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  #201  
Old 05-22-2019, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
He also appears to be arguing that running for president is equivalent. If I'm reading him correctly. I don't get it at all.
You're not reading me correctly. I'm trying to apply your reasoning. Here is how you explained that war is different:
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Because of the massive, incredible, colossal harm that stupid wars do. That's not comparable to the potential harm of doing the wrong thing in any of those other issues that have been brought up.
Based on this, the coward standard should apply to anything that creates massive, incredible, colossal harm. Right?

Like I said, it seems like concocting a way to justify calling people names.
  #202  
Old 05-22-2019, 12:37 PM
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You're not reading me correctly. I'm trying to apply your reasoning. Here is how you explained that war is different:

Based on this, the coward standard should apply to anything that creates massive, incredible, colossal harm. Right?

Like I said, it seems like concocting a way to justify calling people names.
Okay, I think you're closer here, but you're still missing that it's about contribution, risk, and sacrifice. All three of those. Random liberal deciding to run for president against Trump doesn't offer anything at all in the realm of "contribution", and likely nothing as well in the realms of "risk and sacrifice", in terms of beating Trump. Rather, if that random liberal doesn't vote and contribute some degree of spare time and/or money to helping defeat Trump, then I would have no problem considering him a coward (or perhaps a more appropriate negative epithet) if they're complaining about Trump. But a random gung-ho young and healthy American really can contribute in the military and really would be making a sacrifice in doing so. There might be other ways, but shopping and paying taxes don't meet the cut.

My point is not about pointless gestures -- it's about real contribution and real sacrifice. If you can come up with a comparison that maintains that level of real contribution and real sacrifice, then I'll certainly consider it. But a random guy running for president doesn't cut it.
  #203  
Old 05-22-2019, 12:45 PM
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Yes, military personnel have for some reason come to the belief that they should be privileged. Being able to support wars without being called a coward is another privilege they want to enjoy.
WillFarnaby has done us the favor of openly showing us what American conservatism has become. Jealously deriding the "privilege" of putting one's life on the line for one's country, pooh-poohing the idea that courage lends weight to one's opinion.

Conservatives, this is what you are now, and you aren't even embarrassed.
  #204  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:01 PM
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I'd also like to point out that the primary thrust of my argument is "it would be good for society and our country if these folks were shamed as cowards" much more than "it's entirely perfectly logical that these folks should be considered cowards". I don't really care nearly as much if people disagree with the latter -- I'm interested in what folks think about the former.
Overall, it probably won't help. There are too many counter-examples (as seen in this thread) where the side making the accusation wants to wave it off or change the subject.

If Trump is a gutless coward, it is difficult to argue that Hilary Clinton isn't a gutless coward for the same reasons, and Bill Clinton the draft-dodger even more.

Feel free to try it if you want. No doubt it would go over big on the SDMB. For a less partisan audience - probably not so much.

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  #205  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:03 PM
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If Trump is a gutless coward, it is difficult to argue that Hilary Clinton isn't a gutless coward for the same reasons, and Bill Clinton the draft-dodger even more.
Ha! Do you have any illusions that I'd disagree with these statements? I think it's highly likely that they are indeed cowards (not that I'm sure if the same reasoning applies -- I don't think Bill Clinton was in favor of the Vietnam War... but he's still probably a coward).

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  #206  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:11 PM
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Yes, military personnel have for some reason come to the belief that they should be privileged. Being able to support wars without being called a coward is another privilege they want to enjoy.
This is not my understanding of iiandyiii's argument. As I understand, iiandyiii believes a war of choice to be so horrible that reducing public debate to ad hominem attacks is warranted, so long as this improves the chance of avoiding an what he seems an unnecessary war. In other words he considers life more sacred than liberty, in this extreme situation.

It is an admirable position but one that I fundamentally disagree with. Certainly witnessing the horrors of war could impart a different perspective on the debate over life versus liberty. But it seems to me that liberty is still more important - better to die a free man. Perhaps my views will mellow with time... or with war.

~Max

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  #207  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:13 PM
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Yes, military personnel have for some reason come to the belief that they should be privileged. Being able to support wars without being called a coward is another privilege they want to enjoy.
You don't know what the hell you're talking about.
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  #208  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:14 PM
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This is not my understanding of iiandyiii's argument. As I understand, iiandyiii believes a war of choice to be so horrible that reducing public debate to ad hominem attacks is warranted, so long as this improves the chance of avoiding an what he seems an unnecessary war.
This is mostly accurate -- I think social shaming could be an effective tool to reduce warmongering by chicken-hawks.

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In other words he considers life more sacred than liberty, in this extreme situation.
This is inaccurate, since there's nothing about encouraging individual citizens to say "you're a coward!" to some others that reduces liberty.
  #209  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:40 PM
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Maybe it's my imagination, but if I am reading correctly (and my knowledge of Dopers is correct), all the veterans in this thread appear to be on one side (my side ) of the issue. I find that very interesting, if it's accurate.
Let me give you a counter example then. I quite vehemently disagree.

One of the reasons is issues with shaming as a technique. Aside from issues about just how effective it can be it fits in with the kind of rhetoric that seems to fall in line with the research about what triggers authoritarians into their usual defensive techniques -- overt bigotry. I'd call helping white supremacist groups recruit and strengthening Trump's base a pretty major unintended consequence. That may be just what you are proposing.

This is also a more aggressive form of a technique that's already been used for a long time. That's an implication of cowardice by asking questions like "when are you going to enlist?" If it works, the effects already mostly baked into our current politics. I'm not sure going from a strong implication of cowardice to an overt accusation helps. I could actually see being more overt hurting the technique by getting more direct pushback.

The people who use that implication also tend, IME, to oppose use of military force in response to all but relatively clear existential threats. That keeps us out of situations where use of force is stupid. It also keeps us out of situations where use of force makes sense and minimizes long term costs and suffering. Sometimes preventative or preemptive strikes make sense. Sometimes fully optional use of force makes sense. IME those who imply cowardice tend to look only at the immediate costs of the operation they oppose while ignoring both the benefits of the action and the costs associated with doing nothing. It's easy to rationalize opposition to any conflict if you are just ignoring big chunks of the cost vs benefit picture. There's always bad involved in using force. That's true even when it's still the best course of action. I can't see how turning the rhetoric up to eleven by making the accusations of cowardice overt helps with that issue.

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I'd also like to point out that the primary thrust of my argument is "it would be good for society and our country if these folks were shamed as cowards" much more than "it's entirely perfectly logical that these folks should be considered cowards". I don't really care nearly as much if people disagree with the latter -- I'm interested in what folks think about the former.
I cut people who are that personally manipulative out of my life as early as possible. If I can't completely excise them, I ignore them as much as possible while working to minimize interaction. Anybody who tries something similar to your technique on me basically gives up the future opportunity to be heard. I don't have the time. There are other people, even ones I wildly disagree with, that treat me and those around me with decency and respect.
  #210  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:47 PM
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Let me give you a counter example then. I quite vehemently disagree.

