[FoRK] Africa...

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Jan 8 00:20:55 PST 2010

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:
> Hi Stephen,
> On Jan 7, 2010, at 5:41 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> The article below shows an astounding level of ignorance and primitive culture. I often think about how different modern first world people are mentally from those in medieval times and before.
> <sarcasm on>
> Yes, I'm sure an ancient person transported into the modern world circa 1944 would have been deeply impressed by our morality and civility. Especially if they visited Auschwitz and Nagasaki...
> <sarcasm off>

Anywhere in the US and US military, and even in the town of Auschwitz, a 
couple miles away and much of the rest of Germany, they would have 
been.  In the training and practice of the Japanese military or at the 
SS level of Germany's government, not so much.  In wars of the time, it 
was considered necessary to strike broadly, hence the bombing of 
Dresden, London, Tokyo, and eventually Nagasaki.  The thinking was that 
the atomic bombings were likely to save many more lives than they took.  
It seems plausibly true even now although not provable either way. 

The West tried not to do more than it took to bring the most efficient 
end to the barbarism they felt they were combating.  All surviving or 
reconstituted cultures, of the ones involved, are pretty much both moral 
and civil, for the most part, as a result.  The Allies were arguably 
moral and civil even in an existential world war at the time.  Certainly 
there is a lot of angst over bombing civilians, as there should be.  
That is qualitatively different than needless genocide by the SS.

Being ethical / moral and civil doesn't mean that nobody ever does 
violent, potentially bad things.  It means that those things are not 
considered normal, are only done, by non-criminals, after consideration 
and only when it seems to be the course of action that will result in 
the best acceptable outcome.  Additionally, we, generally speaking, work 
hard to shield the young from things that would traumatize them.  
There's plenty to quibble about, but we don't take toddlers to public 
hangings or let children play soccer with heads or whatever.

> -- Ernie P.

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