"Who needs a homeland?" (was: How can this be justified?)
Stephen D. Williams
Wed, 03 Oct 2001 10:51:08 -0400
Here here! Nice Summary Russell.
Let's vote on this as the FoRK Foundation (committee, think tank, cabal,
task force, standing committee on socio-politico-psycho-techno-issues,
what have you) and present it to someone who can tweak the system somewhere!
Russell Turpin wrote:
> Jeff Bone asks:
>>>For that matter, why do the Jews need a "homeland"?
>>>Why does anyone need a "homeland" in this day and
> Wayne Baisley writes:
>>A breathtaking transition from "people's interests are
>>supreme" to "people, who cares what they want", and
>>in just 24 hours! I musta missed some something.
> Since you missed it, I will endeavor to point out one
> of the larger themes that has been discussed in this
> (1) Since before we were people, groups have fought
> over "homeland." Even many of our pongid cousins
> do this.
> (2) As far back as history records, groups have
> created a mythology to justify this, often involving
> some special relationship between the gods and the
> group, a mythopoetic explanation of how the group
> obtained or deserves their homeland, and an
> ontology that sets the group above all other
> groups. Prehistoric archaeology gives tantalizing
> hints of the same. If we can't label this primitive,
> then nothing deserves the label.
> (3) Throughout history, this primitive "want" has
> resulted in constant war. The practical reason is
> that homelands are limited, and a homeland that
> is any good, or even marginal, has many peoples
> who stake a claim to it. Moreover, a group
> that strategizes along these lines will fight to
> expand its homeland when its population grows.
> The inevitable result has been continual
> territorial warfare. This "want" has been at the
> root of the most inhumane wars, because the
> primitive mythology where each group posits
> that they are "chosen," "more human," "more
> advanced," etc. justifies the most horrendous
> acts. Added to this, there is a practical
> consequence of wars fought from this kind
> of ideology: unless you genocidally destroy
> the enemy, their children, practicing the same
> ideology, will be compelled to fight again for
> what they view as their homeland. In some
> of these mythologies, the need to commit
> genocide is turned into a command from God:
> "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy
> all that they have; do not spare them, but kill
> both man and woman, infant and suckling,
> ox and sheep, camel and ass." [1 Samuel 15:3]
> (4) This primitive "want" is so strong, that as
> far as I can tell, history shows only two ways
> that different peoples can live together in
> piece. (a) Some group is so successful in its
> conquest that it establishes a nation or empire
> in which the conquered groups no longer fight
> each other. While not always ideal, it is what
> we typically imagine when we use the term
> "civilization." Greece, the empire, not Greece
> the squabbling set of city states. Britain, not
> the Picts, Welsh, Norse, and Saxons.
> (b) Modern democracies give rise to secular
> states where all ethnic and religious
> groups are given the same legal standing. This
> works so well, that it legitimately gives rise
> to the question: "Who needs a homeland?"
> American Jews are safer and freer than
> Israeli Jews, and given the dim prospects for
> peace in Israel, this ironic state seems likely
> to persist for the foreseeable future.
> (5) If squabbles between different peoples
> over a homeland are still fought in the 22nd
> century, they will be fought with smart,
> biological, and nanotech weapons, whose
> damage is very likely to spill over into the
> civilized areas of the earth.
> (6) Given the desire to secure civilization
> in the 22nd century, and the ability of modern
> secular states to provide a relatively safe
> polity for different ethnic and religious groups,
> yes, I will urge that these needs should take
> precedence over the primitive wants that
> lead to continual war of group against group.
> The western democracies should make it a
> long term goal to persuade, induce, bribe,
> intellectually pollute, browbeat, and sometimes
> even threaten more primitive states into
> dropping all legal prejudice with regard to
> ethnicity and religion. State racism and state
> religion have no place in the distant future. If
> we're to have a distant future.
Stephen D. Williams
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