One of the reasons is issues with shaming as a technique. Aside from issues about just how effective it can be it fits in with the kind of rhetoric that seems to fall in line with the research about what triggers authoritarians into their usual defensive techniques -- overt bigotry. I'd call helping white supremacist groups recruit and strengthening Trump's base a pretty major unintended consequence. That may be just what you are proposing.

This is also a more aggressive form of a technique that's already been used for a long time. That's an implication of cowardice by asking questions like "when are you going to enlist?" If it works, the effects already mostly baked into our current politics. I'm not sure going from a strong implication of cowardice to an overt accusation helps. I could actually see being more overt hurting the technique by getting more direct pushback.

The people who use that implication also tend, IME, to oppose use of military force in response to all but relatively clear existential threats. That keeps us out of situations where use of force is stupid. It also keeps us out of situations where use of force makes sense and minimizes long term costs and suffering. Sometimes preventative or preemptive strikes make sense. Sometimes fully optional use of force makes sense. IME those who imply cowardice tend to look only at the immediate costs of the operation they oppose while ignoring both the benefits of the action and the costs associated with doing nothing. It's easy to rationalize opposition to any conflict if you are just ignoring big chunks of the cost vs benefit picture. There's always bad involved in using force. That's true even when it's still the best course of action. I can't see how turning the rhetoric up to eleven by making the accusations of cowardice overt helps with that issue.
Fair enough -- this appears to be a tactical critique that largely agrees with the overall goal (minimize dumb wars).

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I cut people who are that personally manipulative out of my life as early as possible. If I can't completely excise them, I ignore them as much as possible while working to minimize interaction. Anybody who tries something similar to your technique on me basically gives up the future opportunity to be heard. I don't have the time. There are other people, even ones I wildly disagree with, that treat me and those around me with decency and respect.
Fair enough again. Thanks for your thoughts.
  #211  
Old 05-22-2019, 02:08 PM
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Fair enough -- this appears to be a tactical critique that largely agrees with the overall goal (minimize dumb wars).
I see a number of possibilities in the near term for use of military force against Iran that I wouldn't classify as dumb though. As a specific current case, I bet we're defining dumb quite differently.

My concern isn't just about avoiding dumb wars. It's about making smart decisions with regard to using military force. Sure that means being smart enough to avoid some wars. Sometimes it means being smart enough to know when it's time to go to war even without an existential threat. You are focused on only one piece of my areas of concern. Your solution seems to focus on reducing one kind of dumb decision while accepting significant risk of increasing the other kind of dumb decision. That's much more than a tactical critique.

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  #212  
Old 05-22-2019, 02:14 PM
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The people who use that implication also tend, IME, to oppose use of military force in response to all but relatively clear existential threats. That keeps us out of situations where use of force is stupid. It also keeps us out of situations where use of force makes sense and minimizes long term costs and suffering. Sometimes preventative or preemptive strikes make sense. Sometimes fully optional use of force makes sense. IME those who imply cowardice tend to look only at the immediate costs of the operation they oppose while ignoring both the benefits of the action and the costs associated with doing nothing. It's easy to rationalize opposition to any conflict if you are just ignoring big chunks of the cost vs benefit picture. There's always bad involved in using force. That's true even when it's still the best course of action. I can't see how turning the rhetoric up to eleven by making the accusations of cowardice overt helps with that issue.
If you and I are standing outside a burning building and we are both reasonably capable of going in to rescue someone that is trapped inside, then we might both do a cost/benefit analysis and decide for ourselves whether it is a risk we are each willing to accept. However, if you turn to me and say, 'I think you need to run inside while I remain safely here.' I have every right to call you a coward.

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I cut people who are that personally manipulative out of my life as early as possible. If I can't completely excise them, I ignore them as much as possible while working to minimize interaction. Anybody who tries something similar to your technique on me basically gives up the future opportunity to be heard. I don't have the time. There are other people, even ones I wildly disagree with, that treat me and those around me with decency and respect.
I agree.
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  #213  
Old 05-22-2019, 02:17 PM
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I see a number of possibilities in the near term for use of military force against Iran that I wouldn't classify as dumb though. As a specific current case, I bet we're defining dumb quite differently.

My concern isn't just about avoiding dumb wars. It's about making smart decisions with regard to using military force. Sure that means being smart enough to avoid some wars. Sometimes it means being smart enough to know when it's time to go to war even without an existential threat. You are focused on only one piece of my areas of concern. Your solution seems to focus on reducing one kind of dumb decision while accepting significant risk of increasing the other kind of dumb decision. That's much more than a tactical critique.
What I hear you saying is, you are willing to make a strategic decision to sacrifice a few lives now, vs potentially many more lives down the road. Are any of those lives you are willing to sacrifice now your own or of those you love?
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  #214  
Old 05-22-2019, 02:22 PM
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I see a number of possibilities in the near term for use of military force against Iran that I wouldn't classify as dumb though. As a specific current case, I bet we're defining dumb quite differently.
We probably are. I can't conceive of any military action against Iran in which we could have any reasonable prediction of how the aftermath would go -- and without that, I see it as rolling the dice. Rolling the dice, militarily speaking, shouldn't occur unless the choice is between rolling the dice and being obliterated, IMO. We should know by now that the Middle East is an inherently chaotic and unpredictable region, and it's impossible for outside powers to exert their will militarily there with any decent likelihood that the long-term outcome will be positive.

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My concern isn't just about avoiding dumb wars. It's about making smart decisions with regard to using military force. Sure that means being smart enough to avoid some wars. Sometimes it means being smart enough to know when it's time to go to war even without an existential threat. You are focused on only one piece of my areas of concern. Your solution seems to focus on reducing one kind of dumb decision while accepting significant risk of increasing the other kind of dumb decision. That's much more than a tactical critique.
I think the attitude above is a big part of the problem with the conventional wisdom of the country's general approach to war. Historically, the US hasn't even been in the same galaxy as "being smart enough to know when it's time to go to war even without an existential threat". The vast majority of the time, at least in recent decades (but probably much longer), we've gone to war without an existential threat, it's been negative. Usually an utter disaster.

Perhaps it's hubris -- we think "we're the US, the military can solve this problem". But it almost never can. We need to change this way of thinking, because the military solution almost always makes things worse.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:55 PM
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What I hear you saying is, you are willing to make a strategic decision to sacrifice a few lives now, vs potentially many more lives down the road.
It's not necessarily just lives. Since WWII, the rules based approach to international relations has contributed a lot of stability that's helped with lifting people out of extreme poverty and repression. That both saves lives and reduces serious suffering even ignoring the implications of what happens with future conflicts. The international organizations tasked with enforcing the rules are relatively weak. Madeline Albright as Secretary of State under Clinton called the US an "indispensable nation" in ensuring that order. (Former SECDEF Mattis also used that language in his resignation letter.) Without the combination of military and soft power the US possesses in support that system can be extremely weak. It's not as simplistic as the notion of the US as the world's policeman. I've joked about it as being more like the patrol supervisor for the police shift on duty.

I'm willing to sacrifice lives to maintain that structure and stability in order to both save and improve lives later.

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Are any of those lives you are willing to sacrifice now your own or of those you love?
I'm a retired Army officer.

