:
JoshuaD:I'm weighing in late on this part of the thread. I wanted to talk about some of the frustrations I have as a trying-to-be-reasonable white guy is the implication that I don't get to talk about what the blacks are doing that causes the problem.

I'm not raising any argument with what you guys have gone over in the last 10 pages. I agree that we shouldn't be inclined to reject the experiences of others, that we should work toward building an equal system, all of that.

My problem is that, even when I do all of those things, if I say something constructive-but-critical about the black community, I get attacked and shut out.

The problem with race relations in America isn't exclusively the fault of the whites living today. We all inherited a broken machine, and a lot of good people are doing their best to manage it. I don't like the implication that I don't get to be critical of black culture because I'm not black. I get to be critical of White culture. Black's also get to be critical of White culture. Why is there this big wall of fuzz-rage when I am critical of black culture, which I believe is a real component of the problem?

Maybe my criticism is wrong; I'm OK with someone telling me that. I'm just not OK being told "You'll never understand because you're not black and I can't even talk to you about this." (I was told this by a white girl who exclusively dates black men) or that "You'll never know what it is to be black in America." (Again, told this by a white photographer).

Things like this get the moderates like me to tap out pretty quick. God knows I've been wrong in the past, and I know for a fact I'm still wrong about a lot of things now. But nothing shuts down my desire to talk to someone than being told that I don't get to have an opinion or share my thoughts because I'm not part of a particular slice of society, whether it be a minority group, females, the handicapped, or whoever else.

While I'm at it, I'm going re-quote that question I asked you 8 pages ago. I really would like you to answer me directly, clearly, and unequivocally:

quote:
1) Do you think beating a man and hanging a man by his wrists from the ceiling until he dies is something the US government should ever be doing?

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noel c.
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"I fail to see where I have even once endorsed torture. "...

Your most recent... :

"And of course the torture of someone who knows the codes to an armed nuclear bomb in Manhattan is arguably more justifiable than the torture of an innocent cab driver. "...

There are others, all you required was some abstract act of atonement on the part of the torturer.

"Nor, I should add, do I think that 'preventing 9/11' is really all that important a goal. "...

Why not say this at the beginning? I could have simply dismissed you as a crackpot.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Noel:It it relevant that you endorse "torture" while at the same you reject, it in total, as the act of a "monster"

Tom: I fail to see where I have even once endorsed torture.

Noel: Your most recent [post, next line]

Tom: And of course the torture of someone who knows the codes to an armed nuclear bomb in Manhattan is arguably more justifiable than the torture of an innocent cab driver.

That's not an endorsement.

The State putting a serial killer to death is more justified than the state putting an innocent man to death.

That is a true statement. And yet, I did not endorse the death penalty by saying it. I think the death penalty is unjustified in today's society, and yet, the statement above remains a true statement.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
There are others, all you required was some abstract act of atonement on the part of the torturer.
By "abstract," I specifically said that I would require the death penalty, to be abrogated if necessary by public presidential pardon.
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noel c.
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JoshuaD,

"The same way anyone interprets any criticism of their positions on this forum. I think he was missing part of the picture and I think that part of the picture is often missing in the positions he outlines here. So I pointed at it and said 'hey, as a friend, I think you should think about that some more.' "...

I did read that, and it appears non-responsive.

Are you saying that if he only incorporated your "empathetic" assessment of the Ferguson rage, his "worldview" would be better... notwithstanding that he knows something about both law enforcement, and being black?

Aren't you the slightest bit sheepish about your qualifications?

"[LOL] . Despite the fact that you have repeatedly refused to answer even the most basic question I asked you over 8 pages ago, sure, it's not too much trouble: "...

Have you missed the "most basic" answer... even in my immediately preceeding posts?

"That's not an endorsement.

The State putting a serial killer to death is more justified than the state putting an innocent man to death.

That is a true statement. And yet, I did not endorse the death penalty by saying it. I think the death penalty is unjustified in today's society, and yet, the statement above remains a true statement. "...

How do you logically defend "more justification", without acceding *plain* justification. Tom is not laying claim to specific applications at this point, but torture as a general proposition... then again, give him five minutes.

[ December 14, 2014, 11:02 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
How do you logically defend "more justification", without acceding *plain* justification.
Um. Easily?
I mean, surely you agree that Michael Brown had some justification for attacking Officer Wilson, no? But were his actions justified?

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Noel:Are you saying that if he only incorporated your "empathetic" assessment of the Ferguson rage, his "worldview" would be better... notwithstanding that he knows something about both law enforcement, and being black?
Yes.

quote:
Noel:Aren't you the slightest bit sheepish about your qualifications?
No.

quote:
Noel: Have you missed the "most basic" answer... even in my immediately preceeding posts?
Yes. I haven't seen a clear and unequivocal answer to that question from you in this thread. Would you please quote yourself if it is not too much trouble?
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noel c.
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Tom,

"Um. Easily?
I mean, surely you agree that Michael Brown had some justification for attacking Officer Wilson, no? But were his actions justified? "...

I do not agree that Brown had *any* justification for attacking Officer Wilson. You might make a case for *suicide by stupidity•.

That may be morally justified in some circles. I would disagree, but nobody seems to be making that argument.

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