[FoRK] Dude, where’s my job?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Jan 15 14:13:36 PST 2009

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Jan 15, 2009, at 8:41 AM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> Somehow, regressive, hostile, and obstructive people have to be 
>> brought into the modern world.
> People have been saying such things for all of human history and it 
> has never worked even once, largely because there is no society on the 
> globe that is not teeming with people like this. It is an accident of 
> birth that one militantly provincial fool may live in San Francisco 
> and another in the Sudan but it does not change what they are, it just 
> changes their predilections when it comes to militant provincialism. 
> There are reasonably enlightened individuals, but no enlightened 
> populations anywhere on the planet.

Raw human nature is a probably-terrible thing.  I.e. the possible 
breadth of human personality, thinking habits, belief, and 
possibly-terrible action potentials of a raw human, on average but 
especially worst case, is pretty bad.  Pretty much all societies provide 
training, ideas, structure, and opportunities to do better than worst or 
even random average case.  The most evolved societies are doing pretty 
well on many measures.  Those doing significantly worse should pick up a 
few hints now and then.  Many societies are downright A) ignorant and B) 
neurotic in one or more ways.  When that results in many people dying on 
every other block every day, or any kind of widespread suffering, 
there's an issue that should be addressed.

So, let me disagree more strongly: Yes, there have been such things for 
all of human history, but yes it (i.e. modernizing people) HAS worked, 
obviously!  Not clean, pretty, fair, or just, but of course it has 
worked many times.  Between the Romans, Western Europe, Americas, etc., 
most locations that were colonized are in great shape by most measures.  
Those that couldn't be colonized and were therefore only pillaged 
sources, or were just not interacted with, are a complete mess.

I predict the Middle East will be sick until the rest of the world, one 
way or another, completely devalues oil.  Or until someone nukes someone 
else and the backward societies finally decide they've had enough.
> And that ignores that there is considerable disagreement over what 
> consitutes "regressive, hostile, and obstructive".  Depending on who 
> you ask, that would be *you*.  And I.  And every other person on this 
> mailing list.  Intolerance backed with political power is a 
> double-edged sword, though that rarely seems to bother the people 
> wielding it.

Well, of course, we are the ones that are clearly and provably right.  ;-)
Don't believe that?  I've got a river of honey and 72 virgins on sale.

>> This points to a policy of withholding this technology on an 
>> anti-nuclear proliferation like basis.  Since this should include a 
>> number of Arab countries that have lots of money, this is probably 
>> not workable.  And it gets into too much moralizing perhaps, but I'd 
>> vote for it.  Clean tech for clean countries (laws, policies, 
>> cultural tolerance (i.e. informal law and practices)).
> First, when has this ever worked as a practical matter, and especially 
> today?  Second, why would you condemn the enlightened people in those 
> countries, a minority everywhere, to a life of technological poverty 
> simply because they share political boundaries with someone you 
> disagree with?  How many eggs are you willing to break for your omelet?

Anti-proliferation has worked to some extent.  Not sharing key enabling 
technology is a time-honored right.  Nobody, for a long time, made glass 
like Nikon Japan (not even Nikon in other countries), which is why 
Japanese Nikon lenses are more valuable, even now.  There are many examples.

I'm talking about economic poverty, not technological poverty, at least 
to a large extent.  The ability to have full-automated advanced 
factories doesn't have to be shared for people to benefit.  How many 
iPods are made in the US?
> Speaking of regressive perspectives, I thought were supposed to have 
> matured beyond the point where we thought it was possible -- never 
> mind a good idea -- to impose our utopian ideals on other people by 
> brutal force, which is what you are advocating.  This is a perfect 
> example of why wanton military intervention is politically so easy to 
> rationalize in societies the world over.

I'm suggesting an alternative to military force.  Your statement seems 
to be implying that we should give up in all senses and never care what 
any society does, how it treats it's people, or any other measure of 
whether there should be sanctions anywhere along the spectrum.  I 
disprove that with a series of cases, the first being genocide.  I would 
then add mutilation, extreme arbitrary justice (killings for non-felony 
offenses), torture, inability to educate youth, starvation, slavery or 
even semi-slave labor, etc.
> I thought we just got done condemning governments for doing this, and 
> now it is a good idea again? It is no wonder that history repeats itself.

Being intolerant of intolerance is not intolerance.  Which "this" are 
you talking about exactly?

Cheery as always,
Stephen / sdw
> Cheers,
> J. Andrew Rogers

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