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  #216  
Old 05-22-2019, 02:59 PM
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This is inaccurate, since there's nothing about encouraging individual citizens to say "you're a coward!" to some others that reduces liberty.
Your stated goal is to prevent what you believe to be "dumb wars", and if argumenta ad hominem do not stifle public debate via the threat of societal retribution I cannot find consistency between the proposed stratagem and the goal it is supposed to effect. You are attaching a stigma to the liberty of free speech. You haven't convinced anyone that the label of cowardice is deserved, and you cannot do so without begging the question. An undeserved social stigma is as much a chilling effect on liberty as a government-imposed punishment, particularly if that stigma leads to death threats.

If you will remember our previous exchanges:

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I want everyone to speak up and converse, but I want fewer dumb wars (and fewer wars in general) even more than that.
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Maybe I should have elaborated. Adding a character attack to your argument could make someone back down and reconsider their position, if you could convince them that advocating a justified war without enlisting is cowardly. I don't know any personality types that would be swayed to one side of a debate because you say, 'if your belief is wrong you are a coward'. At most you move the hawk-by-default to a skeptical position, while simultaneously risking a breakdown in honest public debate. You don't win anybody over with a character attack, and you risk the liberty of public debate in doing so.

You might keep the country out of war, but not by convincing the country that the war is unjustified. Instead you did it by injecting vitriol into public debate, by chilling free speech and shaming your opponents. Is it worth it?
If it's a dumb war, then yes, it's worth it (in your hypothetical). If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong and deserve criticism.
I don't share Bone's strawman objection because it is clear to me that you would only pursue this stratagem for acts you consider "beyond the pale" such as war, rape, child molestation, etcetera. I am of the opinion that war does not have that sort of near universal consensus, that some people might disagree with you about whether a war is necessary or not, and that your accusation of cowardice is therefore only valid when conditioned upon the war being unnecessary. I don't think you consider yourself holier than me, so I interpreted your responses to that question as being in agreement.

Now, unlike a politically-selective draft, you are allowed to call people cowards. That is your right. I just don't think it is the right thing to do.

From where I'm standing, either you hold life/security as more sacred than liberty, or you are merely saying "I am holier than thou" as WillFarnaby suggested.

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 05-22-2019 at 03:03 PM.
  #217  
Old 05-22-2019, 03:04 PM
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This appears to be a fundamental disagreement on the nature of liberty, Max. For example - right now, because of social shaming, people generally don't advocate for the legalization of sex with children. I don't believe this social shaming reduces our liberty one little bit. Do you disagree? If not, then I'm not sure why you think the social shaming I advocate for reduces liberty. If you do disagree, then our understanding of liberty is orders of magnitude apart.
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  #218  
Old 05-22-2019, 03:09 PM
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This appears to be a fundamental disagreement on the nature of liberty, Max. For example - right now, because of social shaming, people generally don't advocate for the legalization of sex with children. I don't believe this social shaming reduces our liberty one little bit. Do you disagree? If not, then I'm not sure why you think the social shaming I advocate for reduces liberty. If you do disagree, then our understanding of liberty is orders of magnitude apart
I do disagree. There isn't a serious debate over whether having sex with children is OK, if someone advocated for that they would be rightfully shot down by the rest of society because there is consensus that having sex with children is always wrong.

In contrast there is a serious debate over whether any particular military action is justified or not, and you have admitted yourself that there are at least some military actions that are justified.

~Max
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:13 PM
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I do disagree. There isn't a serious debate over whether having sex with children is OK, if someone advocated for that they would be rightfully shot down by the rest of society because there is consensus that having sex with children is always wrong.



In contrast there is a serious debate over whether any particular military action is justified or not, and you have admitted yourself that there are at least some military actions that are justified.



~Max
You disagree that social shaming of child sex advocates doesn't reduce liberty?

Or if this is about a lack of consensus about most military action, that's what I'm trying to change. I'm saying there should be consensus that the vast majority of military action outside of immediate existential threats, has been foolish and must be opposed. I'm advocating a way that might help move us towards that consensus. I'm advocating for speech. It's impossible that speech alone can restrict free speech. If so, then you're creating an endless circle - you're advocating speech against my speech against other speech... And that makes no logical sense.
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  #220  
Old 05-22-2019, 03:15 PM
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By virtue of being a citizen of this country, you have the right to support our government's decisions to go to war or to not do so whether you intend to commit yourself to joining the fight or not. It's called democracy and we all get to, and should, participate in the process. That said, even though you have the first amendment right to be a jingoistic saber rattler, you do earn societal rebuke for being so if you are not willing to put yourself on the fronts. Publicly supporting a position is not the same as being in-your-face confrontational about it.
  #221  
Old 05-22-2019, 03:46 PM
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I'm advocating for speech. It's impossible that speech alone can restrict free speech. If so, then you're creating an endless circle - you're advocating speech against my speech against other speech... And that makes no logical sense.
Well... let's not pretend that a broad-based campaign of speech to denigrate one's opponents isn't a big issue. McCarthyist witch hunts amounted to primarily rabble-rousing speech (though surely not entirely so), and it hurt a hell of a lot of people.
  #222  
Old 05-22-2019, 03:47 PM
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You disagree that social shaming of child sex advocates doesn't reduce liberty?
I almost thought I had confused myself with the double negatives. Societal shaming of child sex advocates does amount to a restraint on liberty, but there is consensus that the chilling effect is justified in all cases, thus the restraint on liberty is justified. Societal shaming of draft-eligible war hawks who intend to remain civilians is missing that consensus, and thus constitutes an unjustified restraint on liberty.
Indeed, it is the very debate over whether a particular military action is justified where you intend to place accusations of cowardice. You say this is for the express purpose of making people of certain personalities sensitive to such an accusation reconsider their position, that is, for them to be intimidated by the threat of societal derision and humiliation. To do this before or during the debate itself seems premature and counter to the principles of our country.

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Or if this is about a lack of consensus about most military action, that's what I'm trying to change. I'm saying there should be consensus that the vast majority of military action outside of immediate existential threats, has been foolish and must be opposed. I'm advocating a way that might help move us towards that consensus. I'm advocating for speech. It's impossible that speech alone can restrict free speech.
Speech alone does not restrict free speech. The effects of your speech restrict free speech. In fact, if your accusations of cowardice fail to intimidate other people, then there is no point at all.

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If so, then you're creating an endless circle - you're advocating speech against my speech against other speech... And that makes no logical sense.
I'm not telling other people to tell you how misguided you are. I am telling you directly that your intentions are well-meant, but the methods are misguided. I do so at your own request.

~Max
  #223  
Old 05-22-2019, 03:52 PM
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Well... let's not pretend that a broad-based campaign of speech to denigrate one's opponents isn't a big issue. McCarthyist witch hunts amounted to primarily rabble-rousing speech (though surely not entirely so), and it hurt a hell of a lot of people.
It can certainly be harmful. But not necessarily. Polite society looks askance at advocacy for segregation or slavery. I want them to look askance at warmongering as well.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:59 PM
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I almost thought I had confused myself with the double negatives. Societal shaming of child sex advocates does amount to a restraint on liberty, but there is consensus that the chilling effect is justified in all cases, thus the restraint on liberty is justified. Societal shaming of draft-eligible war hawks who intend to remain civilians is missing that consensus, and thus constitutes an unjustified restraint on liberty.

Indeed, it is the very debate over whether a particular military action is justified where you intend to place accusations of cowardice. You say this is for the express purpose of making people of certain personalities sensitive to such an accusation reconsider their position, that is, for them to be intimidated by the threat of societal derision and humiliation. To do this before or during the debate itself seems premature and counter to the principles of our country.





Speech alone does not restrict free speech. The effects of your speech restrict free speech. In fact, if your accusations of cowardice fail to intimidate other people, then there is no point at all.





I'm not telling other people to tell you how misguided you are. I am telling you directly that your intentions are well-meant, but the methods are misguided. I do so at your own request.



~Max
I just don't see freedom from social consequences for one's speech as part of liberty. Such consequences can be unfair or unjust, though I don't think they are in this instance.
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  #225  
Old 05-22-2019, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
It can certainly be harmful. But not necessarily. Polite society looks askance at advocacy for segregation or slavery. I want them to look askance at warmongering as well.
The obvious issue being, it's you who is defining what is (or presumably isn't) 'warmongering'. Essentially, you are attempting to shut down discussion for anyone who isn't current or former military in cases YOU think are 'warmongering', as there isn't any sort of universally accepted definition of that wrt US military policy. YOU don't think that the US should be thinking (or debating I suppose) military action against Iran, and are offended that many people who advocate for it aren't willing to join the military, or aren't currently in the military...and, perhaps, that they are perhaps in the military but wouldn't be at threat for being at the sharp end of the spear wrt any military action we might take in Iran. But it's YOU defining what all this is, arbitrarily, and then using that arbitrary definition to then label some subset of people who you disagree with as 'cowards'. This seemingly includes many politicians from both political parties, as you've indicated up thread, but it could encompass many more. I'm former military. Does this mean I get a pass for 'warmongering'? I was in the Navy, and all my deployments were either in the US or in the Pacific, with the exception of some duties I did during the first Gulf War that were relatively close to the ME. I wasn't, however, in any sort of real threat...I wasn't a pilot flying combat strike missions or anything remotely like that. So, if I advocated for the US participation in the first Gulf War, does that mean I am or am not a 'coward'? And how do you arrive at your conclusion? Based on historical hindsight? Based on your opinion on whether the first Gulf War was or wasn't important? Based on the fact I was in the military, or based on the fact that I actually had almost no risk wrt combat in the first Gulf War? IMHO, it's all a huge chain of unsupported and arbitrary definitions and positions YOU are coming up with, which has no actual validity outside of yourself. Hell, I'd guess that there might be disagreement between you and those in this thread who have seemingly supported you on which conflicts were or weren't necessary or justified or whatever criteria you are using. There are some in this thread who might be thinking that the US should never have and never in the future use military action, and some that might think that specific instances are or were justified while others weren't, and those lists might not align with your own. You SAY you don't want to shut down all discussion by anyone who isn't current or former military, but then it's fairly arbitrary when someone who isn't can or can't discuss these things without you labeling them 'coward'. To me, as I've already said, if you got your way and you could publicly shame anyone for advocating US military intervention who doesn't meet whatever arbitrary criteria you are using, the result would be to shut down all discussion except for some elite that you are defining. And that not a good thing AND is kind of directly against what this country is supposed to be. You were former military, so you should know that the military is controlled by civilian types, many of who never served and never wanted too. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be involved in the discussion, or that they are 'cowards' if they didn't or don't want to server...man, just the opposite. Our system wasn't ever supposed to be some military elitist thing where 'cowardly' civies aren't allowed to discuss things unless they agree with you or me or some other arbitrary dude on the internet.
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  #226  
Old 05-22-2019, 04:26 PM
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The obvious issue being, it's you who is defining what is (or presumably isn't) 'warmongering'. Essentially, you are attempting to shut down discussion for anyone who isn't current or former military in cases YOU think are 'warmongering', as there isn't any sort of universally accepted definition of that wrt US military policy. YOU don't think that the US should be thinking (or debating I suppose) military action against Iran, and are offended that many people who advocate for it aren't willing to join the military, or aren't currently in the military...and, perhaps, that they are perhaps in the military but wouldn't be at threat for being at the sharp end of the spear wrt any military action we might take in Iran. But it's YOU defining what all this is, arbitrarily, and then using that arbitrary definition to then label some subset of people who you disagree with as 'cowards'. This seemingly includes many politicians from both political parties, as you've indicated up thread, but it could encompass many more. I'm former military. Does this mean I get a pass for 'warmongering'? I was in the Navy, and all my deployments were either in the US or in the Pacific, with the exception of some duties I did during the first Gulf War that were relatively close to the ME. I wasn't, however, in any sort of real threat...I wasn't a pilot flying combat strike missions or anything remotely like that. So, if I advocated for the US participation in the first Gulf War, does that mean I am or am not a 'coward'? And how do you arrive at your conclusion? Based on historical hindsight? Based on your opinion on whether the first Gulf War was or wasn't important? Based on the fact I was in the military, or based on the fact that I actually had almost no risk wrt combat in the first Gulf War? IMHO, it's all a huge chain of unsupported and arbitrary definitions and positions YOU are coming up with, which has no actual validity outside of yourself. Hell, I'd guess that there might be disagreement between you and those in this thread who have seemingly supported you on which conflicts were or weren't necessary or justified or whatever criteria you are using. There are some in this thread who might be thinking that the US should never have and never in the future use military action, and some that might think that specific instances are or were justified while others weren't, and those lists might not align with your own. You SAY you don't want to shut down all discussion by anyone who isn't current or former military, but then it's fairly arbitrary when someone who isn't can or can't discuss these things without you labeling them 'coward'. To me, as I've already said, if you got your way and you could publicly shame anyone for advocating US military intervention who doesn't meet whatever arbitrary criteria you are using, the result would be to shut down all discussion except for some elite that you are defining. And that not a good thing AND is kind of directly against what this country is supposed to be. You were former military, so you should know that the military is controlled by civilian types, many of who never served and never wanted too. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be involved in the discussion, or that they are 'cowards' if they didn't or don't want to server...man, just the opposite. Our system wasn't ever supposed to be some military elitist thing where 'cowardly' civies aren't allowed to discuss things unless they agree with you or me or some other arbitrary dude on the internet.
If I thought our system (and society!) weren't fundamentally broken in some crucial ways, I might agree with you. But they're broken -- broken hard. I'm willing to use any rhetorical tool that might help prevent it from getting broken further. It really is desperate times. If you don't think times are desperate, then I'm probably not going to be convincing to you in the least.

Also, it's hard to read blocks of text like this.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 05-22-2019 at 04:26 PM.
  #227  
Old 05-22-2019, 04:36 PM
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If I thought our system (and society!) weren't fundamentally broken in some crucial ways, I might agree with you. But they're broken -- broken hard. I'm willing to use any rhetorical tool that might help prevent it from getting broken further. It really is desperate times. If you don't think times are desperate, then I'm probably not going to be convincing to you in the least.

Also, it's hard to read blocks of text like this.
Sorry, I'm posting from an iPad at the air port.

The thing is, when AREN'T times desperate? Let me ask you a question here...let's say it's 1938 and someone is advocating for the US to intervene in Europe or take a harder line with respect to Japan. These wouldn't have been popular positions. Using your criteria though, no one who wasn't in the military or wasn't willing to join could or should be able to 'warmonger' for US intervention without you labeling them 'coward'....correct? Can you explain why or why not? Give it serious thought, don't just handwave it away. You don't know anything more than you would in 1938, and you are just Joe Citizen, just as you are today. Or, let's say some guys at the bar who have never been in the military and aren't going to join it are advocating for a rebellion against our British overlords, but you don't know anything more than Joe Citizen knows at the time. Again, consider this wrt what you are advocating and then consider...was Thomas Jefferson and the rest REALLY cowards? Should only George Washington basically have been able to weigh in on this without you labeling the rest 'cowards'??

That's the thing. You are going to label a bunch of folks 'coward' using your own arbitrary stances and definitions and based on your own opinion of what you THINK are or aren't military actions or stances or even wars that the US has or may participate in. I don't think things are that desperate that we need to resort to this sort of thing. Instead, a reasoned discussion can be had on the subject of whether the US should or shouldn't use military action or the threat of military action in the future. But our CIVILIAN elected officials need to be able and free to discuss this stuff, and our citizens to voice their opinions for or against without constraint and without someone labeling them 'coward' because THEY DISAGREE.
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  #228  
Old 05-22-2019, 04:45 PM
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Using your criteria though, no one who wasn't in the military or wasn't willing to join could or should be able to 'warmonger' for US intervention without you labeling them 'coward'....correct? Can you explain why or why not?.
When the question turns to choosing whether it's worthwhile to direct others to die, your seriousness should always be gauged by "what if it was you? have you ever been in that position? your children?"

I might walk back from the stance of labeling them with an insult such as "coward", but I will say if you are suggesting others ought to make deep sacrifices that you prefer not to, then your opinion on the matter weighs about as much as a white feather. Or should, at least.
  #229  
Old 05-22-2019, 04:57 PM
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When the question turns to choosing whether it's worthwhile to direct others to die, your seriousness should always be gauged by "what if it was you? have you ever been in that position? your children?"
Who is 'you' in this context? Me? You? Our elected officials? If the later, then no...I disagree. What they SHOULD be thinking about is...what's best for the country? What does the country need? If they are thinking in terms of their own personal stake (their family, their lives, whatever) then they probably aren't thinking about what's best for the country, since, frankly, most people don't want to risk their own or more importantly the lives of those who they love. But sometimes lives have to be risked for the good of the country. The problem with arbitrarily deciding when that is or isn't right, or when folks should or shouldn't be allowed to discuss or advocate for it is the hindsight part of what I was getting at (probably poorly) in my last post. At the time, the OP's sentiments might have shut down all discussion about the US putting more pressure on Japan (could have lead to war...in fact, it DID lead to war) or getting more directly involved in Europe (same...we were, at one point fighting a covert war with the German Navy after all, and our ships were getting sunk and our sailors killed). But that wouldn't have been a good thing...my WAG is the OP doesn't think it would have been. But that's because, in hindsight (post 1938) it's pretty obvious what we should have done.

We all need to be free to discuss this stuff openly and without label. Now, if the argument being used is something like 'we should nuke those dirty erranianz back to the stone age', then this can and should be derided as the un-nuanced crap it is. Like the motto of the board, attack the post, not the poster. Attack the argument, don't use a broad brush designed to shut down ALL discussion except for some arbitrary select group who can because they are willing to risk their lives (or they don't have a choice...my WAG is that FDR wouldn't get labeled 'coward' by the OP, but because of the arbitrary, um, rule I guess that he couldn't rush out to risk his own life due to his health issues. But think about that...why does he get a pass just because of that??).

Quote:
I might walk back from the stance of labeling them with an insult such as "coward", but I will say if you are suggesting others ought to make deep sacrifices that you prefer not to, then your opinion on the matter weighs about as much as a white feather. Or should, at least.
And that is your right to hold that opinion, and in your own mind (or that of the OP), you can think of them as 'cowards' if you like. Myself, I'd think of them as folks I simply disagree with. Just like I think of you and the OP as folks that, on this subject (and probably myriad others ), we simply don't agree. I don't have to put any sort of nasty label on you for that, just appreciate you guys for giving me someone to argue with.
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  #230  
Old 05-22-2019, 05:02 PM
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Sorry, I'm posting from an iPad at the air port.

The thing is, when AREN'T times desperate? Let me ask you a question here...let's say it's 1938 and someone is advocating for the US to intervene in Europe or take a harder line with respect to Japan. These wouldn't have been popular positions. Using your criteria though, no one who wasn't in the military or wasn't willing to join could or should be able to 'warmonger' for US intervention without you labeling them 'coward'....correct? Can you explain why or why not? Give it serious thought, don't just handwave it away. You don't know anything more than you would in 1938, and you are just Joe Citizen, just as you are today. Or, let's say some guys at the bar who have never been in the military and aren't going to join it are advocating for a rebellion against our British overlords, but you don't know anything more than Joe Citizen knows at the time. Again, consider this wrt what you are advocating and then consider...was Thomas Jefferson and the rest REALLY cowards? Should only George Washington basically have been able to weigh in on this without you labeling the rest 'cowards'??

That's the thing. You are going to label a bunch of folks 'coward' using your own arbitrary stances and definitions and based on your own opinion of what you THINK are or aren't military actions or stances or even wars that the US has or may participate in. I don't think things are that desperate that we need to resort to this sort of thing. Instead, a reasoned discussion can be had on the subject of whether the US should or shouldn't use military action or the threat of military action in the future. But our CIVILIAN elected officials need to be able and free to discuss this stuff, and our citizens to voice their opinions for or against without constraint and without someone labeling them 'coward' because THEY DISAGREE.
Yes, there's a risk in not going to war. Maybe there's a genocide going on right now in Iran, or in Venezuela, or in Kazakhstan, for all we know. Maybe going to war could save millions of lives.

But IMO, from looking at history, the risk in going to war is almost always much, much higher than the risk in not going to war. Catastrophically higher, in almost all circumstances. So I'm comfortable with this tradeoff. Even if I might have been wrong in 1938, presumably not having all the information about what was really going on.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 05-22-2019 at 05:03 PM.
  #231  
Old 05-22-2019, 05:08 PM
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I just don't see freedom from social consequences for one's speech as part of liberty. Such consequences can be unfair or unjust, though I don't think they are in this instance.
Put yourself in my shoes. Why should I support your proposal?

I have not admitted that war is always beyond the pale. A given military action might be warranted, or it might not be - obviously I will have an opinion but I do not expect society to have a strong consensus one way or the other as we do with child sex. I am not a god and it is not my decision alone (or even at all) whether or not our country takes a military action. I am also young and possibly fit for military service, but have no intention to enlist. I do pay taxes though, and if there were a draft or an invasion or bombing of my state I could be affected. So I am in fact entitled to express my opinion on foreign or military policy, because I do have a stake in the matter, however small.

Now here comes along another person who says virtually all military actions are quite unnecessary. Cool, I might disagree but maybe we can talk about specifics when the debate arises.

Then he proposes the public shaming and humiliation of anybody who advocates for unnecessary military action if they are eligible for service but intend on remaining a civilian. He asks for my opinion on that stratagem. Now I think draft dodgers and chicken hawks are un-American and deserve public ridicule. A war hawk also aught to enlist if the war he advocated for comes to pass and the army issues a draft. But why would I be a coward for having an opinion favorable to war while intending to remain a civilian? He says I am a coward for sending Americans off to die for an unnecessary cause. I would agree, unless the cause was necessary, in which case he is a coward for refusing to support a necessary military action.

I ask why not just debate the justification for war on the merits? He says war is too horrible, too often unnecessary, and that he is justified in calling me a coward even if it doesn't convince me because it can convince others not to agree with me. I say the name-calling hurts his credibility too and he says it is worth the risk. I say people might get the wrong idea and start threatening me, he says that's still preferable to war. I say his scheme to publicly shame and humiliate is effectively an intimidation tactic. He says that is the point.

I say that this proposed name-calling would inject vitriol into public debate. He says that is less important than avoiding war. I say he is trying to shut down public debate, that he is favoring security over liberty. He says he is not restricting liberty, besides, there is no debate to be had, advocating for war is like advocating for rape. I point out that rape is always wrong while there are some military actions, particularly defensive wars, which are justified. He says those are so rare as to not matter, besides he wouldn't call someone a coward for supporting a necessary war. I say his opinion on whether a war is necessary might be wrong. He says that's not the case, but if it were, so be it.

I step over the possibility that he is begging the question and assert that societal intimidation has a chilling effect on freedom of speech and is therefore a restriction on liberty. He says it does not, for example societal intimidation of rape advocates isn't a restriction on liberty. I say, yes it is, but there is a consensus that rape advocates deserve public shaming and humiliation which doesn't necessarily exist for military actions. He says "I don't see freedom from social consequences for one's speech as part of liberty. Such consequences can be unfair or unjust, though I don't think they are in this instance."

My counter is that he is not the arbiter of whether a particular social consequence is unfair or unjust, society is. He can have an opinion, but I cannot support his opinion in the absence of clear consensus. It is not clear to me that all military actions are beyond the pale, so it would be improper to support this stratagem of publicly shaming and humiliating advocates of any military action who intend to remain civilians. That decision belongs to society and one of the principles of liberty is that society makes the best decisions under the auspices of honest debate, not a shouting match or under threat of argumenta ad hominem.

Please, consider my point of view.

~Max
  #232  
Old 05-22-2019, 05:16 PM
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Put yourself in my shoes. Why should I support your proposal?

I have not admitted that war is always beyond the pale. A given military action might be warranted, or it might not be - obviously I will have an opinion but I do not expect society to have a strong consensus one way or the other as we do with child sex. I am not a god and it is not my decision alone (or even at all) whether or not our country takes a military action. I am also young and possibly fit for military service, but have no intention to enlist. I do pay taxes though, and if there were a draft or an invasion or bombing of my state I could be affected. So I am in fact entitled to express my opinion on foreign or military policy, because I do have a stake in the matter, however small.

Now here comes along another person who says virtually all military actions are quite unnecessary. Cool, I might disagree but maybe we can talk about specifics when the debate arises.

Then he proposes the public shaming and humiliation of anybody who advocates for unnecessary military action if they are eligible for service but intend on remaining a civilian. He asks for my opinion on that stratagem. Now I think draft dodgers and chicken hawks are un-American and deserve public ridicule. A war hawk also aught to enlist if the war he advocated for comes to pass and the army issues a draft. But why would I be a coward for having an opinion favorable to war while intending to remain a civilian? He says I am a coward for sending Americans off to die for an unnecessary cause. I would agree, unless the cause was necessary, in which case he is a coward for refusing to support a necessary military action.

I ask why not just debate the justification for war on the merits? He says war is too horrible, too often unnecessary, and that he is justified in calling me a coward even if it doesn't convince me because it can convince others not to agree with me. I say the name-calling hurts his credibility too and he says it is worth the risk. I say people might get the wrong idea and start threatening me, he says that's still preferable to war. I say his scheme to publicly shame and humiliate is effectively an intimidation tactic. He says that is the point.

I say that this proposed name-calling would inject vitriol into public debate. He says that is less important than avoiding war. I say he is trying to shut down public debate, that he is favoring security over liberty. He says he is not restricting liberty, besides, there is no debate to be had, advocating for war is like advocating for rape. I point out that rape is always wrong while there are some military actions, particularly defensive wars, which are justified. He says those are so rare as to not matter, besides he wouldn't call someone a coward for supporting a necessary war. I say his opinion on whether a war is necessary might be wrong. He says that's not the case, but if it were, so be it.

I step over the possibility that he is begging the question and assert that societal intimidation has a chilling effect on freedom of speech and is therefore a restriction on liberty. He says it does not, for example societal intimidation of rape advocates isn't a restriction on liberty. I say, yes it is, but there is a consensus that rape advocates deserve public shaming and humiliation which doesn't necessarily exist for military actions. He says "I don't see freedom from social consequences for one's speech as part of liberty. Such consequences can be unfair or unjust, though I don't think they are in this instance."

My counter is that he is not the arbiter of whether a particular social consequence is unfair or unjust, society is. He can have an opinion, but I cannot support his opinion in the absence of clear consensus. It is not clear to me that all military actions are beyond the pale, so it would be improper to support this stratagem of publicly shaming and humiliating advocates of any military action who intend to remain civilians. That decision belongs to society and one of the principles of liberty is that society makes the best decisions under the auspices of honest debate, not a shouting match or under threat of argumenta ad hominem.

Please, consider my point of view.

~Max
Thank you, I will certainly consider your point of view, and I plan to go forward advocating against unnecessary wars in the most effective ways I'm able. Which may, in some circumstances, involve using epithets like "coward" against those I feel are deserving.
  #233  
Old 05-22-2019, 07:24 PM
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It's not necessarily just lives. Since WWII, the rules based approach to international relations has contributed a lot of stability that's helped with lifting people out of extreme poverty and repression. That both saves lives and reduces serious suffering even ignoring the implications of what happens with future conflicts. The international organizations tasked with enforcing the rules are relatively weak. Madeline Albright as Secretary of State under Clinton called the US an "indispensable nation" in ensuring that order. (Former SECDEF Mattis also used that language in his resignation letter.) Without the combination of military and soft power the US possesses in support that system can be extremely weak. It's not as simplistic as the notion of the US as the world's policeman. I've joked about it as being more like the patrol supervisor for the police shift on duty.

I'm willing to sacrifice lives to maintain that structure and stability in order to both save and improve lives later.


I'm a retired Army officer.
I don't see US involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria as having provided structure & stability, or having done much to save and improve lives in the region.
Battles have been won, no doubt. But at what cost and to what benefit?

I've got a son in the Navy. I get worried when people callously suggest he should be put in harms way without a damn good reason. Especially when so few of those advocating for war the loudest have so little to lose.
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  #234  
Old 05-22-2019, 08:32 PM
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You don't know what the hell you're talking about.
Let's keep this civil.

As it happens, I know former military individuals who firmly believe that they should be accorded more respect than anyone who has not been in the military. I also know former military personnel who find that sort of thinking to be embarrassing and dumb.
Aside from toning down your rhetoric, providing evidence of your position would be helpful in a debate.

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  #235  
Old 05-24-2019, 07:22 AM
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Okay, I think you're closer here, but you're still missing that it's about contribution, risk, and sacrifice. All three of those. Random liberal deciding to run for president against Trump doesn't offer anything at all in the realm of "contribution", and likely nothing as well in the realms of "risk and sacrifice", in terms of beating Trump. Rather, if that random liberal doesn't vote and contribute some degree of spare time and/or money to helping defeat Trump, then I would have no problem considering him a coward (or perhaps a more appropriate negative epithet) if they're complaining about Trump. But a random gung-ho young and healthy American really can contribute in the military and really would be making a sacrifice in doing so. There might be other ways, but shopping and paying taxes don't meet the cut.

My point is not about pointless gestures -- it's about real contribution and real sacrifice. If you can come up with a comparison that maintains that level of real contribution and real sacrifice, then I'll certainly consider it. But a random guy running for president doesn't cut it.
You never did respond to this, Bone. Care to?
  #236  
Old 05-24-2019, 09:58 AM
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Let's keep this civil.
Duely noted.

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As it happens, I know former military individuals who firmly believe that they should be accorded more respect than anyone who has not been in the military. I also know former military personnel who find that sort of thinking to be embarrassing and dumb.
Aside from toning down your rhetoric, providing evidence of your position would be helpful in a debate.
That simply means that veterans are people.

Not to diminish your personal experience with veterans, but my current job finds me in the midst of almost exclusively veterans (in service and support of other veterans). The overwhelming majority of whom do not fit the "entitled" category. FWIW.
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  #237  
Old 05-24-2019, 10:28 AM
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You never did respond to this, Bone. Care to?
I think you're position is without merit and is ineffective beyond giving cover to call people names under the guise of "trying something". Similar to how attempting to conjure wizards to stop war or changing your name to Meta World Peace would, it's a wholly useless gesture not unlike those you deride. That you craft special pleadings to dismiss the inconsistencies in your rubric weakens any semblance of a narrative It's compounded by the fact that your writing here has little ability to influence policy and it becomes all the more vacuous.

I too think war is terrible and should never be engaged in lightly. To my eternal shame, I supported the Iraq war in 2003 because I was fooled. I hope that will never happen again. Thoughtful discussion, reasoned arguments, and solid evidence pursuaded me of my error. Your method would do worse than nothing.
  #238  
Old 05-24-2019, 10:37 AM
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I think you're position is without merit and is ineffective beyond giving cover to call people names under the guise of "trying something". Similar to how attempting to conjure wizards to stop war or changing your name to Meta World Peace would, it's a wholly useless gesture not unlike those you deride. That you craft special pleadings to dismiss the inconsistencies in your rubric weakens any semblance of a narrative It's compounded by the fact that your writing here has little ability to influence policy and it becomes all the more vacuous.

I too think war is terrible and should never be engaged in lightly. To my eternal shame, I supported the Iraq war in 2003 because I was fooled. I hope that will never happen again. Thoughtful discussion, reasoned arguments, and solid evidence pursuaded me of my error. Your method would do worse than nothing.
Well... this just seems like a general criticism rather than a response to my specific post. You haven't actually pointed to "inconsistencies", just claimed them with illogical metaphors (a pointless run for president vs actually serving in the military? Really?). Further, you're focusing on the "insults" part and ignoring the "social shaming" part, which is what (I hope) would actually influence public policy.

But fair enough -- based on the tone of your post, this is probably the most you're interested in continuing this. If I'm wrong and you're interested in further discussion, I'll be here! Thanks for contributing.

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  #239  
Old 05-24-2019, 02:51 PM
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Let's suppose that one supports military action but doesn't want to participate in it. So....? There are no consequences.
  #240  
Old 05-24-2019, 02:53 PM
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Let's suppose that one supports military action but doesn't want to participate in it. So....? There are no consequences.
I'm proposing social shaming (for those able but not willing to sacrifice and contribute).
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Old 05-24-2019, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
I'm proposing social shaming (for those able but not willing to sacrifice and contribute).
It's probably going to backfire and you'll be coming across as someone who doesn't understand the importance of having civilian control of the military or the political reality of the military as a tool of diplomacy and national interest. Count me in as another who thinks this idea is foolish and probably horribly ineffectual.
  #242  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Maybe it's my imagination, but if I am reading correctly (and my knowledge of Dopers is correct), all the veterans in this thread appear to be on one side (my side ) of the issue. I find that very interesting, if it's accurate.
I saw above that DinoR offered a counter. I'll be a second.
Generally, I'm a lurker. I come to read what others think and see things from different perspectives. Typically by the time I get to a thread, somebody else has expressed what I feel, often better than I would have done. Also, while there's a lot of good debate, I've seen a lot of people on this board who are interested mainly in scoring rhetorical points, and I've no real interest in verbal fencing for its own sake.

Firstly, I reject the idea that anyone supporting a war which they are unwilling to personally fight is necessarily a coward. Ascribing cowardice based on the above is just too broad a brush for me. I have little doubt that many of them may in fact be cowards, but many of them might have other reasons than fear. "I think this WarX needs to be fought, but my wife and kids have only me, and Uncle Sam already has the largest military force on the planet," isn't unreasonable in the slightest for example. You might argue that person is selfish, but devotion to his family isn't the same thing as cowardice. And as has been pointed out above, enlistment isn't a buffet where you can pick the war you like. Two years down the road you can't say, "Hey, I was only in it for WarX! WarY is another story entirely and I think I'll just sit this one out." Serving in the military is a commitment made before you know the particulars, and it shouldn't necessarily all hinge on what is happening the day you enlist.

Primarily though, I disagree wholeheartedly on the 'tactical' aspect espoused later of just trying to use the public shaming as a way to potentially avoid involvement in a war. I'll leave aside questions of its effectiveness as a secondary issue, because I think it's wrong even if it works.

What you are saying boils down to labeling, attacking, and dehumanizing a person you disagree with. That's really all it is, a bully tactic. "But WAR!" I've heard you making that ends-justify-means case, and it sounds no different to me than leading souls to Jesus/rescuing unborn babies/defending the honor of Muhammed/saving the whales or any of the other causes out there that are just *SO* important that nothing should be allowed to stand in their way, and anything done to bring them about is justifiable.

We live in a world of 'Libtards' and 'Deplorables' because of things like this. Fox News, Huffington Post, and countless others in media large and small regularly denigrate the opposition not just as being wrong, but as being bad people. They're stupid, blind, racist, sexist, greedy, or downright evil because they have a different opinion or values. Why bother discussing an issue when it's so much easier to say the other person is an idiot or, even better, immoral? Once you're comfortable with the idea that the "Other Side" is composed of morally bankrupt idiots you not only don't need to think about what they are saying, but you don't need to think too much about the holes in the arguments your "side" is spewing. The fact that immoral idiots are against it means it's got to be pretty good after all. And compromise? How do you compromise with stupid, immoral people?

Sorry, but no. I really don't care which side is doing it, what color the flag they are waving happens to be, or what their cause of the day is. Substituting emotion for thought, reactionism for argument, and bullying for dialogue does more harm in the long run than any short term good they might achieve.
  #243  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
It's probably going to backfire and you'll be coming across as someone who doesn't understand the importance of having civilian control of the military or the political reality of the military as a tool of diplomacy and national interest.
I'm not sure what my proposal has to do with civilian control of the military.

As for the "political reality" you speak of, that sounds pretty close to the conventional wisdom that I'm trying to upend. I want war to truly be a last resort, not just another tool in our toolbox. War should be nigh-unthinkable unless the only alternative is genocide or some other form of immediate, preventable, and catastrophic loss of life. Maybe there are exceptions, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, and when our country has a reasonable view of war. But when we're a country in which warmongers have so much power and influence, drastic change is needed before we can even consider wars of choice.
  #244  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CAH66 View Post
I saw above that DinoR offered a counter. I'll be a second.
Generally, I'm a lurker. I come to read what others think and see things from different perspectives. Typically by the time I get to a thread, somebody else has expressed what I feel, often better than I would have done. Also, while there's a lot of good debate, I've seen a lot of people on this board who are interested mainly in scoring rhetorical points, and I've no real interest in verbal fencing for its own sake.

Firstly, I reject the idea that anyone supporting a war which they are unwilling to personally fight is necessarily a coward. Ascribing cowardice based on the above is just too broad a brush for me. I have little doubt that many of them may in fact be cowards, but many of them might have other reasons than fear. "I think this WarX needs to be fought, but my wife and kids have only me, and Uncle Sam already has the largest military force on the planet," isn't unreasonable in the slightest for example. You might argue that person is selfish, but devotion to his family isn't the same thing as cowardice. And as has been pointed out above, enlistment isn't a buffet where you can pick the war you like. Two years down the road you can't say, "Hey, I was only in it for WarX! WarY is another story entirely and I think I'll just sit this one out." Serving in the military is a commitment made before you know the particulars, and it shouldn't necessarily all hinge on what is happening the day you enlist.

Primarily though, I disagree wholeheartedly on the 'tactical' aspect espoused later of just trying to use the public shaming as a way to potentially avoid involvement in a war. I'll leave aside questions of its effectiveness as a secondary issue, because I think it's wrong even if it works.

What you are saying boils down to labeling, attacking, and dehumanizing a person you disagree with. That's really all it is, a bully tactic. "But WAR!" I've heard you making that ends-justify-means case, and it sounds no different to me than leading souls to Jesus/rescuing unborn babies/defending the honor of Muhammed/saving the whales or any of the other causes out there that are just *SO* important that nothing should be allowed to stand in their way, and anything done to bring them about is justifiable.

We live in a world of 'Libtards' and 'Deplorables' because of things like this. Fox News, Huffington Post, and countless others in media large and small regularly denigrate the opposition not just as being wrong, but as being bad people. They're stupid, blind, racist, sexist, greedy, or downright evil because they have a different opinion or values. Why bother discussing an issue when it's so much easier to say the other person is an idiot or, even better, immoral? Once you're comfortable with the idea that the "Other Side" is composed of morally bankrupt idiots you not only don't need to think about what they are saying, but you don't need to think too much about the holes in the arguments your "side" is spewing. The fact that immoral idiots are against it means it's got to be pretty good after all. And compromise? How do you compromise with stupid, immoral people?

Sorry, but no. I really don't care which side is doing it, what color the flag they are waving happens to be, or what their cause of the day is. Substituting emotion for thought, reactionism for argument, and bullying for dialogue does more harm in the long run than any short term good they might achieve.
Thanks for your thoughts. I'd welcome another way if I thought there was one... and maybe there is, I just haven't seen it or heard it yet.

I'll note that I have little expectation that my "solution" has any hope of being accepted instituted in society at large. It's still interesting to talk about unlikely but hoped-for policies and changes in society, and this isn't the only unlikely thing that I have advocated for.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 05-24-2019 at 04:45 PM.
  #245  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:43 PM
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CAH66,

That was really eloquent. You should post more.
  #246  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
I'm not sure what my proposal has to do with civilian control of the military.
Well, you set up the Catch-22 that the civilians controlling the military should join the military if they want military action but then they can't control the military once they stop being civilians. So under your moral code, only pacifists can be in charge of the military. Or I guess warmongers over recruitment age.

Last edited by CarnalK; 05-24-2019 at 04:53 PM.
  #247  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by CAH66 View Post
"I think this WarX needs to be fought, but my wife and kids have only me, and Uncle Sam already has the largest military force on the planet," isn't unreasonable in the slightest for example.
Oh no. It's not unreasonable at all to say "There are many sole breadwinners in the military, like myself, but I am more deserving to stay home."

There's definitely a word, but 'unreasonable' isn't it.
  #248  
Old 05-24-2019, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Well, you set up the Catch-22 that the civilians controlling the military should join the military if they want military action but then they can't control the military once they stop being civilians. So under your moral code, only pacifists can be in charge of the military. Or I guess warmongers over recruitment age.
No I didn't - I described numerous exceptions which would leave plenty of room for civilian control.
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  #249  
Old 05-24-2019, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Well, you set up the Catch-22 that the civilians controlling the military should join the military if they want military action but then they can't control the military once they stop being civilians. So under your moral code, only pacifists can be in charge of the military. Or I guess warmongers over recruitment age.
The interesting thing here is nobody in the "yes" side of this thread is suggesting constraining what people can or can't do. We're just suggesting certain moral judgments under certain circumstances.

In particular I don't expect lawmakers to have enlistment papers ready when they vote to go to war with some country. But when I judge their decision, it matters whether they've served before. It matters whether they were asked to serve and avoided it. It matters whether their decision might cause other people's children to go to war before their own.

And I will continue to express my mystification that conservatives and republicans, enlightened centrists, formerly champions and advocates of the military, in this thread devote such special pleading that they should be able to send others to harm while they themselves recline and say "I prefer others do it for me."
  #250  
Old 05-24-2019, 05:25 PM
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But when I judge their decision, it matters whether they've served before. It matters whether they were asked to serve and avoided it. It matters whether their decision might cause other people's children to go to war before their own.
The only one of these that matters to me is whether they were asked to serve and avoided it, and that would depend on their reasons and how they were asked.

I argued for exemptions for lawmakers even on the "yes" side in post #141. Specifically, the lawmakers might represent veterans and they have a duty to represent no matter their own previous military service or the age of their children. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Quote:
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My personal opinion (notwithstanding my opposition to the public shaming in general) is that legislators are exempt, but not their children. Otherwise we would be left with the awkward situation where a non-veteran legislator represents a population with hawkish veterans, but when he tries to voice the opinion of his constituency he is derided as a "gutless coward" by the rest of the country.
~Max
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